Morriscession rips as god grants exceptions

Westpac credit card data is the latest to record the shock:

After hitting new post-COVID highs in the lead-in to Christmas, the Westpac Card Tracker Index has fallen away sharply since the turn of the year, average index reads over the weeks ending Jan 1 and Jan 8 down 10pts compared to the last two weeks of Dec. At 104.9, the latest weekly read still indicates reasonable momentum, implying annual growth in card activity running 5ppts above its pre-COVID pace.

We always need to be careful interpreting economic data at this time of year. The Christmas-New Year period is exceedingly volatile with a spending splurge followed by a sudden stop heading into summer holidays. The specific timing of sales peaks and public holidays can wreak particular havoc with weekly measures like our card tracker.

Indeed, we have made some slight tweaks to our index to better match weeks through this period with those in the 2019 base year. Even with this adjustment there still looks to be some additional season-related volatility. As such, it will likely take another week at least before we can get a definitive read on the extent of the slowdown.

The slowdown to date has been fairly uniform, slightly more pronounced in WA and Qld, and slightly milder in Vic and NSW but all states recording a clear drop back. The category detail also shows a broad-based move, with a slightly bigger slowdown for discretionary categories, hospitality and ‘other durables’ in particular. This suggests there is some combination of seasonal volatility and underlying slowdown at work but exactly how that mix breaks down remains unclear at this stage.

It still looks in the realms of the DELTA shock but, interestingly, is broader-based, even taking in WA.

Perhaps that’s because Sandgropers are looking on in horror at the Morricession debacle:

West Australians will need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to access a wide range of venues and events from January 31, Premier Mark McGowan has announced.

…“We have seen the disaster in New South Wales when they removed proof of vaccination requirements in mid-December. We have learned from their mistakes and are determined not to repeat them.”

No shit. The idiot himself says the workforce is paralysed:

One in 10 workers could be no-shows at work at any one time because of COVID-19-related isolation over coming weeks, but optimism is growing that the omicron virus wave is on the verge of peaking, according to the federal government’s top doctor.

But can’t do anything about it:

Small businesses and unions have condemned as inadequate Scott Morrison’s response to a burgeoning staffing crisis caused by the Omicron wave.

The crisis has pushed supply chains to breaking point, emptied supermarket shelves and forced some retailers and hospitality operators to close.

Under new rules announced by the prime minister after a national cabinet meeting on Thursday, workers in a swathe of industries including food distribution and transport will be allowed to go straight back to work after recording a negative rapid antigen test.

However, Morrison again rebuffed calls from small businesses and unions for free rapid antigen tests in the workplace, and industries including general retail and hospitality have been excluded from the relaxed regime.

Of course, he has. There are no tests. Hoocoodanode? Everybody except Morrison:

The warning to Scott Morrison about a crisis in virus testing was made very clear last year after the Prime Minister told Australians to prepare for a world where they would emerge from lockdowns and live with the coronavirus.

The warning was so loud it was almost impossible to ignore. Almost. Now, only a few months later, voters can see the way Morrison has lost the race to bring in huge supplies of rapid antigen tests when people needed them most.

The government’s twin talents, arrogance and complacency, have been at work again in an astonishing repeat of the slow supply of vaccines last year.

…Employers said last August they needed political leaders to release cheap and easy tests to millions of workers in the same way Britain had done for months, usually free of charge, with an online system to register the results.

“Our Olympic athletes successfully used rapid antigen testing in Tokyo, so why can’t we use the same tests here right now and make them available to all?” Ai Group chief Innes Willox said.

…This was not a complaint to Morrison from critics trying to find fault. It was a practical question, not an ideological one. Tony Shepherd, the company director who led the government’s 2014 commission of audit, was urging federal ministers to move fast. Liberal backbenchers, such as paediatrician Katie Allen in the Melbourne seat of Higgins, went public about the need to deploy the rapid tests. Allen had been arguing for more RAT kits since at least June.

Should it have been foreseen? Of course:

Economics Professor Richard Holden says there’s been a general sidelining of Treasury in Australia’s COVID response. Had it been better engaged in developing the national plan last year, Australia might have been better prepared for some of the economic disruption.

“My own reading of things is Treasury have been under-involved — [it] should’ve been engaged on a whole range of issues,” he told Crikey.

Putting aside the scope of the government’s request to the Doherty Institute, and the unexpected emergence of Omicron in late November, Holden believes the shadow lockdown could have been foreseen.

“I think this was very foreseeable,” he said. “In the sense that we know that when there’s a lot of virus circulating, even absent strict lockdown rules, people take evasive action.”

But, when all you do is conduct culture wars, sleaze and favours for mates then why would you expect any other result? To wit:

NSW Health has ordered the organisers of a Hillsong youth camp to immediately stop singing and dancing at the event after a video of attendees partying without masks sparked public outrage.

Amid music festival and concert cancellations due to the Omicron wave, the megachurch was caught holding a three-day summer camp near Newcastle, north of Sydney, where attendees sang and danced maskless.


Hillsong has defended holding an event that saw shirtless, maskless revellers dancing and singing in huge crowds, saying it was “not similar to a music festival in any way”.

Video has emerged from Hillsong’s youth “Summercamp 2022” event in Newcastle showing hundreds of young people singing, dancing and partying maskless while those things are banned for the rest of the state.

Hillsong said in a statement to the ABC that “outdoor Christian services are held during the camp but these are only a small part of the program, and any singing is only a small part of each service”.

“Our camps involve primarily outdoor recreational activities including sports and games,” it said. “We follow strict Covid procedures and adhere to government guidelines.”

“Not similar to a music festival in any way”…

Australia must throw this…thing…from power with such prejudice that the Liberal Party cleanses itself of the contagion for good.

Houses and Holes
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  1. Australia must throw this…thing…from power with such prejudice that the Liberal Party cleanses itself of the contagion for good. Not sure what the “thing “you’re referring to is but if it’s Scott Morrison you need to pull your head in. As if Albanese and his motley crew could have or would have been capable of doing anything better is highly questionable. He spend his day casting useless vitriolic rubbish into the social media void. Almost as bad as that crass idiot K Rudd (god help us). You’re so left wing you could fall off the edge of the world!!

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      Why does not voting Liberal mean you have to vote for Labor?

      The only way to rid the Australian Government of its corruption is to reform political donations. The only way that will happen is if either the LNP or Labor are forced to form minority Government.

      Take off your blinkers and vote for decency.

      Be Independent. Vote Independent.

    • ScoMo is confiscating RAT kits from people who ordered them : this is beyond a ‘left’ or ‘right’ issue : confiscation of property is one of the worse thing you can do in a society. ScoMo is abandoning the rule of law.

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      The LNP have been in power for 9 years and have totally proven, beyond any doubt, how morally bankrupt, incompetent and corrupt they are. Only fair to give Labor a chance to prove that supposedly everything is Labor’s fault.

    • MerkwürdigliebeMEMBER

      Totes is that you in disguise?

      Why is that these Torynuffs keep banging on about Albanese and Rudd?

      Every state in Australia was committed to handling the virus in a lock down and eliminate manner until Mad Gladys and the NSW Torynuffs, egged on by Toxic Morrison, decided we had to ‘live with the virus’

      Well we are now ‘living with the virus’ just the way the Torynuffs decided we would, and the virus is now well spread around the country. The country would appear not to have sufficient testing capability to work out who has the virus and who doesnt, and it would also appear not to have sufficient ICU beds in a number of health systems. Then a casual glimpse at almost any retail outlet or service provider in the country would suggest that lots of businesses seem to be somewhat reliant on having people there to do things for them, and that a large number of those people who they need there to do things for them are one and the same as people who cant get a test to see if they have a virus. So that means they can isolate at home and hope the nearest Aldi hasnt run out of fresh meat and veggies.

      To the ordinary man on the street the issue is not Albanese or Rudd, but why those who decided we needed to ‘live with the virus’ decided that – and imported the virus through hotel quarantine and refused to lock down when it first materialised in the community – decided that without thinking through the implications first.

      Morrison and Berejiklian, NSW Liberal Party one and all, own this.

      • Why is that these Torynuffs keep banging on about Albanese and Rudd?

        When your entire political belief system is built off opposing the “left”, with nary an independent or forward-looking idea to be found, ‘but whattabout …’ is the only viable response to criticism.

      • Yet all the science built up from antiquity said their policies would have the complete opposite effect its was sold on. I mean aerosol transmission was denied time and time again and the only path was leaky vaccinations developed on the wild variant that had no IRB Trial Three protocol, buy your own leaky mask/test @ the Market Place, plastic screens that do just the opposite they are sold as, more Bernays double speak than before or after the GFC, and best of all like Totes the Hunter Thompson-esqe weird going pro vibrating in unison thingy so the new era is ushered in and utopia manifests as it was so written …

        I mean if the narrative failed so spectacularly in the GFC … its just gone red giant super nova with covid … and how many of these sorts of people are running nations like Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte where some narrow ideological goal, out of whole cloth, is the only thing that matters and entire populations cop it to get there – promised land[tm] …

      • Merk, you have true insight, i have just completed my 7 days ISO after contracting the Berejiklian Bark and have indeed been straight to my nearest Aldi. The food stocks were good, I do admit to being a little anxious about whether there would be any stocks.
        Off course I cant confirm technically that i did have The virus, the test results ate still not received after 7 days. And of course there are no RAT’s.
        We will battle on.
        Ohh btw the astra vax worked beautifully resulting in a very mild flu like outcome, with significant fatigue for 4 days. All good now

        • The Traveling Wilbur 🙉🙈🙊

          Good to hear – glad you were able to lock-in-Eddie for the required period and pulled through OK. We don’t get enough of this kind of feedback on here.

          (especially from those Members who succumbed to the virus) 😉

    • The so called left wing died decades ago after it was purged by corporatism through media consolidation and owning the political classes which leaves the far right and the pro market liberal centrists … Overton window has marched to the right as neoliberalism orthodox economics became dominate e.g. entire dialectal is market based.

    • TheLambKingMEMBER

      You’re so left wing you could fall off the edge of the world!!

      You are so far off the mark here! DLS is your classic right wing conservative voter. His anti-Dan rhetoric was often ideologically driven and straight from the daily LNP/IPA/Murdoch playbooks. I would not put it past him being a Young Liberal at Uni.

      His anti-LNP/Morrison rage at the moment is (hopefully) just like the rest of Australia responding to the corruption and incompetency of the current government – in spite of the cover provided by the Murdoch/Nine/7 media.

      And yet, the polls still show that more Australians still think that the LNP are ‘better economic managers’ than Labor.

        • Its basically a last gasp stop loss attempt after all the past decades ideological musings enabled endemic corruption which has brought the whole thing into question e.g. best managers of economics i.e. social engineers.

          So now the Monarch offers one of the family [low hanging fruit] to appease the mob and show it still has some notion of morals or virtues … never mind the whistling past the grave yard as neoliberalism did its job on everyone else not in the wealth club.

    • This. This writers obsession with this supposed rape business and Morrison’s lack of action with it is just ridiculous. Come polling time the electorate will not care about it. Yawn.

  2. Well… yeah, but… strong on China! Not to shabby against the Joker, either. What’s not to like…
    Besides “Labor must not be allowed to govern ever again” (Resident Cretin)

  3. “Our Olympic athletes successfully used rapid antigen testing in Tokyo, so why can’t we use the same tests here right now and make them available to all?” Ai Group chief Innes Willox said.

    That is a personal first for me! Can anyone guess what it is?

  4. So Tony Shepard is calling for free RATS to be deployed quickly? His 2014 review of govt proposed cutting govt assistance and using price signals (such as for GP visits as his report suggested to many people used GPs due to them being free). So now that he needs Govt, free services are ok….

  5. Hillsong has defended holding an event that saw shirtless, maskless revellers dancing and singing in huge crowds, saying it was “not similar to a music festival in any way”.

    Once again, satire is redundant.

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      Nah – all cool. They were just doing their dog’s work and also celebrating ScoMo’s wedding anniversary.

        • I like Zappa’a Christian Rock. To be fair, the target is not Christianity but evangelism (telly-evangelism in particular) and the religious Right. Zappa was loud and clear about this danger and it’s exasperating how quickly and how far Australia has fallen into this toxic swamp. Scomo and Co have to go, for the country’s sake.

          • Zappa was loud and clear about this danger and it’s exasperating how quickly and how far Australia has fallen into this toxic swamp.

            Well, as with many things, it happens gradually, then suddenly.

            Remember, Abbot as Health Minister was making decisions based on his religious beliefs ~20 years ago.

    • RobotSenseiMEMBER

      Do people actually enjoy Christian rock, or are these festivals only tolerable with MDMA a-la “Pillsong”?

      I effing love Jesus Christ, man! he screamed, while gnawing his face off.

  6. Not only should there be reforms to political donations, there needs to be genuine reform of the public service and the means by which consultants are willingly being used as proxies for government decision making.

  7. TheLambKingMEMBER

    This is worth supporting:

    open politics has been established to increase public scrutiny of the private interests of our federal politicians – their investment properties, family trusts, share portfolios, and debts, as well as the gifts, trips, and entertainment many receive from those seeking to influence the political system

    • RobotSenseiMEMBER

      The least politicians could do is announce their positions in real time so we can make the same trades.

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      A Parliament of Landlords. That’s familiar:

      Forty-shilling freeholders were those who had the parliamentary franchise to vote by virtue of possessing freehold property, or lands held directly of the king, of an annual rent of at least forty shillings (i.e. £2 or 3 marks), clear of all charges.[1]

      The qualification to vote using the ownership and value of property, and the creation of a group of forty-shilling freeholders, was practiced in many jurisdictions such as England, Scotland, Ireland, the United States of America, Australia and Canada.


        Q: What is conservatism?
        A: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.

        Q: What is wrong with conservatism?
        A: Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.


        The tactics of conservatism vary widely by place and time. But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy are better people than they are. Modern-day liberals often theorize that conservatives use “social issues” as a way to mask economic objectives, but this is almost backward: the true goal of conservatism is to establish an aristocracy, which is a social and psychological condition of inequality. Economic inequality and regressive taxation, while certainly welcomed by the aristocracy, are best understood as a means to their actual goal, which is simply to be aristocrats. More generally, it is crucial to conservatism that the people must literally love the order that dominates them. Of course this notion sounds bizarre to modern ears, but it is perfectly overt in the writings of leading conservative theorists such as Burke. Democracy, for them, is not about the mechanisms of voting and office-holding. In fact conservatives hold a wide variety of opinions about such secondary formal matters. For conservatives, rather, democracy is a psychological condition. People who believe that the aristocracy rightfully dominates society because of its intrinsic superiority are conservatives; democrats, by contrast, believe that they are of equal social worth. Conservatism is the antithesis of democracy. This has been true for thousands of years.

        People need to get away from the idea that the Morrison Government is some kind of outlier or aberration when it’s the next step in a process.

  8. All true.
    But where is the contrition from journalism for single handedly putting this hellish regime into power?

    Does anyone seriously think Shorten would be making all of these cock ups?

    And yet we were told at the last election that there should be a plague on both houses, journalism 101 both siderism ism
    “Labor can’t be trusted on China!”
    “Look… parental visas!!”

    Some haven’t forgot.
    Journalism singlehandedly inflicted this disaster regime on the country, turned people away from Shorten who probably would have been the 2nd best post war PM this country has had & forced Labor to the right in to the dead end of me too Keatingist disaster politics.

    It is unforgivable.

    And I have no doubt it will happen again at the next election. All the disasters will be airbrushed, the journalism cavalry will be mobilised to continue the disaster epoch.

  9. happy valleyMEMBER

    The biggest thing on ScoMo’s mind yesterday was telling the world that it was his 32nd wedding anniversary and apologising for not being able to be with Jen. Tin ear.

  10. How are there that many deadbeats in Australia? I just wouldn’t have thought you’d get that many to a Hillsong concert.

  11. I do hope Scummo wasn’t at that Hillsong do.

    The mere thought of him dancing shirtless makes me break into a cold sweat….