Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey, is expected to release the Coalition’s election costings today, less than 48 hours before the polls open. Mr Hockey has also refused to comment on when the Coalition will bring the budget into surplus, but did say that the budget would be ‘in excess of $6 billion’ better off in cash terms and that gross debt would be $16 billion lower.
Unlike last election, where the Coalition used a private firm for their costings, the Parliamentary Budget Office have modelled the Coalition costings. The Coalition have also assembled a panel consisting of former top bureaucrat Peter Shergold, economist Geoff Carmody and former Queensland auditor-general, Len Scanlan, to go through the costings with a fine-tooth comb to prevent holes in the budget.
The election advertising ban took effect from midnight on Wednesday and it is no surprise that the Coalition withheld their costings until this advertising ban came into place. In 2007 Labor waited until the last day of the election campaign to reveal its policy details and full costings.
An estimated two million electors have until today to fill in and submit their votes by mail, and almost two million have already cast their votes, so how is releasing costings this late in the election fair?
I received my postal vote in the mail over two weeks ago and placed my senate vote above the line. I take a keen interest in the way our country is run and have been watching countless hours of interviews and political spin throughout the campaign, so my choice was easy. But I do worry about those who were undecided when they received their postal votes in the mail. Could they cast an informed vote for a Coalition party which has refused throughout the campaign to release their costings, and given no clear date when it would do so? I’m not sure I could if I was in this situation.
The Coalition isn’t the first party to hold off until the final days of the election campaign to ensure their policies and costings are not the target of advertising campaigns. In 2007, the Labor government waited until the final day of the campaign to reveal policy details and costings, while in 2010, their full policy details were not known until the day of the election. So why are we surprised that the Coalition have held off so late?
It seems obvious to me that before the next election, these policies and procedures need to change. If it was up to me, I would want all parties to submit their final list of policies and costings at least four weeks before polling day. This would give both postal voters and those who vote on election day the opportunity to understand exactly what each party’s polices are and allow for advertising from both parties to outline the negatives and positives or what is being presented.
All I ask is for everyone to be given equal and full access to all the facts before having to make a decision and vote. Is that too much to ask?
Did you vote by post? Did the Coalition’s lack of costings affect your vote? Could postal votes, which could skew towards the Labor party, decide this election?