An unfortunate consequence of moving from opposition to government in what are euphemistically called "interesting times" is that the incoming administration is immediately responsible for everything it has spent the last three years accusing its predecessors of bungling.
There is an expectation it will be, at a bare minimum, at least as effective as the government it has replaced. The newly minted opposition, by way of contrast, can recycle all of the coals that had been heaped on its head and send them back as rockets to make life even harder for the incumbents.
While there is always an assumption a new government will receive a "honeymoon", that can be cut very short, as it was in the case of the Abbott government, if it is seen to be breaking promises or changing its narrative as soon as it takes office.
Although the Albanese government has had some early wins on the diplomatic front, the return of the Biloela family, and the like, its longer term success or failure will be defined to a notable extent by its response to the cost of living crisis.
Australians, faced with soaring petrol prices now back above two dollars a litre, gas prices that have literally gone through the roof, and skyrocketing electricity prices, are heading into what is going to be a very bleak winter for millions. This will give Peter Dutton and his team plenty of ammunition with which to reinforce their campaign message "it won't be easy under Albanese".
As a result of the so-called "perfect storm" on energy price rises, the near certainty of another interest rate hike on Tuesday, wage stagnation and inflation at levels not seen since the 1980s, Jim Chalmers appears to be caught on the horns of a dilemma.
If he sticks with the "tough love" approach he outlined on Wednesday where he effectively ruled out extending the fuel price excise cut beyond September 28, the Albanese government's standing will take a hit when the cost of petrol and diesel goes up by around 22 cents a litre. But if he were to announce an extension he would immediately be attacked by the opposition, economists and the media for running up billions of dollars more in debt to deal with a "short term" problem.
Mr Chalmers's decision to rule out announcing additional cost of living assistance until the October budget at the earliest is also courageous. Whether or not he can maintain this position against possible opposition within the Labor caucus remains to be seen.
Australians, particularly those on low and fixed incomes, are going into what will be for many a winter of discontent. They want, and deserve, certainty about what the government is going to do to help them. If they have to wait until the spring to find out there could be a considerable amount of buyer's remorse.
Voters, who remember the ALP's calls for JobKeeper to be extended and its criticisms of the Morrison government for not acting quickly enough or decisively enough on a range of crises, expect more than to just be told "wait and see" and, on specific measures such as invoking the domestic gas reservation trigger, that the Treasurer "doesn't want to pre-empt the conversation".
While Mr Chalmers is technically correct when he places the emphasis on fiscal prudence and budget repair Australians live in a society, not an economy. Many of his caucus colleagues will want to do more than what he has proposed so far.
The Prime Minister knows full well how Scott Morrison's bungled response to the bushfire emergency was an albatross around his neck for an entire term.
In view of this does Mr Albanese have the courage to give his Treasurer a free hand or he will intervene?
Either decision would have lasting consequences.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.