Interest Rates

About this Item
SubjectsFederal State Relations; Interest Rates; Industrial Relations; Tax: Federal
SpeakersNewell Mr Neville
BusinessPrivate Members Statements

Page: 22671

    Mr NEVILLE NEWELL (Tweed—Parliamentary Secretary) [4.32 p.m.]: I express my concern about the effect on families in the Tweed of the latest interest rate rise, which hits families with mortgages and follows the impact of John Howard's industrial relations policy on families and young people. That policy has dramatically reduced the take-home pay of many young workers, and threatens all people in the work force, both now and in the future. As well as the weight of higher fuel prices, the latest interest rate rise has dramatically crushed the disposable income and standard of living of many families.

    To understand what a low blow Howard has inflicted on families in New South Wales and, indeed, the whole of Australia, one only has to read the statement made by the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Mr Ian Macfarlane. John Howard is prepared to again attack the take-home pay and disposable income of families rather than take on big business, which is pushing up the rate of inflation. John Howard has chosen to control inflation through Reserve Bank policies and to hit families rather than take on the sectors that are pushing up inflation, that is, the resources, exports and finance sectors. The Governor of the Reserve Bank revealed that the Coalition has deliberately chosen to control skyrocketing inflation by hitting the pockets of young families with mortgages.

    Governor Macfarlane revealed that John Howard had a number of options to control inflation, yet he opted to ignore capital gains tax and refused to adjust company tax, despite the almost runaway growth of those sectors of the economy and the massive contribution they make to inflation. Indeed, they are now benefiting from his protection. The big end of town is let off scot-free and the mums and dads suffer the pain of trying to meet inflationary targets set by John Howard and Peter Costello. Governor Macfarlane stated that households and businesses find it attractive to borrow at prevailing interest rates, yet John Howard ignores that and caters to the big end of town. Governor Macfarlane's statement confirms that the Coalition is relying on overseas countries to keep Australia's economy moving, and John Howard has no policies to promote growth in value-added industries or to protect mum and dad mortgage holders. They are being forced by Howard to carry the burden of controlling inflationary pressures and John Howard's favoured sectors are being allowed to grow.

    The bottom line is that John Howard does not care how he controls inflation. He is prepared to push young families harder and harder. I will not be surprised if the Federal budget, which is to be delivered next week, has further gains for the big end of town by means of a reduction in capital gains tax and a possible reduction in company tax. If that is the case, it will be a blight on the Liberal-Nationals Coalition, which is not looking after the families in Australia. If Peter Costello reduces company tax or capital gains tax, that will further highlight the fact that John Howard is happy to have the burden of controlling inflation firmly forced onto families and those who can least afford it. I refer to those who have taken hits through recent increases in petrol prices and the WorkChoices policy, which reduces and puts at risk take-home pay now and in the future. It is deplorable that the Federal Government is hell-bent on further attacking families rather than pursuing the other options of controlling inflation that were revealed in Governor Macfarlane's statement.