Until now, the Liberals’ real agenda has been strictly an “operational matter”. Abbott’s “war” on asylum seekers (his word) has portrayed a few leaky boats as one of the greatest threats the country has ever faced. It’s a “national emergency”.

Immigration minister Scott Morrison is running his own Ministry of Truth, at a cost of at least $8 million a year and employing nearly 100 communications staff and spin doctors to pump out anti-refugee propaganda.

The Liberals may be grubs, but there’s method behind their border security madness. It’s clear now that this is also part of the war on workers.

With the budget, the real agenda has been exposed: dismantle the welfare state, undermine working class living standards and open the way for massive future attacks.

So there is much more to refugee bashing than simple xenophobia and sadism. For the government, the billions spent on Australia’s gulags and the systematic and wilful destruction of refugees’ mental and physical well-being will be worth it if it diverts attention from their larger agenda.

Class war is a cause much closer to the Liberals’ heart. Don’t get me wrong; the Liberal’s have not lost their appetite for attacking refugees. It’s simply become plainer that the race to the bottom on refugees is a horrifying attempt to distract from the government’s more ambitious program.

The refugee hysteria may have reached unprecedented heights under this government, but “boat arrivals” have long been the standard go-to for desperate and unpopular governments, both Liberal and Labor.

John Howard’s invention of the so-called “children overboard” scandal just in time for an election, Rudd’s “PNG solution” and Abbott’s Operation Sovereign Borders are just the most harrowing examples.

This is one of the most unpopular budgets in Australian history by one of the most swiftly loathed governments in Australian history. Now that it has been put on the back foot by public outrage, it will attempt to shove its hated agenda down our throats by any means necessary.

We have to resist it with the same energy.