Australian government prepares budget and possible early election
28 April 2018
Riddled by in-fighting and facing intensifying domestic and international pressures, the Australian government is about to hand down a budget on May 8. It will feature income tax cuts and blatant electoral pork-barrelling that are clearly intended to lay the basis for an early election.
An election for the lower house and half the upper house can be called in July for as early as August 4. It would be the latest attempt by the political and corporate elite to install a government that can meet corporate demands for a far deeper assault on social spending and the working class, as well as prepare for potential trade wars and wars involving the US and China.
Over the past decade a series of ousted prime ministers and unstable governments, both Labor and Liberal-National, have each failed to last a full parliamentary term. One government after another has tried unsuccessfully to implement the full agenda demanded by big business, which includes the dismantling of the post-World War II welfare system.
The impasse is the result of deepening popular hostility toward big business and the political establishment, as well as rifts produced by the mounting US-led confrontation against China, Australian capitalism’s largest export market.
Constitutionally, the current Liberal-National Coalition government could delay an election until May next year. But it has been beset by repeated crises since it barely survived, with a one-seat majority, the last snap election it called in July 2016 to attempt to break through the impasse. Its turmoil included February’s removal of deputy prime minister and National Party leader Barnaby Joyce over sexual misconduct allegations.
This month, the 30th…