Opposition leader Bill Shorten has labelled Treasurer Joe Hockey as “arrogant” over his remarks that low-income families “don’t have cars”.
Defending his budgetary measure to reinstate an increase to the fuel tax on ABC radio yesterday, Mr Hockey said that high income earners would be the hardest hit, according to an ABC report.
“The people that actually pay the most are higher income people, with an increase in fuel excise and yet, the Labor Party and the Greens are opposing it,” he told 612 ABC Brisbane.
“They say you’ve got to have wealthier people or middle-income people pay more.”
“Well, change to the fuel excise does exactly that; the poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far in many cases.”
Mr Shorten described the comments as “incredibly arrogant”.
“Are you serious Joe Hockey? Are you really the cigar-chomping, Foghorn Leghorn of Australian politics where you’re saying that poor people don’t drive cars?” Mr Shorten asked.
“It is almost though as if the Treasurer believes that poor people should be sleeping in their cars, not driving their cars.”
Mr Hockey has defended his comments, saying they are supported by data from the 2011 census, however, the data does not show what proportion of income households spend on fuel.
The increase is worth $2.2 billion in the budget, and was meant to be spent on new roads.