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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Henry Thornton, No 62

On June 13 Greg Sheridan discussed ‘Classical Liberal arts education’ He argued that ‘while there is nothing artificial about the intelligence in great books, they will help you deal with AI, whatever it brings’. AI is a new thing that I shall not (I hope) contribute to.

Judith Sloan on the same day said: ‘Labor’s push for pay rises will cost us dearly’. Slogans may help with elections but these are useless in guiding government policy making. The slogan “Get wages moving” for example, simplicity ignores the necessary preconditions for sustainable real wages growth, something the Federal Labor government seems incapable of understanding.

These two articles have a series of exciting powerful alternatives to the simple ideas of the Labor men and women ‘experts’. Please read the ideas of Sheridan and Sloan and think again.

Also, follow-up on the shocking bus crash in the Hunter. ‘Death charges for bus driver’ for problems with dud driving. He killed 10 and injured 25. On the bus people were screaming ‘slow down’ but it did not happen and when the bus raced into the roundabout carnage ensued. A terrible day’s work.

Today (Wednesday) in the Australian’s Inquiry section, Paul Kelly argues that ‘for Labor, the story this week is that the reopening the Higgins issue is not to be tolerated. It is too sensitive and treacherous. Labor insists it took a stand on morality and justice for women. Yet many of the claims or lines of inquiry pursued by Labor – not about the rape allegation but about the Morrison government’s treatment of Higgins – have been found to be dubious or false’.

And another point: ‘Higgins has obtained a large compensation payment under the Labor government, the exact figure to be for economic loss due to the rape allegation but also including compensation for the “distress and humiliation” attributed to Morrison government senior figures’.

Finally, there is a sad story of RBA underpayments. ‘Underpaying RBA owes staff $1.1m’, and supposedly it has been underpaying 1173 current and former staff during the last seven years. The dreaded PwC has helped to sort this problem, and one assumes the $1.1m does not involve the Governor. His salary has risen to more than a million. My annual payment in late 1988 was around $70,000 and my departure was instrumental in raising the then governor’s salary to $250,000. Times sure have changed.

My view: The risk of a recession in Australia is looking to be at least 50 %. Spending has been slowing badly but numbers of overall workers have held up. The scary development is the potential that high number of immigrants, one figure says 700,000 new arrivals, will make for a serious shortage of housing. The right approach is to cut immigrants so that people here can find decent accommodation. When the economy has slowed, possibly involving a severe recession, it may be reasonable to start to rebuild the migrant intake.

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