Abbott in surplus budget pledge


On day seven of the election campaign, Tony Abbott has done a charity run and announced funding for surf clubs.

Budgie smugglers are out, for now, but a budget surplus will be in, Tony Abbott promises.

Mr Abbott joined 85,000 others on the road between Sydney's CBD and Bondi Beach on Sunday, running with blind athlete Nathan Johnstone in the 14-kilometre City2Surf fun run.

But the Opposition Leader said joining in the run on the morning of his debate with prime minister Kevin Rudd wasn't a big shift from his usual morning routine.

"I could either run around the back blocks of Forestville or I could be out with 80,000 of my fellow Australians," he told Macquarie Radio.

Running to raise money for motor neurone disease research, Mr Abbott finished in a respectable time of one hour, 21 minutes and 16 seconds.

Earlier on day seven of the campaign, Mr Abbott and Liberal frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull announced a $15 million boost for surf clubs and a new policy to deal with drowning black spots.

Asked if he had considered making the announcement in his budgie smugglers, Mr Abbott, a surf lifesaver himself, laughed and said: "Election campaigns should be budgie-smuggler-free zones.

"You won't see me in budgies this side of polling day."

Mr Abbott also said a coalition government would return the budget to surplus in its first term, provided the Labor government's budget figures - which will get another going over in Tuesday's Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook - were correct.

"If the budget figures that the government has so far put out are correct, yes (there will be a surplus in the first term)," he said.

"But we can't guarantee what the starting point is."

He said the coalition's costings would be announced well before election day on September 7.

Labor was yet to release its full list of costings and had failed to deliver any of its promised surpluses to date, Mr Abbott added.

Mr Abbott left Sydney for Canberra to take part in the first debate of the election campaign against the prime minister.

"I'm looking forward to it because it's both of our chances to present directly to the Australian people what are our positive plans for the future," Mr Abbott said.

Source AAP

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