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When will Mr Turnbull and his Government understand the pressure Australian households are under? Cost of living is one of the most significant issues facing our community and Malcolm Turnbull is clearly not the Prime Minister to tackle this issue. 

Household debt is now 100 per cent higher than the total earnings of all households and even more worrying is that one in four parents are going without food so that their children have enough to eat.

As a former “investment banker” you’d think that Mr Turnbull would have the economic nouse to manage the economy and address the cost of living paralysis facing families. Unfortunately he has displayed to the country he just doesn’t. 

You might recall Mr Turnbull on QandA last year when he condescendingly asked an audience member to explain how he had disappointed her. How disingenuous can you be?

It is no longer a question whether Mr Turnbull can relate to the majority of the population. We all know he can’t. 

Mr Turnbull has spent most of his life within the top per-cent of wage earners. Can someone who has lived a very privileged life relate to parents who will need to try and balance their family budgets as they buy new school shoes, uniforms and lunch boxes for their kids before the end of school holidays? 

Malcolm Turnbull has been so focussed on pacifying the hard right and keeping his own job that he has failed to fulfil one of the biggest obligations for any government - to listen to the people he’s supposed to represent.

Mr Turnbull needs to try and understand what the majority of Australian’s face every day. Most Australian’s are focused on putting food on the table, paying the bills, their mortgage or rent.
I remember what it was like at the end of fortnight of disability pension to scrape enough money together for a litre of milk. This is the real Australia and it’s got worse under Turnbull.

Many Tasmanian’s are struggling to get into the housing and rental market. For people living in Hobart this is a problem that is frustrating and demeaning. Some may be familiar with the story of a woman who has been forced to live on a boat in Hobart because she can’t get into the rental market. 

Mr Turnbull may be able to talk his way out of a sticky situation, but he is not a problem solver or a listener. No amount of “smoke and mirrors” can hide the fact that he can neither lead nor govern.

Instead of focussing on the big issues like stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of living, access to affordable healthcare and housing affordability, we have seen a government fixated on itself.

Australian’s want a Prime Minister and a government that can listen to them and relate to them. We need a Government that is working with the private sector, public sector, unions and community leaders to address cost of living and the casualization of work.

There are many people within our community that have legitimate concerns. There are single mothers who are trying to make ends meet and are working two jobs. There are also many two income households under increasing pressure. There are fathers who have lost their jobs because industry is under pressure and government has not reacted fast enough. And then there are older Australians who are being forced to wait in an ambulance or in cues at emergency departments because there are not enough beds in our hospitals. 

If the Turnbull Government continues ignore the Australian people and the national economic uncertainty, it is certain that Shorten Labor Government will be ready to take the reins and deliver for all Australians.

This government has no narrative and no vision for Australia, just a growing list of the detrimental priorities. Malcolm Turnbull cannot relate to people and as a result has no empathy or understanding of their circumstances.

Labor is listening. We have outlined a policy to address cost of living with changes to negative gearing and capital gains to put downward pressure on housing affordability. We have provided certainty on the GST, to ensure Tasmania is not worse off. 

*Senator Helen Polley is Shadow Assistant Minister to the Leader (Tasmania) and Shadow Assistant Minister for Ageing and Senator for Tasmania