tip off

Another Abbott unity ticket — thankfully, on fiscal policy

The opposition is now on a unity ticket with Labor on the budget — and that’s a win for sensible economic policy. Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer analyse Tony Abbott’s campaign launch speech.

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Cigs, public servants and visa charges to pay for Labor’s surplus

The government has unveiled its pre-election mini-budget, aiming to raise revenue and cut spending to return to forecast by 2015-16. But it’s going to be a painful journey.

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Richard Farmer’s chunky bits

Pollies of all stripes are backing away from promises of a surplus in the lead-up to the budget, plus other political views noted along the way.

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Essential: support for election call and ditching surplus

Voters quite like Julia Gillard’s decision to name the election date well in advance — but they still don’t want to vote for her, today’s Essential Report finds.

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Good riddance to a petty promise

The government’s promise to return a surplus this year was silly and made little economic sense, writes economist Professor John Quiggin. There are much more important issues to debate.

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Ask the economists: will Santa be kind to the economy for 2013?

With global economic forces looking threatening, what will 2013 bring for the Australian economy? Crikey intern Alex Burgess asks the economists to cast their predictions for the new year.

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A promise worth breaking: the surplus is slipping away

The government will need more cuts to protect its slim surplus, but is it really what the economy needs? The fetishism around returning to surplus is spooking business.

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Gillard mustn’t bruise a budget surplus

In light of favourable polls, Labor may be tempted to soften its budget stance. This would be a mistake, says Stephen Koukoulas of Business Spectator, not least because of the flow-on effect of higher interest rates.

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EU linkage shows where carbon pricing scheme really creaks

A link with the EU emissions trading scheme simply confirms a fiscal problem built into the government’s package all along.

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Ask the economists: does a surplus give the RBA cover?

Julia Gillard links the government’s surplus-driven budget to lower interest rates, arguing it will give the Reserve Bank cover for interest rate cuts. But what do economists think, asked Dylan Barber?

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Budget surplus: why everyone agreed to the wrong path

Wayne Swan’s 2012-13 budget will be Australia’s sharpest fiscal U-turn since the dramatic rebalancing of Treasury finances in 1951. And there’s no stopping the bipartisan approach, says Rob Burgess of Business Spectator.

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Debt v surplus: watch out, we’re going to have a crash

Cutting rates too far at the present time carries serious risks. And yet not cutting far enough will force business closures at the margins, writes Rob Burgess of Business Spectator.

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Kohler: Swan’s budget heartbreak

If Treasurer Wayne Swan and Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson really do pull off a surplus in the 2012-13 budget it will be an incredible achievement.

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Swan’s budget surplus risks pushing us into recession

To avoid recession, Australia will have to have growth of 3% to 4% over the next 18 months — which is possible, but no certainty.

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The danger of the ‘surplus we had to have’

Wayne Swan is in a pickle. Revised Treasury figures make his task of delivering a surplus for 2012/13 not just harder, but also much more dangerous, writes Rob Burgess.

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Stand by for the budget outrage

It’s going to be an interesting budget. Yesterday’s announcement of the early end of the solar hot water rebate scheme is an indication of that.

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Crikey Blogs | FEDERAL|

Essential: majority say no need for a fast return to surplus

The latest Essential poll reveals that 71% of the population are against returning to surplus if doing so means “cutting services and raises taxes” and 58% believe there is no rush, reports William Bowe.

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Budget surplus fetish means more harsh spending cuts

If the government is serious about guaranteeing an excess of revenue over expenses, it must make spending cuts now, writes Adam Creighton, a research fellow at The Centre For Independent Studies.

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Kohler: surplus stupidity and the case for delaying carbon tax …

We are about to get a lesson in the absurdity of political discourse: the government is going to be accused of “breaking a promise” if a global downturn prevents the budget from returning to surplus by 2013. Or if it delays the carbon tax.

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A good carbon tax day

A news day where the carbon tax debate does not feature.

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Essential: forget the surplus, voters say, and save us from cuts

Most voters would rather the federal government delay its back to black strategy and extend the deficit to stave off service cuts and tax hikes.

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Kohler: the cost of our surplus obsession

The Australian Prime Minister is too worried about the fiscal balance and the US President is not worried enough.

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Gillard and the ministry for funny coats

What is it about politicians that they love to get into fancy dress whenever they make an appearance with members of the military?

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The Australian | FEDERAL|

Van Onselen: Wong is prepared to slice and dice

If Julia Gillard is to make good on her promise to return the budget to surplus by 2012-2013 - and to maintain any notion of credibility she certainly needs to - the budget may have to take substantial cuts. That’s why she appointed Penny Wong as Finance Minister, writes Peter van Onselen.

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Ask the economists: a brief boom, and then what?

In its latest Budget Monitor, Access says that while commodity revenues will benefit the bottom line in the short term by a total of $6 billion, outstripping Treasury’s predictions, things could turn sour as prices inevitably tail off towards the middle of the decade. Crikey asked for a consensus.

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