The sound of grand plans cracking

As the nation turns away from it, Labor is sounding more and more like an opposition party. This shift will set the tone for the election campaign.

Wayne Swan cleared his throat, looked up and started reading. Thirty minutes later he was done with the explanations and rationale. A few “hear hears” were uttered in an echo. He had just delivered his sixth budget – not to the nation, but to his subdued colleagues on the front and back benches of parliament.

Exactly 48 hours later Tony Abbott – resplendent in sombre suit, and now-familiar and reassuring light blue tie – stared directly into the camera and personally addressed the nation.

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