The 2019 calendar year was largely consumed by policy stagnation. A sitting Government — thought even by its senior members to be in its death throes — surprised everyone with a narrow one-seat majority win at the May 2020 Federal Election. But it returned to government without having an electoral plan beyond income tax cuts and achieving a budget surplus. Parliament sat infrequently before the May Election and the Government spent most of the second half of the year devising an agenda for the next term.
Old initiatives in social security which had previously been blocked by the upper house (the Senate) were reintroduced in the hope of passage by a new Senate less populated by fringe party members (because only half had faced the electorate, increasing the number of votes required to win a seat in the new Senate). These measures continue the trend of linking income support to lifestyle changes (drug testing; cashless welfare) or achieving fiscal savings (doubling the period of self-support by drawing on available savings). But the only significant legislation to be adopted in 2019 was income tax reform.
SOURCE: Terry Carney. “Australia 2019: Staying the “Same Old/Same Old” Course?” Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Munich 2020.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.