What story does Joe Hockey’s words on budget night really tell? We’ve bundled the more than 3500 of the Treasurer’s words from his first budget speech into this word cloud. The biggest words are the ones the Treasurer used most often. First, we manually removed the words ”madam speaker”, ”government”, ”budget”, ”year” and ”people” since they featured very large but that seemed to be more a matter of necessary repetition than significance. Common words were also automatically excluded. In sentiment at least, the budget speech appears overwhelmingly positive. Words like ”better”, ”research”, ”more”, ”new”, ”benefit”, ”help” and ”jobs” all loom large. Such as ”the government will help” and ”provide help to those most in need”. This is despite many arguing it is the toughest budget since John Howard’s post-election budget in 1996. But the word ”build” was the top-scorer, mentioned 26 times in Mr Hockey’s budget speech. As in ”build a stronger Australia”. ”Billion” featured high, too, with 21 mentions, largely in the context of a reduced deficit, debt and improved investment. ”Work” was also up there, although whether that is positive or negative depends on the context, of course. This was sometimes in the form of ”the government will work” but also in the LIberal Party rhetoric of ”those who can work, should work … work gives a sense of self”. As is often the case, what was left unsaid was perhaps even more revealing. The words ”environment” and ”climate change” did not appear in the speech once. Although the word ”carbon” made it in there three times: ”We are abolishing the carbon tax”, ”the abolition of the carbon tax” and ”without the carbon tax”. If you squint you can see the word ”student” in the bottom right buried between ”future” and ”increase”. The implication of which will not be lost on students, since universites have been given the freedom to set their own fees. ”SBS” and ”ABC” were also conspicuously absent, since the government has broken an election promise by cutting the broadcasters’ budgets by $43.5 million. ”Mining” was also low-key, with only five mentions in the Treasurer’s speech. Although, admittedly, that’s a 500 per cent increase on the number of times Wayne Swan said the word in last year’s budget speech. The word ”foreign” only appeared twice, matching a budget in which the government slashed foreign aid by $7.9 billion over five years. ”Hospital” was also used just once when Mr Hockey said that a reduction in interest paid after the debt was reduced was ”more than enough money needed to construct 15 major new teaching hospitals every year”. Despite slashing billions from the Commonwealth’s share of hospital funding.
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