What do the Coalition and Labor have in their pork-barrelling piggy banks? How much have they spent in election promises so far? The national media’s take on the issue varies.

The Australian: compares the two major parties’ spending in the election to date:

Coalition 

  • $33.98 billion in tax cuts
  • $4 billion for the aged
  • $1 billion for childcare
  • $1 billion tax assistance for first-home buyers
  • $6.34 billion over three years in assistance through the tax system, including deductibility for fees, on education spending

Labor

  • $30.83 billion after it deferred tax cuts for high-income earners
  •  $4 billion for the aged
  • $1 billion for childcare
  • $1 billion tax assistance for first-home buyers
  • $2.1 billion over two years in tax breaks for educational expenses
  • $1.9 billion  for in-school computers, apprenticeships and training

The paper also compares the two parties’ campaign launch spending on “promises”.

Coalition

  •  $8.5 billion of new pledges

Labor 

  • $2.3 billion in new promises

But the Liberals are disputing the real cost of their rival’s election launch promises. The Courier-Mail and the Sydney Morning Herald report Finance and Administration Minister Nick Minchin has done his own calculations and put Labor’s total commitments at:

  • $12 billion compared with the Coalition’s $11.7 billion.

As for the supposed total cost of what election promises add up to since the beginning of time (ie. when the election was called), read on…

The Age is tallying up the government and opposition’s total election promises. They have discovered the Coalition can have “Hey,big spender” played at party HQ, with the party’s promises adding up to 17 per cent more than the opposition’s. 

Coalition

  • $64.1 billion since the campaign began. That’s a whopping average of more than $2 billion of new spending on each campaign day.

Labor

  • $53.1 billion, 17 per cent less than the Coalition.

The Sydney Morning Herald says their “pork-o-meter” puts the total amount of Coalition promises at $65 billion and Labor’s at $56.5 billion, more than $3 billion higher than The Age’s calculations.

And from a Kiwi perspective in the New Zealand Herald, the opposition is spending even less.

  • “Labor’s promises total about A$50 billion, A$14 billion below those of Howard’s Government.”

Stay tuned for Crikey for more election coverage. Oink oink.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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