House debates

Tuesday, 27 February 2024

Matters of Public Importance

Cost of Living

4:00 pm

Photo of Aaron VioliAaron Violi (Casey, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

The MPI is always a nice occasion to sit and listen to those opposite. I like to make sure I'm here for the whole debate, because you get some interesting insights. The member for Jagajaga just summed up quite nicely the challenges this government faces. With five minutes to talk about being in government for 20 months and outline the amazing achievements of the Albanese government, the member for Jagajaga spent four minutes talking about the opposition, talking about our side of this chamber. They're in government; they've got the ability to make decisions. The one minute she did talk about what they've achieved—we're talking about $15 a week in five months for the Australian people. That really sums up this Albanese government.

The Australian public know and we know that, for all of last year and all of 2022, those opposite were distracted. The terms 'cost of living' and 'Middle Australia' were not used by the Prime Minister or the Treasurer. They've used the terms a lot in the last six weeks, since Christmas, but just using a word does not mean you're actually delivering for the Australian people. The Australian people know that. We get a little bit of frustration on the other side when we're talking about a car tax that's going to add up to $25,000 to the cost of a ute. There are a lot of tradies in Casey that are worried about this tax, and what do we get from the minister? The minister references the United States fuel efficiency system, but he leaves out a bit of the detail about some important differences. I'm going to quote from one industry figure: 'I don't think anybody would be opposed to us copying what they have in the USA, but what they've proposed looks like nothing like what they have in the USA.' What is this industry source talking about? In the US model, there is an exemption for certain vehicles. If a vehicle is over 3.86 metric tonnes, it is exempt from the fuel efficiency standard. Perversely, in the real world, that's one of the reasons that you see so many large vehicles in the United States. Manufacturers are making sure that they get above that 3.86 metric tonnes.

So what's the proposal from this government in Australia? They are looking at a 4.5 metric tonne exemption. I'll let the Australian people in on a little secret about why they put it up to 4.5 metric tonnes. It's to get all the utes that the tradies of Casey need for towing their work trailers, and it's to get the family SUVs that you need in my electorate to make sure you can fit the pram in to take your children to school and to sport, because public transport isn't readily available in an electorate like mine. That is a core and fundamental difference.

Every time the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Minister for Climate Change and Energy stand up and reference the United States fuel efficiency system, they are either willingly misleading the Australian people or they're not across the detail of what's involved in their own policy. It's one or the other, because that significant change is in their policy. And that sums up the Albanese Labor government. It's all about the headline; it's not about the detail. But the detail matters. That's why this will drive costs up. That's why it's not relevant to compare the US model.

We know that this Prime Minister does not understand the challenges of the Australian people. The biggest question he has to work out is: what is he going to wear to Taylor Swift, and how does he make sure it doesn't double up when he goes to see Katy Perry at Raheen? That's the toughest decision this Prime Minister made on the weekend—the change in outfit from Taylor Swift to Katy Perry—because that's what he thinks about. He has been in this place since 1996. It revolves around the actions of parliament, and he is making sure he enjoys the trappings of the role for as long as he can. But that does not solve the cost-of-living crisis that the people of Casey and the people of Australia are facing today.


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