DEBTOR AND DEBTOR
We have never seen this high inflation with this high debt, according to the central bank to the world’s central banks. Amid its annual report released yesterday, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS)’s Agustin Carstens says our debt-fuelled growth (low interest rates and big government spending) had run out of road, SMH reports, and we may be hurtling towards a 1970s-style period of stagflation. Australian inflation was at 5.1% in March, but Treasurer Jim Chalmers said yesterday on ABC’s Insiders the Reserve Bank’s (RBA) prediction of 7% is not crazy. When it comes to interest rates, Australia’s in a tenuous spot on the world stage, continues the BIS. It noted in Australia over 80% of homebuyers have taken out variable-rate mortgages in the last six years — that means we’re one of the nations most exposed to higher rates.
We’ll get a bit of a clearer sense of how things are going this week, The New Daily continues. We’ll see retail trade figures on Wednesday from the ABS, which’ll show our household spending habits after the first interest rate hike in May, and the RBA will release its monthly credit figures (which are expected to show the demand for loans cooling off a bit). On Friday, CoreLogic’s Home Value Index for June will show the impact of the larger, 50-point interest rate hike. So what next for our interest rates? There’s another meeting on July 5 — it will likely see a 25 to 50 base point hike, AFR reports, which will be a tough pill for swathes of Australian homeowners already struggling under the soaring cost of living. Perhaps not Victorian Premier Dan Andrews however, as The Age reports — he just got a 2.75% pay rise making him the country’s highest paid state leader at $464,918, including up to $58,435 in expenses.
Labor Leader Anthony Albanese will hold a referendum about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, even if the Liberals and Nationals don’t want to, he told The Australian ($). Albo says he will go after bipartisan support, but the Coalition won’t get the right to veto the vote. The PM says there’s loads of support for the Voice “in media organisations, in the business community, in the trade union movement and in civil society” so he wants to go for it while the momentum is up.
Some surprisingly down-to-earth reporting from The Australian ($) points out it would not be a “third chamber” of Parliament as former Liberal prime ministers Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, and Scott Morrison claimed — a Voice to Parliament wouldn’t allow the proposal, amendment or rejection of legislation, and wouldn’t look at every bill or motion. It would allow consultation on policies that affect the Indigenous community — we’ll know more after Garma Festival in Arnhem Land in July-August, where Albanese is going to reveal more about the Voice proposal.
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Hey, speaking of Arnhem Land — NASA has just launched a rocket from the Northern Territory region, as ABC reports. It’s the space organisation’s first launch here in more than 25 years and Australia’s first-ever commercial space launch. It blasted off just after midnight last night from Yolngu country but was only visible for 10 seconds. It’ll fly about 300km above the NT. Start-up firm Equatorial Launch Australia is now planning a big expansion for the spaceport — and that hopefully means tourism and jobs for the Top End. Senior leader of the Gumatj clan Djawa Yunupingu was stoked, saying it’s a new beginning for the region. Check out the launch here, courtesy of the NT News.
COVID has made us older, whiter, and smaller in 2021, a demographer from ANU says. On Tuesday we’ll get a look at the latest census data — Guardian Australia spoke to experts about what we might expect. ANU’s Liz Allen pointed out immigration has slowed to a trickle amid border closures, while our COVID fatalities fell last year too (though have surged this year). The data will also show just how big the tree-changer move was — that’s people moving out of the cities amid remote work conditions. Indeed regional migration was at a three year high in 2021, according to the Regional Movers Index, with migration to the regions up 66% (Noosa and Southern Downs were the most popular spots for Queensland tree changers). But Allen is hanging out for the specific data that demographers get access to — breakdowns like country of birth and religion in smaller areas.
Speaking of religion — an advocacy group for Australian Muslims has lodged a complaint against Twitter with the Queensland Human Rights Commission, Guardian Australia says. It says Twitter is responsible for the content of a far-right account — it was cited in the manifesto of the extremist who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. For some reason Twitter has refused to delete the account, and replies to the old posts “vilify” Muslims, the group said.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
Folks, the World’s Ugliest Dog 2022 has been crowned. His name is Mr Happy Face, and he’s a chihuahua with a mohawk who holds his head askew at all times. The judges told The New York Times they didn’t even bother deliberating, the little Ewok was so obviously the winner. But it was a tight field — his competitors included a “hairless mutant” with no teeth and a crooked face, a creature that resembled “a hyena or mandrill baboon,” and a pup with a “gorilla-looking head”. The 50-year competition is not mean-spirited, however — it’s actually designed to promote the adoption of all dogs, regardless of their bowed legs, crossed eyes, or crooked face.
It’s with this in mind that Jeneda Benally went to the pound in search of a new furry friend. The staff told her to brace herself before showing her Mr Happy Face. He’d had a rough start in life, and staff figured he only had a little bit of time left. It was then Benally vowed to make sure “he would be so loved that he would never remember how awful his previous life had been”. Ten months later, the little guy is a reigning champion. He won $1500 and a trip to appear on breakfast TV. Mr Happy Face follows in a long line of champs — previous winners include Scamp the Tramp, “a dog of unknown breeding with beady eyes, no teeth and short stubby legs” in 2019, as well as Martha, a Neapolitan mastiff with “droopy red eyes, uncontrollable drool and baggy skin” in 2017.
Hoping you feel beautiful this morning.
One of the issues … [is] we’ve got an education system that’s basically run by Marxists. When kids are at school and they’re being taught all this absolute left-wing rubbish, that’s where they’re leaving school and that’s where they’re landing … Maybe their parents need to turn their internet off, limit it to one hour a day, and stop them using the car to make them get public transport.
The NSW senator blamed 1. Karl Marx 2. the internet and 3. cars for why the Coalition lost the youth vote at the election, when asked the question at a Sydney Institute federal election post mortem. In response to the comments, Education Minister Jason Clare retorted sarcastically, “apparently the commies are in the classroom”.
“While his customers wait in hours-long queues and make repeated unanswered calls to customer service about their lost luggage, and while his staff deal with distressed customers during peak travel times who can’t understand why the airline can’t do the basic job of getting them from point A to point B within a reasonable amount of time, where is Joyce?
“We know he was at the Leadership Matters breakfast answering hard-hitting questions about why cheese and crackers have been scrapped from the menu, and why business-class flyers are drinking $24.99 bottles of wine, but when will he show his face to a less friendly audience and explain what’s going on?”
“His office said Butler had sought the briefing on the status of grants made to the Pentecostal-linked Esther Foundation and the Hillsong-linked one80TC rehab facilities, as well as ‘assessment processes’ in place for ‘private rehabilitation services receiving Commonwealth funds’. Crikey’s reports on the rehab facilities were described as ‘concerning’.
“Crikey has revealed what appears to be direct political intervention from the Morrison government in grants to the two faith-based facilities. Both were awarded multimillion-dollar grants on the eve of the 2019 election through Health Department-administered grants programs and with no clear explanation of the process.”
“Other figures like former United Australia Party MP Craig Kelly, former One Nation candidate-turned-blogger George Christensen, and conspiracy influencer David ONeeglio have all posted anti-LGBTIQA+ content in recent weeks, as well as being an increasingly popular topic of discussion in online communities used to organise local anti-lockdown protests.
“Much of it is sharing international content like news articles, images or video clips of US ‘drag bingo’ shows or children transitioning, often containing misinformation. Increasingly, however, they’re tapping into this interest by localising it to Australia.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Norway mass shooting is being investigated as terrorism, police say (The New York Times)
Sanctions push Russia near first foreign default since revolution (The Wall Street Journal) ($)
‘Boomer fantasy’: Why fears of 1970s-style stagflation are indeed misplaced — Ross Gittins (The SMH): “An increase in wages sufficient to prevent a further fall in real wages would do little harm to the economy and much good to businesses hoping their sales will keep going up rather than start going down. It’s hard enough to figure out what’s going on in the economy — and where it’s headed — without media people who should know better misrepresenting what Reserve Bank governor Dr Philip Lowe said last week about wages and inflation.
“One outlet turned it into a good guys versus bad guys morality tale, where Lowe rebuked the evil, inflation-mongering unions planning to impose 5 or 7% wage rises on the nation’s hapless businesses by instituting a “3.5% cap” on the would-be wreckers, with even the new Labor government ‘bowing’ to Lowe’s order that real wages be cut, and the ACTU ‘conceding’ that 5% wage claims would not go forward. ACTU boss Sally McManus was on the money in dismissing this version of events as coming from ‘Boomer fantasy land’. What she meant was that this conception of what’s happening today must have come from the mind of someone whose view of how wage-fixing works was formed in the 1970s and ’80s, and who hadn’t noticed one or two minor changes in the following 30 years.”
We’re not going back to the time before Roe. We’re going somewhere worse — Jia Tolentino (The New Yorker): “Pregnancy is more than 30 times more dangerous than abortion. One study estimates that a nationwide ban would lead to a 21% rise in pregnancy-related deaths. Some of the women who will die from abortion bans are pregnant right now. Their deaths will come not from back-alley procedures but from a silent denial of care: interventions delayed, desires disregarded. They will die of infections, of preëclampsia, of haemorrhage, as they are forced to submit their bodies to pregnancies that they never wanted to carry, and it will not be hard for the anti-abortion movement to accept these deaths as a tragic, even noble, consequence of womanhood itself.
“In the meantime, abortion bans will hurt, disable, and endanger many people who want to carry their pregnancies to term but who encounter medical difficulties. Physicians in prohibition states have already begun declining to treat women who are in the midst of miscarriages, for fear that the treatment could be classified as abortion … Misoprostol, one of the abortion pills, is routinely prescribed for miscarriage management, because it causes the uterus to expel any remaining tissue. Pharmacists in Texas, fearing legal liability, have already refused to prescribe it. If a miscarriage is not managed to a safe completion, women risk — among other things, and taking the emotional damage for granted –uterine perforation, organ failure, infection, infertility, and death.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)
Sydneysiders may need to expect delays this morning as activist group Blockade Australia are planning to “disrupt the systems” that are driving climate change. There are also train delays expected today amid industrial action.
French “queen of tech” Roxanne Varza will talk about how place influences innovation ecosystems and her founding the world’s largest startup campus STATION F in Paris.
Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)
Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick will give a speech on the state budget at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.