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Independent Inquiry into Reserve Bank complaint needed.

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10 April 2005


The Government must set up an independent inquiry into concerns about its use of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s endorsement for its scare campaign on interest rates in last year’s federal election campaign.

Both the independence and the integrity of the Reserve Bank of Australia are critical to the proper functioning of our economy.

That the bank expressed concerns itself about the advertising to the Australian Electoral Commission during the election campaign makes it clear the Government’s scare campaign was completely dishonest.

My greatest concern about this is the fact that the Government knew this but continued with its campaign anyway.

We must have an inquiry conducted by an independent third party who will need to establish what the Government knew about the Reserve Bank’s concerns and then determine why the Government persisted with its claims in the election campaign.

Families are now paying the price for this dishonesty with one interest rate rise already this year. John Howard and Peter Costello must come clean on this grand deception.

It is not good enough for John Howard and Peter Costello to sit on the sidelines and allow the matter to be excused by the Liberal Party as a “clerical error” or a punctuation mistake.

It is quite clear from the Liberal Party propaganda that they were attempting to use the Reserve Bank’s name as an imprimatur on their claim that mortgage rates would rise under Labor.

There is something far more serious going on here: what we have is the Reserve Bank of Australia complaining first to the Australian Electoral Commission and then, on the AEC’s recommendation, to the person responsible for the

advertising, a Coalition Government staffer from the office of former minister Dana Vale.

The pamphlet distributed with Bill Meehan’s name on it bears a striking resemblance to similar Liberal Party pamphlets distributed in electorates all over Australia in September and October last year.

John Howard and Peter Costello have played politics with the family mortgage by promoting the deception that the Reserve Bank somehow endorsed the idea that rising mortgage rates would occur if they voted Labor.

This is more than just a “clerical error” and the Australian public deserve some answers Prime Minister.

Contact: Kate Hannon 0407 787181

10 April 2005