in, day out, as the IR debate continues raging, John Howard and Kevin Andrews
have been pointing to the wages growth that has occurred under the current
government – and comparing it with Labor’s record between 1983 and 1996.

the media attention has been on Paul Keating’s “bunyip potentate” comments, most of his focus yesterday at the launch of Michael Sexton’s book on
the Whitlam government, The Great Crash, was on economics. And wages growth was a
subject he tackled.

Whitlam government was “made up of people who had spent their whole time
focussing on the distribution of wealth who had no time for its creation,” he said.
There was “complete confusion between means and ends.” And one of the greatest
errors it made was using the public sector as a “wages setter”.

and the end of the long post-war boom helped to do in the Whitlam Government, he
said, and Malcolm Fraser inherited the problem: “An ordinary government and a very ordinary
treasurer who had not hope of dealing with wage inflation.”

all ended up with 10% unemployment – so Keating, unsurprisingly,
doesn’t like the way John Howard is “traducing” the way he forced “wages restraint that restored