Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has today finally come clean on his $70 billion budget debacle, admitting he announced the budget crater on live television and adding that he 'shouldn't have said' the figure.
The admission comes on the same day that the Opposition Leader has abandoned his commitment to a budget surplus.
After insisting for months, and again on Monday's Q&A that his $70 billion crater was merely a "media report", Mr Hockey today finally acknowledged to Linda Mottram on ABC 702 mornings that the figure is his own figure:
You said the number $70 billion. There is no resiling from that.
And 60 - or 50. I mean I…
Yeah, 50, 60, 70 - okay so which one is real?
Okay, I shouldn't have said any because it was part of a debate and now it's been taken as a statement of fact.
Were you plucking it out of the air though?
Well, it was offered to me - I mean, you've got to read the full transcript.
ABC 702 - MORNINGS - 8 FEBRUARY 2012
What Mr Hockey actually said when he announced the $70 billion budget on television was:
"I will tell you what we are doing. We are going through the budget, line by line and item by item. The government will spend - Liberal or Labor - will spend $1500 billion over the next four years. It is a massive amount of money. Therefore finding 50, 60 or 70 billion is about identifying waste and identifying areas where you do not need to proceed with programs."
JOE HOCKEY - SUNRISE - 12 AUGUST 2011
On Monday night, Joe Hockey denied he announced the $70 billion crater.
On Tuesday, he told Sky that his budget crater "wasn't an embarrassing figure."
Today he has finally admitted it's his figure and he regrets saying it.
The Liberals have once again proven this week they are an absolute circus when it comes to the economy.
They are bumbling from one economic mess to another, falling over each other trying to explain why they won't commit to a surplus and why they have a $70 billion hole in their budget.
8 February 2012