Unconventional Economist


Ministers for sale

By Leith van Onselen If you want a textbook example of everything that is wrong with Australian politics, look no further than this, via The AFR: Big four accounting and consulting firm PwC Australia is hosting a full-day, $12,500 a head, fundraising event for the Liberal Party at its Sydney offices where guests can “nominate


HIA: Housing starts to fall 15% over 3 years

By Leith van Onselen Last month, BIS Oxford Economics projected that housing starts will fall 22% from 2018’s estimated figure of 219,000 to 171,350 in 2020. Today, the Housing Industry Association (HIA) has updated its housing starts forecasts, projecting a smaller 15% fall over three years: “The fall in house prices will dampen demand for new


NSW Parliament passes weak Airbnb legislation

By Leith van Onselen The NSW Legislative Council last night passed the Fair Trading Amendment (Short-Term Rental Accommodation) Bill 2018. The Hansard transcript of the debate can be found (introduction) here and (arguments) here. The new rules are summarised by 7News: Under the policy, anyone who commits two serious breaches of the code within two


Vic Labor backflips on privatisation

By Leith van Onselen It’s amazing how an election campaign suddenly forces politicians to speak in the public interest. Fresh from flogging-off the Port of Melbourne, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas last year confirmed that more asset sales were on the agenda: “I have said since before we formed government that we were committed to the idea


As company tax cuts face defeat, business pivots to Labor

By Leith van Onselen With Australia’s Senate all but certain to defeat the Turnbull Government’s Bill to lower the tax rate for all companies with turnovers above $50 million by 2026-27, Bluescope chief Mark Vassella has called on the Government to allow companies to write-off new investments. From The AFR: Speaking on ABC radio, Mr


Peter Dutton’s fake immigration cuts exposed

By Leith van Onselen “Smoke and mirrors”. That’s the best way to describe the Coalition’s fake 21,000 cut to the permanent migrant intake. From The ABC: International students, graduates and people on bridging visas are continuing to fuel Australia’s immigration boom. The number of temporary visa holders in Australia in June increased by 107,000 in


Toronto house prices recovering after sharp plunge

By Leith van Onselen Toronto’s housing market is showing further signs of life after both prices and sales abruptly plunged. The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index for July was released overnight, which shows that house prices in Toronto are rebounding after plunging 7.4% between July and December 2017: As at July, Toronto values were 4.0% below


Labor backs broadband tax for non-NBN services

By Leith van Onselen Labor has backed the Turnbull Government’s proposed broadband tax for residential and business users of non-NBN services. From IT News: The tax, which is officially called the regional broadband scheme (RBS), would see some 385,000 residential and business users of “NBN-equivalent” fixed line services hit with a $7.10 per month fee.


Fly Cooliestar: All day, every day, low wages

By Leith van Onselen Last week, it was revealed that Qantas had secured a special migration deal with the federal government to bring in foreign pilots: The labour agreement granted last month allows the airline’s regional arm, QantasLink, to bring 76 pilots and instructors into the country for up to four years, avoiding new two-year restrictions


Memo to Greg Jericho: Lower UK immigration lifts wages

By Leith van Onselen Over the weekend, the poster boy for the globalist ‘Fake Left’, Greg Jericho, penned a spurious article in The Guardian spruiking Phil Lowe’s debunked immigration propaganda and claiming that Australia’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy was not contributing to weaker wages growth: Low wages growth, congestion, poor schooling, crime – pretty


Lord Mayor: Rapid population growth killing Melbourne’s liveability

By Leith van Onselen After Melbourne yesterday lost its bogus title of “most liveable city”, Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, offered a rare dose of honesty on the primary reason why: Calling Melbourne a “victim of its own success,” Mayor Capp said the city’s growth had made it harder to meet the liveability criteria. “You have


Sydney landlords caught between falling prices and rents

By Leith van Onselen SQM Research has released its rental vacancy series for July, which revealed a 0.1% fall in the national vacancy rate over the month and a 0.2% decline over the year: Over the year, decreases in vacancies were recorded in Adelaide (-0.5%), Perth (-1.2%), Brisbane (-0.7%) and Canberra (-0.3%), whereas increases were


Links 15 August 2018

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Elon Musk’s Tweet on Taking Tesla Private Surprised Even Its Board – NY Times Update on Taking Tesla Private – Tesla Elon Musk’s Funding for Tesla Wasn’t So Secure – Bloomberg Musk’s Belated Explanation Is Unlikely to Get SEC Off His Back – Bloomberg Musk Tweets He’s Working With Silver


Botox Boom done as NAB Business Survey sags

It’s cooked: How confident are businesses? The business confidence index ticked up 1pt to +7 index points in July and remains around average. How did business conditions fare? The business conditions index fell 2pts to +12 index points following an unchanged outcome in June. Conditions remain well above the long-run average of +6 but have


NZ’s population surges towards 5 million

By Leith van Onselen Statistics New Zealand has released it’s June quarter population estimates, which shows that New Zealand’s population is fast approaching 5 million people, increasing by 92,000 (1.9%) over the past year to 4.89 million: As usual, this growth has been driven by mass immigration, which added 65,000 in the year to June:


Melbourne loses bogus ‘most liveable’ city title

By Leith van Onselen Of all the idiotic ‘awards’ handed out, The Economist’s ‘Most Livable City’ must surely rank near the top. That being said, Melbourne has finally lost its title to Vienna: The two cities are now separated by 0.7 of a percentage point in the rankings, with Vienna scoring a near-ideal 99.1 out


Greg Jericho’s immigration propaganda mushrooms

By Leith van Onselen Earlier this year, the poster boy for the globalist ‘Fake Left’, Greg Jericho, penned a drivelling article in The Guardian labelling any discussion of Australia’s reckless ‘Big Australia’ mass immigration program as ‘racist’: Immigration – because there are many desperate to hate – must be treated with extreme care by politicians


Coalition’s uni repayment reforms misses broader issue

By Leith van Onselen The Turnbull Government has passed legislation to make university students repay their loans at a lower threshold has passed the Senate. From News.com.au: University students will have to pay back student loans when their earnings hit $45,000 under draft laws which have cleared the Senate. How much students can borrow from


Fat and lazy RBA needs razor treatment

By Leith van Onselen While ordinary Australian workers in the private sector are being put through the wringer, the number of people employed by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has increased from 800 in 2007 to almost 1,400, whereas the RBA governor’s total remuneration package in 2016-17 was $931,000, with around 150 other senior


NDIS to leave most vulnerable behind

By Leith van Onselen I labelled the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) a “bureaucratic nightmare” citing my family’s own personal experience with our 10-year old autistic son. Despite being diagnosed in the “severe range” of autism spectrum disorder, unable to converse or read, and attending a special school, my son was denied funding for


Crashing investor mortgages ominous for house prices

By Leith van Onselen With the recent release of the ABS’ lending finance data for June, it’s an opportune time to once again chart how capital city house prices are tracking against both investor and total housing finance. As readers no doubt already know, housing finance has historically been strongly correlated with values, therefore it


Politicised ABS spouts more immigration propaganda

By Leith van Onselen I noted last month how the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) appeared to have joined the push for a ‘Big Australia’ of 40 million mid-century, publishing the following propaganda on its Facebook page: At the time I noted that the ABS had conveniently failed to mention the fact that Australia is


Roy Morgan unemployment hits 10%

By Leith van Onselen The latest Roy Morgan Research (RMR) unemployment estimate for July registered a 1.3% increase in the unemployment rate over the month (to 10.0%) and a 0.6% increase over the year, with part-time employment also growing faster than full-time: Below are the key points from the release: 12,021,000 Australians were employed in


Links 14 August 2018

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: The Mystery Behind Tether, the Crypto World’s Digital Dollar – WSJ Frackers Burn Cash to Sustain U.S. Oil Boom – WSJ Trump’s Tariffs Foster Crisis at the W.T.O. – NY Times Turkey’s Financial Crisis Surprised Many. Except This Analyst. – NY Times Turkey’s crisis could widen, and its options


As Migration Council chair howls “skills shortage”, Aussies can’t land jobs

By Leith van Onselen Earlier this year, the chair of the Migration Council of Australia (MCA) and big business lobbyist for the Australian Industry Group (AIG), Innes Willox, penned an article in The Australian claiming that “now is not the time to cut migration” because of “skills shortages” [my emphasis]: Australia does not have a


Melbourne auction market “dismal” as bidders disappear

By Leith van Onselen Over the past few month’s, it has become clear that Melbourne’s housing correction has begun, with Melbourne taking the mantle of the nation’s weakest housing market, with values declining by 1.8% over the July quarter: Today, The AFR reports that Melbourne’s auction market has become “dismal” as the number of bidders


Mass immigration wrecking transport efficiency

By Leith van Onselen Over recent weeks, we have witnessed several ‘authorities’ warn that Australia’s infrastructure is failing in the face of strong immigration-fuelled population growth (see here). Today, former Infrastructure Australia CEO turned Australian Logistics Council Chair, Philip Davies, joined the chorus warning that worsening congestion in our major cities, brought about by rapid