NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hockey's reckoning: budget outcome $8b worse than forecast


Joe Hockey has concluded his first and only financial year as treasurer with a budget outcome $8 billion worse than forecast.

In May 2014 Mr Hockey forecast a budget deficit of $29.8 billion, itself a big step up from the $24 billion forecast by the Treasury at the end of Labor's term in office.

Treasury documents to be released on Monday will show the final budget outcome for 2014-15 was a deficit of $38 billion, a figure well below the peak of $54.5 billion reached under Labor during the global financial crisis, but well above the number first forecast by Mr Hockey and at odds his pledge ahead of the election to "deliver a surplus in our first year and every year after that".

His 2013 commitment was qualified by the words "based on the numbers published," meaning that he did not expect to be held to the pledge if the economic outlook worsened.

Mr Hockey told Parliament on Thursday that the $38 billion deficit figure was $3 billion better than the forecast of $41.1 billion included in his most recent budget.

In The Age and Sydney Morning Herald