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Comment: Zombies, but no horror in budget update

AAP logoAAP 19/12/2016 Colin Brinsden

The federal budget has suffered a mild deterioration since the May budget but not the horror story some had been predicting.

However, the so-called zombie measures live on in budget calculations.

That is billions of dollars worth of savings - such as raising the pension age to 70 and making the unemployed wait a month before getting the dole - Labor, the Greens and some Senate crossbenchers refuse to pass.

Following release of the mid-year budget review on Monday, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen was quick to reaffirm Labor's opposition to the measures

He argued the government should accept the reality they will never clear parliament and the budget back should reflect that fact.

But Treasurer Scott Morrison doesn't believe his measures should be buried just yet, pointing to the $6 billion omnibus bill Labor supported when parliament resumed after the July election and which contained previously no-go areas.

"They brought the zombies to life... and let them walk through the parliament," Morrison told reporters after handing down the review, conceding it was a "very dangerous mixed metaphor".

Treasurer Scott Morrison (left) has delivered a budget update containing only modest changes and not the horror story some had feared. © AAP Image/Mick Tsikas Treasurer Scott Morrison (left) has delivered a budget update containing only modest changes and not the horror story some had feared. Importantly, the global credit rating agencies haven't been spooked by the review so far.

Moody's in particular had warned the treasurer not to come up with unrealistic forecasts, but believes the update remains consistent with a triple-A rating.

A downgrade could have frightened investors away, sent a chill though confidence and eventually filtered through to higher interest rates.

Not the sort of things consumers want to hear in the run-up to Christmas.

All in all, the budget update was just that. An update.

More scary budget decisions will be left until next May.

In the meantime, the only bump in the night will be Santa delivering the festive cheer.

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