Federal Budget reveals a government in danger

For a politically-endangered government, this is a budget as much about its own survival as it is about easing the cost of living.

The Treasurer’s hip-pocket help comes in multiple forms: a temporary cut to the petrol tax, a one-off $250 cash payment for pensioners and a $420 tax rebate for most workers.

It’s an $8.6b sugar-hit designed to woo voters and convince them the Coalition understands the struggle they’re facing, but for many, the money will barely touch the sides because their household bills are so high.

Josh Frydenberg believes he’s getting the balance right between offering support, without falling into the trap of pushing up inflation, but some economists will disagree.

The government has a relatively good story to tell on the economy.

The COVID comeback is in full swing. Unemployment is about to reach 50-year lows.

And the tight labour market is projected to drive up wages, but these promises have been made and broken before, so workers can be forgiven for harbouring doubts.

Debt is still tracking towards a trillion dollars, and instead of repairing the budget bottom line, the can is being kicked down the road again, possibly leaving the challenge to a new government.

The current one has thrown everything at this budget, ensuring nearly everyone is a winner.

In 2019, the Prime Minister used a budget as a springboard into a campaign that resulted in his miracle election win.

He’ll be praying tonight’s financial update sets him on the same trajectory.

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