Senate debates

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Matters of Public Importance


5:01 pm

Photo of Matt O'SullivanMatt O'Sullivan (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

AN (—) (): I rise to support this matter of public importance brought forward by your good self, Acting Deputy President McGrath. This is a very important motion. It addresses an issue that Australians are facing right now. They're feeling the pain of the rising cost of living across this country right now. It doesn't matter where you are in this country, or what section of the Australian economy you are in. Businesses, individuals and families are feeling the rise of the cost of living.

What we saw last night from the Treasurer—who was in fine form, glowing from the self-congratulation from his own side, channelling high-taxing Labor treasurers of years gone by—was a budget that doesn't address cost-of-living issues. Labor's true colours came through indeed. This budget did nothing to address cost-of-living pressures for Australian families. It did nothing to address the cost-of-living burdens being carried by Australians on a daily basis. It's a cost-of-living con job, frankly. That's what we saw.

The only person with less sleep this week than the Treasurer was the governor of the Reserve Bank. That's because he knows that if the government continues to overspend, as it has done in its second year, the only way that inflation will be brought under control is by using the levers of the Reserve Bank governor—that is, by raising interest rates. There is enormous pressure on the Reserve Bank now because they're the ones left to carry the can. But guess what? It's the Australians struggling to pay their mortgages that will be left to do the heavy lifting.

There was nothing in the budget last night that actually addresses the structural difficulties and challenges, to drive down the cost of living and decrease inflation. There's nothing in that budget. We saw some temporary measures that might help people. There's some energy relief, but that's for this year alone. Prices will still go up by $500. What is the government doing to put downward pressure on the cost of living? Sadly, nothing. We know that this government does not actually have a plan. If they did, we would have seen it last night. We've been saying this for a long time, hoping that when the budget was delivered on the first Tuesday of May there'd be a plan to address this significant issue that Australians are facing. Sadly, we were all left wanting.

We're seeing increased spending. Two dollars is going out in expenditure to each dollar coming in in revenue, and what we're seeing is that the Reserve Bank are the ones that are going to have to deal with this and that the Labor Party have no plan to deal with inflation. Labor cannot spend its way out of this cost-of-living crisis. It was the great British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who said that the problem with socialism is that you eventually 'run out of other people's money'. That's what this government is doing.

Australian taxpayers, they're spending your money, and they cannot spend their way out of this situation. The budget makes life harder for Australians. The budget confirms that your cost of living goes up. The budget confirms that the gas and electricity prices continue to skyrocket, that real wages have not grown, that inflation remains stubbornly high, that unemployment will rise and that Australians can expect to pay higher taxes. A typical Australian family is expected to be $25,000 a year worse off under this Albanese Labor government. Under Anthony Albanese, the Prime Minister, every dollar is worth less. That dollar that you've got in your bank account or in your pocket is worth less today because of this government than it was a year ago. The Treasurer is running around, pointing to his wafer-thin budget surplus. But let's face the reality that it is the resources sector—particularly, in my home state of Western Australia, the iron ore sector, which is obviously continuing to get record prices—that is delivering the surplus, and the Treasurer can't take credit for that. (Time expired)


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