29 March 2022
Independent Senator Rex Patrick has successfully dragged the Government over the line in answering his call for a 22 cents a litre cut to the fuel excise over the next six months.
“The Government agreeing to my calls for a 50% cut in fuel excise is a big win for motorists and it’s a great demonstration of the influence of independents in Federal Parliament.
“However, six months is not enough. The Russian offensive in Ukraine has stalled. Russia will not annex Ukraine, perhaps only parts of it. This will lead to an insurgency and long-term sanctions against Russia. The Government should have halved the cut for at least 12 months. I’ll be following this closely as the impact of the Ukraine crisis continues to play out.”
“It’s clear to me the Government has given Australians six months of petrol relief just to get themselves through the election.”
“It’s now five weeks since I first called on the Government to provide relief from extreme fuel prices by halving the fuel excise and before various Liberal Premiers joined the call for petrol price relief here.”
“I embarked on this advocacy campaign before the New Zealand Government took action to reduce their fuel excise and before various Liberal Premiers joined the call for petrol price relief here.”
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce initially had no interest in a fuel excise cut. Mr Morrison refused to answer questions about the issue while Mr Joyce made it clear he was opposed to the idea. Both wanted to keep the cash raised by the fuel excise to bankroll pork barrelling in marginal electorates.”
“Labor Opposition leader Anthony Albanese had nothing to say.”
“However once an independent Senator had kicked in the door, the political momentum began to build and the Government has been forced to take action that will help Australian families and small businesses that are being squeezed by extreme petrol prices.”
“Unlike Coalition and Labor MPs and Senators, independents like myself are able to take the initiative and push for action on issues without having to wait for orders from above.”
“Independents can push the political envelope and force the big parties to respond when otherwise they are inclined to hold the line for their own narrow partisan interests.”
“If petrol prices remain at extreme levels, it will be necessary to extend the temporary fuel excise cut announced in tonight’s budget for the entirety of 2022-23."
"If prices go significantly higher than $2.20, it may well be necessary to suspend the fuel excise in its entirety for the next twelve months. While this would involve significant cost for the Federal Budget, it may prove to be well justified by taking the edge off petrol price fuelled inflation.”
“That will be a decision for whoever wins Government at the coming election, but either way Australia needs independent Senators and MPs who are free to advocate strongly for the interests of Australian families and small businesses.”
"I’ll keep pressing the Government hard to help Australians who still face a triple whammy of extreme petrol prices, rising food and grocery costs and looming interest rate rises.”