A business leader has vented his frustration at the state of modern day politics where even the simplest of measures strikes disagreement and risks Australia falling behind the rest of the world.
Australia Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox says the lack of agreement at both the federal and state levels is damaging confidence and more importantly business investment.
"There is deep and endemic frustration about not just the pace of reform, but the nature of the debate in Australia, the inability to agree on even quite simple measures," Mr Willox told the National Press Club on Wednesday.
He said while Australia is having "relatively little debates" over whether companies with a $10 million or $50 million turnover get a tax cut, US President Donald Trump is serious about lowering his business rates.
"We are just going to get left behind," he said.
"We will be punished enormously for it, as a surge of capital flows out of Australia, and from elsewhere, into the United States."
His comments came the day after the Australian Institute of Company Directors warned the country was stuck in "policy limbo and partisan paralysis".
Labor finance spokesman Jim Chalmers said Treasurer Scott Morrison's second budget must lay out a coherent framework that goes beyond slogans.
In a speech in Sydney, Dr Chalmers said a 15 per cent rise in the terms of trade in the past year and record high company profits would help the budget bottom line.
But he said these and the headline economic growth figures mask big drops in business investment, wages growth at a record low and underemployment reaching a record 1.1 million people.
"Our unemployment rate just jumped to 5.9 per cent which is, remarkably, the same rate at which it peaked during the global financial crisis," he told the Committee for Sydney.
He said the rating agencies are circling, and a downgrade on the coveted AAA rating would push up mortgage costs and damage confidence.
He set out five objectives for the May 9 budget:
* Budget repair which is fair and which secures the AAA credit rating.
* Strong economic growth which is inclusive and people-powered.
* Hard work which is rewarded.
* A decent social safety net for those at risk of being left behind.
* A comprehensive approach to the housing affordability crisis.
"What troubles me isn't just that the current agenda doesn't support these objectives, it's also that the hard numbers show we are heading in precisely the wrong direction," Dr Chalmers said.