Friday, October 26, 2007
What would Menzies think?
John Howard's hero, the founder of the Liberal Party and Australia's longest serving Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies fought the Labor Party's attempt to nationalise Australia's private banks with every fibre of his being.
His success in the late 1940s propelled him into government and record 16-year continuous run as Australia's Prime Minister.
The man who would like to become the next leader of the Liberal Party, Australia's Treasurer Peter Costello is acting as if Menzies had never won...
All week he has been talking as if he can give directions to Australia's private banks.
On Monday he said that the National Australia Bank would not lift its mortgage rates “ whilst I'm the Treasurer”.
Asked on ABC TV how he could stop the head of the bank John Stewart from lifting rates he said, “the message that I've already given him has stopped him to date and the message will continue whilst we are in office”.
On Wednesday he declared that there were “no grounds whatsoever for banks to raise variable mortgages, right”.
And yesterday, when asked whether he would butt out of the banks' business he said again that there was “no reason for banks to move standard variable mortgage interest rates.”
The fact is the banks can move their rates wherever they like (so long as they don't collude). Menzies made sure of it.
The government's Reserve Bank does has to take directions from the Treasurer, but he chooses not to give them.
He says he respects its independence.