Opposition Needs to Explain Surplus Pledge

05 May 2011

The clock is ticking for Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey to explain how they will bring the budget back to surplus next year.
Yesterday, Mr Hockey claimed the Opposition could bring the budget back to surplus next year in 2011-12.
Today, when asked how, Mr Hockey has told the Australian people to look at what the Opposition did last year:
Well we did that last year. We did it in great detail last year.
Every year in May theres a federal Budget, and every year the Australian people expect parties to explain how they will cost their policies, and what their budget position is.
It is not 2010. The Australian people deserve better than 12-month-old costings, full of black holes.
Leaning on last years costings for this years Budget simply doesnt cut it; its like saying just because you filed a tax return last year, you dont have to do it this year. The Australian people deserve better than this from Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey.
Mr Abbott knows this himself, pledging in his Budget-in-Reply speech last year that all Opposition policies would be fully costed and fully funded because the Australian people are entitled to reassurance that the alternative governments promises are responsible and achievable.
Now less than a year on, the Opposition believes they shouldnt be expected to abide by these same standards.
The $10.6 billion black hole Treasury and Finance found following last years federal election has been compounded by a floods response package littered with double counting, and billions of dollars of saves being blocked in the Senate.
So if Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey fail to release their details of their savings for the upcoming budget, they will have failed the test of economic credibility yet again.
It is very clear that Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey have seven days to make clear how they will bring the budget back to surplus in 2011-12.
In contrast, the Government has a responsible plan to return to the budget to surplus in 2012-13. We will outline this plan to the Australian people on Budget night, because thats the right thing to do.