Calls to release costings a 'desperate' Labor attack

Treasurer Chris Bowen said on Friday there was “simply nowhere to hide” for Tony Abbott on the costing issues.
Treasurer Chris Bowen said on Friday there was “simply nowhere to hide” for Tony Abbott on the costing issues. Inga Williams

AN INCREASINGLY desperate Labor Government is trying to pin their hopes on the Coalition's as-yet unreleased policy costings, but a leading political academic says the issue will make no difference at the polls.

Since Treasury released its final budget statement on Tuesday, the Labor Party has been agitating for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to release details of how much Coalition policy will cost taxpayers.

Treasurer Chris Bowen said on Friday there was "simply nowhere to hide" for Mr Abbott on the costing issues.

His comments came after Finance Minister Penny Wong and other senior Labor frontbenchers called for the Coalition to release the costings in recent days.

But Australian National University Professor John Wanna said the calls only showed how desperate Labor was to find an angle to tackle the Coalition on, and it would not sway voters.

"Normally, you'd see an incumbent government arguing about its record, but Kevin Rudd can't do that - either its bad or the achievements were Julia Gillard's," he said.

"So I think you've seen this week the Labor party is increasingly desperate to find anything to get one up on the Opposition.

"We've seen this with the GST scare campaign, and with the emphasis on the Coalition's policy costings."

But Prof Wanna said the recent history of policy costings was that neither party - when in opposition - released them early in a campaign.

"Voters aren't that concerned with the costings issues - it's really something the parties obsess over," he said.

"And even if they did care, people just want to vote - they don't generally want a lot of detail about costings or preferences."

Topics:  coalition federal election 2013 labor

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