Who is the Prime Minister to order the banks to do anything?

PM roasts banks over Covid fail.

Australia’s biggest banks have been stymieing business attempts to gain bridging finance for wages before the $130bn JobKeeper payments begin next month, prompting Scott Morrison to order them to be read the riot act.

What does “stymieing” mean? Shall we go to the dictionary.

Stymie. The verb stymie means to obstruct or hinder.

Is this what has been happening?

Australia’s biggest banks have been obstructing business attempts to gain bridging finance for wages.

Seriously? Why would they do that? This sounds more like what has been happening.

NAB chief executive Ross McEwan on Thursday night acknowledged the government’s frustrations and said his bank was “working overtime” to provide assistance. “We’ll (today) launch a dedicated hotline for customers needing support with JobKeeper bridging finance and we’ll also expedite any requests we’ve already received from customers so far,” Mr McEwan said.

“We recognise this funding is critical to keeping businesses afloat, people in jobs, and food on the table for the many people who are doing it tough right now.

“We’re working as quickly as we can, with more than 350 people retrained to support customer facing roles so far, so we can support as many customers as we can over this hurdle.”…

The ABA conceded that while the banks had worked “tirelessly to process applications as quickly as possible”, more needed to be done to keep businesses afloat until they could access the $1500 JobKeeper payments.

I find this unbelievable.

A furious Prime Minister vented his anger about the big four during a phone hook-up with tax commissioner Chris Jordan and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg early on Thursday….

Mr Jordan is believed to have delivered Mr Morrison’s blunt message to the chief executives of ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and NAB in a later phone conference that included Mr Frydenberg and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar….

One chief executive is believed to have tried to make excuses for the delays on getting cash through to businesses, earning a rebuke from Mr Jordan, who said the banks would have a hard time convincing the Prime Minister of that.

Let me see. Out of nowhere the banks have been landed with a massive increase in responsibility that has come from out of the blue and are struggling to fulfil the obligations that have been placed on them. And I will just add this from the end of the story.

Restaurant and Catering Australia chief executive Wes Lambert said many of the association’s members had been asked to prove their acceptance under the JobKeeper program before receiving their bridging finance. That had not been possible because formal applications for JobKeeper only opened this week.

The one thing I could not find out is how much the government is paying the banks to undertake all of this additional effort.

Lucky country no more

This sort of thing is always news to politicians, most of the community and to almost all economists: The Economy Doesn’t Need Government ‘Help’ To Reopen.

Governments don’t create economies. It’s not only beyond their legitimate functions, it’s beyond their abilities. They need to stay out of the way and let the wisdom of markets steer us back to normal.

“The wisdom of markets!” Do you think Dangerous Dan Andrews would have any idea what that means? There are many others I would ask that same question of but will leave it there. Because this is the reality that comes in the very next sentence after.

But some officials see an opening through which they can drive their big government dreams.

These people are incompetent to direct an economy. Or let me put it this way. THESE PEOPLE ARE INCOMPETENT TO DIRECT AN ECONOMY. This is Daniel Andrews bio from Wikipedia.

Andrews was born in Williamstown, a suburb of Melbourne, to Bob Andrews (1950–2016) and Jan (born 1944). In 1983 his family moved to Wangaratta, where he was educated at the Marist Brothers‘ Galen Catholic College.[1] Andrews moved back to Melbourne in 1990 to attend Monash University, where he was a resident of Mannix College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics and classics in 1996. After graduating, Andrews became an electorate officer for federal Labor MP Alan Griffin. He worked at the party’s head office from 1999 to 2002, initially as an organiser, and then as assistant state secretary.

Following his election to parliament in the Legislative Assembly seat of Mulgrave at the 2002 election, Andrews was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Health in the Steve Bracks Labor government. Following the 2006 election, Andrews was appointed to the Cabinet, becoming Minister for Gaming, Minister for Consumer Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs. In 2007, Andrews became Minister for Health in the John Brumby Labor government….

Brumby resigned as leader of the Victorian Labor Party following the Labor defeat at the 2010 election, after 11 years of Labor governments. On 3 December 2010, Andrews was elected Victorian Labor Party leader, becoming Leader of the Opposition in Victoria.

At the [2014] election, Labor gained seven seats for a total of 47, a majority of two.

And thus Daniel Andrews, economic cypher but socialist extrordinare became premier. And now he not only guides Victoria right towards the rocks, but he is signalling the way for the Feds to do the same. Shall I mention Scott Morrison and his career. Why not?

Morrison was born in Sydney and studied economic geography at the University of New South Wales. He worked as director of the New Zealand Office of Tourism and Sport from 1998 to 2000 and was managing director of Tourism Australia from 2004 to 2006. Morrison was also state director of the New South Wales Liberal Party from 2000 to 2004. He was later elected to the House of Representatives at the 2007 election, representing the Division of Cook in New South Wales.

Etc etc. And just how on top of things is our PM? The news just in: Scott Morrison to push for WHO to be given ‘weapons inspector powers’.

Australia will push for the World Health Organisation to be given the powers of an international “weapons inspector” that would be mandated to enter a country without invitation to trace the source of outbreaks in any future pandemics.

It is believed that Scott Morrison raised the idea with world leaders over the past several days while seeking a consensus for reform of the organisation be given priority and should not wait for any review or investigation into COVID-19 pandemic which could take as long as five years.

It is believed that Scott Morrison raised the idea with world leaders over the past several days while seeking a consensus for reform of the organisation be given priority and should not wait for any review or investigation into COVID-19 pandemic which could take as long as five years.

Let me add that after all this disruption, the most useful way to get us back to something like how things only so recently were is not to disrupt markets any further but just let conditions work themselves out on their own. Gently, gently. Thus we have the Head of the RBA coming up with this:

Handing down a detailed assessment of the damage being wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Lowe warned that the nation could not rely on a quick return to a pre-coronavirus economy and suggested long-ignored calls for income, consumption and land tax reform, as well as stripping regulations that stifle innovation, would need to be revived.

Does no one in charge know how to run an economy any more?

Good for you Scott

As he goes from blunder to blunder, his sure-footed errors have reinforced in my mind that our Scott Morrison has been following an internationally-determined road map that has nothing to do with our circumstances here in Australia.

So to thank the Prime Minister for his work I have set up up the #GoodForYouScott twitter account, which may be better recognised by its short-form version, GFYS.

“Friends, mates and allies”

Scott Morrison arrives around 23 minutes in. Advance Australia Fair at around 27 minutes, with a 21(?)-gun salute. The Star Spangled Banner at around 29:00. Inspection of the Guard and then meeting the crowd, which PDT does appear to enjoy. Bugle, fife and drum band next in colonial uniforms. PDT begins speech at 38:30. The warmest speech you may ever hear a foreign leader give about Australia and our relationship. It’s the real thing.

Scott Morrison follows from around 45:00 in. Also the real thing. “Friends, mates and allies” was said by the President but it could have been said by either.

The whether vane has shifted

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and former deputy leader Julie Bishop at the West Australian Liberal Party campaign rally. Picture: AAP

A good sign indeed of whether the Libs are in with a real chance: Key figures attend Lib rally in WA seat of Swan. That’s from The Oz.

Julie Bishop has heaped praise on Scott Morrison at a Liberal Party rally in Perth this evening.

“Scott’s been campaigning so well. I’m feeling very confident. I’ve been saying for a long time that we will win this election,” Ms Bishop told reporters after the prime minister’s speech.

“Scott’s a very experienced politician and he was a very good Treasurer, and he took on the role of Prime Minister in less than ideal circumstances and he’s done an exceedingly good job.”

And then there’s this in both The Age and the SMH: It took John Howard just one minute to deliver the campaign’s most potent attack on Bill Shorten. And look who’s in the picture.

Then Howard appealed to the voters of Warringah, on Sydney’s northern beaches.

“They’re not the big end of town. I mean, that is an insult to every successful small businessman who has worked hard accumulated a bit and wants to leave it to his kids,” Mr Howard said. “I mean that’s what this country is all about!”

John Howard meets shoppers flanked by Tony Abbott.
John Howard meets shoppers flanked by Tony Abbott.CREDIT:NICK MOIR

It was vintage Howard – a nod to Menzies’ forgotten Australians, a paean to suburban values, indignation for those who denigrate diligence, and yes, just a little bit old-fashioned in his gendered pronouns.

Malcolm, who’s Malcolm?

This election is a character test for Australia

Scott Morrison gives flowers to his mother Marion and wife Jenny as he takes the stage at the Liberal party’s 2019 Australian federal election campaign

I have just watched the Coalition policy launch in Melbourne, and each party leader delivered an absolute stemwinder of a speech.

The choice right now is whether we preserve what we have or throw it away on unaffordable waste while preserving us from a global warming (aka climate change) that is non-existent.

Mostly on the economy, both what the Coalition will do – like balancing the budget – and what Labor will do – which is drive us into the poor house while plundering every cache of money they can get their hands on. In the PM’s words: “To spend well, you have to know how to manage money”. That is definitely not the ALP’s long suit.

And just for me, at the end the PM added in that they will keep our borders secure: “only the Liberal-National parties can be trusted”. Absolutely right.

It is game on and the election remains a toss up, but now leaning slightly, but only slightly, towards the Libs.

Here is the description from Channel Nine.

The PM interviewed by Waleed Aly

An amazing interview, that starts slowly but truly builds. The PM has the better of the argument and represented Australia just as it is. Meanwhile Waleed is trying to be as divisive as he possibly can, challenging the PM’s good faith. The PM defended both himself, his Party and our country extremely well. He is exasperated by the stupidity and ill-will of the interviewer who spends oceans of time over the utterly irrelevant issues, such as whether there will be a preference deal with One Nation at the next election.

I now really like Scott Morrison. He took the creepy trouble-making Waleed head on, completely routing him on every point he raised.

And don’t forget this bit of background as you watch the interview.

And behind it all is Malcolm

The inanity revealed in the Coalition is something to behold: Liberal deserter Julia Banks fuels chaos in Coalition ranks. What Ms Banks thinks the major issue of our day is remains unrevealed, other than that Peter Dutton should have his eligibility to sit in Parliament tested by the courts. My only wish is that she was right to say that the Coalition had been taken over by “right-wing” forces. Meanwhile, Ms Bishop is seeking to have the National Energy Guarantee restored. Does she really believe global warming is a problem?

The only other bit of news in the story is that the election will likely be in mid-May.

And behind it all is Malcolm, whose empty and shallow policy formation remains possibly the single most destructive force in Australian political history.

Will also refer you to Andrew Bolt who writes Left Trashes Liberals, Right Blamed. Sometimes a big tent is too big if it lets all kinds of lefty loons enter a party of the conservative right.

Small mercies

No doubt we should be grateful for small mercies. Malcolm is gone, although not gone all that far, and that is something. Scott Morrison is a step up, but lacks either gravitas or the charismatic glow. Perhaps we will be surprised, but I won’t be surprised if we’re not surprised. But he can win the next election and I most assuredly hope he does.

But what has been the most disturbing part of the day’s events were the 40 votes cast against the spill. It is possible the number was made up to save a bit of face for Malcolm. On the other hand, it really may reflect the attitudes within the party room. It would mean near enough half the Liberal Party is made up of Keynesian central planners who think they can spend our money better than we can, and who see themselves at the centre of the economy by dispensing billions towards their favourite projects. These same people wonder why productivity growth has come to a stop. Economic illiterates, but then most economists are as well. No idea how a decentralised economy causes growth almost without effort. They did it themselves under Peter Costello who made the economy hum by savage cuts to public spending and the easing of some of the burdens placed on businesses by governments. You can see the same result in the US right now, but no one here or there sees the cause and effect relationship between freer markets and economic prosperity.

The 40 votes against the spill also suggest that a large part of the party accept that global warming is such a major and pressing problem that it is worth wrecking our economy and our productive base to do what they can to ward off this phantom catastrophe. For myself, anyone who entertains this possibility at this late date is a credulous fool of the highest order, basically a simpleton without a shred of common sense. We sell our coal which gets burned up in a far more polluting way than if we used “clean coal” ourselves. And whether or not we stopped selling coal in an act of suicidal idiocy, the CO2 levels will do whatever they will do with our sacrifice or without. Meanwhile more and more Australians will freeze in the dark as the power bills go up.

The Libs plus the Nats remain better than Labor, and Morrison does at least have form in having stopped the boats and does apparently want to cut back on public spending. And all those folk who think letting Labor have a go while the Libs rejig themselves are the worst fantasists of all.

We must all live in hope, but as they say, hope is not a policy. We shall see.

Where’s our Donald Trump?

I watched Bolt this morning and the interview with Scott Morrison over Peter Dutton’s off-the-record but on-the-microphone comment. So this is where we now are, Peter Dutton apologises for microphone gaffe.

First, it was not a gaffe, it was a joke. In fact, it is the kind of joke that gives people like me some kind of hope that there are some amongst the Libs who understand climate change is a political scam, not the most urgent issue of our time.

Second, what is he doing apologising? Why isn’t the response something along the lines of – you guys in the media are such airheads that it is impossible to have an adult conversation with any of you around. The actual response, on the other hand, makes me think that these guys do not have the internal fortitude to do what needs doing:

“Obviously it was a private conversation – I should have realised the mike was there,” Mr Dutton told Sky News. “I didn’t; it was directly behind me. I made a mistake and I apologise to anyone who has taken offence to it. It was a light-hearted discussion with the PM and I didn’t mean any offence to anyone.

“If anyone has taken offence they should accept my apology. I’m disappointed that it allowed for a distraction from what was a very good policy announcement.”

Now imagine Donald Trump having been picked up by some stray microphone making a joke about some policy issue, especially one where to his own side he would be showing a bit of common sense. The most important change that may yet be wrought by Trump is his taking the media on. They are far left loons, and part of an amazingly uninformed, poorly educated cohort of journalists whose views, for the most part, are not worth the newspapers they are printed on. No self-respecting government should be forced to treat them seriously.