A budget that blows half a trillion dollars on budget deficits, income tax cuts and business handouts, along with a dollop of infrastructure investment is a tough one to criticise for an opposition. But Anthony Albanese has zeroed in on a key weakness: its failure to support women.
The shrillness and defensiveness of Scott Morrison in response to criticisms of the budget is a signal that an opposition that has struggled to make its mark during the pandemic has found a real sore spot for a government that has few women in senior domestic portfolios.
Not that Albanese's budget reply wasn't heavy on the blokeyness. The Liberals might play at interventionist industry policy but Labor is the real deal. A National Rail Manufacturing Plan to build rollingstock in Australia. A $20 billion plan to upgrade the electricity grid via a bespoke power transmission infrastructure company. Apprentice employment requirements for Commonwealth projects.