John Howard
and Peter Costello have built a grand Budget edifice – and no doubt plan to top
it off before next year’s election – but just how secure are the foundations?

New figures
out today from Roy Morgan Research have consumer confidence for May registering at 106.8 points on the scale – down
13.3 points on the previous month and 17.7 points lower than February.

The poll
was taken over the weekend immediately following the Reserve Bank decision to
raise interest rates by 25 basis points – and takes consumer confidence to its
lowest point since October 2005 after the third successive fall from 124.5 in
February this year.

Morgan says the drop is the fourth largest monthly decrease it has on record.

consumer confidence rating of 106.8 is also below the May average of 108.7.

to Morgan, 45% – down 10 – of Australians consider now a good time to
buy, whilst 24% – up nine – say it is a bad time to buy major household

of good economic conditions in Australia over the next 12 months are also
down significantly, losing nine per cent to 32%, with 34% – up
nine – expecting bad economic conditions over the coming year.

Morgan also
finds Australians losing confidence about their own financial situation and

30% – down four – say their personal financial situation is better now than it
was last year, while 35% – up eight – say they are now worse off. 37% – down six – expect to be better off financially this
time next year, while 22% – up six – expect to be worse off.

proportion of Australians expecting good economic times over the next five
years is down four points to 30%, while the proportion of
Australians expecting bad economic times is up two per cent to 25%.

ground for Kim Beazley’s pact with middle Australia?
Or will the punters continue to trust the familiar hands of John Howard and
Peter Costello?