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Transcript of doorstop interview of the Shadow Treasurer: Sydney: 23 February 2005: Wage figures, interest rates.



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Wayne Swan MP Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer

TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP, SYDNEY - 23 February 2005

E & OE - PROOF ONLY

SUBJECT: Wage figures, interest rates

SWAN: Private wage growth figures released today are moderate and what these figures show is that the federal Government can’t lay the blame for interest rate rises at the feet of employees. Workers have worked hard to make this economy strong and they are receiving moderate wage increases. If interest rates are to rise it will be the fault of the federal Government’s $66 billion spending spree, the skills crisis in

the Australian workforce and the federal Government’s failure to invest in infrastructure. Yesterday the Reserve Bank Governor briefed the federal cabinet on interest rate rises for the future, and the Prime Minister could not even be bothered to attend the meeting. His failure to attend the meeting with the Reserve Bank Governor proves that he’s simply trying to wash his hands of responsibility for interest rate rises. This is simply not good enough. On an average loan of $300,000 with a quarter of a percent interest rate rise, that’s a $48 a month increase hitting the average family budget. It’s about time John Howard put his hand up and admitted that he’s breaking his election promise not to increase interest rates, and to accept responsibility for it. Not to go around blaming the workers of this country, employees who work hard, for the fact that his policy has failed and is putting upward pressure on interest rates.

Journalist: (Inaudible.)

SWAN: What these figures show is that wages growth is moderate across the board. The great bulk of the workforce are not receiving significant increases in wages. Because of skill shortages, some workers are receiving significant pay increases. But that’s not the cause of interest rate rises. The cause of interest rate rises is Peter Costello and John Howard’s $66 billion spending spree, their failure to train workers for those jobs that are required in the workforce, and their failure to deal with infrastructure bottlenecks in the economy. When interest rates rise it will be the fault of John Howard and Peter Costello, and it will be their promise that has been broken to the Australian people. It will be because of their policies not because of what Australian employees have done in recent years.

ENDS.

Wednesday 23 February Contact Jim Chalmers 0417 141 676