Treasurer Joe Hockey’s Coalition colleagues have questioned his judgement following his comments this week that poor people “don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far”.
Several ministerial colleagues have spoken to Fairfax media under condition of anonymity, describing Mr Hockey’s comments as “stupid and wrong” and “a bad example of how to make a point”.
On Friday morning, Education Minister Christopher Pyne told the Nine Network that Mr Hockey was doing an “inspirational” job as treasurer, but refused six times to support his controversial comments.
It has been revealed that Mr Hockey has lost three key staff from his 17-person office since the federal election nine months ago.
One source said that the treasurer’s office “lacked direction”, with another adding that Mr Hockey “could probably strengthen his office”.
Labor transport spokesman Anthony Albanese attacked Mr Hockey’s comments that were in defence of an increase to the fuel excise.
“What he said was rubbish, if you are in an outer suburb or a regional community you have no choice but to drive and this is the guy who cut all funding for public transport in the budget,” Mr Albanese said.