Most of us will be old enough to remember the grand old days of Howard Government budgets.
The Coalition wooed the electorate with tax cuts and bonus payments. We were encourage to have babies, “one for mum, one for dad and one for the country,” Peter Costello famously quipped.
Rudd and Gillard budgets featured major nation building initiatives, money for big infrastructure projects, education reform funding, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, economic stimulus.
But above all else, the most common feature of budgets in history at this point in an election cycle is that the bells are rung loudly and the whistles blown with gusto.
This budget does neither of those things.
There’s no sweeteners for families, no big tangible vision.
For a pre-election budget, this would have to be the strangest one we’ve seen in living memory.
It’s cautious. It doesn’t want to annoy anyone. I suppose, it’s the kind of budget you would expect from a Government in trouble; one that’s gambling on a risky political manoeuvre to get it to an election as soon as possible in order to arrest a declining political performance.
The Coalition is running hard on a ‘jobs and growth’ mantra. They’ve announced plans to tackle multinational tax avoidance, a tax cut for businesses and for workers earning over $80,000 a year, and a new plan for ‘work for the dole’.
But, as ABC political commentator Annabel Crabb suggested, this is a budget that hurts people you’d be unlikely to chat to on the street.