Budget day 2024 live updates: Chalmers says ‘help is on the way’, hints at more relief for those on lowest incomes | Australian politics

‘Help is on the way’ for low income earners in budget, treasurer says

Josh Butler

Josh Butler

The treasurer, Jim Chalmers, says “help is on the way” when asked about further relief for those on the lowest incomes in tonight’s budget, but wouldn’t be drawn on what that might look like.

The treasurer did his usual budget morning photo op of walking in through the ministerial entrance of Parliament House, in one of the strange little budget traditions we’ve all just accepted (which also include, inexplicably, a strange focus on the treasurer’s jogging habits in the lead-up to the big day).

His entrance was almost upstaged by the prime minister, whose C1 limousine swept into the courtyard just a moment before Chalmers.

When the treasurer took the floor in front of a waiting media pack, he described his budget as one that “eases cost of living pressures, and fights inflation, and invests in a future Australia”.

Chalmers said:

The cost-of-living relief in this budget will be substantial and it will be responsible. There will be a tax cut for every taxpayer. And there will be more help to help people make ends meet.

We asked about those on the lowest incomes, like pensioners or those on jobseeker payments, who likely won’t see much help from the tax cuts. Chalmers coyly answered “help is on the way”, but didn’t give any hints.

The tax cuts are the biggest part of the cost-of-living relief in the budget, but not the only part of the cost of living relief in the budget. Our big priority here is to put the people front and centre. We know that people are doing it tough and that’s why more help is on the way tonight.


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Key events

Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

The Victorian premier, Jacinta Allan, is holding a press conference in Richmond, where she’s announced the government has fast tracked the planning approvals for the expansion of the Victoria Gardens development.

She says the $780m expansion will see 827 new homes built across six buildings – including 10% dedicated to affordable housing.

The project was submitted as part of the government’s development facilitation program, unveiled last year as part of plans to build 800,000 new homes over the next decade.

Under the program, planning applications for developments valued at over $50m in Melbourne and $15m in regional Victoria are assessed by the state government rather than by local governments, provided they include at least 10% affordable housing.

Allan says since the program was introduced in September, seven residential projects delivering 1,113 homes have been fast tracked. A further 10 applications are currently under assessment, comprising more than 1,000 homes, and 101 projects are in the pre-application phase, comprising more than 33,000 homes.

She says:

We know the key issue in our community right now is either they can’t buy their first home, they can’t find a home close to family, they can’t find a home close to jobs or they’re priced out of the market altogether. That is why we are using every lever we have across government … to build more homes.

Caitlin Cassidy

Caitlin Cassidy

Deakin University has become the first institution in Australia to order for the dismantling of its pro-Palestine student encampment, as protestors vow they will “not be moved”.

In a letter sent to organisers from deputy vice chancellor of Deakin, Kerrie Parker, the university requested the immediate dismantling and removal of the current encampment to ensure the “safety, security and amenity of all campus users”.

It noted organisers had flagged the camp would run from 7 May to 10 May, a date which had now lapsed, adding the university took its obligations in relation to the health, safety and wellbeing of students, staff and visitors “very seriously”.

The Deakin Gaza Solidarity Encampment called the move “Orwellian” and reiterated its demand that the university immediately divest its ties with the state of Israel and all weapons manufacturers, and for the vice chancellor to meet with protestors.

While the university insists that our camp has carried on long enough, our demands have been met with not a single response. This shows us that we have not been here for long enough … We will not be moved. We have the right to freedom of speech and protest.”

The shadow education minister, Sarah Henderson praised Deakin’s “leadership” and urged the federal government and remaining universities to “show the same commitment to the right of every person to access and enjoy a safe and secure learning and working environment”.

Josh Taylor

Josh Taylor

The federal court yesterday refused to extend an injunction on Elon Musk’s X over 65 tweets containing the video of the Wakeley church stabbing the eSafety commissioner had ordered to be removed globally. We now know why.

In reasons released this morning, Justice Geoffrey Kennett found that forcing a US-based company like X to remove content globally would have “potential consequences for orderly and amicable relations between nations” and most likely the notice would be “ignored or disparaged in other countries”.

He said:

For these reasons, I have come to the view… that the commissioner will not succeed in establishing that compliance with the removal notice entails blocking access to the 65 URLs by all users of X Corp.

He also noted that the removal of the tweets would not stop the video being available widely as it still currently is.

It wasn’t all bad news for the eSafety commissioner, however, with Kennett not agreeing at this stage with X’s argument that the notice issued for the removal of the tweets to X was invalid. He said there is not a substantial possibility that X will be able to establish that the removal notice is valid, and while the onus is on the eSafety commissioner to prove validity, there’s not sufficient reason at this stage not to assume the onus can be met.

There is a further case management hearing for the case on Wednesday morning, with a final hearing expected in June.


The house of representatives and the senate will both sit at midday today.

About an hour later, the budget lock up will begin, which is traditionally the quietest time on Australian twitter, as most of the political media class is locked away for six and a half hours.

Not me though – you will still receive your updates, as normal, as the parliament day rolls on.


What does Anthony Albanese think should happen with the encampments and protests? Does he think they should be shut down?

Albanese said:

Well, it certainly is a matter for the authorities, for the police. I think that, look, we in this country have a right to protest. That’s really important.

It’s important, but it’s important as well that it be respectful. And I say this to people, how they protest reflects on whether that protest is winning support or losing support.

And when people see division like that being deliberately done, for the Jewish community, suffering from increase the rise in antisemitism, they’re going through an incredibly difficult period.

And for people who have relatives in Gaza, I get that this is a distressing time as well. It’s important that there be respectful debate in this country and what we’re seeing at the moment, and you only have to look at any of my social media feeds to see what is hatred, what is ignorance, what is divisive.

And it doesn’t have a place.

You can have different views about the Middle East, and people do, and they should be conducted though in a peaceful and respectful manner.

And it’s beyond me why people would think that it advances their cause to engage in the sort of behaviour that we are seeing


In that same interview, Albanese was again asked about the anti-genocide university encampments and the chant “from the river to the sea”. He was not as dismissive as he was in the interview Josh Butler reported on earlier, but he did repeat his assertion that people who use the phrase “wouldn’t be able to find the Jordan on a map”:

Why would a group of people deliberately go towards, in this case pro-Palestinian protesters, go towards a group of Jewish students, so deliberately those groups were brought together? It’s a provocative act, and it’s just like the people who went near the synagogue.


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Albanese says government wants to bring inflation down to ‘around half of where it peaked’

In an interview with Melbourne radio 3AW, Anthony Albanese was asked about cuts to migration and said:

We want to bring it down to around about half of where it peaked. You’ll see a range of measures in tonight’s budget aimed at doing that, including a clamp down on integrity issues when it comes to higher education – that’s really important. The students travelling to Australia to get an education is an important economic resource, it’s also a way which we assist people in the region. Good for Australia, good for those people who are getting a proper education.

But we don’t want the system to be gamed so that it becomes a way where people aren’t getting proper training, or proper skills, proper education, because that undermines the entire system and does not bring credit to Australia. So you’ll see tonight, in tonight’s budget, as part of our higher ed review, a range of measures supporting higher education, including that area as well.


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State and territory Labor MPs ask Albanese government to recognise Palestine

Labor MPs from across the states and territories have written to the foreign minister, Penny Wong, asking the Albanese government to recognise sovereign Palestine:


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I’d just like some cupcakes, but to each their own.


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Josh Butler

Josh Butler

Albanese suggests pro-Palestine demonstrators ‘wouldn’t be able to find River Jordan on a map’

Anthony Albanese has again condemned the “from the river to the sea” chant heard at pro-Palestine rallies, claiming those voicing the phrase “wouldn’t have a clue”.

Albanese was on a round of pre-budget interviews this morning, landing on Melbourne’s 3AW around 9am. He gave the lines about the budget focusing on cost of living relief and inflation, before the conversation turned to the pro-Palestine university rallies.

Albanese has previously condemned the chant “from the river to the sea”. It’s a phrase protesters say is a rallying cry for freedom for Palestinians, but that many Israeli groups say is a threat for the destruction of Israel.

Albanese said, “unfortunately what that chant says, essentially, is there should be one state. From time to time some people have said that one state should be Israel, and in the case of the people chanting, they’re saying that one state should be Palestine.”

The PM said Israelis and Palestinians had a “common interest” in being able to live in peace and security.

One of the really disappointing things is, I reckon if you asked those people chanting it, heaps of them wouldn’t have a clue, wouldn’t be able to find the [river] Jordan on a map,” he said.

This is a complex issue. But the sort of slogans being used, I’ve heard another chant being used last night as well in which I featured heavily.”

Albanese accused some participants at the rallies of “provocative” behaviour, saying some of the acts were a matter for the police.

We in this country have a right to protest, it’s really important, but it’s important as well it be respectful … how they protest reflects on whether that support is winning support or losing support.”

The PM called for “respectful debate”.

You only have to look at any of my social media feeds to see what is hatred, what is ignorance, what is divisive, and it doesn’t have a place.”


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Budget’s focus on surplus irresponsible while people are in poverty, Antipoverty Centre says

The Antipoverty Centre has also reacted to the news that Jim Chalmers will be handing down his second surplus, particularly given the rate of jobseeker and other associated payments won’t be raised.

Antipoverty Centre spokesperson and disability support pension recipient Kristin O’Connell said there was “no such thing as a ‘responsible budget’ that left people in poverty”.

People in poverty are not the ones fuelling inflation, and helping us would not hurt the economy.

The treasurer has already signalled he will be announcing inadequate and flawed measures such as energy payments and Commonwealth Rent Assistance that are ostensibly to help welfare recipients but in reality achieve little more than giving the government an unearned veneer of humanity.

We and other community-led organisations have been clear about what we will assess Chalmers’ performance on tonight, and a surplus without meaningful support for people in poverty will give them a failing grade.


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Sarah Basford Canales

Sarah Basford Canales

Judge says David McBride ‘did not comply with commonwealth security clearance protocols’ in sentencing remarks

Justice David Mossop is continuing his sentencing remarks this morning in the ACT supreme court ahead of his delivering his judgment against former army lawyer David McBride.

Mossop is detailing some of the events that will contribute to his decision. In one section, Mossop detailed that McBride had removed a total of 235 documents from Australian defence force facilities between May 2014 and December 2015

Of those, 207 documents were classified as secret.

After McBride removed these documents – many of them from the ADF’s operations headquarters north of Canberra in Bungendore – he stored them in four plastic tubs in a cupboard in his lounge room, the judge said.

On one occasion in February 2018, McBride’s house was up for sale and a real estate agent opened the property up for a public viewing.

Mossop said the plastic tubs full of secret military documents remained in the cupboard in the lounge room while members of the public walked through the house unaccompanied.

Mossop said it clearly did not comply with the commonwealth government’s security clearance arrangements.


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