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Australia politics live: pressure on government as RBA predicted to extend record run of interest rate hikes | Australian politics

RBA set to extend record run of interest rate hikes

Peter Hannam

As has been well-flagged, the Reserve Bank is widely expected to lift its key interest rate later today, making it a record nine increases in a row.

As of yesterday, investors were rating as a four-in-five chance the RBA will hike by another 25 basis points to 3.35%. (They also expect a peak rate of almost 3.75%).

Ahead of the RBA’s interest rate meeting today, investors were betting there’s an 80% chance of a 25bp rise to 3.35%. Later in the year, the cash rate should nudge 3.75%, they say. pic.twitter.com/2DhyxQFkXD

— @phannam@mastodon.green (@p_hannam) February 6, 2023

Here’s how much extra such a rate rise will cost holders of typical mortgages each month, according to RateCity.

If the RBA lifts its cash rate by another 25 basis points today, a typical $500,000 mortgage will cost an extra $76 a month to service. Since last May, the extra repayments will climb above $900 a month (and almost $11,000 a year), according to @RateCity. pic.twitter.com/Y8wQvZFsRh

— @phannam@mastodon.green (@p_hannam) February 6, 2023

Since there seems to be more chance of a 40 basis point rate rise rather than no change, we asked RateCity to crunch the extra repayment numbers for such an increase, and they look like this:

While less likely, a 40bp rise by the RBA today, will add $122 a month to repayments on a typical $500,000 mortgage (assuming the banks pass the hike on). (Source: @RateCity ) pic.twitter.com/B65hcjPQxN

— @phannam@mastodon.green (@p_hannam) February 6, 2023

The RBA cash rate sits at 3.1%. If the board lifts it to 3.35%, the rate will be its highest since the start of October 2012.

Meanwhile, the weekly check on consumer sentiment by ANZ and Roy Morgan has detected the largest decline in half a year:

“Confidence about current and future finances fell sharply, perhaps sparked by concerns about the extent of cash rate rises after the Q4 inflation print,” said Adelaide Timbrell, a senior economist with ANZ. (December quarter CPI at 7.8% was the highest in almost 33 years.)

Inflation expectations also ticked higher – something the RBA board members will probably note as they nibble on their morning tea bikkies around about now.

By 2.30pm (AEDT), we’ll know their verdict.

Key events

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Josh Butler

Josh Butler

The Greens will oppose a parliamentary instrument needed to reconfirm Nauru’s status as a regional processing centre for Australian asylum seekers, and will push their own bill to evacuate all asylum seekers and refugees from Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

It’s Tuesday so that means party room meetings day for politicians in Canberra. The Greens were first cab off the rank for media briefings, with a spokesperson telling journalists that they would this week push for the government to reconfirm its earlier vocal opposition to the PEP-11 gas exploration project off the NSW coast, and pursue further limits on native forest logging.

The Greens say they reached a consensus decision last night to back the voice to parliament, but are still in negotiations with the government over specific support for the referendum machinery bill (which will set the rules for the vote, such as abolishing the written information pamphlet and scrapping public funding for the yes and no case).

Tuesday’s party room didn’t discuss the defection of Lidia Thorpe to the crossbench, but Greens members spoke of how their decision left them “sad”.

But on Nauru, the Greens will stand against a vote needed to reconfirm Nauru as an RPC for Australia. Behrouz Boochani, the Iranian journalist and activist who was detained on Manus Island and helped expose the conditions inside Australia’s shadowy offshore detention network, is in Parliament House today to give a public talk.

We’ll hear more about the Nauru vote later today (probably after Question Time in both chambers). Greens senator Nick McKim has his own bill, introduced this week, called the “Evacuation to Safety” legislation. This would “compel the government to offer immediate evacuation to Australia to all remaining refugees and people seeking asylum still stranded offshore in Nauru and Papua New Guinea”, the Greens said in a statement yesterday.

So not entirely sure what Sussan Ley wants the government to do there. Lower the cost of living, yes. But how? And what would the opposition do differently?

Liberal deputy leader Sussan Ley was asked if Jim Chalmers could deliver cost of living relief without increasing inflation this morning and said;

Well certainly not if we see Dr. Chalmers’ confused bewildered change to the approach that western liberal democracies have been successful with over generations. So if this government is starting to look at the Treasurer’s approach to managing the economy, then that’s a serious concern. What we need is the Prime Minister to back in the promises he made. What we need is a prime minister to show the leadership that every prime minister should, to do what he said he would do, and that is to leave no Australian behind.

Paul Karp is at the Behrouz Boochani press conference and will bring you an update very soon.

Simon Birmingham used the opening of his doorstop to draw attention to the devastating impact of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria:

Can I firstly touch on the deeply distressing events we are seeing unfolding in Turkey and Syria. Multiple earthquakes are causing enormous loss of life, destruction of property, devastation to critical infrastructure and essential services. The humanitarian toll from these earthquakes is going to be devastating and ongoing for days, weeks and months into the future. It’s essential that international aid agencies and disaster relief agencies work together quickly and comprehensively to ensure as unified an international response as possible to provide Turkey and Syria and the people affected by these earthquakes with the support and assistance they need.
The loss of life we see from the earthquakes may not be the end, with the disruption to the flow of clean water services, available food and medicines, critical infrastructures in sewage, electricity and elsewhere. And so to prevent and to minimise further humanitarian catastrophe, further loss of life does require critical, essential, comprehensive response from the international community. And Australia should play our part as part of that coordinated international effort.

Tamsin Rose

Tamsin Rose

NSW and Victoria could work on pokie reform, premier says

The New South Wales premier, Domonic Perrottet, wants to work with Victoria on poker machine reform.

Asked about comments from the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, about a possible interest in the policy area, Perrottet said the country was better off when the states worked together.

He said:

With Victoria and NSW combined, we take action … working together to affect change.

When you work together, you share information that sharpens the policy direction where you can make a real difference to people. The relationship that we have across the political divide is important. I welcome those comments from Dan today. I’m very, very happy to work with him on doing the same in Victoria as well.

Party rooms are afoot

We will be hearing from the Greens following its party room meeting very shortly.

The Coalition and Labor meeting briefings will also be held ahead of question time.

For those unaware of the practice, the party room meetings are held behind closed doors, but following the meeting it is tradition for a nominated MP to hold a briefing of the meeting with the media. It is a recount of the minutes and no one is named – it is always just ‘one MP spoke on XX’ and then journalists can ask questions about whether anything else was raised – and there are yes or no answers (mostly).

But it all done on background. It is up to the journalists to then hit the phones and work out who said what and what other issues may have been canvassed.

Among the visitors to parliament house today –

Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

Victorian Greens leader says Thorpe should keep her seat

The Victorian Greens leader, Samantha Ratnam, says she’s sad to see Lidia Thorpe leave the party but does not believe she should vacate her Senate seat.

Thorpe on Monday announced she would quit the Greens and move to the crossbench due to her staunch opposition to an Indigenous voice to parliament, slated for a referendum this year.

Ratnam told reporters outside parliament this morning:

A number of us here had the privilege of working with Senator Thorpe when she was a Victorian parliamentarian and witnessing her incredible work firsthand. We have no doubt that she will continue her formidable work and advocacy at the federal level. And on behalf of my colleagues, the Greens and I, we wish her all the best in the future.

She said she understood there would be a “range of feelings and thoughts” about Thorpe’s defection among Greens members but said she should remain in the Senate for the remainder of her six-year term.

We’re really sad that Senator Thorpe has decided to leave the Greens, but what our federal parliament needs more of is more First Nations people. We have a moment in this country, when we’re talking about advancing the Uluru statement, to get all elements done through treaty and voice. My federal colleagues have been fighting from day one to get that done. Senator Thorpe has been fighting to advance all elements of that. We need more First Nations voices at all levels of government.

Ratnam said the Victorian Greens would publicly campaign for yes.

Caitlin Cassidy

Caitlin Cassidy

Jewish groups urge universities not to adopt new definition of antisemitism

A coalition of five Jewish groups have sent an open letter to vice chancellors urging Australian universities against adopting a controversial definition of antisemitism.

There has been lobbying by the Parliamentary Friends of IHRA – headed by MPs Josh Burns, Allegra Spender and Julian Leeser – for universities to adopt working definition of antisemitisim, issued by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

The Australian Jewish Democratic Society, Independent Australian Jewish Voices, Jews Against the Occupation, Loud Jews Collective and the Tzedek Collective said in the letter they was concerned by the current promotion of the IHRA definition.

It has faced global backlash among Palestinian and Arab scholars who argue the definition of antisemitism, which includes “targeting the state of Israel”, could be used to shut down legitimate criticism of Israel and stifle freedom of expression.

While antisemitism has its specific history and roots in Christian Europe, we are not in favour of addressing antisemitism in isolation from other forms of racism. If it is felt that a definition of antisemitism is needed, there are other more effective ones which do not restrict free speech.

Please do not adopt or promote this controversial definition which both fails to address antisemitism effectively and denies Palestinians and their advocates the right to freedom of speech in relation to their history and experience.”

On 8 January, more than 60 academics and graduates at Australian tertiary institutions signed an open letter to vice chancellor staff in opposition to the adoption of the definition, calling the Parliamentary Friends Group’s campaign “regrettable”.

The IHRA definition, if adopted by universities, as demanded by the Parliamentary Friends group in their letter to you of 30 November last, will have far-reaching implications for academic teaching, research and publications, and will interfere in student politics.

Dutton says Liberals will make announcement after party room meeting

On the voice, Peter Dutton was asked at a doorstop whether or not the Liberal party would support the machinery bills.

The answer? Hard to say:

Q: I know you won’t say your position on how you think you’ll vote, yes or no, but given how complicated this could get in the Senate to actually get the machinery bill through, would the opposition at least support allowing the Australian people to have a say?


Well, there are two bills. In relation to the machinery bill, there’s again a simple request by us that the Australian public be given a booklet, as has happened in referendums past, stating the yes and no case and allow Australians to make up their own minds up.

Q: But you won’t stand in the way of this going to a referendum?


Well, in relation to the machinery bill, which is before us at the moment, I believe very strongly that Australians are entitled to have the information that they need to make up their own minds. If the prime minister is saying that you don’t deserve to know one side of the case or the other, I just don’t understand how that is a genuine approach to allowing Australians to make an informed judgement about changing our constitution.

This is not a simple plebiscite. It is not a law change that can be amended or abolished or added to later on. This is a change to our constitution and if the prime minister is saying that a booklet shouldn’t go out or that people shouldn’t receive information, well why not? I think the prime minister needs to talk less tricky and more informative so Australians can make their mind up.

Q: So as it stands, you won’t support the machinery legislation?


Well, there are two bills, as you know. The bill before us at the moment is in relation to a number of important issues, and that’s the one that we’re concentrating on at the moment and we’ll have a discussion at our party room and we’ll make an announcement after that.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2023/feb/07/australia-politics-live-greens-back-indigenous-voice-to-parliament-rba-expected-to-hike-rates-again Australia politics live: pressure on government as RBA predicted to extend record run of interest rate hikes | Australian politics

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