Australians paying the price for interest rate hikes: shadow treasurer

17:03, November 12, 2010      

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Australian shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said on Friday, Australian home-buyers are paying the price for higher interest rates because the federal government and treasurer are weak.

Hockey was speaking in Sydney after National Australia Bank ( NAB) and Westpac Banking Corp on Friday both lifted their standard variable home-loan rates by more than the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) increase.

"(The banks are) just completely disregarding all the empty rhetoric of the government," he told journalists.

NAB lifted its standard rate by 43 basis points and Westpac increased by 35 basis points.

The two banks followed the ANZ, which raised its rate by 39 basis points on Wednesday, and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which increased its rate by 45 basis points just right after the RBA lifted its cash rate by 25 basis points on November 2.

All the Australian big four banks' moves are bigger than the official 25 basis point rise by the RBA.

"It goes to show that when (Treasurer) Wayne Swan boasts of ringing up the bank chief executives after the Commonwealth Bank's increased rates that those phone calls were meaningless -- they were disregarded, forgotten within minutes," Hockey said.

"And why? Because we have a weak Treasurer and have a weak Prime Minister and Australian consumers are paying the price," he said.



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