Stephen Mayne reviews the reviews:

Is this the best-received budget since 1988? Glowing editorials in today’s major newspapers would certainly suggest so:

The Australian:A budget that brings home the bacon
Rupert Murdoch has long complained about Australia’s punitive income tax scales, so it was no surprise that his flagship opened today’s editorial as follows: “Apart from his first, which required big spending cuts to drag back a $10.3 billion deficit, this is Peter Costello’s best budget”.

The Sydney Morning Herald:High risk tax cuts sweeten lost opportunity
The influence of Ross Gittins might be apparent as The SMH editorial offers only qualified support and warns of an interest rate rise: “Just when the Reserve was starting to ease its interest rate trigger finger, the Treasurer has presented the inflation watchdog with billions-of-dollar reasons to get back in the game”.

The Age: Tax cuts and a super time for all
That dinner with four Age journalists at Livebait 10 days ago can’t have hurt, as the Spencer Street Soviet opened its editorial today as follows: “Peter Costello’s 10th – and presumably last – federal budget will be recalled as generous to a fault”.

The Courier Mail:Treasurer writes his own date with destiny
The high praise continues across the country. This is the verdict from Rupert’s Brisbane monopoly: “This is Mr Costello’s date with destiny, and last night’s Budget proposes measures that will frame his own report card – whether or not he is there to deliver it. It is a bold and comprehensive package”.

The Daily Telegraph:Working together for a bold future
No cheeky cracks at Costello from new Tele editor David Pemberthy. The editorial proclaims: “This Budget is in essence a representation in economic terms of the Howard/Costello manifesto for good government.”

The Herald Sun: Saving the best for last
Could the Herald Sun be any more glowing? Its editorial states: “Peter Costello has saved his best for his 10th, and possibly last, Budget. The initiatives in tax cutting, imaginative spending, focus on the future and reform to superannuation are well aimed. He has achieved this and is still left with a massive $8.9 billion surplus… Ironically, his achievements with successive Budgets raises the question of why Australians would want him to leave the job and move too the Lodge.”

The Financial Review: Positive moves but no reform
Qualified praise from The Financial Review as well as some pot shots at the Treasurer for baulking at tough reform: “Framing a good news budget while standing in a blizzard of revenue dollars isn’t all that hard. Taking tough decisions to make the economy more productive, resiliant and able to deal with the future challenges of an ageing population amid fierce global competition for talent and capital is much harder… when one looks for evidence that the Howard Government is taking the opportunity to institute fundamental reform of the economy, it is scarce”.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.