Interview with Karl Stefanovic, The Today Show
2 March 2023
KARL STEFANOVIC: Well the disconnect is emerging between the Treasurer and forced to correct Jim Chalmers when he failed to rule out tax hikes on the family home. Let's bring in Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume. Jane, good morning. Nice to see you. Not a great day for the government yesterday, but good to see you guys falling in behind everyone who lives in double bay and Sydney.
JANE HUME: There's been an awful lot of inconsistencies coming out of the government on this issue Karl. Obviously this is a broken promise, it was a lie. The government said before the election that they weren't going to make any changes to taxes. They weren't going to make any changes to superannuation. This week, we saw a complete backflip and they said that they're going to double the tax on superannuation for people with balances over 3 million. Now I know there's not a lot of sympathy out there for people with balances north of more than 3 million but this isn’t indexed. It will capture far more people than they're anticipating. Now, it may not kick in for two years. They're saying it's going to capture Around 85,000 people now but how many people will it capture in two years time and who will fall into that net within five years? 10 years, 20 years time because that 3 million isn't indexed. This has essentially been a breach of trust by the Labor government. It's gone back on its promise not to raise taxes. It's gone back on its promise not to change superannuation. So we can only ask what's next? What else are they hiding from us? Is it changes to the capital gains tax on housing? Is it changes to negative gearing? They promised not to change those as well.
KARL STEFANOVIC: Gee you crammed a lot in there. Very efficient Jane. So you will axe the idea if you win?
JANE HUME: We will repeal this legislation. We will fight it all the way and we will repeal this legislation because it's a breach of trust. It's a broken promise. And it's the thin end of the wedge what will happen next.
KARL STEFANOVIC: Okay, so you've been chairing on another matter a Senate Committee on cost of living. Coles claims they've been absorbing the rising costs. Do you believe that?
JANE HUME: Yeah, absolutely. We had an amazing cost of living committee yesterday. Now obviously, cost of living is the number one issue for Australians right now. We heard from, not just Coles but also Aldi and Metcash, who look after the IGA’s. They were telling us that people are changing the way that they shop. They're moving from normal brands to the home brands for instance, they're changing from beef to chicken or maybe from fresh food to canned food. We also heard from local charities Meals on Wheels, who told us that people are ordering fewer meals than they used to. That's going to affect elderly people's nutrition and health. And we also heard from a charity that said that it's manned by volunteers, a food charity, manned by volunteers, whose volunteers are leaving because they have to go out and get work to cope with their own cost of living.
KARL STEFANOVIC: My worry here is that the producers, farmers out there are just getting squeezed even more. Their margins are getting squeezed beyond the like, which we haven't seen in a long, long time. So they're not being looked after and then eventually the big supermarket chains are gonna have to pass those price hikes onto us. And when we see that?
JANE HUME: The ACCC spoke about that. In fact, they suggested that improving competition, and the supermarket's agreed with this, improving competition not just at the retail end, but right through the supply chain is a way that we can increase the pressure to lower those prices for consumers.
KARL STEFANOVIC: Because Jane I think we end up with consumers sorry, we're just running out of time, but I think people see the profits of the supermarket chains and that you know, it's all well and good to have a problem as a business. And then obviously that profits come from somewhere.
JANE HUME: One of those things that those supermarkets are now doing is donating more food than they ever have before. In fact, we heard from Woolworths who said that the demand for them to increase their food donations has been increased around 20%. That's going to places like food bank, who would then helping those that are in need, but I understand that there's serious concern more competition is certainly a better outcome. That's the sort of thing that the cost of living committee is looking at practical solutions to improving the lives improving the cost of living for ordinary Australians.
KARL STEFANOVIC: It’s a good committee this. Will continue to have you on. Appreciate your time today.