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Economy

Australia PM faces budget test as inflation flares before election

Morrison set to court vulnerable voters amid calls to spend responsibly

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose government will unveil a new budget on March 29, is seeking to engineer a come-from-behind election victory.   © Reuters

SYDNEY -- Australia's conservative government faces a tough task in Tuesday's preelection budget as it looks to turn around its low popularity by aiding households hurt by rising living costs, while also trying to appear fiscally responsible.

The budget comes as Canberra's fiscal position is estimated to have improved by 20 billion Australian dollars ($15 billion) since a midyear review just three months ago, thanks to soaring prices of its key commodity exports and a solid rebound in domestic consumption.

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