It’s been a year of big political fights: about the future of the world; about the future of the nation; and then some that seem to be akin to war over a barren piece of rock in the middle of the Atlantic.
If carbon tax has been the battle for the planet and the mining tax the battle for the nation; then the fight over bringing the budget into surplus could well be the Gillard Government’s Falklands War.
Because while Tony Abbott huffs and puffs and Wayne Swan blows back over who has the littlest one, the presence of a budget deficit in 2012-13 is regarded as a matter of little consequence to most Australians.
The battlelines for this year’s federal budget have been drawn with the government and opposition performing the ritual flexing of their fiscal muscles to show they can conquer the deficit.
The prime minister used her speech to the Whitlam Institute last week to match the opposition’s economic machismo, accepting that the test of her leadership credentials will be her ability to return the budget to surplus by 2012/13. But, as this week’s Essential Report shows the public reject the key point of the pyrotechnics, with the majority of voters across party lines saying they would support delaying a return to surplus if it meant preventing cuts to services or extra tax.
Q. Do you think it is more important for the government to return the budget to surplus by 2012/13 as planned – which may mean cutting services and raising taxes – OR should they delay the return to surplus and maintain v and invest in infrastructure?
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