The shame about tonight’s ALP Budget from Wayne Swan is that the political consequences seem a foregone conclusion: that Labor will lose in September.
And as such that seemingly inevitable momentum swamps any analysis of whether the budget, and its embedded policies, make sense, were well communicated, are cohesive, stand a chance even.
At one level it seems a rational response to changing circumstances. Revenues are down, the economic context surrounding Australia remains twitchy, and the country is faced with some rational challenges relating to ageing, healthcare, education and the levelling out of the resources money pit.
Depending on your political persuasion, it’s a brave and sensible response , or utter nonsense with no credibility.
But was Swan effective in his communication? Did he fight the fight, take the fight to the Opposition front bench, rally his troops behind him?
Did he, in Playcalling terms, run a Crazy Ivan, an all-or-nothing, crash or crash-through delivery of a speech?
The messages on the NDIS, on cancer research, on the Gonski school reforms, on supporting returned servicemen and women, and the tentative claim to turn a surplus in four years’ time, all ring out.
But the delivery was lacking, the oratory missing. With all due respect, it was an economist talking, not a leader.
And communication always works best when facts are combined with emotion.