Wong says ALP will keep Coalition honest after $10b bungle

Penny Wong
Penny Wong Inga Williams

WITH just a week to go until the election, Finance Minister Penny Wong has declared Labor would "not take a backwards step in holding the Coalition to account".

Senator Wong made the statement when forced to defend Labor's release of figures that claimed a $10 billion hole in the Coalition's $31.6 billion savings.

The Labor claim was effectively shut down by an unprecedented statement from Treasury head Dr Martin Parkinson saying the Coalition and Labor figures were based on different assumptions.

But Senator Wong's statement on Friday revealed she now saw the government's role as holding the Opposition to account, a role the Opposition traditionally plays.

The comment laid bare the growing fear in Labor ranks that it faces almost certain defeat on September 7.

It also comes after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Thursday claimed he was an "economic nationalist", in an effort to appeal to Queensland voters concerned about foreign investment.

On Friday, Mr Rudd also reiterated his comments the Coalition was playing a "fraud" on the public by not releasing its full costings, despite the tactic being common to both major parties.

"We believe you're committing fraud on the Australian people because you have not committed this information to the public domain," he said.

"The only way in which this is put to bed despite the hullabaloo of those in the media is for Mr Abbott to release the full costings.

"The burden of proof lies with Mr Abbott."

The Treasury statement also confirmed it had not completed any costings of Coalition policies to date.

Mr Rudd said Labor had also submitted 46 policies to Treasury for costings, while the Coalition had not yet submitted any.

Mr Abbott has not yet set a date for when the Coalition will actually release its complete policy costings.

Topics:  penny wong treasury

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