It costs how much? Costings have once again become a debacle for Tony Abbott, after official Treasury figures found a whopping $7 billion — with talk it could be as high as $10.6 billion — hole in Coalition policies.
Despite the “end the waste”, “stop the debt” slogans, the budget would be improved by somewhere between $860 million – $4.5 billion, not the $11.5 billion promised by Abbott.
The figures emerged when the three independents gained access to official Treasury costings documents. With the independents noting that the economy and economic management were amongst their key concerns, how will this play out?
So far, they seem unimpressed. Tony Windsor told ABC “‘We probably understand now why he wasn’t interested in releasing the numbers and so I think we all await an explanation of where these significant differences are in terms of interpretation.”
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But is this a vote-changer? Here’s how the pundits reported the news.
Dennis Shanahan and Lanai Vasek: Treasury finds $7bn hole in Tony Abbott’s costings
Treasury added that if some of the assumptions that the Coalition had used to come up with the figure did not hold up, the net benefit of its policies could be as low as $500 million.
Michelle Grattan and Carol Nader: $7bn hole in Abbott’s policy costings
The figures have dealt a blow to Mr Abbott’s hopes of securing the support of the rural independents to form the next Australian government on the grounds of being a responsible economic manager.
Sydney Morning Herald
Phillip Coorey: Treasury wipes $10b off Lib costings
The Coalition is wrangling with Treasury over discrepancies in its policy costings believed to total up to $10.6 billion.
Phillip Hudson: $10b Treasury blow to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott’s budget credibility was under fire last night with Treasury saying there was an error of up to $10.6 billion in his election promises.