NATALIE BARR: The Yes Campaign has made ground, according to a new Guardian Essential poll on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. It shows support has climbed by two points, but the no vote remains firmly in front, with 49% of respondents intending to vote against the change to the Constitution. The referendum is now just over a week away, with early voting underway. Let's bring in Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil and Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume Good morning to both of you. Clare, is this what you guys have been waiting for? The No says 49% in this poll. The Yes, 43%. But crucially, 8% of people are still undecided. That's what you're after I guess.
CLARE O’NEIL: Look, exactly Nat, and this is not surprising to me. I think there's a really tangible feel out there in the community of a strong positive surge towards the voice to parliament referendum. But I'd also say all of the polling tells us that lots of Australians are yet to make up their minds about what they think about this issue. And I just remind people we've got a really simple proposition here from First Nations Australians who are asking to be recognised in our constitution and for us to make sure that they get a say in policy issues that affect them so that we can get better outcomes for the country. Simple. And it's compelling and it's not going to affect the lives of most of the people who are watching right now. It will have a transformative effect on the lives of our first nations, people who are facing a lot of really serious issues around their quality of life. So I'm really excited to see that poll. I'm not surprised, and I can really feel in my community that people are really starting to wake up to the fact they've got to vote soon and they're seeking out further information on what it's all about.
NATALIE BARR: Jane, virtually every other opinion poll in the country says the no is going to win. Is this an outlier poll or is the tide changing?
JANE HUME: I think like an election, we always see polls tighten before polling day. But I think that the overwhelming feeling has actually been that this has been an unnecessarily divisive debate. I hope in this last week and a half that everybody can approach it in a really respectful way. Of course, it's okay to vote yes, but it's also okay to vote no. And if you don't understand what the proposition means, if you realise that you can't change it once it's in the Constitution and it risks what we have, which is the foundation document that underpins the most stable, peaceful, liberal democracy in the world, well then how can you vote? Yes, I think that it's fair and reasonable that people can vote the way they want to vote without having this divisive debate. Unfortunately, because of the question, because Anthony Albanese veered away from that path of bipartisanship that we were on, this is where we're going to end up.
NATALIE BARR: Okay, you can vote right now. The polls have opened and the big vote is in two weeks. Moving on. The Reserve Bank has kept interest rates on hold for a fourth straight meeting. Jane, do you think this is a sign the Government's plan to tame inflation is working?
JANE HUME: What plan to tame inflation Nat? The RBA has had to do all the heavy lifting. That's why we've had all these successive 11 straight, successive interest rate rises. I mean, you know, let's face it, the economy is shuddering to a halt. Labor productivity has tanked. The only thing that has kept us out of recession because we're in a per capita recession, the only thing that's kept us out of recession is the extraordinary levels of immigration that Claire's overseen around 450,000 people just in the last 12 months alone. Unless Labor can tame the cost of living pressures which continue to rise, interest rates, I mean inflation is now at 5.2%. It's ticked up again unless Labor can control the cost of living pressures, just as the RBA said, we're going to continue with this pain for another two years. I think that if people find out two years of this, it's almost overwhelming. Last week, at the Cost of Living Committee, we heard from academics that the industrial relations laws that the Labor introducing are going to make the situation worse and push the cost of living up even further. And we also heard that there are more people on hardship programmes for their electricity bills than ever before, and people with dual incomes and mortgages are seeking the help of charities, particularly food services, just to get by.
NATALIE BARR: Yeah, Claire, Look, Jane's right in that we're finding out that middle and high income earners are now approaching crisis hotlines for help Also, the new RBA governor has said that some more tightening of monetary policy will be likely before Christmas. That means another rate rise or two, doesn't it?
CLARE O’NEIL: Well, I mean, let's just come back to your original question then, that we've had an announcement from the Reserve Bank that they're putting interest rates on hold again. And I think you found Jane Hume the only person in Australia who doesn't think that's a good thing for the country. It's really good for the people in my community who are really struggling right now with the cost of living. And let's not pretend that this fixes any of the problems that are, you know, seriously affecting at the moment, you know, high energy prices, which is a global problem, but really affecting people in my community, the price of petrol is really high. We've got increased costs right across the board. And that's why the first, second and third focus of our government is trying to make sure that we are giving cost of living relief to Australians in a way that's responsible for the budget. So you saw just recently 1.2 million Australian households benefit from increasing childcare subsidies. We've got radical changes to make sure that people can get bulk billing at the doctor. The way that you used to be able to easily when we were a bit younger. This will help 11 million Australians get bulk billing when they need it. We've got big changes to energy, so 5 million Australian households eligible for up to $500 in support there. Now I wouldn't pretend that any of that's going to fix the problem, but what I'd love to hear from the Liberals is just a bit of unity of purpose here. There's a lot we can do to try to help Australians and we are doing all of the things that are at our disposal to try to address this purpose.
JANE HUME: We have unity of purpose, we want to deal with the causes, not the symptoms.
CLARE O’NEIL: If you don’t mind, I’d love to finish, like to finish my sentence there. So we're really focused on what matters to Australians right now. And that is the fact that they've got really serious issues with the cost of living rents going up and all the rest of it. We've got to focus on those problems and not play politics.
NATALIE BARR: And another at least one interest rate on the way before Christmas by the sound of it from the RBA Governor yesterday. Thank you very much. We'll talk to you next week.