Philip Lowe RBA 2018 economic data housing prices unemployment income
RBA governor Philip Lowe (Image: AAP/Dean Lewins)

MR FRYDENBERG, BOOST THIS ECONOMY

The Reserve Bank has called on the government to do more to boost the economy, The Age and SMH report.

The RBA cut interest rates to a record low of 1% yesterday, with governor Philip Lowe saying that the country should “not rely on monetary policy alone” and urging treasurer Josh Frydenberg to increase federal spending. Labor has used the rate cut to call for stage two of the government’s tax cuts to be brought forward, claiming it shows a “floundering” economy in need of stimulus.

Of the big four banks, only ANZ passed on the 0.25% rate cut in full, with CBA, NAB and Westpac reducing home loan interest rates by 0.19-0.2%.

TAX CUTS PASS HOUSE

Labor voted for the government’s full $158 billion tax cut package in the lower house last night. Leader Anthony Albanese told The New Daily that the decision to support the legislation in the house was procedural, with the party planning to pursue its amendments in the Senate

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann successfully moved that the Senate sit until the tax cuts were passed, which was supported by Jacqui Lambie and Centre Alliance — a good sign for the Coalition. Labor is reportedly talking to crossbench senators to seek support for its amendments. 

DUELLING INQUIRIES

Cabinet has signed off on a decision to establish an inquiry into press freedom ($), The Australian reports. The move follows Kristina Keneally’s announcement that Labor would move to establish a “Joint Select Committee into the Public’s Right to Know and Press Freedom” in the Senate on Thursday, accusing the government of “doing nothing”.

Scott Morrison is planning to ask Anthony Albanese to endorse the government’s inquiry, while united media bosses have dismissed the need for one, arguing that “the evidence is in”. Media representatives will meet with ­Attorney-General Christian Porter today discuss proposed reforms.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

I’ve been disturbed about this issue. The government should be absolutely ashamed of the way they’ve manipulated this. The hypocrisy, misrepresentation, attempt at scaremongering on the basis of what is a very significant issue.

John Hewson

The former Liberal Party leader slams the governments handling of medivac on ABCThe Drum.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

Julie Bishop’s new job breaches ministerial standards, Labor says

At least 27 dead as walls collapse from Indian monsoon

Four dead as flu outbreak throws NSW nursing home into lockdown

Terror suspect Ishaq Ul Matari was part of a deradicalisation program after he was returned from Lebanon ($)

Chinese border guards put secret surveillance app on tourists’ phones

Brexit party MEPs turn backs during European anthem

House Democrats sue US Treasury for Trump’s tax returns

Indonesia rejects ‘toxic’ Australian plastic recycling

Victorian Coalition softens ‘tough on crime’ approach on prison reform

Scott Morrison urges colleagues to avoid another religious freedom row

‘In my team on merit’: NSW Labor leader reveals her cabinet

‘Opt in’ urged for phone tracking ($)

Netflix and bills? NBN floats potential price hike for video streaming

Politicians condemn ‘vulgar’ posts in secret US border agent Facebook group

‘Men aren’t meant to cry’: Mental health inquiry hears of AFL veteran’s struggle

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Is obesity a ‘disease’? And, if it is, who wins?

“The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has refrained from falling into line with the Novo Nordisk narrative. Its official policy avoids referring to obesity as a disease. Nor does it see any real benefit in anti-obesity medication. Novo Nordisk’s views, though, have gained traction with doctors who specialise in diabetes and obesity and who are influential in the medical debate. INQ’s investigations show that a number of these specialists have been funded by Novo Nordisk for providing professional advice, research, or for education. The not-for-profit advocacy bodies Obesity Australia, and the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS), back the idea that obesity is a disease. Both also receive funding from Novo Nordisk.”


Any Pyne inquiry should take a hard look at the big four

“While Christopher Pyne’s new gig with EY (formally Ernst & Young) warrants an examination of the failure of the purported ministerial code of conduct to halt the revolving door between the ministerial wing and the private sector, any Senate inquiry should focus on a much bigger issue: scrutinising the big four accounting firms’ rapidly growing role in government. That the government has been handing ever more money in recent years to private companies for management consultant services — i.e. the kind of services traditionally provided by the Australian Public Service — seems undeniable. An Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report in late 2017 showed a marked increase in consultancy spending under the Coalition.”


There is no green revolution without tax justice

“First, because there is a direct link between environmental degradation and tax evasion. Take illegal fishing or logging, for example. The income from this trafficking is clearly not invested in savings banks; it is hidden in tax havens. Secondly, countries must have more resources to finance the ecological transition we are calling for, and, for this reason, multinationals must pay their fair share of taxes. We must put an end to aggressive tax optimisation strategies that allow massive corporations to pay little or no taxes despite record profits. That Google, for example, paid only $26.5 million in Australia while declaring a $4.3 billion profit in 2018 is outrageous. In Australia, though there has been more transparency about company tax data since a 2014 reform, about one-third of large Australian companies pay no tax, even though they made a gross profit.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

The RBA cuts interest rates again. How low will they go?Stephen Koukoulas (The Guardian): “These economic circumstances were broadly in place about a year ago, when the RBA should have cut interest rates to current levels, a move which would have supported activity in 2019. It is well documented that in 2018 the RBA was starry-eyed about the economic outlook as well as using monetary policy to act as a brake on house prices and household debt. It also was of the view that steady interest rates were a sign of financial stability, even as economic conditions faltered. These errors and misjudgments have cost tens of thousands of jobs, with the unemployment rate rising, underlying inflation hitting record lows and annual wages growth stalling at a little above 2%. The RBA is now playing catch up.”

Inala health centre big step in closing the gap ($) – Christopher Perry (The Australian): “We may pride ourselves on our multiculturalism, but “otherness” and pigeonholing are everywhere. Assumptions by staff that the indigenous patient will not turn up for an operation mean they often are not placed on theatre lists. The reasoning that remote indigenous people will not arrive when a matched kidney donor becomes available at necessarily short notice may explain the one-tenth rate of indigenous people ­offered a place on transplant lists. Indigenous people are slower to access medical services to investigate health complaints. The abdominal pain or rectal bleeding that signifies a possible bowel cancer is just too hard to investigate when you have to leave a safe environment and dependent children to travel many hours by car and then train or plane to a potentially unsafe hostel to be seen by white health professionals who don’t understand your thinking and culture.

Victorian prisons: too expensive and not working properly anywayDavid Southwick (The Age): “Last week a group of students from a private school in my electorate visited Parliament and the topic of prisoner costs came up. At $323.82 per prisoner per day, one of the students responded that that was more than school fees. In fact, if you take Victoria’s most expensive private school and add boarding, food and all extracurricular activities, our prison system still costs nearly three times as much as this. Based on the Productivity Commission’s daily rate, Victoria currently has Australia’s highest prison costs at $118,194 per prisoner per year, yet also has the highest rate of ex-prisoners returning to corrective services of any state, with 58.2 per cent of those released from jail returning to prison or receiving a new community corrections order within two years.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Both houses of parliament will sit to hear condolence motions for former prime minister Bob Hawke. There will be no debate and no other business discussed.

Melbourne

  • The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System will hold another public hearing, with witnesses including consumer activist Janet Meagher and experts Nicola Reavley, Dr Chris Groot and Dr Michael Blanchard.

  • The CSIRO will appear in the Moorabbin Magistrates Court, charged with breaching federal work health and safety laws over an explosion at a Melbourne research facility.

  • A Victorian police officer will appear in the Magistrates Court, charged by IBAC with three counts of disclosing a restricted matter.

  • The Universities of Manchester and Melbourne Strategic Partnership will host “Technologies of Bordering: Creating, Contesting and Resisting Borders” an international conference bringing together academics, practitioners and activists to discuss borders.

  • The Australia China Business Council Victoria will host its 13th annual ACBC Education Forum, focusing on the challenges facing Australia’s international education sector.

Hobart

  • The Local Government Association of Tasmania will host its annual conference, with new local government minister Mark Shelton to speak.

Adelaide

  • Wavemaker Adelaide will hold “The Future Media Landscape”, an event aimed at SA government employees, sharing a view of the current media landscape.

  • The Australia China Business Council SA and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will host a lunchtime conversation with ACBC SA president Sean Keenihan and recently appointed Ambassador to China Graham Fletcher

Sydney

  • A man will appear in court charged with assaulting a Liberal volunteer with a corkscrew in Tony Abbott’s then-electorate of Warringah.

  • The NRMA will release the results of the annual NRMA Business Motoring Survey, revealing the real impact of Sydney’s congestion on businesses, with NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury in attendance.

  • The UTS School of Design, Jumbunna Institute, Centre of Social Justice and Inclusion will host a showcase of Indigenous Storywork and launch the landmark book, Decolonizing Research: Indigenous Storywork as Methodology.

  • Sydney Ideas will host discussing food security in the age of climate change, with Professor Hilal Elver, founder of OzHarvest Ronni Kahn and founder of FoodLab Sydney Dr Alana Mann.