THERE is fresh pressure on Joe Hockey as Social Services Minister Scott Morrison was forced to deny he was in line to replace the Federal Treasurer.
The public denial comes as the Opposition labelled Mr Hockey a "lame duck" who has failed to stand tall in the lead up to Tuesday's Federal Budget.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott of making "bizarre attempts" to sideline Mr Hockey in the days before the budget.
He said it was "proof" this second Budget is all about the Prime Minister protecting his own job and nothing about Australia's future.
"A Treasurer who can't speak to details of major Budget measures on the same day as details are dropped by the Government to national newspapers, just days out from the delivery of his Budget, is a lame duck Treasurer."
Mr Morrison has been the public face of the 2015 budget sales task force at the expense of Mr Hockey, whose own ratings have plummeted since his first budget one year ago.
Appearing on the Seven network's Sunrise program to spruik the government's $3.5 billion childcare package, Mr Morrison was asked if he might be named the next treasurer.
"If the Prime Minister said 'mate, you're a great salesman, you are doing a great job on the budget. We would love you to be treasurer', would you say yes?" host David Koch asked.
"That ain't going to happen. He has made his choice there," Mr Morrison replied.
"He could decide that I could be the next astronaut to the moon but I don't think that will happen either, Kochie."
AFTER a widely criticised first attempt, Treasurer Joe Hockey will face the test of his political career tomorrow.
Despite being largely absent from pre-budget announcements in the past fortnight, Mr Hockey will unveil the full details of the government's financial plans for the next four years.
While it has traditionally been the Treasurer's night in the spotlight, senior government figures have been at pains to emphasise the "group" contribution to this year's budget, following the political ramifications of the Abbott Government's first budget.
We will have all the details online from 7.30pm and in print on Wednesday.
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