No government this morning. For the first time since I have been preparing the breakfast media wrap for Crikey I could not find a story to list this morning that quoted a Federal Government Minister. The whole attention of the news media is now concentrated just where Kevin Rudd and his team want it to be — on the Opposition. The press gallery really does have itself in a feeding frenzy as it stirs the leadership challenge pot. The only observation I can add is that surely Joe Hockey is not so silly as to succumb to entreaties from his colleagues to take over. He has no more chance of unifying what is now a rabble than does Malcolm Turnbull.

A sad ending. So the Australian Democrats are no longer represented in an Australian parliament with the declaration by South Australian member of the Legislative Council David Winderlich that he is now an independent after turning in his membership. Mr Winderlich, who became the last of the Democrats not by winning an election but following the resignation of a member who was, says he now realises he has no chance of being re-elected under the Democrat banner. Recent attempts to rebuild membership in the State where the party was always strongest following its establishment in 1977 had failed miserably he told ABC radio this morning.

The pictures tell the story. When the Reserve Bank refers to historically low interest rates I find the picture helps me understand better than the words and even I can see that the blue line showing the real cash rate — the actual interest rate less the inflation rate — had dropped below zero. Now after this week’s rise it’s popped back up to around zero which still leaves a bigger gap between blue and red than Australia historically has.

How much bigger the gap gets will depend on what happens to that “quarterly weighted-median inflation rate” that the Bank takes most notice of in these matters. The next inflation figure, for the September quarter, will probably be lower than the 3.2% for June, perhaps to something under 3% which would push the blue real cash rate line back to a positive figure. Nevertheless the gap would remain higher than the long term average around 1.5 percentage points. Hence the speculation that there are further interest rate rises to come.

Subbing — the best and the worst. First the day’s loser. The sub-editor at the Sydney Morning Herald website who doesn’t know his News from his Nines.

And the winner is the genius with a sense of humour who produced this page one headline for the Northern Territory News. Now I know it’s a story of very little significance — a couple crashing a car while coupling but it did brighten up my morning when doing the Crikey Breakfast Wrap.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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