Federal Budget 2017: Scott Morrison makes promise of better days for government

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The coalition won the 2016 election, but a year later has delivered a Labor budget.

Labor will describe it as “Labor lite”.

But the document delivered by Treasurer Scott Morrison on Tuesday night will go a long way towards addressing the key concerns that provided a near-death experience for the Liberal-Nationals coalition.

Chiefly among these is Medicare.

Bill Shorten almost toppled Malcolm Turnbull in the final week of the campaign with his “Mediscare” campaign.

Turnbull is making a bold bid to take back the high ground on Medicare by bringing in laws to “guarantee” its long-term future and locking away money in a special fund.

Labor has long held the mantle of being the party of education and its Gonski campaign was effective in swinging some marginal seats and continues to be a hot-button issue.

An extra $18.6 billion in funding over 10 years under Turnbull’s Gonski 2.0 plan goes some way towards the coalition restoring its education credentials, but is being complicated and potentially derailed by a fierce debate over Catholic school cuts.

The government is dipping its toe in the negative gearing waters with a winding back of some deductible expenses for investors, but it doesn’t go as far as Labor’s multibillion-dollar policy aimed at improving housing affordability.

A levy on the biggest banks and crackdown on multinational tax avoidance could well be out of the Greens’ playbook.

It will be hard for Labor to argue against one of the biggest imposts in the budget – an $8.2 billion rise in the Medicare levy to fund the national disability insurance scheme.

Morrison described his budget as making the “right choices for Australians” who are working hard to secure “better days ahead”.

Having handed down what may well be the first bipartisan budget in many years, it could also deliver better days ahead for the Turnbull government.

AAP



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