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Federal budget 2015: Thursday 14 May

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May 14, 2015 - 4:44PM

The government's budget sales pitch continues. Meanwhile Opposition leader Bill Shorten prepares for his reply speech tonight.

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We'll be back the week after next on May 25. Hope to see you then.


Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has also owned up to using two paid parental leave schemes after his wife had their first baby a little while ago.

Mr Frydenberg told Sky News his wife "accessed two schemes" as she was legally entitled to do so.

Mr Frydenberg says he supports the new policy on paid parental leave and says it won't deter him from having more children.

"I'm hopeful of having more kids," Mr Frydenberg says.

Treasurer Joe Hockey and Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg during question time on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares


A couple more budget related stories before I sign off for the day (and the week).

Did you know the budget contains a banana tax. No? Neither did I.

Fortunately Dan Harrison has been reading through the fine print and is up to speed .

You may already be aware that academic website The Conversation had its funding cut in the budget.

Matthew Knott reports that the website is now reviewing its future.


My colleague James Massola has gone back to the MPs who were agitating for a leadership change earlier this year and asked them what they thought of the budget .

Mal Brough, Sharman Stone, Andrew Laming and Wyatt Roy all praised the budget and dismissed the prospect of another leadership challenge .

"I thought it [the leadership ballot] was desperately needed at the time but Tony and his fellow cabinet ministers have made enormous efforts, it was a real wake-up call," Dr Stone tells James.

"Things are vastly different and better now."


Remember way back on Sunday and Monday when we were all feel a wee bit sorry for the Treasurer ?

He had an unfortunate television interview on Sunday morning plus had to suffer his press conference being scheduled at the same time as one given by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Social Security Minister Scott Morrison .

Five days on and Mr Hockey is all smiles and thumbs up. He gets to sell the government's popular budget measures for small business while Mr Morrison is left explaining the government's changes to paid parental leave.

As they say, a week is a long time in politics.

Treasurer Joe Hockey during question time on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen


And that's it for question time .

Parliament will adjourn later tonight until Monday May 25.

A house keeping note - I will not be blogging Mr Shorten's reply speech but it will be covered by my colleagues.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce during question time on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen


Back in the House of Representatives and former treasurer Wayne Swan has been kicked out for refusing to withdraw his comment that Treasurer Joe Hockey is a liar.

"I'm not going to withdraw, Madam Speaker, because the Treasurer is a liar," Mr Swan says.

Former treasurer Wayne Swan in question time on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares


Over in Senate question time Labor Senator Sam Dastyari is asking the Finance Minister Mathias Cormann about his wife's parental leave.

(Senator Cormann's office still has not provided the information it said it would as reported in the 11.29 am post.)

Senator Dastyari wants to know if any Coalition MPs including the minister have benefited from paid parental leave.

Senator Cormann says upon the birth of his "little child" his family did "work within the system that was in place at the time".

I think that's a yes.


The Labor member for Hotham, Clare O'Neil is thrown out for her contribution on paid parental leave.

She's not sorry.

Proud to get kicked out of #qt today standing up for new mums. @AustralianLabor will NEVER back this proposal to cut their PPL.

— Clare O'Neil MP (@Clare_ONeil_MP) May 14, 2015


Just by way of fyi - the

Coalition voted for the paid parental leave scheme when Labor introduced the paid parental leave scheme legislation in 2010.

It moved no amendments.


Now Mr Abbott is asked by Mr Shorten about the parental leave provisions of Australian Federal Police and Australian Defence Force personnel. Should they spend less time with their babies, he asks.

Mr Abbott says he wants "everyone to have the best possible paid parental leave scheme".

He segues into wondering what Mr Shorten will say in his budget reply speech.

(This is going all sorts of bad for the government.)

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen


Things are getting rapidly out of control in question time .

Labor MP Terri Butler has raised the case of a woman in her electorate who wants to know what will happen to her parental leave.

Mr Morrison says the Opposition just wants to protect its "unfair public sector union scheme".

Ms Butler says the woman in question is not a public servant and gets thrown out by Speaker Bronwyn Bishop for her efforts.

Speaker Bronwyn Bishop orders Labor MP Terri Butler to leave question time on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen


Deputy Opposition leader Tanya Plibersek takes over the questioning and asks Mr Abbott if it is preferable for new mothers "to have 18 weeks at home with their babies or is it better for them to have six months".

Mr Abbott accuses Labor of wanting to block its childcare package and says if opposition MPs do not like what is on offer they should come up with an alternative.


The Opposition asks about nurses who receive 24 weeks paid parental leave and whether the government believes their entitlements are a rort.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison opens up a new line of attack from the government which involves talking about the 18 week minimum wage government provided scheme as a "safety net paid parental leave scheme" .

He then goes on to criticise the way it was set up - by the previous Labor government - as a dodgy program to benefit union members .

Treasurer Joe Hockey, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Social Services Minister Scott Morrison during question time on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares


Back to the budget with a question from the government benches.

In a nutshell, Mr Abbott explains, it is about "a fair go for people having a go ".

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and Treasurer Joe Hockey arrive for question time on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen


Opposition leader Bill Shorten begins by asking Prime Minister Tony Abbott if he will apologise for calling the mothers of Australia rorters and fraudsters in relation to paid parental leave.

Mr Abbott appears disinclined to do so but he is happy to explain why the government has chosen to go down this path.


The hour is nearly upon us.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrives for question time on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares


Labor's agriculture spokesman, Joel Fitzgibbon. has put out a statement re the fate of Boo and Pistol.

It's headed "Barnaby orders Boo and Pistol to walk the plank" and accuses the minister of playing the puppy not the issue.

"Barnaby Joyce has chosen to blame and threaten Johnny Depp's two cute puppies for a serious failing in our biosecurity system," Mr Fitzgibbon thundered.

"Instead of grandstanding before the media, Barnaby Joyce should be answering the hard questions about the breach and what role his biosecurity funding cuts may have played."


For all the government's talk about the importance of addressing family violence one might have expected there to be some funding for projects in Tuesday night's budget.

But no.


The office of Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm has put out a bingo sheet for tonight's budget reply speech by Opposition leader Bill Shorten .

Just fyi the accompanying press release notes the deliberate use of the comic sans font was chosen to "maximise your enjoyment".


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