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Hockey congratulated for belt-tightening

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Joe Hockey pictured in September last year.

Joe Hockey pictured in September last year. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

A federal Labor MP has congratulated shadow treasurer Joe Hockey for taking action to reduce his weight ahead of an election year.

Mr Hockey reportedly had gastric bypass surgery over the Christmas break and the procedure, along with dieting and exercise, has cut his weight by 20 kilograms.

''I am shaping up for (Treasurer) Wayne Swan's job,'' he told The Australian Financial Review on Thursday.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has come back from holidays a leaner figure.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has come back from holidays a leaner figure. Photo: Michele Mossop

Mr Hockey hopes the weight loss will improve his endurance in what is shaping up to be a bruising election year, with polls showing Labor back with in striking distance of the Coalition.

But he said he would not be joining his fitness-fanatic leader Tony Abbott on pre-dawn exercise missions.

''I'm still Joe Hockey but I'm exercising every day, my diet has changed dramatically. I feel pretty good for it but I'm not going to become a pin-up boy for Jenny Craig or anyone else,'' Mr Hockey told The Australian Financial Review.

Liberal frontbencher Bruce Billson says his colleague is setting an example for the Coalition.

''In terms of recognising the federal government needs some belt-tightening, Joe's leading in a very practical way,'' he told Sky News.

Labor backbencher Nick Champion said he did not believe Mr Hockey was doing it for his political image.

''He probably did it for the reason most of us do it and that's to have good health and a long life.

''He's to be congratulated for dealing with it.''

AAP

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