Back in black to the future


SHEMPPRESSMoments after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had finished his 2019-20 Federal Budget speech at about 8.06pm last night and the standing ovations and back-slapping had died down, he sat down with The Bug‘s national political editor Atkins D’niece (pictured) for this in-depth interview.



The Bug: Congratulations on your first Budget, Treasurer.

Josh Frydenberg: Thanks very much. We’re now in the black and as a nation we’re back on track! Only the LNP manages economies well.

The Bug: You guys really believe that shit, don’t you?

Frydenberg: Well, we say it often enough so, yes, we’ve got to. But we’re definitely entitled to say that now that we are back in surplus. We’re back in the black and as a na…

The Bug: I’m not sorry to interrupt but we’re not really there yet, are we? It’s only a prediction for 2019-2020?

Frydenberg: Would you like a cup of tea and some iced vovos?

The Bug: A flat white would be nice.

Frydenberg: They’re on their way.

The Bug: As I was saying, it’s only a predicted surplus for 2019-20, isn’t it? And a lot of things will have to go right to achieve that result?

Frydenberg: Would you prefer gingernut biscuits instead?

The Bug: A little plate of both iced vo-vos and gingernut biscuits would be nice. And if the flat white could be in a mug? It’s been a long day in the lock-up.

Frydenberg: They’re on their way.

The Bug: Surpluses aside, isn’t it true that over the past six years of the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison governments, both net and gross debt have blown out to billyo? And that during those years, both revenue and expenditure as a percentage of GDP have both been quite high compared with other conservative and Labor governments?

Frydenberg: Maybe you’d prefer some milk arrowroots? They always go nicely with coffee?

The Bug: In fact, hasn’t net debt has more than doubled on the Liberals’ watch – up from $175 billion in 2013 to $373.5 billion in the Budget?

Frydenberg: Look, your coffee and bikkies can’t be far away.

The Bug: Especially expenditure levels. You know, the more you think about it, with all the money you guys have been spending over the last six years, you’d think you’d be more popular with the voters. Yet since the LNP just scrapped back in almost three years ago, you’ve trailed in all the polls, often by very wide margins.

Frydenberg: Perhaps you’d like something a little less sweet? Some shortbread biscuits, perhaps. They’re from Scotland.

The Bug: But seriously though, Treasurer, hearing you bang on in the House tonight about how wonderful your mob have been in finally overcoming Labor’s years of debt and deficit disaster to a stage now where unemployment is low, the economy is booming, small business has never been better looked after, infrastructure spending is soaring, income taxes are coming down for just about everyone and there’s been record spending on health, education and defence, do you guys ever sit down and wonder why you’re lagging in the polls? Or why you’ve done such a shit job of selling yourselves these last three years?

Frydenberg: Where the fuck are those drinks and biscuits!

The Bug: Yes, a cuppa would be nice right now.

Frydenberg: Sorry. I’ve just been told those drinks and nibblies aren’t available until 2019-20.