You normally can’t shut a treasurer up on Budget night – but when The Australian’s Steve Lewis asked Peter Costello in the lock-up yesterday what his package meant for his leadership ambitions, the answer was terse: “Not going there today”. Leadership has already cast too long a shadow over this Budget. The Government might want us to look at tax cuts, but leadership just won’t go away. “This is a budget for the future,” the Treasurer said. But whose? Get ready for the battle for salesmen.

Post-election budgets are usually slash and burn affairs – where promises get slashed and burnt in the process. All the Canberra comment last night how this was more like a pre-election statement. Tax cuts all round, whack the bludgers, go heavy on the vision thing – and see how she sells.

Who, though, is going to be salesman of the year?