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7 things you didn't know about Treasurer Josh Frydenberg

Anastasia Santoreneos
·4-min read
7 surprising facts about Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Source: Getty
7 surprising facts about Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Source: Getty

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has been a prominent face on our televisions this year, delivering stimulus package after stimulus package and unveiling the nation’s largest budget deficit since World War Two.

On Tuesday, he will deliver what is being called our most important Federal Budget in history, with his policies expected to pull Australia out of its first recession in nearly 30 years.

But outside of the fact that he is the gatekeeper of the nation’s finances, many Aussies probably don’t know a lot about Frydenberg.

Let’s change that.

His mother escaped the holocaust

Frydenberg’s mother, Erica Strausz, was born in Hungary, and fled to Australia after escaping the Holocaust. She arrived as a stateless child from a refugee camp.

While it’s not exactly a fact about the Treasurer himself, it became an issue back when he was energy minister, and was forced to face questions about the possibility of being a dual national in Hungary.

"It is absolutely absurd to think that I could involuntarily acquire Hungarian citizenship by rule of a country that rendered my mother stateless," he said in 2017.

He almost dropped out of high school

Back in the day, Frydenberg was an avid tennis player. So much so that he even tried to get his parents to let him drop out of high school to pursue a career in it.

Unfortunately, they shut it down, leading the then-teenager to put a sign on his bedroom wall saying, “the pain of discipline is far easier than the pain of regret”.

He played professional tennis

Though he wasn’t allowed to drop out of school, his tennis dreams weren’t crushed entirely. Eventually, his parents agreed to let him take a gap year after year 12 to give it a shot.

And shoot his shot he did: he played tennis full-time throughout Australia and Europe, and even played some of the greats.

“I beat [Mark] Philippoussis in doubles; got beaten by [Pat] Rafter,” he told the Herald Sun.

He studied at Harvard

If you’re going to handle a whole country’s bank account, you must be fairly intelligent.

Frydenberg has a plethora of credentials: he graduated from Monash University with honours in law and economics, and went on to work at one of the nation’s top commercial law firms.

But he didn’t stop there. He was offered a Fulbright scholarship to the US and a scholarship to Oxford University. He chose the latter, and completed a Master of Philosophy and a degree in International Relations.

Clearly, he still wasn’t satisfied.

The Treasurer later went on to complete a Masters of Public Administration at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

He had a mullet

While Frydenberg hasn’t got much to show for it now, back when he was younger, he sported the classic Australian do: a mullet.

And he’s not even ashamed of it. In fact, when political reporter Samantha Maiden texted the Treasurer at 7:54am back in 2019 asking for some proof of said mullet, he replied with photos in less than a minute.

He worked on a sheep station

You can’t be all work and no play.

Between 1999 and 2004, Frydenberg worked as a ministerial adviser in Canberra. But, after his final stint as senior adviser to then-Prime Minister John Howard, Frydenberg decided he needed a hiatus, and left Canberra.

But rather than spend a month lying on a Grecian beach, he went to South Australia and decided to spend a month as a jackaroo on a sheep station. Naturally.

When he returned, he took up a job as director of global banking at Deutsche Bank. He later joined Parliament again in 2010.

He had his own photography exhibition

Frydenberg has worn many hats: tennis player, economist, lawyer and jackaroo, to name a few.

One you may not have expected the Treasurer to wear is: photographer. Frydenberg developed a bit of an interest in photography, and even staged his own art exhibition at a gallery in Richmond back in 2009.

His pictures were mostly of industrial subjects, and all the proceeds went to charity.

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

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