Macro Investor: Australia at a tipping point?

Tipping Point: The prevalence of a social phenomenon sufficient to set in motion a process of rapid change; the moment when such a change begins to occur. – Oxford English Dictionary

As Malcolm Gladwell says in his book, when the tipping point is reached little things can make a big difference.

While Gladwell was largely writing about society and ideas, in the markets the impact of the tipping point, the butterfly effect, or whatever you want to call it can be even more extreme due to the fact that the price for assets, both physical and derivative, is set at the margin and that sentiment, in setting that price, often trumps reality.

Over the past few weeks sentiment toward Australia and the sustainability of the mining boom has been changing. We’ve been talking about the fall in the prices of our bulk commodities for a long time and the impact this is going to have on our national income and it seems that the global financial press has now taken up the cudgels. Everywhere from Financial Times to the Sacramento Bee the talk is that the mining boom is over, that China is not going to stimulate in the manner it did last time that the forward looking indicators of global growth are parlous.

But here at home we see business leaders, commentators and politicians in a tizz, either denying there ever was a mining boom, saying it never mattered anyway, or saying it will endure for another 20 years. And just to add to the confusion, the Australian government has distracted the electorate by removing the carbon price floor of $15 a tonne and offering a big new dental package. With risks to balancing budgets from mining now compounded by risk to balancing budgets from carbon and teeth, our AAA-rating looks even more at risk.

While we don’t want to get into a partisan slinging match, foreign investors and media are watching this with incredulity. Before, Australia looked so smart: it had escaped the GFC, its banks were worth more than Europe’s (despite serving a tenth the population) and its property market continued to outstrip wages, rents and inflation. But now, Australia looks dumb: it’s hitched its wagon to a flailing Chinese dragon, its got a series of budgetary black holes and its political debate looks as crazy as a Republican primary.

What happened to Australia’s counter-cyclicality? What happened to Australia’s competitive advantage? Are Australia’s banks really worth that much when you can get a Credit Suisse and a Standard Chartered for the price of a CBA?  Are Australia’s houses good value when a shack in Byron costs more than a flat in Paris? Are Australian wages reasonable when a truckie in Kalgoorlie earns more than a team in Jo’burg? Is Australia’s dollar fairly priced when it buys you an ice-cream in Brisbane for a dinner in Singapore?

Some are seeing this sudden crescendo of negative overseas sentiment towards Australia as a crowded trade, but once the herd starts moving, those in the way better get out.

And just like that fabled moment in time, when the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo were worth more than the entire real estate market of California, we wonder if a tipping point has been reached.

Greg McKenna is chief investment strategist at Macro Investor, which this coming week will look at ways to hedge and profit from Australia’s changing market perception. Take up your free 21 day trial today.

Comments

  1. “Before, Australia looked so smart: it had escaped the GFC, its banks were worth more than Europe’s (despite serving a tenth the population) and its property market continued to outstrip wages, rents and inflation.
    But now, Australia looks dumb: it’s hitched its wagon to a flailing Chinese dragon, its got a series of budgetary black holes and its political debate looks as crazy as a Republican primary.”

    +1

    • New Zealand will be fine. We haven’t hitched our wagon solely to China; we kept the diversification that comes from being hitched to Australia……

    • Yes, this is a great article. I’m also seeing commentary all over the place about Australia’s coming downturn. Has the worm turned?

    • +1 and that’s the positive spin on it. it’s much worse IMO if you look at the total wrecked economy, education, and more.

      how many are shorting the AUD now, and what of the CB’s who only a few weeks back saw us as a safe haven. that is hard to imagine. I’m seeing some crazy stuff at work as well. the government has no clue I’m sure of it.

      • a63 that blew me away to when all these CB’s were seeing the AUD as a safe haven. I wonder how much money they will lose. The biggest blame for it is the Aussie govt. Remember when Gillard was preaching at the EU to get it together. Now how is she going to look. The negative press is starting to build some steam now.

        • That negative press seems to be falling in line with everything MB has been flagging for a while.

          http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article36236.html

          “Australia: Running Out of Luck Down Under
          By Jonathan Tepper, Variant Perception

          Australia has been described as the lucky country, but it is running out of luck and has a terrible combination of fundamental factors. In fact, Australia reminds us in many ways of the housing bubbles in the UK, Spain and Ireland. In each case, the country experienced a banking crisis.”

    • Surprised DFM that you appear to have missed the point that ‘hitching our wagon to China’ post GFC is exactly what gave us our (brief?) exceptionalism. We may be about to experience economic conditions endured by other developed nations post GFC. We are ill-prepared, all the complaining that has gone on so far will seem small cheese into what may come.

      The boom has served well. And will again in the future.

      What was the alternative in a no growth world? Seriously, no-one here at MB has ever adequately answered that question. Because running with the boom was the only option. We chose well.

      • You mustn’t have been paid well to comment on those days where we outlined possible solutions and policy prescriptions….

        My research bonds idea for one thing, using mining tax revenue and deflating the land/property bubble to provide funds to invest in manufacturing and education another.

        “hitching our wagon to China” meant that when China encountered a pebble or a rut in the road ahead, us in the caboose fall off the path.

        The whole point of not hitching an entire economy – even though the temporary effects make it look good ala the How/Cost era – is that it means you completely forget about forging your own path.

        And with shills like yourself shouting down any prescriptions or ideas, its been almost impossible to “unhitch”, take the pain earlier and move to our own beat.

        • Sorry Prince, not one of those worthy ideas had any chance of being implemented post GFC.

          Theoretical ideas are worthy of debate. One day they may even get a guernsey however in the real world, real time action is required. Post GFC our resources were our prime point of departure from other developed economies. We had a property boom, highly indebted private sector and few other avenues for growth.

          What real-time practical alternatives could genuinely have been implemented? Because whatever they are we may be going to need them quick smart.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        Well somewhere in all the hubris we stopped preparing for the day of economic reckoning and started imbibing the bubbly (and punters like you encouraged everyone to drink on up). The hangover is going to be a classic.

        ‘We chose well’ – I am sure you did. But only for you, and for a whole generation of Australians coming to maturity about now that choice may come at some cost.

        • Gunna, the hangover has been avoided thus far because of flow-on effects of the boom. Read Delusional Economics for a wider understanding. Sans boom we become like every other failing economy – then the hangover begins.

          • GunnamattaMEMBER

            No mate, this is where we disagree.

            The hangover has been deferred (has been avoided thus far). And while we have deferred it we have actually made the severity of it considerably worse when it comes.

            We have (since circa 2008)
            -fuelled a real estate boom
            -worsened the public sector debt position
            -made no substantial improvement on the private sector debt position (we are still circa 144% of disposable income)
            – driven import competing/exporting business offshore and driven away investment in import competing/exporting business other than manufacturing

            The mining boom could have been a solid basis on Australia really avoiding the effects of the GFC (in a lasting way) – but the simple fact of the matter is it hasnt done that, and has worsened the position Australia is in for when it does need to face that.

          • Gunna, in response to your points:

            .easy credit on the back of a global credit boom fuelled housing prices (supported by higher incomes etc bestowed by the boom). Ireland, UK, US Spain etc all had housing booms minus resources. Easy money.

            . Australia’s public debt remains comparatively modest, any increases fuelled by government policies.

            . Well der! We were bingeing on easy credit and property speculation. Easy money.

            . A global phenomenon called globalisation has transformed the world manufacturing base. You must have missed it.

            Your final paragraph is incorrect. The boom has given this country good years almost unrivalled by any other nation post GFC. Without we already be a basket case like so many others.

      • Deus Forex Machina

        Been out today so sorry for late reply’s – edited version of this response by me.

        I’m looking for the future and where it might head and we, in Macro Investor this week, are looking for ways to make money from that future.

        Sure we hitched our wagon to China, what else were we supposed to do, but in the end I don’t thing this is a pejorative term as you seem to imply. it is simply a risk that we face as a nation. It’s the age old question of a company that grows in concert with its biggest client till that client in many ways crowds out others and it becomes reliant on it. It is good business until its not – if you know what I mean.

        I know many think China will be back with gusto – I’m not in that camp.

        Also this is an excerpt from a longer article I’m writing not the whole thing.

        • Thanks for the response DFM – I just thought the post a little out of sync with your other articles.

          My comments should not be construed as criticism. They come on the basis of a very genuine question as to ‘what else could we do’ post GFC being cognizant of the political reality of the time and the growth alternatives on offer. What real, practical, real time alternatives existed. I think Prince’s thoughtful ideas merit consideration but remain in the realms of the ideological or hypothetical having very little chance of being adopted post GFC (but perhaps over time will be in the future).

  2. Are Australia’s houses good value when a shack in Byron costs more than a flat in Paris?

    You obviously haven’t been following the Byron real estate market recently! Ignore the asking prices, people are selling for 20-30% less.

    • 20 to 30% discounting already?

      But the pain is only about to begin?

      How low can prices go tho… seriously?

      • If you at what’s ahead — lower interest rates and a much weaker currency — its probably not a bad outlook for holiday town real estate markets. I wouldn’t be surprised if places like FNQ, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast etc are pretty close to the bottom.

        • yeah but if there arent enough jobs and market is all negative not many people would buy holiday homes. Look at the US. Florida real estate is still in a massive struggle

          • ANd I dont think unemployment has bottomed in those areas either. Other problems, at least in Sunshine Coast area, is lack of responsive supply – even though theres plenty of land available. So if they open those gates, prices will fall much further.

            Mind you, Nambour is bloody cheap right now – heaps of post war 3 bed houses on big blocks for less than $300K. I can see some positively geared opportunities there in the near future, if you’re not after capital gains that is.

          • Employment in holiday towns will improve as the tourism industry recovers. A week on the coast will look far more attractive with the dollar at 60c than $1.05.

            Of course this is all predicated on the dollar actually falling. It might not, in which case we’re all in serious sh*t and even the miners will start screaming for the RBA to intervene.

            FYI Prince: Byron hasn’t seen the shocking declines you have on the Sunshine Coast. Its still a very restricted market with a fiercely anti-development Council, and they’re not making any more Byron Bays. Mind you, the typical family home that was selling in the 700s and 800s a few years ago, its more likely to sell in the 600s today.

          • GunnamattaMEMBER

            I can tell you, gents, that I have within the last week had a chat with a couple of (more realistic/pessimistic/gloomy) real estate types from the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, and that the prevailing impression was that prices would go significantly lower if only because of the volume on the market in both locations. The guy I spoke to from Maroochydore was particularly saturnine – He noted that apart from the numbers selling the thing which was interesting him was the sheer number of vacant dwellings (which I believe is ringing alarm bells with the local council). But nobody was talking about a bottom or prices going up.

          • Mind you, Nambour is bloody cheap right now – heaps of post war 3 bed houses on big blocks for less than $300K. I can see some positively geared opportunities there in the near future, if you’re not after capital gains that is.

            If only there were decent transport links to Brisbane. I’d love to be able to move out of the city. 🙁

          • Electric train all the way in to the city, with wifi most of the way, not good enough for you, drsmithy?

            I agree its not the fastest rail connection, but at least you will get a seat on the way in.

          • Electric train all the way in to the city, with wifi most of the way, not good enough for you, drsmithy?
            Not at the speed it travels. I could (barely) tolerate an hour’s commute each way, but four plus hours of every day spent travelling is too much for me.

            I live, but do not hold my breathe, for a fundamental shift in attitude from employers towards working from home. I could live with that four hour daily commute if I only had to do it once a week.

          • Fair enough. I have done that trip once and it was excruciatingly slow. At least I was on holiday. Maybe a weekend house on the Sunshine Coast and a crash pad in the city is the answer?

    • Well, i stopped thinking about buying when I realised that a two bed unit in Brisbane was around the same price as a two bed apartment in manhattan (this was 2009). Brisbane’s lovely, but worth the same as a unit in manhattan? I don’t think so.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      I can tell you for a fact that a large modern apartment in the centre of Moscow will not buy a decent abode of any description within 3Klm of the centre of Geelong

    • Totally OT…

      The Sacramento Bee… mentioned here on MB (and mentioning Oz’s mining boom), really? Wow… it truly is a small world! That or someone is stalking me from back home!

      +1s all around!

  3. Do not worry the Federal politicians can
    -increase the GST to say 20%
    -bring in a National Disability tax
    -a dental tax
    -a congestion tax
    -death duties
    -increase marginal tax rates to maximum say 49.5
    The state politicians can in desperation lie and cheat on land tax.
    All this will be very deflationary/inflationary if you get my drift.

    • I can imagine anyone who has family and/or decent job prospects overseas would likely consider pulling up stumps and heading overseas if that happend.

      The cost of living is already through the roof without throwing in more taxes and an AUD in the toliet. That doesnt even bring up the point of the huge austerity measures both major parties will bring in when/if shit hits the fan. The economy will be flailing around like a fish on land and we will make Ireland look like a good economic outcome.

    • Good catch R2M, that could very much be the tipping point that drives the economy off a cliff. That is especially possible once the media starts to actually report these stories, the public panics and begins to save an even greater portion of their income.

    • Africa is virtually “owned” by China. I’m sure pragmatism will win out in any FI dealings we entertain with China when the monster competition in Africa is only too willing to soak up that money.

      • Africa however…remains a much greater risk and that alone will see at a substantial component of the LNG capex planned here completed.

  4. You might want to google the word “eponymous” … Was book’s title actually “Malcolm Gladwell”?

  5. I’m not sure whether this will be THE tipping point but an awful lot of bad things happened in the last four weeks.

    If it is this would be yet another similarity to Ireland and Spain. It was great, until it wasn’t… and I still reckon that’s exactly what’s going to happen over here, whenever that is.

  6. Meanwhile over at Business Hysteria Gotti says:

    Government spending was totally reliant on the (now popped) mining bubble. Now we’re stuck with high costs and a high dollar – and all eyes should be on Jackson Hole.

    A mining bubble eh? How quickly things change. Wasn’t this supposed to be a boom that lasted many decades?

    • There are some in Canberra who only last week think the boom is still here. And the scary bit is they are running our economy. Not that I think any of the other plonkers would have done any different.

    • Deus Forex Machina

      Notice the subtle change that has crept into the language of “establishment” journos – they are very slick at reinventing things.

  7. dumb_non_economist

    HnH, or anyone, could you provide me with a link that succinctly explains why prices are set at the margin, much appreciated if anyone can. I think I get it, but would like to confirm it!

  8. As Flawse said the other day we are on a knife edge, i am just wondering what the trigger event is that pushes either way.

    • The other point is though , Australia is very lucky re drought etc, agriculture re grain etc should do well, with plenty of water etc, so we bumble along the edge for a little way yet

      • Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

        Right on cue – WA is having a very dry winter one of the worst winter rainfalls ever (three of the driest winters have happened in the last six years), if they do not get decent rain in the next week or so the harvest estimates will suffer large cuts.

        • That’s because of Global Warming, as has been well documented in the WA press. I was thinking of that while listing a few minutes ago to Mitt Romney’s speech. Did you notice how he trashed the science and promised rather than combat AGW, he’d rather put money in people’s pockets? What a tool.

          • I think the good people of the US have seen everything there is to see about AGW debate and it’s hypocritical spruikers’ ever changing, evolving desperate contortions to convince them that TWAWKI will end shortly.

            They have more realistic concerns, like finding a job to provide them shelter and food for their families. The Big O has had a crack. He’ll just have to stand on his record and hope enough still “believe”.

          • It’s not a “debate”. You either accept what thousands of scientists are telling you, or you confirm that your head is full of pigshit and you become a science denier. I see you’ve made your choice.

          • “full of pigshit”

            So, I guess Obama’s (once) biggest and most respected supporter of CC is also full of “pig shit”?

            “But he has since criticised Mr Obama over his stance on global warming and was one of more 100 scientists who wrote an open letter to him, declaring: “We maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated.”

            When he raises an alarm, I will listen to it.

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/8786565/War-of-words-over-global-warming-as-Nobel-laureate-resigns-in-protest.html

            When this guys believes, so will I. I promise.

          • When he raises an alarm, I will listen to it.

            Is this who you look to for science guidance?
            Mod: lets keep the tone civil R2M please.

          • When he raises an alarm, I will listen to it.

            Why ? What makes his opinion orders of magnitude more believable than thousands of other scientists ?

          • R2M
            You obviously don’t know a thing about actual science. Opinion means nothing!
            The break throughs in science come when the consensus is disproven.

            That being said the vast majority of scientist who have investigated CAGW can see its bogus.
            This includes 30,000 who signed a petition in the US, 1000 international scientist who signed Senator infanhoes petition, 2/3rds of the 60 thousand members of the canadian geological society, not to mention the scientific bodies representing China, India, Russia, Brazil and Japan.

            Against this your thousands of non sceptical scientists (an oxymoron) actually consist of 50 odd people from the relevant IPCC chapter and 97% of 37 climate scientist in one of the worst surveys ever published.

          • The scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth’s climate system is unequivocally warming, and it is more than 90% certain that humans are causing it through activities that increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels.[1][2][3][4] This scientific consensus is expressed in synthesis reports, scientific bodies of national or international standing, and surveys of opinion among climate scientists. Individual scientists, universities, and laboratories contribute to the overall scientific opinion via their peer-reviewed publications, and the areas of collective agreement and relative certainty are summarised in these high level reports and surveys.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

          • Global warming, global cooling, whatever. The climate has always been changing, since before the dinosaurs were around.

            There is no evidence, none, that current climate change is predominantly caused by humans.

            Climate change is natural. You need to accept it.

        • You might have noticed that very wet winters on the East coast of Australia and dry winters in the West are coincident – and the reverse applies. Pacific El Nino / La Nina years are not evidence of global warming but of routine global weather cycles. 100 years of global glacial melt is evidence of global warming. Let’s not confuse the two please.

          • Are you not aware that the atmosphere is now carrying 5% more moisture than it did just 30 years ago? Need pointers to the science?

          • R2M – GW as a scientific phenomenon has been observed for more than 20 years in clear detail. What is not clear is quantifying cost/benefit tradeoff of policy changes that result from the science. My point to you is citing weather events that are clearly cyclical, such as WA drought, in a GW advocacy argument, weakens your argument unnecessarily.

          • Gents, there is plenty of evidence for a cycle in wet/dry periods in WA as elsewhere in Oz…but as the graph in the link shows
            http://www.watercorporation.com.au/D/dams_streamflow.cfm

            …since the 1970s rainfall, and resultant streamflow in the SW of WA has experience several step down events in terms of average…The south west is getting drier…in line with the predictions of the CSIRO modelling and that is set to continue…debate about what might be responsible is something else.

          • To Rob JM, see http://www.pnas.org/content/104/39/15248.abstract

            Satellites have observed an increase in atmospheric water vapour of about 0.41 kg/m² per decade since 1988. Observations show the increase in water vapour is around 6 to 7.5% per degree Celsius warming of the lower atmosphere. The study described the research this way:

            “Results from current climate models indicate that water vapor increases of this magnitude cannot be explained by climate noise alone. In a formal detection and attribution analysis using the pooled results from 22 different climate models, the simulated “fingerprint” pattern of anthropogenically caused changes in water vapor is identifiable with high statistical confidence in the SSM/I data. Experiments in which forcing factors are varied individually suggest that this fingerprint ‘‘match’’ is primarily due to human-caused increases in greenhouse gases and not to solar forcing or recovery from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Our findings provide preliminary evidence of an emerging anthropogenic signal in the moisture content of earth’s atmosphere.”

  9. “Malcolm Gladwell says in his book…”
    Gladwell would not know if his arse was on fire. There are (in general) three Social Scence Models.
    1. The realistic HBD (Human Bio-Diversity). In which genetics plays a substantial part.

    2. The delusional PCSM (Politically Correct Standard Model). In which genetics plays no part but individuals humans do vary somewhat.

    3. The Gladwellian 10,000hrs. Where everyone is identical and is capable of achieving anything – if only they invest 10k hours to do so?

    Thus ends the rant – gee I feel better.

    • 1. The realistic HBD (Human Bio-Diversity). In which genetics plays a substantial part.

      Well the Asian century may see a re-calibration of these genetic markers then.

      • I will believe it is the Asian century when I see large scale immigration to Asian countries of people seeking a better life.

      • Well the Asian century may see a re-calibration of these genetic markers then.

        Wow. Eugenics. I thought we’d laid that one to rest already ?

          • Who are you addressing there?

            Mmmm. Fair enough. I thought you were saying genetics dictated behaviour. On further review that’s probably not what you meant.

            Apologies.

        • The belief that genetics determines behaviour (to some extent) is not eugenics.

          I note that elsewhere in the comments, you advance the argument that we should believe in anthropogenic global warming because a majority of climate scientists do. If a majority of genetic scientists believed that genetics does influence behaviour, would you similarly accept that it must be true?

    • Deus Forex Machina

      And the point was???

      The tipping point idea is a catalyst to get people thing and a premise from which I framed and am framing the argument.

      Gladwell’s book simply popularised the idea that traders like me have known for years. Sentiment can go up the stairs but down the elevator once a catalyst or tipping point has been reached.

      That’s all – he tells a good story though. I Liked Blink and Outliers they were good reads. Doesn’t mean he’s goods gift – just has some interesting angles.

      Cheers

      Greg

      • Sorry Greg, I wasn’t having a go at your article or the concept and your use of a Tipping Point.

        I just thought that Gladwell’s use of studies to back his premise are somewhat selective and not very sound.

          • Deus Forex Machina

            Ahh but we all have biases don’t we – I’ve been a bit grumpy lately with both sides of any debate because there seems to be a lack of recognition that we all use our biases and stuff that supports our argument to make our argument – which of course is the point.

            So i find it really annoying when people bash each other over the head as though they themselves are pure. I am not referring to you here – just bloggers, commentors, media me – in general.

            I’m sorry if I came across grumpy above.

            Please accept my apologies – have a nice weekend

            greg

  10. Donald Horne was misquoted. The opening sentence was, “Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck.”

    We have squandered the boom and nothing has changed.

  11. DFM, I’d welcome a tipping point with open arms. At certain times, in all situations, lines need to be drawn in the sand and decisions made. Bring it on. There are enough positives in our society that I see a bright future if we unleash our collective abilities.

    • Deus Forex Machina

      I don’t disagree with that – I, we, are not necessarily saying one way or the other that its good or bad simply that is upon us and you can prepare for it or make money from it.

      We have a wonderful society with a great fabric still here in Australia and in many ways the sooner this tip happens the better for us and we can adjust and move on.

  12. “But now, Australia looks dumb: it’s hitched its wagon to a flailing Chinese dragon, its got a series of budgetary black holes and its political debate looks as crazy as a Republican primary.”

    And until we fix this, any suite of wise solutions that might get us off this destructive path we are on won’t get a guernsey. I don’t care what political stripe you are, you cannot disagree that the governance of Australia is broken.

    Every day MB is bringing to the fore over and over the telling truth of our situation. The MSM follows. I absolutely agree that we indeed are approaching or at a “tipping point” with serious decisions to be made by all Aussies. Those choices will effect us all for decades I’m sure. The past provide us lessons whereas the future provides us choices. Not all the ones we want, but choices nonetheless.

    First things first though. Fix the governance of the Nation.

    • Deus Forex Machina

      Seems like we need a whole new mob in Canberra then – the level of political discourse in our nation is terrible.

      But who would want the job?

    • Fix the governance of the Nation

      Based on your prior remarks, I presume you mean we need a conservative government, led perhaps by dinosaur Abbott? Oh yes, that’s going to help us a lot.

      • Deus Forex Machina

        You really are a disagreeable chap aren’t you –

        I said political discourse not labour not liberal – I don’t care who is in power as long as they genuinely try their best for the nation and don’t get caught up in endless debates about their navels when the big questions need to be made for my children’s future.

        The whole partisan politics is over played – both sides when in government have done good and bad things and i don’t think either side is terrible.

        So no I don’t think abbott can fix it anymore than I think gillard can.

        So take a Bex lie down and reread what I wrote.

        “Seems like we need a whole new mob in Canberra”

        Now as Bart Simpson says – EatMyShorts 😀

        Greg

        • Hi Greg;

          “Seems like we need a whole new mob in Canberra”

          If only it were possible. I hear what you are saying and share that wish.(I know that may seem hard to believe) But the pragmatist in me simply says that we don’t have the luxury of ruminating on what might be or wishing for something that just isnt on offer. Especially when we will be forced to make do with what IS in Canberra. In some ways that makes the choice easier, if not palatable. I have posted before- we will be required to make some odious choices – so best we get used to it.

          So, what’s it going to be then? As this election gets closer will all it’s economic importance to us all, scrutiny of what is best for our kids future will become front and centre. I just hope legitimate passions don’t descend into frothy mouthed invective and insult. Because a lot is at stake as these last few weeks have shown.

          I can’t remember a more important poll for the country and I have been of voting age since Whitlam.

  13. And so if it is a tipping point we slide inexorably into the abyss with all the other developed nations where debt levels became unsustainable back in 08. We dodged a bullet for a while but it may not really be different here…shit who would have thought we are still connected to the planet after all.
    History will judge us fairly harshly if we, armed with the evidence of the problems -but buffered by our good fortune these last 4 years -have actually been unable to make that count for anything worthwhile in the long term. Have we just simply delayed the inevitable?

  14. StanGoodvibesMEMBER

    On a completely unrelated topic – is anyone having problems viewing this page in IE?

    The comments are pushing across into the right hand side banner and everything gets jumbled up.

    It’s kind of annoying.