Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and Defence Minister Richard Marles briefly clashed during a heated debate on breakfast television about the Australian economy and cost of living crisis continuing to cripple already struggling households.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has already warned it may need to lift its interest rates two more times before the end of 2022 to combat the “scourge” of inflation.
Economists are also predicting the cash rate – which currently sits at 2.35 per cent following a 0.5 increase this month – will jump a further 50 points in October.
Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers warned again on Friday the worst was yet to come for the Australian economy as the United States’ interest rate risen to its highest level in 40 years.
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Mr Dutton and Mr Marles appeared on Nine’s Today together to discuss the day’s top news stories and the cost of living measures to alleviate pressures on families.
Host Karl Stefanovic wondered if the Albanese Government was going further in the Federal Budget on top of its cheap childcare and medicine commitments.
Mr Marles argued it was not only Australia, but the world that was facing “pretty significant headwinds” in terms of cost of living pressures.
“We’re looking at both North America and Western Europe, with rising inflation, rising interest rates, and even China’s economy is not performing as expected, given their COVID-zero policy,” he responded.
“A decade – a lost decade of reform within our own economy has not placed us well in terms of dealing with this moment.
“We are confident that with a government which is actually going to manage the economy, and focus on cost of living pressures, that we can get through this.”
Mr Dutton was posed his thoughts and questioned whether “it is all your fault” as the Coalition had been in power since late 2013 before Labor’s victory in May.
He argued “the fundamentals of the Australian economy are stronger than almost any other country in the world”.
“So, put aside the rhetoric that Richard’s just given you about lost decade and all that nonsense, the increase in the pension was what happens every year,” he said.
“It is indexed by CPI.
“Every government gets a curve ball thrown at them. It is how the government of the day deal with it. I’m worried Labor is going to make a bad situation worse because they can’t manage money.
The Opposition Leader then took a swipe at the Albanese Government for not bringing forward the childcare subsidy from July and also not continuing the fuel excise his party introduced when petrol prices surged largely off the back of the Ukraine war.
“The child care support that Richard’s talking doesn’t come in until mid-next year. They are increasing petrol prices by 22 cents a litre,” Mr Dutton added.
“So, when families need support, they are not getting it from this government.”