Karl Stefanovich criticizes Anthony Albanese for refusing to comment on interest rate hike

Karl Stefanovich has lashed out at Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for refusing to answer one important question while “Australians are burning their pockets.”

Anthony Albanese faced his first major hurdle since winning the election after the Reserve Bank hit homeowners yesterday with a shocking “super-sized” interest rate hike.

At its June meeting, the RBA took market watchers by surprise by raising the official cash rate by 50 basis points to 0.85% – the biggest jump in more than two decades – with confidence in more aggressive hikes in the coming months.

But the RBA’s decision coincided with Mr. Albanese’s visit to Indonesia, and the prime minister declined to answer questions about interest rates, insisting he would only discuss foreign policy abroad.

“On the first day, I said that I would not answer domestic questions while abroad,” Albanese said.

“I’ll leave that to (Treasurer) Jim Chalmers.”

Mr Chalmers held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon and said the rate hike would further stretch household budgets at a time when the country is facing a number of economic challenges.

“We have an incredibly difficult task of combinations,” he said.

“High and rising inflation, rising interest rates, falling real wages at a time when our ability to respond to these challenges is limited by the fact that the budget is literally overflowing with liberal debt.”

The move was heavily criticized by Karl Stefanovich during a discussion with National Party Senator Matt Canavan this morning, with a Today anchor calling the statement “defending Bob Hawke.”

“This is the defense of Bob Hawke. But that was back in the 80s. Hawkey went clubbing all night, I don’t think Anthony Albanese does that,” Stefanovich said.

“Does it really help when Aussie’s pockets are on fire?”

Mr. Canavan responded that Mr. Albanese’s decision was “ludicrous”.

“We live in a connected world where we can do these crosses from anywhere in the world. It really doesn’t matter where you are. Doesn’t look like he’s getting reports,” he said.

“What, is he waiting for a fax or something about the minutes of the Reserve Bank? I’m sure he has a phone. He has access to email. He must comment.

“He needs to be aware of these issues and be relevant to the needs of the Australian people. I think this is a complete cop-out from Anthony Albanese. I hope this policy does not last long.”

Mr. Stefanovich said it appeared Mr. Albanese was “dodging questions, no matter what the rationale behind it,” while 2GB’s Chris Smith called the strategy “garbage.”

“You can call Zoom and… you will have a Cabinet in an instant,” he said.

“Rubbish. He plays with a small target so as not to screw up, as he did during (the) election campaign.”

Mr. Smith said that is not enough, “especially now that the crisis we have in the country is touching all pockets.”

Tuesday’s rate hike returned the cash rate to its highest level since September 2019 and marked the first consecutive rate hike in 12 years.

This comes after the RBA caught many by surprise last month by raising rates by 25 basis points, from an all-time low of 0.1% to 0.35%, in the midst of an election campaign.

The unexpected size of the rate hike sent shock waves across the country and provided further evidence that all is not well with the economy.

Both the RBA’s own clues and the predictions of countless financial experts indicate that yesterday’s increase will be just the tip of the iceberg, with many expecting monthly increases at least until Christmas.

Read related topics:Anthony AlbaneseReserve Bank

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