Leith van Onselen


Victoria’s economy slaughtered by COVID-19

The Victorian Government has released its mid-year economic update, which projects that the state’s unemployment rate will rise to 9% by the end of September. This compares with 7.5% in June and 5.3% in January. The modelling also shows that gross state product could fall by $21 billion in 2020: Overview The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic


Victoria records another 403 COVID-19 infections

The nightmare continues with Victoria recording another 403 COVID-19 infections: NSW has yet to report today’s infection numbers. There are now 3,793 active COVID-19 cases in Victoria, 97% of the nation’s total: 7,125 Victorians have now been infected by the virus since the beginning of the outbreak, with the curve as frightening as ever:


Australia must fix hotel quarantine

Being an island nation, having a robust quarantine system for returning Australian citizens and permanent residents is the nation’s number one defence against COVID-19. Without an effective quarantine system, Australia will continually import the virus into the community, resulting in ongoing outbreaks, an overloaded health system, and costly economic shutdowns. Victoria is indicative of what


Coalition throws migration carrot at international students

History doesn’t repeat but it sure does rhyme. Following a strategic review of the student visa program in 2011 (‘the Knight review’), the Gillard Government liberalised graduate (485) visas in 2013. Specifically, 485 visa holders were excluded from needing to meet the Australian standard for an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List. They were also


Mass mortgage defaults loom as income support cut

Mozo research believes that Australia is staring down the barrel of mass mortgage defaults once income support measures like JobKeeper and JobSeeker are cut: Around 3.5 million workers are receiving JobKeeker payments and 1.6 million are relying on JobSeeker. This means approximately 42% of Australia’s 12.1 million-person workforce is being supported via these government schemes.


Links 23 July 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Could a Global Recession Fuel Bitcoin Adoption? – Tech Times A second Great Depression? Unemployment crisis hits big cities hard – CNBC This billionaire says the US stock market is overlooking the rapidly growing national debt – CNN Jeff Bezos Adds Record $13 Billion in Single Day to His


COVID-19 drives up Australia’s mortality rate

The ABS has released provisional mortality data, which suggests that COVID-19 has indirectly increased Australia’s mortality rate, primarily by diverting health resources and effort away from other areas: In the second provisional monthly mortality report released today, the ABS found that between January and April this year there were around 44,000 doctor certified deaths. This


Foxtel recovers from near death experience

Three months ago, the prognosis facing Foxtel was dire. The company had lost almost 600,000 subscribers in the two years to February (see next chart), COVID-19 had cancelled sporting events across the globe hitting Foxtel’s sports-centric offering, subscribers were reportedly cancelling en masse, and 270 employees were made redundant. Fast forward to today and Foxtel’s


AMA calls for nation-wide mask policy

Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Tony Bartone is calling for a nationwide mask policy, arguing Australia would not be in the position it was now if masks were more prevalent earlier in the pandemic: “We’re recommending that it should be extremely, ubiquitously recommended everyone wear a mask to reduce the spread,” he told Sky News.


60 Minutes destroys UQ’s reputation

In case you missed it, make sure that you watch 60 Minutes’ explosive report on Chinese corruption at the University of Queensland (UQ) and its persecution of 21 year-old pro-Hong Kong student, Drew Pavlou. Below is the blurb on the report: When 21-year-old student Drew Pavlou organised his first-ever protest at his university campus in


Stage 4 lockdown imminent as Victoria records 484 new COVID-19 infections

The situation has turned dire in Victoria, with 484 new COVID-19 infections recorded: New South Wales recorded 16 new COVID-19 infections. There are now active cases in Victoria, 96% of the nation’s total: Victoria has now recorded a whopping 6,773 COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began, with the curve as frightening as ever: According to


Migrant groups demand JobKeeper for temporary visa holders

As expected, migrant groups have slammed the exclusion of temporary visa holders from JobKeeper 2.0: The Migrant Workers Centre’s director Matt Kunkel said their fears many migrants could face destitution had been realised with community groups seeing a surge in temporary visa holders requiring support. “This government seems intent on forcing temporary visa holders into


Retail sales bounced in June

The ABS has released preliminary retail sales data for June, which rose by 2.4% over the month to be 8.2% higher year-on-year: There were large increases in turnover in Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, and Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing. While some restrictions on trade remain, many businesses saw a full month of


Melbourne’s hotel quarantine failures exposed

More shocking details have emerged over the Victorian Government’s hotel quarantine failures, with ABC’s 7.30 Report revealing that private security guards were employed without training over WhatsApp and told to bring their own personal protective equipment (PPE): Shayla Shakshi was one of the guards who received a WhatsApp message offering her work as a quarantine


Melbourne stalls jobs rebound

Callam Pickering, economist at global jobs site Indeed, has updated his weekly jobs ad series, which shows that net job ads – i.e. those on Indeed AU for seven days or less – continue to stall: These are tracking 18% below last year’s trend, versus 17% below a week ago. However, total job postings continues


Why lifting compulsory superannuation will cripple the economy

Researchers from Victoria University argue that Australia shouldn’t lift the superannuation guarantee (SG) from 9.5% to to 12% because it would: 1) reduce take-home pay and further push-up household debt, because it diverts households from directly equity-financing home ownership; and 2) it would hamper macroeconomic recovery by damping spending and raising short-run labour costs: In


International student collapse smashes English-language schools

While the media has focused on the financial crisis afflicting the university sector, Australia’s English-language schools are being hit particularly hard by the collapse in international student enrolments: The Independent Tertiary Education Council of Australia said before the virus crisis there were 175,000 international students doing English language or training-related courses… ITECA chief executive Troy


Links 22 July 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: ‘There is no alternative,’ S&P says governments must spend to support coronavirus-hit economy – CNBC The coronavirus revealed the dysfunctions of society – Economic Daily The coronavirus threatens the fight with world poverty – Finances Herald G20: Further action is needed to ensure global economic growth – Finances Herald


Why Australia should go for COVID-19 elimination

The ABC has done an excellent report debating whether Australia should copy New Zealand, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania in aiming for COVID-19 elimination. Life in New Zealand, for example, has for all intents and purposes returned to normal, with the exception of international travel. Accordingly, their economy has bounced back hard. My view


Negative gearing losses surge

The ATO’s Taxation Statistics for 2017-18 have been released, which shows that the number of negatively geared property investors rose by 200,000 over FY18, with total losses ballooning by $800 million to $13.1 billion: The average loss per negatively geared investors was $9,924 in FY18, up from $9,461 in FY17. The below table also shows


Stimulus drives big surge in discretionary retail spending

According to AlphaBeta’s real-time economy tracker, discretionary retail spending has bounced on the back of $750 of stimulus payments sent to around 5 million people, alongside the surge in early superannuation withdrawals: However, Victoria is underperforming due to the hard lockdown across Melbourne: According to AlphaBeta’s director, Andrew Charlton: “It’s pretty mind-blowing how quickly people


JobSeeker payments slashed

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg have fronted the media to explain changes to JobKeeper and JobSeeker following their legislated expiry in late September. JobSeeker payments will be slashed to $815 a fortnight from September from $1,100 currently. Mutual obligations will also return from 4 August with those on JobSeeker required to apply