Opinion

Australians struggling to keep up with cost of living

While the headlines may be dominated by Ukraine, Putin and China, they are not essentially the concerns of Australian voters walking into the supermarket.

The big question is, will they be the voters’ concern on polling day.

The voter knows that prices are going up and wages are not.

We now learn that wages have grown by 2.3 per cent in the past 12 months but inflation is up by 3.5 per cent. It is a hell of a gap.

The ACTU is arguing that for someone on $68,000 a year, it is a pay cut of $832.

If 53 per cent of voters expect their personal incomes to fall this year, how may they vote; because since the last election, real wages have fallen by 0.8 per cent, the first time this century they have fallen during a federal parliamentary term.

Scott Morrison will say that there has been an 8 per cent fall in electricity prices.

If Cannon-Brookes and co get their hands on AGL that certainly won’t remain the case. But I have mentioned previously that Brookfield have a foot in both camps.

I see Rob Sims, the Chairman of the ACCC, reminding us, yesterday, that the same Brookfield own a Victorian electricity and distribution network company, AusNet; and that one company is not permitted to own energy generation assets such as coal plants or solar farms as well as transmission and distribution networks.

That should be game, set and match.

But back to the big issue of cost of living.

If real wages are going backwards months before the election and the ABS revealed that the annual growth was 2.3 per cent with inflation at 3.5 per cent; and if, as I have said, for the full Parliamentary term, for the first time this century, inflation has outpaced wage growth by 0.8 per cent, good luck explaining that to the voter who knows that petrol prices, since the last election are up 12.8 per cent; childcare costs up 13.5 per cent; beef prices up more than 20 per cent and even sending the dog to the vet is 10 per cent more expensive.

Does the Morrison government really think, in this environment, that national security will be the voters’ first concern ahead of cost of living?

Only the voter can answer that question.

 

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