(Image: Adobe/Private Media)
(Image: Adobe/Private Media)

There are turning points in any election campaign. One is the point at which one contender steps over the line of one’s values into the abyss of no return. That point came last week when, in response to Anthony Albanese’s backing of a 5.1% hike in the minimum wage, Prime Minister Scott Morrison:

  • told Sydney radio 2GB: “He can’t do that. He has just been pulling people’s legs.”
  • dubbed Mr Albanese “reckless and dangerous” for making such a proposal, as well as a “loose unit” on the economy. “It's like throwing fuel on the fire of rising interest rates and rising cost of living."
  • implied that Australians would just have to wear the hit to their budgets for the next 18 months because the only thing governments could do to increase wages was maintain a "strong economy”, saying, "The way wages rise is unemployment goes down."

None of this is true, and it’s heartless besides.

Let’s start with the falsehoods, the first being that beyond sound economic management, there is nothing governments can do to support wages. In fact, there’s plenty the federal government can do to intervene in helpful ways.