(Image: Gorkie/Private Media)

A tired budget week ended with a tired budget reply. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s speech, delivered before a yawning chamber on Thursday night, was peppered with enough zingers to keep the true believers in the public gallery excited, and just barely enough policy to lay the groundwork for a small-target election strategy that may be Labor’s only choice.

Albanese began, as he often does, with a nod to his origin story -- growing up in a council house in Sydney's Camperdown (a suburb now too gentrified for such a story to work) with a single mother. The story is important because it marks Albo as authentic, gives him a connection to the traditional blue-collar base of a party increasingly dominated by middle class, privately-educated technocrats.

What followed was a series of soundbites that could’ve been pinched from any Labor speech or interview over the last eight years -- “delivering for working families”, “investing in Australia’s future”, “no one left behind”.