Was yesterday's economy as good as it gets?

A budget storm is brewing. The mining boom is winding down and Australians will have to pay back what they were given in personal tax cuts, stimulus cheques, one-off bonuses and household compensation.

The Burvale Hotel in Nunawading is an unassuming, low-lying red-brick building on a major highway in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, surrounded by a huge carpark, a motel and a Dan Murphy’s.

Attending last night’s gathering of 100 undecided voters and the nation's prime minister in the seat of Deakin – Australia’s second most marginal seat – was a somewhat surreal affair.

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