Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey.
Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey. Lauren Reed

Coalition 'fears policy theft'

SHADOW treasurer Joe Hockey says the Coalition will be reluctant to unveil any savings measures in the wake of Tuesday night's Federal Budget for fear of policy theft.

Mr Hockey , speaking ahead of Treasurer Wayne Swan handing down his fifth Budget, mockingly said Labor had "no respect for intellectual property".

"The problem is, every time we announce a savings measure, the government steals it," Mr Hockey told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

"So frankly, I'm not going to do the heavy lifting for the government when it comes to savings."

The Coalition has been attempting in the lead-up to the Budget to convince voters that Labor will need to cook the books to deliver a forecast surplus.

On that front Mr Hockey was on message.

"Tomorrow night we just want the Treasurer to tell the truth," he said.

"Tomorrow night we want the Treasurer to give the full, unfiltered picture about the budget.

"He'll promise a surplus ... that will never be delivered.

"The challenge for the Treasurer is to stop the spin, stop fudging the figures and give a real assessment of the state of the budget."

Mr Hockey said the Gillard government had been sending mixed messages as budget speculation builds.

"Wayne Swan doesn't know if he is Santa Claus or the Christmas Grinch," Mr Hockey said.

"On the one hand the government's making large announcements, handing out money, and on the other hand, they're talking about tough cut backs."


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