I don’t think anyone but the most blinkered Liberal Party die-hard believes a word the PM says anymore. And I’m appalled when even the ABC lets him get away with it.
In an interview on Lateline the other night, John Howard repeatedly jawed on about how interest rates were bound to go up under a Latham government because they always do under Labor governments. Typical scaremongering aiming at the mortgage belt’s hip pocket nerve (wow, cliché city!).
The interviewer Tony Jones made one half-hearted attempt to ask the obvious question: can you guarantee if you are elected that interest rates won’t go up? The PM, of course, dodged the question.
But there were obvious questions Tony Jones could have asked but didn’t, namely:
- Aren’t the Government’s pre-election bribes creating an upward pressure on interest rates?
- Isn’t the expanding foreign debt increasing upward pressure on interest rates?
- Doesn’t the Reserve Bank set interest rates in reaction to the local and international economic situation? To what extent does government policy actually affect interest rates?
- What are your policies to keep interest rates low?
- If you don’t think the Australian people are interested in the past about children overboard, why are you constantly talking about the past when discussing this issue? Do the Australian people care about the past or not?
Former Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser certainly has an answer for the first question. “One of the pressures on inflation and interest rates at the moment is the budgetary situation. The fiscal position is pretty loose. There’s not much stored there for the bad years when they come,” he told Bloomberg in an interview that was widely published in the Australian media earlier the same day.
You seriously can’t pin John Howard down on anything. Asked if he had discussed the free trade agreement with the US ambassador, Howard said “Tony, I don’t think I’ve had a personal discussion with Tom Schieffer about this”. Don’t think?! Either you have or you haven’t, John, make up you mind! But if you put it this way, you can always claim you told the truth if it later comes out you did have some sort of secret discussion with him.
“I do not believe anything the Prime Minister’s office says about anything. And I do not believe anything the Prime Minister has ever said about anything. He is a known liar. Senator Brandis knows that, and says it.”