The Australian government is facing a budget dilemma, with revenues around $A8 billion lower than the budget predicted in May.
The ABC reports a razor gang met on Friday morning to debate whether to implement budget cuts before the election or delay a return to surplus, currently scheduled for 2016-17. Insiders insist that easy cuts have all already been made.
The mining tax is underperforming and revenue from other taxes also lower than expected.
Treasurer Chris Bowen said Australia was also facing "dramatic reductions" in its terms of trade.
The ABC reports the federal government will release a fiscal update next week.