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Private health insurance ‘death spiral’ raises tricky questions

By Leith van Onselen I have previously claimed that Australia’s private health insurance system is facing forces similar to the electricity “death spiral”, which arises when demand for power declines, due in part to customers taking up solar, leading to higher prices to cover fixed network costs. That is, the more people that take-up solar


Pink dollar unleashed, who cares

From Jess Irvine: Florists, photographers and wedding celebrants are among the army of small businesses set to enjoy a billion-dollar plus boost when tens of thousands of same sex couples are finally allowed to walk down the aisle. According to ANZ senior economist Cherelle Murphy, the economic benefits of marriage equality related to weddings alone


Luci Ellis rings the bell at the top of Australia’s ponzi-growth model

By Leith van Onselen RBA Assistant Governor, Luci Ellis, game a speech last night where she played down concerns over where Australia’s future growth would come from: As the mining investment boom turned down, and became a drag on growth, the question was often asked: ‘Where is the growth going to come from?’ Commentators started


With Millennials screwed the world over, it’s time for a global revolt

By Leith van Onselen This site has frequently railed against the unfair treatment leveled at Australia’s Millennial generation. This inequity is most apparent in the housing market, where today’s younger generations are being forced to pay far more than their parents to live in smaller and poorly located accommodation. But it extends beyond housing and


Scientists: population growth “primary driver behind ecological and societal threats”

By Leith van Onselen 15,364 scientists from 180 countries have put their names to a BioScience journal article calling for population growth to be limited, and governments to stop only focusing on economic growth. According to the ABC article attached to the report, “the number is believed to be the largest group of scientists to


Aussie households world’s second wealthiest thanks to expensive homes

By Leith van Onselen Credit Suisse has released its 2017 Global Wealth Report, which reveals that Australian households are the second wealthiest in the world when measured by median wealth: Household wealth in Australia grew at a fast pace between 2000 and 2012 in US dollar terms, except for a short interruption in 2008. The


Banks claim Hitler persecution as NAB discovers laundering holes

Via AFR: Former ANZ chief executive Mike Smith says the big four banks could have handled recent political attacks better, saying whenever governments want “mob interest” they always turn on the banks. “It’s being used as political capital … when you want to get mob interest, you turn on the banks. Hitler did it,” Mr


Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie goes nuclear on Australian meltdown

Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie and Craig Tindale have gone nuclear on a coming Australian meltdown today at LinkedIn. The entire article is reproduced below if you have a spare two days. I recently watched the federal treasurer, Scott Morrison, proudly proclaim that Australia was in “surprisingly good shape”. Indeed, Australia has just snatched the world


As migrants flood Sydney, city experiences brain drain

By Leith van Onselen The latest population figures for NSW showed that the state received a whopping 93,481 net overseas migrants in the year to March 2017, but lost nearly 14,000 residents interstate: According to analysis by economist Callam Pickering and others, many of the workers leaving Sydney are high skilled, meaning the city is


Dr Bob Birrell: High immigration eating youth jobs

By Leith van Onselen Dr Bob Birrell from Australian Population Research Institute has argued that foreign students are locking younger Australians out of the jobs market. From the Herald-Sun: TENS of thousands of foreign students are prolonging their stay in Australia by switching visas to become tourists, partners of local residents and even asylum seekers.


Amid rental crisis, Melbourne ghost city revealed

By Leith van Onselen The Age has released a somewhat disturbing report on the large number of homes being left vacant across inner-Melbourne: The Melbourne areas with the most number of unoccupied properties have been revealed, as the Andrews government sets to reap in tens of millions of dollars from its new vacant property tax.


Federal government to target dud university degrees

By Leith van Onselen With HELP bad debts currently standing at around $50 billion, the federal Education Department will work with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on matching tertiary courses with income and employment outcomes. The stated intent is for this information to help assist prospective students with course choices. However, Andrew Norton of the


Nothing can escape the Do-nothing Malcolm nothing singularity

The Nothing Singularity consuming Do-nothing Malcolm grows every day now. Via Nothingfax: Turnbull government MP John Alexander has resigned from Parliament after British authorities were unable to uncover any evidence to support repeated assurances he was not a dual citizen. Mr Alexander’s resignation – five days after Fairfax Media revealed he was likely a dual


How to position your money for the coming Labor government

That’s the question the AFR asked on the weekend, sensibly enough, given it is a near certainty: The newest of Shorten’s policies is a 30 per cent minimum tax rate on distributions to the adult beneficiaries of discretionary or family trusts. With farms exempt, the change will affect 2 per cent of taxpayers and 318,000


China silences book about its “silent invasion” of Australia

Oh dear: Australian publisher Allen & Unwin has ditched a book on Chinese Communist Party influence in Australian politics and academia, citing fear of legal action from the Chinese government or its proxies. The publisher’s chief executive, Robert Gorman, said last week that it would abandon publication of a completed manuscript by Clive Hamilton, a


Inner Sydney property prices begin to crack

Via Domainfax: McGrath agent Gareth Richards was surprised his listing, the three-bedroom Federation residence in Neutral Bay, one of Sydney’s most popular suburbs on the lower north shore, passed at $1.75 million in September. He expected six keen buyers to turn up, but only two did, with one saying she had to bail because her own home she was selling that morning passed


Housing finance falls heavily in September despite first home buyer bribes

By Leith van Onselen Today’s housing finance data for September, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), posted large falls in lending to owner-occupiers as well as investors. According to the ABS, the total number of owner-occupier finance commitments (excluding refinancings) fell by 2.9% in September in seasonally adjusted terms but was up 11.8%


Property investors drive fall in household financial confidence

By Martin North, cross-posted from the Digital Finance Analytics Blog: The latest edition of the Digital Finance Analytics Household Financial Security Confidence Index to end October shows households are feeling less secure about their finances than in September. The overall index fell from 97.5 to 96.9, and remains below the 100 neutral setting. We use


Hyman Minksy’s ghost haunts the RBA

Via ANZ: The most recent RBA data on private sector credit showed that in the year to September housing credit was up 6.6% year-on-year. The annual growth rate has been steady since May, though it has accelerated marginally since this time last year and is still significantly outpacing income growth. We very much doubt that