Hip pocket hit, bowser pain, persistent pricing pressures.
All of these clichés have been used to describe the deterioration of Australian household finances.
After the emphatic defeat of the Voice referendum, the major parties are turning their attention to December’s mid-year budget update, the Christmas break and what could be Labor’s pre-election budget in May.
So what happens in politics when you lose your voice?
Lawmakers from both political sides said the cost of living was the number one issue on voters’ minds.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese seeks to regroup after vocal referendum defeat.
A recent Ipsos poll confirmed this, with the cost of living the biggest issue for 62% of Australians.
This is followed by housing (38 percent) and health care (30 percent), while the economy comes in fourth.
Only seven percent of respondents place Indigenous issues among their top concerns, ranking it 14th.
Voting hadn’t even finished in Western Australia when it was clear the referendum had failed.
Liberal MP Melissa McIntosh, whose Lindsay electorate covers Sydney’s western suburbs, immediately said the prime minister must do everything he can to reduce day-to-day costs.
The coalition’s political calculation is simple: it needs a net gain of 18 seats to come to power.
Western Australia will be a major priority, with Labor gaining four seats in 2022, allowing Anthony Albanese to become prime minister.
The coalition subsequently lost six and holds only five of the state’s 15 seats.
Coalition members believe there are gains to be made in the West thanks to unpopular environmental laws and Labor’s plan to phase out live sheep exports.
Queensland – where Labor’s voice and vote was low outside of municipal seats – is seen as unlikely to yield dividends for the government at the next election.
Mortgage belt seats around Sydney and Melbourne are targets for the opposition, made up largely of “aspirational Australians” looking to shore up their incomes and invest.
Both sides agree that opposition to the voices of particular voters will not translate into liberal-national support.
But the opposition’s plan is to tie the hundreds of millions of dollars “wasted” on the referendum to the government, ignoring struggling Australians.
Voters were tired of hearing that voice while they struggled to make ends meet, Liberal MPs said.
Opposition questions in Parliament this week ranged along the lines of “Why did the Prime Minister choose to focus on his controversial Canberra Voice proposal and not X?”, often tailored to each member state.
Dorothy Dixers – scripted questions that government backbenchers ask ministers to improve their agenda or attack the opposition – focused on the same subject.
“How is the Albanian Labor government easing cost of living pressures on Australians and is there opposition to these actions? we went.
This gave ministers the opportunity to present all the measures taken by the government to reduce inflation and increase wages, while criticizing the opposition for ignoring the root cause of rising prices.
A recent Ipsos poll confirmed this, with the cost of living the biggest issue for 62% of Australians. Only seven percent of respondents place Indigenous issues among their top concerns, ranking it 14th.
Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie is leading an inquiry into the government’s decision to support Qantas’ efforts not to grant additional flights to Qatar, which the coalition has linked to higher prices and a special interest-driven Labor Party .
Former Qantas CEO Alan Joyce was a “fat cat” supported by the government when struggling Australians couldn’t afford a plane ticket, she said.
As the dust settles around the referendum result, both camps insist their party supports workers and small businesses amid a cost of living crisis.
Labour’s pre-election argument that wages are not keeping up with inflation was adopted by the Liberals and incorporated into their attacks.
The Liberals’ pre-election argument that gas prices and inflation were determined by factors beyond the government’s control, such as wars and the international economy, was adopted by Labor.
With voices silenced, calls for cost-of-living relief grow louder.