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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Henry Thornton, Return from deep North, 58

Updated: May 21, 2023

Greetings to all readers. I have returned on May 2 after a time of 2 and a half weeks driving to well into North Queensland and back. Various friends gave us a night or two of rest, food and drink and at the link of five days to celebrate the event of the young couple’s marriage and friends. Great fun. We drove for approx. 5,000 km with no car failure.

Today I picked up the Australian newspaper from our front lawn and when the wrapper was removed hopped into the contents. Perhaps it was due to the lack of reading interesting material, but the truth seemed to be strong contents, and I am happy to share my views.

Front page led with ‘But will I be welcome? – King’s fear over visit to Australia’. Then ‘Budgeting for difficult times’, the relevant difficulties of the national Financial Minister, Treasurer Jim Chalmers. The earlier issue of a tenth 0.25 % finance entrenched in people’s expectations, produced by RBA Governor, Philip Lowe. Dr Lowe says he would welcome a new term of work. Most people think this is unlikely but anything must be considered just now.

A small bottom start to a subject ‘Quantum leap for tech sector', was snuggly placed bottom of page one but more follows. Top left of the Page two discussions ‘Budget 2023’ and ‘Charles Takes Charge’. (Advertising a 16-page special but some uncertainty whether it will be provided Sunday Australian or perhaps Saturday.)

Page 3 has a set of beautiful ladies, a few blokes and one scary, I think a lady. Page 4 mainly promotes Health Minister Butler funding boost for role of local GP clinics. ‘Push for rich to pay more for aged care.’ No surprises here.

Page 5 has a nice quote from Eric Johnston ‘RBA boss Lowe won’t go quietly’. I must quote the headline but wonder how he won’t go quietly. Will he attack the Treasurer, appeal to Mr Albanese or beg with another someone to give him another seven years. By the way, tradition recently has been giving modern governors another three years, and even if Mr Chalmers has a sudden change of generosity he is sure not to give Dr Lowe fourteen years.

Other excellent contributions on P 5 are ‘Cigs go up $10 a pack, ban put on vape sales’ and ‘At wit’s end: double whammy slams families’. And there is a fine ‘Bank [ie Dr Lowe] leaves Treasurer budgeting for difficult times’.

Quantum of urgency for ‘big lead forward’ in tech, graces top right corner of P6. Geoff Chambers contributes a fine starting paragraph. ‘Australian governments, superannuation funds and universities will accelerate investment in domestic research and commercialisation of quantum, underpinning the most significant transformation in global history of economics, defence capabilities, computing, health advancements and cyber security.’

This is a sunning short contribution and deserves careful reading.

Russia ‘paying a heavy price’ in Ukraine war, say Catherine Philp and Hugh Tomlinson on Page 8. John Kirby says ‘After months of fighting and extraordinary losses, Russia’s fighting is focussed on a single city with limited strategic value’. John Kirby, NSF Spokesman.

‘America on the brink of default.’ This report on Page 9 reports Andrew Duehren. ‘The US government could become unable to pay all its bills as soon as June 1 if congress doesn’t first raise the debt limit, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says.’

On the same page, ‘Google scientist quits over AI risk.’

‘A pioneering British pioneer who known is the “godfather of AI” has quit his role at Google so he can warn about the technology’s dangers’.

Godfrey Hinton, who developed the foundation of modern machine learning, said the speed of change in AI was ‘scary’ and needed to be regulated’.

P 11 leads with “RBA rates hike focusses on getting fundamental right.”

“Dr Lowe said in his statement, unit labor costs are rising briskly, in response to the tight labor market and high inflation. At the aggregate level, wages growth is still consistent with the inflation target, provided that productivity growth picks up”. The upcoming round of workplace reforms should factor that in.

Paul Kelly enters Page 12 with ‘Historic pivot in US strategy signals new danger era.’

‘The global revolution in economics , trade and technology being advanced by the Biden administration to combat the rise of China has been given deeper expression officials in the most definite outline of their part breaking US strategy.’

‘The liberal globalised world the past 40 years in which Australia grew, prospered and, with a touch of modesty even mastered to our enduring benefit, will exist no more. It is dying on the funeral pyre of intensifying US-China rivalry.’

‘Yellen was unforgiving in spelling out actions the US was ready to take against China, including export controls, access restrictions, investment constraints and steps to combat China’s “military-civil fusion”.

And in conclusion: ‘Biden, an old-fashioned government interventionist, has found new causes for his interventionism – China and climate. America is on a new part and Australia needs a new strategy.

Page 13, Dave Rogers, RBA rate shock amid inflation riddle.

‘A shock decision by the Reserve Bank to restart interest rates after a one-pause was driven by a heightened focus on the upside risks for inflation as well as a new push by the central bank to return to its target band in a reasonable timeframe.’

Page 19 continues. The final statement was from the RBA governor: ‘some further tightening of monetary policy may be required to ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe, but that will depend on how the economy and inflationevolve.’

A general summary. Almost every commentator got it wrong – ‘there would be no further rate hike.’ A few of the clever men said it would be achieved. Henry Thornton also got it right, as Mrs Thornton cheered.

I contribute today’s cartoon, with a lovely summary of The Budget and Interest rate Rises. Well done Mr Spooner.

Daily Cartoon ! John Spooner.

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1 Comment

May 21, 2023

a good summary of the week, very little resolved and all before us.

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