The pandemic budget will nudge the Coalition one step closer to reinvention – what other changes could be waiting in the wings?
Budgets in Canberra used to be a very big deal – a focal point of the political year. But Covid has turned a fixed ritual into something more fluid. Over the past 12 months, we’ve been in a permanent budget, with the Treasury in a huddle, and money flying out the door, so one Tuesday in May of 2021 feels overshadowed by a public health crisis humanity hasn’t yet conquered.
But next week’s budget remains an important milestone for a government that has executed a monumental shape shift during its period in office: from Tony Abbott’s apocalyptic screeching about debt and deficit disasters and Joe Hockey’s pontificating about the end of the age of entitlement – to Scott Morrison shovelling money out the door to save (as he put it, correctly) “lives and livelihoods” during the pandemic.
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