All eyes on Stevens (and Ridout). The nation will hold its collective breath this afternoon as Glenn Stevens and his Reserve Bank of Australia comrades announce whether they will drop interest rates.
Most economists expect a cut of 25 basis points, but former RBA boss Bernie Fraser wants his successors to go further and slash rates by 50 basis points. “You have to get ahead of the game occasionally and trump those expectations,” Fraser, RBA governor from 1989 to 1996, told the ABC’s 7.30 in a rare interview. ”I think the economic circumstances, signs of weakening in large parts of the economy and … the lack of worry about the inflation problems provide an opportunity to do that.”
Today will be the first time that former Australian Industry Group boss Heather Ridout — a self-described RBA “dove” whose priority is economic growth, not fighting inflation — participates in a rates decision.
Cameron Clyne slashes and burns in Britain. Glenn Stevens isn’t the only banker who’s been mulling over a tough call. NAB chief executive Cameron Clyne yesterday announced a major overhaul of his bank’s UK operations that will see the bank close 29 financial solutions centres, sack 1400 staff and run off a $9.6 billion commercial property portfolio.
Clyne’s decision is a retreat from the aggressive expansion strategy pioneered by his predecessor John Stewart — a move that proved disastrous when the GFC plunged the country into recession and saw British property prices collapse.
Investors have welcomed the decision, but British union leaders have slammed Clyne’s call as “disgusting”. NAB will release its audited half-year results next week.
Remember shock jock Michael Smith? Boned 2UE shock jock Michael Smith has vanished from view since station management forced him off air last September for pursuing allegations regarding Julia Gillard’s former relationship with an ex-union boss accused of fraud.
But our former “Megaphone to watch” popped his head above the parapet today to remind the nation, via a comment piece in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, that it was he who first turned the allegations against Craig Thomson into a national scandal.
“None of Craig’s credit card bills could be paid until he signed off on them,” he writes. ”He had a duty as the boss of the union to make sure that the union’s money went for union purposes … It’s hard to believe that anyone could think he’s done nothing wrong, let alone the PM.”
Smith is expected to star on the next series of SBS’ asylum seeker reality show Go Back to Where You Came From.