Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Arrogance rising: Howard's interest rate boast.

Download PDFDownload PDF

WAYNE SWAN MP Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer


The yawning gulf between John Howard and Australian families is growing wider each day, with the Prime Minister declaring yesterday:

”they’re more relaxed about interest rates”.

Mr Howard’s arrogance and complacency have risen to the surface lately; he recently told the Parliament that working families have “never been better off”.

Sadly Mr Howard has never been more out of touch with the realities of Australian household budgets.

Eight back-to-back interest rate rises on Mr Howard’s watch have added around $140,000 to mortgage interest repayments on the average median-priced home across our capital cities over the life of a loan.

This translates to an extra $470 per month that families must find in the household budget since before Mr Howard’s eight rate rises.

Families have also endured four back-to-back rate rises since Mr Howard gave his word to keep interest rates at record lows.

These rate rises are packing a bigger punch than ever before, because families are in more debt than ever before.

Families are now paying a higher proportion of their disposable income in mortgage interest repayments than at any time in our history - including under Paul Keating.

This is the new interest rate reality that Mr Howard is struggling to grasp.

These interest rate pressures are adding to Mr Howard’s other great IR menace: an extreme industrial relations regime that is cutting penalty rates and overtime for many thousands of Australian families.

The government’s failure to act on spiralling petrol prices is also putting strain on family budgets, as are sharp rises in childcare and health costs.

Mr Howard needs to get off his high-horse and come and walk in the same shopping aisles that the rest of us walk in.

[17 May 2007]

Contact: Matt Coghlan 0415 098050