Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Budget Night in Australia

Tonight Australian Treasurer Hockey will release his second budget. I haven't attempted to follow the various pre-announcements nor will I be listening to the budget speech.

That's a big change for someone who used to be something of a budget junkey. I have many memories of budgets past. I first started listening as a child, that's a sad admission I guess, because (or so my parents informed me) I wanted stuff to discuss with my grandfather. Later in Canberra I had a professional interest.

Those original budget speeches could be pretty boring, but they actually contained the information you needed to understand the budget. That's no longer true. It's all packaged now, shortened for TV, dominated by message. You can actually listen to the budget speech and at the end have no real idea of the changes that  have been made that affect you. It's only later that you find out.

So tonight I will do as I have done many times before. I will listen to the reaction to the budget, both political and from those who have been in the budget lock-up and have therefore had access to the papers. Then I will go on-line and actually read the budget papers.

To those outside Australia, the budget is meant to be "secret" until its delivered. The old reason for that was to prevent people taking advantage of changes, like going out and buying stuff before prices went up or shifting cash off-shore. That's still there, although there are so many leaks or pre-budget announcements now that some of the secrecy has lost its point.

The point of the budget lock-up is to allow people access to the budget papers so that they are ready to comment or analyse following the budget speech. That's actually a very good thing. It's why journalists and others have their analysis ready to go straight after the speech.

For my part, I like to do my own analysis. I find that I pick up things that others have missed or, alternatively, that I wish to place different weight on things. So that's what I will do tonight.


For those interested, Peter Martin in the Canberra Times has a very good explanation of the budget papers themselves.


Anonymous said...

Was browsing through the NZ Treasury reports, and it occurs to me that 1 Gandalf is approximately equal to 3 Mad Max's and 1 X-Men.

I discount Mission Impossible in this equation, mainly because of the potential misrepresentation of the title.


Jim Belshaw said...