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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

economy not looking good « Previous | |Next »
December 11, 2004

Whilst opinion makers continue to thunder down all sorts of missiles at the ALP's lack of economic creditability, we have some bleak economic news surfacing.

Matt Wade reports that:

"The trade deficit is too big, exports are flagging and the economy faces a tougher year ahead... Australia racked up its 36th straight trade deficit yesterday, underscoring its export woes. The $2.24 billion October deficit was the fourth worst recorded. It came on the back of a 2 per cent drop in exports, which fell despite a strong world economy and the best international trade prices for 30 years. But imports remained near record highs, fuelled by buoyant domestic growth and the strong Australian dollar, which keeps the prices of imports low."

The trade figures are terrible and there is no sign of the long-awaited export recovery. Poor export growth is such a contrast to the good news stories about booming growth, the jobs boom and record unemployment, isn't it.

It is not headline stuff yet, but this bad news would appear to undermine the Coalition's creditability as sound economic managers? The Coalition is media managing already. They are saying that it will not be plain sailing for the Australian economy next year. Stormy seas are forecast.

Maybe Costello is banking on the US consumption bubble to continue? What if the US consumption bubble popped?

So where is the critical comment by the Canberra Press Gallery on this? I cannot find any. Aren't the journalists the people who should be representing the public and challenging the politicians? How come they are letting this stuff go through to the keeper? As Mungo McCallum observes:

"... if you get used to Government by press release, by pic-fac, by photo-op, you know, whatever, then I think - well, everybody suffers. I mean, journalism suffers and the public suffers. And the quality of Government suffers. I mean, I would like - there are times, I think, when the public is obviously lulled into a false sense of security about what's going on. That they feel everything in the garden's lovely because a lot of things that aren't lovely are insufficently reported, as much as anything else."

We have an acquiescent media. It no longer has fire in its belly.

Where is the ALP counterattack on the trade deficit? Non-existent? Or filtered out by the Canberra Press Gallery? Where is the reclaiming of the Hawke/Keating economy legacy (a dynamic, export-orientated knowledge economy), and the reworking of this legacy for a rapidly changing Australia from the impact of globalisation. Where is the account of the place of the Australian economy in the global one?

Nothing much, apart from some rhetorical remarks from Wayne Swan about the Coalition being deceitful on the economy during the election.

Pretty impressive huh. You have to admire Swan's snappy intellectual grasp of economic dynamics and respect the depth of his understanding of economic policy. Where is the contending economic vision?

I appreciate that the ALP politicians were eager to drag themselves out of Canberra to relax for the Christmas break, but you'd reckon they'd be jumping all over this economic bad news to get on the front foot policy wise.

The Prime Minister was. He has got very good at the news management.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:12 AM | | Comments (0)