Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the government will move quickly to shore up the independence of the Reserve Bank.
Speaking in Brisbane after his first cabinet meeting since winning the election, Mr Rudd said he and Treasurer Wayne Swan would be introducing statutory requirements making the positions of governor and deputy governor of the Reserve Bank more independent.
“At present the governor and deputy governor operate effectively at the treasurer's whim,” Mr Rudd said.
Mr Rudd said the government would reduce inflationary pressures through cost-cutting and investment in skills and education.
“We believe that a hardline approach to fiscal policy will be necessary into the future,” Mr Rudd said.
“We are committed to budget surpluses, we are committed to robust budget surpluses, and part and parcel of that is to ensure we are implementing a regime of razor-gang type discipline against unnecessary outlays.”
Code of conduct
Mr Rudd said cabinet had today signed off on a new ministerial code of conduct.
The code sets four key rules: public registration of lobbyists; electoral fund-raising banned at the official residences Kirribilli
House and The Lodge; 18-month ban on ex-ministers working in areas in which they had official dealings; all ministers to divest themselves of their shareholdings.
Cabinet also signed off on the government's promise to provide computers for all senior high school students.
Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Julia Gillard said visits by Labor MPs to schools in their electorates had shown many did not have enough computers for all students to access, and there was a shortage of technical equipment such as electronic whiteboards.
“Today cabinet has agreed that we will implement our proposed fund to give all year nine to year 12 students access to computers,” Ms Gillard said.
The government would work with the states and territories to identify the schools most in need of funds, and those would be able to apply for funding from March next year, she said.
Cabinet also agreed to commence an immediate audit of the provision of broadband access in all secondary schools.