Paul Murray Live
25 October 2022
PAUL MURRAY: Jane Hume is the Shadow Finance Minister. David Littleproud is the Nationals Leader. Both join us for their take on this budget. Jane, I'll start with you. If I told you that the first Labor budget was going to see 140,000 people lose their jobs, power bills go up by 50%, wages go backwards, and inflation goes up. You told me I was joking. Well, that's exactly what they just announced.
JANE HUME: Paul, this was always going to be a test for Labor, and they have failed this test on every account over the medium term. Debt goes up, deficits go up, inflation continues to go up, wages continue to go down, productivity decreases and that quality spending that was promised has disappeared into the ether. There is not a single measure here in that cost of living relief that kicks in for people right now that helps people today with the cost of living crisis that we're facing. In fact, most of those measures don't kick in for another two years. This really is a budget that's let down all Australians, the speech sounded like rainbows and sunshine, but in fact, the forecasts are simply miserable 140,000 Australians out of a job in the next 12 months. Not only that, but we're anticipating that just with energy prices and interest rates alone will the typical Australian family will be $2,000 worse off by Christmas this year.
PAUL MURRAY: Geez. Now, of course, David, it was forecasted the expectations were that the regions were going to cop it. We got confirmation tonight. No help. In fact, whatever helping hand may have been there has been torn away.
DAVID LITTLEPROUD: Mate, look, this budget created a second-class citizen in this country. Those are the 30% that live outside a capital city, they’re regional Australians. We've been forgotten, not only in terms of having to pay the cost of living up to $2,000 between now and Christmas. But we lost our future. We had our infrastructure ripped away from us, we had the opportunity of four and a half billion dollars spent on childcare. But what not one new place for a childcare place in regional rural Australia where young families on $70- $80,000 that want to get to work can't because there's no place? It's not about affordability, it's about accessibility. Then when you take away our future in dams if you've got a structural deficit of wanting to pay for NDIS, for Medicare, for schools, teachers and a lot, you have to grow the pie, but you need to have the tools to be able to do that. If you take away water infrastructure, you don’t just take away regional Australia's future, but you take away Australia's future. Sadly, in times of flood, you would have thought a little bit of common sense might have come into this. It's also about flood mitigation. So this is just regional Australia paying the bill for everybody else. They rip the guts out of us. Tonight, they just broke our hearts and took any hope away for regional rural Australia. This Prime Minister said no one would be left behind, 30% of Australians who live outside of capital cities were left behind tonight.
PAUL MURRAY: Also, in regional Australia, those price increases when we talk specifically about things like fuel increases. Well, of course, you use more of it because you have to travel further. The multiplicity of electricity providers means they're sort of one and done, take it or leave it, particularly in regional Queensland. So some of these things that people are seeing today as being 50% increases, or 20% increases here or there, the reality outside of those metro areas. And we're right now live on Sky News regional around the country. Those numbers are bigger, aren't they, David?
DAVID LITTLEPROUD: Exactly. It's more acute. The results of this budget will hurt regional Australians. Instead of bringing Australia together, as they've said, that tearing us apart, and what every Australian should remember when they go to the checkout, they see their grocery docket when they get their mortgage statement, and they see that the increased costs in that, and when they see the electricity bill, they should see Anthony Albanese his face on that because he's caused this. He promises that he is going to bring down the cost of living, but instead, he's driven it up. Unfortunately, in regional Australia, it's far more acute. There's no understanding of that. We tried to be constructive as the Nationals. We tried to be there at the table. But if you're not going to listen, then I think it's time for regional Australia's understand that 30% that live outside of the capital city, you'll get three-fifths of bugger all under this mob. The only way to change it is to change the government.
PAUL MURRAY: I agree completely. Now, Jane, let's talk a bit about Albonomics here. Right because of largely an increase in the amount of money that's been coming in when it comes to resources. They had an extra $100 billion that was there even in March. Right. But I'm talking about four forward years. We're talking about there since March, right? When Josh Frydenberg stood up, the income for the country was 547 billion. It's now up to 607 billion so automatically, we think well, okay, we can plug the hole. No, no, no. Spending goes up as well from 628 to 651. Am I correct in my observation here that they haven't cut anything seeing what they've really done is they've moved $1 from here and spent $1.05 over there?
JANE HUME: That's exactly what they've done, you know, they actually inherited a really strong and improving budget position. One of the reasons why tax receipts were up was because so many people were at work. We have unemployment with a three in front of it and a downward trajectory. Now that's looking like that's gone out of the window, which means your tax receipts will decrease in the future, and your welfare dependency will increase. But you're right. What's really happened is a redirection of that spending money away from priority issues for Australians towards priority issues for Labor. Of course, the best example of that is the redirection of that infrastructure spending largely regional and rural infrastructure spending that was so important to those communities that have been redirected into things like the $2.2 billion suburban rail loop in Victoria, which, surprise, surprise, five weeks out before an election in Victoria. That's Dan Andrews, Marquis commitment, and Albanese has come to the party with $2.2 billion of taxpayer money. This, of course, is a commitment that hasn't gone through Infrastructure Australia, an agency that was set up by Anthony Albanese himself to assess the cost-benefit analysis of infrastructure projects, it hasn't gone through there. In fact, the Victorian Auditor General said it wasn't good value for money. Yet, this government that promises quality spending has committed $2.2 billion of your money to this dad project.
PAUL MURRAY: And also, you know, some of the guide rails are gone here as well. No cap on the extra size of the public service, and no cap on spending. Essentially, they're gonna supercharge this. On top of all of that, despite the fact that they've said a trillion dollars of debt more than a trillion times it's about 700 billion, which is no small number, but they will get it to a trillion. They're going to add 300 billion on top of everything that was there, Jane.
JANE HUME: If you remove the guard rails, well, it's a free for all, isn't it? If you don't have a tax-to-GDP ratio limit, if you don't have spending to GDP ratio limit, if you take the cap off the number of public servants and they have, and they're predicting an additional 8000 bureaucrats in Canberra in this budget, 8000 bureaucrats let's think about that. Well, then, of course, your spending is going to exceed your revenues. If you can't control your expenditure, well, that's just pushing inflation up. Because let's face it, if you can't control inflation with fiscal responsibility, then the RBA has to do all the heavy lifting to bring inflation down. So it's forced to push interest rates up, and who bears the brunt of that it's homeowners with mortgages, it's people on fixed incomes. You know, it's no good for anybody. So what we wanted to see in this budget was controlled spending with banking the savings to reduce the debt to reduce the deficit. In fact, we've seen quite the opposite over the medium term, debt goes up, the deficit goes up well.
PAUL MURRAY: Don't forget as well here, too, the value of your home goes down because interest rates go up then they claim they're gonna pump in a million extra homes, which again floods the market and pushes down the value of your home. I mean, fair dinkum, these people, they might think they're great at politics. Well, the real world's about to put on the RMs and kick’em as hard as they can. David, the last one here, you mentioned childcare. Let's just double down on this because, again, this gets a pass for most of the people who are right in the hitting zone there in the Canberra press gallery, but in the real world, for a mum and dad watching us right now in a place like Dubbo in a place like Port Pirie, where we'll be going at the end of the week, our town at Sky news.com, what's going to happen for them?
DAVID LITTLEPROUD: Nothing. This is the issue. I raised this as a job summit that this isn't about childcare affordability in regional Australia. It's about accessibility. You cannot get a space. I was actually Mildura just one outlet there last week had a waiting list of 200 people Kempsie, 200 people were waiting to get their children into childcare. This means that not the big end-of-town $350 $400,000 family incomes are hurting here. These are little regional communities where mums and dads want to go back to work to pick up $70- $80 grand, which is big for them. They've lost the opportunity to go to work, they've lost the opportunity to have a career because this government just said all we would need to worry about is childcare affordability. They haven't heard from us that it's about accessibility. Everyone's screaming at them about accessibility. They've ignored us, and they've taken away the hopes and dreams of young families right across regional Australia because of this hell-bent scheme of just looking at affordability. We feel like second-class citizens because we just became one tonight, despite all the rhetoric, despite all the fact that they were going to listen to us. They've done nothing. They had a chance to spend some of that $4.5 billion on getting the availability there. When they failed regional Australia they failed this nation because, you know what? We paid the bills for the last two years when the rest of this nation was forced under the doona. We kept on producing in agriculture and resources. We wouldn't be in the position we are today, economically, if it wasn't for regional Australia. So today, we just got kicked in the guts, and we lost our future because we got a government that didn't think about us. They just thought about them in the next election.
PAUL MURRAY: Well played, well said. Thank you, guys do appreciate it.