After five budgets the Coalition has finally remembered the people earning less than $90,000
Federal budget 2018: follow live updates as Scott Morrison reveals Australian budget

Rejoice and be glad. It’s taken five budgets but the Coalition has finally discovered people earning less than $90,000.
The proposed low and middle-income tax offset will give $530 to 4.4 million taxpayers with incomes between $48,000 and $90,000 in 2018-19.
The longer the government’s “tax reform” story goes on, when we finally start hitting flat tax territory after the resurgent Turnbull government wins the next two elections (stop laughing), the more unfair the carve-up becomes. Tax relief for low and middle-income earners morphs into a massive handout for high-income earners, with workers earning $41,000 paying the same tax rate as those on $200,000.
But the first wave, the one relevant for the coming election cycle, and the one likely to actually happen, hits the hip pockets of the people who have spent the last few years living on the frontline of Australia’s big income squeeze.
The last time Scott Morrison produced an election budget, back in 2016, he declared primly that voters on average incomes weren’t interested in handouts any more.
“That old way of looking at winners and losers, that’s not what this budget is about,” he said. In this brave new world of Scott’s imagining, people just cared about job creation and economic growth.
So that last Morrison pre-election budget in 2016 (his first as treasurer) offered zip for folks earning between $37,000 and $80,000. If you recall that budget, you’ll also recall that the Turnbull government, which presented to the voting public as an operation heavy on slogans and light on empathy, almost lost the ensuing election.
Roll forward to 2018, what we see is a significant change in the government’s political strategy, draped in a cloak of “tax reform”, in the hope that dishing up some short-term hip-pocket relief and creating the illusion of having a longer-term plan will be a circuit breaker, and prove a more saleable message.