Inflation – Speech in the House of Representatives 03/08/23

August 3, 2023

Hansard 03/08/2023  House of Representatives

Mr LLEW O’BRIEN (Wide Bay) (16:26): I suppose it’s good to speak on this debate. It is the last day of the week, and there is a bit of joviality in the chamber—Turkish bread and ‘back in black’ mugs and all of the rest of it. But at the heart of this debate are real Australians suffering. That’s what’s going on here. Real Australians are in the middle of a crisis. That’s what we are talking about. It’s an important and very serious topic. I get around both the division of Wide Bay and the broader nation and I speak to people. They’re telling me that they’re doing it tough. They’re finding it hard to make ends meet.

They’re also telling me how disappointed they are in this Albanese Labor government. This has turned out to them to be a government that is more interested in treating the nation as a social and economic experiment than a serious job at hand. Indeed, they tell me that the Prime Minister has betrayed them. I can’t help but agree with that. This is a prime minister who sat before the nation in what is the nation’s biggest job interview and made any number of claims about how he was going to ease the cost-of-living pressures, how life under him would be easier, how life under him would be more affordable. What has happened? We are not better off; we are worse off, and we are facing a crisis in relation to inflation.

The policies of this government aren’t addressing inflation. Inflation is caused by too much money chasing too few goods, effectively, and this government’s policies are about pumping more money into the economy and creating a scarcity of goods. It’s manifesting itself in some very shocking numbers that the government can’t run away from: six per cent inflation CPI. That is shocking. I know the Treasurer came in here yesterday with a big sigh of relief about the cash rate staying on hold. I’m sure he was buoyed up by maintaining a bad economy that’s not getting worse, but the reality is he is presiding over a shockingly bad economy. We’ve got some of the highest core inflation rates amongst advanced economies. This is not me making it up. These are facts. Our labour productivity is going through the floor. Real wages—what you get for the dollar that you earn—are plummeting at a record rate. Australians are suffering. They are suffering.

The recent National Australia Bank survey into home borrowers showed that 67 per cent of Australians under the age of 50 are saying that the rising cost of living is their biggest cause of stress. That is shocking; that is really, really bad. We’ve got Lifeline reporting that 80 per cent of its calls relate to cost-of-living pressures.



In the spirit of Australia, I acknowledge all citizens who contribute to making our nation the greatest on earth.

I acknowledge our defence force personnel, past, present, and emerging, for their service to our nation, and particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of Australia.

I also acknowledge the Australian taxpayers who, through their hard work, pay for the infrastructure, health, education, and emergency services that keep our proud nation healthy, safe, and prosperous.