Coalition defends unity on net zero as Labor pounces on soaring inflation rates after unveiling budget

Queensland Nationals senator Matt Canavan said the government’s plans for net zero emissions by 2050 were “dead”, despite the coalition late last year after much debate.

However, the prime minister said the government supported the climate target.

“Everyone knows that Matt hasn’t been supportive of that position, there’s no news there,” he said.

“That debate has been done in the coalition and is resolved, our policy was set out very clearly, and it has the strong support of the government.”

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Campaigning alongside the prime minister, Nationals member for Capricornia Michelle Landry told Senator Canavan to toe the party line.

“Pull your head in, Matt,” she said. “I agree with the government’s position, I’m in one of the biggest coal mining electorates in the country.”

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government was lying about climate as a distraction to coalition division on net-zero.

“This is one of the central issues of this election campaign, and yet the governing party seeking re-election to yet another term can’t get its story straight on net-zero by mid-century,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“This Liberal-National coalition is hopelessly split on net zero.”

Cost of living on the Labor agenda as inflation levels soar

Labor announced its plan for the budget on Wednesday, should the opposition win office, claiming working families would live more comfortably under their leadership.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the plan would save about $5 billion to the budget bottom line, by carrying out an audit of waste and rorts and cracking down on multinational companies avoiding tax.

“Only Labor has a plan for beyond the election to make sure that there are more opportunities for more people and working families can get ahead in this country,” Dr Chalmers told reporters in Canberra.

“Not one cent of the almost $5 billion in budget improvements that we announced today will come at the expense of ordinary Australians.”

The announcement coincided with new inflation figures which showed it rising to 5.1 per cent, the highest level in two decades.

Dr Chalmers said the government’s handling of the economy had led to the record rise.

“Australians are getting absolutely smashed by the rising

on Scott Morrison’s watch,” he said.

“This is Scott Morrison’s triple whammy of skyrocketing cost of living, rising interest rates and falling real wages.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the large rise in inflation was to do with international factors.

“Australia is not immune from the international pressures driving up inflation. The war in Ukraine has seen a spike in fuel prices, gas prices and commodity prices being felt here at home,” he said.

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