One of the issues in the carbon price furore of recent years was the perception that consumers would be hit very hard by the associated rise in electricity prices. This was despite the obvious fact that for the average household, electricity is a small part of their spending and the Gillard government ensured that over three-quarters of the population was compensated for this rise.

More recently, Treasurer Joe Hockey has got into hot water over his comment that the $7 GP charge his government has implemented each time you go to the doctor is just “a couple of middies of beer or the third of the price of a packet of cigarettes”

Well, according to the latest consumer piece index release, the following facts of household spending make for interesting reading.

Based on the basket of goods and services in the CPI, the following bullet points shows the proportion of total spending the average household expenditure makes on the items creating the controversy.

  • 2.80 per cent on cigarettes and tobacco.
  • 2.22 per cent on beer (memo item, 4.78 per cent on alcohol).
  • 2.58 per cent on electricity.
  • 3.77 per cent on medical and hospital services.

So the average household does in fact spend more on ciggies (and cigars) than electricity and spends much more on alcohol than health services. Best to give up the grog, ciggies, turn off the lights and don’t get sick. That would save everyone a fortune.

Make of that what you will, but now you know.