• Pete Jonson

News & Views, No 3, early Feb

Updated: Feb 13


Sporting news. Lots of sporting events, but without doubt the worst result was the inability of Cricket admin to retain Australia’s cricket coach, Justin Langer. Or even managing to deal decently with the world’s best cricket coach.


Recent results are a world competitive T something victory and 4 out of five test match wins against the pestiferous poms. I very much hope that Mr Langer becomes coach of the English team and teaches Cricket Australia a valuable lesson.

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AFR, Feb 5-6, Front page, ‘Battle of the Boring’, ie Scottom vs Albanese.

I thought the Press Conference featuring Scomo was a disgrace. Front page says of the debate so far. ‘Small agenda. No inspiration. Nothing to fear. Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese are betting that leaving exhausted voters alone is the path to election victory.’

In the meantime, various conservative pollies or retired pollies have spat out nasty comments on Scomo’s beliefs and personality. This must drive the Coalition’s votes down, and it now looks almost like impossible to be a conservative winner.


In now looks like a powerful economy is the main way for Conservatives to become a winner. Headline, also front page, ‘Growth to roar past pre-virus forecasts.’


The weekend Oz, front page, ‘Jobless fall ‘not a trigger to inflation’. In fact, unemployment could fall as low as 3 per cent by 2024 without triggering a damaging inflationary outbreak under the most optimistic scenario for the economy contained in the latest projections by the Reserve Bank,


Only three small paragraphs are at all pessimistic. Remember PJ’s obiter dicta, Dr Lowe. Always present a plausible worst case beside your most optimistic effusion. Also, perhaps a boring ‘best guess’, might provide a measure mostly more reliable.


The Oz’s front page, 10, Feb 7 provides ‘Frydenberg’s strategy for productivity, wages growth’.

‘While disgruntled Coalition are causing mayhem and wallowing in foam and froth in the Canberra bubble, the Treasurer is displaying economic leadership, …

His action plan ‘is about productivity growth, the return to normal fiscal settings and workers securing their own sustainable wages growth by taking advantage of demand for their skills and labor’.


Great stuff, Josh, but please tell us what is your precise plan for ‘productivity reform.’


AFR, P 46, 8 Feb, Andrew Mohl, ‘How the RBA sadly lost its way.’

‘The writing is on the wall. The modern-day experiment in ultra-loose monetary is going to end either badly, or very badly.’

And in conclusion: ‘The sooner we normalise interest rates and focus on long-term reform and productivity, the only sustained means to drive growth and employment the better off we will all be’.

Hear, hear, Andrew.


The Oz, P 4, 8 Feb, Dennis Shanahan, ‘PM thinks big on the critical action front’.

Scott Morrison has moved to address the big issues facing Australia: fighting the Covid-19 virus, reopening international borders to lift economic recovery and standing firm on national security’. …

‘Surrounded physically in Parliament House by assorted protesters and under political siege because of divisions and disruptions, the Morrison government was facing a torrid two-week sitting of parliament with little choice but to buckle up the seat belts and put on the crash helmets.’

On the same page, Simon Benson says: ‘Scott Morrison is living Lyndon Johnson’s satiric metaphor that once likened the presidency to being a jackass in hailstorm. ‘There’s nothing to do but stand there and take it’.


The Oz, Feb 9, P 11, Paul Kelly opines: ‘With leaked texts and lethal character assessments dominating the media, the likely central election issue – despite the public anger over Omicron – the economy is heading toward a strong near-term recovery marked by surging job creation, an economic growth kickback, half-century lows in unemployment, massive household savings to spend and the reopening of the international borders’. …

‘In these times expect the unexpected. Here are three markers. Low unemployment did not save the Howard government in 2007. This virus plays havoc with economic forecasts, so don’t assume the good news is assured. And remember, the dearth of economic reform means after the immediate recovery the economy from next year faces more pressure on living standards from weak productivity’.

Best words I have read in a commentary about Australia’s economic future.


The Oz, Feb 9, P1: ‘PM warns: unite or lose poll’. ‘Scott Morrison has warned Coalition MPs the federal election will be lost if they are not a united force, in an 11th-hour clarion call for his team to get behind land mark religious discrimination reforms in the first contentious parliamentary vote of the year’.


AFR, Feb 9, P1. ‘PM calms nervous Coalition’. ‘The resolution ends the potential for ongoing division and came after Mr Morrison sought to draw a line after a shoddy start to the year by delivering a long lecture on unity and purpose to MPs and Senators at the start of the party room meeting’.


We’ve all heard the old saying: ‘Disunity is death’. The Coalition surely now knows this saying and if they keep at the disunity caper Labor will cakewalk into office.

The Oz, Feb 9, P1: ‘PM warns: unite or lose poll’. ‘Scott Morrison has warned Coalition MPs the federal election will be lost if they are not a united force, in an 11th-hour clarion call for his team to get behind land mark religious discrimination reforms in the first contentious parliamentary vote of the year’.


AFR, Feb 9, P1. ‘PM calms nervous Coalition’. ‘The resolution ends the potential for ongoing division and came after Mr Morrison sought to draw a line after a shoddy start to the year by delivering a long lecture on unity and purpose to MPs and Senators at the start of the party room meeting’.


We’ve all heard the old saying: ‘Disunity is death’. The Coalition surely now knows this saying and if they keep at the disunity caper Labor will cakewalk into office.

The Oz, Feb 10, P 1, ‘ASIO foils spy plot to interfere with election’.

And ‘Quad concern at ‘no limits’ pact’.


Well Australia is now an official fair dinkum nation which will become involved in nasty interventions. Far more defence spending will be needed and new tools will need to be developed and put to work.


AFR, Feb 10, P46, ‘RBA on too much of a good thing’.

Gareth Aird says: ‘Monetary policy. The Reserve Bank is pursuing a noble goal of a jobless rate with a ‘three’ in front. But that has made it too reluctant to see the pitfalls along the path.’


‘The fourth-quarter 2021 consumer price index indicated the six month annualised pace of underlying inflation had accelerated to 3.5 per cent. We also have a household sector that has accumulated savings of about $250 billion over the pandemic expansionary fiscal settings, and the tightest labor market in a generation. The demand for workers will remain firm and a material rise in wages growth is just around the corner’.


We must hope that the RBA has an extra scenario not unlike this, and the courage to use it.


The Oz, Feb 11, P1, 'China's 'aims to dominate world' '.

'In comments that dramitically underscore the now global natureof Bejing's challenge to the US and its allies, and to the international rules-based order, [US Secretary of State] Mr Blinkin said: 'To me mind, there is little doubt that China's ambition over time is to be the leading military, economic, diplomatic and political power, not just in the region in the world.' '


Scary stuff, which underpins my assertion that Australia needs to increase its military spending to 5 per cent on GDP. And keep close to the USA, UK, Europe and Asian nations who will prefer liberal democracy to illiberal attempts to be invaded.


AFR, Feb 11, P38, 'The region warms to the Quad' by John Lee and Lavina Lee.

ASEAN nations are increasigly supportive of the four-power platform that's providing rules-based alternative to China's coercian'.


Philip Coorey, P39, 'Religious freedom became the PM's exploding cigar'.

'This week we saw the government mount a full court press on Albanese, starting with a YouTube ad on Sundey. followed by multiple pile-ons in parliement. By the end of the week, he had been branded a sulky, snarling, high-taxing, business-hating, Green-hugging , quasi-corrupt puppet and Bolshlevik who will appease China, crash the economy and have people smugglers "jumping for joy".


Perhaps a bit of an over-reaction but Scomo has had plenty of exaggerated s..t thrown at him. What a pity that both side of the battle cannot be civilised, warm and cuddly.


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My email address is peterdjonson@gmail.com




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