Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has labelled the federal treasurer “out-of-touch” while in Perth on Thursday.
Shorten told Radio 6PR he was “amazed” to hear Joe Hockey say that "poor people do not drive cars or use much fuel" in regard to a suggestion of increasing fuel excise.
“As if somehow that justifies putting a new tax on petrol, breaking your election promise,” Shorten said.
“What’s amazed me even more is not that he’s said it but that since then he’s tried to justify it and they’ve had other government ministers out there trying to justify it. I don’t know what planet Joe Hockey lives on but it’s not the real world.
“It’s clear that this budget has gone too far.”
He listed the GP co-payments, university cuts and the fuel tax as examples of how Mr Hockey was “out of touch”.
“I think Joe Hockey’s struggling as treasurer,” he said.
He said the government had a big lead time into its first budget, so he believed there should have been better consultation on aspects of it.
Shorten said if he was treasurer, he would drop the paid parental leave scheme as it was designed to assist the “wealthy” while others were struggling.
As well as visiting Curtin University while in Perth, he will tour an energy engineering company where he is expected to discuss renewable energy.
Late on Wednesday, Mr Hockey stood by his comments, criticised the "hysteria" they had generated and argued there was "a clear trend in Australia: the higher the household income the more fuel taxes are paid by the household".