Let us sum up the ordeal of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s solo Q&A look on Monday evening: he did his greatest to hold firm when spinning like a hyperactive washing machine in the face of 16 difficult concerns and only one particular vaguely friendly one particular.
“OK. Nicely, I actually appreciate your query…”
“Nicely, the reality is…”
“We’ll let the public function that out.”
“What you happen to be failing to fully grasp, Tony…”
“What the Prime Minister has been quite clear about…”
“I imply, we essentially are undertaking that. I will inform you in a couple of strategies how we’re undertaking that…”
“The message is we’ll go back to…”
“The explanation Newstart is distinctive to the age pension or the disability help pension is it is not, necessarily, the only kind of earnings that individuals have…”
‘Well, the reality is…’: Frydenberg’s post-truth battle in solo Q&A look
In a solo Q&A look on Monday evening, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg faced 16 difficult concerns and only one particular vaguely friendly one particular.
If you want a sense of how the evening unfolded, here’s host Tony Jones’ response to that final Frydenberg gambit, which referenced a particular former prime minister’s help for an improve to Newstart.
Jones: “So John Howard got that one particular incorrect, did he?”
Frydenberg: “I would by no means criticise John Howard, I can inform you.”
Jones: “You did not listen to him either.”
This is a challenging gig, so let’s not underestimate it: 11/four hours of reside tv with concerns that had been all hostile or bordering on it. “That is democracy,” as Tony Jones stated in closing.
And it undoubtedly was democratic. Sixteen voters and one particular 16-year-old threw their views at the Treasurer and he had to respond on the spot, like to some apparent absurdities of current government policy.
On Christmas Island, Kris Fennell wondered: “How [does the Government] justify the reopening and instant closure of the Christmas Island detention facility, which is reportedly costing us $185 million? How are we as voters meant to trust a government which can make a selection that outcomes in such a huge waste of taxpayers’ funds for what appears to be inexpensive political points?”
Frydenberg smelled the sandwich he’d been handed, and attempted as greatest he could with vague celebrations of several speaking points, such as “the reality is that selection was imposed upon us” and “the message is…”
Jones: “What is the message now that you happen to be committed by your policy to shut the centre down in July?”
Frydenberg: “The message is we’ll go back to…”
Jones: “That is a welcome mat, is it?”
Frydenberg: “The message is…”
Other questioners wanted to know about recommended government wastage on factors such as not calling an election and carrying on spending on government marketing like drunken sailors in the meantime.
“Do you believe it is fair that taxpayers are paying for absolutely free marketing and absolutely free air travel for the Prime Minister and his ministers about the nation … will you tonight, as Treasurer of the nation, inform us the expense of that delay by a week?”
Nicely, no. He would not. Such ad campaigns, the Treasurer assured us, had been all a portion of excellent government and maintaining the citizenry informed of this distinct government’s excellent operates.
Jones: “Can you inform us … how a lot will be spent in this week?”
Frydenberg: “I can inform you, for instance, that all this details about the fees will turn into public…”
Jones: “You happen to be saying following the election?”
Frydenberg: “Soon after the election…”
Jones: “Hang on a sec…”
.@JoshFrydenberg just told us that Australians will not be told how a lot the government will devote on taxpayer funded advertisements this week till following the election. It is at least $five million. They know the true figure but opt for not to inform you. #QandA
— Chris Bowen (@Bowenchris) April 8, 2019
We hung on a sec but had been none the wiser.
Nor was there a lot joy to be had for the questioners who challenged the Treasurer on climate modify action: “As a 16-year-old, I am quite conscious that the effects of climate modify will be most harshly felt by my generation and future generations to come … I am receiving fed up with you and your party’s inability to take meaningful action.”
Or on criticisms that final week’s price range surplus was constructed on quantity-fiddling on the back of underspending on the National Disability Insurance coverage Scheme – or as the questioner place it, “on the backs of some of the most vulnerable members of our neighborhood”.
The Treasurer battled gamely, even though his light did look to dim as the grilling went on. This was a cynical audience – probably reflective of a wider electorate cynical of politics and politicians in common.
It was probably greatest summed up by the questioner who reduce suitable to the chase: “Is it affordable now to look at that Australian federal politics is primarily post-truth?”
Frydenberg’s response: “Nicely, the reality is…”