The threat of early elections has driven Australia's ruling conservative government to cater the budget to its core constituencies, small businesses and middle class families with children, at the expense of structural reforms, analysts said.
"It looks like an election budget – the government has substantially spent on this budget and pushed off returning to a surplus into the distance," University of Sydney's lecturer in politics & public policy, Peter Chen, told CNBC. "This is not an economists' budget but a political budget…and all the major provisions are aimed at the coalition's base."
For more than a decade, Australia's economy has been fuelled by a mining boom – but a collapse in commodity prices is slowing economic growth and reducing tax receipts.
However, after last year's disastrously tightfisted budget sent the conservative government's approval ratings sinking to record lows, the ruling party has chosen this year to play for votes. The highlight of this year's spending plans turned out to be spending for its two core constituencies, mainly tax breaks for small businesses and increased childcare subsidies.
"Fiscal policy is, in all honesty, aimed at the individual and the nuclear family, and clearly the government have delivered overnight. A cynical call would be to say, votes don't come cheap," said IG market strategist Evan Lucas in a Wednesday note.
No help for economy
The government is so haunted by last year's debacle that it neglected to come up with any measures to help Australia wean itself off its dependence on commodity exports, critics said.
"This transition from mining to non-mining investment in the economy has been complicated and frankly [last year's] impact on consumer and business confidence was simply diabolical", former Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan told CNBC.