Australia readies key election budget


SYDNEY: Australia’s conservative government is pledging to drive economic and jobs growth when it hands down its budget on Tuesday, with an eye firmly on upcoming national elections that are shaping up to be a tight race. The budget is seen as a key test for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a former investment banker who ousted his predecessor Tony Abbott in a party coup in September, ahead of the polls, which are widely expected in July. Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison face the tough task of balancing the need to stimulate a resources-heavy economy as it exits an unprecedented mining investment boom with calls to rein in the budget deficit and government debt.


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