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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 14630


Dr CHALMERS (Rankin) (14:35): My question is to the Treasurer: When did the Treasurer first decide that the energy payment numbers and decisions in the budget were wrong?

Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongThe Treasurer) (14:35): As has been said many times, it is this government that has provided an energy supplement to the people to ease their cost of living pressures, and we have done that with a strong budgetary position. It wasn't something that the Leader of the Opposition had ever thought of. The out of touch Leader of the Opposition—someone who's not interested in the cost of living pressures with his new electricity tax, someone who's not interested in cost of living pressures by raiding the hard earned savings of retirees, someone who's not interested in cost of living pressures with his push for increased rents for millions of Australians—

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order.

Mr Burke: I refer to your earlier ruling today with respect to preambles broadening the relevance rule. This question contains absolutely no preamble and deals specifically with asking the Treasurer when it was that he first decided that the energy payment numbers and decisions in the budget were wrong.

The SPEAKER: I will rule on that point of order first, if the Treasurer would resume his seat for a second. The Manager of Opposition Business is correct that this is a very short question. It is in fact one question without a preamble—highly unusual, if I can make that observation! But as I've said on many occasions the Treasurer is entitled to have the opportunity in his introductory remarks to give some context. He's been going for about 35 or 40 seconds—there's 2:19 left on the clock and it is three minutes. So, I would be expecting him to come to the specifics of the question or wind up his answer quickly. The Treasurer has the call.

Mr FRYDENBERG: We have extended the energy supplement to include this new cohort of recipients, to ensure that this piece of legislation passes the House. It is interesting to see the Leader of the Opposition, who never came up with this idea of supporting the low- and middle-income earners—the people on disability support pension and the age pension. We made this decision because we wanted this legislation to pass the House.