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04 May 2022

I have spent most of this week in Perth and, can I just say, it is great to be back in the west.

Blue skies, beautiful beaches and a bustling city.

I have missed both Western Australia and the locals.

I have not travelled to WA for two years.

All State and Territory residents had to make sacrifices in the past two years and not being able to travel interstate was disappointing.

This past Sunday, the Australian Labor Party launched our 2022 election campaign in Perth at Optus Stadium.

It wasn't just the promise of beautiful weather that led Labor leader Anthony Albanese to choose the great western city as the place to celebrate our campaign.

Premier Mark McGowan received a rock star welcome when he attended the campaign launch and gave a witty introduction for Albo, saying they are "in sync".

And that is not just because they were both proud poodle owners.

But because both had been on diets for a long time and no matter how hard they tried, neither were going to look like new SA Premier Peter Malinauskas (who was also in attendance).

Under McGowan, Western Australia is more than proving its mettle as an economic powerhouse.

As well as what could have been construed as a little bit of a humble brag about hosting the nation's biggest sporting events throughout the pandemic, McGowan also laid out the financial strength of his home State.

He told the crowd that WA is now considered to have some of the best economic, health and social outcomes in the world.

In fact, he cited a recent international financial report card, which said WA "was one of the best performing economies in the world".

Western Australia has the lowest unemployment rate of all the States.

And the McGowan Government is the only Australian government to be in surplus, and reducing its debt.

Pretty remarkable for any government anywhere on the planet.

The reason for the success? A strong Labor government.

In Victoria, where Labor released its State Budget on Tuesday, experts say the State's economy is set to grow by 4 per cent in the next year.

Unemployment in Victoria is also set to reach its lowest level in a generation.

In contrast, Australia's finances are currently being hit by a triple threat not seen for decades.

The official interest rate rose by 25 basis points on Tuesday to 0.35 per cent for the first time in more than 11 years.

Inflation is at record highs.

It's 7.6 per cent in WA.

And many Australians have not had a pay rise for a very, very long time.

Interest rate rises have been flagged for some time.

There will be mortgage stress for many homeowners, no doubt.

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe said on Tuesday that the central bank had decided to pull the lever to raise rates because inflation was rising much faster than anticipated.

The response from the Morrison Government showed, as it has time and time again, it is unprepared for any shock to the system.

This was a case in point on Tuesday when, once again, it basically said "nothing to see here".

Of course governments have a role to play in easing cost-of-living pressures, and in creating secure jobs which increases the chances of wage rises for Australian workers.

It was already hard enough to make ends meet under Morrison and on Tuesday it got even harder for millions of Australians.

After almost a decade of this Liberal-National Government, everything is going up except your wages, and now interest rates are rising by a quarter of a per cent.

Something has to give.

Anthony Albanese laid out his vision for Australia at the launch on Sunday.

The bottom line is, I know Australia needs a new government and it's time for Labor to lead it.

Albanese spoke about reuniting Australia and making us one strong nation.

His words were unifying, given we are currently being governed by a Prime Minister addicted to division.

Labor has a plan for a better future beyond the election, which is designed to: grow the economy without adding to inflationary pressures; ease cost-of-living pressures; get real wages growing again; and to get the best economic bang for our buck at a time when the Budget is heaving with a trillion dollars in Liberal-National debt.

The most pressing challenges in our economy have been created on Scott Morrison's watch rising inflation, falling real wages and nothing to show for a trillion dollars in debt.

Labor's economic plan will tackle cost-of-living challenges, without adding to inflationary pressures, by delivering cheaper child care, cheaper power bills and more secure, well-paid jobs.

The Morrison Government wants to scare Australians into submission. It is banking on the idea that it is "better the devil you know".

It is not.

In 2019, Australians only had a matter of months to make an initial assessment of Morrison.

He sold a myth, a legend, to make out he was the man to lead our great nation forward.

Time will tell if the miracle man can make lightning strike twice.

Labor's economic plan will tackle cost-of-living challenges, without adding to inflationary pressures, by delivering cheaper child care, cheaper power bills and more secure, well-paid jobs.

This article was originally published in The West Australian on Wednesday, May 4th 2022