By Bruce Duncan
Australia has so far escaped much of the havoc caused by the global financial crisis, but it is not immune to the effects of economic ideology, particularly free-market neoliberalism, which typically calls for reduced public spending, balanced budgets, wage and tax cuts, and a reduced role for governments. We can see the effects of these views, with the Victorian government recently announcing cuts of 4,200 public service jobs, and sharply reduced spending on TAFEs. The Queensland government is abolishing 14,000 public service jobs, many in health services, and reducing spending on social services and housing. Even the Commonwealth government is not immune to pressure, as it struggles to produce a surplus budget.