a band-aid budget of betrayal and solidarity with the students 

By Adam Bandt, Leader of the Australian Greens & MP for Melbourne 


It’s been a big month, our team returned to Canberra after the autumn break and what we saw was more of the same from the old parties.

A budget of betrayal from Labor and fear-mongering and dog-whistling by Peter Dutton and the Liberals. 

Budgets are about choices, and if you’re feeling crushed, angry, betrayed and gaslit by this Government lately, you’re not alone. Labor chose to prioritise and boast about a budget surplus instead of helping people. 

They have the money. Labor says they care about the cost of living but instead they have chosen to continue the billions of dollars of tax handouts to wealthy property investors that are denying renters the chance to buy a home. Most renters get nothing at all, and a fraction get just an extra $1.30 a day, while Labor gives politicians a $4,500 a year tax cut. 

Labor can find $764 billion for defence and almost $50 billion in subsidies for corporations burning fossil fuels but couldn’t find a cent to raise the rate of JobSeeker.


A post shared by Adam Bandt (@adambandt)

It could be very different. We could freeze and cap rent increases to get inflation under control give people some breathing space. The $9.3 billion surplus could fund a rent increase, put mental health into Medicare, or give every Australian in poverty over $3000 in cost of living support. 

And Dutton’s vision for the county? Blaming migrants, refugees & international students. 

That’s it. More hate. More dog-whistling. Dutton shared his scheme to get Australia "back on track” - but really it is a backtrack to the White Australia policy. 

The Liberals are resorting to the only trick they know: Leaning on racism as a distraction for their refusal to address the greed of the big banks, supermarkets & property investors. 

The Greens will take on Labor’s betrayal,  Dutton’s hateful agenda, and the big corporations responsible for the pain you’re feeling. Better things are possible. The only way to get progressive change is when we put more Greens in Parliament. 

But there’s still much to be hopeful about, with community spirit and activism giving me hope. Over the last few weeks something inspirational has been happening on University campuses across the country. Inspired by similar things happening on campuses in the United States, student encampments have been established to protest against the invasion of Gaza.  

While they’ve been accused of being many things they’re not, the students' peaceful demands are clear. They want their Universities to cut military ties with the Israeli government, and to divest from weapons companies with ties to Israel’s military. 

For weeks now, these students have been condemned by those in power. They’ve been pressured by their universities. They’ve had the police called on them. And they’ve remained staunch.

I visited the University of Melbourne’s encampment a couple of weeks ago and I was moved by the peacefulness and strength of their protest. The University of Melbourne has a $13m research partnership with weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin. 

The demands of the students are simple and are right - in this country we should not be enabling Netanyahu’s extreme war cabinet, the invasion of Gaza and the occupation of the Palestinian territories. 

Universities must listen to the divestment demands of the Gaza encampments that are sweeping university campuses across Australia. Scenes of police forcibly dismantling encampments like we have seen in the US must not be repeated here.

The camps are made up of young people from many backgrounds and they’ve been backed by the University’s staff, and their union, the NTEU. These events stand in the proud tradition of the great anti war movements from the past. People, organisations and movements are how we get change. 

We are with the hundreds of thousands of people here and the millions across the globe who are changing the world, demanding an end to the invasion of Gaza, an end to the occupation of Palestine and a just and lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis based on their right to security, freedom and self-determination in accordance with international law.