Sticking with the theme of the Budget this week, we thought we should introduce you to Australia’s Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg.
Frydenberg was born and raised in Melbourne. Believe it or not, he almost took up a career as a professional tennis player before getting into politics. During his gap year, Frydenberg played tennis full time and competed in tournaments.
After that year, he went to university and completed Honours Degrees in Law and Economics as well as a Master of International Relations and a Master of Public Administration.
Early on with the Liberal Party
Frydenberg has been involved with the Liberal Party for a while, working in a variety of roles. Early on he was an Assistant Adviser to Attorney-General Daryl Williams in 1999, and Adviser to Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer in 2003. Then between 2003-2005, he was an adviser to Prime Minister John Howard. Here’s a pic of the two at the time.
In 2006, Frydenberg attempted to win preselection (be nominated) for the Liberal Party for the seat of Kooyong but was defeated. In 2009, he ran for preselection again and was successful, later securing the seat of Kooyong. He has held the seat consecutively at every election since. During his time as a member of Parliament, he has held the roles of:
- Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
- Assistant Treasurer
- Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia
- Minister for the Environment and Energy
- And now currently, Treasurer
Liberal Party leadership spill
Frydenberg was always considered a rising star in the Liberal Party, but he became known to the broader public around the time of the Liberal leadership spill. In the first spill, Frydenberg supported Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister over Peter Dutton. During the second spill, he supported Scott Morrison to become Prime Minister over Dutton. When Morrison was elected leader, Frydenberg was elected deputy leader. It’s important to note here that he isn’t the Deputy Prime Minister – that’s Michael McCormack and he’s from the Nationals Party. Frydenberg is just the second in command of the Liberal Party – oh, and he’s also the Treasurer (which was Scott Morrison’s role before he became PM).
What is the role of the Treasurer?
The major responsibility of the Treasurer is to preside over the country’s budget position, and once a year deliver a Federal Budget (which is what we are talking about this week) which details how the Australian Government is going to spend and collect money for that year.
Usually, the role of the Treasurer is to be generally involved in areas such as:
- Public Service pay and conditions
- Bank notes
- Taxation system
- Pensions and other welfare payments
- Postage stamps
- Collection of statistics
We’ll end this explainer with a bit of context as to how Frydenberg fits into the broader party. Frydenberg is considered the leader of a faction within the Liberal Party that is colloquially referred to as the ‘Frydenberg Victorians’. Its members are all from Victoria and include people like Health Minister Greg Hunt and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar. This group combines parts of both the centre-right and right of the Liberal Party and often overlaps with Scott Morrison’s faction.
Many consider Frydenberg the natural successor to Scott Morrison, so it’s likely you’ll be hearing his name more and more in the news cycle.