The Weekly Briefing. What to watch over the next five days

Nic Crowther
Mon 29 Feb

In Canberra…

All the talk will still be around tax. The Saturday broadsheets were scathing of the current Government’s performance in parliament last week, with a lack of coherent narrative and a Prime Minister struggling to maintain control of the back branch as well as the far right.



It now looks as though the full tax policy is due to be unveiled prior to the budget. There are now only six Parliamentary sitting days until the autumn break, so there’s little time available if the PM wants to talk about their tax plan from the floor of the House. Laura Tingle thinks we’ll see it in April.



Interest rates

Tomorrow is the First Tuesday of the month, which means Reserve Bank Governor will crack the Arnott’s Assortment and pour a few cups of Lipton’s for his fellow board members. When the meeting arrives at the subject of interest rates, it should be a fairly short discussion.

With the unemployment rate sitting under 6.0%, the dollar hovering around US$0.71 and GDP growth at a below-trend average of 2.5%, there is little chance of a move on the cash rate. In fact, don’t be too surprised if it remains unchanged until Christmas.



Super Tuesday

With Hillary Clinton’s nomination all but assured, there is even more attention than usual on the Republican race. The GOP establishment is now doing everything it can to destroy Trump, who they see as an outlier on the Conservative side of politics.

Their Number One Guy is now Marco Rubio. If you needed proof of the establishment’s disdain for The Donald, consider this: Rubio is a first-term Governor aligned with The Tea Party. The fact that he is considered a sane a stable candidate that the American people could tolerate shows you just how far off the planet the US Conservatives have gone.


Source: The Guardian


The sad news for all those Rubio advocates is that Real Clear Politics has Rubio almost completely out of the picture, with Trump cleaning up delegates in almost every state with recent polls (except for Texas - Ted Cruz’ home patch).

Should you hear an earth-shattering crash sometime on Wednesday afternoon, that could be world markets responding to a triumphant Trump and the chaos that his nomination will deliver for eight months until November’s election.



The Very Fast Train – Chapter 254

In what appears to be a well-trodden path for former members of Cabinet, ex-Trade Minister and apparent trainspotter, Andrew Robb, has suddenly taken to promoting a high-speed rail link for the east coast of Australia.

The idea was raised while Robb addressed a freight symposium at Canberra Airport, the point Robb makes is valid and often made: that the cheap price of money means there is no better time to invest in large-scale infrastructure. While there are a number of consortiums lining up to build such a project, there is no political will to invest in such a high-impact project.

Chances are we’ll still be talking about this in 2026.