House debates

Wednesday, 3 July 2024

Questions without Notice


2:00 pm

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Before the Prime Minister was elected, under the coalition government, a typical Australian family could secure a new variable rate home loan at 2.4 per cent, paying $35,000 a year. After two years of the Albanese government's decisions driving up inflation, the new loan variable interest rate is 6.3 per cent, costing Australian families an extra $21,000 in after-tax dollars. Why won't the Prime Minister admit that his $315 billion spending spree is driving home grown inflation and threatening further interest rate increases into the future.

2:01 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question which goes to a comparison of where the Australian economy was in 2022 and where it is now. I'm happy to comment on that, because, in the March quarter of 2022, inflation went up by 2.1 per cent—the biggest quarterly rise this century—and what we've done is reduce inflation from where we inherited it. When it comes to wages, outside of the pandemic, the biggest drop in real wages this century also occurred in the March quarter of 2022. It went down 1.4 per cent. So, think about this: inflation, a record up in 2022 and wages, a record down in March 2022.

Real wages grew more in the past year at 0.5 per cent than they did during their entire 10 years in office. We inherited a sluggish labour market. Under us, 880,000 new jobs have been created. Productivity growth under them was the worst in 40 years, and we've reversed that decline. Business investment declined to the lowest level since the early 2000s under them. Business investment under us has grown in every single quarter and is up 13 per cent in real terms. Then, of course, there's the budget under them. They planned a $78 billion deficit with no surpluses projected at any time between 2022 and 2060-61. Those were their projections going forward. We turned that $78 billion deficit into a Labor surplus of $22 billion and then a second Labor surplus in the following year.

They also make this absurd claim about government spending, and they include in that things that I'd suggest, therefore, they must be opposed to such as indexation of the aged pension—they're against that—indexation of income support payments and the pay rise for aged care workers. Well, they've been upfront about opposing that. There's funding for new medicines on the PBS—apparently, they're against all of that—and the natural disaster recovery funding and relief in the electorates of the member for Riverina, the member for Calare, the member for Page and the member for Richmond. In all of these electorates, they're against that as well, apparently.