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Billionaire Palmer pivots to living costs

Billionaire Clive Palmer has ignored the economic impact of the war in Ukraine as he attempts to frame United Australia as the party to tackle cost of living pressure.

The Queensland senate hopeful claims fuel prices are soaring as a direct result of the “economic crisis” created by Australia’s two major parties.

“”Under a United Australia Party government, the fuel excise will be frozen and no more extra taxes will be imposed on hard-working Australians,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

Mr Palmer said the United Australia Party “will deal with the trillion dollars of debt head on”, pointing to the release of details of an economic platform on April 7.

An anti-vaccine mandate policy has previously been at the centre of the party’s pitch to voters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison looked ahead to next week’s budget when asked about a cut to the fuel excise on Wednesday.

“The impacts on cost of living that are being felt, particularly because of the rise in fuel prices, and we all know that that has been caused by the terrible events with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” he told reporters in Rockhampton.

“What does that mean here in Australia? It means that there’s a shock to the world’s energy prices and we’re seeing that in fuel, in petrol.

“It just doesn’t hit the family budget, it works its way through the whole economy.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will deliver his fourth budget on March 29 ahead of an expected May election, which opinion polls indicate the coalition could lose.

With cost-of-living pressures shaping up as a key election issue, the most recent Newspoll published in The Australian shows the coalition sitting on 45 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, trailing Labor on 55 per cent.

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