Scott Morrison blasts Anthony Albanese as a ‘loose unit’ after he called for massive pay rises for millions of Aussies which could see interest rates and unemployment soar
Scott Morrison has called Anthony Albanese a ‘loose unit’ on the economy after he shocked Australia by supporting a massive 5.1 per cent increase in the minimum wage in off-the-cuff comments.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Albanese said wages should ‘absolutely’ keep up with the 5.1 per cent headline inflation rate.
The comment was immediately slammed by economists and business groups who fear such a big wage rise will stoke inflation and push household bills up even further.
This would mean the Reserve Bank could be forced to hike interest rates more than otherwise, pushing up mortgage payments for millions.
It could also increase unemployment because businesses may find it too expensive to employ as many people.
Speaking in Newcastle on Wednesday, Mr Morrison slammed his opponent’s comments and said he was not up to the job of running the country.
‘Mr Albanese showed yesterday that he is a complete loose unit on this stuff. He just runs off at the mouth,’ he said.
‘It is like he just unzips his head and let’s everything fall on the table.’
Mr Morrison refused to say what level of wage increase he favours – instead insisting the independent Fair Work Commission be left to decide without political pressure.
Mr Albanese in a press conference on Tuesday said wages should ‘absolutely’ keep up with the 5.1 per cent headline inflation rate
The Prime Minister accused Mr Albanese of ‘throwing fuel on the fire of rising interest rates and rising cost of living’.
He said it was ‘no wonder’ the Labor leader has never held a financial portfolio in Government or Opposition.
‘He is like someone working in a small business who they won’t let near the till and the Australian people shouldn’t let him near the till,’ he said.
‘Anthony Albanese says that he wants wages to go up by 5.1 per cent and he thinks that Australians don’t know what the impact of that would be on their interest rates, on unemployment, or on inflation and the cost of living.
‘He thinks Australians don’t get the link between these things. He thinks he can just say what he likes and you can have your cake and eat it. That is not how you run sensible, sound, responsible economic policy.
Mr Morrison said favouring such a big wage increase will see Australia return to the wage price spiral of the 1970s which soar interest rates hit 18 per cent.
‘If you vote Labor, [you will have] a leader who can make interest rates worse, who can make inflation worse,’ he added.
The Australian Industry Group wants a ‘modest’ wage increase of two per cent, fearing anything more will cripple small businesses.
The minimum wage in Australia is $20.33 an hour. It gets reviewed every year.
The Coalition believes the best way to prompt wage rises is to keep unemployment – currently at just four per cent – low.
Liberal Senator Anne Ruston said: ‘Around a million people just in the last couple of months of last year changed jobs and they changed jobs for a pay increase of somewhere between eight and 10 per cent.
‘That only happens when unemployment is exceptionally low.’