DANICA DE GIORGIO: Let's move on now Senator Jacqui Lambie has called for the International Criminal Court to investigate Australian Defence Force leadership for potential war crimes in Afghanistan. Joining me now live is Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume, thank you so much for joining us. Will you support Jacqui Lambie’s push?
JANE HUME: No, the Opposition opposes the referral that Senator Lambie is making of Australia's senior military to the International Criminal Court. This is an issue that is not only best dealt with in Australia, but is already being dealt with in Australia. The Brereton report, when it was handed down, had 143 recommendations. The Coalition Government at the time accepted most of those recommendations, some of them were particularly sensitive and, and needed additional thought and inquiry. There was a special investigations officer that was appointed at the time to further consider and gather evidence around some of the allegations that were made of criminal conduct. And look, it's absolutely right. I think Australians would expect that if criminal conduct has occurred, even in a theater of war, if laws have been broken, if there was criminal conduct under Australian law, that the perpetrators would be brought to justice and that people would be held accountable. But at the same time, we want to make sure that this is done very thoroughly, very sensitively. And in the context in which that report was handed down.
DANICA DE GIORGIO: Alright, let's talk about the Voice. Linda Burney faced questions yesterday from the Coalition on what powers the voice to Parliament would have. She maintains it won't give advice on, for example, changing the date of Australia Day. Do you accept that?
JANE HUME: Well, it's amazing how quickly others have jumped forward to refute that claim. In fact, this is one of the great problems that we've had with the question that was put to Parliament from the very beginning and that is that there is no model behind it. Essentially, Australians are being asked to vote on the vibe, that's an exploitation of the goodwill of Australians who largely support constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians. In our foundational document, however, the voice to Parliament is a very different prospect. And there is no detail behind that. We've been asking questions for months and months, and they haven't been able to be consistently answered. And this is just another one. This is a bad law. And that's the reason why we have said as a coalition that we'll be voting. No, it's a bad law, because you can't explain to Australians how it's going to work. If you can't explain how it's going to work, how can you possibly vote ‘Yes’? Not only can you not explain how it's going to work, but you can't change it once it's there. And not only that, but it then risks the Constitution that we have, which has served Australians well for more than 100 years. So if you can't explain how it's going to work, if you can't change it once it's there, because there's no legislation that can out legislate the Constitution and risks what we have, how can you possibly vote ‘yes’. And Linda Burney has just made that fact perfectly clear, of the inconsistencies in the way people think that this voice to Parliament will work.
DANICA DE GIORGIO: Is the Coalition though running a scare campaign here?
JANE HUME: It's not a scare campaign. In fact, it's simply saying that we don't understand this. And we don't understand this, even though we've asked questions. We've asked lots of questions, and we will continue to ask questions. But the answers that we're getting are inconsistent. There's a reason for that. And that's because the model of this Voice to Parliament has not yet been established. And the Labor Government is now asking Australians to vote for something that they don't understand. Indeed, that nobody understands because it doesn't exist yet. And they cannot explain how it's going to work. It's not a scare campaign to ask those questions.
DANICA DE GIORGIO: Alright, let's move on now. RBA executives yesterday warned that it's traversing a very narrow path to curb inflation without tipping the nation into a recession. Are we now at that point where a recession is simply inevitable?
JANE HUME: Well, certainly there are bank economists now that are beginning to forecast an economic downturn that could well tip us into recession. I was actually quite heartened to hear your previous interview with Daniel Mookhey. It's not often that I agree with a Labor Treasurer. But he was the one saying that governments have a responsibility to use their fiscal firepower in order to reduce inflation because let's face it, if reducing inflation is the only way to deliver a cost of living relief to all Australians, otherwise the RBA has to do all the heavy lifting push up interest rates in order to curb inflation, and that disproportionately affects mortgage holders and other people that are debt holders. So it's a shame that Daniel Mookhey isn't advising Jim Chalmers because there was an additional $185 billion worth of additional spending in that budget in May alone that has done nothing to curb inflation, which is why the RBA is being forced into the position that it is.
DANICA DE GIORGIO: The RBA made interesting comments yesterday, they acknowledge that some companies actually helping to drive inflation with aggressive price increases. How much are companies to blame do you think for this?
JANE HUME: Well, I think Philip Lowe also made it very clear that there are a number of factors that are feeding into inflation. One of the ones that he's concerned about potentially is a wage price spiral that unless wage rises are accompanied by productivity increases, well that can actually make inflation worse. We saw with the rise of the minimum wage, that the RBA responded almost immediately because it doesn't have those accompanying productivity increases. And in fact, the Labor government was advocating for an even higher minimum wage rise. So that's, I think, where we could get into dangerous territory. And Philip Lowe has made it very clear that he doesn't want to see us get there. We're not there yet. He doesn't want to see us get there. But at the same time, now, we've got economists right across the spectrum, are forecasting at least an additional two interest rate rises, and that's going to send a lot of Australian families to breaking point. There was one economist that came out and said that should interest rates rise by another 50 basis points, another half of percent, then we'll see around 50% of Australians struggle with paying their mortgages. In fact, it will take up around half of the before tax income for the entire household just to pay their mortgages. That's a serious concern and will essentially put Australia's economic prosperity at great peril.
DANICA DE GIORGIO: It was certainly a lot of families doing it very tough and more rain rises likely to come. Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume, we'll leave it there. Thank you so much for joining us.