George Megalogenis in The OZ

Over the year to the March quarter, the economy grew by a modest 0.4 per cent. Only a partisan contortionist could stretch this to mean recession.

Michael Stutchbury in the same:

AUSTRALIA’S great escape from a headline recession may be a national triumph. But the economy is still in an actual recession by just about every measure other than headline gross domestic product.

Just sayin.

Where does this leave Malcolm Turnbull? His impatience drove him to take the Opposition leadership so early that a “Big Political Failure” was his only route to The Lodge since one term governments are as rare as hen’s teeth.

With the only potential Big Political Failure around being government action on the GFC, his entire strategy seemed to be predicated on the Rudd Recession occurring – tipping the debt vs. stimulus argument in his favour by arguing that Rudd had failed to avert a recession, that the stimulus failed, that we are now burdened with mountains of debt and have nothing to show for it.

The one shot in the locker had potential – playing off the “Labor are poor economic managers” line of the Howard years while it’s still fresh in the minds of the electorate, and pivoting every other political issue of the day from that core Rudd Recession theme.

We even started to see that in action with the Liberal ETS position – the language started to become about the need for delay and prudence so as to not burden the economy any further in the midst of the Rudd Recession. If yesterday’s figures came in negative, just about every issue between now and election time would have been linked in to the recession/debt/failed stimulus/Labor can’t be trusted on the economy meme which the last Essential Report suggested had started to gain solid traction.

But now there is no Rudd Recession – there is no core issue left to anchor a Coalition strategy for election victory. The debt argument without the Rudd Recession is an argument weak with political currency. Every time Turnbull points to the debt levels, Rudd will point to Australia being the only major economy that avoided recession. Every time Turnbull points to how long the debt will take to repay, Rudd will point to the unemployment levels in other countries that had recessions.

Turnbull’s only strategy to become PM has disappeared in a puff of statistics that went against him.

The realistic problem for the Liberal party now is how to carve out a new strategy in 18 months that minimises losses at the next election, simply because their current and now untenable strategy will deliver them nothing but grief at the ballot box if they choose to continue on with it.

We all saw how despondent and pathetic the Coalition looked in Question Time yesterday – that won’t change until their strategy does.


This silliness is worth mentioning and seems to be the New Black today for the usual suspects on recession commentary.

Terry McCrann – if my aunty had a willy she’d be my uncle.

That’s to say, without the positive trade performance, instead of a positive 0.4 per cent growth in GDP, it would actually have fallen 1.8 per cent. That’s an annualised 7.2 per cent slump – worse even than the US’s 5.7 per cent!


News Ltd is going to stick that stuff behind a paywall?

Yeah, ahem… would you pay to read it?