There are many ways in which one could describe Bill Shorten MP and his red-tie-team, but one word in particular comes to mind in light of recent events: frustrated. He, ‘his backers’, and the ALP are quite simply frustrated because on ‘the second Tuesday in May’ this year, they saw the next election flash before their very eyes. Frustrated, because they’ll be rightfully warming the opposition benches for another five years. We knew Bill had a ‘shortened’ temper and memory, but no one could have predicted the impudence of his first Budget Reply speech. In the blue corner, Abbott, the former amateur boxer is showing the electorate that he and his government are as tough as they come, and how committed he is to ensuring that the underlying premises of his 2013 election campaign are met and exceeded. He knows that the people of this country will thank him for it and history will look favourably upon him and his time as Prime Minister. The 2014/15 Budget isn’t the yacht that turns around in the wind and starts sailing the other way, but rather the ocean liner that lifts its anchors and turns to face the right direction. Just to be clear, the Australian economy is comparatively strong, especially when compared to the West. Indeed this point was made to the treasurer by Mr Andrew Neil at a Spectator Australia event some time before the budget was delivered. Mr Hockey retorted that Australia was already in a much bettter position than other economies at the time trouble hit – we had a serious advantage thanks to the Howard/Costello inheritence. In other words, saying that things are ‘not as bad as Greece’ now is nothing to be proud of – it’s irresponsible. The federal budget is in a diabolical mess. Only the Coalition identified this mess going into last years election as needing to be fixed before our ship starts letting in water, or worse, hits an ’08/’09-like iceberg. We have seen nothing but public outcry, mass protests and slumping opinion polls. All of this usually a government’s worst nightmare. Not this government though. When the federal budget was invariably drawn in to the public spotlight, the wheels of the Coalition’s next election platform were set in motion for the first time in practice. The more the public cares about the budget now, the higher priority the nation’s finances will be as a policy point come election day 2016. The Coalition by this stage will no longer be relying (as they so often have) on the great fiscal successes of the Howard/Costello government, but instead pointing to their own reputation of consolidation, which by then they would had forged over the previous three years in government. Something particularly pertinent to Mon Droit readers is the de-regulation of university tuition fees. While the left are crying blue murder – remember no one is going to pay a cent up front. Hockey rightly lamented in his speech that not one univeristy in Australia is in the top 20 – by not changing the model we are short changing young Australians when it comes to a globally competitive university education. Hockey and Cormann will hopefully pull-off The Great Fiscal Miracle of our time, but it shouldn’t be a surprise.