In March 2022, Appropriation Bills were introduced into the House of Representatives, but lapsed, having not passed before the dissolution of the House prior to the general election. Supply Bills, passed by the House and the Senate and assented to on 1 April 2022, had provided interim funds to cover normal government and parliamentary activity for the first five months of 2022-23 – that is, until the end of November 2022.
On 25 October 2022, the Treasurer, Hon. Dr Jim Chalmers, MP (Australian Labor Party), introduced Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2022-2023 (the main Appropriation Bill). During his Second Reading speech, the Treasurer said that the budget “is right for the times and readies us for the future.” He said that the new Government’s budget “provides cost of living relief which is responsible, not reckless - to make life easier for Australians, without adding to inflation; targets investments in a stronger, more resilient, more modern economy; and begins the hard yards of budget repair.”
Before making funding announcements, the Treasurer set the scene by referring to the uncertainties of the global economy, which he said, “teeters on the edge – with a war that isn’t ending, a global energy crisis that is escalating, inflationary pressures persisting, and economies slowing - some of them already in reverse.” He said that these global challenges, along with high inflation and higher interest rates “will have an impact.” The Treasurer went on to announce a suite of measures, including for:
Concluding his speech, the Treasurer told the House that “getting through this period stronger than we were before will rely on the very best aspects of our national character - our resilience, our pragmatism, our cooperation and our confidence, and above all else, our belief in each other.”
above all else, our belief in each other.” Following the Budget speech, Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2022-2023 and the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2022-2023 were presented by the Assistant Treasurer, Hon. Stephen Jones, MP. Immediately afterwards, the Assistant Treasurer presented Supply Bills (No. 3) and (No. 4) 2022-23 and Supply (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 2) 2022-23, which will provide appropriations for the continuation of normal government and parliamentary activity for the remainder of the financial year. In presenting these Bills, the Assistant Treasurer noted that they did not contain any funding for new financial measures. During debate on Supply Bill (No. 3), the Member for Griffith, Mr Max Chandler-Mather, MP (Australian Greens) moved a Second Reading amendment, which was defeated on the voices. The Supply Bills passed the House that evening, and passed the Senate the next day.
On Thursday 27 October 2022, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Peter Dutton, MP, gave the Budget reply, in which he described the Government’s Budget as a “missed opportunity to help you at a time when you need help.” Mr Dutton argued that the Budget “didn’t address our economic challenges or inspire confidence. It’s a budget which breaks promises rather than keeps them, it’s a budget which weakens Australia’s financial position rather than strengthens it and it’s a budget which adds to rather than alleviates your cost-of-living pressures.”
Mr Dutton said that the budget is “failing you…in energy, tax relief, housing, filling job shortages, industrial relations and infrastructure in our regions” and that “by Christmas, a typical family will be AU$2,000 worse off under this budget.” However, Mr Dutton said that the Opposition commended “several good measures in Tuesday’s budget: the extension of the childcare subsidy to more Australian families; the commitment to reduce the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme co-payment, to lower the cost of medicines; the support for housing for our veterans; the initiatives to combat domestic violence; and the funding to help Australians recover from devastating floods.”
During his speech, Mr Dutton outlined several Opposition policies, including to:
Mr Dutton concluded by telling the House that the Opposition “will have a clearly defined positive and bold plan, ahead of the next election, to take our country forward. We will support hardworking Australians. We will support all Australians. And we will rebuild a stronger economy for your family and for our country.”
Debate on the Second Reading of the Main Appropriation Bill resumed on 9 November 2022. As is customary, the debate was a cognate debate that covered Appropriation Bill (No. 2) and Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1). It is expected that many Members will contribute to the Second Reading debate, during which the requirement for debate to be relevant to the subject matter is waived, under the Standing Orders, and public affairs may be debated. While the Second Reading debate is occurring in the House of Representatives, the particulars of expenditure contained in the Bills are being examined by the Senate through its Estimates Committees.