Published 11/12/2016
All Four Estates

Australia’s economy suffers the biggest blow since the GFC, Australia won’t meet Paris emissions targets, Rod Culleton continues to be a thorn in One Nation’s side, the Education Minister considers importing teachers and the backpacker tax looks set to die in the Senate.

Australia’s economy takes a tumble

Australia’s Gross domestic product has suffered the largest contraction since the GFC after shrinking 0.5 per cent during this year’s September quarter.

The ABS offered an explanation for the drop, saying:

“Private investment in new buildings detracted 0.3 percentage points from GDP growth, while new engineering and new and used dwellings detracted 0.2 and 0.1ppts respectively. Public capital expenditure detracted 0.5ppts from growth as it declined from elevated levels in the June quarter. Net exports detracted an additional 0.2ppts from growth”.

Despite the bad news, the net national disposable income rose by 0.8 per cent, signifying a growth in household well-being and living standards.

Australia won’t meet Paris climate targets: report

A report released during a Council of Australian Governments meeting has revealed Australia is not on track to meet the commitments it made in Paris to reduce emissions by between 26 and 28 per cent by 2030.

The report was headed by Australia’s chief scientists Dr. Alan Finkel, and concludes that without reliable, long term policy on climate change Australia will fall well short of its goals.

The government’s current Direct Action policy, which pays businesses to cut down on their emissions, is set to end in 2020 and the government is searching for an alternative. An emissions intensity scheme (explained here), which Dr. Finkel backed in his report, has already been rejected by the government.

Cracks start showing in One Nation

The rift between One Nation Senators Pauline Hanson and Rod Culleton is becoming increasingly public after Hanson says she can no longer work with him.

It is reported the two have not spoken to each other since Senator Culleton crossed the floor to vote against the rest of One Nation on the government’s proposed backpacker tax, a move which Senator Hanson said made her “furious”.

Just how deep the divide is is yet to be seen, but Senator Culleton said he will be considering his position with One Nation over Christmas.

Education Minister considers importing teachers

Education Minister Simon Birmingham has floated the idea of introducing a special visa for foreign teachers to address worsening results in Australian schools.

The statement was made in response to a report released by The Program for International Student Assessment which highlighted the poor performance of 15 year old students in maths, science and reading.

Senator Birmingham admitted previous government efforts to reverse declining student performances were failing and that the government’s priority was improving teacher performance.

Government’s backpacker tax looks set to die in the senate

The Government proposal to apply a 19 per cent tax on all backpackers’ earnings is set to die in the Senate.

Both Labor and Tasmanian independent Senator Jacqui Lambie have announced they will be pushing an amendment to the bill which will drop the tax rate to a much more farmer-friendly 10.5 per cent, but it’s not clear if the Coalition will accept it.

In the case the bill doesn’t pass through the senate, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has confirmed a huge 32.5 per cent tax rate will be enforced.


(image source: Labor Herald)