The Commonwealth surplus grows from $13.6 billion to $17.3 billion in the space of a press conference, presumably through some sort of accounting oversight. Forgive us the presumption, but seeing as how some of this drifted out of individual pay packets, can we now be assured that the proceeds might be committed to seizing this once-in-several-generations opportunity for constructive nation building? Fixing health, education, Aboriginal affairs, that kind of thing.

The ANU’s Professor Jon Altman estimates that the true cost of doing something comprehensive about Aboriginal disadvantage in the Northern Territory would be in the vicinity of $4 billion over five years. That seems as good a place as any to plough a windfall surplus.