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War erupts over international student English standards

Earlier this year, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews called for a review of university English-language standards out of concern that many international students were struggling to keep up with their peers, were placing intense strain on both university lecturers and teaching staff, and were eroding the overall quality of education provided at Australia’s universities: “International students are


Roubini, Dalio: The end is nigh as Cold War 2.0 destroys globalisation

Sitting down? Via Interest.con.nz: A few years ago, as part of a Western delegation to China, I met President Xi Jinping in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. When addressing us, Xi argued that China’s rise would be peaceful, and that other countries – namely, the United States – need not worry about the “Thucydides


Labor’s new and improved economics team

Via the AFR: Labor’s economic team is to be gutted in a post-election shake-out that shifts Chris Bowen to a non-financial portfolio and dumps shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh from the frontbench altogether because he lacks factional support. Shadow finance minister Jim Chalmers is the firm favourite to replace Mr Bowen as shadow treasurer. Mr


Chinese militia laser RAAF over South China Sea

Via the ABC: Chinese maritime militia vessels are believed responsible for a series of laser attacks on Australian Navy pilots during a recent voyage through the hotly contested South China Sea. Defence sources have confirmed helicopters were targeted during night flights, forcing the pilots to temporarily return to their ship for medical check-ups. The incidents


Morrison Government hides immigration boom in bridging visas

By Leith van Onselen Ever since the Morrison Government announced that it would cut Australia’s permanent migrant intake to 160,000, in order to “relieve congestion in the cities”, MB has declared it a fake cut. This view is based on the fact that while the permanent migrant intake has been moderately reduced, the Coalition has


Fake news: NZ suffering post-immigration business crunch

Via the AFR today: New Zealand pub owner Chris Dickson worries his staff is overworked. He expected employment visas for two new overseas workers to be approved weeks ago, but the paperwork was delayed with no clear reason given. …”We are struggling to find people,” Dickson said. “It’s an epidemic.” …A plunge in net immigration


Murdoch Uni VC: International student system critics “probably racist”

This month’s Four Corners special on Australia’s international student boom featured Western Australia’s Murdoch University, which was accused of badly lowering its standards in order to lift its international students numbers by 92% between 2017 and 2018, resulting in increased incidences of plagiarism, academic misconduct, and rising failure rates. The claims were made by three


Macquarie goes all in on housing recovery

Via Macquarie equities: “multiple catalysts [have] improved the domestic growth outlook”. “With positive housing catalysts in the last week, we are more confident housing will improve in 2019.” “Based on an average of 6 months, we could see month-on-month house price rises as early as July 2019.” “This should flow through to better growth in


Ponzi Pallas serves up land taxes to fill stamp duty black hole

By David Collyer Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has pre-announced Land Tax changes ahead of Monday night’s state budget. Expect a dramatic budget contraction as Victoria’s key ‘own revenue’ source, Stamp Duty, has shrunk with the fall in both property transaction volumes and prices. “The government says stamp duty revenue will collapse by an average of


Albo confirms he’s another Big Australia shill

By Leith van Onselen It hasn’t taken long for soon to be new Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, to shatter hopes that he would follow the will of the electorate and pledge to lower Australia’s immigration intake back towards sensible historical levels: Over the weekend, Albanese explicitly threw his support behind Australia’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’


Auction clearances surge on policy easing

CoreLogic has released its preliminary auction report, which reported a big lift in the auction clearance rate after the Coalition’s unexpected election victory and announced macro-prudential easing by APRA. The preliminary national auction clearance rate was 62.2%, well above last week’s preliminary clearance rate of 57.0% and also above the 56.2% final clearance rate recorded


Westpac: 3 rate cuts to push Australian dollar to 0.66 cents

Via Bill Evans at Westpac: Earlier this week Westpac moved forward its forecast for RBA cash rate cuts from the original forecast on February 21 of cuts in August and November to June and August. The June cut remains almost certain; a second in August is our expectation and the November cut should also proceed.


MB Fund Podcast: Trade War Explodes

This week’s LIVE webinar (12:30pm AEST, Thursday 23rd May) reviewed the escalation between global powerhouses USA and China. Is this the Cold War 2.0? What is the US trying to achieve? How might it play out and some potential scenarios How are these events likely to impact investment in the near future? So join MB


Political trouble for the bubble down under

By Ross Elliott, cross-posted from New Geography: In a remarkable and most unexpected outcome, Australia’s conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison has retained the country’s leadership at the recent Australian Federal Parliamentary election (18 May, 2019). Morrison’s victory confounded a wide array of commentators, academics, advocacy groups, industry groups, all of the opinion polls, most of


Highrise Harry ends discounts

Boom! At the ABC: Billionaire apartment developer Harry Triguboff could not hide his delight at the prospect of an interest rate cut in June and the re-elected Morrison Government’s planned help for first home buyers. The Reserve Bank has given its strongest hint yet that interest rates will fall, almost certainly at its June meeting.


How to destroy ScoMo in eighteen months

Via the AFR: Scott Morrison’s shock win in the federal election may have been delivered by the “battlers” – non-university educated voters in lower income brackets – and Christians. ANU professor Ben Phillips found that electorates with a lower percentage of persons with bachelor degrees and income greater than $100,000, and a higher percentage of