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May 7, 2018

Mark Butler warns some still want to kill Murray-Darling plan – politics live | Australia news

Mark Butler warns some still want to kill Murray-Darling plan – politics live | Australia news

Paul Karp

Farmers label live export suspension as 'lazy politics, lazy policy'

One of the other issues energising the parliament today is live exports. You’ll no doubt remember that Labor has called for a suspension of live exports in the wake of shocking vision of cruelty aired on 60 Minutes. The Greens want it stopped permanently and more urgently.
The National Farmers Federation were in parliament today to tell the press gallery just what they think of Labor and the Greens’ proposals. In news that will shock no one, the NFF is not a big fan.
The NFF chief executive officer, Tony Mahar, said there were ways to fix the industry without resorting to a ban or a suspension.
“We’re not entertaining the idea of a suspension. We want it fixed. Your question before about measures, whether it’s destocking rates or better ventilation, better boat, vets on boats, cameras on boats, there’s ways to fix this trade and we think that a ban or a suspension is lazy politics, lazy policy,” he said.
“We’re up for the challenge to fix it.”

CEO of the Australian Farmers’ Federation Tony Mahar speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Some non-budget news first up, we’ve just heard from Mark Butler, Labor MP for Port Adelaide and a former shadow water minister. Butler has just urged for vigilance after the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was saved through an eleventh-hour agreement between Labor and the Coalition.
He says there are still those within the Coalition who want to kill it off.
“There are still voices within the Coalition, including Barnaby Joyce and others, who don’t like this plan,” Butler told the ABC.
“But to his credit, David Littleproud has worked constructively with our shadow minister, Tony Burke. The plan is back on track, we now need to be vigilant in coming years that it is implemented in full.”

Hello! Christopher Knaus here, taking you through the six hours leading up to the budget’s release. My dear colleagues have left me all alone in the office. They’ll be locked up until 7.30pm, with only budget papers and caffeine for solace.
But fear not. There’s plenty of fun to be had until then. You might remember that last year news of the controversial banking tax broke while the press gallery were stuck in the lock-up. Who knows what we’ll see this time around.

Melyssa Troy (@MelyssaTroy)
Sometimes you forget you're an #auspol nerd until you realise that not every 23 year old has aspirations of being part of the media lock-up for #Budget2018
May 8, 2018

OK, on that note, it is time for us to go line up for the budget lock-up.
I’ll be off-line until a few seconds after 7.30, when I will be dashing through these hallways to come back to you like nobody’s business.
Chris Knaus will keep you occupied and entertained and may even have some more recent song references for you. You never know your luck in the big city.

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Barnaby Joyce is presenting a committee report in parliament, from the backbench.
There are not a lot of people inside the chamber to hear it.

It’s beginning to look a lot like bud-get.

Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance minister Mathias Cormann at the traditional budget day picture opportunity
Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance minister Mathias Cormann at the traditional budget day picture opportunity. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian
And from the other angle

Front on
Front on. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

We are getting close to that time where I will hand you over to Chris Knaus, while I enter one of Dante’s lesser known circles, the budget lock-up.

Alex Hawke points out, even managing to rummage up some semblance of passion, that Labor hasn’t delivered a surplus in 30 years.
He then starts quoting Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire. None of the verses though. Just the bit everyone knows.

Alex Hawke is called upon to defend the government’s budget from “the party that wants to spend more, the party that wants to tax more”.
“We won’t be lectured by a party that comes to the table with higher expenditure,” he said. Very loudly.

Over in the Senate and Mitch Fifield has been given the boss job, with Mathias Cormann busy with the budget.

Chris Bowen has launched straight into a budget attack in the House of Representatives.
He says the Labor party wants to see “budget repair which is real, but also fair”.
Jim Chalmers is up next – he says “we don’t hear a peep” about the “budget emergency” any more – and why? “Because they have failed the test they set for us.”
“Whatever happened to that budget emergency? What ever happened to the debt and deficit disaster? We don’t hear about it any more, not because it has been fixed, but because we are so close to an election.”

The bells are ringing for parliament – but with everything else which has been going on today, the parliament sitting has become the side show today.

Brendan O’Connor really enjoyed Peter Costello’s 7.30 interview. Here he is talking to Sky this morning:

I think Peter Costello understands the process well enough to know – and the leaks that have already been provided to the media well enough to know – that this government has said for the last four years, the last four Budgets that we have an emergency to deal with. Now it’s turned its back on that, and is trying to provide some very pathetic sweeteners to save their own bacon. That’s what’s happening.
That’s why you’ve seen Costello in a very dramatic way, Kieran, I’ve never seen a former minister of the same political party come out on the eve of the Budget and actually attack so centrally.

So while Peter Costello fights the budget, John Hewson lines up behind him, George Christensen plans on getting some new robes and Tony Abbott takes aim at George Brandis, some people are still thinking about the budget.
Not all people, but some people.
Here is First Dog’s take:

First Dog on the Moon (@firstdogonmoon)
Last night’s budget eve cartoon about budget eve. icymi etc
May 8, 2018