Governing into the never never. In theory what one government legislates today a future government can repeal some time in the future. If that theory holds true in practice then the current trend to make law today things that will not affect the budget for years to come need not concern us. Unfortunately the signs are that in practice things will be quite different. We face the prospect of a future government being severely restricted in what it can do by decisions of this parliament that will not really apply until a couple later.

Education spending is today’s example with 2020 apparently to be the operative date for most of Labor’s spending changes. Toss is carbon trading with European permits to apply from 2015, dental treatment plans and disability insurance and major influences on budgets well in to the future. Just imagine being Treasurer Joe Hockey committed to balancing a budget if unable to repeal that lot while abolishing the mining tax and lowering income tax.

Yet being unable to repeal them is the likelihood unless there is a remarkable change in the composition of future Senates. The Greens seem to realise that today’s circumstances provide them with a rare opportunity to make implement permanently their policy positions. And a future Labor opposition is unlikely to do other than copy the hard-ball position that the two conservative parties have always adopted to using their upper house numbers.

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It is not a happy prospect.

No housing price boom. The tentative mid-year signs of a rise in housing prices petered out in August. The RPData – Rismark index out this morning shows that after recovering by one per cent in June and 0.6 per cent in July, dwelling values across Australia’s combined capital cities were unchanged in August. For the year-to-date as a whole prices in capital cities declined 0.6%.

But no interest rate relief likely. The Crikey interest rate indicator strongly points to there being no interest rate relief when the Reserve Bank board meets tomorrow.

A review of modern dance. The ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot has a rival. See “A modern dance analysis of the Arrested Development chicken impressions“:

News and views noted along the way:

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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