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Why would rational voters believe talk of hundreds of billions and 10-year timeframes?

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17.04.2019

Almost a week into this campaign, many people would be finding their heads hurting. Others would be staying tuned out for a while yet, put off by the cacophony of conflicting claims.

Voters have been bombarded by numbers. Numbers asserted, numbers contested, numbers denied. Numbers in tens, indeed hundreds, of billions. Millions have mostly become the 5c coins of election dialogue (unless they are a subset of the billions).

Prime Minister Scott Morrison gets on the media bus in Tasmania. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

And the numbers stretch into what, in political terms, might as well be infinity. Plans are for the next decade. Never mind that elections come every three years.

Many of these numbers mean little in themselves. Let's not say they're made up. They do, however, have a good deal of confection to them.

The way the carefully-controlled campaign operations work, many of the numbers are dropped out, by government and opposition, embargoed for publication around midnight. The aim is to land them "raw" into the morning news cycle, not masticated by reaction.

The think tanks are enthusiastically in the numbers game. The Grattan Institute this week said the government would need to cut $40 billion a year from spending by 2030 to meet its tax and surplus promises.

"Absolute complete rubbish," Scott Morrison harrumphed.

Please, can someone remember to check in a decade or so?

There........

© Canberra Times