LAURA JAYES: Thanks so much for your time. First of all, can I ask you for your reaction on this investigation and the result of it?
JANE HUME: Laura, obviously, this is brand new news. And I'm not across the details other than to watch the clip that you've just played. However, this is the fourth time, as your journalist said, that Dan Andrews and his office or his office have been in front of IBAC in their term of government. Can you imagine any government that has been in front of an anti-corruption commission, more times than that or as many times as that, still continuing to hold an authority not only with the Victorian people but within their own party as well. This is beginning to smell. There's a stench that comes from Spring Street that has to be addressed. And now that's John Pesutto’s job in the end the Victorian Liberal teams job to make sure that they uncover exactly what's gone on here and to make sure that IBAC is appropriately resourced and can and can pursue those investigations further into Dan Andrews. And this, this government that seems to have a stench of corruption around them.
LAURA JAYES: This report did find no corrupt conduct, though, but I accept that you say there's a stench of that. What does it say about the Liberal Party then in Victoria, if there is such a stench around labor and voters still like them.
JANE HUME: It's extraordinary, I have to admit. It is extraordinary, the power that Dan Andrews as an individual seems to wield over not only the Victorian economy, Victorian society but his own party. And we've seen so many, so many of his ministers resign. So many of his ministers walk away or retire, and a new batch come through but he still seems to wield such an extraordinary, an extraordinary power and extraordinary grip upon the Victorian Labor division. I know from his federal colleagues that there is some disquiet at the power that Dan Andrews has in Victoria. And I think that from a Liberal Party's perspective, well, that's something that needs further exploration. And that's why we'll make sure that the Victorian IBAC is appropriately resourced, that there is no interference into its operations, that there is appropriate oversight, and we know that that also has been there's been some interference of that as well from the Dan Andrews government. In order to make sure that Victoria, which let's face it, is almost a failed state. Now it's coming to the federal government asking for a bailout to get out of its debt situation. It has bought political, it essentially has, you know, bought electoral success by sending the government, sending the state into bankruptcy. You know, this is a government that at some point, people have got to wake up and realise that Victoria is no longer the state that it used to be and the reason why that is is because of this Dan Andrews government that is hell bent on power more than anything else.
LAURA JAYES: Voters aren’t seeing it that way. The last time we spoke in Jane was the night of the Aston by-election that was a pretty horrific night for the Liberal Party at a federal level. Now we have another poll a 3% primary drop with women in just one month. 5% primary drop in New South Wales 3% in Victoria, up to 5% in Queensland, down 10% The rest of the country and essential primary poll shows that the primary vote among females for the ALP is 33% for the LNP it's 27%. I mean, what is going on here? Why?
JANE HUME: Actually I don't think that that sounds like a particularly positive number for either of the major parties. But I can see where you're going with this Laura. Look, you know, the government is still, there's no doubt in a honeymoon period. We’re only 11 months in to a new government. That Resolve poll was taken during a week where there was a week of significant disruption for the Liberal Party. That was where we landed on our party rooms position on the voice and we saw the resignation of Julian Leeser from Cabinet that looks like disunity. In fact, Julian Leeser, I think that actually it speaks volumes of how the Liberal Party operates that you can safely say look, this is not a position that I agree with so I'm going to step back for a while. I'm not resigning my position in the party, just resigning my position from cabinet.
LAURA JAYES: Just on the voice and and the fact that party room has taking this anti voice position or will campaign No from what we can see. It looks like voters don't particularly like that position from the Liberal Party. Do you agree?
JANE HUME: I wouldn't look at the Resolve poll results and our position on the voice is something that's quite so binary, quite so linear. There's an awful lot going on. And most importantly, one of the things that we noticed during the Aston by-election is while everybody was telling us that the cost of living was their number one issue whether they were walking out of the grocery stores or whether they were paying their electricity bills. They were telling us that cost of living is the number one issue but they weren't associating the cost of living crisis that they're facing with decisions that the government is making. Now that is often a matter of time, because there are decisions that this government is making, its political priorities, are in fact making a bad situation worse and eventually, eventually voters will say look enough blaming the previous government. What is it that you're doing to make my life better? And if they don't get us a significant answer well, that's when polls shift.
LAURA JAYES: Interesting thing to see that it's my understanding that the Treasurer whilst nothing is finalised will reject this call to increase JobSeeker. It would be a 40% increase, essentially saying that the economic environment at the moment means that is just a bridge too far. It's too expensive. Is that the right decision?
JANE HUME: Well, let's take a step back more. I mean, how did this report come about in the first place? This was part of Labor's sneaky deal done with a crossbencher with David Pocock to get the industrial relations reform legislation through something that they never spoke about before the election, that they sprung on the business community and the Australian public that was part of their their quiet wish list that they had prior to the election that nobody knew about. And that's also made the cost of living that much higher because cost of doing business is now that much higher. So they did that, this sneaky deal with David Pocock. And in order to do that, in order to get the legislation through. David Pocock required this review to be done. Now you know, this is the best example of have a look at what the Anthony Albanese government does not what they say. They say, ‘Oh, we care for Australia's most vulnerable’. They've dropped this report after 13 people were employed to put this report together including Jenny Macklin, Jenny Macklin, who is possibly the Labor Party's most preeminent spokesperson on Social Security, they put all this work in they drop it at 5pm yesterday, which is quite extraordinary in the hope that no one would pick it up and then outright reject it before anyone's even had a chance so not. So look, if I were David Pocock and he wasn't even, lets face it David Pocock, who wanted this report done, wasn't even briefed on its contents before it was dropped. So if I was David Pocock I would just sort of look at this government and say, Well, why on earth would I ever negotiate with you again? Because you know, that was sneaky, it was underhand, and it quite demonstrates that this government is all about what it does is very different to what it actually says.
LAURA JAYES: But on the pure economics of it, do you think it's a good decision?
JANE HUME: Well this government needs to make sure that in the next budget in the budget coming up in May that it makes some hard decisions because that's certainly what Australians are doing with their own budgets right now.
LAURA JAYES: It would be a pretty hard one for the Government wouldn’t it, to not increase JobSeeker?
JANE HUME: Well, JobSeeker is never supposed to be a wage subsidy, and it's always supposed to be a safety net, to make an increase of 40% in JobSeeker would be enormously irresponsible, particularly at a time when what the government should be doing is reining in its spending because otherwise you're going to leave the RBA to do all the heavy lifting to reduce inflation. But we don't see any signs of that right now. In fact, all the signs point to a big tax, big spend government, a very typical Labor budget coming up in May. What we want to see is some guardrails around that spending making sure that it's kept in line. You know, the idea that the government would commission a report with 13 people, with 13 people involved, and then simply ignore it, I think speaks volumes of their sincerity on these issues.
LAURA JAYES: Jane, good to speak to you. Thanks so much.