CANBERRA, AAP – The government has challenged Anthony Albanese to outline Labor’s alternative economic approach when the Labor leader hands down his budget reply speech on Thursday night.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has attacked the opposition leader for having a lack of economic plan, just days out from the start of the federal election campaign.
Mr Albanese has stressed the speech would not be an alternative budget after labelling the government’s budget a bribe for votes.
“I’m very used to the leader of the opposition thinking sledging the government is an alternative for an economic plan,” Mr Morrison told parliament on Thursday.
“It’s not an economic plan, what he thinks is that he can breeze into government … without being upfront with the Australian people about what he would put in the budget.”
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The budget reply speech comes after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down his fourth budget on Tuesday night, which included a halving of the fuel excise and one-off payments and tax cuts to help meet cost of living pressures.
Mr Morrison said Labor was running with a small-target strategy going into the election.
“We’re not getting questions on the budget, they put up the white flag on the budget,” he said.
“They put up the white flag because they know (the federal budget) is the economic plan that Australians need.”
However, the Liberals have denied their attacks on small targets was hypocritical when compared with the election tilts of Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham was forced to defend attacks of hypocrisy after accusations Tony Abbott didn’t outline an alternative budget in 2013 and Scott Morrison took a thin policy agenda to the 2019 election.
“There were real details that we provided at the election, a stark contrast to the small targets of Labor,” he said
“Anthony Albanese is the one running around the country at present, making accusations and allegations there’s an absence of a plan for the future. We’ve outlined a real plan that is really delivering real benefits for Australians.”
Mr Albanese previously labelled the budget as a bid to buy votes ahead of the election.
“(The budget) has all the sincerity of a fake tan, and will last just as long,” he said on Wednesday.
“They may as well be handing out cash stapled on how-to-vote cards, but Australians know that once the election is over and done with, it’s all gone.”
The federal government’s cost of living measures passed the parliament on Wednesday with the support of Labor after a late night Senate sitting – the last time the upper house is due to sit before Australians go to the polls.