Anthony Albanese’s government has been criticized by Today Show host Karl Stefanovic as Australians “failing” in the face of cost of living pressures.
Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles appeared on the program on Friday after the Reserve Bank earlier this week announced the 13th interest rate rise in 18 months.
The cash interest rate is now 4.35 percent, sending monthly mortgage bills skyrocketing, while electricity, gas and grocery bills remain near record highs. two decades.
“I know it’s not entirely your fault, but I think the Australians are starting to feel like you’re letting them down,” Stefanovic told Marles.
“You’re failing them because of cost of living pressure,” he added.
Mr Albanese is in the Cook Islands for the Pacific Leaders Forum this week (photo)
Marles, who is acting prime minister while Mr Albanese attends the Pacific Islands Forum, argued inflation was a problem felt around the world and had initially increased in Australia under the previous government coalition.
“The cost of living has obviously been a focus for the Government since we’ve been in office, because we understand the strain this puts on the budgets of Australian households and businesses,” Marles said.
“Last week, we saw the tripling of the bulk billing incentive, the largest investment of its kind in Medicare history.”
“It’s about making it cheaper to see a doctor. We fought for cheaper medicines, more affordable childcare and free Tafe.
Stefanovic replied: “Every time you are asked about this, anyone in your government, the same phrases come up.”
“I feel like you’re not feeling the pressure that Australian households are currently experiencing.”
Marles said he “of course” understands this pressure and that the Albanian government is focused on managing the budget to “not contribute to the inflationary environment.”
“We did something that the previous Liberal government had never done: generated a budget surplus.”
“The biggest increase in inflation occurred when the Liberals were in power.”
Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles told Stefanovic that inflation was a problem in many countries and was higher under the previous Liberal government.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, also on the show, said it was “unbelievable” that the cost of living was Labor’s top priority.
“Over the last 18 months the Prime Minister has been focused and absorbed solely on The Voice and they have made decisions in two budgets that have made it harder for families pushed down by inflation.”
“People are going backwards under this government, the Prime Minister doesn’t understand because he’s never there.”
Mr Albanese joined Pacific leaders in the Cook Islands this week for the annual meeting of regional power players.
He held formal bilateral talks with Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Cook Islands on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders’ Meeting, as well as informal discussions with other leaders from Nauru, Samoa, Tonga and Federated States of Micronesia.
Mr Albanese pledged $350 million for climate-related infrastructure and energy projects in the Pacific.
“The reception Australia has received here has been overwhelmingly positive,” Mr Albanese said.
“It is recognized that my government is committed to climate action and that we are playing a positive role, not only with our commitment to reduce our emissions by 43% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050, but above all with our commitment to playing a role in the region and even throughout the world.
Critics of Mr. Albanese have nicknamed him “Airbus Albo” because of his international jet-setting.
Despite major domestic pressures, including the cost of living crisis and the Voice referendum, he began the year with a trip to Papua New Guinea, then India and then the United States to reveal the AUKUS deal.
This was followed by a bilateral meeting in Fiji and then a return to London for the king’s coronation.
The G7 summit was held in Japan in May and the Prime Minister undertook a two-day trip to Singapore and Vietnam in June.
In July he spent three days in Germany and Lithuania, followed by New Zealand later in the month.
In September, the Prime Minister visited Indonesia, the Philippines and India, again for just two days in each location.
He left straight from his trip to China this week to head to the Cook Islands. He will return to Australia briefly to serve in Parliament next week before heading back to San Francisco.
Just last week, retired political journalist Laurie Oakes called Mr Albanese an “incompetent dill”.
The iconic Nine News political editor said he thought the whole debate around the referendum was “pretty bad” and said it could damage the Prime Minister’s reputation with the public.
“I think it was quite damaging, I think he (Mr Albanese) handled it incompetently and I assumed the voters noticed there wasn’t a lot of skill involved” , Oakes told 2GB’s Afternoons with Deborah Knight.
“When you handle something as important as the Voice as poorly as he does, people are naturally going to assume that you don’t handle other things very well either.
“And that’s the risk Anthony Albanese faces. He came out of that Voice referendum looking like an incompetent dill and he may find himself stuck with that.
The veteran journalist also weighed in on the Yes and No campaigns.
He said that while the disinformation from the No camp was “quite shameful”, the Yes campaign was “unconvincing and unhelpful”.
“That doesn’t explain anything,” he said.
The Voice was roundly rejected on October 14, with 60 per cent of Australians voting no.
All states and territories except the ACT voted against constitutional change to enshrine an Indigenous voice in parliament and executive government.