When the clocks struck 7.30pm on Tuesday night, Josh Frydenberg was on his feet in the House of Representatives ready to deliver his federal budget speech.
The Treasurer wasn't wearing a Liberal Party polo shirt or flanked by blue billboards.
But he might as well have been, for the overtly political tone and intent of his address gave his intentions away.
All federal budgets are political, but some are more political than others. This is one such budget.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison used the federal budget in April 2019 as a springboard into a campaign that ended in a surprise victory over Labor's Bill Shorten.
Mr Morrison will be praying Tuesday's fiscal update leads to the same outcome in less than two month's time.
The rationale for a pre-election budget is simple.
Budgets might not deliver the "bounce" they once did, but they do provide the government of the day with a preciously rare opportunity to hog national media and capture the public's attention while selling their vision for the nation.
Big spending announcements, such as hip-pocket relief for households, can offer a welcome distraction or circuit-breaker from prickly issues a government might be struggling to shake.
It's not hard to see the attraction for Mr Morrison, who will enter the federal election campaign as the underdog, according to pollsters. A pre-election budget is clever politics. But voters are right to feel cynical about the timing.
And they are entitled to question if the billions in spending unveiled on Tuesday night is designed to benefit the nation's pandemic rebound and long-term economic prospects - or the Coalition's short-term political hopes?
The Coalition correctly abandoned fiscal restraint and spent unprecedented sums to save jobs and livelihoods during the pandemic.
This budget had been touted as a return to normality. But events have once again intervened, including the devastating floods and a war in Ukraine, causing the government to consider further emergency relief.
To be clear, governments should be free and able to respond when circumstances change. But with a federal election looming voters should question who the government is really trying to help.
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