Albanese defends social activism by businesses

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese will take the side of big business in the argument over corporate activism, when he addresses a Business Council of Australia forum today.The issue has blown up afte...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Robo-debt class action could deliver justice for tens of thousands of Australians instead of mere hundreds

The announcement by Gordon Legal of a class action to compensate victims of the government’s so-called robo-debt scheme is welcome, perhaps even groundbreaking.Standing alongside class action li...

Terry Carney, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Sydney - avatar Terry Carney, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Sydney

Media polarisation dangerous for democracy and for science: Sinodinos

Arthur Sinodinos: “One of the dangerous trends has been that the media itself has become a battleground".AAP/Mick TsikasArthur Sinodinos, former minister and Australia’s ambassador-designa...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Arthur Sinodinos with some reflections and advice

Arthur Sinodinos will soon leave the Senate, and early next year take up the position of Australian ambassador in Washington. A former staffer and one-time public servant as well as a former minister...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

XXX Neon Sign review: embodied performance about working in a Brisbane porno shop

Adelaide composer Dan Thorpe wrote and performed this piece of 'composed theatre'.Jason Tavener/BIFEM 2019Review: XXX Neon Sign, composed by Dan Thorpe, Rumpus TheatreMore than perhaps any other instr...

Melanie Walters, PhD candidate in music, University of Adelaide - avatar Melanie Walters, PhD candidate in music, University of Adelaide

Apple Arcade and Google Stadia aim to offer frictionless game streaming, if your NBN plan can handle it

Google's Stadia will be available through the Google Chrome web browser, on smartphones, smart televisions, tablets, and through Chromecast.dronepicr/Wikimedia Commons, CC BYTwo of the biggest tech co...

Steven Conway, Senior Lecturer - Games and Interactivity, Swinburne University of Technology - avatar Steven Conway, Senior Lecturer - Games and Interactivity, Swinburne University of Technology

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian avoids a spill but remains in troubled waters

Gladys Berejiklian has seen off a spill motion, but NSW politics remains a hotbed of discontent.AAP/James Gourley“How good is Gladys Berejiklian?” Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked a ju...

Andy Marks, Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Strategy and Policy, Western Sydney University - avatar Andy Marks, Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Strategy and Policy, Western Sydney University

The rise of 'eco-anxiety': climate change affects our mental health, too

People who have been affected by extreme weather events might experience mental health issues.From shutterstock.comThis story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 n...

Fiona Charlson, Conjoint NHMRC Early Career Fellow, The University of Queensland - avatar Fiona Charlson, Conjoint NHMRC Early Career Fellow, The University of Queensland

Climate change deniers are dangerous - they don't deserve a place on our site

Giving climate change deniers a voice on our site contributes to a stalled public discourse.At The Conversation we’ve recently vowed to improve our climate change coverage, and part of that mean...

Misha Ketchell, Editor & Executive Director, The Conversation - avatar Misha Ketchell, Editor & Executive Director, The Conversation

'An insult' – politicians sing the praises of the cashless welfare card, but those forced to use it disagree

The grey cashless debit card cannot be used at any alcohol or gambling outlet, nor used to withdraw cash.www.shutterstock.com“This is a bit controversial, we know that,” deputy prime minis...

Eve Vincent, Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University - avatar Eve Vincent, Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University

As pressure on Iran mounts, there is little room for quiet diplomacy to free detained Australians

Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has offered to help free three detained Australians in Iran, but the attacks on Saudi oil facilities have made the situation vastly more complicated.Stringer/EPAAu...

Tony Walker, Adjunct Professor, School of Communications, La Trobe University - avatar Tony Walker, Adjunct Professor, School of Communications, La Trobe University

The gloves are off: 'predatory' climate deniers are a threat to our children

A child jumps from a rock outcrop into a lagoon in the low-lying Pacific island of Tuvalu.AAP/Mick TsikasIn this age of rapidly melting glaciers, terrifying megafires and ever more puissant hurricanes...

Tim Flannery, Professorial fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne - avatar Tim Flannery, Professorial fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne

Civilization: The Way We Live Now – powerful, troubling photographs of a crowded planet and uncertain future

Cyril Porchet, Swiss born 1984, Untitled 2014 from the series Crowd, inkjet print 139.0 x 169.0 x 3.5 cm.© Cyril PorchetIn 1955, an enormous photographic exhibition, The Family of Man, challenged...

Sasha Grishin, Adjunct Professor of Art History, Australian National University - avatar Sasha Grishin, Adjunct Professor of Art History, Australian National University

Keeping the city cool isn't just about tree cover – it calls for a commons-based climate response

Where’s the shade? Trees are not an immediate or whole answer to keeping cool.Cameron Tonkinwise, Author providedThis story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 2...

Abby Mellick Lopes, Senior Lecturer in Design, Western Sydney University - avatar Abby Mellick Lopes, Senior Lecturer in Design, Western Sydney University

The Australian economy is tepid, with consumer spending the weakest in ten years, business investment shrinking, and economic growth too weak to cover population growth.

Were it not for very strong growth in export income and the biggest surge in government spending in 15 years, the economy would have shrunk.

The treasury believes the Australian economy is capable of growing at a sustained annual pace of 2.75%. The growth rate in the past financial year of 1.4% reported on Wednesday is only half that.

Not since September 2009 has the gap between what the Australian economy is capable of and what it has been delivering been so wide. 2009 was the year of the global financial crisis.

Real GDP growth

Commonwealth Treasury Economic growth has rarely been as low as 1.4% outside of a recession. When account is taken of population growth, income and production per citizen went backwards. The last time that happened was during financial crisis. The last time before that was during the early 1990s recession. Household spending, which accounts for more than half of total spending, also failed to keep pace with population growth. The inflation-adjusted growth rate of 1.4% was also the lowest since the financial crisis. Growth in household consumption Commonwealth Treasury Other figures released on Tuesday show retail spending dipped a further 0.1% in July. Hardest hit was spending in the 2018-19 financial year was spending on cars. Updated figures released at the same time as the national accounts show sales of new cars down 10% over the year to August. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he preferred to think that households were delaying rather than abandoning purchases of cars, waiting until the economic outlook was clearer. Growth in consumption by category June quarter 2019. Note: Discretionary consumption is as classified by Treasury. Commonwealth Treasury Weighing on consumers is an extended period of unusually low wage growth that the national accounts show has brought the share of national income paid out as wages down to just about its lowest point since 1964. Although the wage and superannuation bill increased, climbing 5% over the year as employment grew, the share of national income paid out as wages and super fell to 52% – the lowest since the global financial crisis, and before that the lowest since the Beatles toured Australia and Donald Horne published The Lucky Country. ABS 5206.0, Table 35 Also weighing on consumers has been housing. Investment in housing (including alterations and additions) was down 9.1% over the year. Business investment fell 10%. Company profits grew 12.8%, but leaving aside mining companies, whose profits grew strongly on the back of higher prices and export volumes, other profits grew only weakly, climbing 1.8%. Mining income pushed up nominal GDP (the raw dollars unadjusted for prices that drive nominal incomes) up a healthy 5.4%, probably delivering the government a budget surplus one year earlier than promised, in 2018-19. Frydenberg said he already knew the result and would unveil it in a fortnight. His smiles suggested it’s one he likes. Nominal GDP growth Commonwealth Treasury Mining income also pushed up what the Reserve Bank regards as the best measure of actual living standards, which (perhaps surprisingly) is not GDP per capita, which is going backwards, but a lesser known and purpose-designed measure known as “real net disposable income per capita”. It grew a healthy 2.65% over the year and a very healthy 1% over the quarter. It is true that much of it was paid out in mining profits, but it is also true that it isn’t necessarily right to latch on to the cruder measure of GDP per capita and say that living standards are going backwards. Helping maintain living standards was a very healthy growth in government spending, the highest for some time – not government infrastructure spending, that actually fell over the year as some state projects wound up, but day to day spending on things such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme. ABS 5625.0, Table 2 Oddly, because of the way the national accounts work, economic growth was also helped by a slump in imports, down 2.8% over the year due largely to a slump in imports of consumer goods. The economy is in a bad way. Aside from mining and government spending, the only real bright spot is employment growth, and as the Reserve Bank often points out, employment growth doesn’t tell us much about what’s going to happen. It tends to lag everything else in the economy, by up to nine months. By the time it turns down, other things already have. Frydenberg doesn’t seem too worried. For now he is banking on the tax cuts and the interest rate cuts in June and July to lift investment and spending. The treasurer has two Plan B’s. One is an aggressive investment allowance for business. He spoke about introducing one last week, but on Wednesday he indicated that he wasn’t planning to do so until next year’s May budget. If needed, he could bring the date forward. The other is another Reserve Bank rate cut, most likely at the board’s meeting on Melbourne Cup Day, by which time it will have before it an updated set of inflation figures. Read more: 'Back yourself' Treasurer Frydenberg tells business. But it's not that simple Frydenberg revealed on Wednesday that he is taking a close look at the government’s contract with the Reserve Bank, a formal written agreement which is renewed after each election. He has asked the treasury to look at it to see whether it needs to be tightened to make the bank more responsive to the state of the economy.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/why-weve-the-weakest-economy-since-the-global-financial-crisis-with-few-clear-ways-out-122942