PAUL MURRAY: Jane Hume is part of the shadow ministry part of the Shadow Cabinet who joins us now because she has been inspired by much that we've been talking about here and also reports that people are calling into suicide prevention hotlines because of what's happening. Senator, you remember this from government and how hard it was to get your arms around but I tell you what, you are more invested in opposition than this government actually is. Because they talked a great game, they fooled plenty of people at the ballot box but they are delivered zero. In fact, four interest rate rises on their watch.
JANE HUME: When you think about all of those press conferences and interviews that Anthony Albanese did prior to the election, saying that everybody would be better off under an Albanese government. Well, I reckon he'd be pretty hard pressed to find an Australian right now Paul, that's better off today than they were just a few months ago. Whether it be at the grocery checkout, whether it be when they're paying their mortgage, whether they're paying their energy bill. And the most frustrating thing about this, the fact that the cost of living is skyrocketing, is that Labor has no economic plan to tackle it. Now, of course if you haven't got a plan you know how the saying goes, you plan to fail. And we want - I know it is really easy to be critical on this - but we actually really want to be constructive. We want the government to succeed here. We want them to have an economic plan to tackle inflation. We want them to have an economic plan that will help them tackle energy prices. We want them to have an economic plan that will tackle the cost of living because the cost of failure is just far too great for Australia.
PAUL MURRAY: This is it. You’re Shadow Minister for Finance, you had similar responsibilities again in government so you know how this works. They have this mini budget coming up in a few weeks time where they set an expectation that something would happen. Now ok, they might turn around and pull sort of a Kevin Rudd, and here’s 900 bucks for everyone. But there's some serious structural things that if they get them wrong, they make the problems worse. If they continue to supercharge debt, deficit, then things get worse with inflation, inflation, cost of goods, interest rates. It gets worse, and worse, and worse. While at the same time, they're cheering on every single union demand for increased pay, regardless of whether or not, whether the employer can actually pay for it. They have levers they can pull. Yet it feels like the treasurer is a passenger constantly saying ‘oh look, this is gonna get worse before it gets better’. Sorry, no mate. We've called triple O, you're the firefighter put it out.
JANE HUME: Well, this is the thing. Budgets are all about priorities, and Labor's priorities are all over the shop. And the fact is, that at the moment, because you know, Labor has this great big spending agenda then the RBA is the one that has to do all the heavy lifting to try and get interest to try and get inflation down. That's the RBA’s job. The RBA’s job is to try and keep inflation under control. But the problem is, if your monetary policy is going one way and your fiscal policy is going the other, well then your monetary policy has to do all the heavy lifting. So poor old Philip Lowe. He's out there on his own because the Treasurer has completely deserted him, and now he has to do all the heavy lifting. Keep raising interest rates, which of course makes things much worse for mortgage holders. So it's about time that the Treasurer comes to the party and present some really credible policies on how to decrease spending, how to decrease its fiscal agenda, but at the same time tackle those cost of living issues. And if they came to the Opposition with credible policies that would, you know, manage the budget sensibly, but at the same time not add inflationary fuel to the fire. Well, we will be open to that. We want to be constructive here.
PAUL MURRAY: Correct. Here's the treasurer. Again, making the point that I think that he's a passenger, not a participant. Have a look at this.
JIM CHALMERS: Well, we've just come into office Pete and you might, I think most people would agree, that if there was some easy switch that you could flick to make all of these cost of living pressures disappear then somebody would have flicked it already. Our job is to provide responsible cost of living relief in a way that doesn't put upward pressure on inflation and make the job of the independent Reserve Bank even harder.
PAUL MURRAY: But when they were in Opposition, they set an expectation. That's why in part I'm so furious and so relentless about this. They set an expectation, and if I'm the only person in the media that's going to hold them to their expectation gladly, I'll do it every night. I'll see you at eight o'clock.
JANE HUME: Well don't forget the promise to, that they were going to bring down energy bills by $275. That seems to have disappeared entirely. In fact, they said it over 90 times during the election campaign. Now, crickets. They won't even actually say the words $275. Look, when we left government, we know that we left the economy in good shape. You know, there was a three in front of the unemployment and it was heading down. Growth had really picked up which is fantastic after two really scary years of COVID. And we maintained that triple A credit rating. The budget was in an approving position. And we know that because there's been $50 billion found down the back of the couch according to Jim Chalmers. Down the back of the couch. That was actually because more people are employed. That means that there's higher tax receipts and there's lower welfare payments, so the budget was in an improving position. But all that Labor seems to be promising now is a high taxing and high spending budget and that would be absolutely disastrous. So we want to make sure that we keep the pressure on the Labor government now, to rein in its fiscal ambitions, to try and put aside that giant wishlist that's come out from the unions, and just to concentrate on its responsibility to lower the cost of living for Australians so that all the heavy lifting doesn't have to be done by Philip Lowe and the RBA.
PAUL MURRAY: Jane, you are a star don't be a stranger. You're always welcome here. Liberal Senator for Victoria, Jane Hume.