Last Word on Budget

As we try to work out if Wayne Swan has delivered a ‘house of cards’ or a budget of ‘heavy lifting’, linguists from Macquarie University have cracked open the budgets 2005-2009 for analysis.

Their report put the language of Swan and former Treasurer Peter Costello under the microscope yielding fascinating results. Costello used the word “I” twice as often as Swan probably to improve his leadership chances but also taking responsibility for the federal finances - for example, “Tonight I announce details of the Future Fund”.

Swan shies away from ‘people’ preferring ‘families’ - signaling we’ll see more of the ubiquitous ‘working families’ at the next election. Swan also talked up ‘spending’ using it on average ten times in each speech to Costello’s frugal 2.3 mentions.

Across the speeches the word ‘government’ was most popular appearing more than 173 times acting as “the agent of benevolent action”. With strong criticism by charity groups, Australia’s neediest may find it hard to see benevolence in last night’s budget.