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Crikey says: a deficit of budget trust

Enough talk, let’s just see this budget already. Bernard Keane on what to look for, plus fuel taxes and who’s paying. The wire service news model: AAP’s not worried about Fairfax. Examining the Qantas strategy from Asia. Why Boko Haram is more dangerous than al-Qaeda. And the healer who cures with a single glance. Perhaps he should look at the budget papers.

In an editorial sulking that nobody follows up its stories, The Australian today declares promises don’t matter:

Today’s budget must deliver a plausible fiscal plan. If promises are broken, they will deserve attention but not a Twitter-led frenzy.”

The government disagrees. Treasurer Joe Hockey, for one, reckons keeping your promises is important:

We’re not in the business of breaking promises. We’re in the business of keeping our promises to fix the budget and fix and strengthen the economy.”

That’s the sort of business we like. If there’s anything worse than a budget deficit — and boy, is there; the confected “emergency” has severely distorted the economic debate — it’s a deficit in trust. For Prime Minister Tony Abbott, that’s in increasingly short supply.

New polling from Essential Research — published exclusively in Crikey — shows Abbott’s disapproval blowing out: 55% now don’t believe he’s doing a good enough job. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, virtually by default, has become the preferred PM. The government acknowledges its numbers will get worse before they get better.

Today, Abbott will break his promises, whatever spin the government may apply. To a public increasingly sceptical about what’s going on in Canberra — well beyond the Twittersphere — it will be a devastating blow for the government.

Julia Gillard once promised she wouldn’t introduce a new tax. It haunted her into an untimely political grave.

****

Our team are heading into lock-down in Canberra. Politics editor Bernard Keane, business editor Paddy Manning and deputy editor Cathy Alexander are joined by economist Richard Denniss to pore over the budget papers and deliver full analysis as Treasurer Joe Hockey rises in Parliament at 7.30pm AEST this evening. Full coverage on the Crikey website, and a special edition of Crikey Insider lobbed to your inbox by 8.30pm. Stay tuned.

6
  • 1
    Michael
    Posted Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I don’t expect balance from you Crikey but I do expect openness. Simply describing the former adviser to Bob Brown, former Evatt Foundation luminary, and current Executive Director of the Australia Institute as an ‘economist’ does you and Richard Denniss considerable disservice.

  • 2
    klewso
    Posted Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    But Mitchell, sure promises don’t matter, but I only bought your pup because you said it was house trained ….. can you give me the paper to clean up after it then?”

  • 3
    AR
    Posted Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Had to lurve the PM during Questions channelling Johnny Farnham “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. The phrase has been all over 2GB the government broadcaster, apparently initiated by the creator of ‘ju-Liar’ who has been using it all week, now matter yer akshal topic under discussion, as in the polls showing ALP preferred - “who are these people who want to shoot the firemen..?”.

  • 4
    Matt Hardin
    Posted Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Sorry AR it was Billy Joel, not John Farnham.

  • 5
    klewso
    Posted Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Murdoch’s definitions?
    “Twitter-led frenzy”? As opposed to Limited News led frenzy?
    Gillard’s promise mattered? Abbott’s don’t?
    Guess the imputation all comes down to lies and “Little Right Lies” - and who’s recording them ?

  • 6
    AR
    Posted Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    MattH - ta!

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