Sorry all – family life interrupts. No blog tonight… err except this blog saying that there is no blog.
Oh bugger it, a few quick things:
The Bushby saying “meow” to Wong thing in Senate Estimates was interesting but hardly needed a thorough going-over in Question Time by Tanya Plibersek. The media already had the vision and were going to run hard with it (it sure as hell negated any need on their part to listen to anything else said in the Estimates committee). And actually I don’t think Penny Wong needed any help. Her response to Bushby (and then to Brandis with his weak attempt to fudge the issue) was perfect:
She showed a hell of a lot more restraint than I would have.
Unfortunately what was missed in the focus on this was the Treasury – especially the Secretary Martin Parkinson and Head of Macroeconomics David Gruen – were adopting a very much more assertive approach than even seen by Ken Henry when he attended Estimate. Henry would often suggest his mirth at the idiocy of questions from Senators with a long pause and then a “I’m not sure that’s right Senator” type line. This morning Parkinson and Gruen would not let any off hand remark go through to the keeper.
Mathias Corman was given a lesson in economic modelling by Gruen, and Parkinson fairly well flew at Barnaby Joyce when Joyce rather idiotically suggested the National Accounts figures had been leaked because they were all in the newspapers (Joyce seemed not to grasp the difference between an economists estimate of the numbers and the actual numbers). Actually Joyce’s demeanour was just as disrespectful as Busbhy – but in some ways worse, because it displayed not just ignorance of how to act like an adult, but also ignorance of the law and basic economics.
When the Hansard comes out I might give it a bit deeper going over.
The GDP figures did come out, and yeah they were not great:
Why did they turn out so bad (minus 1.2% for the quarter)?
Yeah mining in QLD tanked due to the flood and Cyclone Yasi (and as an aside the contemptuous way Joyce in Estimates referred to the cyclone and the floods was fairly astonishing for a Senator of Queensland).
But worry not (well at least about GDP and the mining sector) because look at the terms of trade:
Yep. They’re pretty amazing.
What does it mean for interest rates? The market did not exactly get scared by the figures.
There’s still more chance there won’t be a rise in the cash rate next week, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility (though I would bet against it – on the back of the GDP slump, I think a rate rise would not do wonders for consumer confidence – especially when you look at how much we are saving:
It looks like a lot of people are deleveraging (perhaps baby boomers plunging back into their super to make up for the wipe out in 2008-09), and also people not feeling the most safe about life. But the RBA will sit down and say – yeah we know there were floods and a cyclone, but geez, we’re still looking good. That fact is why nowhere will you read anyone talking about recessions today.
While we’re here, let’s see how that union-led wages breakout is going (you know the ones that we were told would kill the mining industry once WorkChoices was removed)
Hmm. Don’t you hate it when the facts don’t match your argument?
And as for Question Time? Let’s just say Harry Jenkins may have the confidence of the house, but he doesn’t have its respect.
And that is me not writing a blog.