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Why PM walked out of Jim’s budget speech

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivers the 2024-25 federal budget at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Question Time is under way, with a series of Dorothy Dixer questions from Labor backbenchers to ministers about measures in the budget.

But a question from crossbencher Monique Ryan irritated the Prime Minister.

Anthony Albanese clapped back at the teal MP after being interrogated about the presence of lobbyists at a thousand-dollar-per-head fundraiser.

Dr Ryan asked if fossil fuel lobbyists were present at federal Labor’s $5000 a head post-budget dinner held in luxury Hotel Realm in Canberra on Tuesday night.

Question Time
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has pushed back on a question from an independent MP during Question Time. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman
Teal independent Monique Ryan asked him about a fundraiser held on budget night. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Ordered to rephrase her question by Speaker Milton Dick, who said it contravened house orders to discuss “internal party matters”, Mr Albanese hit back.


“Mr Speaker. I’ve stood and had the great honour of being the Australian Labor Party candidate in 10 elections,” he said.

“During those 10 elections as the candidate for Grayndler, I have spent less money, less money on those 10 campaigns than the member for Kooyong did in her one.”

It has been reported Dr Ryan splashed over $2m to oust former treasurer Josh Frydenberg to secure the seat of Kooyong at the last election.

Surprise walkout on Treasurer

The Prime Minister has been forced to leave his Treasurer’s traditional post-budget speech to the National Press Club mid-event.

Just as Jim Chalmers was taking questions, the bells in parliament began to ringing, requiring MPs – including Anthony Albanese – to leave for the House of Representatives.

Dr Chalmers had been spruiking the government’s ambitious Future Made in Australia package, which he says will set up the nation’s future.

He described it as “a really important and really ambitious and substantial agenda.”

“Together now we can choose a new path to prosperity ... by making the most of the geographical, geological, meteorological, geopolitical and industrial cards that we have been dealt,” he told the lunch in Parliament House’s Great Hall.

Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese was one of the MPs who had to leave Jim Chalmers and Laura Chalmers post-budget speech. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman
Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers before his National Press Cub Address at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

“Making our people the biggest beneficiaries of all of that churn and change in the world around us.

“Taking this golden opportunity which is presenting itself to us in the defining decade so that we are more secure and we are more prosperous and we are more confident with more cause for optimism in the Australian future that we all make together.”

The Opposition has already flagged it has issues with the fund.

‘Billions for billionaires’: Dutton

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has slammed Labor’s budget, saying it does more for billionaires than Australians struggling with the cost of living and finding a home.

He said the budget did little to focus on the housing crisis or addressing the migration rate.

“You’ve had almost a million people over two years and that’s created a housing emergency in our country,” he said.

“The Prime Minister at the moment is giving billions and billions of dollars to billionaires and we have families living in tents and cars.”

Mr Dutton has confirmed the Coalition won’t stand in the way of the $300 energy bill rebates for every household – including the county’s wealthiest.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton says the Albanese government budget had the wrong focus. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

But it won’t back the government’s plan to provide $13.7bn worth of production credits for green hydrogen and critical minerals.

“People like Clive Palmer and Twiggy Forrest are great business people and they know how to milk a weak government and that’s what they’re doing at the moment,” Mr Dutton told the ABC.

“I think we’d be better off providing for arrangements and an environment which is conducive to business investment.

“Those projects should be able to stand alone and we support them – but not with taxpayers’ money.”

“Did my bit’ on inflation, Treasurer

Jim Chalmers says “he did his bit” in addressing the challenge of reducing inflation in Tuesday night’s budget, which forecast it would return to the target levels by Christmas.

Updated estimates unveiled in the May budget showed headline inflation could return within the Reserve Bank’s 2 to 3 per cent inflation targeting band by year’s end – a full year ahead of the central bank’s own projections,

That would give governor Michele Bullock latitude to cut rates sooner than expected – possibly before the election due in May next year.

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers is adamant the budget will not add to inflation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

The Albanese government plans to tip an additional $24bn in net spending into the economy, over the four-year forward estimate period.

But Dr Chalmers said the targeted cost of living relief for Australians – including the $300 power bill rebate for all households no matter how rich – would help bring down inflation from 3.6 per cent.

The Reserve Bank uses interest rate rises to try to control inflation.

“We’re on the same page in trying to get this inflation down in our economy. I did my bit last night,” Dr Chalmers told ABC on Wednesday morning.

When asked if that meant that it was now up to the RBA to finish the job, Dr Chalmers said that wasn’t the case.

“I don’t mean that for one second. What I mean is they will take their decisions independently.

“They will weigh up a whole bunch of things not just the commonwealth budget.”


Treasury’s forecasts are more optimistic than that of the Reserve Bank, but the government says it has the right advice.

“So inflation is currently at an annual figure of 3.6 per cent. That’s lower than the figure that was estimated in the mid-year forecast at the end of last year,” Dr Chalmers said.

“So we know inflation is moderating. There’s more work to be done. But this budget will assist that process.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the government wasn’t concerned that people would go on a spending spree with their tax cuts, following the decision to change the stage 3 tax cuts to include all taxpayers

“We know that what people overwhelmingly will spend money on, which is why we changed it,” he told Sunrise.

“If you’re earning under $45,000 a year, you know what, you’ll spend it at the supermarket.

“You’ll spend it on the essentials of life, on things for your kids that you need. That’s why we changed the tax cuts so they’re focused firmly on Middle Australia.”

Anthony Albanese has been grilled on how fair the government’s $300 energy bill rebate really is.

“Every household” will get credits on their power bills in the next financial year, which the

PM grilled on power bill rebates for the rich

Prime Minister confirmed would include the Gina Rineharts of the country, and Australians who own multiple homes will benefit from multiple rebates.

Today show host Karl Stefanovic questioned how that was fair, saying Ms Rinehart and her cohort “don’t need support”.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has defended the broadbased $300 power bill rebate in Tuesday’s federal budget. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Mr Albanese said the government wanted to deliver support across the board, just as it had done in its stage 3 tax cut revamp.

He pointed to the more targeted cost-of-living measures aimed to take pressure off vulnerable people, namely the 10

per cent increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance and changes to Jobseeker eligibility.

Treasurer Chalmers on Tuesday night revealed all Australian households would get a $300 power bill rebate, despite their income level, while unveiling a $3.9bn surplus.

The extent of the rebate was the big surprise in the budget, which included the previously announced revamped stage 3 tax cuts for all taxpayers and a slight increase in the rent assistance scheme.

The government is defending the $300 energy bill rebate despite a backlash that includes the country’s richest households. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Dr Chalmers said landlords who own multiple properties won’t pocket the rebate as it goes to the person whose name is on the bill

He said if an investor has tenants, the tenants get the rebate. If someone has a holiday home they don’t rent out, they get assistance for that too.

Albo dodges election budget speculation

Mr Albanese batted away suggestions that Tuesday’s budget was made with an election in mind. The next federal election is due in May next year.

He said a budget was scheduled to be handed down in March next year, earlier than the traditional second Tuesday of May, because of the election schedule.

“Look, we’re focused on the economy and getting the settings right,” he told 7’s Sunrise when asked if it was an election budget.

“The budget is set a budget for March next year. The election is due in 2025. We will set out that timetable later in this year.

“You can’t have a budget and an election at the same time in May. So we’ll have to make that adjustment just as has occurred in the past.”

‘Too lazy’: Jacqui Lambie blasts rebate

Independent senator Jacqui Lambie took aim at the rebate, saying high income earners and the rich didn’t need.

“We don’t need $300. I can assure you. That should have been passed forward. I find it bizarre,” Senator Lambie said on Tuesday night.

“Are we back in Covid days? We’re just chucking money, left, right and centre. (The Albanese government are) too lazy to do some means testing.”

Senator Jacqui Lambie
Senator Jacqui Lambie has led the attack on the broad energy bill rebate. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie said the failure to provide the broad, one-off energy rebate rather than properly increase the Jobseeker and Youth Allowance rates was a missed opportunity.

“We’ve spent $3.5bn providing $300 to people who don’t need it at the same time as we’ve got a gaping hole in this budget now where the govt has not fixed the adequacy of the unemployment payment,” Ms Goldie told Today.

“It should have been properly targeted to people who are struggling the most and we didn’t get that.”

She said the economy was softening and a further 100,000 could be out of work by mid-next year.

All 10 million households will be given $300 in energy bill rebates, while one million small businesses will be $325 better off.

The credits will be applied in quarterly instalments over the financial year, and the entire package will cost the budget $3.5bn.

Labor says its $7.8bn spend to give Australians struggling with the cost of living “targeted” help won’t put further pressure on inflation.

Coalition to back in $300 rebate

Mr Dutton said the Coalition will support the government’s $3.5bn package to deliver $300 in energy bill rebates for every household, as it leveraged criticism against Labor’s budget.

The Opposition Leader said the government was playing a “smoke and mirrors game” and warned $300 for an average family “wasn’t going to cut it for the average family”, but the Coalition was inclined to support the measure.

He confirmed the Coalition would also support the extension of Commonwealth rent assistance, changes to the PBS and debt relief for students.

“Because I think a lot of Australians are hurting,” Mr Dutton told ABC Radio.

‘Labor finds billions for the bad guys’: Greens

Greens leader Adam Bandt said Labor had betrayed renters, first home buyers and people doing it tough in its budget, by giving the wealthy a tax break while lower income earners are “skipping meals to pay the rent”.

Greens Presser
Greens Leader Adam Bandt says renters have been left behind in Labor’s third budget. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

He cautiously welcomed the government’s announcement of a $300 electricity bill rebate, but said he wanted to see something similar happen with rents.

“Rent is a massive driver of inflation, and the housing crisis is breaking people,” he told ABC News.

“Labor won’t get inflation under control if they allow unlimited rent rises.”

He said the 10 per cent increase to Commonwealth rent assistance was a betrayal of people doing it tough, and would pale in comparison to how quickly rents are rising.

“About three-quarters of renters don’t get any rent assistance, and for those who do get rent assistance, they’re going to get an extra $1 or so a day at a time when the Reserve Bank says that rents are going to rise by $46 a week,” he said.

“Labor just doesn’t get it. Labor has found billions for the bad guys in this budget, while you are left doing it tough.”

More to come