After more than 18 months of being accused of being captive of the right of their party, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have shifted radically to the centre in a desperate move to save their government. Tonight’s 2017 budget is a tax-spend-and-borrow document designed to appeal to voters’ populist instincts. Strip the names and dates off this budget and it could easily be mistaken for a Labor budget.
In fact, with the government’s “private school hit list”, stoush with Catholic schools over education funding and an outright assault on the big banks via a new billion-dollar tax, this is a budget that goes where Labor wouldn’t dare. And Turnbull and Morrison haven’t merely taken Gonski off Julia Gillard. They’ve taken her NDIS funding as well, bumping up the Medicare levy from 2019, for good. What next -- a carbon price?