Thanks goodness we are living through a new year with little local politics and a great victory in the first one day game in the ODI series with a new champion fast bowler and some excellent batting and fielding. Very hot weather and in some parts of the nation flooding rain, deaths on the road and in swimming places are sadder events.
The January-February edition of Quadrant arrived and features a wonderful article by Editor Keith Windshuttle. He analyses some of the massive Australian Research Grants made in recent years to academics who in years past were expected to do research in their non-teaching time with no extra inducements. He calculates that the Federal government could save $100 m by cancelling what he calls 'Grotesquely generous’. Read on here. (Link to be posted soon.)
Main economic news is that US and Chinese economies are slowing, the Eurozone is dawdling, the UK seems to be preparing for a hard Brexit which the Bank of England suggests will be very bad for the economy. Perhaps, but the deal Mrs May has got from the EU looks equally bad to many British people.
Overall, it looks like the major nations are headed for a slowdown or worse and it also looks as if geopolitical situation is not all that conforting.
Australia’s housing market keeps falling and over the weekend one supposed expert has predicted a 30 % fall in average house prices and several years of little movement after that. If this occurs over-geared buyers, especially those who brought houses within 10 % of the peak, will be in deep trouble. A Shorten government, as now seems likely, will by cancelling negative gearing and raising taxes, deepen the overall downturn to produce ‘the recession we didn’t have to have’. Voters should recall the mess of the Whitlam government, Keating’s ‘recession we had to have’, produced by governor Bernie Fraser and his mate Ian Macfarlane, the chaos of Rudd, Gillard and Rudd and wonder if the country will prosper with Shorten.
Enough of the likely gloom. Sensible people will increase saving, reduce borrowing and plan on some tough years. The RBA’s plans to cut interest rates won’t help much because there is little room as rates have been held down at ‘emergency’ GFC levels while asset prices boomed. Gor Blimey, Comrades!
Fiona Prior provides some cheers by reporting on a creepy but engaging film called The Favourite. Watching this will destroy your views about Royalty.
The test series against India ended with a second win to the visitors, confirming an heroic series win, first in 70 odd years when rain prevented an absolute belting of the Australian seconds. The Indians entered the ODI series still celebrating to be 3 wickets for 4 (or so) after the Australian batters posted 288 runs in 50 overs. One wonders why at least once in the test series captain Tim Paine failed to instruct his batters to ‘play as if it is an ODI game’. It’s what Mont Albert Fourths would have tried.
Image of the year - if these two men agree, gloom will lift at least a bit