Swan's fifth a 'fair go' budget

TREASURER Wayne Swan says tonight's Federal Budget will ease cost-of-living pressure on Australians on lower and middle incomes.

Mr Swan fronted reporters in Canberra this morning ahead of delivering his fifth budget tonight.

He tried to downplay the possibility of scandals involving former Labor MP Craig Thomson overshadowing what has been described as a "fair go" budget.

"This will be a surplus budget which deals with cost-of-living pressures on those on lower and middle incomes, but also looks after the most vulnerable," he said.

He said bringing the budget back to surplus was an essential initiative in the face of growing international uncertainty and would be a "big achievement for the Australian people".

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott this morning accused Mr Swan of "cooking the books".

"Well, even this surplus is a surplus based on cooked books, because the Treasurer has artificially moved spending out of next year into this year and into the year after, and he's artificially moved spending off-budget that should be on-budget," he said.

"So, this is a cooked books surplus based on fiddled figures and, yet again, no one should take this government seriously."

Mr Swan said the Liberal Party had no economic credibility due to a "$70 billion crater in their bottom line" in last year's budget.

"This is party whose election costings were audited by a group of accountants that were found to be in breach of their duties by their professional association," he said.

"The Liberal Party has no credibility when it comes to talking about costings.

"They will say anything and do anything to avoid an economic debate about our economic fundamentals."

Mr Swan will give his fifth budget speech to parliament at 7.30pm tonight.



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