A lot of the world’s countries are experiencing economic woes, but Australia has not been one of them.
It has a long and proud history of growing industries, including mining, steel and copper, and the national flag, but its economy has been steadily shrinking.
The last time the economy shrank was in the mid-2000s, but the next recession is now predicted to be milder than the one we experienced in 2008.
What has made it worse?
The Australian dollar, already struggling, has been sliding against other currencies, and Australia’s economic prospects have been bleak since the global financial crisis.
The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the country’s economic activity in the first half of the year was up by just 2.5 per cent, but by the end of June it was down by almost 5 per cent.
The weak economy has caused the government to increase spending on social assistance, the biggest chunk of which is for the elderly and people with disabilities.
The Budget has been set to spend $5.9 billion on new social services, and Labor is calling for $3.5 billion more.
The government has been pushing for higher pension and disability payments for the same reason.
This could prove a boon to the elderly, who are already suffering the worst cuts in their social security system in recent decades.
This is the backdrop for what is set to be the largest social welfare program in Australia’s history.
Labor says this will give people with lower incomes more money to spend and will reduce unemployment and the number of people living in poverty.
It says it will help those in need most, but not the poorest Australians.
Labor also wants to increase funding for the childcare sector, which has been struggling to cope with the influx of young mothers.
Labor will use this funding to make sure childcare providers are better able to deliver childcare to the most vulnerable in the community, while also reducing the costs of childcare in the short-term.
Labor has already pledged to raise the retirement age from 66 to 67 in the coming years, but Labor has not put forward a plan to increase the retirement ages for everyone over that age.
While Labor is promising to do better, it is also promising to spend more.
This means increasing the budget deficit, but that does not mean it will raise the money it needs to do more for the middle class.
Labor’s plan has been criticised by both the Coalition and the Liberals.
They say Labor’s spending plans would make it impossible for the country to pay its bills and could lead to a massive economic shock, which could lead people to lose their jobs and the economy to slide into recession.
But Labor is taking the criticism too far.
Labor is also proposing $1 billion in additional revenue, including from increasing the retirement income cap, as part of the budget, which is set at $150,000.
The Liberal party has promised to make the retirement cap rise from $100,000 to $180,000, but has not yet said how much of this would be spent on social programs for the aged and disabled.
The Coalition has proposed $2 billion in tax cuts, including $800 million for childcare, while the Greens have pledged $1.4 billion in spending cuts, with a total of $2.3 billion earmarked for the states and territories.
They have also promised to raise more revenue from property tax, but they have not set a timeline for this.
The Federal Budget will be delivered on Tuesday.
What do you think?
Are you angry that the budget is not balanced?
Do you agree with Labor’s proposals?
Do they need to increase taxes?
Or do you have some concerns about the budget?
Contact us at the ABC’s community media line on 0800 658 522.