DAVID CAMPBELL: Welcome back. We are just hours away from Budget 2022. Labor's first in almost a decade. No pressure, but there's nothing flashy to see here. This is bread and butter. The roadmap to see Aussie families through these really hard and troubling times. For more, we're joined by Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume and 2GB's Jim Wilson. Good to see you both. Jane, I'll go to you first. I mean, there's not much to criticise here, is there, giving? You know, we really want to just sort of tamp down the pressures that are going on with families out there.
JANE HUME: Well, so long as a bread and butter budget doesn't mean Labor's traditional, high taxing, high spending by the sounds of things. We've got some good numbers coming out that demonstrate that the Coalition left the budget in a really good space. You know, unemployment was really low, tax receipts were up, that's a good thing, and that's fed into the budget bottom line. But what we want to see now is a plan, to bring inflation back into line to that 2 to 3% range so that the RBA doesn't have to do all the heavy lifting. And also a plan to improve productivity and participation and not deteriorate that budget's bottom line. It's going to take all of Labor's strength to not fall into its traditional trap of a high spending budget because that could be disastrous for ordinary Australians.
DAVID CAMPBELL: I love that Jane is already, like, we're taking credit for this one already. Jim, so I mean, but the problem is that we can say, look, there's a $42 billion improvement in the bottom line. Sure, they found that behind the couch. That's great. But what we're talking about here is that people can't afford petrol, at the moment because of the bowser it's like you were saying to me in the ad break. There's $0.30 this week in the last couple of days there. If you want to go fly to Adelaide or Melbourne, forget about it's going to be at least a thousand bucks a ticket. And you're at the back end of the plane where the toilets are.
JIM WILSON: Well, energy prices are going through the roof as well. Cost of living pressures is what this is all about. And Jane's right about this plan, but we need to see the plan in action. We've had a lot of talk from Jim Chalmers. This is his first real test. This is his first budget speech. I think it's, you know, it's fantastic when you look at the numbers, and you go, okay, $22 billion in savings. Okay. What other areas will they cut, though? Does that mean regional Australia will cut? We'll feel the brunt of it now. We're seeing right now natural disasters in regional Australia and a number of states with floods. Well, the talk is that tonight at 7:30, Jim Chalmers will basically say, okay, I'm going to go and slash and burn some projects that could basically go and impact flood mitigation, for example, in regional Australia. So I think these are all really important points, and I think for the Opposition, for Jane, I think for the Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor, and I think for Peter Dutton, this is their opportunity as well to go righto, in their budget reply, Let's hold these hold Labor to account. And so it's a high-stakes game. But David, we've talked about it so much on this programme I spoke about it every single day with my listeners on 2GB Drive. The bottom line is it's about easing the cost of living pressures. Right now, again, in the last 24 to 48 hours, petrol has gone through the roof. This whole promise by Labor pre-election that we'll save you 275 bucks on your household electricity bill by 2025. Give me a break. Now, we know there are external factors that they can't control, like the war in Ukraine. Absolutely global pressures. But to make that promise of a $275 electricity saving by 2025 is pie in the sky. So the cost of living is what this is all about. We need a plan moving forward. Forget it. Forget about blaming the previous government and the Coalition. That's ancient history. We now need to see, righto, what's your plan is moving forward.
DAVID CAMPBELL: We need to see what they're going to do. Absolutely, Jane. And this is the problem, isn't it? You're looking at the floods, and that flood is going to make the cost of living worse when you start to go into Coles and Woolies, because we've already heard from the farmers saying, please still buy our products even though the costs are going to go up, they're, and that's going to be a hard task and deal to make. But let's look at childcare that's going to be cheaper. That's a key focus of the budget tonight. They won't be accused of neglecting women in the budget.
JANE HUME: Well, that's true. Childcare is a major part of this budget, and that was an election commitment that Labor took to the last election. But they won't kick in for another two years. Neither will paid parental leave. The problem is people are feeling it in their hip pockets right now. It doesn't matter whether it's at the bowser or the grocery checkout, particularly when they're paying their mortgage, and that's going to keep going right up until Christmas. I think that the real test will be with the RBA next Tuesday. Will they increase interest rates again? What will their response be to this budget tonight? Because if there's too much spending in there, if there's an enormous great big wish list, it's built up over the last nine years while Labor was in opposition. Well, I think that the RBA will have to do all the heavy lifting. They're going to have to respond and push interest rates up to temper inflation and control that cost of living. That should be the Government's responsibility and what we haven't seen yet is a plan to deal with the cost of living.
DAVID CAMPBELL: All right. Let's get on to some breaking news overnight, Rishi Sunak will become Britain's youngest Prime Minister in 200 years. He is also the first Prime Minister of colour in history, and, you know, if you're looking down the bottom line, he is also their first billionaire. Jane, this is a big breakthrough. How far are we off someone like this coming up and being a Prime Minister of Australia?
JANE HUME: I think Rishi Sunak will be a fantastic UK Prime Minister. I heard him say that he was going to govern with integrity and with humility, and I think that is a fantastic thing. Look, he's going to have his work cut out for him. The UK government has a far worse budget bottom line than we do. They inherited a pretty difficult set of books post-COVID, whereas Australia is in a much better position with the bottom line. But I do wish him well.
DAVID CAMPBELL: How was that performance this morning, not great.
JIM WILSON: I think he's right, unite or die. They are in a mess. The economic pressures they're feeling right now, a recession, people are really suffering. Whether he can connect to the everyday worker in the UK remains to be seen. Hopefully, he lasts longer than his first media conference. It went 86 seconds, it wasn't even a media conference. It was a statement. He didn't take any questions. He's lasted more than 86 seconds, we think. It is turmoil as far as British politics. So talk about the poisoned chalice.
DAVID CAMPBELL: Good luck tonight, Jane. Thanks, team.