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PM pulls budget forward to April, flagging election in May

Scott Morrison has announced an early budget ahead of a May election
Scott Morrison has announced an early budget ahead of a May election

The Government will unveil its spending and tax plans on 2 April, with the unusually early date allowing for an election in May.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised a surplus result for the month-early budget.

“It will be a surplus budget. It will be a budget which is the product of the years of hard work of our government,” he told reporters.

And it could mean an earlier election, as he told reporters.

“You do the maths … to have a half-Senate and House of Representatives election, that would have to be conducted by the 18th of May.

“It is absolutely our intention to have the budget before the election and to deliver a surplus budget, a surplus budget that we promised to deliver.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg added that the budget will draw clear lines between Labor and Liberal policies.

“A contrast between a coalition government that is growing the economy and has an economic plan that is working and is for the future, and the Labor Party, who wrongly believe you can tax yourself to prosperity,” Frydenberg said.

Bad times at parliament house

The announcement comes amid another messy day in Canberra, with former coalition MP Julia Banks defecting to become an independent.

Banks has spoken out about sexism and bullying in the Liberal Party since the leadership spill in August that felled former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and triggered the departure of Julie Bishop.

Banks said today she was leaving the party on the grounds of its treatment of women, its energy policies and party disunity.

“The aftermath of those dark days in August then acutely laid bare the major party’s obstructionist and combative actions and internal games, all for political point scoring,” she said.

Morrison will go to an election facing a Labor government promising solar battery rebates, heavier taxation of wealthy retirees through franking credit reform and a scaling-back of negative gearing and capital gains tax benefits currently available to property investors.

The Liberal Party has argued the negative gearing, capital gains tax and proposed franking credit reform will take the wind out of the property markets sales and leave retirees worse-off.

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