With the bells and whistles of a "cash splash" in the carefully targeted areas of aged care, skills, infrastructure, women, preschool and childcare, Josh Frydenberg's third budget opens the door for a federal election to be held by year's end.
The Coalition is now on a war footing and is painting an attractive picture of big spending, even though the big money is directed at specific policy areas and may not actually be realised for several years. Perhaps beyond two elections.
With the knowledge that the deep cuts of budget repair must come sometime, this is a budget designed to shore up Coalition weak points and neutralise the opposition on key policies that Labor usually has better command over, particularly childcare.
The Morrison government now dares the opposition to do better.
Labor insists the "red-hot" recovery is happening despite the efforts of government, specifically rocketing iron ore prices. The Treasurer says it is "not the result of luck, Australians make their own luck."
On aged care, Anthony Albanese says he would have fixed the problems of abuse and neglect earlier, and on childcare, he says the government has been dragged kicking and screaming to match Labor.
He says Labor could do more on infrastructure and will do more to address climate change.
While the government is moving to counter the opposition, it is also pushing hard on its own favoured grounds like economic management, border control and national security.
But the other key design of the budget is to make people feel safe. The coronavirus vaccine rollout has been a debacle and clearly the national quarantine system needs an overhaul to match COVID-19 or Australia risks being overwhelmed.
Australia cannot risk a third wave. Lives, people's long-term health and the nation's economic security are all at stake. Just look the virus raging around the world.
Despite efforts, including shifting to mass vaccination hubs, the federal government still needs to get the roll-out back on track.
The budget attempts to rescue the vaccine roll-out with an additional $1.9 billion lifeline.
- Live updates from the 2021 budget
- 'Our duty': $17.7bn plan to fix broken aged care system
- The great debt at the heart of the budget
- 'Giving people the opportunity': Budget boost for first home buyers
- Tax offsets for individuals and businesses continue
- Free preschool for all and $1.7b childcare boost for families
Treasury assumes is that a population-wide vaccine rollout will be "in place" by the end of this year.
This is not a statement of completion. This is about people who seek to have the vaccine.
With around 2.7 million doses administered so far, no one can deny that a startling ramp up in vaccine delivery needed to start yesterday to get Australia back on track.
So much is riding on it.
While federal election speculation can change day-by-day, budget 2021-22 is set up to deliver one this year, if it is received well by the electorate.
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