Finance Minister Matthias Cormann has accused Labor of being “reckless”, following predictions Australia is to be plunged into recession.
Labor MP Anne Aly made the prediction on Wednesday when discussing why her party was cautious in supporting the Prime Minister’s $158 billion tax cut plan.
At first Dr Aly claimed Australia was “in a recession”, before backtracking to suggest the economy was in trouble.
“What about the fact that our economy is now in a recession, or it looks like it is going into a recession,” she told Sky News.
“I want a bit more information about exactly how this is going to impact on the people that I represent before I support future tax cuts. (I’m) very happy to support tax cuts now.”
The definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth. That hasn’t happened in Australia since the 1990s. However some experts have argued Australia is undergoing a “per-capita” recession for the first time in 13 years.
That means when the impact of population growth is stripped out, the economy shrank on a per-capita basis.
When asked if it was a big call to suggest the economy was in a recession, Dr Aly then said the economy wasn’t doing well.
“It’s very obvious that the economy is not doing as well as the government would have believe. You have figures out of the RBA, you’ve got the interest rate coming down again,” she said.
“Perhaps, a recession is a big thing to say.”
Senator Cormann called on the Labor leader to say whether he agreed with the “irresponsible” claim.
“Those statements are recklessly irresponsible and wrong and they show that Labor has learnt absolutely nothing from the recent election outcome,” he said.
“Anthony Albanese and Jim Chalmers need to clarify whether they agree with Anne Aly’s irresponsible statements about our economy and whether it reflects the official Labor Party position.
“Labor needs to respect the will of the Australian people.”
A spokesman for Dr Chalmers was trying to contact him as he continued his “listening” tour in NSW.
Meanwhile, Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick has denied he’s struck any deals to pass the Morrison government’s tax cuts – yet.
Senator Patrick said he was continuing to “brainstorm” ideas about how to bring down energy prices including greater transparency in contracts and limits on gas exports.
Parliament returns on July 2.