The ghost of Robert Menzies has yet again been sent to haunt to the modern Liberal Party, this time by Canberra Times economics editor Peter Martin. The target is usually John Howard, but this time it is Peter Costello. In response to the Treasurer’s efforts this last week to heavy the banks into not raising interest rates, Martin writes:
John Howard’s hero, the founder of the Liberal Party and Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies fought the Labor Party’s attempt to nationalise Australia’s private banks with every fibre of his being….
The man who would like to become the next leader of the Liberal Party, Australia’s Treasurer Peter Costello is acting as if Menzies had never won…
The fact is the banks can move their rates wherever they like (so long as they don’t collude). Menzies made sure of it.
Like others who have taken up the Menzies-is-more liberal-than-Howard meme, Martin has his history wrong. As economist blogger Stephen Kirchner explained to me: