ZUCCOLI, Northern Territory (CU)_Last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called his rival Anthony Albanese a “loose unit” for supporting a 5.1 per cent pay rise for minimum wage workers. This week, the Liberal leader softened his language on the matter as he faces increased pressure over the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Previously, on several occasions, the Prime Minister claimed the Labour Party’s support for a real wage rise would only add to “inflationary pressures”. “[…] any potential support you might have got, and wages, will be clawed back in even higher interest rates and even higher inflation,” he said on Thursday. This week, he sought to soften his language on pay increases, when inquired why he was warning against a $1 an hour raise to the minimum wage, when the coalition is proposing to release a whopping $5 billion from first-home buyers’ superannuation to allow them to purchase $100 billion of housing.
His government is “supportive of wage rises,” PM Morrison said in response. “We think that wage rises are good things and we want to see the wage rises occur … on a sustainable basis, and the best way for that to happen is to get unemployment down, ensure the economy grows and that businesses are succeeding which enables them to provide sustainable wage rises for workers across this country,” he added.
The Prime Minister made these comments in the city of Zuccoli, in the Northern Territory, ahead of the release of the latest wage statistics on Wednesday. In its May statement on monetary policy, the Reserve Bank of Australia said employers “are paying larger wage increases or that they expect materially higher wages growth over the coming year”. However, Wednesday’s release of the wage price index looms as a threat to the Australian leader because if it fails to show an increase in wage growth, the opposition is expected to renew its criticism that “the cost of everything is going up except your wages”.