ROUND-UP: Start here for our comprehensive coverage of the 2018 federal budget

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Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison’s third budget has one eye on fiscal responsibility, with a prediction that the budget will be balanced by next financial year, and the other firmly focused on the looming federal election with the government still trailing Labor in the polls.

Politics is as much about good luck and good timing – “the times will suit me” another resilient former Treasurer, John Howard, famously said 32 years ago – as the prudent financial management federal Treasurers say they offer.

As economist Warren Hogan explains in his analysis of the budget for Business Insider “Treasury has been gifted an extra $8 billion of revenues this financial year that it had not planned on receiving”.

In total, Morrison has $26 billion in “unexpected revenues” to play with over the next three years, which, as Hogan explains, make up “the foundation stone of this budget and the personal income tax cuts the Government is promising”.

The impact is so dramatic that the Treasurer is now expecting a small budget surplus in 2019-2020, 12 months earlier than he predicted a year ago, finally delivering on the Coalition’s promise to get things back in the black.

It’s also handy war chest against Labor and the offer of tax cuts – small ones in lump sums for low to middle income earners now, bigger ones several years down the track to those in higher tax brackets, offer easy appeal to the electorate and a danger to Labor if it chooses to oppose them.

Bill Shorten will deliver his budget reply on Thursday.

In the meantime, here is a full round-up of Business Insider’s coverage of the 2018 federal budget.

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