There is no getting around the fact the Liberal Party has tripled the deficit in two years and is now promising a $50 billion tax cut for big businesses and foreign shareholders.
But, not comfortable with the truth of the government's record, Scott Morrison prefers to blatantly mislead voters about Labor's costings.
Scott Morrison is fast developing a reputation for associating himself with dodgy numbers.
The last time was when he used a discredited "analysis" from BIS Shrapnel to attack Labor's housing affordability policy.
On Tuesday Morrison and Mathias Cormann peddled the rubbish that Labor had a $67 billion "black hole", but could not defend that ridiculous claim even through the first press conference. It was a disastrous performance that started with a whole lot of hot air but, by the end of it, Morrison was reduced to saying his made-up numbers were "up for discussion" and suddenly "at least $32 billion and as much as $67 billion".
What's $35 billion between friends, hey?
It's simply not acceptable to be throwing darts at random numbers and hoping something sticks.
It is yet another reason why Morrison can't be trusted to run a G20 economy.
You see, the last thing the Liberal Party wants to talk about is what it promised before the last election and its economic and Budget record.
Daily Telegraph readers may have missed the release of the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) last Friday, because it's not something Morrison wants to discuss.
The PEFO is the only Budget and economic update that is released independently of the federal government - it is the work of the secretaries of the departments of the Treasury and Finance.
There's no political interference in this document.
The PEFO confirmed that:
- After three years of Liberal government, spending is up, deficits are up, debt is up, wages are down and living standards are down;
- Tax/GDP is higher in any of the Liberal Party's Budget years than in any year of the former Labor federal government;
- It lampoons the government's claims on "jobs and growth"; and
- Finance and Treasury have real concerns about the retention of Australia's triple A credit rating.
Remember, before the last election, Tony Abbott promised surpluses every year, lower taxes, no cuts to health or education - it was a Coalition magic pudding that the PEFO completely exposes.
So every time Morrison talks about "jobs and growth" and an "economic plan", just remember, talk does not equal action.
The election on July 2 will be about choices and priorities.
Let's be clear, Malcolm Turnbull doesn't have any problem spending the money of middle- and working class families - he just doesn't like spending it on them.
The centrepiece of Turnbull's election campaign is to hand over $50 billion in company tax cuts to big business.
Australia just can't afford it.
Turnbull even went so far this week as to make the ridiculous claim that his $50 billion company tax cut is fully funded, just because it's in the federal Budget.
Talk about creative accounting! For Bill Shorten and Labor, the priorities are to invest in schools and the future jobs of young Australians while protecting Medicare and pursuing fair Budget repair.
This Opinion Piece was first published in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, 26 May 2016.
THE HON CHRIS BOWEN MP
MEMBER FOR MCMAHON