Will the ACT be next to fall? An interesting infusion today of a federal issue into what has been a somewhat low key ACT election campaign so far where municipal issues have created more passions than state ones. The Canberra Liberals, who are clearly better financed than they have been in past Territory elections, have dared to question whether in government they would be able to afford Kevin Rudd’s promise of a computer for every child. Opposition Zed Seslja is clearly as unimpressed as NSW State Labor with federal Labor making a promise which enabled them to get all the glory while leaving states and territories with a whacking great bill.

While the Crikey election indicator has Labor favoured to be returned this election is clearly far from over.

Australia’s child minding service. You get the impression these days that Australia’s diplomats are regarded as nothing more than some kind of elaborate child minding service. Having a relative or friend go missing in a foreign country is undoubtedly an unsettling experience but it is hardly the job of government to find them. As for flying in a Federal policeman to tell the Croatian Government how to conduct its investigation into the disappearance from a Dubrovnik bar! That is nonsense and it surprises me that the Croats have not old Australia to get nicked.

Don’t hurry back Kerry. How delightful it was last night to watch a political interviewer who managed to be informed and forceful, but polite and not badgering, all at the same time. This Ali Moore woman deserves to be in prime time all the time instead of being hidden away on a late night finance program. She ever so delicately exposed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as a man who is incapable of speaking other than rehearsed jargon.

The proposition being put to Mr Rudd was quite a simple one. If Australian banks are as well regulated as the government says and as financially strong and as profitable as the government assures us they are, then why shouldn’t they be in a position to pass on in full any reduction in official rates that the Reserve Bank might make next week? The Prime Minister might think viewers are so dense that they can not see that his refusal to provide an answer inevitably leads to the conclusion that Australian banks are not the light years away from those foreign banks around the world which governments are having to prop up.

And thinking of interest rates. Perhaps the PM and his Treasurer Wayne Swan are wise not to make too much of a fuss about banks and interest rates because all the money being pumped into economies around the world to deal with today’s financial crisis are creating the conditions for an inflationary bubble to follow. It is how the local banks are dealing with the rises to come as the next election gets close that will test the Labor Government’s mettle.

As for next week’s decision by the Reserve Bank we have prepared another of our Crikey Indicators based on what the prediction markets are showing.

The market says there is not much difference between the likelihood of a 0.25 percentage point decrease and a 0.5 point fall.

In the name of Mahatma. The image probably does need a bit of rebuilding which might explain this banner ad across the top of this morning’s Indian Express newspaper on a day when India remembers the ideals of Bapu:

 

Troubling time for cricketers. Having to replace Bryce McGain with the off-spinner Jason Krejza might be the least of the things worrying the Australian cricket team as it ponders the Border-Gavaskar series which begins in Bangalore next week. Overnight there was another bombing in an Indian city which suggests that conditions are certainly not getting better. Now Agartala, where two were killed an a 100 were wounded, is a long way from Bangalore but the host city itself saw three killed and 20 hurt by an explosion back in July and there have been two bombing incidents where people died in the Indian capital New Delhi this month.

Peter Fray

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