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Swan claims Federal costings to contain no 'fiscal surprises'

Treasurer Wayne Swan.
Treasurer Wayne Swan. Kari Bourne

TREASURER Wayne Swan has revealed plans to ensure no "fiscal surprises" after the September 14 election.

Under the changes, the Parliamentary Budget Office will be required to audit the policies of all political parties within 30 days of the poll.

"This will remove the capacity of any political party to try to mislead the Australian people and punish those that do," Mr Swan said during a speech to the Australian Business Economists breakfast.

Mr Swan told reporters after the speech the move would put pressure on the Coalition to have its policies costed well before the election.

The Treasurer denied the move was a concession Labor was going to lose the election.

"Not at all. The fact is that after the last election, which we won, and we came to government, the opposition were found to have an $11 billion hole in their policies," he said.

Mr Swan confirmed the PBO would be granted additional funding to perform those costings, which would remove "any excuse for policies to be released like thought balloons".

The changes will be subject to legislation being passed by the Parliament.

He also made a commitment to release the 2012-13 final budget outcome before the election, which is expected to be several billion dollars in deficit.

Traditionally, the underlying cash balance is not released until the end of September.

"This means that the 2012-13 outcome of the underlying cash balance - the most important budget aggregate - will be there for everyone to see," he said during the speech.

"There will be no fiscal surprises after the election."

If Mr Swan was hoping his decision would rattle the opposition, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey was showing no signs of panic.

He said Mr Swan was clearly "preparing Labor for opposition".

"Wayne Swan now wants to make honesty and integrity in numbers the new benchmark for the election campaign and I say bring it on," Mr Hockey said.

"But it gets even better. Wayne Swan wants to ... publish after the election the truth about the numbers promised by political parties. We welcome that, we think that's fantastic."

The Coalition is has been under pressure to reveal how it would fund promised tax cuts and the expensive paid parental leave scheme without the revenue from the carbon and mining taxes, both of which it plans to repeal in government.

Topics:  australian government budget coalition economy finance labor wayne swan


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