Peter Dutton has criticised Anthony Albanese for not knowing the average price of petrol as soaring fuel costs ramp up pressure on Aussie households.
The Opposition Leader told 2GB on Monday that while the Prime Minister shouldn’t be expected to recall every detail, Mr Albanese should show he knows families are doing it tough.
“It's hard for the PM to say I understand the pressure families are under but to then not be observant enough to notice that petrol was going to become an issue over the last month or so,” Mr Dutton said.
“Because once you get over $2, over $2.20, up towards $2.50, families are starting to leave the car in the garage at that point, and that’s the difficulty I suppose you're faced with that question.”
Mr Albanese came under heat on Sunday after he told reporters that he couldn’t name the current cost of fuel in Australia.
“Can you tell me what the price of petrol is roughly at the moment?” Sky News host Andrew Clennell asked.
“Well, I don’t go and fill up my car. But it was around about $1.80 last time,” Mr Albanese responded.
The blunder came as petrol prices jumped to the highest national average seen all year, with motorists in major cities paying more than $2 per litre to power their vehicles.
According to the Australian Institute of Petroleum, average fuel prices have now risen to $2.07 in Sydney, $2.06 in Adelaide, $1.98 in Canberra and $1.94 in Melbourne.
Prices are tipped to stay well above normal for the rest of August due to rising global market demands and shrinking oil supply.
Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said while Mr Albanese’s response was led on by a gotcha attempt from reporters, the government was in need of a “reality check”.
“It does sound a little bit like a gotcha question but in the same breath it’s one of the fundamentals of how we get by,” the Nationals MP told Sunrise.
“You've got to know bread, milk and fuel. I do understand he’s the prime minister and he’s not going to go to the local shop because he’s got bodyguards with him and it’s an inconvenience to other shoppers, but it’s something he should know about.”
Former prime minister Scott Morrison came under similar fire last year for being unable to name the cost of basic groceries in a speech to the National Press Club.
Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said it was more important for the Prime Minister’s focus to be on lifting wages and easing the impacts of inflation.
“We are halving the cost of medicines, making it free to see the doctor, bringing down the cost of energy by investing up to $3 billion in energy bill relief,” Ms Plibersek told Sunrise.
“We are trying to make accommodation cheaper as well. “
Mr Albanese flagged cost-of-living relief as a key priority during Labor’s national conference in Brisbane last week.
In this year’s federal budget, $14.6bn was directed to “targeted relief” for Australians, which included a $500 deduction in energy bill payments for eligible households in July.