GEMMA ACTON: Joining me tonight from Brisbane is Shadow Finance Minister Senator Jane Hume. Senator, good evening, you've come out in support of Philip Lowe calling him a steady hand. Why do you think he deserves to keep his job?
JANE HUME: Gemma, Philip Lowe has been the Governor of the Reserve Bank since 2016. He's seen Australia through some very difficult economic periods and he's had a steady hand at the tiller all throughout that period of time. He now wants to extend his term, I think that the Government should certainly consider extending his term. Obviously, it's a difficult period of time right now, cost of living is the number one issue that we are facing as a nation and Philip Lowe has been left to do all of the heavy lifting in reducing inflation and he's only got one tool in the shed that's interest rates. You can't blame a man for using the one tool in his shed to bring down inflation. When the Government has essentially raised the white flag and said this isn't our problem. This is his problem.
GEMMA ACTON: Senator you do say, to quote you, he has been demonised by the Government. There have been a few comments in particular that raised eyebrows, including telling people to work more to afford their mortgages. Do these comments suggest he’s out of touch?
JANE HUME: I think that Philip Lowe is possibly one of the most qualified economists in this country and most people within the financial services industry would agree with that. He's had to make some really difficult decisions and understand that he's not giving directions when he says things like that. He's simply commenting on a fact, people are having to pay more for their mortgages. People are considering taking in a housemate to help them pay with increasing rents. That's not his fault. In fact, he's the one that's been charged with fixing the problem because the Government isn't doing its bit. Essentially the Government has its foot on the economic accelerator. So Philip Lowe has to have his foot on the economic brake. If you've got one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the brake, it's a great way to bust the engine.
GEMMA ACTON: Senator, a tough job for whoever the RBA Governor is, there is speculation now that the Department of Finance Secretary Jenny Wilkinson is the frontrunner to replace Philip Lowe. Would you just support a decision to make her the new RBA Governor?
JANE HUME: I've worked with Jenny Wilkinson in the past. I have great admiration for her. She's a very skilled operator. I like her an awful lot and I think she'd do a terrific job. That said, I think that there are also considerations to be made by this Government about maintaining a steady hand at the tiller during periods of economic crisis and that's exactly what we're facing right now. This is an economic crisis. Make no mistake, and consistency in decision making is particularly important. If Jenny Wilkinson is the choice of the Government, I think that that's terrific. She's a very, very good choice. But right now, I think that the Government deserves to take a second look at Philip Lowe and that steady hand.
GEMMA ACTON: Senator Jane Hume, thank you for your thoughts this evening.