Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has used his budget reply speech to list five things the government did not mention in its budget.
Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers handed down the budget on Tuesday, with the Albanese government delivering Australia’s first budget surplus in 15 years, as well as $14.6 billion cost of living relief package.
The Treasurer detailed the measures at length during his 30 minute speech, with the centrepiece being a major bulk billing incentive.
But Mr Dutton began his budget reply speech by saying the most important thing about a budget address is not what the Treasurer says.
“It’s what he doesn’t say and tries to keep hidden in the Budget Papers,” the Opposition Leader said, before proceeding to list five things the Treasurer “failed to mention” which are “important to all Australians.”
“One: Ten million Australians who earn under $126,000 will face a tax hike and around 175,000 more Australians will be unemployed,” he said.
“Two: Millions of middle Australians – the backbone of our country – are worse off. This government is spending an additional $185 billion, yet middle-income Australians won’t receive one cent.
“Three: Amidst a housing and rental crisis, our migration numbers will increase massively by 1.5 million people over five years – the highest number in our country’s history and more than the population of Adelaide. Without addressing housing supply and infrastructure, where will these people live?
“Four: Your power bills are still going up by more than $500.
“Five: As a result of the government’s policies, inflation will only stay higher for longer, continuing to grind down real incomes of households.”
The Opposition Leader also accused Labor of breaking a dozen promises to the Australian people in the past 12 months, before listing five of them.
“It promised cheaper mortgages. It promised no changes to your super. It promised that your taxes wouldn’t increase but that your real wages would,” Mr Dutton added.
“It promised a nurse in aged care homes 24/7. And it promised a $275 dollar cut to your power bill on 97 occasions.”
He also said Labor will “say anything to get into power,” but “once in government, they do the opposite”.
Earlier on Thursday, Mr Chalmers predicted Mr Dutton would resort to his “usual divisive politics” in his budget reply.
The Treasurer said the budget was about “bringing people together”, accusing the Liberal leader of pitting “Australians against each other”.
“Tonight, Peter Dutton will play the usual divisive politics in the aftermath of the budget,” the Treasurer told reporters.
“He will try and divide people, he will try pit Australians against Australians but the budget is designed to bring people together.”
Mr Dutton ended his budget reply speech by leaving Australians with the question: “Are you better off than you were 12 months ago?”
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