CANBERRA – As far as political insults go, Mathias Cormann has launched a saccharine broadside and left his foes all aquiver.
The Finance Minister questioned whether Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will "wibble wobble" like jelly over the Turnbull Government's latest budget savings plan.
"Will Bill Shorten step up to the plate on budget repair in this parliament?" he asked during an address on Monday night to the Sydney Institute.
"Or will he be like jelly on that plate, the wibble wobble, wibble wobble jelly on a plate, first opposing, then supporting, then not knowing what to do?"
And now, like a sugar-coated earworm, THAT song is going to be in our heads all day.
It was not all candy-coated nonsense, however.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week announced plans to package $6.5 billion in government savings measures in an "omnibus bill", which he believes will have bipartisan support.
The bill will be presented soon after parliament returns next week, but the government lacks the numbers on the Senate to pass it without support from the Opposition or the array of crossbench Senators.
The Finance Minister told the Sydney Institute there is "much more work to be done on budget repair" and urged Labor to honour its election commitments and work with the Coalition.
"The time for game playing is over," Cormann said. "The election is behind us."
Labor has reacted to the jelly comparison with derision.
"(Laughs) Ah look you have got to feel for the audience of the Sydney Institute last night forced to sit through that dribble again," Labor frontbencher Jim Chalmers told ABC Radio.
"That is another characteristically underwhelming contribution which was long on politics and pretty short on economic policy."
The Opposition wants to see the Omnibus Bill before deciding on whether it will support the move.
"The position we take in the parliament will reflect the position we took to the people in the election, but we have a process to go through. That typically begins with a careful examination of the legislation that is presented to us."
"The government has less than a stellar record when it comes to accurately representing Labor's views on these sorts of things."
The Finance Minister said the Coalition had already made 800 policy decisions since it won power in 2013 that he estimates will save the budget $221 billion over the next decade.