Federal Politics

Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann pictured smoking cigars ahead of tough budget

"Say what you will about Republicans," Denny Crane, the increasingly senile, blame-shifting lawyer in television series Boston Legal, muses to his best friend.

"We stick to our convictions, even when we know we're dead wrong."

Will election promises go up in smoke?

Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann are under increasing pressure before the budget announcement on Tuesday. Nine News.

Alan Shore, his on-air buddy, agrees: "Some might say especially then."

Episodes of the popular American legal drama usually end with the pair's "special time", smoking a cigar with a glass of Scotch in hand on the balcony of their law firm, ruminating over recent events.

Now, Channel Nine has caught on camera Treasurer Joe Hockey and his Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann, doing their own pre-budget mulling in the cold Canberra autumn outside the Treasury.

Soon after the footage aired on on Friday, Twitter lit up with parodies, jokes, crudities, and criticisms.

"There's nothing like the satisfying flavour of other people's hopes & dreams going up in smoke," Jane Caro, author and social commentator, tweeted.

"Instant headline for tomorrow's broadsheets, "The Aust economy goes up in smoke!'" @AldemirSam said.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Treasurer Joe Hockey enjoy cigars outside The Treasury in Canberra.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Treasurer Joe Hockey enjoy cigars outside The Treasury in Canberra. Photo: Nine News

The publication of the image was unfortunate timing for the government.

Mr Hockey is expected to hand down a tough budget on Tuesday, including cuts to family payments, a rise in the fuel excise and a deficit tax.

The Coalition's popularity has been sliding since the potential size of the budget pain has become clearer.