Is Jim Chalmers the One to Lead Australia Away From an Economic Crisis?

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Last week’s parliamentary sessions may have distracted us from the most pressing issue of 2020: our economic state and its impact on Australians’ everyday lives.

The Albanese government’s failings in offshore detention, its reversal on publishing a formal document for the Voice to Parliament referendum, and its inability to pass new superannuation fund regulations were heavily discussed this week as interest rates rose to an extraordinary ten-year peak.

Last week, ALP national secretary Paul Erickson made it abundantly clear to Labor MPs in a caucus briefing that their attention must be focused on the cost of living or otherwise face an angry response from voters at the polls.

It would be unfair to criticise Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher for their inability to address the problematic issues, as both are well-known for being dexterous communicators.

In this time of escalating utility costs and loan rates, the fate of our government hangs in the balance until May’s budget is passed. Despite navigating treacherous terrain, Chancellor Chalmers must be prudent to ensure precise movement through this political minefield.

Chalmers is in a difficult position; if he provides too much aid, it could lead to further inflation and higher interest rates, potentially resulting in recession. Similarly, not offering enough assistance could also trigger economic downturns. 

Compounding the issue are the financial strains of servicing debt accrual, defence needs, disability provisions, and health expenditures – thus limiting his discretionary power even more.

Mr Chalmers is confident that the government can find a way to manage both inflation and support Australians through their current cost-of-living crisis, thus helping our nation dodge any potential recessionary trends in the future.

It is possible to find ways to provide cost-of-living relief without adding to inflation,” Chalmers said.

And where you can do that, I think it’s defensible. And where you can afford to do that, it’s defensible. So, every day we try to find that balance point. And that will be the case in the May budget as well.” he added. 

For decades, Chalmers has been intently considering the major problems facing Australia.

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