THE morning after and Canberra awoke with a post-budget headache only to have Tony Abbott add to the pain by saying the Rudd government started out as Paris Hilton and ended up Uncle Scrooge.
At first, we were concerned at the kind of videos the Opposition Leader might be watching.
Then, thankfully, we realised it was probably borrowed rather than blue.
Abbott could have been paying homage to Malcolm Turnbull who, coincidentally chose budget week last year to dub the video porn star/rich girl somehow symbolic of Kevin Rudd's fiscal incorrectitude. Two months later Turnbull bracketed the American socialite, heiress, media personality, model, singer, author, fashion designer and actress with the stingy Scrooge McDuck ''the richest duck in the world'', a comic/cartoon character fondly called ''Unca Scrooge'' by his three nephews.
Heartening to see an opposition that can blithely swap leaders and still remain on the same message but Abbott's comic-book criticism received short shrift from Wayne Swan as he delivered the traditional Treasurer's post-budget speech to the National Press Club.
''Always got a colourful line,'' he said of Abbott's response. ''He just hasn't got a policy.''
But cartoon animals threatened to become the order of the day. At the press club, Paul Bongiorno, chief political correspondent for Ten News, dug deep into his childhood comics collection to ask the Treasurer if he had any more millions lying around his vault like ''Unca Scrooge''. Swan assured him a splurge was not on.
''We ruled out an election year spendathon,'' he said. ''The vote-buying of those [Howard government] years was obscene. I never understood Peter Costello's need to pull rabbits out of the hat then lecture the country about how clever he was.''
On to question time, where the government attacked Abbott's encyclopaedic knowledge of celebrity and comic books.
The Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner, accused Abbott of blocking, blaming and blustering, challenging him to provide details in his budget in reply speech tonight.
''There is a lot of rhetoric, there is a lot of fluff and there is a lot of flim-flam, but we are approaching the business end of the season where the Australian community is going to start asking for some detail,'' Tanner said.
Parliament House seemed littered with men and women in business suits as the corporate world gathered for the budget feast. Leading man was the mining magnate Andrew Forrest, in town presumably to tell the government politely to get its hands off his profits.
At the National Press Club lunch, ''Twiggy'' masochistically sat next to Ken Henry, the Treasury secretary and architect of the government's plan to soak the rich miners. With his wife Kim present, Swan was the man of the moment but it was Forrest the media descended on when the lunch was over.
Swan might have the budget back in the black in three years but Forrest had $3.7 billion here and now. Well, if his share price holds.