Australia Today with Steve Price – Interest Rates, Cost of Living, 2022 Election, Ukraine




Subjects: Election campaign, cost of living, RBA interest rate rise by 65 basis points, Labor election commitments, Russian war in Ukraine

STEVE PRICE, HOST: Peter Kahlil is the Labor member for Wills in Victoria. You’re out on the road, you’ve got to get yourself re-elected, you want Labor to be in government, what are you hearing, obviously pre the interest rate rise. What have you been hearing is the biggest issue?

PETER KHALIL, MEMBER FOR WILLS: Yeah, I’ve been out at the train stations, like this morning, at 6:30 we go out and have a chat. Look the cost-of-living issues were there before even the interest rate rise and that pressure has been there for people right throughout my electorate and they’re feeling it. They’re feeling that pressure, the lack of wages growth, but also inflationary pressure, and they’re going to have a knock-on effect into your basic purchases, your groceries, rent, all of that, so people are feeling it. And I know the interest rate rise is not insignificant, $65 around if you got a half a million mortgage, more if you’ve got a bigger mortgage. But look people were already feeling the squeeze and feeling the pressure, and I think this is becoming a big election issue. This is what we’re taking about, let’s set aside curries, who knows how much it’s going to cost for the all the ingredients for his chicken korma, but people are really worried about buying basic goods, like basic groceries, vegetables, have gone up by 14%. I mean that’s crazy. So, when you’ve got people trying to make ends meet, this is what they’re concerned about, and they’re just looking at which party, who in government can actually help ease those cost-of-living pressures, and people need to have a look, and compare between what Morrison’s offering and what we’re offering. We’ve got policies around cheaper childcare to ease pressure on families, we’ve got policies around cutting the cost of medication on the PBS cutting medication by $12.50, we’ve got policies around cheaper power builds based on the modelling and the investments in that. And, secure work Steve because that’s where you wage growth starts to flow from. And you know, all these things’ people need to have an assessment of, to see whether they’re better off with a Labor government.

PRICE: I know your vital interest in foreign affairs, you were former National Security Advisor to Kevin Rudd, and I’m pleased to say you’re going to take over as Co-Chair of the Global China group that Kimberly Kitching was involved with. I’m going to relay in a moment and then give you a chance to respond, but Sarah Greenock from 7, she’s in Ukraine, she’s now back in Kiev. She tells a story, Peter, of a local Ukrainian man captured by Russian soldiers, dragged out of his house, taken out to the middle of a paddock, thrown down in the snow, they take his shoes off him, then stick him on a train, a helicopter, and a plane and take him to an internment camp in Russia. He gets frostbite so bad on his feet they cut off all 10 of his toes, and then they use him in a prison exchange for a Russian soldier and then dump him back at his house. I mean, it’s almost impossible for us here in this country to get our head around that, what Russia is doing to that country is just, its incomprehensible. It’s appalling war crimes. I mean, are we doing enough to help?

KHALIL: Look, to be fair, and to give credit to the government, we have responded very quickly with assistance, with military assistance, lethal aid, and humanitarian assistance. Look, we could always do a little bit more, but you’re right, the situation in Ukraine is horrific. We’re seeing World War II stuff here, we’re seeing the reason why our diggers fought for freedom, to fight against those types of authoritarians, those types of autocratic states, those types of dictatorships, and Putin is a prime example of that. These kind of threats to our democracies and our freedom haven’t gone away, and you know this, you know, role as Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Alliance on China policy is an important one because it is all about safeguarding the international rules-based order, which we as democracies support. We work within a legal structure, a rules-based order, it’s about upholding human rights, it’s about promoting trade fairness, it’s about strengthening our security, and importantly it’s about protecting our national integrity from interference and Russia has been involved in interfering, not just China, but Russia, in different types of political interference around the world, whether it be UK, US, Australia, through cyber warfare type techniques. These are real threats, we need to face them, we’ve got a very volatile period coming up Steve, and I’m pleased to step into this role, as you said, Kimberly Kitching did amazing work in this space, standing up on human rights, and Magnitsky laws, which we’re now by the way, using to put sanctions on some of Putin’s cronies, Australia’s doing that, so that’s a legacy of hers, which we’re benefitting from now as far as having a tool to fight back against these autocrats.

PRICE: Good on you for steeping into that role and good on you for talking to us. We’ll obviously talk next week as we get down to the final two weeks of the campaign. Thanks mate.

KHALIL: Good on you Steve, thanks mate.