Coalition spokeswoman Anne Ruston has shifted the rhetoric on wages by appearing to land in favour of a pay rise for workers on the minimum national rate.
“We absolutely seek for Australia’s lowest paid workers to continue to be able to have increases in their wages,” Ruston told ABC Radio this morning while being questioned about the Coalition’s neutrality on the annual minimum wage review.
The debate over wages has cemented into one of the key issues of the election campaign after Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said this week he “absolutely” backed a rise in the minimum wage to meet the 5.1 per cent headline inflation rate.
His position triggered attacks from the Coalition, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling Albanese a “loose unit on the economy” whose specific stance would trigger an inflationary chain reaction and “precondition” the economy to expect such a rise.
“Anthony Albanese says that he wants wages to go up by 5.1 per cent, and he thinks that Australians don’t know what the impact of that would be on their interest rates, on unemployment, or on inflation and the cost of living,” Morrison told a press conference on Wednesday.
However, Ruston this morning retreated from the Prime Minister’s criticism of Albanese’s nominated rate, going as far to say as it never happened.
“The government has been very clear in its condemnation of the comments by Mr. Albanese, not because of the figure that he put out there specifically, but the fact that he’s just chosen to put a figure out there, you know, without bothering to consult, take advice,” Ruston said.