Deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Guy Debelle (Image: AAP/Kelly Barnes)

Handily, and quite accidentally, Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Guy Debelle has provided us with an independent assessment of the economy and its key challenge as we head into the election. That key challenge? Falling household income and the way it has dragged down household consumption and economic growth at a time when the wider economy is doing well with record exports, jobs growth, business investment and rising tax revenues.

In a major speech on the economy yesterday, Debelle explained the different "lenses" through which the economy can currently be observed, and how fundamentally they differ. GDP growth at the end of 2018, he noted, was poor, and "the primary reason for this has been that consumption growth has been markedly slower than we had forecast".