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Hockey’s spending challenge: stop it getting worse first

Joe Hockey’s task in reining in spending on health, education and welfare is first to prevent the Coalition’s policies from making it worse.

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Wages non-growth and austerity potential traps for the economy

Weak wage growth and soft public demand could yet leave us stranded as we look for new sources of economic growth, Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer write.

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Can Joe Hockey use his MYEFO con for real reform?

Yesterday’s mid-year budget forecast is a crass political confection. But it will be valuable if Joe Hockey can use it to build support for reform within government ranks.

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MYEFO: Hockey’s budget blows out

Joe Hockey has drawn a line under the Labor era and set the new government an enormous task to bring the budget back into surplus with the release of mid-year economic outlook figures.

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In tough budget times, retirees must take a hit

Big-ticket fiscal reforms that have limited economic impacts are few and far between, a new Grattan Institute report shows. And the ones that exist aren’t politically palatable.

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Essential: voters underwhelmed by govt’s asylum seeker handling

Voters are unhappy with the government’s handling of the asylum seeker issue, the latest Essential Report shows, but Labor’s trustworthiness on policy has taken a battering.

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When impotence is the only policy option

Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey now face the same challenge that confronted Wayne Swan — how to handle a budget when the currency is too strong? Crikey writers Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane report.

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The ‘meh’ economy: more flat news from the statisticians

The Australian economy marked time at the end of the financial year and into the new one. The transition from the mining boom is by no means assured.

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What happened to Swan’s surplus? Now we know

The Final Budget Outcome for 2012-13 shows how Wayne Swan’s surplus commitment fell apart - and why he was right to walk away from it.

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Economic reality mugs the Liberal economic agenda

The downgrade of Western Australia’s credit rating illustrates how governments can’t merely talk about fiscal discipline, they need to show it. Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane report.

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Hockey ditches austerity for a fiscal unity ticket with ALP

Despite the Coalition’s rhetoric, it has embraced the same fiscal policy as Labor, as yesterday’s treasurers’ debate showed. Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer offer their take.

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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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It’s grim up north — and boring everywhere else

Kevin Rudd’s “northern vision” and Joe Hockey’s lack of interest in releasing costings make for a dismaying election campaign. Can you stand another three weeks of this?

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Coalition’s GST retreat a bad outcome for the states

The Coalition’s abandonment of its position on the GST is a victory for Labor but bad news for states struggling to pay the bills. Would Abbott be too scared to tackle tough issues in government?

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Company tax cuts won’t lift investment and jobs — or increase tax revenue

Evidence suggests the Coalition’s corporate tax cut won’t lift investment or create jobs — and it won’t increase revenue. Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer examine the plan.

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RBA decision sets the economic parameters of campaign

If the RBA cuts rates today, it will reflect how little support the government has provided the economy via the budget — a situation that’s not about to change, write Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane.

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Labor cover-up to hide successful economic management

The Labor government handled the economy with aplomb, avoiding the trap of the GFC. But economist and University of Queensland academic John Quiggin says the party did a good job of hiding it.

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The Business Council’s giant passive-aggressive fridge note

The Business Council’s call for economic reform betrays a business mindset that it should be the passive recipient of government help. Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer interpret the document.

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Did we waste the mining boom? Let’s really test the argument

The evidence that we wasted the mining boom is actually unclear: we just don’t notice how we used the vast flow of revenue. Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane examine the claims.

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Grattan, Canada show the mining boom didn’t kill the economy

The mining boom wasn’t too bad for the economy, a new report finds — but the interpretation depends on your ideology. Crikey’s Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane report.

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Swan’s final report card: a treasurer whose triumph was invisible

Wayne Swan is donning his hoodie and heading for the exit. So how did he rate as treasurer? Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer argue, despite his inability to communicate, he was a success.

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Dollar SMASH! Commentariat changes its tune on strong currency

Forget the problems of a strong currency — suddenly the dollar is a symbol of national economic virility, write Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane.

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Here’s a new way of looking at the budget — but it won’t suit Hockey

New estimates of the structural budget balance sit poorly with opposition claims about the Gillard government’s poor fiscal mismanagement. Turns out things might not be so bad after all …

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The mystery of Treasury’s disappearing revenue: Parkinson explains

The Treasury Secretary’s discussion of what has gone wrong with revenue forecasting in recent years provides a context for the coming challenges on fiscal policy. Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer report.

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Essential: tough-love voters want more budget pain

What’s in for me? Today’s Essential Report finds a curious response from voters to last week’s budget — voters think they’ll be worse off from the budget, but want the government to do more to cut spending.

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