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Libs stall on costings as Labor stumbles

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Madness on the campaign home stretch

Tony Abbott jokes with teen girls about body contact, Clive Palmer twerks on demand and Julian Assange channels Farnsy. How did all this happen in just one week of the election campaign?

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Tony Abbott, whose campaign has been buoyed by Labor's failed attack on the Coalition's supposed budget black hole, has revealed he will not release detailed costings of his policy promises until the last few hours before the poll.

As both sides braced for the final week of election 2013, an increasingly confident Mr Abbott revealed his complete policy costings would be kept under wraps until ''the end of next week''.

His move to delay their release means voters will be denied crucial economic information until just hours before they cast their ballots.

It will allow the Coalition to avoid sustained financial scrutiny and circumvent an expected massive ALP and union-funded advertising blitz over the opposition's final costings.

The Coalition declared Labor was ''in tatters'' after the heads of the Treasury and Finance departments rebuffed its ''black hole'' claim.

Campaigning in Perth on Friday, Mr Rudd continued to cite $70 billion as the amount the Coalition planned to cut, and said he stood by his ''$10 billion'' claim of the previous day.

At a news conference where a Labor staffer accidentally switched off the lights, the air conditioning did not work and at least one person fainted, Mr Rudd appeared irritable.

Other senior government figures also stood by the claim, despite the Treasury statement.

Pressed on the origins of the $10 billion figure, Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed it came ''from Treasury and Finance''.

However, he later acknowledged a central Coalition point, also made by Treasury, that ''if you change the assumptions, depending on the detail of the opposition policy, then you might get a different outcome''.

In a sign of his growing confidence, Mr Abbott has dropped plans to tour Western Australia next week in favour of spending more time in western Sydney.

Liberal insiders say Mr Rudd's slide and Friday's ICAC findings have helped bring previously unreachable Labor seats within grasp. These include the two Labor jewels of McMahon, held by Treasurer Chris Bowen with a margin of 7.8 per cent, and Watson, held by Immigration Minister Tony Burke on 9.1 per cent.

Mr Abbott is also expected to withhold Parliamentary Budget Office costing detail when he releases his final bottom line figure, meaning voters will only get the full picture 30 days after the election when the PBO publishes its comprehensive report.

Asked precisely when his side would give voters the final budget impact, Mr Abbott said: ''It will be when we're finished releasing policies and I suspect that will be towards the end of the week.''

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson and Finance Department Secretary David Tune issued a public statement advising that neither had examined the opposition's policies, and any modelling used for costing government policies could not credibly be applied to the federal opposition.

On Friday morning, Christopher Pyne said the departmental secretaries had ''torpedoed'' Labor's campaign.

''Kevin Rudd had built his campaign around attacking the Coalition on a negative way and what [the] Parliamentary Budget Office, Finance and Treasury did yesterday was call Kevin Rudd out to be a make-up artist and to have been lying about the Coalition's costings,'' Mr Pyne said.

''Anthony Albanese can say whatever he likes; yesterday Kevin Rudd confidently went out and accused the Coalition of having a $10 billion black hole; in the afternoon the objective heads of the department said that was utterly false.

''Kevin Rudd's campaign is in tatters today.''

84 comments

  • As usual you don't name the worried "Labor insiders" . Do they exist? The Liberals are withholding their costings in the vain hope that they will improve.

    I would take more notice of pollsters if they told us how many people refused to speak to them.

    Commenter
    JohnPollock6
    Date and time
    August 31, 2013, 9:37AM
    • Labor can't even get their facts straight on a key election issue that is in their best interests to get right one week out from an election. Thankfully the Public Service was there to call them on it.

      Now, tell me again how they deserve three more years?

      Commenter
      Malik the magic sheep
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      August 31, 2013, 12:03PM
    • This is just the beginning of the most divisive chapter in our nation's history.
      The bullies are set to triumph. The gap between the have's and the have-not's will grow wider.
      The wanna be rich, the rich and the narrow minded will have 5 minutes of ecstasy before reality hits them in the face.
      Paul Keating was right, Coalition voters are mean little people.

      Commenter
      Believer
      Date and time
      August 31, 2013, 12:12PM
    • Here is the Link to the coalitions costings :

      http://electioncostings.gov.au/coalition-costings/

      Currently devoid of any costings .... even though half a million Australians have already voted.

      Commenter
      J. Fraser
      Location
      Queensland
      Date and time
      August 31, 2013, 12:36PM
    • JohnPollock6, Labor have the audacity to speak about a possible coalition black whole when we know for FACT of continual significant Labor black wholes over the last 6 years. Does it matter in the end wether they the coalition give their costing's out in the eleventh hour ala Kevin Rudd 07, or not ? What we do know is that during the biggest resources boom ever seen in this country and with the national coffers in significant surplus prior to 07, this Labor government has continually stuffed up everything they touch. Pink bats, school halls, education revolution, tightening our borders, increased government, stronger unions, complete fiscal inadequacies. The string of complete and unadulterated lies spruiked by Mr Rudd and co is embarrassing and for what to keep a bunch of proven failures in power at the expense of us the people. The old ideology that Labor are for the workers and Liberals for big business are a trade off to the 1920s, they are all in it for power and in the end someone has to be in charge of national coffers, however not Labor at this time.

      Commenter
      Taffy
      Location
      Ingleburn
      Date and time
      August 31, 2013, 1:01PM
    • Tell me where Labors costings are, Rudd is making so much noise about the Libs hoping everyone forgets about the ALPs numbers

      Commenter
      Bob Wilson
      Date and time
      August 31, 2013, 1:14PM
  • Wow, The Libs are saying to the public "screw you" BEFORE the election. That's a new one.

    Commenter
    Marg
    Date and time
    August 31, 2013, 9:37AM
    • If Abbott wins the election his so called conservatives will drop all pretenses and do it.

      The Murdoch media has already buttered up the electorate.

      Commenter
      J. Fraser
      Location
      Queensland
      Date and time
      August 31, 2013, 10:29AM
    • And they wont even ring tomorrow.but will be off , out and about with their mates.Course taking oover the UN Security role is well timed for a Labor Government.But the old Labor for war isnt binding anymore, now that Liberal are all for the workers.Ahem.

      Commenter
      Kane
      Date and time
      August 31, 2013, 10:36AM
    • Karma I think it is call Marg, you know what goes around comes around!

      Commenter
      ultra
      Location
      Mel
      Date and time
      August 31, 2013, 11:39AM

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