Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers says he will be “delighted” for the federal election to be fought on the economy and the cost of living.
The week Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed that power and petrol prices would rise under a Labor government, forcing interest rates higher than they would need to be.
But Dr Chalmers says Mr Morrison has been “lying” to Australians about the economy and the consequences that has had on families.
“If he wants to have an election on the fact that petrol prices have gone up on average over the last year something like $900 for an average family with an average car, at the same time as real wages have gone backwards $700 over the last year, then we say bring it on,” he told ABC’s Insiders program.
“I think that should be central to an election about the economy, about living standards, and about the prime minister’s failures on economic management.”
But government frontbencher Stuart Robert insists the Liberals are the party that can actually manage the economics, and that Labor under Anthony Albanese “certainly isn’t”.
“We are the party that actually sticks to our economic guns and credentials, Mr Albanese is a bob each way and a flip-flops,” Mr Robert told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.
Multinationals’ tax dodges
However, Dr Chalmers wasn’t clear on what tax agenda Labor will take to the next election, other than to say the emphasis will be on multinational taxation.
“We’ve said repeatedly we won’t take an identical agenda on tax or anything that we took to the last election to the next election,” he said.
“But we will finalise our policies, all of our policies, including on tax, with an emphasis on multinational taxes between now and the election.”
Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar jumped on the lack of detail, saying Australians know the Liberal and National parties stand for lower taxes.
“Instead of trying to sneak out policies over the Christmas and summer breaks, Labor owes it to Australians to front up and be honest about their plans to tax families and businesses,” Mr Sukkar said in a statement.
Even so, figures last week showed wages were growing at an annual rate of 2.2 per cent as of the September quarter and when inflation was at three per cent over the same period.
The Australian Automobile Association’s latest transport affordability index released on Sunday shows weekly costs have for the first time risen above $400 for the average Australian metropolitan household.
It shows average weekly household transport costs have increased by as much as $58 compared to 2020.
Capital city households are on average spending more than $401.86 a week on transport costs, while regional households are spending an average of $328.51.
AAA managing director Michael Bradley said rising fuel prices were a significant contributor to rising costs across both regional and metropolitan Australia.
“With a federal election and two state elections due next year, this report is a timely reminder that cost of living pressures are rising and that policies that further increase transport costs need to be avoided,” he said.