Saturday, June 15, 2024

‘Helicopter money to buy votes’: Aussies outraged at Albo’s social media stunt

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Outraged Aussies have accused Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of trying to “buy votes” after posting about the government’s plan to wipe $3 billion of student debt on social media.

At the federal budget, the Labor government announced it would change the HECS indexation rate to be set against either the Consumer Price Index or the Wage Price Index, whichever was lower.

The commitment means a student’s HECS debt would be indexed by four per cent rather than 4.7 per cent in 2024 and 2023’s 7.1 per cent indexation rate will be backdated to 3.2 per cent.

To remind Aussies of the move, Mr Albanese took to X, formerly Twitter, with a photo of himself and some university students.

“We’re wiping 3 billion in student debt, for more than 3 million Australians,” the PM wrote.

But the post backfired after becoming filled with replies criticising the PM’s move as a waste of taxpayer money.

“Who’s picking up the bill Albo?” wrote one incensed commenter.

Another quipped: “Debt doesn’t get ‘wiped’, you just transferred it to the taxpayer, without asking. If those kids knew that their future kids would be paying for it, they wouldn’t be smiling.”

A common theme among many repliers were accusations of the Prime Minister trying to “buy votes”.

“Buying votes sad,” one replier wrote.

Another jibed: “You mean we the taxpayers will be footing the $3 billion bill so you can buy student votes. Even that won’t help you. You will be a one term PM”.

“Please resign. You are well past your used by date.”

Alongside this backlash, one incensed commenter described the move as: “Helicopter money to buy votes”.

The outrage directed at Mr Albanese comes after the Australia Tax Office confirmed it still indexed student debt at 4.7 per cent on June 1 rather than four per cent despite the flagged wiping of student debt.

Following the ATO’s confirmation, Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson hit out at Education Minister Jason Clare who originally announced the change of indexation rate.

“In the face of Labor’s high inflation which is fuelling escalating student debt, Jason Clare’s failure to act with urgency means there is no relief in sight for three million Australians with a HELP loan,” Senator Henderson said.

“Why has the minister failed to bring forward legislation in time to enact these changes to HELP indexation? When will the promised reductions in student debt be delivered?

“Under Labor, prior to these changes, student debt had increased by nearly 16 per cent or an extra $4,000 on the average loan of $26,500.

“This is straight incompetence from Jason Clare who has been sitting on the recommended changes to HELP indexation since last December.”

The total outstanding debt owed by borrowers of higher education loan programs totalled more than $78 billion as of 2023.

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