Timing is everything.
And former Liberal MP Julia Banks demonstrated lethal timing when she rose just before 12.05pm on Tuesday to announce she was quitting the Liberals to sit as an independent.
As she was dropping her precision-guided bomb, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Treasurer Josh Frydenberg were walking out the door of the PM’s courtyard after announcing the first budget surplus since the global financial crisis.
Nobody will be talking about that budget surplus.
Mr Morrison announced he was bringing forward the budget to April 2, to allow the Treasurer to hand down the budget – his first – before Australians head to the polls.
That means a May election is now a dead certainly – unless Parliament blows up before then.
“There are options available to the government. There are always options available to the government to call be a election any time between now and to have a half Senate election and a House of Representatives election concurrently,” Mr Morrison said.
“That would be conducted by 18 May. It is our intention to deliver a surplus budget and only a Coalition government would have been able to deliver that.”
The Coalition will be trying to avoid Parliament as much as possible because it is now a very dangerous and unstable place for the Morrison government.
But spare a thought for the fallen treasurers who have tried and failed to return Australia’s budget to surplus – Wayne Swan, Joe Hockey and Scott Morrison.
They all tried and failed, and Josh Frydenberg gets to swan in and deliver one budget and a surplus.
Of course it’s no surprise to some extent because the government is flush with cash.
In fact, the Department of Finance quietly released figures in July confirming the budget actually achieved a $9.4 billion surplus in May on its “fiscal” balance measure with an “underlying cash balance” and a “net operating balance”.
After the Victorian election, the government will be looking to invest that in infrastructure.
The last budget surplus was delivered in 2007-08.
“It will be a surplus budget. It will be a budget that is the product of the years of hard work by our government,” Mr Morrison said.
The only question is if the Morrison government can survive long enough to get it done.