Labor promised young people a taxation incentive to help them save a deposit for their first house which sounded attractive so John Howard thought he had better have one of those. Pity that the Reserve Bank keeps muttering about the chance of another interest rate rise or we could really have outdone them.

Better be responsible and dress it up as part of the transition from a welfare state to an opportunity society that the speech writers have started me talking about. Hold out the promise of doling out a bit more to first home buyers when those storm clouds on the horizon blow away and we don’t have to pretend to be responsible with the money of taxpayers.

In the meantime, pinch back that stuff that Labor pinched from us about releasing surplus Commonwealth land. Show the homeless we really care. And put something in the speech about financing more child care places because that Rudd lot keep going on about that.

And that business of the Opposition’s about subsidies for laptops for school children, surely we can do better than that. Play a trump with money for school fees and uniforms and books and anything else you can think of. Education revolution indeed! Forget about that computer nonsense – pledge to teach ’em to read and write and spell and to add up. That’ll bring a round of applause.

And it certainly did.

This policy speech you have after already announcing billions of dollars worth of spending proposals (see the Crikey Gravy Train for details) was applauded by the assembled party faithful in all the right places.

Praise the Coalition with the Nationals – applause. Praise the Treasurer – applause. Give a rap to the local boy Mal Brough – applause. Even get applauded for praising Alexander Downer.

It was a very old fashioned, plain and low key event. Not even an orangutan to provide some light relief but the Ministry was all there sitting in a row at the front. It will surely be a day they will remember as it is probably the last time they will all gather together as a Government.