Doyle teaches not-so-average Joe a lesson

Labor candidate Trish Doyle with son Patrick, 17, and his recently purchased 1994 Toyota Corolla. The high school student saved for two years (working in a part-time job) to buy the car and helps his mum by driving his younger brother to Sydney music commitments. Ms Doyle is angry about the Treasurer's comments about poor people not needing cars  they rely on both vehicles.

Labor candidate Trish Doyle with son Patrick, 17, and his recently purchased 1994 Toyota Corolla. The high school student saved for two years (working in a part-time job) to buy the car and helps his mum by driving his younger brother to Sydney music commitments. Ms Doyle is angry about the Treasurer's comments about poor people not needing cars they rely on both vehicles.

If you want to make the Labor candidate for the Blue Mountains' blood boil just mention the words Joe Hockey and cars.

Last Friday when she received a bill just shy of $1000 for repairs and new tyres to her 14-year-old Toyota Avalon, the casual high school teacher and single mum, Trish Doyle, was fuming about the treasurer's comments - which he subsequently apologised for - about the poor not owning cars or not driving very far.

With two teenage boys with sporting and musical commitments, and a "lack of a co-ordinated public transport system," she said low income families like hers "increasingly relied" on cars.

Treasurer Joe Hockey had been defending planned increases to the fuel excise raised in the federal budget, when he claimed poor people won't pay as much as the rich because they either don't own cars or don't drive far.

Ms Doyle, who only secured a mortgage on a modest 70s brick home in Lawson last year after years of renting, said the treasurer was "so out of touch".

"There are places you can't walk or ride a bike or catch a train to in the Mountains. Someone on a low income needs to keep a car on the road."

Ms Doyle said while she was "fortunate to have some local work at the moment", she had previously driven hundreds of kilometres daily to reach schools in Sackville and Lithgow.

"It actually does make me feel angry that the people who are in charge of making policy don't know the reality of the cost of living."

The treasurer's remarks sparked an angry storm on the Australian Twitterverse, with #otherthingsthepoordontdo trending.

Treasurer Joe Hockey continued to defend the comments for several days but apologised by week's end.

"The fact of the matter is that I can only get the facts out there and explain the facts, how people interpret them is up to them," he said, speaking on Fairfax Radio 2UE.

Susan Templeman, Labor spokesperson for Macquarie, said the "forced apology does nothing to minimise how out of touch he really is about the demands on people in the Mountains".

"We are an area that has a range of income levels, but unfortunately, given our geography, there are relatively few people here, particularly families, who can easily function without a car.

"Many lower income people are going to disproportionately bear the burden of higher fuel excise."

Consumer group One Big Switch argued poor people spend a higher proportion of their income on fuel and live further away, meaning they're hit twice.

Liberal Member for Macquarie Louise Markus said "the treasurer has withdrawn his comments and apologised and I believe that was the best course of action".

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