A victory not a defeat. The glib description as the Rudd Bank of the proposed financial aid for commercial property developers that the Senate defeated last night will have done the Labor Government no harm and nor will the defeat of the legislation. Property companies are traditionally the largest financiers of election campaign costs for the political parties and Labor will be rewarded for trying when the hat gets passed around next year. Collectors for Malcolm Turnbull on the other hand will find the going very tough indeed. Not that this is an issue Labor will be keen to elevate in to great prominence by reintroducing it in three months time to provide a double dissolution trigger. The money of property developers is handy but campaigning for them too openly is not a vote winner.
Brown wins from defeat too. The Liberal Party is trying to suggest that there is something improper in Bob Brown getting public donations to pay the legal bills of some court room challenges to the activities of Forestry Tasmania. The party would be better served by being quiet. Reminding people that it is the Greens, and Greens alone, who are prepared to go into battle to preserve the trees simply gives the good Senator more support. Whenever the environmental question under public discussion is to do with trees the Greens pick up support. When they are off on one of their wacky social justice campaigns the support is more likely to drop.
A tentative interest rate indicator. No change is the firm early prediction of the Crikey July Reserve Bank Interest Rate Indicator. Trading in the prediction markets used to derive our Indicator has so far been relatively light but the probability of no change at the July meeting of the Reserve Bank Board being put at 73%. A fall of a quarter of a point is rated as more likely than an increase.
The benefit is yet to come. The wonderful way of economic leads and lags is illustrated in this morning’s Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for dwelling units commencements in the March quarter. The total number of new private sector house dwelling units commenced fell 4.0% in the quuarter which followed a revised fall of 11.5% in the December quarter. The seasonally adjusted estimate for new private sector other residential building fell 6.6% in the March quarter following a revised fall of 21.8% in the December quarter.
Yet an upturn in home building activity should soon be on the way. Both the number and value of financial commitments for owner occupied housing have been on the rise since back in September.
Preparing his escape hatch? Offering a job to Peter Costello! Fair dinkum — if Kevin Rudd is that desperate to show what a bipartisan conservative he is then maybe it is true that he is seeking the job as Secretary General of the United Nations.
In case you watch by mistake. With the Seven Network taking off its Sunday night current affairs offering to make way for Dancing With the Stars I thought an extension of our Crikey Election Indicators was called for. So here it is: the opening probabilities for the show we pretend we only watch because of the kids.
Back to being serious. Economic problems are not being seen as an impediment to the-re-election chances of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. With a couple of months to go she is a firm favourite on our Crikey Indicator: