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Costello's 2007 Budget « Previous | |Next »
May 9, 2007

So it was a politics style budget as expected, the centre piece of which was the higher education endowment to help the long-term funding of tertiary education. That's good politics, as it cuts the ground from under the Rudd-ALP focus on an education "revolution".

The tax cuts for Howard's battlers, and spending up big over a range of portfolios, such as the environment, child care, transport and fighter plans, which cover the black spots where the ALP has some traction, land another punch on the ALP.


It was a cleverly crafted budget. Costello even gave the impression of more spending to come to ease the political pressure points, such as those around climate change. So is smirks all round the Coalition ranks judging from Question Time, the Coalition has the cash to fill the policy gaps identified by Labour.

The ALP is going to struggle to attack the package. Obvious gaps were structural reform to improve productivity or address the causes of climate change. Or broadband, for that matter. Or tax reform? Or export growth to address the current account deficit. Costello could have used the huge increases in revenue to do something to address these in a significant way and link them to CoAG's National Reform Agenda. But he didn't.

Take the much heralded water initiative. The Budget avoids the tough issue of buying back water licences. Only 30% of the $3.1 billion allocated to the buy back will be spend in the next four years. The National's stand in the way of reform, as they refuse to acknowledge the reality of the overallocation of water licences by state governments. Costello's budget does nothing to change that, as there is just $27 million for buying back overallocated rights in 2006-7.

And energy? Well, all that has changed is that Costello has restored a programme that had been cutback in 2006---doubling the rebate for solar panels for households. Big deal. Especially after spending a decade denying the existence of global warming.

However, the political reality is that the ALP needs to win 16 seats to govern in his own right. That’s still a big ask. Queensland needs to turn to do it. The Coalition has yet to sniff defeat. Will water and climate change help turn an election? Maybe in the marginal seats of South Australia? Will they do so in Queensland? How many seats there are swinging to the ALP. I heard 8 had at a meeting in Canberra yesterday. No doubt the ALP has lost some in WA.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:53 PM | | Comments (8)


I notice that elswhere, Andrew Bartlett has drawn attention to another shortcoming- the lack of serious cranial work, yet again, involving indigenous affairs.

yes Andrew Bartlett is right.Despite the influence of Noel Pearson on the Howard government the pickings are thin.

The emphasis was on self-reliance and breaking the cycle of intergenerational welfare dependency. Hence the push for Aboriginal Australians to own their own homes.

CentreBet now has the Alp @ $1.87 and The Coalition @ $1.90.
16 seats is looking unlikely.

I read somewhere---in the AFR--- that private Liberal polling indicates that the swing to the ALP across the nation is on.

The Liberal leak merchants are saying that the swing is not happening in the marginals. The line-ball seats in Queensland and WA are holding for the Coalition.

Make of it what you will.

I'm not much good at this sort of electoral stuff. I kinda leave it to the experts in psephology. Nor do I pay much attention to polls which grab the headlines and are poured over by the Canberra Press Gallery.

I don't think that there is a uniform nation wide trend at the moment. If there is then it is a low underlying trend---one away from the Coalition. However, economic credibility is still the main game, and Labor is still losing this argument. Rudd sells the future and hope. The Government offers competence and security

There are probably state trends (eg., the three marginal Coalition seats in SA go to the ALP and the Coalition will pick up a couple of marginal ALP seats in WA). Some seats will shift in Queensland to the ALP (3-4?) Dunno about NSW, Victoria, or Tasmania.

Certainly the focus ought to be on the marginal seats in the different states, and not the electoral universe as seen by Canberra and performances in Question Time in Parliament.

What continues to suprise me is the continual ALP leaking against Julie Gillard even as she consults with business and fine tunes the IR legislation. This doesn't help when you need to gain 16 seats plus win a few more to cover the seats you are going to lose.

I am quite prepared to say that if an election was held tomorrow...the coalition would get up.
Slogans interest me and I would think that the "If it aint broke dont fix it" would of been the Marketting Mobs pick 2 weeks ago....but now! it would of moved a touch higher like "Dont risk it"

I agree . To get elected these days, you have to be identified with a very clear and simple message.

The other side in the slogan expression battle in the publicity battle is the 'time for change.' one . The ALP is using the 'it's time' election a la 1972, and so portraying itself as the party of change. Will it work? Dunno.

Are people still listening to Howard? Who has switched off listening? Will the electorate give the Coalition's WorkChoices a no in the election around November? I have little idea about this --the polls don't explore who is listening and who is not.

I sense a shift in the tectonic political plates, but I suspect that it is only a little tremor. It was a bad fortnight for Labor in terms of IR and the budget. Will the Coalition pare back Labor's lead to 53-47, and so allow Howard to be still in the race? Australia's strong economy works in his favour. Workchoices doesn't. It is very radical and he had no mandate for it, unlike the GST or the privatisation of Telstra.

I reckon Howard will pare back that ALP lead bit by bit. My guess is that the Coalition fear that there is a "mood for change" in the electorate and that this threatens their place at the top.They still think and act as if they own the place on the hill.