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Today host Karl Stefanovic loses it at Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles over cost of living,


Karl Stefanovic has taken aim at Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles over his government’s response to Australia’s increasing cost-of-living pressures, blowing up over his use of repeated “lines” and questioning a potential cut to the fuel excise.

The dig came after the RBA hiked the cash rate on Tuesday for the 13th time this year, forecasting inflation to still be running at 3.5 per cent by the end of 2024.

“I know it’s not all your fault but I think Australians are starting to feel you’re letting them down on cost-of-living pressure,” the Today host pressed Mr Marles.

“Well, of course, we understand the pressure,” the deputy PM responded.

He argued that cost of living had always been a focus of his government since it came to power, quoting the recent tripling of the bulk-billing incentive and Labor’s investments into childcare and fee-free TAFE.

“But every time you’re asked about this, anyone in your government, the same lines come out,” Stefanovic interrupted.

“I feel like you don’t get it. That you don’t get the pressure that Australian households are under right now.”

Mr Marles, who is acting prime minister in Anthony Albanese’s absence, acknowledged rising living costs were having an “enormous” impact on Australian households and said he was focused on managing the budget to avoid contributing to high inflation.

“Well, of course we understand the pressure,” Mr Marles said, trying to get Stefanovic back on side.

He reiterated that the government would not be introducing a temporary cut to the fuel excise to relieve pressure on motorists because it was too expensive.

Mr Marles acknowledged the cost of living is having an “enormous impact” which is why the government has had to take such measures.

It’s also why we wanted to make sure in terms of managing the budget we are not contribute doing the inflationary environment which is why we have done something the Liberals never did and that is to deliver a budget surplus,” he said.

“This is a situation that exists around the world. It began under the former government. The biggest increase in inflation was when the Liberals were in power.”

“Australia is not immune from this. The Liberals were not immune from this. What the government needs to do is put measures in place to help.”

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.