From the Senator for Victoria


We face a battle for the soul of our country, and the Greens are the only ones with the vision and courage to truly take the fight up to Tony Abbott.

By Senator Richard Di Natale

The first year of an Abbott Government has followed a well-worn script. Tony Abbott ran an election campaign that studiously said nothing at all but when he got into power he turned out to have an extensive ideology-driven agenda. The government then tried to use the political theatre of so-called “independent” inquiries and reviews to justify announcing policies that were either never mentioned or completely ruled out before the election. 

Whether it be appointing a climate change denier to head up a review of the Renewable Energy Target or putting big business in charge of the Commission of Audit, this shameless government picked the players and wrote the rules in order to rig the game. 

The government got exactly what it wanted out of the Commission of Audit – a blueprint for tearing apart Australia's social fabric based on a confected budget crisis. 

I chaired a senate inquiry into the Commission of Audit because the Greens wouldn't buy the lie. We heard evidence from economists, academics, unions and business groups from across the country, and they told a very different story about the state of the Australian economy – one that is completely at odds with the Commission of Audit report. 

Still, the government thought they had sufficient political cover to unveil a brutal budget that is an assault on our health system, our schools, our universities and the most vulnerable amongst us. They were wrong. 

The community isn't buying what the government is selling when it comes to ridiculous thought bubbles like the GP co-payment, and neither are the Greens. 

But the Greens' efforts to bust the budget haven't been limited to how we vote in the Senate. We have been holding forums and rallies around the country. 

Personally, the committee work I did to expose the truth about the Commission of Audit will now shift its focus onto the budget itself. I have been appointed chair of a new Senate Committee into the impacts of the Abbott Government's budget cuts. 

Much like my previous committee, it will hear evidence from individuals and groups around the country so that we can really understand how people will be affected. I want to demonstrate what it means for a 26 year old who has finished a degree but can't find work so they're cut off Newstart. I want to show what happens when we make it too expensive for people to see their doctor or fill a prescription. 

This is a battle for the soul of our country and the Greens are the only ones with the vision and courage to truly take the fight up to Tony Abbott.