On what was supposed to be the day the Federal Budget was handed down in Parliament, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has instead delivered an “economic update” on the impact of the coronavirus restrictions has had on Australia, in a speech that was – we shit you absolutely not – interrupted by a gargantuan hacking coughing fit.
Frydenberg’s key takeaway points on the economic shedding Australia has undergone as a result of the pandemic are that the Government is now expecting GDP to fall by 10% across the June quarter, which is equivalent to around $50 billion, or as he put it, “a loss equivalent to the total quarterly production of South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and ACT.”
In addition to that Frydenberg asserted that any further lockdown action will cost the economy $4 billion per week, if people fail to heed health warnings and new spikes of COVID-19 occur.
But in a… serendipitous? bizarrely well-timed? oddly appropriate? moment, Frydenberg’s speech had to pause for several minutes while the Treasurer suffered a hellacious hacking coughing fit.
For a truly agonising amount of time Frydenberg hacked up a lung in front of the entire sitting Parliament, pausing only to try and catch his breath and take a sip of water, each time placing his hands – that he had just coughed directly into – back onto the Parliamentary despatch box.
Unfortunately timed coughing fit for Josh Frydenberg during his coronavirus economic update.
Shadow Treasurer later responds to speech with “if only the treasurer had coughed up some detail or a plan”. #auspol pic.twitter.com/4Cs2LY8rbo
— Charles Powell (@charlesalexpow) May 12, 2020
Frydenberg, exhibiting low energy and all the classic signs of being crook as a bloody dog, gamely battled through his speech before retreating to his front bench seat, fielding the odd question from the Opposition here and there.
There’s no official confirmation that Frydenberg is unwell at present, but in the middle of a speech where he stressed the need for Australians to follow strict health protocols, coming to work clearly unwell is a uh… pretty bad look.