Australian Economy


David Uren butchers the population ponzi

By Leith van Onselen The Australian’s David Uren wrote another one-eyed article yesterday in support of high immigration, in which he espoused a bunch of so-called economic positives without giving due regard to the negative consequences: During Howard’s second and third terms, he oversaw a huge expansion of Australia’s migration program based on permanent and


Airport staff in mass strike

From The Australian and planned for this Monday: Workers from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Department of Agriculture will walk off the job during multiple shifts for four hour at a time “to protest the Abbott Government’s attack on their rights, conditions and take home pay,” the community and public sector union said


Import, export prices signal another terms-of-trade hit

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released export and import prices for the June quarter, which portends another fall in Australia’s terms-of-trade when the national accounts are released in early October. According to the ABS, export prices fell 4.4% in the June quarter and were down by 8.9% over the year.


More services exports hopium

From Citi: The transition in the economy from mining and energy led growth to nonmining growth drivers is proving more protracted than expected. In our report last year Rebalancing 101: What Might The Economy Look Like we argued that rebalancing was achievable but would require further depreciation of the AUD. Consistent with this, the AUD


Nationals plan revolt over TPP

By Leith van Onselen The National Party has stepped up its threats over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, claiming that five of its members will cross the floor and vote against the deal if substantial sugar access is not granted to Australian sugar can growers. From The Australian: Queensland “sugar-belt” MPs George Christensen, Matthew


HIA: Dwelling construction has peaked

By Leith van Onselen Fresh from the Housing Industry Association (HIA) comes new forecasts predicting that dwelling construction will peak this calendar year: “It is likely that new dwelling commencements peaked at a record level of 215,000 in the financial year just passed, and indeed the risk is for this apex to be even higher,”


Australia-US in sugar fight over TPP

By Leith van Onselen As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal reaches its final stages of negotiation in Hawaii, US sugar growers have urged the government to rule-out further opening of the US market to sugar imports: The American Sugar Alliance’s Don Phillips said sugar will be on the agenda, but the ASA will argue


Interest rates drive falling cost of living

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released its cost of living indices for the June quarter, which revealed minimal cost pressures for the typical Australian worker, with pensioners and those on welfare fairing slightly less favourably (see below table). According to the ABS, the cost of living for households headed


Australia Institute slams population ponzi

By Leith van Onselen Chief economist at The Australia Institute, Dr Richard Denniss, has given a masterful interview on Sydney’s 2UE Radio, explaining in no uncertain terms why the drive towards a “Big Australia” is destroying Australian living standards: “Since the Sydney Olympics, Australia’s population has grown by the population of Sydney. Australia is one


Taxpayers cop $50m bill to fight Philip Morris

By Leith van Onselen The Productivity Commission’s (PC) recently released Trade and Assistance Review warned that Australian taxpayers were facing a potential reaming from an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) law suite taken against Australia’s plain package cigarette laws by tobacco giant Philip Morris, under an obscure investment agreement with Hong Kong: [Philip Morris Asia] is


Australia’s new boom: Fantasy exports

The AFR is full of it again today on Aussie exports: …”Tourism may also soon overtake iron ore, Australia’s largest export, given we expect the price of iron ore to remain under pressure,” he said. The Barclays note is the latest piece of research suggesting that Australia’s long-awaited transition away from mining-related infrastructure development is well under


South Australia’s economy deteriorates

By Leith van Onselen I wrote earlier this month how South Australia’s economy appeared to be experiencing an employment shock. Full-time jobs growth is tanking: Hours worked are tanking: And unemployment is surging, hitting a 16-year high in June: As reported in The ABC at the time, the collapse of the manufacturing industry is having


Consumer confidence continues bounce

By Leith van Onselen The ANZ-Roy Morgan Research consumer confidence index continued to recover in the week ended 26 July, rising 0.7 points to 112.5 to be tracking around the long-run average of around 113 points (see next chart). ANZ Chief economist, Warren Hogan, welcomed the result but cautioned that it is unlikely to translate


Labor is right to oppose China FTA workers

By Leith van Onselen The Australian’s Judith Sloan has penned a vitriolic piece today claiming that Labor leader, Bill Shorten, is a “coward” for siding with the unions in opposing the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA). Sloan’s main argument revolves around the union’s claims that ChAFTA will allow the importation of cheap Chinese labour, thus


Is the NBN saving the economy?

From The Australian: The company building the government’s $41 billion National Broadband Network is about to embark on a massive hiring spree, increasing its headcount by more than a third over the next 18 months as it ramps up the rollout of the nation’s largest ever infrastructure project. >The push to hire more staff comes


Industry group backs China FTA workers

By Leith van Onselen Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) CEO, Kate Carnell, has hit back at Australia’s union movement and Labor leader Bill Shorten, after it was revealed that Labor would attempt to re-write the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) to ensure that ­labour ­standards, conditions and skills testing are upheld. In an


Productivity remains very poor

Mr Ross Gittins continues the campaign for national ignorance today: Rummaging through the media’s rubbish bins this week, I happened upon some good news. According to the Productivity Commission’s annual update, the productivity of labour improved by 1.4 per cent in 2013-14. And get this: in the 12-industry “market sector” of the economy, it improved by 2.5


Australia only days from signing the TPP

By Leith van Onselen As reported by Fairfax’s John Garnaut over the weekend, Australia appears only days away from signing the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement – the US-led trade pact between 12 Pacific Rim nations: “It could be done this week,” said Trade Minister Andrew Robb last night, as he prepared to depart