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Bill Shorten recommits to Big Australia albatross

By Leith van Onselen Back in 2013, Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten argued that Australia’s immigration intake should be increased from already turbo-charged levels: Australia should increase its immigration levels, Labor leadership hopeful Bill Shorten has declared, saying the next arrival could “be the next Albert Einstein or a good taxpayer”… Speaking about immigration more


Australian politicians are pigs in the housing trough

By Leith van Onselen The ABC has produced a great report today on the high degree of investment property ownership by Australia’s federal politicians, which is likely acting as a strong disincentive to them making fundamental reform to fix Australia’s housing woes: The 226 individuals own 524 properties between them and about half of them


Tougher citizenship test won’t save Do-nothing Malcolm

By Leith van Onselen As reported in The Australian today, the Turnbull Government will impose stricter rules for foreigners seeking to become Australian citizens, as part of its package of changes to immigration and visa rules. Amongst other things, people applying for citizenship will have to demonstrate adherence with “Australian values”, while they will be


Toyota builds apartments instead of cars

AFR: Toyota Australia has hitched its wagon to Melbourne’s boom in high-rise living with plans for a massive four-tower apartment project over its dealership just outside the CBD. The proposed development – with more than 1000 apartments earmarked for residents and student accommodation – has taken a step forward, winning endorsement from Melbourne’s city council


Luxury car sales telegraphing property bust?

It’s not often we turn to permabull Craig James for a bearish insight so it’s probably worth paying attention when he provides one: • In the past, a slowdown of luxury vehicle sales has heralded a slowdown of upper-end property sales and prices. And, in turn, slower growth of top-end home prices has in the


Fake Greens howl racism at 457 visa cut

By Leith van Onselen I was just listening to ABC Radio and heard The Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young bang on about how the Turnbull Government’s 457 visa reforms and any cuts to immigration are ‘racist’ and ‘xenophobic’. Unfortunately, I don’t have the transcript, but the below Tweets from Hanson-Young gives you the gist of her view:


Barnaby Joyce robot coming to a BBQ near you

Via Domainfax: A federal government agency has handed its public servants scripted lines, to be recited in “BBQ conversations” and other “social settings”, about its controversial move out of town. Workers at the pesticides authority have been given a long list of “talking points” to use on friends or family asking about the authority’s forced relocation from Canberra to Armidale in


The housing bust we have to have

At Domainfax there is an interesting housing bubble piece today: Intense media focus on housing affordability has primarily focused on the story of the individual; the young person who can’t afford a house. But in all of our focus on the individual, we are failing to recognise the greater problem – that when house prices do fall, and


Negative gearing farce shifts to Perth

By Leith van Onselen My cousin, Peter van Onselen, has penned a piece in Perth Now warning that Labor’s proposed negative gearing reforms could further “crush” Perth property: MAKE no mistake, if Labor wins federal office and legislates its changes to negative gearing it will crush the already fragile West Australian housing market. Since the


Interest-only mortgages are Australia’s sub-prime

By Leith van Onselen In addition to explicitly warning on household debt (covered on Thursday), the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) bi-annual Financial Stability Review (FSR) contained an alarming section on the high degree of interest-only borrowing by Australian home buyers. Below are the key extracts. Interest-only (IO) loans account for a sizeable and growing


Does the RBA understand what it’s taken on in household debt?

From Bill Evans of Westpac today: Given the Reserve Bank’s intense concentration on stability issues, including the introduction of new guidelines from APRA, the April Stability Review is of particular interest. Our interest is twofold. Firstly to gauge the degree of concern with which the Bank views the current risks and secondly whether it has


Deloitte: Housing bubble “gonna blow”

Via Domainfax: Deloitte Access Economics’ quarterly business outlook, released today, predicts the official cash rate of 1.5 per cent will climb slowly in 2018 and 2019 to reach 3 per cent in the early 2020s. The Reserve Bank was well aware “interest rates are now a massively more potent weapon for slowing the Australian economy


Abbott takes gloves off, Coalition wheels fall off

Andrew Bolt sums up the latest Coalition chaos: The Coalition is splintering: Responding to Mr Abbott’s latest public interventions – a newspaper column in which he sought to diagnose the problems of modern politics, and a high-profile Sydney radio interview – Mr Entsch called on him to “back off”. Mr Abbott should honour his promise of “no


How Do-nothing Malcolm butchered the NBN

From Professor Rodney Tucker, of Melbourne University via Australian Journal of Telecommunications and Digital Technology: Introduction Australia performs poorly in global rankings of broadband download speeds (Smith, 2017).  NBN Co argues that the situation will improve (Dinham, 2017) as more customers connect to the fibre to the node (FTTN) and hybrid fibre coax (HFC) components of the


MB Radio: Rort of the Elites

Just weeks out from the 2017 Federal budget Gunnamatta spoke with David Llewellyn Smith and Leith van Onselen about the economic backdrop framing budget decisions, as well as the dynamics of Australia’s key commodity exports and the implications this has for the economic outlook, employment, incomes growth and the housing market.  With the federal government and


The Coalition’s housing war on youth

By Rob Burgess, cross-posted from The New Daily: It is almost unbelievable that the Coalition is still fighting internally over whether or not to allow young Australians to use superannuation savings to help fund the purchase of their first home. In political terms, it is doubly damaging. It highlights not only the weakness of the


Shame Oliver joins “don’t buy now” movement

Suddenly it’s a movement, via the AFR:  AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver has backed fellow economist Chris Richardson advice that young Australians consider renting rather buying a home in the current cycle. Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Mr Oliver said Mr Richardson’s advice was “totally right” given that rental yields were at record


RBA detonates bomb under household debt

All power to Phil Lowe, from the Financial Stability Review today: While the financial position of households has been fairly resilient, vulnerabilities persist for some highly indebted households, especially those located in the resource-rich states. Household indebtedness (as measured by the ratio of debt to disposable income) has increased further, primarily due to rising levels


Fair Work Ombudsman helpless to stop giant visa rort

By Leith van Onselen Over the past two years, we have witnessed a veritable conga-line of rorts and exploitation involving foreign workers. This rorting has been widespread and systemic, including: foreign students working at 7-Eleven, petrol stations Caltex and United Petroleum, fast food outlets like Pizza Hut and Dominos, and the like; so-called “skilled” 457