Sunrise host Natalie Barr confronts Albanese government about cost of living crisis: ‘Not believing you’

Natalie Barr has confronted senior Albanese government minister Tanya Plibersek about the government’s perceived lack of action in tackling the cost of living crisis.

New polling released on Monday found that primary support for Labor has plummeted to a new low of just 30 per cent, below the party’s historically low vote at the 2022 election. 

Meanwhile, the Resolve Strategic survey found that support for the Coalition was up to 36 per cent over the same period. 

However, Mr Albanese was still being see as the preferred prime minister by 41 per cent of the public, compared to Opposition Leader Peter Dutton who is on 32 per cent. 

The shift in public sentiment was largely down to concerns about the rising cost of living and how it is affecting household budgets. 

For example, 55 per cent of the 1,610 people surveyed between April 17 to 21 said they would struggle to cobble together the cash to pay for a major household expense of a few thousand dollars, such as a fridge or car repair.

Barr fronted Environment Minister Ms Plibersek on Monday, saying: ‘They are voting your government down because of it. What is your response?’

Ms Plibersek then reeled off a list of Labor’s policies designed to help people make ends meet, including ‘electricity bill relief, lower childcare fees, cheaper medicines, making it cheaper and easier to see a doctor, extra paid parental leave, free TAFE, more support for affordable housing’ and lower taxes.

But the Sunrise host snapped back: ‘They (voters) are kind of not believing you, though, are they?’ 

Tanya Plibersek (pictured left) acknowledged that ‘people are doing it tough’ before changing tack and criticising the previous coalition government and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, who she was appearing alongside

Ms Plibersek acknowledged that ‘people are doing it tough’ before changing tack and criticising the previous Coalition government and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, who she was appearing alongside.    

‘Barnaby’s mob said that they want to keep wages lower. They said low wages are a deliberate design feature of our economic architecture,’ Ms Plibersek said.

‘We are turning that around with higher wages, with people earning more and keeping more of what they earn, and other cost of living measures to help out, with electricity, with childcare fees, with all of those things that I mentioned.’

Mr Joyce argued that people were ‘better off’ under the previous government than they are under Labor and that Anthony Albanese had ‘peeled off in popularity.

‘There are people who say “I’m over it, I don’t want to listen to him anymore”, because when you bang on about intermittent power, swindled factories and solar factories and every narration about climate change and you lost people when you started talking about the voice, the social change of Australia. 

‘People just say “you’re not focused on me”.’

Mr Albanese has promised more household support in next month’s federal budget. 


The third federal budget under the Albanese government is due to be handed down on May 14 and several spending and policy announcements have already been made.


* A second surplus is still the goal in 2023/24, with the underlying cash balance for the 12 months to February showing a deficit of $6.1 billion

* The $22.1 billion surplus in 2022/23 was the first in 15 years

* The mid-year budget review had forecast a deficit of $1.1 billion for the 2023/24 fiscal year, narrowing from the $13.9 billion forecast in last year’s budget

* The revenue upgrades experienced in the past two budgets are unlikely to be as substantial because of falling commodity prices, including iron ore, and a weakening labour market

* Above target but moderating inflation remains the primary economic challenge for the budget but the slowing domestic economy is also emerging as a larger priority

* A troubled Chinese property sector and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and Europe are among the global challenges weighing on the budget


* Super is to be paid on government-funded paid parental leave and the details are set to be unveiled in the budget

* Almost 500 “nuisance” tariffs are set to be scrapped that apply to a wide range of imported goods – full details will be in the budget

* The reworked stage three reform package is considered to be broadly revenue neutral in the short term but will increase tax receipts by about $28 billion over the medium term

* More “targeted” financial support for small businesses and households could be on the cards


The Future Made in Australia Act involves deploying public funds to give viable zero carbon industries and projects a leg up so they can attract more private investment. More details are expected to be revealed in the budget but initiatives it captures so far include:

* The $1 billion Solar SunShot program aims to bolster the nation’s solar panel manufacturing capabilities

* The $2 billion Hydrogen Headstart program is intended to fund large-scale hydrogen production projects

* The $4 billion total available under the Critical Minerals Facility is designed to help complement commercial financing and help get critical mineral projects off the ground

* About $400 million in loans has been announced for Australian company Alpha HPA to develop a high purity alumina facility in Gladstone, Queensland.. Financing will in part come from the Critical Minerals Facility

* About $185 million in loans have been conditionally approved for Renascor Resources to fast track the first stage of a purified graphite project in South Australia

* The government says its net zero industrial policy agenda has been underpinned by the National Skills agreement, the National Reconstruction Fund, the establishment of the Net Zero Economy Authority and its push to rollout renewables and spur innovation.