‘We are screwed’: Jacqui’s dire warning

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A looming 10th rate hike has stoked fears Australia could be poised to plunge into a recession as Jacqui Lambie warns voters to prepare for the worst.

The Reserve Bank is expected to lift the official cash rate to a decade high of 3.6 per cent when the board meets later this week.

National accounts figures, released last week, revealed the Australian economy grew just 0.5 per cent in the final three months of 2022.

It was well below what economists had predicted, spiking concerns there was a real risk the economy could contract this year.

Senator Lambie told Nine that she had been urging people to tighten their belts for some time just in case a recession hits.

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has urged Australians to tighten their belts.Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has urged Australians to tighten their belts.

“I think that they are holding every penny they can. I have been brutally honest. I said, ‘Well, even if we don’t, at least be prepared’,” she told Nine.

“I’d rather give them the bad news and say that we are more than likely going into recession rather than sitting and waiting for that day to hit.”

The Tasmanian senator said while it wasn’t all bad for the economy, Australians would be in real trouble should the unemployment rate rise.

“The unemployment rate is still down low. If that climbs we are screwed,” Senator Lambie warned.

The big four banks – the Commonwealth, Westpac, ANZ and NAB – have all forecast a grim year ahead as the RBA tries to tame runaway inflation.

Australians are doing it tough with the rising cost of living. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas EagarAustralians are doing it tough with the rising cost of living. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar

Inflation reached a three-decade high of 7.8 per cent in December, well above the RBA’s target rate of between 2 and 3 per cent.

But concerns interest rates could return to highs experienced in the 1990s were unfounded, the Treasurer said.

“There is absolutely no chance that interest rates will get to (that) level … I want to make that clear,” he told Nine’s 60 Minutes.

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Friday, suggested the soaring cost of living has driven the number of people holding multiple jobs to a record high.

Around 925,000 Australians, or 6.8 per cent of all workers, are now working more than one job.

Employment Minister Tony Burke said while there would always be those interested in juggling multiple jobs, he was concerned that the increase came down to people trying to “hold a household together”.

“Increasingly, though, it’s people who are trying to hold a household together who are having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet,” he told ABC’s Radio National.

“Some of the problem here is where full-time jobs or part-time jobs are available with regular decent hours people are only being offered very short shifts and insecure work.”

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