Joanita Wibowo

Money & Banking

"A dubious proposition even for him": Bob Hawke and Paul Keating reunite to slam PM Scott Morrison

"A dubious proposition even for him": Bob Hawke and Paul Keating reunite to slam PM Scott Morrison

Former Labor prime ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating have reunited to endorse Bill Shorten’s economic credentials and slam Prime Minister Scott Morrison for “the fallacious claim that Labor can’t manage the economy”.

Ahead of the May 18 election, the two former Labor leaders made their first joint statement in 28 years to take credit for Labor’s role in driving Australia’s economic growth and reform.

The last time Hawke and Keating shared a platform was in 1991, when Keating resigned as a Treasurer to challenge Hawke’s prime ministership.

“It is a blatant denial of history for Scott Morrison to allege that the Labor Party cannot manage the economy when he knows the design and structure of the modern Australian economy was put in place exclusively by the Labor Party,” the two wrote in a piece published by the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age today.

Citing the wage growths and structural reforms in the late 1980s and early to mid-1990s under their terms, Hawke and Keating wrote Morrison was arguing that “Labor can’t manage its own creation – a dubious proposition even for him.”

This is the latest display of unity from Labor. In the party’s campaign launch on Sunday in Brisbane, former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard were also spotted side-by-side as they set aside their personal feud to show support for Labor’s run along with Keating.

Hawke sent a statement of support from Sydney in lieu of attending the event as he was too “frail” for air travel at the age of 89, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

During a visit to Albury on Tuesday, Morrison told the same publications that a vote for Labor would put unions in control of industrial laws. 

“I don’t want to see the Labor Party get to office where they tie businesses up with all sorts of union red tape and all sorts of the Greens’ green tape, which would just cost people jobs,” the PM said.

Morrison also defended his government’s decision to cut or restrict pension to some Australians in his term. 

“The changes we made were progressive, the changes that we made were about fairness,” said Morrison.

“The changes Bill Shorten wants to make are about neither of those things – they’re not reforms, they’re just tax grabs.”