Karl Stefanovic grills Anthony Albanese on budget benefits in heated interview
The Today co-host repeatedly asked the prime minister whether inflation would go down.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese copped a grilling on air this morning as Today co-host Karl Stefanovic questioned whether "everyday Aussies" would benefit from the newly handed down federal budget.
Stressing that "people are really struggling", Stefanovic asked whether issues like inflation, interest rates and cost of living pressures would subside as a result of measures introduced in the budget.
"Most of us just want to know when their bills will come down, when their mortgages will stop going up. What guarantee is there in this budget that any of those things will happen?" he said this morning on the program.
"Well that's why we provided energy price relief. That's why cheaper childcare begins on July 1," Mr Albanese retorted. "That's why we are reducing the cost of medicines. That's why we have tripled the incentive for bulk billing, so that when families go to the doctors with their kids — and normally if there is a large family if one kid gets kick then others get sick as well — then taking that pressure off.
"Because we understand that people are under financial pressure, that's why we have provided this support in the budget."
Will the budget decrease inflation?
Pressing on, Stefanovic asked multiple times whether the budget would "put pressure on inflation".
"Well Karl, if it was the case I was standing before you now talking about whether our deficit was too high, there might be an argument," Mr Albanese answered. "The truth is that our projected surplus is the first in 15 years."
"And we have gone through hour after hour, day after day, week after week since the October budget putting together a responsible budget that provides that better future, that provides those measures which take pressure off people who need it while not putting pressure on inflation."
The budget measures will cut 0.5 percentage points from inflation. This has meant that Treasury is forecasting a more rapid deceleration in inflation than the recent RBA forecasts – with inflation falling to 3.25 per cent by June 2024 and 2.75 per cent in 2025.
Will interest rates go down?
When firmly asked whether he can guarantee that rising interest rates will go down, Mr Albanese shot back saying "the RBA is independent and no one can speak on behalf of the Reserve Bank".
"But what we can do is put mechanisms around it to assist, which is what we've done," he continued.
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