Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Not surprisingly, the festival of hate continues at Tim Dunlop's Blogocracy, with 13 of the last 20 posts directed at the Howard government. And with two posts in two days devoted to the Howard government's supposedly dishonest interest rate advertising during the 2004 election campaign, it's obvious Dunlop sees this as a big deal.

In his first post Dunlop claims the government promised during the 2004 campaign to"[k]eep interest rates at record lows," linking to a campaign ad as proof. When I point out that the actual wording of ad does not support his argument he attempts to fob me off by accusing me of "parsing."

Dunlop's second post is an attempt to save face after being caught out making stuff up in the first. He now claims the government's interest rate campaigning was merely "misleading," linking to a Sydney Morning Herald article as proof. In comments he offers a short Howard quote as further proof:
"What I promised Jim was that interest rates would always be lower under a Coalition Government than they would be under Labor."
Astute politician that he is, Mr. Howard's wording of this promise is very tricky -- it's impossible to tell exactly what he's promising. It's therefore impossible for the government to have broken this imprecise promise.

Anyway, Dunlop doesn't provide a link to Howard's quote, probably because he doesn't want his readers to read the whole August 2006 interview, which includes Howard's response to hassling from an unnamed reporter:
Well I don’t run away from what I said. What I said in the election campaign was that interest rates would always be lower under a Coalition Government than Labor and taking today’s increase into account, let me give you the figures. Thirteen years of Labor, housing interest rates averaged 12 and three-quarters per cent and peaked at 17. Under 10 years of a Coalition Government housing interest rates have averaged 7.25 per cent, a five-and-a-half percentage points difference. Judge me on my record, look at the field evidence and that supports the proposition that interest rates will always be lower under the Coalition than under Labor.
So, according to Howard the promise was kept.

Anyway, Dunlop's two posts are at least as misleading as the government's interest rate campaigning. If such behaviour is unacceptable for politicians it should also be unacceptable for bloggers. Dunlop needs to lift his game.

In related news, New South Wales Treasurer Michael Costa today criticized the government's handling of interest rates:
Mr Costa said there had been at least one interest rate rise too many in recent times, and called on Mr Costello to be prepared to take the unusual step of blocking further increases.

"Going forward, he has an opportunity to stop another interest rate increase if it's proposed," Mr Costa told reporters.
Australian Business Limited quickly responded, "Mr Costa's proposal is straight forward madness." Lefty madness.


Anonymous AshaB said...

I'm sorry but I don't see what's misleading about Howard's comment at all (or the election ad for that matter). Interest rates are determined by inflation and a significant part of inflation can be determined by a government's policies and spending. Hence, because a Coalition goverment generally keeps spending under check (at least more than Labor) and has better economic policies it therefore stands to reason that interest rates under a Coalition government would be the same or lower than under Labor but certainly not higher. It is however one of those things that you can never truly prove unless you had two Australias each with a different governemnt at the same time.

9:02 PM  

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