Hockey Doubles Down On 'Poor People Who Don't Drive'

Australia’s treasurer Joe Hockey. Getty / Morne de Klerk

Joe Hockey isn’t taking any prisoners at the moment.

Fresh from telling poorer households yesterday that the petrol excise increase won’t hurt them because they don’t drive the Treasurer this morning doubled down, releasing Treasury data which showed that “Higher income households tend to have more than one car and tend to use them more often than lower income households”.

It’s a stance that has raised the ire of National Party senators John Williams and Ian Macdonald. Williams said: “The lowest paid people in our nation are in rural and regional areas in many respects, and they do have to have a car.”

Macdonald’s criticism was more pointed, with the LNP Senator from Queensland saying:

Regional Australians don’t have the alternative of public transport or other means of getting there.

You have to have a car whether you are rich or poor. You need a vehicle to be able to get from one place to the other. To get to hospital, to get to school, to get to your daily work routine.

And unfortunately increases in fuel excises will impact more heavily on those who don’t have an alternative.

But Hockey was unswayed, reiterating his comments in an interview with ABC Newsradio’s Marius Benson this morning.

Clearly the Treasurer believes in his budget but one has to wonder why, more than three months after he delivered his first budget to Parliament, Hockey keeps opening up new fronts in his prosecution of his plan for Australia.

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