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Statement on National Cabinet Discussions

The National Cabinet met today via videolink.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison released this statement on National Cabinet discussions and decisions.

Later, Morrison held a press conference to outline the National Cabinet discussions.

Transcript of statement released by Prime Minister Scott Morrison

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victorian outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment, border restrictions and getting the economy moving again.

The Acting Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, provided an update on the measures underway, the latest data and medical advice in relation to COVID-19.

There have been more than 26,000 confirmed cases in Australia and sadly 737 people have died. [Read more…]


Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s National Cabinet Press Conference: An Evolving Federation

Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a press conference in Canberra today, following a video meeting of the National Cabinet.

In a statement that was both declarative and inspecific, Morrison said that the National Cabinet sought to find a way through the pandemic lockdowns to opening up the economy. “So, we agreed today seven out of eight states and territories, we agreed that before you know what you’re going to do, you’ve got to agree about where you want to get to. And we agreed today with the objective that was set out in the May plan to be at the end of that step three process, which we will seek to ensure is even better defined.”

Morrison also the National Cabinet had to evolve. “So, we’ve decided that this notion of 100 percent, absolute consensus on any issue is not a way that the National Cabinet can indeed work. And so what we will do is we will set out areas where we can come together, and get as many states and territories as possible to come around that agreement. Not everyone has to get on the bus for the bus to leave the station. But it is important the bus leaves the station, and we all agree on that. We all agree on that. Even when, on occasions, some might not want to get on, they know we need to keep moving forward and that is supported, and that’s what we agreed to do today. And I think that is a change in the way our Federation works.”

The National Cabinet is still grappling with the definition of a pandemic “hotspot”. The states have indicated they will not budge on their previous decisions on closing border crossings.

Watch Morrison’s press conference (46m):

Listen to Morrison’s press conference (46m):

Transcript of press conference with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Acting Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly.

PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON: Good afternoon. Australia is something we can never take for granted. And I’m not talking about Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef or the Opera House or the great wilderness across our country, I’m talking about us. I’m talking about our Federation. I’m talking about who we are as a nation. And in every generation, we must continue to define who we are, how we make Australia work, what we hope to achieve, how we protect it, how we make it stronger. And our Federation, some almost 120 years later, remains a happy work in progress. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that happy, but I tell you, the goal is one that I think all Australians would share and that’s what brings a smile to our face when we think of Australia. Not just the place, as wonderful it is, but how we make Australia work. And that is the task of all of those who come and meet in this place, in our Federal Parliament, but it is also the job of all of those who come together in our state parliaments, those who form governments and seek to work together in the ways that our Federation intended. [Read more…]


The Great Recession: Economic Data

These documents from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Reserve Bank of Australia clearly show the impact of COVID-19 on the Australian economy in a range of areas.

The document was issued with the publication of economic data showing that Australia’s economic growth declined by 7% in the last quarter, officially putting Australia in recession.

Both documents can be enlarged to full screen and may also be downloaded.

2020-09-02_economic-activity-data_abs

2020-09-02_chart-pack_rba


The Great Recession: Treasurer Frydenberg’s Reaction To 7% Quarterly Decline In Growth

The recession Australia knew it was in was finally confirmed today, with the release of economic growth figures showing a 7% decline in growth over the past quarter, the largest single quarter decline since The Great Depression of the 1930s.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg held a press conference at 1pm today to lay out the economic data and the impact of COVID-19 on the Australian economy.

Watch Frydenberg’s press conference (46m):

Listen to Frydenberg’s press conference (46m):

Transcript of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s press conference on Australia’s 7% Decline in Economic Growth.

Frydenberg

Today’s National Accounts confirm the devastating blow to the Australian economy from COVID-19. Our record run of 28 consecutive years of economic growth has officially come to an end. The cause; a once in a century global pandemic. The effect; a COVID-19 induced recession.

Real GDP fell in the June quarter by 7 per cent. The largest quarterly fall on record.

Since the series began in 1959, the previous largest fall was 2 per cent in 1974.

Behind these numbers are heartbreaking stories of hardship being felt by everyday Australians as they go about their daily lives.

Be it the tourism operator in Cairns, the tradie in Melbourne, the café worker in Adelaide or the domestic flight attendant in Sydney, they are all affected by COVID-19.

Today we are reporting these devastating numbers. Australians are living them. [Read more…]


At Year’s End, Reserve Bank Leaves Cash Rate At 1.5%

As 2016 ends, the Reserve Bank of Australia has left the cash rate at 1.5%.

At its monthly board meeting, the bank made no change to the rate that has been in place since August. Movements in the cash rate are generally reflected in movements in commercial interest rates.

In a statement, the bank’s Governor, Philip Lowe, repeated points made in previous months about rising commodity prices, the effective functioning of financial markets and Australia’s transition from the mining investment boom. It says unemployment has decreased, inflation is low and the housing market has strengthened.

At the beginning of the year, the cash rate was 2.0%. The bank reduced the rate by 0.25% in May and by 0.25% in August. The rate is at an historic low point.

Statement by Philip Lowe, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent.

The global economy is continuing to grow, at a lower than average pace. Labour market conditions in the advanced economies have improved over the past year. Economic conditions in China have steadied, supported by growth in infrastructure and property construction, although medium-term risks to growth remain. Inflation remains below most central banks’ targets, although headline inflation rates have increased recently. Globally, the outlook for inflation is more balanced than it has been for some time. [Read more…]


Chris Bowen: The End Of Australian Exceptionalism?

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen has addressed the National Press Club on the ALP’s approach to economic policy.

Bowen

  • Listen to Bowen’s speech (24m – transcript below)
  • Listen to Bowen take questions (37m)
  • Watch Bowen’s complete appearance (61m)

Transcript of Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen’s Address to the National Press Club.

THE END OF AUSTRALIAN EXCEPTIONALISM?

I first acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, and acknowledge elders past and present and emerging, as well as re-commit myself to the task of eradicating Indigenous disadvantage in Australia. [Read more…]


Chinese Own Less Than 1% Of Agricultural Land; Figures Show 86% Land Australian-Owned; Half Of All Foreign Investment Is From UK

Figures released today by the Australian Taxation Office show that 86.4% of the nation’s agricultural land is held by Australians. Foreign interests hold 13.6%, whilst Chinese interests control just 0.4% of the total.

Figures from the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land show that over half of all foreign investment in Australian agricultural land is held by the United Kingdom (52.7%), which has 27.5 million hectares, or 7.2%, of total agricultural land.

United States interests hold 14.8% of all foreign investment in land. This represents 7.7 million hectares, or 2% of the total.

The Netherlands, Singapore, China, Philippines, Switzerland, Jersey, Indonesia and Japan hold 21% of all foreign investment. Together, the top 10 countries account for 88.5% of all foreign investment in agricultural land.

The figures debunk claims by populist and fringe political groups about Chinese holdings of land. Just 2.8% of all foreign investment in land is Chinese, or 0.4% of all agricultural land. [Read more…]


Reserve Bank Leaves Cash Rate At 1.50% At Monthly Meeting

The Reserve Bank left the cash rate at 1.50%, at its monthly meeting today.

The bank’s board set the rate at the historic low of 1.50%.

The bank’s Governor, Glenn Stevens, said inflation is “quite low” and is expected to remain that way “for some time”.

Stevens said: “In Australia, recent data suggest that overall growth is continuing, despite a very large decline in business investment, helped by growth in other areas of domestic demand and exports. Labour market indicators continue to be somewhat mixed, but suggest continued expansion in employment in the near term.” [Read more…]


Morrison Warns Of Economic Complacency And Calls On ALP To Support Budget Repair Measures

The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, says there is a “terrible risk” that Australia’s economic success has sown the seeds of complacency.

Morrison

In a speech to Bloomberg, in Sydney, Morrison said there was a new divide in Australia between “the taxed and the taxed nots”. He warned of the complacency of a generation that “has grown up not ever having known a recession” and an attitude where “deficits are dismissed as temporary, cyclical and self-correcting”.

Morrison said there were three things the government must do over the next three years.

Firstly, it must “get debt under control by returning the budget to balance”.

Secondly, it must “support and implement policies that help us to increase what we can earn as a nation..in a low growth, low interest rate, low inflation, low wages growth, volatile world”.

Thirdly, Morrison warned against a return to “renewed protectionism” and an attitude that “trade, investment and positive immigration policies are increasingly seen as the problem and not the solution”. Whilst many Australians “feel the system no longer works for them”, Morrison cautioned against a cynical and populist political endorsement of this sentiment. “We cannot pull the doona over our head,” he said. “Rather than secure our economic future, it will cost it.” [Read more…]


Turnbull’s Economic Policy Speech To CEDA Disrupted By Refugee Protesters

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s speech to CEDA today was interrupted by a group of refugee protesters.

Turnbull

Turnbull was addressing the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, in Melbourne, on economic policy. The female protesters gained entry to the event by posing as members of the press. About ten minutes into the speech, they began yelling and waving banners that called for the closing of offshore refugee detention camps. One woman stood on the stage near Turnbull with a poster that read: “FFS Close the Bloody Camps”. The protesters were quickly dispersed and evicted from the event.

Turnbull’s speech contained little new. It centred on the government’s commitment to Budget repair and its election campaign themes of innovation and science, investment in the defence industry, trade agreements and taxation.

The Prime Minister said: “In the upcoming sittings, we will introduce an Omnibus Bill that puts together all the Government’s savings measures that we understand from the election campaign the Labor Party is prepared to support.” [Read more…]