Federal Budget 2016 : Howard and Beazley's verdict on the Budget

Former prime minister John Howard said he thought Treasurer Scott Morrison managed to balance the politics and economics of the Federal Budget.

Mr Howard told 2000 people at the PwC Budget Breakfast in Brisbane today that while the budget wasn’t “overly generous”, its emphasis on small business was smart ahead of the upcoming election. 

“I think Scott Morrison did a very good job of juggling the politics and the economics last night,” Mr Howard said.

“I have every sympathy for a prime minister and a treasurer who want to bring down a responsible economic document, but also do it in a way that optimises their chances of electoral success,” he said. 

“I think Scott Morrison did a very good job of juggling the politics and the economics last night.” 

The former long-time Liberal leader also insisted Mr Morrison did a “good job in the circumstances” of sluggish global growth. 

Former deputy prime minister Kim Beazley, who served as opposition leader in the Howard era, agreed with his old political rival, describing the government’s economic blueprint as the “quietest, simplest budget I think I have ever seen”.

Mr Beazley said Mr Morrison “felt like he was dancing on a pinhead” and his first budget was “the budget of a man surrounded”. “I don’t think it’s a negative at all for the government ... (but) what the implications of that are going to be is quite interesting,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Mr Beazley said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should have gone to the polls immediately after he had seized the leadership from Tony Abbott, but had since lost momentum. 

Mr Turnbull also failed to follow through on his reform agenda, allowing Labor “to dust itself off”, he said.

“The words were there, but none of the music,” Mr Beazley said. However, Mr Howard said Mr Turnbull was open to reform and rejected suggestions Mr Abbott would be a destabilising force in his government. 

“I think what happened to Tony Abbott is bruising, it was personally humiliating, but of course that happens,” Mr Howard said.

“It’s part of the game, but he stayed in and he wants to make a contribution and I think when he said the other day he wants to work hard to help Turnbull I think he means that.” 

Source: AAP

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