Brutal moment Jim Chalmers slaps down a Greens MP as he’s asked why Labor won’t wipe out HECS debt for Australian students
- Jim Chalmers asked why he hadn’t wiped student debt
- Treasurer defended government and slammed Greens
Jim Chalmers has slammed the Greens after he was grilled about the government’s refusal to abolish student debt amid the cost-of-living crisis.
The Treasurer was questioned over the matter by Greens MP Stephen Bates during question time in federal parliament in Canberra on Monday.
Mr Bates said young people were doing it especially tough as they had to pay off their student debt on top of their regular bills.
‘Student HELP debt hangs over entire generations adding more financial stress to people already struggling through the cost-of-living crisis, he said.
‘If the government can afford the $254billion stage three tax cuts and to spend $268billion on nuclear submarines, why can’t we afford to wipe student debt?’
Jim Chalmers has slammed the Greens after he was grilled about the government’s refusal to abolish student debt amid the cost-of-living crisis (stock image)
Dr Chalmers said the Albanese government was well aware of the financial pressure on young people and were taking steps to drive down the cost-of-living.
‘We understand that students and young Australians are under pressure at a time when we’ve got inflation which is higher than we would like and will hang around for longer than we’d like,’ he said.
‘Our job is to try and strike the right balance between the most responsible budget possible and doing what we can to ease the pressures on people.’
The Treasurer said the government felt the current student debt system is ‘good’ as students don’t start paying off their debt until they make a ‘decent wage’.
He then targeted the Greens for not supporting the government’s measures to provide more housing.
‘One of the other things, Mr Speaker, which is really important is to make sure that we are building more social and affordable housing for people and that’s why it is so disappointing that when the Greens in this place were given the opportunity to vote for more social and affordable housing, they scurried for the door,’ he said.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers (pictured right) has defended the government’s position after he was questioned over student debt in parliament
Greens MP Stephen Bates (pictured centre) asked why the Albanese government hadn’t wiped student debt as young people face an additional expense amidst the cost-of-living crisis
‘They ran for the door and that was disappointing because you would’ve thought for a party that talks so much about younger people, a party that talks so much about affordable housing, the least they could have done is to support the minister’s efforts to put in place this $10billion fund to build more social and affordable homes.’
The Treasurer said the fund would have helped to ‘take some of the pressure off people’, including students.
‘The least the Greens could do is when the Government puts forward a sensible, important policy to make life a bit easier for those people, the least they can do is vote for it,’ he added.
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