NSW records 25,235 new COVID-19 cases, 15 deaths; 11,749 new COVID-19 cases in Victoria, seven deaths; Federal Budget reaction; More flood evacuations in NSW; Russia says it will cut back operations near Kyiv

Nine’s Political Editor Chris Uhlmann has said the government’s budget is walking a “very, very fine line” as a pitch to the electorate.

“There is only one number that matters, and that is 76,” he said.

“That’s the number of seats the government holds in the House of Representatives, and that’s the bare minimum needed to form government.”

He said people shouldn’t “sneeze at” the cost-of-living measures, pointing out a $13-a-tank saving on petrol would mean a great deal to many people struggling to balance their own budgets.

But he warned the government’s spending, aimed at election-winning, could push up inflation and in turn lead to raised interest rates.

“The government is hoping if it can’t buy your love, it can rent it for a little while, maybe until May,” he said.

“It does provide a platform for them from which to launch an election campaign.

The federal election must be called within the next 10 days, while voters will head to the polls in the next 52.

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