1. 39,000 lightning strikes
We had 39,000 lightning strikes in one storm the other day. Apparently more than a million in the first six days of summer if you count cloud-to-cloud strikes.
Nothing too unusual about all that if you’ve lived in these parts for a while.
Unfortunately American tourist Sam Beattie was killed by a lightning strike camping on the summit of Mt Warning.
The only good place to be is inside a solid building when storms hit.
2. Turnbull poll rating a new low
Newspoll came out during the week to deliver the LNP its sixth loss in a row in TPP terms at 48-52. (If the link is pay-walled, Google ‘Newspoll’ and you should get it.)
The headline, though was Turnbull’s personal standing, which has fallen to lowest level since coming to power. He’s now at 41% as better prime minister to Shorten’s 32%, but his lead has fallen from 39 points in January to just nine points.
On the matter of how well they are doing their job, Turnbull’s net satisfaction rating is now -23 to Shorten’s – 17.
3. Turnbull has tidied his sock drawer
That’s the opinion of Lenore Taylor on Turnbull’s success with the backpacker tax.
She’s more interested in
- the so-called diverted profits tax – the Google tax – similar to the tax introduced in the UK in 2015 to stop multinationals coming up with convoluted schemes to shift their profits to low-tax or no-tax jurisdictions
Scott Morrison has released an exposure draft. They want to get it through to take effect by next financial year. The Government reckons they might pull in $100 million, but it could be much more.
Then there is:
- the government’s long-overdue concession that something is very, very wrong with the amount of revenue it collects from offshore gasfields.
As campaigners at the Tax Justice Network have been pointing out for a long time, there’s something amiss when Australia will become the world’s largest gas exporter in 2020 and is forecast in that year to get just $800m in revenue for its resource, while Qatar – the country we will be overtaking – will be getting $26bn.
The difference could be $400 billion over the next 20 years.
My bet is we keep giving the stuff away.
Also next year we’ll have the Turnbull government’s $48bn in company tax cuts to consider, which were going to be the “first order of business” for the new parliament. And whether investment will dry up if we don’t do it, or whether the money should be spent on health and education.
Should be an interesting year!
4. Italy after Renzi
After Renzi’s referendum went down by nearly 20 points, Thomas Jones at LRB blog looks at what’s next. Five options are outlined with the favoured one a ‘tecnico-politico’ government, led by Pier Carlo Padoan, the finance minister, or Dario Franceschini, the culture minister.
It sounds like the referendum was a case of overreach. There were perhaps some good reasons why it went down.
There’s a longer roundup at naked capitalism. I like the conclusion:
The whole situation reminds me of the famous saying by Karl Kraus: “In Berlin, things are serious but not hopeless. In Vienna, they are hopeless but not serious.” Still true in Berlin today, and substitute Rome for Vienna. Things are different for the voters, of course. They always are…
Sounds a mess!
5. GDP shrinks
Australia’s GDP shrank by 0.5% in the September quarter, the first time since March 2011 (by 0.2%), when it had suffered from the Queensland flood.
This time it was the election, a wet winter suppressing home building, or something. ScoMo has fingered renewable energy and South Australia, a mere 7% of the national economy.
ScoMo says $48 billion worth of tax cuts is the best medicine. Chris Bowen says that will deliver just one per cent (one per cent only, not one per cent each year) in 25 years.
Peter Martin says don’t start worrying yet about recessions, the numbers jump around and are often revised. Anyway:
- One of the reasons it doesn’t feel that bad for many of us this time is that during the same quarter, employment (hours worked) climbed 0.5 per cent and the best measure of living standards (real net national disposable income per head) also climbed 0.5 per cent.
GDP doesn’t measure living standards, he says.
Ross Gittins says Recession? look out your window. In Perth you are in recession, but in Sydney and Melbourne you are not.
Guess that’s OK then! Queensland isn’t on his map.
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.
The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:
The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.