Australian budget walks fine line between growth and austerity

Malcolm Turnbull has repeatedly refused to reveal Treasury costings for the centrepiece of his budget - the 10-year plan to reduce company tax to 25% - saying the figures were included in the general budget forecasts but he was not going to "unpick" them.

But no costing was provided in Tuesday's budget, making it hard to compare the revenue the government is giving up through the tax cuts with the revenue it is collecting in other areas, or to assess the risk of big future budgetary shortfalls.

But how can this be the case when he himself projects the budget will not be balanced anytime soon and in ten years government debt will still be at $264 billion, which will then be 9.1 per cent of GDP?

Mr Fraser said Treasurer Scott Morrison had spoken to him about 6pm on Thursday, after parliamentary question time, asking him to include the tax cut cost figure in his opening statement. This is about double the tobacco black hole exposed by the Treasury.

Finally, Mr Turnbull said Mr Richardson "may well be right" before adding "I'm not confirming or commenting on Chris Richardson".

But I will be visiting the Governor-General shortly and there will be an election on July 2, ' he told Sky News. But the cost escalates dramatically as larger businesses become eligible over the decade.

Tax breaks for small business and middle income earners as well as investment in ideas and innovation highlighted the "careful economic plan" which Turnbull said would demonstrate to voters the coalition's strong long-term political strategy for Australia.

Mr Shorten characterised the budget as unfair and unequal and said the government had taken on some Labor policies as well.

Australian Council of Social Services chief Cassandra Goldie also backed the tightening of super tax concessions, but criticised the decision to retain cuts to welfare payments, including the age pension.

The costings muddle has muddied the government's sales job of the budget which is designed to create momentum for the election campaign to be launched this weekend.

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