MPI – Cost of living
Mr PITT: Deputy Speaker, you may well ask, ‘What’s up?’ Well, I’ll tell you what’s up. Fuel is up, rent is up, the cost of housing is up, electricity is up, inflation is up, the cash rate is up—for those of us who actually know what the cash rate is. There are a couple around who might have no idea, I’m sure. And all of these things are costing the Australian people money. They are costing the Australian people more than they paid before, and this is an absolute disgrace. They cannot afford to pay more—they simply cannot.
We’ve heard today about painting a picture. I’d like to paint a picture, because I actually think they’ve got a plan, and that is to soften up the Australian people for more cuts—cuts to the budget, cuts that hurt them, cuts that hurt age pensioners, cuts that hurt the people that I represent. I will paint this picture. The Treasurer has got his Rocky hood on and he’s gone into the abattoir for the Treasury. He’s got the carcass there in front of him. I’m not sure who’s playing brother-in-law Paulie. It might be the member for Whitlam, but the PowerPoint presentation he puts on will help him a lot, I’m absolutely certain. He’s there, gloves on, fairy tapped from the left, fairy tapped from the right. It doesn’t do anything at all. We can see the Treasurer, gloves off, moisturiser on, and he’ll go for the knives. The intention of this mob is to cut the budget.
The Treasurer and the Prime Minister, today, this week, last week, next week, are softening up the Australian people to cut the budget, and those cuts will hurt them. The best thing the government can do is keep the tax cuts that we legislated, because that is more money in people’s pockets. It is the ability for them to pay their own way. And they need that money. We have seen promises already broken. In question time today, the $275 reduction in the price of electricity—no-one could say it, not one. The question was asked not once, but twice, and was never answered. So what we are seeing from the new government is that they cannot even commit to the things that they promised in the election.
So, to go back to painting the picture: we’ve got the Treasurer, he’s in the abattoir, he’s hacking up that carcass of the budget and he’s taking away the prime cuts that the Australian people rely on because they have to be able to pay their way. Power prices continue to increase. We will see the RBA, I’m sure, make a decision that is likely to increase the interest rate for every single mortgage holder in this country.
I think the Prime Minister probably needs to take some more advice, because what we’ve seen—and what we continue to see—every now and again is a little breakout about who the next leader might be. And he’s only been here for how long? I can see we’ve got one of our colleagues in the chair down there. It’s been nine weeks, and we’ve already seen breakouts in the media about changing out the Prime Minister—
Dr Leigh: What’s the cash rate, again?
Mr PITT: It’s 1.35 per cent, for those interjecting. We have plenty of interjections, but those of us on this side know what the cash rate is. We saw very clearly, as did the Australian people, those who didn’t know.
We are in a softening-up period. Those opposite want to drive down the budget, they want to cut the budget and they want to take things away from the Australian people. The best thing that you can do is to continue to drive the economy and support the things that are paying the Australian people’s way.
You still can’t commit—I’ve got to give the Prime Minister his due. The Prime Minister has said that he supports the coal sector and the oil and gas sector, because they are paying the bills of the Australian people. The same can’t be said of too many on the front bench. They are out there and they are fudging their way. We saw the minister for the environment at the Press Club; she could not answer the question. She would not say that they supported the resources sector, a sector that is driving over $400 billion of the economy in this country.
We continue to see jobs. We hear about the great skilled workforce shortage. There’s certainly a shortage in the workforce, but if they weren’t skilled they wouldn’t be employed! These are some of the lowest unemployment rates we’ve seen in this nation since 1974. It is an incredible result, and it needs to be driven forward and it needs to be managed carefully. That is what governments do.
Can you imagine if it was our proposition—in government, in that position right now—that they couldn’t control the increasing costs for the Australian people? There would be outrage. There would be Twitter everywhere. We would see so many things on Twitter that even the member for Gippsland would get a comment, I’m sure. We last heard from the Labor government something critical, and that was the recession we had to have. Is it going to be that way again?