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ScoMo blasted for 'disgraceful' Budget reply act

Lucy Dean
·4-min read
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 08: Prime Minister Scott Morrison listens as Labor Opposition leader Anthony Albanese during his budget reply speech on October 08, 2020 in Canberra, Australia. The Morrison government's second budget was published on Tuesday after its release in May was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has delivered a federal budget deficit of $213.7 billion in the wake of coronavirus and related shutdowns, with a number of tax cuts to be introduced to help boost the economy and create jobs as Australia experiences its first recession in 29 years. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison faced away as Anthony Albanese delivered the Budget reply. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

The Australian Prime Minister has been condemned for facing away from Opposition leader Anthony Albanese during Labor’s Budget reply on Thursday night.

Albanese delivered an alternative Budget pitch on Thursday, placing affordable childcare and renewable energy at the heart of Labor’s plan to deliver Australia from recession.

However, Australians including prominent barrister Julian Burnside condemned the Government’s behaviour during Albanese’s speech, sharing photos of frontbenchers apparently on their phones and looking away, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 08: Labor Opposition leader Anthony Albanese during his budget reply speech on October 08, 2020 in Canberra, Australia. The Morrison government's second budget was published on Tuesday after its release in May was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has delivered a federal budget deficit of $213.7 billion in the wake of coronavirus and related shutdowns, with a number of tax cuts to be introduced to help boost the economy and create jobs as Australia experiences its first recession in 29 years. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)
Anthony Albanese delivers Budget reply. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

“Interesting to watch the Budget reply speech. Albanese was making some really worthwhile points. But PM Scott Morrison sat, apparently ignoring it all, and apparently working on his mobile phone,” Burnside said.

“Scott Morrison is a disgrace.”

However, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was spared from criticism, with political commentator and author Jamila Rizvi describing him as “all eyes and ears”.

“Politics aside, with big speeches like the Budget and Budget reply, I like seeing politicians listen to each other. Basic old fashioned principles of respect. Frydenberg is all eyes and ears on Albo but most of the frontbench (including the PM) are on their phones,” she said.

Other Australians began weighing in, describing it as “so disrespectful” and “disgraceful”.

Labor phrase under magnifying glass

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 08: Labor Opposition leader Anthony Albanese during his budget reply speech on October 08, 2020 in Canberra, Australia. The Morrison government's second budget was published on Tuesday after its release in May was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has delivered a federal budget deficit of $213.7 billion in the wake of coronavirus and related shutdowns, with a number of tax cuts to be introduced to help boost the economy and create jobs as Australia experiences its first recession in 29 years. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)
Anthony Albanese has been criticised for a particular phrase. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

However, Albanese also didn’t escape criticism, with his and Labor’s use of the term, “The Morrison recession”, facing scrutiny.

Commentator Steve Price questioned whether it was “clever, smart or accurate”, while political biographer and writer Troy Bramston dubbed it “cringeworthy” and “treating voters like mugs”.

The ABC’s Leigh Sales also queried whether Australians would buy that the recession is down to the Prime Minister’s economic mismanagement.

Responding to her questioning, AlphaBeta economist and former economic adviser to Kevin Rudd Andrew Charlton said it’s unlikely anyone would blame Morrison for the recession.

“I think the point that Anthony Albanese is seeking to make is that the recovery is something that Scott Morrison is responsible for,” he said.

“So he's not responsible for creating the recession, but he is responsible for how long that recession is and what kind of recovery we have and that is Labor's job, to watch that recovery and make sure that the best policies are put in place.”

The Budget and Budget reply come as Australia battles its first recession in 30 years and a pandemic with no clear end in sight.

For more Yahoo Finance stories on the 2020 Federal Budget, visit here.

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