A Clue For Wayne And Kevin

By AR - A speech delivered by Reserve bank Governor, Glen Stevens, contains a strong message for the Kevin07 government... should they choose to listen.
"Until recently, it was, in fact, possible to say that wages growth had been remarkably steady at an aggregate level in the face of a very tight labour market, with relative wages across industries and regions doing what one would expect given the shocks hitting the economy. At one stage, I described this as a textbook case of adjustment, in a labour market made much more flexible by a long sequence of reforms. Private sector wages growth may be picking up a little now, and businesses we talk to say that they are having to find ways to raise compensation, and in ways that may not immediately be evident in the official data.
But we have certainly not claimed that labour costs are leading the way. It seems to me that if labour costs are starting to accelerate, this is mainly a symptom of inflation pressure in a very strong economy. Inflation problems do not have to start with wages. Sometimes in Australia in the past they have started that way, but it should not be assumed that it will be that way on every occasion. On the other hand, should people come to expect that inflation will be higher for a long time, and wage claims and price setting start to reflect that, we will have more trouble getting inflation down again. One of the most important jobs of monetary policy is to condition expectations. To achieve that, people have to believe we will do what is required to control inflation over time."
Bold is mine - italics are from the original.

The Kevin07 government elected on the promise of winding back labour market reforms intends to do so at the very time that employees' bargaining power is the strongest in years, and the wage share of the economy is at an all-time low. Meanwhile Rudd and Swan are carrying on like Chicken Little, telling us the "inflation genie is out of the bottle," which can only feed into wage demands. You're "conditioning expectations," guys! It will be impossible for Kevin07 to continue to blame inflation on the Howard government if wages become an inflation driver.

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