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Short Title

Queensland's Budget Austerity

Abstract

While considerable attention has been paid to the austerity experiments in Europe, much less attention has been paid to austerity case studies from other parts of the world. This paper examines the case of Queensland, Australia, where the government has pursued austerity measures, while making dire warnings that unless public debt was slashed and the public service sector downsized, Queensland risked becoming the Spain of Australia. The comparison is incomprehensible, given the very different economic situation in Queensland compared with Spain. This comparison constructed a sense of crisis that helped to mask standard neoliberal economic reform. While pursuing neoliberal economic policies, the Queensland Government has also been introducing draconian laws that limit civil liberties and political freedoms for ordinary citizens. This mix of authoritarianism and austerity has met considerable resistance, and this dynamic is discussed in the paper, along with the predictable and unequal impact that austerity measures have had on the general population and social services.

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