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Saturday 11th February 2017 - 11:50 am

Postscript 1 – Australia in the age of Trump

by Private Briefing Admin

The first encounter between the newly elected President of the United States, Donald Trump and his Pacific ally, might seen as a sign of hope.

After all the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had finally stod up for something,  without fear, in that now famous phone call.

Mr Trump had previously agreed to fulfil two agreements that his predecessor, Barack Obama, of happy memory, had made with Australia to accept refugees it has been holding on Manus Island and Nauru.

But Mr Trump was clearly having  second thoughts.

A leaked reported quoted him as questioning why the US should accept more than 1,000 potential “Boston bombers” because Mr Obama had done a “dumb deal.”

Mr  Trump called those media reports inaccurate, but said Mr Turnbull had spoken truthfully about the exchange.

So are relations between the US and Australia back on course?

We would like to think so.

Mr Trump remains an unpredictable figure.

But his constant talk of putting “America first” has more than faint echoes of the “Deutschland Uber Alles” policies which cause so much harm in the Europe of the 1930s.

So how did the present situation arise?

Are there better choices available, even now?

We will be looking at these questions – and other urgent issues – in the weeks and months ahead.

But don’t expect a smooth flow of information.

This postcript to Private Brivate Briefing will be too complex for that.

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Thursday 26th January 2017 - 9:39 am
Comments Off on Thank you

Thank you

by Private Briefing Admin

Thanks to my readers who have been so patient over so long.

I hope I have helped some understand why they should rely more on their own judgement than what they have heard from federal MPs seeking re-election before a national vote.

It has been a lot of fun and I wish it could go on forever.

But it can’t, and neither can I.

My colleagues in the press gallery will now continue the fight.

Alan Thornhill

 

 

Wednesday 25th January 2017 - 4:51 pm
Comments Off on The news: Friday January 20

The news: Friday January 20

by Alan Thornhill

Donald Trump to become US president today at, at his inauguration.

 

Mike Baird quits as NSW Premier, saying he wants to spend more time with his family

Wednesday 25th January 2017 - 4:53 pm
Comments Off on Scrap debt reduction plan:Greens

Scrap debt reduction plan:Greens

by Alan Thornhill

The Greens say that the Federal government should be trying to do much more with its broken automated debt recovery system than give it a facelift.

Their spokeswoman Senator Rachel Siewert, made the comment in a statement she issued yesterday

The government is planning further cuts to pensioners’ entitlements to help pay for major tax cuts.

It sought support for its plan in an election held on July 2.

However Senator Siewert dismissed it as an attempt to quell political backlash.

It should be viewed as such.

The Government is giving a ‘facelift’ to the broken, automated  system, she added

“The 1800 phone number should have always been on the letters to recipients,

“For them not to include it in the first place demonstrates how the Government intended to make the process difficult for people accessing the social safety net,” she added.

“There should have always been an internal review into payments before debt recovery begins, for debt recovery to start straight away also shows how ham-fisted the approach was by the Government.

“For the system to be slightly less blunt and harsh doesn’t change the fact that a lack of human oversight means thousands of Australians are going to receive an incorrect debt notice, then have to prove their innocence by digging up records they may not have from years ago.

“I call on the Government to scrap the automated debt recovery system before more damage is done,” she added.

Wednesday 18th January 2017 - 7:50 pm
Comments Off on How prices are moving:ABS

How prices are moving:ABS

by Alan Thornhill

Australians are still investing confidently in the nation’s housing market.

 

This is shown in figures the Bureau of Statistics published today.

 

These show that the value of these commitments rose by 1.7 per cent last November to a level 4.9 per cent above that seen 12 months earlier.

 

The Bureau regards its trend figures as the most reliable that it produces.

 

These figures also suggest that a large part of the Australian population is reluctant to accept mainly academic predictions of a correction in this market before the end of this year.

 

However the number of homes financed in this way fell by as seasonally adjusted 0.2 per cent in November, but rose by 0.6 per cent over the year.

 

 

However other figures, that the Bureau also produced today, signal a weaker result in Australia’s car market.

 

The trend estimate, for new motor vehicle sales in December, was 0.4 per cent below the December result.

Sunday 15th January 2017 - 7:19 pm
Comments Off on Trade:Trump warned

Trade:Trump warned

by Alan Thornhill

Backgrounder

 

 

Two of America’s most important trading partners, Japan and Australia, declared at the weekend just how they intend to respond to Donald Trump’s plan to overhaul world trading arrangements.

 

They did so in diplomatically correct language, of great force.

 

Meanwhile the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, spoke of calling for “a global Britain, in a speech she is planning to deliver on Tuesday.

 

The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said Australia and Japan had “.. agreed that we should demonstrate to the world the importance of free trade.

 

“We confirmed that we would coordinate toward the early entry into force of the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and prompt conclusion of the ICEP.

 

“We  also confirmed that we would [inaudible] cooperation around the pillars of innovation led diversification of industrial structure and local initiatives in making for a closer relationship,” he added.

 

His host took a similar line.

 

 

Mr Turnbull said: “ We have confirmed our commitment to the rule of law, free trade, open markets in our region – the foundation upon which our prosperity and that of billions of other people in our region depends.

 

“We witnessed today the signing of an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement which improves the capacity of our defence forces to provide each other with the logistical support during exercises, operations and other activities.

 

“And we are working towards concluding a reciprocal ACSA agreement this year to also make it easier for our respective defence forces to conduct joint visits and exercises.

 

“For both of us, for both of our nations, the United States remains the cornerstone of our strategic and security arrangements.

 

“Our respective Alliance, Alliance of the United States are as relevant and important today as they have ever been.

 

“We will work closely with the incoming Administration as we have been to advance the region’s interests, and our shared goals.

 

“Today, Prime Minister, Shinzo, we have recommitted to creating, to consolidating a truly dynamic 21st century relationship.

 

“Australia is invested in Japan’s success, as Japan is invested in ours,” Mr Turnbull said .

Wednesday 18th January 2017 - 7:29 am
Comments Off on The News: Wednesday January 14

The News: Wednesday January 14

by Alan Thornhill

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described allegations his country holds compromising material on US President-elect Donald Trump as “utter nonsense”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday 11th January 2017 - 12:33 pm
Comments Off on It’s one rule for them…and

It’s one rule for them…and

by Alan Thornhill

Malcolm Turnbull’s government pays the expenses claims submitted by its ministers – without checking – but intimidates ordinary, honest Australians on social security, by sending them demanding letters, according to a Labor aligned research organization.

 

 

GetUp Campaigns Director Mark Connelly said since announcing their campaign against the Debt threat program, GetUp has received a flood of stories over email and social media from people complaining about incorrect letters.

 

 

The Social Security Minister,  Christian Porter, a close associate of Mr Turnbull, had defended the program saying the government had received only 276 complaints about it.

 

 

GetUp Campaigns Director Mark Connelly said the minister simply cpuld not make such a claim, in view of thr evidence against it.

 

 

Malcolm Turnbull’s government pays the expenses claims submitted by its ministers – without checking – but intimidates ordinary, honest Australians on social security, by sending them demanding letters, according to a Labor aligned research organization.

 

“The Minister’s claim simply doesn’t stack up with what we’re seeing and hearing from community,” Mr lConnelly said. I

 

“If he’s not hearing the complaints, then he’s just not listening, or he’s galactically out of touch with everyday Australians.

 

“In just one Facebook post on our page, we’ll see 276 complaints about the Turnbull Government’s debt threat letters,” he added.

 

In later developments, the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, said she had not claimed travel allowance, while attending a party hosted by Mr Turnbull.

 

Three other ministers made similar claims.

 

“The Minister’s claim simply doesn’t stack up with what we’re seeing and hearing from community ” Mr Connelly said.

 

 

“If he’s not hearing the complaints, then he’s just not listening, or he’s galactically out of touch with everyday Australians,” he added.

 

 

In later developments, the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, said she had not claimed travel allowance, while attending a party hosted by Mr Turnbull.

 

Three other ministers made similar claims.

 

The former Health Minister Sussan Ley was forced tor resign after she was found to have conducted private business, while traveling at publoc expense.

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Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.

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