Australian Economy

‘No simply mechanism’ to take pressure off gas prices: Chalmers

Anthony Albanese’s new ministry is one of, if not, the most experienced ever.

Of the members of the new executive unveiled on Tuesday, more than a dozen, including Albanese, served as ministers in the previous Labor government.

These include Tony Burke, Chris Bowen, Tanya Plibersek, Mark Butler, Mark Dreyfus, Richard Marles, Penny Wong, Bill Shorten, Catherine King, Jason Clare, Brendan O’Connor, Julie Collins and Don Farrell.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announcing his first ministry. James Brickwood

Thus, for Labor, the transition to government should be more seamless than ever.

Still, Albanese is in no rush. He told caucus on Tuesday that Parliament will not sit until the end of July, more than two months after the election.

This could be dangerous given most people think if Parliament is not sitting, the government is not doing any work. This, of course, is untrue, and more often, the opposite applies.

But it was a myth Labor was prepared to propagate in the run-up to the election when it accused the Morrison government of goldbricking due to the threadbare sitting schedule for the first months of the year.

Presumably, when parliament does sit, the government will have legislation ready to go on its core policy promises of climate change, child care and a royal commission into the robodebt debacle. The federal integrity commission legislation will take longer.

Similarly, there is no haste on the economy. Treasurer Jim Chalmers will make a statement to the House, when it sits, on the state of the books and there will be a budget in October. The much-vaunted jobs summit will produce a “white paper” rather than a policy agenda ready to go.

Albanese is hastening slowly, just as he did in the three years he was opposition eader.

“It wasn’t a small (target) strategy. It was a smart strategy. It was one that is achievable, and it was one that is fashioned on … that we would kick with the wind at our back in the fourth quarter. And wasn’t that wind magnificent?”

He reminded caucus that this should at least be a two-term government, or “back-to-back premierships”.

If Labor lives up to its promises on cheaper childcare, ending the climate wars, an anti-corruption commission, more secure work, lifting wages, taking pressure off the cost of living, affordable housing measures, and fee-free TAFE, then it should be well positioned for a second term.

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