Chalmers slams Greens’ ‘confected outrage’ in supermarkets probe

Source: Senate

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has chided Greens Senator Nick McKim over his line of attack on Woolworths boss Brad Banducci on Tuesday.

McKim threatened Banducci with jail during a Senate inquiry into supermarket profits when the Woolworths chief executive would not answer the Senator’s questions relating to the supermarket’s return on equity.

McKim warned Banducci a failure to answer the question directly might lead him to being held in contempt by the Senate.

“I’m not interested in your spin or your bull—t,” a clearly frustrated McKim said.

Such a charge comes with a fine of up to $5000 and a possible prison sentence of six months.

But responding to the furore on ABC RN on Wednesday morning, Chalmers said Banducci would be giving those answers on notice, and added: “The Senate hasn’t jailed anyone before and I don’t think they’re about to”.

He slammed McKim and the Greens for playing up “confected outrage”.

“There is a real issue here about people’s concerns about the prices they pay at the checkout. We share those concerns,” Chalmers said. “The difference between the way that the Greens go about this and the way that the Labor government goes about this is [McKim] does what he does for the cameras, and we do what we do for the consumers …

“We think the best way to get at these real issues, which are genuinely felt as people are under pressure around the country, is to do it in a methodical and considered way and to get real change and take real action. And I think that’s a contrast with the kind of confected outrage we saw from Senator McKim.”

Meanwhile, Chalmers said Labor would place a “real emphasis on economic security” in the upcoming federal budget as the global economy is fragmenting.

The International Monetary Fund has slightly upgraded its global economic growth forecast but warned about progress on inflation off the back of conflicts in the Middle East and Europe.

The treasurer says the global economy has a “tricky balance of risks” as inflation still sticks around.

“In the budget, what you’ll see is a real premium on responsibility and these conditions, but also a real emphasis on economic security,” he told ABC’s RN on Wednesday.

“We’ve got supply chains, which are straining and we’ve got a global economy, which is fragmenting and transforming.”

Global growth 2024 is expected to rise by 3.2 per cent in the April world economic outlook, 0.1 percentage points higher than in the previous update in January.

While low by historical standards, the global growth forecasts for 2024 has been revised up 0.3 percentage points since October 2023.

– with AAP

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