In an editorial
sulking that nobody follows up its stories, The Australian
today declares promises don't matter:
"Today’s budget must deliver a plausible fiscal plan. If promises are broken, they will deserve attention but not a Twitter-led frenzy."
The government disagrees. Treasurer Joe Hockey, for one, reckons
keeping your promises is important:
"We’re not in the business of breaking promises. We’re in the business of keeping our promises to fix the budget and fix and strengthen the economy."
That's the sort of business we like. If there's anything worse than a budget deficit -- and boy, is there; the confected "emergency" has severely distorted the economic debate -- it's a deficit in trust. For Prime Minister Tony Abbott, that's in increasingly short supply.
New polling from Essential Research -- published exclusively in Crikey
-- shows Abbott's disapproval blowing out: 55% now don't believe he's doing a good enough job. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, virtually by default, has become the preferred PM. The government acknowledges its numbers will get worse before they get better.
Today, Abbott will break his promises, whatever spin the government may apply. To a public increasingly sceptical about what's going on in Canberra -- well beyond the Twittersphere -- it will be a devastating blow for the government.
Julia Gillard once promised she wouldn't introduce a new tax. It haunted her into an untimely political grave.
Our team are heading into lock-down in Canberra. Politics editor Bernard Keane, business editor Paddy Manning and deputy editor Cathy Alexander are joined by economist Richard Denniss to pore over the budget papers and deliver full analysis as Treasurer Joe Hockey rises in Parliament at 7.30pm AEST this evening. Full coverage on the Crikey website, and a special edition of Crikey Insider lobbed to your inbox by 8.30pm. Stay tuned.