MATT SHIRVINGTON: One of Australia's most notorious terrorists is this morning waking up a free man after the Victorian Supreme Court granted his release. Abdul Benbrika spent the last 18 years behind bars for leading a terrorist sell the plan tax attacks on both Sydney and Melbourne including a plot to blog the MCG is released has sparked a political storm with the opposition claiming that government should have done more. For more we're joined by Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume and Assistant Trade Minister Tim Ayers. Good morning to you both Jane. This was a Victorian Supreme Court decision. Could the Government have done more here?
JANE HUME: Absolutely they could have done more Shirvo, and there's a pattern occurring here isn't there. The Coalition locks them up and Labor lets them out. If the Attorney General had have had his eye on the ball, had have done his job, he could have applied for that continuing detention order earlier, and the judge would have taken it into account. Instead, because it was late. He was late with his homework. The judge in fact admonished him and now we have one of Australia's most notorious terrorists running free. This is the man that wanted to blow up the MCG. This is the man that wanted to blow up Lucas Heights, Australia's only nuclear reactor. I think that Australians are rightly outraged that this man is now walking among us because Labor failed to do their job again. And this is a pattern. This is the third time in three weeks that the Attorney General has failed to keep terrorists behind bars.
MATT SHIRVINGTON: It's true. The Victorian Supreme Court Judge Elizabeth Hollingsworth, Tim, did say that she was critical of Mark Dreyfus for his failure to meet the court's deadlines for this case. Could the Government have done more? Could Mark Dreyfus have done more?
TIM AYRES: Well take the predictable partisan politics out of this for a second. This is an order that's been issued with 30 stringent conditions as a result of the government's application here. That the government's acted on the advice not just the legal advice, but the advice of our security and intelligence agencies to put in place the strongest possible set of set of conditions. Now, it is true that there was some, there was some criticism in the court proceedings of the previous administration. Some sharp criticism of the previous home affairs and immigration minister who withheld evidence from the from the court-
JANE HUME: You're not seriously blaming Peter Dutton for this are you?
TIM AYRES: -in previous applications, it was not possible on the basis of the evidence and the advice to apply for a continuing detention order. That's been borne out by what the court has done here. What we are focused on is not the politics not the partisanship, not the point scoring, but keeping Australians safe and acting within the law. That's what the government's done, and we'll continue to be very focused on Mr Benbrika's case and along with all of the other national security priorities in front of the government.
MATT SHIRVINGTON: Tim you're right Judge Hollingsworth was critical of Peter Dutton for failing to disclose a number of critical tools to use to access them breakers risk of reoffending. However, in 2020, he did get that extended. We'll move on from that because right now Mark Dreyfus will carefully consider what can be done to make sure there is public safety in that regard. The Reserve Bank I want to talk about this because it's fearful that to tame inflation, unemployment may be driven higher than originally predicted. It's been revealed the RBA Board discussed another rate hike in December before ultimately deciding to keep them on hold. Jane, are you concerned that people could lose their job if the RBA continues to hike interest rates?
JANE HUME: Well, certainly that's the concern Shirvo. But it's not just my concern, Treasury estimates themselves have said that unemployment is set to rise. They're actually forecasting more people to lose their jobs over the next 12 months. And one of the reasons why the RBA has had to do this, one of the reasons why the RBA has had to keep pushing interest rates higher and higher is because inflation remains sticky, and it's homegrown. That's the words of the RBA Governor herself. One of the reasons why the RBA has to do all the heavy lifting is because they've been forced to only use monetary policy to tame inflation and that's because the Government's failed to use its fiscal firepower to do so. Last week we saw Jim Chalmers deliver the Mid-Year Economic and Financial Outlook. He had an opportunity to do something here to send a signal to the market to say we are going to use all the tools at our disposal as a government to tame inflation. He failed to do so that's why the RBA has to do all the hard work here.
MATT SHIRVINGTON: Tim, my biggest concern with this is that Michele Bullock the boss of the RBA, on November 28, said that Aussie household balance sheets are pretty good, they're looking alright. Then the release of these minutes on December five, the board acknowledged that it was a painful squeeze felt by many households. Which way is it going here? I mean does the government need to step in and start to think okay, you need to do something more to bring down the cost of living?
TIM AYRES: Well it is a painful squeeze for many households. Nobody wants to see inflation, unemployment go up. But we do have inflation here with a three in front of it. It is at 3.9 per cent. 650,000 jobs created since the Albanese government was elected. That is a record number of jobs created by government and we're only halfway through that is on making sure that we do what the government can do through fiscal policy to make sure we're putting downward pressure on inflation. That's what we've been doing. $50 billion in cost savings just under $50 billion. Over the course of this government. 92 per cent of surplus returned to paying off debt. We are putting downward pressure on inflation, supporting Australian households in what is a very challenging time for many households as cost of living has been going up.
MATT SHIRVINGTON: There is some very good news. I've got to say that petrol prices are pretty low compared to other times of the year just ahead of the Christmas holiday. So that's good news for motorists at least getting out and about during Christmas. Jane Tim, thank you, Merry Christmas to you. Hope you have a nice and safe one as well.