This morning on the Insiders program, Mr Hockey said the Opposition will set out the details of this commitment when it sees the Budget numbers on Tuesday night:
BARRIE CASSIDY: You are saying though that you could get the budget back into surplus before 2012/13. JOE HOCKEY: I said we would try to do it, yes. BARRIE CASSIDY: Yeah? Could you? JOE HOCKEY: Well I don't know what the numbers are. We will see on Tuesday night.Mr Hockey is right: on Tuesday night he will know whats in the Budget. Mr Hockey and Tony Abbott will have the opportunity to explain to the Australian people what cuts they will make to deliver on their new surplus undertaking.
This Government has a responsible, comprehensive and detailed plan to return the budget to surplus by 2012-13, and we will make this clear our economic plans to the Australian people on Budget night.
Once we have handed down our Budget, we await to hear from Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey how they will return the budget back to surplus next year a year ahead of the government.
Mr Hockey has been making this commitment all week. On morning television on Friday he said: Well do it, well make the hard yards.
In four days Mr Abbott will have to explain to the Australian people how he will deliver on Mr Hockeys commitment, and to outline alternative savings in Thursdays budget in reply speech.
The Opposition cant have it both ways - they cant continue to oppose savings measures without releasing their alternative savings.
They must first and foremost explain to the Australian people how they will make up their existing shortfalls that have the Coalition in deficit for every year of the forward estimates.
They then need to explain to the Australian people what cuts they will put in place to deliver their new commitment to a surplus by next year.
A failure to make these announcements will highlight once again why the Coalition simply arent up to the job of managing Australias economy.