Prime Minister Tony Abbott and senior cabinet ministers have taunted opposition leader Bill Shorten to offer up an ‘alternative budget’ and specify how he would govern differently.
Mr Shorten will address parliament and the nation on Thursday evening with an official budget reply speech, which the government has already sought to undermine.
“If they don’t like the government solutions, let’s not smear people across the chamber,” Mr Abbott told Sky News on Wednesday, despite his own persistent negativity in opposition.
“Let’s actually offer an alternative,” he said.
“Who knows, maybe Bill Shorten will come up with some serious ideas.”
The Prime Minister continued his attack during question time on Thursday, asking him for details on his policies on carbon, mining, superannuation and families.
Mr Shorten has been criticised by some political commentators for not yet delivering on his much-hyped ‘year of ideas’.
“Tell us what your plans are,” Mr Abbott said.
“He just doesn’t have any except what he did in government, which is just more taxes, more taxes, more unaffordable spending.”
Ahead of the budget reply, which commentators say is crucial to shoring up support for Labor, Mr Shorten has attacked the second Liberal budget as lacking vision and simply repackaging the worst aspects of the first.
“This is a repackaged budget of last year’s meanness and no vision for the future, no confidence for the next number of years and decades ahead,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Canberra.
The Opposition Leader is expected to focus on his plan to kickstart the economy and restore fairness.
Labor has seemed to support Abbott’s small business tax breaks, but has vocally criticised its backdown on the parental leave scheme as ‘an attack on working women’.
“A couple of years ago Tony Abbott was defending the signature paid parental leave scheme … now he’s dropped that,” Mr Shorten said.
Earlier on Thursday, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann challenged Mr Shorten to present an alternative budget.
“He will have to show us the money … because right now Labor has a $52 billion budget black hole,” Mr Cormann told reporters in Canberra.