Joe Hockey gave the Opposition’s Budget Reply speech yesterday, promising to save $47 billion.

Unfortunately, he failed to explain how he would do so — and it didn’t go unnoticed.

Writing on Crikey‘s public affairs blog The Stump, Bernard Keane said his lack of policy detail was a “wholly unnecessary self-inflicted wound”, overshadowing an otherwise well-crafted speech.

Finance Spokesman Andrew Robb later fleshed out the Opposition’s plans in more detail — but it seems it was too late: the media narrative that the Coalition didn’t actually have any plans had already gained traction, and it has only gained more momentum through the news pages today, with Hockey admitting he may have dropped the puck.

Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis in today’s Crikey Daily Mail. In the meantime, here’s a look at what the pundits are saying:

The Australian

Editorial: Coalition struggles to make up for wasted time

Mr Hockey and opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb were left to sell an economic strategy based largely on what a Coalition government would not do, rather than what it would.

Dennis Shanahan: Flawed image hides the message

… a strategic decision was taken for him to provide the broad vision and his finance colleague, Andrew Robb, to provide the details.It angered the media and left Robb with the best lines.

Samantha Maiden: Babushka Joe holds back details

… the opposition Treasury spokesman’s game plan was all about delayed gratification.

Ian Smith: Rogues’ gallery of ill-mannered journalists

Hockey, as a guest of the press club, was absolutely within his rights to provide or, as the case turned out, not to provide materials ahead of his presentation.

Sydney Morning Herald

Lenore Taylor: Opposition fudges and fails to reveal most of its necessary budget cuts

… rough rather than tough, and mingy in detail rather than swingeing in size.

The Age

Tony Wright: Hockey sweats over tax replacement plan

His speech boiled down to the promise to kill the government’s so-called super-profits tax on miners.

Michelle Grattan: Policy vacuum a recipe for disaster

… the Coalition has left a dangerous policy vacuum in an electorally sensitive area.

Katharine Murphy: Hockey dances around issue of opposition budget cuts

Hockey’s fandango also doesn’t reassure that the Coalition has the smarts, the organisation and the internal discipline to be a serious contender in this election race.

Herald Sun

Philip Hudson: Handballs instead of kicking goals

It was a shambolic performance by the Coalition, who have not yet shown why they should be considered fit to govern.


Lyndal Curtis: Coalition caught up in budget speech ‘shemozzle’

Mr Robb failed to deliver

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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