Friday, 10 November 2023
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Treasurer, Senator Farrell. I refer to the minister's answer yesterday to Senator Birmingham, where he claimed not to have seen analysis of OECD data in the Australian Financial Review showing that Australians have experienced the biggest fall in living standards among advanced economies under Labor. Has the minister since read the analysis and can the minister name a single advanced economy where real household incomes have fallen as much as Australia?
Perhaps I should have mentioned yesterday in my answer, Senator Rennick, that one thing we know about the OECD is that it's now led by a former leader in this place, former senator Mathias Cormann. My recollection of Senator Cormann, who is a very nice fellow—
I raise a point of order, President, on relevance. I'm not asking about who's running the OECD, in terms of the bureaucratic organisation. I'm talking about the countries amongst it, in a relative sense of the word.
I've made my point, I suppose. After a decade of deliberate stagnation under the Liberals and Nationals, wages are growing at their fastest rate in about a decade. While inflation does remain higher than we'd like—we know that's because of the incompetent management of the economy by the former government—it has moderated from its annual peak in the December quarter 2022. Its quarterly peak under the coalition in the March quarter of 2020—
Higher interest rates and higher inflation are putting pressure on people, and that's why our No. 1 priority as a government is addressing inflation and the cost of living. We are rolling out $23 billion worth of cost-of-living relief, which is easing pressure on Australians at the same time as it's helping to ease inflation in the economy. The ABS has confirmed—
President, I rise to make a point of order on direct relevance. There were two parts to Senator Rennick's question: one was whether he has read the analysis, and the other was whether he can name a single advanced economy where real household incomes have fallen as much as they have in Australia. I don't believe the minister has confirmed whether he has seen the analysis, because he hasn't actually referenced it at all. Nor has he identified whether he can name any country where people have been left as worse off over the last year as in Australia. Can he?
The analysis of OECD data in the Australian Financial Review shows that, under Labor, Australians have experienced the biggest fall in living standards among advanced economies. Does the minister think it is acceptable for Australian real household incomes to have fallen faster than any other advanced economy?
Australia's inflation rate is growing faster than that of 15 members of the G20, and ABS data shows that domestic inflation is growing faster than trade exposed inflation. Will the minister admit that falling real incomes is a Labor problem, not a global problem?
I don't think Senator Rennick listened to my first answer, where I actually addressed what's happening with wages. I know you don't like me going back to who's now running the OECD, but, of course, when he was running finance in this country, Senator Cormann let the cat out of the bag. He made it very clear that a design feature of your economic policies—
We all know why inflation is going up. In addition to the incompetent management under your government, Senator Rennick, which started the upward climb—remember, the first increase in interest rates was under your government—there's a war going on in Ukraine.
There's a war going—
Opposition senators interjecting—
Yes, and I will tell these people. We are looking after you. (Time expired)