Houses and Holes


Pauline Hanson close to backing wages smash bill

Via Domain: Attorney-General Christian Porter appears close to winning crossbench support for the government’s industrial relations bill and determined to secure its passage when Parliament resumes next week. Mr Porter has agreed to additional amendments proposed by One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson and the government has listed the union-busting Ensuring Integrity bill on the Senate’s


Another bad signal: Syd/Mel air passengers shrink

Via COMSEC:  There were 5.42 million passengers carried on Australian domestic commercial aviation (including charter operations) in September 2019, an increase of 2.7 per cent on September 2018.  There were 5.19 million passengers carried on regular passenger transport (RPT) flights in September 2019, an increase of 2.1 per cent on September 2018. 


“No climate change” coughs Scummo amid thick Sydney smoke

Via The Australian comes a choking Scummo: Scott Morrison has hit back at claims his climate change policies have contributed to the fire season, declaring it “doesn’t bear up to credible scientific evidence”. With fires burning in Queensland, South Australia and NSW, the Prime Minister said Australia’s emissions had no impact on the dry and


Why isn’t Sun Cable run to Sydney instead?

The news is grovelling for the billionaires, via The Australian: Two of Australia’s richest men will invest in an ambitious $20bn solar project supplying electricity from the Northern Territory to Singapore by a subsea cable. Iron ore billionaire Andrew Forrest – ranked 8th on The List – Australia’s Richest 250 with an estimated $7.34bn fortune,


NAB next to be mown down by AUSTRAC

Via Banking Day: At the heart of Austrac’s case against Westpac is a series of arrangements with foreign banks (correspondent banks) designed to make the processing of cross-border payments cheap and easy. Austrac says these arrangements gave rise to a number of risks, including cross-border movement of funds (including from higher risk jurisdictions), limited information


Scummo union integrity bill really about crushing wages

Pity the quiet Australians, via Crikey: The Morrison government is on the cusp of passing a controversial bill that it promises will crackdown on union militancy. In reality, it could spell the end of workplace strikes. Under the Ensuring Integrity Bill, unions and their officials could receive demerit points for breaking existing laws. Enough points, and


China to declare trade war on Europe and vice versa

Via CNBC: China is heavily exposed to the U.S. dollar, but now, with the risk of “decoupling,” Beijing is silently diversifying its reserves to reduce its dependence on the world’s largest reserve currency, analysts say. Ongoing trade tensions with the U.S. has “increased the risk of a financial decoupling” between the two largest economies, ANZ


Australian dollar hit as US/China war of words erupts over Hong Kong

First it was the US Congress, via Reuters: The U.S. Senate, in a unanimous vote, passed legislation on Tuesday aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong amid China’s crackdown on a pro-democracy protest movement that has gripped the vital financial center for months. Following the voice vote by senators, the “Hong Kong Human Rights


Wage theft bill passes $1.35bn

Via The Australian: As much as $1.35bn in wages are underpaid each year according to new estimates that underline the risk to business from moves to criminalise so-called wage theft and amplify calls for an overhaul of the awards system to reduce complexity. Estimates from accounting firm PwC suggest underpayment affects as much as 21


Australian leading index remains cratered

Via Bill Evans at Westpac: • The six month annualised growth rate in the Westpac– Melbourne Institute Leading Index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity relative to trend three to nine months into the future, lifted from –1.01% in September to –0.91% in October. Despite a slight improvement in the month, the Leading


Sockpuppet: RBA no “lock” for more cuts

From the RBA sockpuppet, Terry McCrann, today: The Reserve Bank did not “seriously ponder” a “shock” Cup Day rate cut — as some have interpreted, or rather misinterpreted, the minutes of that meeting. This is not just about getting ‘yesterday right’; it is even more important about not building in a misunderstanding of what the


Why are Chinese banks suddenly failing?

Via WSJ: Over the weekend, China’s Harbin Bank said it was now under government control. That comes months after Chinese authorities seized control of another small lender, Baoshang Bank, and state institutions took stakes in a third, Bank of Jinzhou. Bank runs have erupted elsewhere. Several other lenders have yet to file 2018 annual reports,


Scummo rules out stimulus

Via the AFR: Scott Morrison has all but slammed the door on fast-tracked tax cuts or other ”panicked reactions” in next month’s mid-year budget update, saying the government has already injected $9.5 billion of near-term stimulus into the economy since the May election. Under external pressure to do more to stimulate the economy than he


Austrac sues Westpac for money laundering

Oh dear, via ABC: AUSTRAC has applied to the Federal Court for civil penalty orders against Westpac for deficient oversight of its anti-money laundering and terrorism financing obligations. AUSTRAC boss Nicole Rose described Westpac’s behaviour as “serious and systemic non-compliance”. And the AFR: It alleges that between November 2013 and September 2018 the bank was


Daily iron ore price update (runaway steel)

Texture from Reuters: Richard Lu, a senior analyst at metals consultancy CRU’s Beijing office, said the rally in steel prices remained supported by fundamentals in the physical market, with inventories falling and demand picking up. He also said a new round of operating restrictions on Chinese steel mills was possible. Rubbish. And the outlook is


Australian dollar bounces as global stocks roar

DXY was soft last night as EUR and CNY lifted: The Australian dollar added a bit versus DMs: And EMs: Gold held on: Oil let go: Metals did better: And miners: Plus EM stocks: Junk was soft: Bonds all rallied: Despite stocks charging on: Wrap from Westpac: Event Wrap US Oct. housing starts (1314k, est. 1320k) and permits


So, what does Paul Keating’s Sinostralia look like?

Given the old bullyboy’s unhealthy hold over the national imagination regarding the future of Chinese ties, let’s explore where his vision would take us. Paul Keating would like to see Australia’s commitment to ANZUS modulated versus Chinese interests. That will mean a much more insecure commitment by the US to Australia so the first implication


Another Chinese bank goes under

Via Zero Hedge: Confirming that there is something fundamentally broken with China’s debt transmission mechanism and that, by implication, Chinese bad loans are soaring, two weeks after we reported that there was a bank run at Henan Yichuan Rural Commercial Bank which brought the bank to the verge of collapse, the WSJ reported that Harbin Bank, a


Fire chiefs return to set Scummo ablaze

As they should, at News: NSW hasn’t even entered what’s traditionally the most devastating period of bushfire damage. “We’ve got the worst to come,” former NSW fire commissioner Greg Mullins told …“So we need to brace ourselves. If we don’t get summer storms to wet everything down, we are in dire straits.” Mr Mullins,


Colonise the mind: Australians the new Uighers

Via John Fitzgerald at Crikey: The education tours arranged by Australian interest group China Matters were bound to end in tears. All it was ever going to take to scuttle the efforts of the organisers to improve bilateral understanding through parliamentary visits was for Australian politicians to speak their minds and shine a light on issues that


Australian energy goes Third World

Today we have a nice demonstration of what happens to long term fixed assets when they are surrounded by ideological mismanagement for long enough. The damage takes decades to manifest but when it comes it is disastrous and there is nobody left to fix it. To wit, the National Electricity Market which is now being


Uber-dovish RBA minutes sink Australian dollar

Via the suddenly sane RBA: Minutes of the Monetary Policy Meeting of the Reserve Bank Board Members Present Philip Lowe (Governor and Chair), Guy Debelle (Deputy Governor), Mark Barnaba AM, Wendy Craik AM, Ian Harper, Steven Kennedy PSM, Allan Moss AO, Carol Schwartz AO, Catherine Tanna Others Present Luci Ellis (Assistant Governor, Economic), Christopher Kent (Assistant Governor, Financial Markets), Carl Schwartz (Deputy Head, Economic Analysis Department) Anthony Dickman (Secretary), Ellis Connolly (Deputy Secretary), Alexandra Heath


ANZ consumer confidence hits new lows

There’s no stopping it: Confidence was down again last week, falling 1.1%. The weakness was predominantly due to the economic conditions component of the index. Current economic conditions fell by 2.6%, while future economic conditions were more downbeat, falling 4.9%. Both these subindices are near their multiyear lows. In contrast, financial conditions were upbeat, with