Larry stands by rates-hike claim
RICHMOND MP Larry Anthony has defended a leaflet drop that told voters a Labor government would put interest rates up to 10.5 per cent, lifting an average $190,000 mortgage by $546 a month. Only the Reserve Bank has the power to set interest rates, although a government's economic management can influence the bank's decision. "I'm unapologetic about it," he said. "Of course it's the Reserve Bank that sets it ... it's not misleading to say that under Labor governments interest rates rise." Likewise, Richmond Labor candi- date Justine Elliot said her attack on Mr Anthony over breast screening was bang on target. "We had a petition about breast cancer cuts because it was the Federal Government that cut it ? and it's the Federal Government that reinstated the service in the last few weeks," she said. University of Sydney political analyst Rodney Smith said candidates often stretched their attacks to the limit, especially in marginal seats. But it was a dangerous game. "They can start looking foolish in the things they are claiming (their op- ponents) will do," he said. But foolish claims could also be a calculated risk ? aimed at tricking an opponent into making a more foolish response. Dr Smith said local voters could also expect more negative campaigning as voting day got closer. "There has been an attempt to say 'let's run positive campaigns', and ... in the first few weeks the parties have tried to stay positive," he said. "But they tend in the last few weeks to revert to negative imagery." And, far from disillusioning voters, negative campaigns can often resonate more strongly.