Speaking about the effects of the increased fuel excise announced as part of the Abbott Government's 2014 Budget, Hockey told a Brisbane ABC radio station that a rise to the cost of fuel wouldn't affect those who were already worse off.
''The people that actually pay the most [were the excise to be increased as per the Budget] are higher-income people ... yet, the Labor Party and the Greens are opposing it,” said Hockey. “They say you've got to have wealthier people or middle-income people pay more.
''Well, change to the fuel excise does exactly that; the poorest people either don't have cars or actually don't drive very far in many cases."
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten hit back, telling ABC that Hockey "just doesn't get how rotten his budget is".
"Are you serious Joe Hockey? Are you really the cigar-chomping, Foghorn Leghorn of Australian politics where you're saying that poor people don't drive cars? It is almost though as if the Treasurer believes that poor people should be sleeping in their cars, not driving their cars."
Shadow minister for transport and infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, also responded on Facebook late Wednesday, posting the image below with the caption "this just happened".
If the push to raise the fuel excise does get over the line, the Abbott Government claims it will raise $2.2 billion in revenue by 2018 by indexing the fuel excise it collects against inflation.
Originally slated to come into effect on 1 August 2014, the fuel excise increase was set to “create a more stable source of Commonwealth road funding over the longer term”. However, the plans to legislate the excise increase have been shelved in the Senate.