Labor is keeping rising childcare fees and the cost of living at the forefront of its election pitch, as leader Anthony Albanese rejoins the campaign trail after a week of COVID-19 isolation.
Mr Albanese will fly to Perth on Friday ahead of the party’s campaign launch in Western Australia on Sunday.
He told the ABC he was pleased to be out and about, after seven days in his Marrickville home.
“I feel really good today and I felt better yesterday than the day
before and the same thing a day before that,” he said.
He accused the Coalition of “bad policy” to keep a lid on wages, as living costs rose.
“People out there know that the cost of everything is going up but their wages aren’t and that’s a fundamental problem that has been presided over by this government in the past decade and they say that low wage growth is a key feature of their economic architecture,” he said.
“This is not bad policy or bad luck. This is bad policy.”
Labor attacked the government on Thursday after data showed the average cost of childcare rose by 4.2 per cent in the year to March.
It came after inflation surged to 5.1 per cent, a 20-year high, with mortgage-holders facing an interest rate hike as soon as next week.
The Reserve Bank is tipped to raise rates on Tuesday – for the first time in 12 years – increasing cost of living pressures for those with loans.
But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has suggested the RBA should wait for wages data due out on May 18.
“I can only point you to previous statements that they have made where they have said they want to see inflation sustainably within their [2-3 per cent] band, and they also want to see significant wages growth before they start to move,” he told the Australian Financial Review.
Following the release of the inflation figures, former prime minister John Howard rejected suggestions there was a housing crisis in Australia as he campaigned in the Brisbane seat of Ryan.
“The cost of housing in this country is much higher than we would like, but a lot of the reasons for housing being expensive in Australia has been baked into the system over the years,” he said.
“And may I say, because of planning and other decisions made by state and local governments to push up the cost of housing.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will start Friday in Hobart, after announcing $50 million for the Nyrstar Smelter in the Tasmanian capital.
Mr Morrison dismissed criticism directed at the government from Senator Pauline Hanson as “just politics”, after it emerged the Coalition would tell voters to preference the Jacquie Lambie Network in the Tasmanian Senate race ahead of One Nation.
“We’re just focused on what the Australian people are focused on in this election, all this discussion about preferences … it’s just politics,” he told Sky News.
“That’s not changing what people do for a job. It’s not changing what they earn. It’s not keeping downward pressure on inflation and interest rates. That’s what we’re focused on in this in this election.”
Senator Hanson accused the government of doing a “dirty deal with the devil”.