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How the politics of the budget might play out for a government in trouble

Carol Johnson writes in The Conversation (8.5.17) that the Turnbull government is desperately trying to develop a more convincing economic narrative around good economic management, nation-building and fairness.

‘Given months of polls that show Labor ahead and damaging internal disunity, the politics of this budget are extremely tricky for the government to manage. It is not just that Tony Abbott’s sniping is causing political headaches for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Some of the government’s budget problems go back to the 2013 election.

‘In that campaign, Abbott suggested the budget deficit problems would be easily fixed by simply getting rid of Labor, and the government could somehow do so painlessly without cutting health, education or pensions.

‘However, as then-treasurer Wayne Swan had noted, Australian budget deficit problems were very complex and included substantial falls in government revenue due to the global financial crisis and the end of the mining boom. They weren’t just due to government spending.

‘… Fast forward to the 2017 budget, and the Liberals are desperately trying to develop a more convincing economic narrative around good economic management, nation-building, and fairness.

‘Despite their attempts to blame past Labor policy and more recent Labor intransigence at passing budget cuts in the Senate, Liberal ministers are still having trouble explaining how government debt has increased from A$270 billion under Labor to some $480 billion under the Coalition.’

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