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Stuart Robert praises governor Lowe for ‘outstanding’ leadership during pandemic

5 minute read

Stuart Robert has praised governor Lowe for doing “an outstanding job” during and prior to the pandemic.

Stuart Robert, the shadow assistant treasurer, is pleased with the “sensible” recommendations from the review of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which he believes puts Australia on par with its Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) peers, including Canada and Great Britain.

Speaking to InvestorDaily’s sister brand ifa, Mr Robert said the opposition has been “well engaged by the Reserve Bank in the process”.

“Where they’ve landed is reasonably sensible,” the shadow assistant treasurer said.


“Moving from 11 to eight meetings when rates will be set does provide some breathing space.”

Earlier this month, the government released the report on the review of the RBA, along with an “in-principle” acceptance of its 51 recommendations.

Among other things, the report recommended the creation of new, function-based, RBA boards and the reduction of monetary policy board meetings from the current 11 per year to just eight.

At the time of the report’s release, Treasurer Jim Chalmers confirmed that the report has bipartisan support, and that legislative change would ensue.

Speaking to ifa last week, Mr Robert said: “I think the review of the Reserve Bank is sound, brings us in line with international peers, and is moving forward”.

While acknowledging that there may be differing opinions, he also noted that there are only a few areas of public policy where one would not encounter critics in a professional setting.

Touching also on the conclusion of governor Philip Lowe’s term in September this year, Mr Robert said he had done an “outstanding job” during the “entire crisis of COVID and prior to that”.

“Yes, there’s been criticisms of the Reserve Bank, as there have been criticisms of all during a one in 100 year pandemic where there’s no playbook. I think governor Lowe can be very proud of what he did. I think he served the government of the day very well,” Mr Robert said.

“I dealt with him a lot on the Expenditure Review Committee, and I always found him very upright and professional. I’ll leave the government to the day to determine who the next governor of the Reserve Bank should be, but I think we’ve been well served,” he added.

But Mr Stuart’s assessment does not wholly align with that of the RBA review panel, as several of the panel’s recommendations pointed to a perceived deficiency in the current board’s level of expertise, particularly when it comes to making decisions in complex and uncertain environments.

In fact, the panel implied that the board’s members were not able to “robustly” challenge the views of the governor and that an “independent perspective” was lacking.

Responding to these findings earlier this month, governor Lowe told the media that the panel’s perception did not resonate with him.

“The description of how the board process works and the challenge in the boardroom that the panel has, doesn’t particularly resonate with me,” he said at the time.

Dr Lowe also touched on his future, hinting that he would not lose sleep over the government’s decision.

“It’s entirely up to the government whether I continue to serve in this role after September. If I was asked to continue, I would. If I’m not asked to continue, I will find another way to contribute to Australian society,” he said.

Treasurer Chalmers earlier confirmed that a decision on the governor would be made closer to the middle of the year.

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja's career in journalism spans well over a decade across finance, business and politics. Now an experienced editor and reporter across all elements of the financial services sector, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies.