Opposition questions ability of Labor returning the budget to surplus

Treasurer Wayne Swan described his fifth federal budget as one for the “battlers”, but Shadow Finance Minister Andrew Robb says the Treasurer doesn’t know whether he’s “Father Christmas or Uncle Scrooge”.

The budget will be announced at 7.30pm in Canberra tonight.

“In many ways this is a battlers’ budget,” Swan told reporters heading into Parliament House according to Business Spectator.

Swan told his cabinet colleagues the budget would create a $1.5 billion surplus in 2012/13 and rising to $2 billion in 2013/14.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott said any surplus would be based on “cooked books” because Swan had artificially moved spending from one year to another, according to BS.

Swan dismissed Abbott saying he had “no credibility” with his $70 billion budget crater at the last election.

Opposition Treasurer Joe Hockey warned the Opposition will not rubber-stamp budget measures if it considered them bad policy.

“If they decide to refuse and knock back savings in this budget that crater gets even bigger,” Swan said.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey questioned how Labor could really be returning the budget to surplus after a series of leaks suggested it was spending more than it was saving.

“Wayne Swan doesn’t know whether he is Santa Claus or the Christmas Grinch,” Hockey told reporters in Canberra.

“On the one hand the Government is making large announcements and handing out money, and on the other hand they’re talking about tough cutbacks,” he said, according to BS.

Shadow Finance Minister Andrew Robb told ABC Radio the budget will be “a pretend surplus which will reinforce the confusion and crisis of confidence in the community,” while the carbon tax is “the dead cat on the table”.

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