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Hockey junks Costello's rules and rejects charter of budget honesty

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Campaign Media Release

Campaign Spokesperson Penny Wong


Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has today abandoned the use of the underlying cash balance as the basis for the Liberals' budget position.

This is a truly remarkable departure from the rules established by Peter Costello.

Mr Hockey today admitted to using the accrual rather than cash bottom line for their numbers - which makes any figures Mr Hockey produces look much rosier than they actually are.

The difference between cash and accrual bottom lines across the forward estimates is $16.6 billion.

Were Federal Labor to use an accrual bottom line, it would be in surplus a year earlier, in 2015-16.

What this means is that Australians will never truly know the state of the budget under an Coalition Government.

Mr Hockey also refused to release the Liberals’ 200 costings they say they've got 'ready to go' in full and in accordance with the Charter of Budget Honesty.

The bar for their costings has been set by none other than former Prime Minister John Howard and former Treasurer Peter Costello with their 1998 Charter of Budget Honesty.

The framework established under the Charter of Budget Honesty requires:

 each policy to be costed by Treasury and Finance, or the PBO, in a manner consistent with methodologies used to prepare the budget statements;

 a political party requesting a costing to publicly detail the assumptions and methodology used when requesting a costing, and the cost by year;

 Treasury and Finance, or the PBO, to produce a self-contained public written report on each policy that fully justifies the published costings.

That’s the bar established by Peter Costello’s Charter and it’s the process the Government is following.

Federal Labor has 17 policies submitted and available on and 26 policies costed and included in the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

The Coalition has put forward no costings at all.

Mr Abbott has gone and evoked the Howard era in a desperate grab for credibility. Now he and Mr Hockey must live up to it.

Given that Mr Hockey’s 2010 costings were subsequently found to have an $11 billion black hole, and the auditors found guilty of professional misconduct, Australians have every right to be cynical about the Liberals' costings this election.

The only reason Mr Abbott and Mr Robb are hiding their costings is because they don't want to come clean with Australians.

Mr Hockey’s time is up. It's time for him and Mr Abbott to come clean on their $70 billion of cuts to health, education and jobs.

28 AUGUST 2013

Communications Unit: T 03 8625 5111

Authorised by G. Wright, Australian Labor Party, 5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600