Politics

March 29 budget paves way for federal election in May


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The federal budget will be brought forward to March 29, as the Prime Minister weighs up an election in early May.

A parliamentary program tabled on Monday sets out 10 sitting days between January and March.

Budgets are normally delivered in May.

Scott Morrison used the same tactic in 2019, bringing forward the budget to April 2 before seeking an election writ nine days later.

The election was held on May 18.

Manager of Opposition business Tony Burke said the 2022 program showed a government seeking to hide from scrutiny.

He said it was clear that over 10 sitting days, three of which would be to discuss the budget, the government would not establish an anti-corruption commission, a key Coalition election promise from 2019.

“If there was ever an active moment the government gave up, this is it,” he said.

Nationals senator Matt Canavan said the Prime Minister was bound by the constitution, which meant an election had to be held by May.

“It is right and appropriate,” he told the ABC of the proposed sitting calendar.

He said it was important for scrutiny that the government had scheduled Senate estimates hearings after budget day.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said whether the budget was held in March or May “it will be chock full of waste and rorts and defined by a trillion dollars in debt”.

“We’ll be ready for an election at any time fought on skyrocketing costs of living, falling real wages, and working families going backwards,” he told AAP.

-AAP





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