THIS GOVERNMENT has abandoned Economic Logic … and no one seems willing to Call them on it!

WT ****!

This government has abandoned economic logic – and no one seems willing to call them on it

Greg Jericho

Greg Jericho

The Coalition needs to face up to the fact that living standards have been falling for five years under its watch

Sun 20 Oct 2019


Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg
 ‘Everyone should tattoo this to their eyeballs: the only reason for a budget surplus is to slow the economy in order to stop inflation growth from rising.’ Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images

The biggest con in Australian politics is the belief that a budget surplus not only matters, but that it demonstrates good economic management.

Our lives would be improved overnight if the political debate in this country could ditch the surplus obsession. The pertinent question at the moment is not whether a budget surplus will be delivered this financial year, but why on earth would you aim to do so?

Why do we need a budget surplus? It is not a question that gets asked too much – certainly not during the election campaign just passed, where both major parties argued over who had the bigger surplus.

The typical answer you get given is some vague notion of living within your means, saving for a rainy day, needing to pay down debt.

It’s all simplistic babble spoken by politicians with next to no economic logic in order to convince voters that somehow they are good at managing the economy – and for the most part it is taken as given by journalists.

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The balance of the budget tells us very little about the management of the economy.

Liberal Party MPs would have you believe that the mining boom during the 2000s occurred because of the budget surplus. In reality the stonking amounts of revenue that flowed in to the government’s coffers during that time meant it was almost impossible not to run a surplus.

In 2000-01 government revenue reached 26% of GDP – a level greater than the amount of spending done by the Rudd government in 2009-10 when it embarked on its massive stimulus program to offset the impact of the GFC.

If the Rudd government had enjoyed the same level of revenue that the Howard government routinely did, it would have at worst had a deficit of about $3bn – rather than going into a deficit of 4.2% of GDP, or $54bn.

But of course, if it had revenue of that size it would not have needed to create a massive stimulus in order to keep the economy going.

When you get down to it, the only outcome that really matters in the economy is household living standards. We want low unemployment, high productivity growth and all other things because we want it to lead to better living standards.

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During the mining boom, you could be forgiven for thinking that a surplus was a sign that the economy was being well managed – household disposable income was growing at around 4% a year in real terms

Now, government revenue is growing off the back of high commodity prices, but our economy is struggling and household living standards are falling.

Over the past three years household living standards have fallen by levels more akin to a deep recession than a period where a government should be seeking to take the heat out of the economy with a budget surplus.Advertisement

Because everyone should tattoo this to their eyeballs: the only reason for a budget surplus is to slow the economy in order to control inflation.

This happened during the mining boom – but so addicted was Howard to cutting taxes and providing tax concessions that the budget surpluses were actually too small to stop inflation growth from rising.

And thus the Reserve Bank raised interest rates 12 times in six years in order to slow things down.

Back then the Howard government was content for this to happen because they believed they would always be able to sell the line that interest rates would always be lower under a Liberal government.

 Read more

Now we are in the opposite situation. Inflation barely has a pulse, the overall economy is growing slower than it has since 2001, and the private sector is growing slower than at any time since the 1990s recession.

The Morrison government is mostly content to let the RBA keep cutting rates to stimulate the economy because it believes it will be able to sell the line that it is doing a good job because it has delivered a budget surplus.

The last time we had a budget surplus was in 2007-08, when the RBA raised the cash rate four times, from 6.25% to 7.25%.

So far this financial year the RBA has cut the cash rate three times, from 1.5% to 0.75%.

That is not a sign the economy needs slowing.

The last time the RBA raised the cash rate was in November 2010 – a time so long ago Steve Smith had only played in two test matches, Novak Djokovic had won only one grand slam title and Australians had yet to see the new British TV series, Downton Abbey.

During that entire time we have been obsessed about trying to get back to a budget surplus and yet also during that time inflation growth has remained weak, and household living standards have stagnated.

But such has been the potency of the surplus con job that should the government actually face reason and dare to utter the words “stimulus,” most news outlets would be quickly running with the failure to deliver a surplus, and the ALP as well would quickly get on board attacking the move.

And we would continue this awful economic debate where we discuss things through a frame that has been irrelevant for more than a decade now.

At some point, someone in the ALP or LNP is going to twig that the economy has changed since the GFC – what seemed correct then is most definitely not now.

It is time to ditch the surplus mania and force our government to stop worrying about some political con-job about economic management and to start facing up to the five years of falling living standards that have occurred under their watch.

• Greg Jericho writes on economics for Guardian Australia\





Australia’s skilled visa hoax exposed again

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy

October 21, 2019 | 25 comments

For years, MB has highlighted the deep flaws in Australia’s purported ‘skilled’ visa system, which accounts for around two-thirds of Australia’s planned migrant intake:

Our concerns has been based upon three main flaws, specifically:

  1. The overwhelming majority of migrants under the skilled stream are not actually skilled;
  2. Those that have arrived in Australia have overwhelmingly gone into areas that are not experiencing skills shortages; and
  3. The pay rates attached to skilled visas are appallingly low and undercut Australian workers.

Regarding the first flaw, the Productivity Commission’s 2016 Migrant Intake into Australia report revealed that around half of Australia’s skilled migrant intake is comprised of family members (spouses and children) of the primary skilled applicant, thus meaning that only around 30% of Australia’s planned migrant intake is actually ‘skilled’:

…within the skill stream, about half of the visas granted were for ‘secondary applicants’ — partners (who may or may not be skilled) and dependent children… Therefore, while the skill stream has increased relative to the family stream, family immigrants from the skill and family stream still make up about 70 per cent of the Migration Programme (figure 2.8)…

Primary applicants tend to have a better fiscal outcome than secondary applicants — the current system does not consider the age or skills of secondary applicants as part of the criteria for granting permanent skill visas…

Regarding the second flaw, the Department of Jobs & Small Business produces an annual time-series database tracking skills shortages across occupations. This database shows that since the mining construction boom ended in 2012, skills shortages across managerial and professional occupations have run below the 32-year average:

This is important because three-quarters of visas handed out under the skilled stream under both the permanent and temporary programs are for managerial and professional occupations, which are already well supplied with workers.

The failure of Australia’s ‘skilled’ visa programs to alleviate genuine skills shortages arises because almost any occupation is eligible for visas, and skilled occupation lists have no requirement that the occupations are actually experiencing skills shortages.

Accordingly,  ‘skilled’ visas are being used by employers to access foreign workers for an ulterior motive, namely to undercut local workers and lower wage costs.

This incentive to employ cheap foreign labour has been exacerbated by the federal government’s appallingly low salary floor for temporary skills shortage (TSS) visas. This salary floor has been set at just $53,900 since 2013-14, which is $19,000 below the median full-time Australian salary of $72,900 (comprising both skilled and unskilled workers).

Not surprisingly, then, the actual pay rates for ‘skilled’ workers is below the population as a whole, according to the Department of Home Affairs’ Continuous Survey of Australia’s Migrants. This survey revealed that the median full-time salary 18 months after being granted a skilled visa was just $72,000 in 2016, below the population median of $72,900. This is an appalling result given the population median includes unskilled workers, which drags the nation-wide median full-time salary down.

With this unsavoury background in mind, SBS News published an interesting case study highlighting why Australia’s skilled visa system is a hoax.

The SBS article profiles a Pakistani family that migrated to South Australia on a permanent state-nominated ‘skills shortage’ visa, only for the primary visa holder to deliver food for six months before finally gaining work in the highly oversupplied mechanical engineering field:

When Pakistani migrant Ishtiaq Ahmed was considering a destination to call home for his young family in Australia, Adelaide was at the top of his list…

The 32-year-old moved to Adelaide in 2017 with his wife Zartaisha Kanwal and child and soon later found work in mechanical engineering on a subclass 190 Skilled Nomination Visa…

When Mr Ahmed first arrived in Adelaide he had to work odd jobs, including delivering food, for six months before he landed a job in his trained profession as a mechanical engineer.

This case study meets the first two flaws identified above.

First, the primary ‘skilled’ visa holder has brought over three unskilled dependents on a permanent basis – a wife and two children.

Second, the skilled visa holder has arrived in South Australia to work in an area – mechanical engineering – that is already way oversupplied with qualified workers.

Proof of this is documented clearly in the Department of Employment’s latest skills shortages report for South Australia. This report shows that there were 94 applicants per job vacancy in mechanical engineering in 2019, with 81 qualified applicants per vacancy:

• The average number of applicants increased significantly in 2019 (94.0), compared to 2018 (20.4).
• The average number of suitable applicants per vacancy was relatively unchanged in 2019 (1.2), from 2018 (1.1)…
• The average number of qualified applicants per vacancy increased in 2019 (81.4) compared to in 2018 (17.6).
• The reasons why applicants were considered unsuitable included:
○ Applicants lacked skills and experience in technical fields in specific industries
○ Applicants lacked basic soft skills including being able to work in a team and communication skills
○ Applicants were not considered an appropriate ‘fit’ for the organisation’s culture and values.
• Employers required applicants to have a tertiary qualification, a bachelor degree specialising in mechanical engineering field and most employers required a minimum of two to five years experience.
• Employers found it difficult to recruit experienced Mechanical Engineers in specialised fields that required five to ten years experience and met specific industry requirements.

Clearly, by enticing foreign labour into areas that are already oversupplied with workers, it undercuts local workers and supresses wage growth.

In order to stop the rorting, the wage floor for temporary and permanent skilled migrants should lifted to the 80th to 90th percentile of earnings, or indexed to double the median wage.

This would ensure that Australia’s visa system is used sparingly by employers to recruit only the highest skilled migrants. It would also prevent employers from undercutting local workers and encourage them to provide training





Bad honeymoon. ScoMo Newspolls bang someone else

By Houses and Holes in Australian Politics

October 21, 2019 | 15 comments

It is a worry for the Government. It is much less secure than Labor is making out (for no apparent reason), via The Australian:

The Coalition has maintained its lead over Labor despite pressure over the economy and criticism of drought relief for farmers as ­Anthony Albanese’s approval ­ratings sink to their lowest since he came to the job.

An exclusive Newspoll conducted for The Australian shows no change in the headline numbers for the government, with the Coalition holding a two-party-preferred lead of 51 per cent to 49 per cent.

It’s not hard to see why:

  • falling living standards;
  • interminable per capita recession;
  • falling real wages;
  • force fed mass immigration;
  • CCPs silent invasion of universities, Canberra and the Gladys Liu affair;
  • endless energy crisis;
  • house price bubble yoyo.

I can’t recall a new Government honeymoon this weak. Perhaps the only reason it is not as issue in the press is that its lost all faith in polls itself.

If Labor had a brain they’d be making hay. Scratch that, they’d be in power.




GITTINS: ON SCOMO Committing Economic Suicide …

Holding the line: Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Gittins: Scomoberg committing economic suicide

By Houses and Holes in Australian budgetAustralian EconomyAustralian Politics

October 21, 2019 | 6 comments

Via Ross Gittins today:

Scott Morrison’s problem is that he gets politics – and is good at it – but doesn’t get economics.

*The Prime Minister doesn’t get that if he keeps playing politics while doing nothing to stop the economy sliding into recession, nothing will save him from the voters’ wrath.

Neither he nor Josh Frydenberg seem to get that if we endure another year of very weak growth before they pop up next September boasting about their fabulous budget surplus, no one will be cheering.

…Frydenberg’s argument about the need to “reload the fiscal canon” ready for the next downturn makes perfect sense – provided you’re paying back public debt at a time when the economy’s growing strongly and, if anything, could use a bit of slowing to ensure inflation doesn’t get away.

That’s not us, unfortunately.

…My bet is Morrison and Frydenberg will eventually panic and take stimulatory measures (probably a lot of them), but they’ll come too late in the piece to stop confidence unravelling, with punters tightening their belts as businesses lay off staff.

That’s my read too, reinforced by more blather from the L-plate treasurer today:

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has left Washington upbeat about challenges facing the global and domestic economies, including a “more positive” outlook for a US-China trade fix, even as the IMF warned Australia must tackle tax reform and that next year’s budget may need to tap some of the surplus to stimulate growth.

Mr Frydenberg said his message was “there’s no need to panic” and that the global economy “remains sound”, after three days of intense talks with counterparts from around the world, including US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid and India’s Nirmala Sitharaman.

“Despite the challenges facing the global economy I found that people were more optimistic than not about the ability of the economy to get back on track,” he told The Australian Financial Review before boarding his flight back home.

So, let’s not assess the Aussie economy on its merits. Instead let’s deploy a false binary in which we shouldn’t “panic”. Who is suggesting that we panic? Nobody. Just about every economist I read is suggesting we should boost infrastructure spending, Newstart, etc. It’s hardly panic. It’s decreasing the fiscal drag when you’ve got weak growth. To wit, today:

The Morrison government has spent only $2.2 million out of a $3.5 billion infrastructure fund designed to connect key ports, airports and other transport hubs around Australia.

The “roads of strategic importance” scheme, which had its funding boosted by a further $1 billion in the 2019-20 budget after being announced 18 months ago, has only started construction on the $2.2 million upgrade to the Murchison Highway in Tasmania.

As Gittins says, what will happen is that Recessionberg will panic when he leaves it too long. Moreover, because the next accident coming to Australia is a terms of trade crash (that has already begun), which is largely driven by market adjustments in bulk commodities not slowing global growth anyway, Recessionberg will panic just as the viability of his next wave of tax cuts come into question. This is poor budget management, poor economic management and poor politics.

But at least the rictus treasurer will smile all the way through it.




Unions declare war on Labor over FTA Betrayal …

Perhaps if the Labor Party continues down this path … they will have to do a lot more naval gazing as to WHY yet another Election loss … FFS!

Begs the question who is white-ant eating from within? Who has grabbed control?

Unions declare war on Labor over FTA treachery

Unions declare war on Labor over FTA treachery

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy

October 21, 2019 | 9 comments

Last week, Labor attracted scorn from union leaders after the party’s caucus voted to support the federal government’s proposed free-trade agreements (FTAs) with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru.

The key area of contention is that the Indian and Peru FTAs include working rights, which would expand the number of temporary migrant workers in Australia by several thousand, thus further undercutting local workers.

Over the weekend, a union-backed motion opposing free these FTAs was narrowly defeated 67 votes to 64 at the 2019 conference of Labor’s Northern Territory branch.

The motion included a provision that MPs who vote for policies against the national platform should be expelled from the party. Warren Snowdon, Luke Gosling and Malarn­dirri McCarthy could have faced expulsion if the motion had been passed. From The Australian:

The ACTU and some Labor MPs argue that the free-trade deals, which the Labor leader and federal caucus backed last week, are a violation of the policy platform.

The motion was proposed by the Electrical Trades Union and backed by the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union. CFMEU Queensland and NT secretary Michael Ravbar spoke in favour of the motion…

The Opposition Leader yesterday defended supporting the agreements, saying they were “good for Australian jobs”…

The union movement claims that Labor has reneged on a deal to protect Australian workers in FTAs:

Back in December 2018 the AMIEU and other Unions made a deal with the Labor Party that the conditions of Australian workers would be protected in all future trade agreements.

Labor was so embarrassed when we threatened to picket a Bill Shorten fundraising event they agreed to introduce better and fairer trade agreement legislation.

We expect Labor to honour the deal struck with the Union movement, but already they are showing signs of flopping.

Labor Parliamentarians MUST OPPOSE the Liberal Government’s new free trade agreements with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru.

These new trade agreements will increase the number of temporary visa workers in Australia, of which there are already 1.4 million. Visa workers are taken advantage of by multinational corporations and used to erode the wages and conditions of everyone.

Not only have these free trade agreements not been independently assessed, they do not require labour market testing and even allow multinationals to sue the Australian government if they aren’t making enough money.

The AMIEU has written to Federal Labor, Greens and Independent Parliamentarians to oppose the proposed free trade agreements. We urge these Parliamentarians to closely examine the new trade agreements to see just how they will disadvantage Australian workers.

Federal Labor Parliamentarians, if you aren’t going to fight for the workers you claim to represent, you aren’t fit for your job.

As I said last week, the “Labor” Party no longer supports the working class, but rather inner-city social justice warriors and virtue signallers. They care more about identity politics than real issues that impact the working class.

*Nor is the union movement adequately representing its working-class. While it is fighting the good fight on FTAs, it remains a wholehearted supporter of Australia’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy, even signing a ‘Big Australia’ immigration compact with employer groups last year.

This comes despite mass immigration being a key driver of inequality, since it raises the wealth of capitalists while driving down the wages of ordinary workers, and forces workers to live in smaller and more expensive housing.

Rather than focussing on tiny FTAs, unions need to push for root-and-branch immigration reform, starting with dramatically lowering the overall permanent migrant intake, as well as setting a wage floor for ‘skilled’ migrants at the 80th to 90th percentile of earnings or double the median wage.

This would ensure the scheme is used sparingly by employers on only the highest skilled migrants, not as a general labour market tool for accessing cheap foreign labour and eliminating the need for training.

Photo: The Australian: Mimicking Howard just a start for Albanese




CBA: Mass Immigration will keep AUSTRALIAN HOUSING Unaffordable!


-an additional 17.5 million people will massively increase demand for housing, thus placing upward pressure on values

the claim that immigration is “the fountain of youth” fails Demography 101

-a key driver of Australia’s current ‘baby boomer bulge’ is the mass immigration program ran in the post-war period i.e. 1950s and 1960s

-these migrants have now grown old, thus adding to Australia’s current ageing ‘problem’

-therefore importing more migrants is the equivalent of ‘can-kick economics’; today’s migrants will also grow old’; an ageing problem in 40 year’s time

running annual net overseas migration (NOM) of 200,000 to 280,000 delivers only 3% more working-aged Australians by 2101 than zero NOM

adding 150% to 200% more people to Australia’s population versus zero NOM

Such a massive increase in population will obviously take a massive toll on Australia’s natural environment and general liveability.

CBA: Mass immigration will keep Australian housing unaffordable

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Property

October 21, 2019 | 5 comments

CBA interest rate strategists, Jarrod Kerr and Adam Donaldson, claim that mass immigration is Australia’s “fountain of youth” and will prevent housing prices from falling. From The Australian:


Back in January 2017, the interest rate strategists at the Commonwealth Bank published a Global Markets Research paper called Demography is Destiny for Interest Rates, But Immigration a Fountain of Youth. Kerr and Donaldson were the authors…

Deflation, not inflation, is listed as the biggest threat ahead…

The paper does not predict Australian house prices will fall, though. So it may not be wise for millennials to sit back and wait for them to become cheaper.

The paper makes the case that, against the trends in many other countries, Australia will still experience growth.

Our differentiator is immigration, “the fountain of youth”. Put simply, we are a destination of choice for China and India. The average age of our immigrant is in the mid-20s, and people at this stage in life form families and buy houses.

CBA’s claim that mass immigration will prevent Australian housing from deflating is uncontroversial.

Australia’s population is projected to balloon by another 17.5 million people over the next 48 years to around 43 million people, with all of this growth to come via net overseas migration (NOM):

Obviously, this additional 17.5 million people will massively increase demand for housing, thus placing upward pressure on values.

*Where the CBA’s analysis falls short is the claim that immigration is “the fountain of youth”. This fails Demography 101.

*A key driver of Australia’s current ‘baby boomer bulge’ is the mass immigration program ran in the post-war period (i.e. 1950s and 1960s):

*These migrants (which include my parents) have now grown old, thus adding to Australia’s current ageing ‘problem’. Therefore, importing more migrants to solve ageing is the equivalent of ‘can-kick economics’, because today’s migrants will also grow old, thus creating further ageing problems in 40 year’s time.

Second, the ABS’ own demographic projections show that immigration is next to useless in ‘younging’ Australia’s population.

*That is, if we apply a more realistic definition for the working aged population of 19 to 70 (given more kids are staying in school and older Australians are working longer), then running annual net overseas migration (NOM) of 200,000 to 280,000 delivers only 3% more working-aged Australians by 2101 than zero NOM:

*This tiny ‘benefit’ will only be transitory and comes at the expense of adding 150% to 200% more people to Australia’s population versus zero NOM:

*Such a massive increase in population will obviously take a massive toll on Australia’s natural environment and general liveability.

Detailed counter-arguments to the CBA’s “fountain of youth” claim are articulated in the research paper Three Economic Myths about Ageing: Participation, Immigration and Infrastructure, which was authored by Dr Cameron Murray and I and commissioned by Sustainable Australia.

Photo: The Australian




ALP denied Bill Shorten’s election campaign cry for help

ALP denied Bill Shorten’s election campaign cry for help

Bill Shorten during an election campaign visit to Burnie, Tasmania, in May. Picture: AAP
Bill Shorten during an election campaign visit to Burnie, Tasmania, in May. Picture: AAP

Bill Shorten urged the Labor Party to help him soften his image during the election campaign but was rebuffed, in one of several disagreements between the leader and the party that have emerged ahead of the release of a review into the election defeat.

The Weekend Australian can reveal the review will find that Labor’s campaign was dogged by poor organisation, confusing messages, unpopular policies, defect­ive advertising and Mr Shorten’s unpopularity.

The Weekend Australian has learned that Labor’s post-election review will conclude the party should have done more to inoculate Mr Shorten against attacks from the Coalition on his character, even though the former Labor leader suggested that this be a campaign priority.


Labor’s six-person review team will meet in Canberra on Sunday to begin finalising the repor­t, which is expected to provide­ 30-40 recommendations.

The findings will include that:

• The party had too many ­campaign messages, which confused voters;

• There were too many policies and several of them, including on taxation and climate change, were unpopular;

• Not enough work was done to inoculate against attacks on policies, and the rapid response via advertising and social media was ineffective;

• The campaign suffered from organisational defects, with poor communication and co-ordin­ation of staff and responsibilities;

• Mr Shorten’s unpopularity was a factor.

Those familiar with the report say it is evidence-based and comprehensive, and includes a demographic analysis of the party’s loss of voter support. Labor received a primary vote of 33.3 per cent nationa­lly and performed espec­ially poorly in Queensland and Western Australia. As revealed in The Australianlast month, the review­ notes that Labor’s blue-collar base is deserting the party.


The review team also examined the party’s policies and has debated the decision to adopt a “big target” agenda and the impact­ of specific policies such as changes to franking credits and negative gearing, and climate and energ­y initiatives.

The finalisation of the report comes amid a debate on the future of key policies, including emissions reduction targets, that is causing internal friction among federal MPs.

Frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon has called for the opposition to adopt the government’s 28 per cent cut below 2005 levels by 2030 and dump the 45 per cent target Labor took to the election — a move rejected by his colleagu­e Mark Butler, Labor’s climate change spokesman.

The Weekend Australiancan reveal that Mr Shorten suggested the campaign address his low voter approval with direct-to-camera advertising, but this was not supported.

Concerned about unremitting personal attacks from Scott Morrison, and the damage done by Clive Palmer’s $60m advertising campaign, Mr Shorten also suggested to Labor national secretary Noah Carroll they respond with a negative advertising blitz on the Prime Minister, but was rebuffed.

The post-election review is being led by former South Aust­ralian premier Jay Weatherill and former federal minister Craig Emerson. They have been assisted­ by Linda White from the Australian Services Union and former party officials Anthony Chisholm, who is now a senator, NSW upper-house MP John Graham and Lenda Oshalem.

Mr Weatherill and Dr Emerson have interviewed MPs, party officials, senior staff, campaign consultants and union leaders. They have also interviewed former­ party leaders, including Paul Keating, former ministers and leading journalists.

The presentation of the report to the party’s 21-member national executive is likely to take place in the week of November 4. The team wants its report made public but this will be determined in consultation with Anthony Albanese.

It is widely known within the party that Dr Emerson has been critical of Mr Shorten during interviews, campaign review meetings and in drafts of the report. There has been a push within the party, and the review team, to wind back some of this criticism and adopt a more balanced assessment of the former leader’s contribution to the party’s defeat.

Although the party ran a limited “soft” advertising campaign in the summer of 2018-19 that featured Mr Shorten, his wife Chloe and their family, the former leader thought there should be more of this. The campaign discussed adopting Kevin Rudd’s direct-to-camera television advertising strategy that addressed attacks on Labor’s record on the economy and closeness to unions in 2007.

The campaign team, based on research, concluded that advocating a positive policy agenda would be more important in elev­ating Mr Shorten’s authenticity and credibility as an alternative prime minister.

Mr Shorten’s ­personal popularity increased marginally during the campaign, according to the party’s internal polling.

However, analysis of Newspoll results reveals Mr Shorten had a negative net satisfaction rating for more than four years leading up to the May election, eclipsing all previous opposition leaders. Also, his better prime minister rating remained below 40 per cent after September 2015, when Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as Liberal leader.

A senior campaign source said Mr Shorten’s popularity was not the main reason the party lost; it was because it had too many polic­ies and failed to defend them against a scare campaign. “Every political leader since Julius Caesar­ has complained about their approval ratings,” they said.

While the report will not be critical of Mr Carroll personally, it will highlight aspects of a defective campaign organisation, such as: managing staff and co-ordin­ating with Mr Shorten’s office; polling and focus-group research; marginal-seat campaigning; and the use of social media and the ­advertising strategy.

While there have been few written submissions to the review, The Weekend Australianrevealed in August that lobby group Labor Environment Action Network had been critical of climate change policies. LEAN members criticised the party for failing to cost these policies or reveal their impact on the economy.

The review will not provide recommendations on policies — such as short- and long-term emissions reduction targets — but will provide feedback on how they were developed and received by the electorate. Higher-level guidance on some policy areas is expected in the report.

A number of forums held around Australia has found that most Labor members are proud of the party’s values and policy objectiv­es but they are not strongly of the view that specific policies cannot be amended or abandoned before the next election.


SENIOR WRITER Troy Bramston is a senior writer and columnist with The Australian and a contributor to Sky News.





Employers could face criminal charges for exploiting migrant workers. Photo: Daniel Norris/Unsplash

Employers could face criminal charges for exploiting migrant workers. Photo: Daniel Norris/Unsplash

KEY POINTS …. ON WHY AUSTRALIA HAS HIGH YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT AND UNDEREMPLOYMENT … the lack of action by the Morrison Government can only be described as contemptuous of the Australian People!

wage theft of international students is in all work sectors of the economy

underpayment is common in local Asian restaurants

80% of Chinese, Korean and Spanish advertised pay rates below the minimum wage

2.2 million temporary migrants in Australia as at June 2019, an increase of nearly 540,000 since 2012

-the increase in temporary visas has been driven by international students; whose numbers have surged by around 250,000 over the same period

International students enslaved by own countrymen

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy

October 21, 2019 | 21 comments

Wage theft from international students has been an enduring theme across the Australian economy over times.

Earlier this year, Alan Fels – the chair of the Migrant Workers Taskforce – described wage theft as “widespread and systematic”, and estimated that one-third of international students are being underpaid, typically by migrant employers of the same nationality:

Former consumer watchdog Allan Fels, who is leading the government’s Migrant Workers Taskforce, said he believed one-third of international students were being exploited, with an unpaid wages bill in the billions… [He estimated] up to 145,000 students on working visas are being underpaid by employers…

*Professor Fels… said workplace ­exploitation of overseas students was “widespread and systematic”…

*He said exploitation of inter­national students by businesses owned by migrants from the same ethnic group was a particular problem

The Wage Crisis in Australia – a book released last year by a group of academics – also raised concern for international students, who they claimed were vulnerable to exploitation because they “see themselves as involved in a project of ‘staggered’ or ‘multi-step’ migration”.

According to their analysis, around two-thirds of international students were paid below the minimum wage, with one-quarter earning $12/hour or less and 43% of students earning $15/hour or less.

The Grattan Institute also raised the alarm in July:

Australia is now running a predominantly low-skill migration system. People from this system form a material proportion of the younger workforce. Because of visa conditions, many of these migrants have incentives to work for less than minimum wages, and there is anecdotal evidence that many do…

It is possible that the scale of this influx to the labour market is depressing wages and increasing under-employment specifically for low-skill younger workers.

With this background in mind, SBS News has published another report profiling wage theft of international students by their fellow migrant countrymen:

Jonathan said he wasn't sure how to talk to his boss about receiving minimum wage

Jonathan said he wasn’t sure how to approach his boss about receiving minimum wage: The Feed

Jonathan is an international student [from China] who has been consistently underpaid at a series of part time jobs. He says that when he first arrived in Australia, he was offered $12 an hour so many times he assumed it was legal…

“There was a small supermarket owned by a Chinese couple – they told me that they could pay me $12, and they said that’s the average,” Jonathan said…

Young workers and workers from a migrant background are particularly vulnerable to workplace exploitation

Young workers and workers from a migrant background are particularly vulnerable to workplace exploitation: The Feed

Jonathan didn’t end up taking that job, because around the same time he got a better offer — a Chinese restaurant offered to pay him $14.50 an hour instead…

It was only much later that Jonathan learnt that $14.50 an hour isn’t that great…

*He says underpayment is ‘a common thing’ in local Asian restaurants.

“So when it happens to me, I wouldn’t complain that much because, you know, at least I’m working. At least I’m getting money from this place”…

For international students, finding a part-time job that pays minimum wage can be surprisingly tough…

*“It is all too common,” Migrant Workers Centre director Matt Kunkel told The Feed. “We see it everywhere. We see in all sectors of the economy.”

*The video attached to the article is well worth watching. It shows Jonathan applying for around half a dozen jobs at Chinese-run businesses, all of which offered an average pay of $12 per hour – well below the minimum wage. The report also claims that 80% of Chinese, Korean and Spanish advertised pay rates were below the minimum wage.



Another temporary migrant from Korea is also interviewed who reveals that she has been underpaid in every job she has had while living in Australia.

*According to the Department of Home Affairs, there were around 2.2 million temporary migrants in Australia as at June 2019, an increase of nearly 540,000 since 2012:

*As shown above, this increase in temporary visas has been driven by international students, whose numbers have surged by around 250,000 over the same period.

*To be honest, it is not only international students but the entire mass immigration model that is driving wage theft and exploitation. Specifically:

  • students, visa holders, tourists all work well below the minimum wage while they hope to qualify for longer-terms visas; and
  • their numbers grow endlessly, and so too does the overcapacity in the labour market.

*The result is that virtually every sector of the Australian economy has been flooded with cheap migrant labour, thus eroding worker bargaining power, industrial relations standards, and facilitating wage theft.

Australia’s chronic low wage growth will not be solved until the mass immigration rort is closed.

A restaurant offers to pay Jonathan below the minimum wage

A restaurant offers to pay Jonathan below the minimum wage




Majority of off-the-plan apartments worth less than purchase price, data show

IMAGINE if you were one of these owners …

you now have further problems

.with your finances, the bank may have second thoughts about your mortgage

.along with the falling value of your property your equity is not looking good either

.if you are looking at selling you know it’s going to be harder to get even near what you need to break even

.to sell now means further proof of your meeting quality assurances the market is now demanding following recent well-publicised failings in this space

AND where are the strata fees going, where are the insurance premiums going, up of course!

Ever increasing realisation that once the developer and builder have left the site having met their minimum obligations they are off the hook, and the owners and the body corporate are left with the issues and liabilities.

Gladys is not going to help, after all her lot are about development they are simply not sincerely concerned about anything that stands in the way.

IT will be interesting to see how long her lot will keep pretending they are genuine about fixing the backlog of major building defects … all they seem to be interested in doing is keeping secret the list of those buildings still cladded in dangerous materials! OMG!


Majority of off-the-plan apartments worth less than purchase price, data shows

7.30 By Tracy Bowden and Kirsten Robb

21 OCTOBER 2019

Apartments being built.

PHOTO: Off-the-plan apartments have seen a drop in value in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. (ABC News: Jessica Hinchliffe)

Shaky confidence in the capital city apartment market is hitting off-the-plan buyers hard, with a significant rise in the number of newly constructed units now worth less at completion than the price they were originally purchased for.

Key points:

  • According to CoreLogic data for August, more than half of newly constructed off-the-plan apartments in Sydney and Melbourne were worth less than the owners bought them for
  • Nearly a third of off-the-plan apartments in Sydney were worth at least 10 per cent less
  • CoreLogic’s Tim Lawless said there had been an oversupply of apartments in the high-rise sector

7.30 can reveal that 60 per cent of off-the-plan apartments in Sydney, and 52.9 per cent in Melbourne, werevalued lower than their contract price at the time of settlement.

The latest figures from property data provider CoreLogic for the month of August shows that nearly a third of off-the-plan buyers in Sydney were moving into new apartments worth at least 10 per cent less than the price they purchased them for.

Just two years ago, less than 16 per cent of newly constructed NSW units were valued below contract price after they were completed.

In Queensland, 43.1 per cent of units were worth less at settlement than what they were purchased for, and in Western Australia it was 22.5 per cent of apartments.Follow this story to get email or text alerts from ABC News when there is a future article following this storyline.Follow this story

‘A very fundamental shift in value’

The Opal Tower with a sign to the left

PHOTO: Opal Tower was evacuated last year when cracks were found in the building. (ABC News: Nick Sas)

CoreLogic’s head of research, Tim Lawless, said when many of these newly completed apartments were originally sold off the plan back in 2016 and 2017, the market was very different.

“We were seeing values rising at about 15 to 20 per cent per annum in Sydney and Melbourne,” Mr Lawless said.

“Now cast your mind forward to 2019 and we’ve seen prices come down in Sydney by 15 per cent. In Melbourne, they’re down by about 11 per cent.

“A lot of those off-the-plan buyers have seen a very fundamental shift in the value of the project that they purchased a couple of years ago.”

Mr Lawless said there had been a significant oversupply in the high-rise sector, with supply substantially outpacing demand.

But he said concerns around construction quality, remediation costs and flammable cladding had had a compounding effect.

“That [is] probably also weighing on the minds of people in the marketplace and potentially affecting the resale value of those properties as well,” he said.

A string of negative headlines has plagued the apartment market in the past two years, beginning with London’s Grenfell Towers fire in June 2017 and the discovery of the widespread use of combustible cladding on apartment buildings.

In Australia, confidence in the market was further destabilised after the evacuations of Sydney’s Opal Tower on Christmas Eve 2018 and Mascot Towers in June of this year.

Mascot Towers owners still in limbo

An apartment block

PHOTO: Cracks at Mascot Towers have gotten worse, residents have been advised. (AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

Owners at the 10-storey Mascot Towers in Sydney have fared far worse than most.

Not only have residents such as retiree Maree Peters watched their building garner major media coverage for its structural defects, they have still not been able to return to their homes.

“We have an asset worth one and a half million dollars that right now is worth nothing,” Ms Peters said.

“It’s your home, it’s everything you worked for, that you think is safe, that you think is protected.”

Having recently learnt that the cracks in their building are widening, owners will meet Tuesday to vote on a program to fund their building repairs.

They will decide between a commercial strata loan or a multi-million-dollar levy to pay for urgent repairs.

Stage one of the levy would cost around $7.7 million.

“At the moment we have a building that if we don’t do anything it’s worth nothing, and unless we put money in to try and get some value back we are left with an asset that is worthless,” Mascot Towers owner Brian Tucker said.

Watch this story tonight on 7.30.




120 PROPERTIES to be forcibly acquired for $20B METRO West Rail Line

MORE TUNNELLING and ANGST for the INNER WEST not only from WestCONnex under Lilyfield and Rozelle but from Five Dock to the Bays Precinct for METRO WEST!

MEANWHILE Sydney Olympic Park will have no major transport upgrade until 2030.

Melrose Park and Wentworth Point are exploding

10,000 more residents for Melrose Park; to impact neighbouring Ryde Electorate and inadequate infrastructure


‘VALUE CAPTURE’ to create the demand for services every two minutes. 

MTR Consortium is a Hong Kong Developer, and what it will mean are thousands of high-rise apartments built around the Metro Stations!

To benefit developers, their overseas clients and perhaps their Minions in Macquarie Street … to our detriment …

WHAT will happen to our existing Australian built trains, stations and rolling stock?

Will our stations be sold off for even more development?

Then will NSW INC sell off the new stations to more overseas investors looking to higher returns from ticket price increases?

DID you figure this would happen following the March 2019 Election?

JOHN SIDOTI the Member for Drummoyne appears to have had the benefit of what can be described as ‘insider trading’ … to date Mr Sidoti has only been referred to ICAC …

“Mr Ming is vice president of Southern Han International, a property development firm building $70 million residential towers in Rouse Hill near the newly completed Metro West train line.

Mr Sidoti has declared a 10 per cent interest in the Rouse Hill development through a family company called JAFS Investment Trust.

In a statement, Mr Sidoti denied any wrongdoing.”


SEARCH CAAN WEBSITE to find out more about John Sidoti, and compulsory acquisition and land amalgamation …

120 properties to be forcibly acquired for $20b Metro West rail line

Matt O'Sullivan
By Matt O’Sullivan

October 21, 2019

View all comments

Almost 120 properties will be forcibly acquired for construction of a $20 billion-plus metro rail line from Parramatta to the central city, which is now slated to be opened by 2030, about two years later than expected.

As foreshadowed by The Sydney Morning Herald, transport officials on Monday began informing owners of properties flagged for acquisition after the Berejiklian government announced the locations of seven stations along the Sydney Metro West rail line.

Media companies launch campaign against government

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and transport minister Andrew Constance announce seven new stations to be built for Sydney’s West Metro.Media companies launch campaign against government

Media companies launch campaign against government

The stations will be built at Westmead, Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park, North Strathfield, Burwood North, Five Dock and the Bays Precinct at Rozelle.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new line – most of which will run through tunnels – would more than double the rail capacity between Parramatta and Sydney’s CBD.

“This crucial project will reduce the journey between Parramatta and the city to around 20 minutes with trains running every two minutes,” she said.

The travel time for a journey from the CBD to Olympic Park will be 14 minutes.

Of the 116 properties to be acquired for the project, 23 are residential and 93 commercial businesses. The Bays Precinct will be the first site on which work will start because that is where tunnelling will commence. Tunnel boring machines are expected to start digging the line in 2022.

The government has yet to make a final decision on building metro stations at Pyrmont in the inner city, or Rydalmere, east of Parramatta, which have been dubbed “optional stations”.

It is also finalising the site of the station in Sydney’s CBD, which is expected to be under Hunter Street, linking Wynyard and Martin Place.

A turn-back site for trains will be needed in the central city. While that could be built at the CBD station, the government has not ruled out Zetland in the inner south as the site of a turn-back or a station.

Asked why the opening of the line was about two years later than expected, Transport Minister Andrew Constance said it could be completed earlier than 2030 but “we are setting a realistic expectation and, as always, this government will set about bettering it”.

So far, the Berejiklian government has committed $6.4 billion to Metro West over a four-year period. It declined to put a cost on the entire project, citing the need to retain “competitive tension” in the bidding process for contracts to build the project.


An artist's impression of an underground metro train station planned for Westmead

Sydney Metro approval clears way for exact locations of train stations

A large stabling yard and operations centre for the single-deck, driverless metro trains will be built at the Clyde and Rosehill industrial estate bounded by James Ruse Drive, the M4 motorway and Unwin and Shirley streets.

Metro West is effectively the third stage of the city’s metro rail network. The first stage known as Metro Northwest from Rouse Hill to Chatswood opened in May, and the second stage under Sydney Harbour and on to the CBD and Sydenham and Bankstown is due to be completed in 2024.

Labor leader Jodi McKay said the new timeline for completion of the project represented a “major broken promise” by the government.

“The tunnel boring machines are running a year late, the project at least two years late – and there is a massive funding black hole,” she said.

An artist's impression of Bella Vista station.
An artist’s impression of Bella Vista station.CREDIT:NSW GOVERNMENT

“With Parramatta light rail stage two all but axed, Olympic Park will have no major transport upgrade until 2030. Areas like Melrose Park and Wentworth Point are exploding and people have moved there on faith.”

Sydney Metro West station locations

Westmead: The eastern side of Hawkesbury Road, south of the existing Westmead station. The new station will have one entrance on Hawkesbury Road.

Parramatta: On the block bound by George, Macquarie, Church and Smith streets with an entrance on Horwood Place.

Sydney Olympic Park: To the south of the existing train station. It will sit to the east of Olympic Boulevard with the main station entrances between Herb Elliot Avenue and Figtree Drive, and off Dawn Fraser Avenue.

North Strathfield: Adjacent to the existing train station. New metro platforms will sit alongside the existing station and entry to the station would be from a new entrance on Queen Street.

Burwood North: At the corner of Burwood and Parramatta roads, with entrances on both the north and south sides of Parramatta Road.

Five Dock: Located off Great North Road, between East Street and then at the corner of Second Avenue and Waterview Street. The station entrance will be at Fred Kelly Place off Great North Road.

Bays Precinct: Located between Glebe Island and White Bay Power Station with an entrance to the south of White Bay.

Matt O’Sullivan

Matt O’Sullivan is the Transport Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.