The First Hockey Budget

· Liberal Government, Politics
Author

The press interview might go something like this.

“So Mr Hockey, in a few months you will deliver the first Hockey budget.  I believe there will be some changes as to how the next budget is delivered.”

“That’s right.”

“Can you explain what those changes might be?”

“Well, we won’t be releasing the full document for operational reasons.”

“What will you be releasing?”

“Our legal advice is that under FOI we do need to release the document but there will be a charge associated.  Around $100,000 per copy.”

“That sounds expensive.”

“Black marker pens are not cheap, and there is a lot of crossing out to do.”

“Will the surplus or deficit number be available?”

“Those figures are commercial-in-confidence so we cannot make them publicly available.”

“So no budget lock-up for journalists?”

“Oh yes.  It will be a bit longer than usual and we have already asked Leigh Sales and a few other ABC journalists to attend.  We have nothing to hide. In fact it is to be held on Manus Island.  We have a bit of space there at the moment.”

“How long is the lock-up?”

“About 365 days I believe but Tony is still working on the details.”

“Will there be any leaks?”

“All ministers have been told if they leak details they get to spend a weekend with Christopher Pyne so I think we have that covered.”

“What about the traditional budget speech?”

“Rather than confuse the voters, we will use the televised event to point out where Rudd and Gillard went wrong with their budgets.  For example rather than just get us through the GFC, why didn’t we take the opportunity of a rising dollar to buy a country or two.  Greece and Italy were going cheaply.  Macquarie Bank could have helped us leverage the budget to buy America.  Total wasted opportunity.  Australians need to be aware of the anti-business stance of Labor.”

“Can you just give us a little hint of what is in the budget?”

“Don’t tell anyone.  Look at this picture.”

“It looks like a view through a telescope.”

“That’s right.  It’s a black hole.”

“Thanks for your time Mr Treasurer.  We look forward to your next press conference.”

“You look like a young fellow.  You might just be around for my next one.”