Risk of rate hike tinges election campaign

Australians are bracing for the first interest rate hike in 12 years, as Labor and the coalition clash on managing the economy.

It comes as three of the four big banks predict a rise in the cash rate by next week, following new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing the annual inflation rate jumped 5.1 per cent.

The figure could force the Reserve Bank of Australia to raise the cash rate from its record low of 0.1 per cent.


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Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a time of “great uncertainty” with cost of living pressures, voters should return his government to power based on their track record.

“As Australia comes out of these difficult times, we don’t want them to be hit down again by forces well beyond Australia’s borders but … what we’ve shown as a government is we’ve been able to keep as much pressure down on those forces as good governments can,” he said.

“We’ve demonstrated that for now.”

Labor’s economic plan, if it wins office, would include an audit of “waste and rorts” as well as crackdowns on multinational companies avoiding tax in a bid to make $5 billion in budget savings.

Mr Morrison will start Thursday by campaigning in Cairns – the marginal Liberal seat of Leichhardt – which is held by 4.2 per cent.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese remains in isolation after returning a positive COVID-19 test last week.

But Labor frontbenchers will continue to campaign in his stead, and will be in Sydney on Thursday.

Mr Albanese will officially launch Labor’s election campaign in Perth on Sunday.

Meanwhile, ABC managing director David Anderson has written to both major parties pitching a leaders’ debate on Monday, May 9.

© AAP 2022