The Australian economy is set for a significant slowdown in response to the COVID-19 shutdown, with the jobless rate expected to climb to 10%. The question, asks Graham Matthews, is who will pay?
In typical neoliberal style, the federal government’s COVID-19 response is leaving local councils in a ditch, argues Graham Matthews.
While many countries have closed schools as a measure to stem the rate of COVID-19 infection, public schools in Australia are to remain open in stark defiance of the “social distancing” requirements of almost every other aspect of social and economic life. Graham Matthews asks why?
Little more than 10 years after the Global Financial Crisis, the world economy faces another crash. Last time, the trigger was so-called “sub-prime” mortgages; but this time, it is a virulent virus — COVID-19 — writes Graham Matthews.
The sheer scale of the recent bushfires and their timing (during the summer school holidays) have had a crippling impact on many working people, including small business owners, and put the ongoing sustainability of rural communities at serious risk, writes Graham Matthews.
Treasury says the economy is performing “modestly”, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has dismissed calls for additional stimulus spending & Reserve Bank of Australia chief Philip Lowe predicts growth will return to “trend” over the next year.
So nothing to worry about, right?
National accounts figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on September 4 show economic growth was slower over the 2018–19 financial year than at any time in the past 10 years.
"As a result of the cultural-left’s long march through the institutions … political correctness involving identity politics, privileging victimhood and virtue signalling dominate public policy and debate", whined Kevin Donnelly, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, in the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Like never before Free Speech is facing extinction in Australia", exclaimed conservative activist group Advance Australia. "We are at a crossroad. We either stand up and demand a fair go or we get trampled."
Yet is it really the free speech of conservatives, right-wing radicals and religious fundamentalists that is under attack?
The economic slow down means the Coalition will either abandon its promise of increasing budget surpluses and increase government spending — on infrastructure for instance — to stimulate the economy or it will double down on its commitment to a surplus, necessitating spending cuts. Its track record suggests the latter, writes Graham Mathews.
The federal Coalition government announced a planned budget surplus for 2019-20 on April 2. Disgracefully, again, one of the most important areas of “savings” was the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The planned surplus relies on “a $3 billion underspend in the National Disability Insurance Scheme, after a $3.4 billion underspend in the current financial year,” according to the ABC’s Laura Tingle.