Interview with Stephen Cenatiempo, 2CC Breakfast
23 May 2023
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Now, normally on a Tuesday we catch up with Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor, but unfortunately, Angus is otherwise disposed at the moment. So we're joined by the Shadow Minister for Finance and Chair of the Select Committee on the Cost of Living, Senator Jane Hume. Jane, good morning.
JANE HUME: Great to be with you, Stephen. I'm very worried that I, I certainly hope I do well on that Canstar test.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: As the Shadow Minister for Finance, I would hope you do too.
JANE HUME: You’d hope so, you’d hope so.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Let's talk about scorecards at the moment the Albanese government has now been in power for 12 months. My biggest criticism of the government is that they are very backward looking and still blaming the previous government for everything I would have hoped they'd moved on from that now. I'm imagining you're not going to give them a particularly good report card.
JANE HUME: I don't think, not only do I not need to give them a good report card but they're meeting in their first party room today since the Budget. I reckon they killed their own honeymoon. I think it's gonna be pretty quiet in that party room today. They talked a very big game before the election, but I think that Australians are learning pretty quickly that talk is probably the only thing that Labor has kept cheap in the last 12 months, electricity bills continue to rise. They can't even say the words $275 anymore, even though that was what they promised that would then take off your power bill. But now it looks like energy prices are gonna go up even for the lowest incomes by around $500 a year. There's extra spending around $185 billion of extra spending. New taxes, real wages are going down. You know, I think that they promised a 24/7 nurse in every aged care home they can't deliver that one they won't be able to deliver that one. So I don't think that there's actually all that much to celebrate one year on.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Although the Prime Minister himself has said the government this government has a sense of purpose. We've dealt with immediate challenges while building a better future long term. We're operating a proper cabinet government which takes advantage of the talent and capacity across our team.
JANE HUME: Oh, okay. That's a fantastic phrase. I'm not entirely sure whether it's manifested in reality, though. I mean, let's face it, every single government faces its own particular challenges. And the previous government, obviously, we were facing a global pandemic that had both health and financial implications, the likes of which no government had ever seen before. This government's big issue is inflation. It's had a seven in front of it for the last three quarters of a row. Now, the good news is there is a rule book on how to deal with this. The problem is Labor aren't reading the rule book. They're relying on a hope and a prayer to bring inflation down the budget that they delivered. There's nothing, not a single measure in there that will sustainably bring down inflation, and lowering inflation is the only policy that's going to deliver a cost of living relief for all Australians.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Well, most government members have been producing or I guess regurgitating the same meme on social media this week, talking about the fact that they've strengthened Medicare by making it easier to see a doctor created and secured local jobs while investing in fee free TAFE and more university places and making your job more secure with better pay and conditions, making childcare cheaper so that it's easier for working families to get ahead and making more things here. By working with business to invest in manufacturing renewables to create more Australian jobs. All of those things sound pretty good.
JANE HUME: Well, except for the fact that if you ask any Australian, do you feel better off today than you did 12 months ago? The answer is inevitably no. And in fact, the decisions that this government are making are actually making life harder for Australians, particularly families with a mortgage. Unless, you know, the government can take pressure off its fiscal strategy, stop the spending and indicate to the Reserve Bank that it doesn't need to raise rates anymore, Well then it's going to be families with a mortgage that pay the price because inflation will stay higher for longer, which means interest rates will stay higher for longer. You know, regional and rural Australians, they're getting no new infrastructure because there's been cuts and delays to the programme that had been put in place for a ten year pipeline of programmes Farmers now facing new taxes, truckies are facing new taxes. Self-funded retirees are having their franking credits attacked, and their superannuation taxed more. And now there's another passenger movement charge. So the poor old tourism operators that really suffered under COVID are getting another hit. So I actually think that you'd be hard pressed to find an Australian that feels like they're better off today than they were 12 months ago.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: I think you might be right there. Senator Jane Hume thanks for your time this morning.
JANE HUME: Great to be with you, Stephen.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Senator Hume is the Shadow Minister for Finance and Chair of the Select Committee on Cost of Living.