TOM CONNELL: Now it's time for Hume and McAllister. Each week Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume, and Assistant Climate Change and Energy Minister, Jenny McAllister face off and fire up on the big news and political developments. And they start with a bit that they love because I just have to sit here and take it as they have their, I think we call them rants still, but we just asked what's been on their mind this week. I'll start with you, Jane.
JANE HUME: I've just come back Tom from a week in Alice Springs and Adelaide and also Port Augusta where the cost of living is really beginning to bite in very different ways. You know, we know because we heard from the Mayor of Alice Springs that $1 doesn't go anything like as far in regional communities. And that's certainly right. High inflation, freight, transport fuel costs are flowing on to higher prices at the checkout at grocery stores and also higher prices for business. And that's manifesting in some really disturbing ways. We heard that the demand for school breakfast programs has gone through the roof, that crime is on the increase as people have resorted to stealing the things that they used to be able to afford. And businesses are finding it much harder to attract and retain talent, particularly if they can't find ways to transport them in and out of town and they can't get affordable housing to do so. You cannot look at the cost of living through a single lens. That's why the Cost of Living Committee is traveling right around the country. Our concern, of course, is that the government isn't looking at it at all.
TOM CONNELL: Jenny, I bumped into you at the airport, I hope you're not going to be complaining about late flights. Hope it was all on time for you. What's on your mind this week?
JENNY MCALLISTER: Thanks, Tom. Well, this week, the Liberals have used their time to tell the Australian public that the government should think only about short term issues and stop planning for the long term and for the future. It's a bad take. And it tells us a lot about how they got into the trouble that they got into in the wasted decade 10 years of denial and delay with wrong priorities, waste and mismanagement. Australians, I think, expect their governments to do both things. To confront the challenges of today, but also lay the groundwork to seize the opportunities of the future. Peter Dutton wants to tell us that we can't do both. I think Australians are smarter than that. And our government is doing just this seizing the opportunities of the future while confronting the very real challenges that we face today.
TOM CONNELL: All right, before we dive in the Intergenerational Report, I just want to clarify one thing with you, Jane. Are you and James Paterson going head to head for this top spot on the Senate ticket?
JANE HUME: I know that there's stories out there that is so overblown, I've spoken to James. James and I are good friends, we are working together, we will continue to work together. Pre-selections are obviously, you know, it's the gift of the party. The party members make a decision on these things. But from James and my perspective, the status quo remains. We have no issue with that. From our perspective, what we just want to see is a very simple and straightforward process so that we can go and get on with the job that we both want to do, which is holding this government to account and talking about what's important to ordinary Australians. So yes, nothing to see here, sorry.
TOM CONNELL: Nothing to say here. All right. And Jenny, I'm sure you're safe, as houses. No one would ever dare have your future in question in the Senate. Let's start on the Intergenerational Report, though, because there is a lot of uncertainty around this. A lot of this isn't necessarily new Jenny. But what is interesting, the warning for having the government is, you know, the amount of workers we have versus people that will be relying on the workers just continues to blow out. When we talk tax reform, does it mean having to raise in some way that doesn't hurt economic activity, but raising more tax?
JENNY MCALLISTER: Well, I think it's worth thinking about the purpose of the report. It is essentially our opportunity to have a look at the long term, and to think about the choices that we are making now and how they will shape our growth, prosperity and sustainability into the future. It's a really important feature of our economic architecture as a government and we have been keen to do it well, and to bring it on relatively early in our terms so that we could use it in our thinking. It does lay out challenges as you say, Tom, including an aging population, the challenges of a changing climate, fragmentation in the global economy and measures of uncertainty, the transition to AI and digital. These are all challenges, but also opportunities that weigh on the economy. But there's pressures on the budget too. I think our focus is making sure that we do first things first, tackle the cost of living, and start on the process of budget repair to lay down a sustainable future.
TOM CONNELL: So I guess it tends to my mind towards this chain and the Coalition's along spoken around the so called tax speed hump of 23.9% of GDP. Is that really going to be fit for purpose? If you keep that and we have fewer workers, it just means fewer services. There's no escaping that is there, it's one or the other?
JANE HUME: Well, we also know, Tom, you can't tax your way to prosperity. That 23.9% percent of GDP, tax to GDP ratio was a guardrail. That's a guardrail that served us very well for decades. It makes sure that you don't suck the aspiration and the enterprise and the innovation out of your economy, which is really important to grow the pie rather than simply slice it differently. Now, the Intergenerational Report was brought forward by two years, and it told us really nothing that we didn't already know. It said the same thing as the last Intergenerational Report. And indeed, it said the same thing as the budget, which is that the biggest costs are going to be aged care, NDIS and health going forward. And that makes perfect sense. But you know, kind of obvious, dare I say. I would have thought that the more important thing would be to start talking about how we're going to reform those sectors so that the costs don't blow out exponentially. Now, Peter Dutton has come to the table, he has put out an offer to Anthony Albanese, and said, if you come to us with reforms, of NDIS, of aged care in a way that makes it sustainable into the future, we are very open minded to doing that. But it does seem to be that Labor's only solution is taxing it more.
TOM CONNELL: Just on that, is the clear line on that, Jane, that it could be more of a user pay system on aged care and the obvious thing to tap into a superannuation accounts in some form of way. Do you want to give a bit of political cover on that one? That seems to be the idea Labor's considering.
JANE HUME: No, I'm not gonna give you any sort of thought bubbles whatsoever because let's face it, it's up to the government to come to us just say, you know, this is what our solutions are. They've got the entire public service behind them. But they haven't come up with an idea. They haven't come up with a policy, they've just come up with a couple of thought bubbles. But if you come to the Opposition, with a policy proposal that genuinely reforms that genuinely reforms these areas where costs are blowing out, that aren't just we're going to apply new taxes, we're going to tax people more to pay for it. Of course, we're going to be open to that, as we were when we were in government. We did the same with the NDIS. You know we had a policy to reform the NDIS and Labor, then in opposition sort of beat us over the head with it. Now they're responsible for it. They're saying that the costs are going to blow out 14% a year. They've said that bring it down 8%. But guess what, they've got no policies to back that up and that came out clearly in Senate Estimates.
TOM CONNELL: They've been talking about that, that's what I'm saying. Okay, Jenny, on that aged care idea it is one that's been floated. Is that one you're pretty comfortable with, I guess, Labor's preferred metric and a lot of stuff is fairness. Would it be fair if some of the super accounts which people are taking to the grave, to be frank about it, can be chipped into for aged care?
JENNY MCALLISTER: Look, I'll lead the discussion about the specifics in aged care policy to the Aged Care Minister, as you know, she is examining options at the moment. I think the broader point is this, that there are a range of pressures on the budget, and we've been really upfront about those. There's also a range of changes coming through to the economy. And our economic approach is to actually construct an economic program that deals with the big challenges of our time, building skills, deepening and broadening our industrial base, getting the budget in better shape so that we are less exposed to the costs of interest that are bequeathed to us by the very large debt left to us by the previous Liberal government and working more broadly, to transform the energy system to meet the challenges and also embrace the opportunities of the global shift towards decarbonisation. This is a broad economic program designed to respond to the challenges and opportunities coming before us. The Intergenerational Report is an opportunity to place that program in the context of our long term agenda and hopefully stimulate a discussion about what else might happen in the coming years and decades.
TOM CONNELL: Jenny, Jane, stay with us. When we come back. We'll talk through the Matilda's World Cup magic and how it can be capitalised on by Football Australia.
TOM CONNELL: Let's return, we've had Jane Hume Jenny McAllister sitting there patiently. I know they were doing so during the Matildas World Cup run as well. Can you put your finger on why this was such a moment, Jenny? I know the timeline helped a lot, you know, actually being in our own, we didn’t have to get up at two or 3am. But why did this had so many Australians watching and hoping and cheering on the Tillys?
JENNY MCALLISTER: Yeah, there's something really special about this charismatic team isn't there. And I think it is a combination of their athleticism, their sense of shared purpose, or the genuine sense of team. But also, frankly, the very open way they went into the tournament, wanting to create space, not just for themselves, but for women and girls, more generally. I think all of those things combined to bring an incredibly broad audience. And I think the thing that warmed my heart the most was seeing all those little girls and all those little boys just so excited about this team and their performance, I really hope that it creates space for a really different approach to women's sport. And I hope it inspires a whole lot of little girls and little boys to get deeply involved in a sport of their choice and really, really succeed in it. We've announced a $200 million dollar package, ‘Play Our Way’ to uplift grassroots sports facilities and programs, really looking forward to seeing that rolled out and what else we can do from a government perspective, to really cultivate the fire that's been sparked by this tournament.
TOM CONNELL: Yeah, it's certainly been sparks. And Jane, what were your memories of the tournament? And I guess why, again, it's just captured imagination, record all time record TV audiences.
JANE HUME: Actually, I think Jen picked up on something really interesting. You know, we've had sports teams in the past that have had really interesting combinations of personalities. And together, they make an exceptional team, whether it be an ashes team or an AFL team. But these special little moments in history where you just get the right group of people together at the right time. And that's what this material does team did. And look, I'm actually going to agree with Jen here, you're not going to believe it, are you. But I'll give her a little dig on the way through. In fact, the Coalition did also announce a grassroots women's sport, women's sport announcement the day before the government did the same thing. But it is so important. That's what it did. It inspired people to say, get those kids out there, get them into their community sporting activities, we want to make sure that the infrastructure is there, so that we can remove the grass ceiling on women's sports, which is so important that they don't have to get changed in car parks or in or borrow the boys change rooms or in the back of mum's car, that I think that stuff's fantastic, really fantastic and I think we should all be proud to be part of it.
TOM CONNELL: And the Matilda's did really well, maybe those on the panel haven't always I can say I was not an elite sportsman, despite my dreams. 20 seconds, each of you. Sporting failures, Jenny, do you want to go first?
JENNY MCALLISTER: Yeah, I've got a long history of sort of enthusiastic but regrettably mediocre participation in team sports. Starting from sort of various, you know, junior netball teams, hockey in high school, bit of social soccer, but I'm actually back playing netball as a parliamentarian and I really love it. But in every instance, I'm the sort of person that gets the participation award. No, sort of greatest of all time for me. Definitely the sort of most improved or most enthuastic.
TOM CONNELL: I was very proud of most improved until I realised what it really meant. Jane, what about you?
JANE HUME: Look, as you can see, I'm probably built more for comfort than I am for speed Tom. But I will tell you that as an adult, I went back and decided my new sport was going to be was going to be surfing. I was going to learn how to surf and I was pretty excited about this. I went to one of those surfing schools that gave me a wetsuit to change into in the change rooms and it was the tiniest thing you've ever seen. It took me so long to squeeze into this thing, but I got out there onto the beach, wearing my wetsuit. Strutted out there with the younger people saying 'Hey there, I'm here to learn how to surf'. And somebody said 'you know you got that wetsuit on backwards don't you'. So I had to pull it off in front of everybody and try and get it back on in front of everybody. Let me just say it was a disaster. I broke my toe on the sand learning how to stand up on the surfboard. I didn't even get wet. So that was a bit of a sports fail. Maybe surfing isn't for me.
TOM CONNELL: Zip goes at the back for those younger players or first timers. Jane, Jenny, we didn't get time for mine. What a disappointment. Maybe one day.
JANE HUME: Come on Tom.
JENNY MCALLISTER: Come on Tom.
TOM CONNELL: We'll talk next week. I've got a hard wrap. I'm already in a lot of trouble we're way over. We're gonna have to leave it there I'll talk to you next week and I'll embarrass myself I promise.