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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

News&Views, No 16, May 7 - May 12

Updated: May 13, 2022

The Weekend Oz, May 7-8, P 17, Paul Kelly, ‘Deceptive path to power’,

‘The first obligation of a political movement running real candidates with real prospects of being elected and even determining the future government is to honour our democracy and voters by outlining there positions on the major issues and which they prefer to govern Australia.

‘The remarkable feature of the so-called independents is their claim to integrity when it is their lack of integrity that is distinctive.’

Chris Kenny, 'Spending money like there’s no tomorrow’, May 7-8, P20.

‘Government programs and expenditure are overwhelming our society. The interventions and expenditure have rapidly reached the highest levels since the war, and we pretend this is sustainable.

‘For every problem, real or perceived, every gripe and every itch that needs to be scratched, we see the offer of a government solution. Labor is worse to be sure, but the Coalition too, has been sucked ever deeper down this cul-de-sac.’

Patrick Commins, 'Reserve Bank board cool and calm on historic day’.

‘At 2.30 pm sharp, the news of a 0.25 percentage point increase in the official cash rate target was everywhere online, TV, and by radio. By 4 PM Philip Lowe was fronting the media explaining that the economy was “resilient”, and that a surge of inflation had “surprised us all”.’

Well, ring my bells, a long retired central banker, then running companies, then serving on boards, this modest player thought a rapid and relative large increase in official interest rate hikes should have been implemented. How two senior central bankers and a number of business men and women could agree on small, late rate hike made me gob-smacked.

Someone today (9/5) suggested the need for a big-time international former central banking guru. Sadly I must agree with such an idea.

Weekend AFR. May 7-8, P1, Alex Gluyas. ‘Inflation fear triggers market chaos’.

Other front page comments were as follow:

· Wage price spiral.

· Homes face 25 PC falls

· Beat the squeeze.

Phillip Coorey, P15: ‘’As the end of this policy-light campaign draws closer, the personality contest between the leaders is only getting fiercer’.

Here is a key judgment: ‘Just 30 per cent of voters regard the prime minister as trustworthy, compared with 41 per cent from Albanese.’

The Oz, May 9, P 13, Johannas Leak.

Great cartoon. A smart lady in an outside chatter place with her friends: ‘While the major parties are making their pitches to middle Australia, who but we Teals will speak for their wealthy, pampered superiors who are slipping through the cracks’.

AFR, May 9, P1, ‘RBA rate rise hurts Coalition.’

With two weeks to go, it seems that the Coalition is due for a rest and Labor will have a go. Let’s hope one or other of the major parties prevails, so there is a clear winner. Labor’s turn seems likely but may end quickly, due mainly to a cheery but inexperienced leader. But they deserve a try, and provided they do not spend money even faster than the Coalition, Labor’s term may be reasonable.

Sport: I had the great excitement to watch Carlton! on Sunday. Great win over Adelaide and the club is now at number four on the ladder. Fingers crossed for three difficult games ahead.

The Oz, May 10, P11, Greg Sheridan, ‘Actions speak louder than shouty debate.

‘The Nine Network leaders debate perfectly reflected the emptiness of our political culture: shouty, futile, free of substance, with even its faux hostility confected as a kind of reality TV, sub-Trump performance’.

‘If, as the polls suggest, Scott Morrison loses to Anthony Albanese, this will retrospectively validate every act of prime minister genocide of the past 15 years.’

Like many others, I gave up the effort to understand the crazy talk by both leaders at the same time. A sorry attempt to become loved.

Peter Jennings wrote about Bungled handling of Darwin port lease a fiasco on both sides.

My repeated attempt to understand how any government could cancel the 99-years of lease of the port of Darwin. Here is one attempt: ‘Seven years on, Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese could choose to end the lease and bring the Port of Darwin back into Australian control. Both failed to say they will, but the case to resume ownership is growing stronger.’

AFR, May 10, P 29, Cecile Lefort, US Fed tightening, China lockdown rattles investors.

‘Renewed concerns about how far the US Federal Reserve is willing to go in its quest to get inflation back under control has put investors on edge, sending shares and bond prices lower.’

‘The ’mood was further soured by the extension of lockdowns in Shanghai to stop the spread of COVID-19 in China.'

‘Data on Friday showed US jobs growth increased by more than expected in April, reinforcing the case for monetary tightening’.

All this shows the speed with which economic events can change, with the best economic thinkers looking confused and uncertain. Read the actual event’s gentle gurus and focus on the ongoing results rather than guesses about surprising results.

The Oz, May 11, P 1, Simon Benson, Ewin Hannan, ‘PM warns of ‘vandal’ Albanese’.

‘Scott Morrison has accused Anthony Albanese of engineering a reckless act of economic vandalism by supporting at least a 5.1 per cent minimum wage increase, warning inflation and interest rates would rise further while small businesses would face a significant hit to their costs’.

Paul Kelly, May 11, P 11, ‘Policy expires on read to election.

‘If he wins, Albanese’s task will be daunting – seeking to fashion a new Labor reform agenda from the random pieces on his table, aware reform success has eluded past PMs for many years now’.

John Lee, May 11, P 11, ‘The teal peril: power without responsibility’.

‘The real independents claim they are a natural fit into the electorates they seek to represent. That is, they are locals with accomplishments of their own and they care about the same issues that concern voters. Most of all, they claim being untethered to a political party means they are free to think for themselves and apply so called evidence-based decision to any problem.’

The AFR, May 11, P2, Jennifer Hewett, ‘The most obvious risk is that higher wages mean increased costs, leading to higher inflation, followed by higher interest rates’.

Wow, a story in one sentence.

Percy Allan, P 46, 'Election winner faces stagnation’.

‘If Labor wins, it will confront the same dilemma as the Whitlam government, while a returned Coalition will need to repeat the 2014 austerity budget’. (This outcome would repeat the 2014 budget that ended the political careers of Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott because they acted without an electoral mandate’) …

‘Both sides of politics have set themselves up for a mission impossible’.

The Oz, May 12, P1, Ewin Hannan, Joe Kelly, ‘Yes, no, maybe: ALP on wages’.

‘Labor has refused to commit to formally asking the industrial umpire to grant a 5.1 per cent pay rise for the nations lowest paid workers, one day after Anthony Albanese said he supported the increase, as employers warned it would drive up inflation and interest rates’.

Tom Dusevic, ‘Spooking the horses with the spectre of a wage-price spiral.’

Simon Benson, ’Labor on track for 80 seat poll’.

‘Labor would win government in its own right and secure a modest majority with 80 seats in the parliament if an election was held today, according to the most sophisticated poll conducted across Australia measuring voter intention in every electorate in the country’.

A key point in the current situation is the proposed loss of Kooyong (47/53) and Goldstein (48/52). Specially the Kooyong seat would be devastating loss for the Coalition. Still 10 days to go and we live in hope.

AFR, May 12, P1, Xiao Qian, China pact ‘no threat to Australia’.

I was cheered by China’s new Ambassador to Australia, when he seemed to want to create a better relationship than that of his boss in China.

‘In a further conciliatory sign from the Ambassador he said common interests between Australia and China should outweigh differences that have fractured diplomatic and trade ties between the two countries.’

‘China and Australia are important countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and our bilateral relations have important impacts on both our countries and the wider region.’

Hear, hear Mr Ambassador.

John Kehoe has emphasised the shocking economic scene in Australia during the 1970s. ‘Let’s not repeat the perilous mistakes of the 1970s’. (12 May, P 47)

‘Similarities between today and the inflationary 1970s are too close to be ignored. The next government will have to act on spending and reforms.’

The inflationary breakout is a global matter and the USA is already well into a situation in which interest rates will have to rise quickly if inflation is a high amount, which USA already has. To be brought back to a reasonable level – say inflation of 3-5 per cent - will take time and will involve a slowing in the US economy, Eurozone nations and UK,, and smaller nations including Australia. We have once again been ‘Too little and too late’, sadly, a feature of the 1970s and only occasionally until now.

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