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Liberals do well in economic panic: Labor

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers has accused the Liberals of benefiting from economic insecurity, arguing it allows the party to run scare campaigns.

The senior frontbencher will address Labor think tank Chifley Research Centre’s Towards 2022 conference on Saturday as the opposition looks to the next election.

In speech notes, Mr Chalmers hits out at the Liberals’ “dirty little secret” on the economy.

“At one level, they’d prefer the economy grew strongly because after all their talk about superior economic management it’s humiliating for them to fall so short,” he is due to say.

“But they’ve also been well-served by economic insecurity.

“It gives them an excuse to revive old scare campaigns, rewrite the past and close their eyes to the challenges of the future.”

The shadow treasurer is set to declare the middle class is “under attack” from stagnant wages and rising living costs, while inequality between regions, suburbs and inner cities is becoming more entrenched.

“For too many people, this is a recipe for insecurity and anxiety,” the draft speech says.

“This isn’t just the consequence of a Liberal government – it is a deliberate strategy to make people fearful of change, even when they’re not happy with the status quo.

“But the status quo is now the dangerous default.”

It’s Mr Chalmers sixth major policy speech since Labor’s shock election defeat on May 18.

The Queensland right faction figure accused the Morrison government of being in an ideological no-man’s land between populism and neoliberalism.

He also repeated calls for Labor to be the party of aspiration and opportunity after his role as finance spokesman in the Shorten opposition’s complex election agenda.

“The party of growth and redistribution – not growth or redistribution,” Mr Chalmers is expected to say.

“The party of the outer suburbs and regional towns.”

The two-day conference in Sydney will also feature speeches from Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and senior frontbencher Tanya Plibersek.

The talkfest is a precursor to next year’s Labor national conference which is set to approve the party’s platform for the next federal election.

Labor’s national policy forum will meet on Friday, ahead of the Towards 2022 conference, to start the groundwork for policy development.

It will be co-chaired by Mr Albanese and party national president Wayne Swan and involve 20 branch members, 20 trade unionists and 20 members of the federal caucus.

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