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“It was Fritz who lit the way. Everybody is to be treated with dignity. Everybody”
US President Joe Biden led the tributes at a delayed memorial service for former Vice President Walter Mondale, who died last year aged 93yo. Mondale served as Veep to Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981 and lost out in the presidential race in 1984 to Ronald Reagan.
1. Set an alarm for 2.30pm this afternoon when the Reserve Bank will confirm its decision on official interest rates after its monthly board meeting. Rates have not gone up since November 2010, and the market is expecting a 0.15% lift to 0.25%.
2. PM Scott Morrison yesterday said the Reserve Bank’s decision is “not about politics”. He is facing questions about a potential rate rise and what that means for the Coalition’s chances at the election.
3. The Andrews Government hands down its budget today ahead of a state election in November. "The economy is in repair, and so is Victoria’s budget balance sheet," says Treasurer Tim Pallas.
4. On Sunday, Queensland Premier Annastacis Palaszczuk took her partner to a high-level meeting (PW) with international Olympic officials, including IOC President Thomas Bach. She’s under fire for taking the surgeon, who is not involved in organising the 2032 Brisbane Games.
5. The 3rd debate of the federal campaign has been locked in. The Seven Network and West Australian will host the last Morrison v Albanese clash on Wednesday, 11 May.
Going deeper: The election campaign is holding its breath on interest rates
A lot of people who have a mortgage in Australia have never felt the sting of an interest rate rise. For 11.5 years, rates have either been steady or falling – that’s 5 prime ministers ago… So even if we weren’t in the middle of an election campaign, today’s decision from the Reserve Bank would still be a pretty big deal.
● A vast majority of the banks’ economists expect a 15 point hike today to take the cash rate to 0.25%. Some think it could be bigger, but only a few think the Reserve Bank will hold steady until June.
● Last week’s 5.1% inflation figure really changed the game. It was higher than anyone predicted, which is why the markets are betting the RBA will act to take some heat out of the economy.
What it means: A rate rise would add fuel to Labor’s narrative that the Morrison Government has delivered a “triple whammy” of rising prices, rising rates and stagnating wages. (Note: Labor has been using the line for a while now, doing their own factoring-in of the rate rise.) PM Scott Morrison yesterday said homeowners don’t view interest rates “through a political lens.” He reckons a lot have already got their head around it, moving onto fixed rates or getting ahead in their payments.
What’s next: The traditional wisdom that a campaign focused on the economy favours the Coalition is about to be tested.
More than a brick in the wall? Both parties are offering something on housing
For all the talk of interest rates, it doesn’t matter how low they are if you can’t get the cash together for a deposit. House prices rose a staggering 23.7% last year, pushing the median house price to $920,000. That’s made it hard for people to get a foot on the property ladder. Now both parties are giving the Great Australian Dream some extra attention.
● The Coalition already has a scheme guaranteeing a mortgage for buyers with a deposit as low as 5%, and single parents can have just 2%. And in the campaign, it’s lifted the price caps up to $900,000 in Sydney and $800,000 in Melbourne.
● Labor backs that change and they are proposing a scheme where the government would share ownership of up to 10,000 homes by contributing up to 40% of the cost of a new home. It would recoup the money when the house was sold. Some states already have similar programs.
What it means: Sydney Uni Professor Nicola Gurran isn’t a huge fan of either scheme. She’d prefer they were targeted solely at new houses so they don’t fuel demand – and prices – for existing stock.
The readout: Two-thirds of Aussie households either own their home or are buying it. Gurran says “when it comes down to it, neither party wants house values to fall.”
Labor’s poll lead might be a big thing… or a mirage in the desert
You won’t find anyone in Labor’s leadership team who wants to *publicly* bask in the glow of all the opinion polls. The latest 2 polls have followed all the others, giving Labor a substantial 2-party preferred lead over the Coalition (Newspoll 53:47, Resolve 54:46). But there are a few reasons you won’t hear anyone banking the win before the vote counting starts on 21 May.
● Labor is still burned by its 2019 experience. The big polling companies got it wrong back then, and even though they’ve changed their methods, trust in polls is still pretty shaky.
● That 2-party lead is masking low primary votes for both parties. Note: Labor last got into government in 2007 with a primary vote of 43%. Current polls have it sitting between 34-38%.
What does it mean: The major parties need to win seats, not polls. Labor won 68 seats last election (but start with a notional 69 because of the new seat of Hawke in suburban Melbourne.) There are still 7 seats to get a majority, and some of those local battles are tight. On the flip side, the Coalition has a majority of just one seat…
What’s next: There will be a LOT of polling as we enter the last fortnight of the campaign.
The US plans to step up its engagement with Pacific Island countries. Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell told a forum in Auckland that would include inviting Pacific leaders to the White House later this year.
UK PM Boris Johnson is developing a plan to help some 2.5 million renters buy off local housing associations (PW). The Telegraph reports Johnson is building on a Thatcher-era scheme that allowed people to buy their council flat at a discounted rate.
More than 10% of federal MPs don’t live in the electorate they represent. The Australian says (PW) that at least 16 members of parliament – including 2 cabinet ministers and 2 members of the shadow cabinet – live further afield.
Labor MP Anne Aly’s eligibility to stand for election is being questioned. She has renounced her dual Australian-Egyptian citizenship, but Melbourne Law School professor Jeremy Gans says it’s complicated (PW).
A UComms poll commissioned by progressive think tank The Australia Institute shows Liberal incumbent Tim Wilson and teal challenger Zoe Daniel tied at 33% each on the primary vote (PW). They both dispute the numbers but agree it’s a tight race.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has launched new “Keep Josh” billboards (PW) around the inner eastern Melbourne electorate. He’s in the fight of his political life against Dr Monique Ryan, who is supported by the Climate200 campaign.
Meanwhile, Ryan has criticised the Treasurer for bringing her mother-in-law into the campaign. Josh Frydenberg told his campaign launch on Sunday that Ryan’s MIL told him she would vote for him.
When the 5.1% inflation figure dropped last week we heard a lot about ‘supply chain pressures’ leading to big increases in the cost of goods. Well, this is what that looks like. A snapshot from Marine Traffic at Shanghai Port last week shows thousands of ships banked up while the city was in the middle of a COVID lockdown, leading to some serious delays around the world.
United Australia Party leader Craig Kelly is campaigning in Rockhampton
10.00am – Minderoo Foundation’s Nicola Forrest and Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill have invited representatives from the major parties to meet children, parents and educators in Chisholm to discuss action on early learning and childcare – Melbourne
2.30pm – Reserve Bank Board decision on interest rates
The Victorian Government hands down its 2022-23 Budget – Melbourne
*All times in AEST unless noted
And today’s quote for the subject line is from Ghanaian scientist Lailah Gifty Akita.