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Minister for Financial Services Jane Hume has appeared on ABC TV.

The Liberal senator for Victoria defended the Morrison government amid questions about high consumer prices under the government’s watch. A whole iceberg lettuce can cost consumers up to $5 in some supermarkets.

Liberal senator Jane Hume.

Liberal senator Jane Hume.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Here’s the relevant exchange between Hume and ABC News Breakfast co-host Lisa Millar (it’s been edited for length and clarity).

Millar: This argument that the prime minister puts forward that it’s only your government that can keep the pressure down on these [cost-of-living] factors, it’s sort of being killed by what we’re seeing actually happening with the economy, isn’t it?

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Hume: Well, you have to understand the economy and you have to be able to understand the effects of interest rates, and particularly know the cash rate, before you can have a plan to keep the economy strong and to keep rates as low as possible. Even in times of great global uncertainty, even in times of global pressures on costs of living.

Millar: We’ve talked about wages before. The gap between the cost of living and wages continues to grow. This has occurred over years under a Coalition government.

Hume: Sluggish wages is, again, a global phenomenon. But the best way to make wages rise is to have full employment, an increase in employment. That’s why we’ve kept unemployment so low, under 4 per cent now, and why we’ve committed to an additional 1.3 million jobs over the next five years – 450,000 of those within the regions. The best way to make wages rise is to make sure that there is full employment and that there is pressure, then, on employers to attract and retain staff.

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