Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen. Photo: Andrew Meares

Treasurer Joe Hockey has a “glass jaw”, is “in denial” and
attacking the media instead of acknowledging his budget’s impacts on the
poor, the opposition says.

The comments from shadow treasurer Chris Bowen on Monday
morning follow an attack from Mr Hockey earlier on what he says is a
“deliberately misleading” report based on Treasury modelling prepared
for the budget.

Treasury data, released under freedom of information and revealed by Fairfax Media, shows low income earners would be $844 worse off compared to a $517 hit for those on higher incomes in 2016-17.

Mr Hockey has angrily denied the data indicates the
government knew its budget would hit the poor the hardest, saying the
figures don't tell the complete story.

"It doesn't take into account the fact that higher income
households pay half their income in tax and, on average, higher income
households fund the benefits that go to an average of nearly four lower
income households," the Treasurer told the Nine Network's Today program.

"Every dollar that lower income households receive comes from
higher income households," he said, adding the report failed to take
into account the range of benefits the poor receive, including cheaper
transport, medicines and the pension.

He accused Fairfax of spreading "misinformation" with its report, which he said was "malevolent".

But the shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said the “glass jaw”
Treasurer was attacking the media for “daring” to report on the data and
said Mr Hockey should be “acknowledging [the] treasury figures show the
fundamental unfairness of the budget,” instead.

"These are Treasury figures. These aren't Sydney Morning Herald's
figures, not the Labor Party's figures - these are Treasury figures,
which have been released under FOI," Mr Bowen told ABC Radio.

"They go to the impact of this budget, the decisions he took," he added.

He said the government could not disown the Treasury’s research because they did not like what it showed.

Mr Bowen said that, while budgets had to be considered in
their entirety, the government could not ignore the way its budget
decisions directly affected those on lower incomes.

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