Treasurer Josh Frydenberg hands down his second federal budget. Source: AAP

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Budget 2020

LIVE: The most crucial federal budget in recent Australian history is revealed by Josh Frydenberg

Follow the SBS News live blog today as we preview and break down a truly historic federal budget and everything else happening in the world of Australian politics.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg hands down his second federal budget. Source: AAP

Published , updated 6 October 2020, 10:05 pm
By Tom Stayner
6 October 2020, 7:30 pm

And we're off!

You can watch a livestream of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's budget delivery below.

We're also streaming the speech on our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.

6 October 2020, 6:57 pm

30 minutes to go until Budget Time

The federal budget will be handed down in 30 minutes' time, so don't go anywhere!

Just to reiterate, this will be one of the most important budgets in modern Australian history as we continue to battle the coronavirus crisis.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg have described the announcement about to be unveiled as the most significant since World War II.

We'll be covering the budget live and streaming it here. If the thought of all that economic jargon puts you to sleep, fear not - we'll do our best to de-bore it.

In the meantime, here's a handy piece by Tom Stayner on what to expect.

6 October 2020, 6:22 pm

Welfare recipients will receive $500 in the next five months

Pensioners struggling through the coronavirus pandemic will soon receive another two lump sum cash payments.

Tuesday night's federal budget has locked in an additional $250 payment for pensioners in December and another $250 cheque in March next year.

The money will go to aged and disability pensioners, veterans, people on carer payments and family tax benefit recipients.

Commonwealth seniors health card and pensioner concession card holders are also in line for the cash.

Pensioners usually receive an automatic indexation increase twice a year.

But because the coronavirus pandemic has plunged inflation into negative territory, the pension has been frozen for the first time since 1997.

Labor has been calling on the Morrison government to reverse the freeze, arguing it is the worst possible time to put the squeeze on the household budgets of seniors and the most vulnerable.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg vowed to work through the issues facing pensioners in the lead-up to the federal budget, and made good on his promise Tuesday night.

 - Daniel McCulloch, AAP

6 October 2020, 5:51 pm

New Zealand's leaders go head-to-head in third election debate

If you need some light entertainment in the hours before the budget, some fireworks are currently flying during New Zealand's leaders' debate.

Tonight's debate, being held in the Town Hall in Christchurch, is the third debate of the 2020 election but the first to take place in front of a live audience. 

The sparks started flying when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was asked what she would have done differently in January, had she known what she knows now about the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Ardern defended the country's lockdowns, and said the "much worse" alternative would be living with COVID-19.

National Party leader Judith Collins hit back saying the second lockdown was "totally unnecessary", and could have been avoided if border-facing staff had been routinely tested.

"The idea that returning New Zealanders would come back to this country completely free of Covid-19 is a dreamland," Ms Ardern said, adding that it was not correct to say the outbreak came from the border.

"Where did it come from? A rock in your garden?" replied Ms Collins.

With ~zingers~ like these, who needs budget analyses? 

Source: Getty

6 October 2020, 4:37 pm

'Unprecedented crisis' calls for 'unprecedented response'

Ernst & Young Oceania Chief Economist Jo Masters said the pandemic calls for an "unprecedented response" in economic terms.

"That's not just size. We've talked a lot about the eye-watering numbers that we're expecting," Ms Masters said on the ABC's Afternoon Briefing.

"But unprecedented in terms of scope and also in terms of timeliness. We do need to make sure enough stimulus is getting into the economy fast enough and that's particularly true of infrastructure which we know is very impactful in terms of driving down the unemployment rate but can take time to feed into the economy."

Ms Masters praised the federal government's initial response to the pandemic, but said we now "need to see a good job in terms of recovery and reform".

6 October 2020, 3:48 pm

RBA leaves cash rate at 0.25 per cent

Reserve Bank officials have left the cash rate unchanged at a record low 0.25 per cent, allowing Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's federal budget to have the economic limelight.

The same rate remains for the yield target on three-year government bonds, and there is no change to the term funding facility open to banks and other institutions.

The decision follows the central bank's monthly meeting.

Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic was under way in most parts of Australia, although this would be bumpy and uneven.

Mr Lowe said the high unemployment rate (7.5 per cent) was an important priority.

He noted the federal budget was due on Tuesday night, and said fiscal and monetary support would be required for some time given the economic outlook and prospect of high unemployment.

Some economists had suggested the RBA would cut the rate ahead of the much-anticipated federal budget, to provide a united effort at helping the economy overcome the coronavirus recession.

The RBA has not changed the cash rate since March, when it used quantitative easing measures as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in Australia.


6 October 2020, 3:35 pm

'I won't indulge the juvenile antics of the opposition'

Labor Deputy Leader Richard Marles has shown off one of the notorious "Back in Black" mugs during a question to the Prime Minister. 

Mr Marles then asked "what marketing will be on the PM's mug this year?", before the Speaker warned him against using props during Question Time. 


Source: eBay

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he wouldn't "indulge the juvenile antics of the opposition".

"Today is a very serious day for Australia, Mr Speaker, because in the midst of this COVID-19 recession, there is the need for the continuing response the government has been leading, not only to cushion the blow, Mr Speaker, of this terrible recession that is global in nature, but as we continue to recover what has been lost, to build again for the future."

6 October 2020, 5:20 pm

PM says budget will deliver for younger Australians

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised tonight's budget will include plans to support the futures of young people as the nation battles an economic recession. 

"Young people will see that plan for them, and for their future, whether they are leaving school, whether they are on a apprenticeship," Mr Morrison said during question time.

"This government has got their backs to get them into a job, not for them to spend a life on welfare, because our plan is about building for the future and getting Australians in jobs, back into jobs, and to stay in jobs."

The government is expected to announce a wage subsidy for 700,000 under 35s in the budget tonight to help get them back to work and off income support payments. 

It has already announced a $1.2 billion wage subsidy to help more apprentices enter the workforce by covering 50 per cent of their wages. 

6 October 2020, 2:48 pm

PM defends record on responding to coronavirus crisis

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has questioned the Prime Minister on whether the recession will be made "longer and deeper" because of the government's decision to cut JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments.

To which, Prime Minister Scott Morrison fired back: "The Leader of the Opposition in the way he has framed this question seems to be the only Australian in this country who does not understand there is a COVID-19 pandemic going on in the world today."

He defended the government's record on responding to the economic impacts of the pandemic: "You manage a crisis with the strength and responsible economic management and the responsiveness and the certainty that our government has provided over these many past months as we have done, and they can jeer all they like but their record of failure speaks for itself in a crisis (the Global Financial Crisis, according to the PM)."


6 October 2020, 2:49 pm

Government pressed on budget response during question time

Question time has kicked off at Parliament ahead of the government's release of the budget tonight. 

Labor Treasury spokesperson Jim Chalmers has pressed the Prime Minister on how a tax cut of less than $50 a fortnight would make up for JobKeeper payments recently being scaled back by $300 a fortnight.  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's reply: "When Australians look at what the treasurer has to say tonight, what they will hear is a hope for the future, what they will hear is their jobs being more secure and the jobs that they are looking forward to become more real, that is our plan to secure those jobs, to keep those drugs and to build those jobs for the future, those opposites have no such plan."


6 October 2020, 2:29 pm

'Fix JobSeeker' instead of tax cuts, ACOSS says

Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) CEO Cassandra Goldie has warned plans to bring forward tax cuts in tonight's budget will not help Australians on lower incomes.

Ms Goldie told the ABC the money would be better spent on extending welfare support for the unemployed.

"This is not a package that helps people on low and middle-incomes. It overwhelmingly benefits people on higher incomes, people who have jobs. We continue to say we need to fix JobSeeker and the social security transfer payment system would have been a much better way to have ... precious dollars into the hands of people who need it," she said.

The government is expected to announce "stage two" personal income tax cuts will be backdated to 1 July, instead being due in mid 2022. 

But ACOSS is more worried about the possibility JobSeeker returning to its pre-pandemic base rate of $40 a day.

A coronavirus supplement for the payment is set to end from 1 January next year. 

6 October 2020, 1:52 pm

Dan Tehan thanks Centre Alliance for support of university reforms

Education Minister Dan Tehan has put out a statement following the news that Centre Alliance will support his university legislation: “The Job-ready Graduates legislation will provide more university places for Australian students, make it cheaper to study in areas of expected job growth and provide more funding and support to regional students and universities. I want to thank the Senate crossbench for their good faith negotiations."

Source: AAP

6 October 2020, 1:22 pm

'Will this budget continue to leave us behind too?'

ICYMI, this refugee, Zaki, was on the ABC’s QandA program last night, where he asked the panellists what the budget might have in store for people like him on temporary visas. Temporary visa holders have not been granted access to the same level of coronavirus support as Australian citizens.

Assistant Minister for Financial Services Jane Hume said his story was “heartbreaking” and thought that temporary protection visa holders should be considered differently to those on regular temporary visas. She offered to speak to him after the show.

Economist Nicki Hutley said it was “disgraceful” Zaki and other temporary visa holders are in the situation they are. Watch here:

6 October 2020, 1:15 pm

Lidia Thorpe sworn in as new Greens senator

Meanwhile, Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe has been sworn into the upper house. She carried a message stick bearing a single mark for each of the 441 Indigenous Australians who have died in custody since a Royal Commission into the problem in 1991. 

She's pledged to use her position as a member of the Senate to fight for the justice of First Nations people. 

"I am determined to work hard for justice in this place, every day," she said on Twitter.

"My fist was raised as I entered the Senate chamber as an expression of my people’s strength, resilience and survival and a symbol of solidarity with all the families of Aboriginal people who have died in custody."

6 October 2020, 12:44 pm

'Uncertainty scares me most'

My colleague Gavin Fernando also has this story for us about about the uncertainty being faced by people currently on JobSeeker payments for the unemployed. 

From 1 January next year, a coronavirus boost to the income support payments is set to be removed entirely. 

This follows the welfare supplement being scaled back from $550 to $250 per fortnight on 25 September. 

We're not expecting any announcements tonight on extending this support or increasing JobSeeker's base rate of $40, which has long been criticised by advocacy groups as insufficient.    

But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has previously said the government is "leaning in on continuing to provide support."


6 October 2020, 12:26 pm

University reforms are 'absolutely cruel' and a mistake during recession, Labor says

Labor Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek has also voiced her concerns about the government's university reforms - now likely to pass with support from Centre Alliance.

Ms Plibersek warned the middle of a recession is not the time to make the changes labelling them "absolutely cruel". 

"You would really think at a time of recession when we've got so many people joining the unemployment queues, that we would make it easier, simpler, more affordable to get an education. This government is doing the exact opposite," she said.

Source: AAP

6 October 2020, 11:42 am

Nationals Senator slammed for 'racist' slogan

SBS' The Feed also has this story to share about backlash against Nationals Senator Matt Canavan for posting a photo of a ute with the slogan "Black Coal Matters".

He posted this tweet yesterday:

6 October 2020, 11:38 am

Greens Senator accuses Centre Alliance of 'selling out' university students

Centre Alliance has announced it will back the Jobs-Ready Graduates Package likely providing the government the casting vote in the Senate.

The reforms would increase the cost of humanities degree and cut fees in maths, science and other subjects deemed more likely to lead to employment.

Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi has accused the Centre Alliance of "selling out" university students by agreeing to the measures. 

“This bill is a cruel and unfixable mess. It condemns students to decades of debt," she said.

Under concessions secured by Centre Alliance, universities in South Australia would receive more support and students who fail subjects in their first year will be better protected.

Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie said the reforms were "by no means perfect" but would give "disadvantaged students and students from regional areas greater access to university education."

6 October 2020, 10:59 am

'Tax cuts mean nothing if you don’t have a job'

Greens Leader Adam Bandt has rejected the government's plan to bring forward legislated tax cuts. 

Mr Bandt thinks the money could be better spent elsewhere, such as investing in a "green recovery" and increasing welfare support for the unemployed. 

"In the middle of a recession, gov shouldn’t give more handouts to the super-wealthy. Tax cuts mean nothing if you don’t have a job."" he said on Twitter.

The stage two income tax cuts are set to be backdated to July 1, after previously being due in mid 2022.

This is expected to see the top threshold for the 19 per cent rate increase from $37,000 to $45,000.

It would also lift the 32.5 per cent top threshold from $90,000 to $120,000.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese earlier said the opposition would likely support bringing forward the measure.

"Last year we supported Stage One and Stage Two, including a bringing forward of Stage Two of tax cuts," he said.

Source: AAP

6 October 2020, 10:32 am

Smile ... for the camera

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann have held their budget photo opportunity for the media. 

But amid an economic recession and record budget deficit - the tone is no doubt more subdued this year.

Source: Mike Bowers, THE GUARDIAN

Back in May last year the government had already declared the nation "Back in Black".

Then you know 2020 happened.

Source: aap

And who could forget the merchandise...

Source: eBay