Panel with Paul Murray and Joe Hildebrand, Paul Murray Live
3 May 2023
PAUL MURRAY: Let's get into this and a whole lot more with Senator Jane Hume, who is the Shadow Finance Minister and future Finance Minister Joe Hildebrand, who services the talking points at Sky News and of course, Daily Telegraph and plenty of other things. Now, you have released a report today about cost of living, this is what you've been working on for some time. It's not the final report, it's interim. Read it today. Fascinating case studies, all of this about the reality of the pressures people are under. Now, can we bring the image up about what the promise was tweeted on the 17th of May last year, from the Prime Minister's Twitter account, right? So look, the poodle might have done it, somebody else might have done it. But remember what the promise was, the cost of living will go down under a Labor Government. You've gone all over the country. Senator, what are some of the examples of that promise in flames?
JANE HUME: Yeah, this report is an interim report. You're right. The final report is going to come out in November, and it will have a series of recommendations but what the report does is have a number of findings, about 11 findings, actually, while some of them won't necessarily come as a surprise, they certainly should be something that the Government can take heed of when they're preparing the Budget next week, things like energy prices are going through the roof, wages are not keeping up with inflation. So real wages are actually going backwards. Food and Grocery prices in particular, there's lots of pressure on those and that's feeding into how charities who are trying to pick up the slack around the country for people that are suffering from cost of living, often for the first time. They're suffering themselves, they can't keep up with the rent, they can't keep up with the energy bills and they are struggling to even find volunteers now to work in the charities because they're going back out to work to fix their own cost of living crisis. There was an awful lot of evidence that came out from, doesn't matter right around the country. But there's some common themes. Now there's more that we want to get into. We want to get into the rising cost of insurance. We want to get into how difficult it is now to switch between bank loans, even if you want to look for the best rate because that buffer component has increased. You know, APRA is requiring a large equity buffer in your home loans. There's lots more that we can uncover here. But the big finding, of course, is that this isn't caused by Vladimir Putin in Russia. It's not caused by external factors, that inflation is coming from Parliament, coming from Canberra, it's not coming from Martin Place. This is not the fault of the RBA, it is forced to do all the heavy lifting. If the Government isn't doing its bit, you've got to have both feet on the brake in the pedal at the same time, rather than one on the brake and one on the pedal at the moment. The RBA is forced to keep ratcheting up interest rates, because it's not hearing the right messages from the Government about what it's doing to lower inflation, it must restrain spending, this is the only way that you can sustainably control inflation with fiscal policy, rather than just relying on monetary policy.
PAUL MURRAY: Absolutely. Can we show the graphics I was planning to do in the editorial here about this very report, that comes from the report. The first is from the ABS, which shows about all the different categories where inflation is going through the roof, right, from housing, to transport to clothing, you can see that, the one that comes after that is your wages, which of course, continue to slide down. Now hopefully we can find that image of Albo, he tweeted it. I'm pretty sure the dog didn't, because the cost of living goes down when Labor's in power 12 months in, you can say as many cyclical things as possible. But when on the tin was, vote for us, and it gets better, and it's got worse. How does that work?
JOE HILDEBRAND: Yeah, look, I'm sure he would have said that. I'm sure you know, just as the Liberal Party said, you know, we'll keep interest rates low, and then the middle of the election campaign. They get risen.
JANE HUME: Once. That's right.
PAUL MURRAY: Once, you know.
JOE HILDEBRAND: Anyway, point being. Look, there's a bit of a catch 22 here. I mean, one of the findings of that report is that there needs to be more investment in social and community housing. Right, the Government is making that investment to the tune of $10 billion, is that something that should be cut? Is that what you're looking for? Because the report would seem to be calling for two separate things and this is the thing, people say I'm all for fiscal responsibility, but now we've got to restrain spending well.
PAUL MURRAY: But that is politics, which is that the assumption is that the Government should always spend more, but that there is a consequence of spending more.
JOE HILDEBRAND: But that is not a tax. I mean, I know I know if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck.
PAUL MURRAY: But if I’m $1,500 poorer because of a decision that Governments made that's bad.
JOE HILDEBRAND: A decision that both the Coalition and Labor made and that was only ever meant to be a temporary thing. I mean, when Tony Abbott introduced his temporary 2% tax hike on the very top percent everyone was rallying against its and saying oh my god it’s now going to stay there forever. Because how can you possibly call it you know, how can you possibly justify a tax hike for the rich? Again, okay, should they keep that? Or should they scrap the stage three tax cuts?
PAUL MURRAY: No.
JOE HILDEBRAND: So right, so give tax cuts to everybody, tax cuts for Stage Three, tax cuts for the 10 billion on social housing, because that's part of the report's recommendations to what exactly is the Government meant to do?
JANE HUME: Joe, they can land a surplus this year if they want to and the last reason why they can land a surplus, which you didn't mention Paul, is because of bracket creep. You know, when inflation increases, it is actually good for Governments, they rake in more revenue from bracket creep, and the face value of debt comes down. So when they talk about a billion dollars in Government debt, that's absolute nonsense, every economist will tell you that's absolute political nonsense.
JOE HILDEBRAND: So, if they return a surplus, will the Coalition support the $10 billion Public and Community Housing Fund?
JANE HUME: No because that's bad politics, it's a bad policy and the IMF said it actually causes more inflation. There are better ways to fund housing in this country and that's not the way.
PAUL MURRAY: Well, I tell you what also is going to increase inflation, which is the tobacco tax increase. Tobacco is one of the things that is in the basket of goods that they determine inflation off, right, that has gone up exponentially over the past 10 years, the assumption is that that can keep going up as long as everything else goes down. But when everything else is going up, the plan is to continue to push that up. But of course, we're rewriting the rules right now, which means it doesn't matter what we said before the election about cost of living. Afterwards, we're changing the Reserve Bank where they won't turn up 11 times a year to tell us whether the interest rates are going up or not. It'll be a completely new board. I just like, when you don’t like the game, you move the goalposts and that's what they are doing.
JOE HILDEBRAND: The other big driver is energy costs, of course.
JANE HUME:100%, we were told that they would come down by $275 apparently.
JOE HILDEBRAND: Yes, in 2025 we're told, and last time I checked my watch it’s still 2023.
PAUL MURRAY: I can't wait. I told everyone, I told everyone, get your power bill from May last year, bang on the fridge, while the fridge still works and then check it.
JANE HUME: Didn't you love Daniel Andrews comments about the RBA? Oh, it’s a terrible thing. Victorian power prices are higher than everybody else, net debt is higher in Victoria than anywhere else. It's the highest taxing state than anywhere else. How dare Dan Andrews come out and lecture us on economics? So give me a break.
PAUL MURRAY: Well, this is also the game, when you look at your state Premier, or in the case of say, the Northern Territory, Police Minister, I think they are the ones that can go and kick even harder on the Federal issues, we get how that game works. But can we all just agree? Albo doesn't need to swear allegiance to The King. The state of policy of the party is they want to get to a Republic. He has got a Minister for one, halfway through the next term, they're going to try to put in this model of a 9% Presidential vote equals the Presidency. Why doesn't he just say, Well, look, I'll stand there, but I won't mumble it. Isn’t an oath more serious than a promise?
JOE HILDEBRAND: King Charles hasn't invited Albo to the Coronation because he's a fellow Rabbitohs fan, it’s because the Prime Minister of Australia, the Prime Minister of Australia, I think he does have to swear allegiance to the Head of State.
PAUL MURRAY: But he’s got a policy to knife the Head of State?
JOE HILDEBRAND: But the Head of State is the Head of State and you're the Prime Minister. Also it’s not good manners to make a fuss at a big event but everyone's watching Harry aren’t they?
PAUL MURRAY: I will ask about this direct election versus appointment Republic right? There is no more boring conversation and what should the flag look like and should we turn into a republic.
JOE HILDEBRAND: It should be the Eureka flag,1,000% and you know what I found out today, if the white supremacist tried to hijack it, did you know that the first person who was hanged as a result of the Eureka Stockade? Yes, guess who it was, it was a black American. It was a black American immigrant who was the first martyr of the Eureka Stockade. So all your white supremacists out there with your little Eureka Stockade tattoos, start scrubbing because you are celebrating a black immigrant hero.
JANE HUME: The Eureka Stockade was all about getting rid of big Government and taxes.
JOE HILDEBRAND: This is why I really think it’s good because it combines both the left and the right, it's pro worker, it's anti tax. It's got everything, it's anti-Government intervention.
JANE HUME: The CFMEU won’t have to change the stuff on the cranes.
PAUL MURRAY: I'm willing to bet you that if that is the decision made, it'll be the indigenous flag that will end up becoming the National flag.
JOE HILDEBRAND: No, because that would be cultural appropriation.
PAUL MURRAY: Gender neutral Lego. Yeah. Now from the deep end of the pond part of the show, apparently Lego has come out in it you know, the kiss the ring of everything these days kind of said gender neutral Lego. I'm pretty sure Lego doesn't have bits right? In the first place. I'm pretty sure that there's plenty of people that have forever played Lego that mix and match and all the rest of it here. I thought it was already gender neutral.
JOE HILDEBRAND: You just take the little plastic hair off and put on whatever you want. Like if you see the legs, the pants don't come down.
JANE HUME: I have a Lego minifigure of me. Did you know that? Each politician does because there is a giant Lego Parliament in Parliament and they have all the seats in the Senate chamber and they put each one of the Senators in the Senate.
PAUL MURRAY: Alright, last one here. Nigel Farage standing by him took a lot more about his experience with Donald Trump. But Donald Trump's going back on CNN, he will be getting an hour of time taking questions from voters, Republican voters in the state of New Hampshire. But remember, towards the end of his presidency, CNN was all about bashing up on Donald Trump for the Biden booster network. The deep platforming of Trump, of course, meant he wasn't able to get anywhere other than to the people who were interviewing him. Now, apparently, this was CNN's idea, Joe. Does this mean the end of democracy or does this mean CNN is just chasing more people watching because their current format is unwatchable?
JOE HILDEBRAND: Well, look, I think they're making a lot of positive moves. I mean, they sacked Don Lemon after no one couldn't figure out what the point of him was. I think cable wars in the US is just, well, it's probably something I should steer clear of.
PAUL MURRAY: But also, but it's the decision to re-engage with Trump is interesting Jane, because remember, to the establishment 2020. The results of January 6, in particular meant that we're not going onto CNN ever again. The assumption was that DeSantis would have replaced him but he's surging, he'll be the Republican nominee. What does that say about what CNN is doing? They’re platforming the person that they tried to not platform, or they're actually doing their job?
JANE HUME: Well, I think that they're doing their job, you know, you've got to make sure that the voices and the opinions of all Americans are represented on these big broadcasting channels and it's like what you do in Australia, you know, until now, but it's really important. It's really important if you want a more accurate and informed electorate, and it's the same in Australia. We'd like to see far more members of the Labor Party come and join us. I certainly hang out on the ABC.
PAUL MURRAY: Good point. All right. Now, that report that the Senator has got for us here, hold it up nice and good. It's going to be up on our Facebook page for you to be able to read and have a look. It's interim. We'll see where it goes. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Senator, future Senator.