With Albanian back on the campaign trail, so are interest rates for the first time in about 15 years

Welcome to the end of week three, everyone, and it’s a big hello to interest rates — a key point on the campaign trail for the first time in about 15 years.

Given the lengthy hiatus, it’s worth briefly summarizing the rules of thumb traditionally associated with politicians’ assessment of their own ability to influence complex issues such as inflation and rate hikes, by playing a game I like to call: “Is this debacle my fault?”

When interest rates are low, prime ministers and treasurers are often impassioned by the extent to which this result is driven by their own expert handling of the complex, powerful motor vehicle that is the Australian economy.

When interest rates were last an electoral issue, the Howard administration went to great lengths to remind voters that excessive government spending (such as the one that Labor governments usually indulged in, the listener was invited to conclude) was driving inflation. rise and thus yielded higher interest rates.

An orgiastic Salem-style hysteria over inflationary government spending was mounting — which, oddly enough, didn’t apply to things like the Superannuation Guarantee, the Baby Bonus, or the rebate on private health insurance, where public funds were spent on people who, strictly speaking, have them. not necessary.

That’s why poor old Mark Latham had to sign a ridiculous giant cardboard pledge in 2004 to “guarantee” that he would keep interest rates low.

The causal relationship between tax institutions and interest rates at the time was so lavishly fetishized that the idea that they could be influenced by signing a large sheet of cardboard wasn’t even the dumbest idea in the room. Good times!

A very different approach

However, how things have changed.

When he pressed to explain this week’s sickening inflation spike, the treasurer didn’t even rhetorically wonder if it had anything to do with the massive amount of stimulus spending that has trained on the Australian economy since the nation first recorded a loss of taste and smell.

Instead, he chose What You Say When Things Are Bad – which is essentially that it’s out of our control. Russia, the pandemic, freighters stranded in the Suez, that sort of thing.

Scott Morrison holds a glass of whiskey while visiting a distillery.
Scott Morrison stopped by a whiskey distillery in Tasmania amid ongoing discussion about cost of living pressures. AAP: Mick Tsikas

This is a brutal generalization to ignore absolutely all inflation factors. The 5.7 percent increase in the cost of new-build homes is certainly a leeetle somewhat related to the fact that the government continues to put money into this already quite rostered sector. And it would take a superhuman act of grace to conclude that the 6.3 percent increase in college fees has nothing to do with the government’s decision to, er, increase them.

But yes, in this case it seems reasonable to conclude that the main factors – delivery problems, fuel costs – are due to factors beyond the control of the government.

Anthony Albanese and a blond woman in a blue top and skirt walk next to an Air Force plane.
Anthony Albanese escaped COVID isolation on Friday and jumped straight on the plane to Perth. AAP: Steven Siewert

Which leads to a rather fascinating conundrum. The government’s argument this week is essentially that the inflation crisis could have happened to any old numpty, but then again it is absolutely crucial to the future of the nation that we should not switch to a new numpty.

Here’s David Speers kicking inflation a bit. The Insiders presenter is eminently qualified to comment, having inflated the length of his program by a shocking 50 percent for the campaign. This Sunday, the guests are Chancellor of the Exchequer Simon Birmingham and Greens leader Adam Bandt.

National security lingers

National security is another infamous hot zone for “trust me, it would be worse under the other side”. And the government continues to insist that the unfortunate developments in the Solomon Islands have nothing to do with the natural supremacy of policy in this area.

Solomon’s Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has gone absolutely free in his parliament (and I use the diplomat here, with word and deed).

It has also been revealed why the Australian High Commissioner to the country was out of action at the crucial moment – an ill-timed back injury.

Good day

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has been released today from close supervision by Cavoodle in Marrickville, after completing his seven-day COVID isolation.

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Mr Albanian says Labor is best placed to deal with cost of living

The resilient Australian electorate braced itself resiliently for more Albanian press conferences. But what? There was none! Smiles all around as the Labor leader flies straight to Perth for Sunday’s launch of the Labor campaign.

Bad day

However, deputy Labor leader Richard Marles will not be at the launch as it is his turn to indulge in the spicy cough.

Also a sub-optimal day today is Clive Palmer’s candidate for Higgins’ federal seat, Ingram Spencer, who has been arrested for using a carriage to threaten or harass.

Keywords include “aggressive behavior” and “Russian propaganda”.

As a general, but completely separate principle: do not buy alpaca online.

What should you pay attention to tomorrow?

Tomorrow we will see both leaders at the hustings for the first time in a week. Hurrah!

After a few morning interviews, Albanian spent most of the day getting to Perth, so tomorrow will be his first day back on the campaign proper.

Morrison will start the morning in northern Tasmania as he aims to sandbag two chairs in the north. He hopes the extra time he spends in Tasmania will aid in his efforts to capture the Labor seat in Lyon at the center of the state.

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Inflation figures are forcing parties to outline their plan to lower the cost of living.

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