Unconventional Economist


Chief international student lobbyist demands open borders

CEO of International Education Association of Australia, Phil Honeywood, has demanded states lift their caps on international arrivals so that Australia can welcome thousands of international students: NSW has been accepting 80% of all returning Aussie citizens. Time for other states to do some heavy lifting so International students can return! #Intled https://t.co/quhD4PcCmi — Phil


Victorian Government takes right path on stimulus

The Victorian Government yesterday released its 2020-21 State Budget, which will see the Government embark on a massive stimulus program in a bid to support 200,000 jobs within 18 months and 400,000 by 2025. Below are key extracts from Treasurer Tim Pallas’ speech combined with key figures from the Budget Papers: With Victoria’s gross state


Calls grow to allow using super to buy property

Calls are growing to allow first home buyers (FHBs) to access their superannuation savings to purchase a home after the Treasury’s Retirement Income Review found that home owners have far better retirement outcomes than non-home owners. A group of Liberal MPs, led by Tim Wilson, are leading the calls: Mr Wilson… told The Age and


Universal pension better than compulsory superannuation

According to The Australian’s Judith Sloan, Australia’s current retirement income system is a costly one that contains a range of inequities. One alternative would be to combine a universal pension with voluntary savings, which is essentially the New Zealand model. Sloan argues that such a model would likely cost taxpayers less than the present system,


Links 25 November 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Wall Street’s Biggest Dogs All Need Bitcoin for the Upcoming Years – Medium COVID-19’s economic fallout will long outlive the health crisis, report warns – UNCTAD Global inequality highest in decades — Sustainable Review Stocks extend their gains on report Biden to pick Yellen for Treasury, Dow up 400


Private sector scores surprise EA wage lift

The latest ABS wage price index revealed that private sector wage growth collapsed to only 1.2% in the September quarter versus 1.8% growth across the public sector: Data from the federal Attorney-General’s Department shows that the average pay rise in new private sector enterprise agreements (EA) was 3% in the June quarter, beating 2.2% growth


Shocked. Shocked! Banks support criminal mortgage lending

Unsurprisingly, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) supports changes to responsible lending laws in its submission to an inquiry into the federal government’s proposed reforms. The ABA claims the reforms “strike the right balance” between protecting consumers and ensuring that credit is available: A submission by the industry’s peak lobby group, the Australian Banking Association, says


12% superannuation would wreck the federal budget

On Friday, the federal government released Treasury’s 600-page Retirement Income Review Final Report, which highlighted in great detail why lifting the superannuation guarantee (SG) from 9.5% would be unambiguously bad policy. First, the Review notes that the federal budget would be plunged further into deficit, since any cost savings for the Aged Pension would be


Alert! Quarantine system can’t handle international students return

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s call to open Australia to international students and skilled migrants has been shut down by reality, with minutes of a meeting between government officials and representatives of security firms showing NSW’s hotel quarantine system is at breaking point: The NSW hotel quarantine scheme has been beset with thousands of incidents, with


Australia records one new local COVID-19 infection

Australia recorded 8 new COVID-19 infections, although only 1 was locally acquired: The locally acquired infection was recorded by South Australia, which is still getting its outbreak under control: Australia now has only 94 active COVID-19 infections, of which 40 are locally acquired: These active local cases are comprised of 28 in South Australia: Whereas


Victoria eliminates COVID-19

Victoria has recorded a 24th consecutive day with no new COVID-19 cases, and the state now has no active cases for the first time since February. An elderly couple were the last remaining COVID-19 patients from the state’s second wave of infections. The man in his 90s was discharged from Monash Medical Centre on yesterday


New higher education regulator must target Chinese influence

Former CEO of Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission, Alistair Maclean, has been appointed as the new CEO of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). Maclean has promised to broaden TEQSA’s regulatory reach, including by setting up a new integrity unit: Maclean… told The Australian Financial Review there were “harder edged” tools at his


RBA: JobKeeper hid 700,000 from unemployment queue

The RBA has released new analysis on the JobKeeper scheme’s impact on unemployment, which found that JobKeeper reduced Australian’s unemployment by 700,000 over the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic: We find that one in five employees who received JobKeeper (and, thus, remained employed) would not have remained employed during this period had it


Australia reaches deep down international student quality barrel

On Friday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released services trade data for the 2019-20 Financial Year, which revealed that education exports from China plunged by 14.2%. However, this was almost fully offset by strong growth in education exports from India (+19.2%) and Nepal (+12.6%), with total education exports falling by only 0.7% over the year:


Retired Australians are creaming it

The next time you hear a seniors’ group demand an increase in the aged pension and other subsidies, consider the latest Melbourne Institute’s Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) report, which was released last week. This report showed that Australians aged 65-plus enjoyed by far the biggest increase in wealth between 2002 and


Links 24 November 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Four Reasons the Stay-at-Home Economy Is Here to Stay – WSJ “Oh, man. The unwinding of this bubble is going to be painful” – Economics professor warns of total crash the next 12 years – Mazech The World Bank warns The G20 from ignoring the debt problems – Guardian


Governments must learn from hotel quarantine failures

Astonishing details have emerged about the hotel quarantine worker at the centre of South Australia’s COVID-19 outbreak and hard lockdown: At least 20 detectives are investigating the Adelaide pizza shop where an employee on a temporary graduate visa lied to contact tracers, plunging South Australia into the hardest lockdown in the country. The worker, who


Dan Andrews right to ditch airport rail tunnel

Two years ago, the AirRail Melbourne consortium – which includes the owner of Southern Cross Station and part owner of Melbourne Airport, IFM Investors – offered to contribute $5 billion (on top of the state and federal government’s $10 billion) to own and operate the Airport Rail Link tunnel, with the service slated to “deliver a


Early super withdrawals slow further

APRA has published its early superannuation release data for the week ended 15 November, which revealed that only $151.4 million was withdrawn from Australia’s superannuation system, taking the total amount withdrawn early to $35.1 billion: According to APRA: Over the week to 15 November, superannuation funds made payments to 21,000 members, bringing the total number


Is urban density really more environmentally sustainable?

Dr Tony Recsei, president of the Save Our Suburbs community group which opposes over-development, has challenged the notion that high density urban planning is more environmentally sustainable than lower density: The assumption that high-density is environmentally superior seems to be based on intuition as no proof is provided to support this claim. Rather, considerable evidence


Jacinda Ardern has failed on housing

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, was elected in 2017 on a platform of fixing New Zealand’s chronic housing crisis. However, Ardern’s Labour Party failed dismally on housing in its first term, failing to deliver on key election promises. Labour’s promised ‘KiwiBuild’ program to build 100,000 public houses descended into a farce, with the government


HILDA survey shows generational housing and wealth divide

The Melbourne Institute’s latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) report has been released, which shows that the nation’s average household assets increased by 64% to $1.37 million between 2002 and 2018. However, average household debt rose by 104% to $203,496 over this same period: The growth in assets was driven by housing,


Berejiklian puts foreign students, skilled migrants ahead of Aussies

NSW Premier Berejiklian announced over the weekend that she wants to use one third of the state’s 3,000 hotel quarantine places to bring in international students and skilled migrants: In an interview with The Sun-Herald, Ms Berejiklian said she wants NSW to use a third of its hotel quarantine slots to take in international students, skilled


Auction clearances stay strong

CoreLogic’s preliminary auction clearance rate softened a little over the weekend, with 73.6% of reported auctions cleared versus 75.1% last weekend: Sydney’s preliminary clearance rate remained strong with 76.2% of reported auctions cleared versus 76.6% last weekend. Melbourne’s preliminary auction clearance rate firmed to 77.1% versus 73.5% last weekend. According to CoreLogic: This week’s volumes