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The Zombies that make the numbers look good

13 May 2015

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The Australian’s editor-at-large Paul Kelly says the 2015 Budget has “one idea above all else right at its heart and that’s about saving the Abbott government.”  Quite clearly The Oz’s stable of writers and analysts think it’s very much about positioning for an early election, should the portents seem promising.

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ZombiesToo right it’s about positioning for an early election.   As Fairfax Media’s Peter Martin observes, “the coalition’s second budget is propped up by “zombie measures” from its first.  Announced a year ago but not yet passed in the Senate, they are politically dead but not yet formally abandoned, meaning the income or savings they would have raised can be used to dress up the second lot of budget forecasts regardless of reality.”

This includes the higher  education reform package which has now crashed in the Senate twice but which Christopher Pyne insists he will pursue (he has to argue that, of course, if the government is to continue to book the savings).  Surely, the coalition couldn’t go to a third budget booking up savings that it has been unable to legislate?  Not if they can help it, they won’t.  And there’s another benefit: should the coalition win (not at all unlikely, despite poor polling), it could reasonably claim some sort of “mandate” for the blocked savings measures.

See
A Path To Surplus 

Joe Hockey’s budget path leads somewhere else before it leads to a surplus, and that somewhere else involves cardboard booths and sausage sizzles and little stubby pencils, writes Annabel Crabb.

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