Coalition ridiculed over 'bad policies'

Three measures in the Abbott government's budget have been described as ''crude'' and ''too harsh'' by public policy experts, with one measure in particular being ridiculed for having a ''bush economists' logic''.

The chief executive of the Grattan Institute, John Daley, said on Monday that the Abbott government's controversial $7 medical co-payment plan, its decision to introduce uncapped fees in the university sector, and its work for the dole scheme were bad policies that would not help to fix the structural budget deficit.

Ben Phillips, a research fellow from the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, said the severity of the budget overall was ''beyond common sense''.

The criticism came on the same day as Prime Minister Tony Abbott suffered a historic plunge in the post-budget polls.

The Fairfax/Nielsen poll showed a record number of Australians believed the Abbott government's first budget was unfair, contributing to a 12 percentage point jump in Mr Abbott's personal disapproval rating.

The Grattan Institute's Mr Daley said the federal budget's work for the dole scheme would work against the interests of its participants because it would prevent them from having time to look for a ''real job''.

He said the plan to allow universities to charge whatever they wanted - in a bid to unleash competition in the university sector - betrayed a ''very crude view'' of the way education markets worked.

And the economic loss from the controversial $7 GP co-payment measure would ''greatly exceed'' the expected savings, he said.

''There's a crude [view that says], 'well if we charge people money when they don't really need to go to the doctor they won't go and that's a good thing','' Mr Daley said.

''There's a certain intuitive bush economists' logic to that, but … we've got good evidence to show that yes, some people will go to the doctor that don't really need to go but a much larger number will not go to the doctor who did need to go and consequently the loss will greatly exceed the savings.''

Meanwhile, Mr Phillips said the results of his new budget modelling - which was based on 45,000 families backed by Bureau of Statistics data - showed the burden of this budget would fall ''almost entirely'' on the low end of the national income distribution.

''It's very much the low income families that are impacted by this budget,'' Mr Phillips said.

''We've found that for a low income family, they'll typically be worse off by around $4000 a year.''

Dr Andrew Leigh, the federal shadow assistant treasurer, said the budget was a redistributive one, but not in the sense that we typically use the word.

''[It is] the wrong set of priorities in an Australia which has become so much more unequal over recent decades,'' Mr Leigh said.

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The story Coalition ridiculed over 'bad policies' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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