“I should’ve known what was going on. I should’ve done more and I’m very disappointed that I didn’t,” said James Hird this morning as he began a 12-month suspension for his role in Essendon’s supplements program.

Don’t expect a similar admission from Joe Hockey at the National Press Club today, as he debates Chris Bowen, the man he will likely replace as treasurer. Hockey will do just enough — no more — to win government, knowing the Coalition’s numbers still don’t add up.

Hockey this morning released an interim list of $31.6 billion in budget savings — a limited collection of contested costings — but has refused to hand over the findings to back the estimates. The rest will come, we’re told, next week.

For now, we’re supposed to believe a cabal of Coalition favourites like Peter Shergold hand-picked to offer oversight to the numbers, a campaign figleaf to hide a budgetary hole Hockey will have to sort out as treasurer.

The Coalition’s promise of full information “in good time” is fast running out. Tony Abbott is poised to become Australia’s prime minister in 10 days. There are too many questions hanging over his head for that to happen.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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