Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Macro View – Health, Financial And Political News Relevant To E-Health And The Health Sector In General.

October 12, 2017 Edition.
Trump was having and OK week until he decided – on ideological / religious grounds – to defund contraception for millions of women. He really is a misogynist creap as far as I am concerned.
He has also remarked that he has a surprise for NK, but won’t say what it is! He really is an adolescent idiot with behaviour like this. No wonder his Secretary  of State looks like leaving.
This is really a very bad dream from which we all need to wake up!
In Australia the SSM Postal Survey seems to be working and it looks like the lying nit-wits of the no case are going to lose based on the ABS turnout figures and polls. We will see mid-November.
Economically it rather looks like the snapping noises you have been hearing are wallets closing as retail spending plummets. The debt load seems to be starting to worry some!
We are also seeing the Australian Dollar fall a little in the last few weeks so that might help the exporting parts of our economy – which would be good.
Here are a few other things I have noticed.

Important Articles.

Sydney property prices slide for first time in 17 months while Melbourne rises

Published: October 2 2017 - 10:45AM
Sydney house prices have declined for the first time in 17 months, the latest CoreLogic data reveals.
Home prices across Australia's major cities inched higher in September, with Sydney's rare dip weighing on the national index and offering more evidence that tighter lending rules were working to head off a debt-driven bubble in the sector.
Prices in Sydney eased 0.1 per cent in September, dragging the annual pace back to 10.5 per cent from 13 per cent in August.

Why the world can't give up its nuclear weapons

Tom Switzer
Published: October 2 2017 - 12:05AM
Some bad ideas never die. After those who lived through the consequences of them are gone, the fallacious policies reappear, embraced by a new generation convinced it is smarter than its predecessors.
So it is with the United Nations. Last week, the international body opened for signing a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, which 122 non-nuclear UN member states adopted in July.
The point of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is to encourage the nine nuclear states – the US, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea – to follow the UN's lead, disarm and embrace a nuclear-free world. To mark the moment, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres​ declared that the only world that is safe from the use of nuclear weapons is a world that is completely free of them. 

Australia's banks have lost their way. We need to rethink how to regulate them

Stephen Anthony
Published: October 3 2017 - 12:15AM
If we fix the banking system, we'll improve productivity and living standards.
Australia's banks are failing to meet their public obligations to drive growth and raise community welfare. This is a long-term problem. Public confidence in Australia's banks has steadily eroded since financial deregulation in 1983. The brand of the big four, especially CommBank, is now at its nadir.
What went wrong?
Business model
It seems Australian banks would rather earn a fast buck than support real, longer-term investments and jobs that better all Australians. Consider the loan book of major deposit-taking institutions:
  • About 60 per cent of new lending is for housing.
  • About 80 per cent of housing loans are to buy existing property.
  • About 60 per cent of new loans are to investors for negatively geared investments.
  • About 40 per cent of housing loans are interest only.

The bubble without any fizz

Low interest rates have made more or less all investments expensive

Print edition | Briefing

USUALLY, when asset prices boom, people get excited. As America’s stockmarkets scaled wild peaks in 1929 and 1999 they did so amid feverish enthusiasm. Search for such euphoria on Wall Street today and you will come back empty-handed. Look at underlying numbers, though, and it is at first hard to see why. Over the past 136 years the cyclically adjusted price-earnings ratio (CAPE), a useful measure of how expensive stocks have become, has reached its current heights only twice before: during the dotcom bubble; and just before the Crash of ‘29.
Why does this remarkable surge not spur frantic enthusiasm—or for that matter deep trepidation? One reason is that in most market bubbles you can point to a particular type of asset which is seeing its price rise inexorably: tech stocks in the 1990s; houses in the mid-2000s. Today, though, America and much of the rest of the world are amid a bull market in almost everything: stocks, bonds and property are all strikingly expensive compared to long-term averages, and getting more so. When everything is going up, things are less exciting, and perhaps less worrying.

Improving economic conditions should buoy sharemarkets through to 2019

  • Byron Wein
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM October 3, 2017
I find a surprising lack of optimism about the outlook for shares. The capitalisation-weighted S & P 500 is up over 11 per cent this year, excluding dividends.
Some would argue that only a few stocks are accounting for the rise, but the equal-weighted S & P 500 was up over 8 per cent year-to-date as well.
Everyone is aware that the economic expansion and the bull market have continued for a long time. Equities bottomed in March of 2009 and the US economy began to strengthen in June of that year, so we have been in a favourable period for investing for more than eight years.
  • Updated Oct 4 2017 at 12:00 AM

Australian debt binge to drag on growth, jobs, IMF warns

The growing dead weight of Australia's five-year debt binge has only just started to drag on economic growth and jobs, according to modelling by the International Monetary Fund that further highlights the increasing financial vulnerability of households.
With the Reserve Bank of Australia holding the official cash rate steady at a record-low 1.5 per cent for a 13th straight meeting on Tuesday, the IMF's findings indicate that deliberately encouraging households to take on more debt delivers only a temporary sugar hit.
Based on a study of more than 80 advanced and emerging economies, the IMF finds that any positive effect of an increase in debt is "reversed" after three to five years.

America's freedom fundamentalism impervious to death

Mark Kenny
Published: October 3 2017 - 4:36PM
Around the world, people are aghast at the latest atrocity in the US, involving military-grade weapons, easily acquired, often lawfully owned.
Flummoxed at how such unspeakable brutalities are allowed to occur, and then simply occur again.
The Las Vegas mass shooting is "the worst in US history" but so what? This is mere headline. Nobody pretends it will be the last.

Australia's economic luck looks to be running out

Satyajit Das
Published: October 4 2017 - 8:54AM
Australia's record of 26 years without a recession flatters to deceive. The gaudy numbers mask serious flaws in the country's economic model.
First and most obviously, the Australian economy is still far too dependent on "houses and holes." During part of the typical business cycle, national income and prosperity are driven by exports of commodities -- primarily iron ore, liquefied natural gas and coal -- that come out of holes in the ground. At other times, low interest rates and easy credit boost house prices, propping up economic activity. These two forces have combined with one of the highest population growth rates in the developed world (around 1.5 per cent annually, driven mostly by immigration) to prop up headline growth.
Yet a significant portion of housing activity is speculative. Going by measures such as price-to-rent or price-to-disposable income, Australia's property market looks substantially overvalued.
  • Oct 4 2017 at 1:07 PM

Policy paralysis puts Australia's recession-free run at risk

by Michael Heath
The global crown for the longest stretch of uninterrupted economic growth is within sight for Australia. But it's limping to the line as policy paralysis weighs on the nation's prospects.
Twenty-six years without recession have put Australia within two years of overtaking the Netherlands' record growth streak and government, central bank and economist forecasts all suggest it'll take the mantle.
After all, the economy has a head start with 2.5 percent growth virtually baked in -- 1.5 percent from population gains that are among the developed world's quickest and 1 percent from resource exports feeding Asia's giant economies.
  • Updated Oct 4 2017 at 8:00 PM

Shares have gone nowhere for 10 years

If the Reserve Bank is correct and the local economy will be growing at 3 per cent next year, someone forgot to tell the best forward-looking indicator there is, the sharemarket.
It's going nowhere and could do with some good news on growth that in theory should lead to an uptick in earnings, but the recent performance is at odds with the bank's upbeat economic outlook.
On Wednesday the major S&P ASX 200 index closed at 5652, just 13 points below where it was when trading started this calender year.

World markets leave Australia behind in land of shrinking equity

Adam Haigh
Published: October 5 2017 - 10:42AM
Australia's economy has grown faster than its developed-world peers over the past decade, uniquely avoiding a recession. That means its sharemarket has grown handsomely too, right?
Wrong. It's actually smaller today than it was on the eve of the global financial crisis, in 2007. In that period, the US stock market's capitalisation has grown by more than $US9 trillion. Closer to home, Australia's market has been surpassed by Asia-Pacific peers South Korea and India.
Not only is the contraction a disconnect with the economy, it also stands against an expanding pool of pension-fund capital, which has opted instead to invest abroad.

Las Vegas shooting is part of the wider problem of messed-up men

Steve Biddulph
Published: October 4 2017 - 4:59PM
Was I the only one who reacted this way to the carnage in Las Vegas? A strong wish to not even watch, as the media once again reached saturation coverage of another bloodbath? As if all the world's locales were queueing up to feature in their own horror show.
The sense that this has become a kind of pornography – stirring but pointless – the blurry footage, the up close personal accounts, the inevitable banal life story of yet another male misfit. Does anyone else feel that this is just creating a learned helplessness in us as citizens? The idea that nothing can be done to either prevent or predict? "He seemed so normal." "We can't believe he's done this." These are testimonies not to aberration, but to how poorly we know those we live among, especially if they are men.

The move to scan all faces in all crowds cannot be far away

Mark Kenny
Published: October 5 2017 - 7:22PM
The problem with socialism, Margaret Thatcher observed, is that eventually you run out of other peoples' money.
Ditto for enhancing national security and the individual freedoms surrendered in the process.
This trade-off has always been the "other danger" in Western liberalism's fight against religious violence in this age of mass alarm.

IMF, World Bank say now’s the time to prepare for next downturn

  • Josh Zumbrun
  • Dow Jones
  • 9:35AM October 6, 2017
Global policy makers are becoming complacent during a moment of calm, doing too little to prepare their economies for a future downturn, the leaders of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank say.
As finance ministers and central bankers from 189 member countries prepare to descend on Washington for the annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF, the institutions’ leaders, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde previewed the message they will be delivering in coming days.
“We should not let a good recovery go to waste,” Ms Lagarde said in a speech in Boston. “We know what can happen if we let the moment pass. Growth will be too weak, and jobs too few.”

Home loan fear as confusion reigns

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM October 7, 2017

Michael Roddan

Fractures are starting to emerge in the Australian financial system with pressure points rising from confusion around the type of loans many borrowers are sitting on which could have serious consequences for homeowners when interest rates start to rise.
An explosive report in recent days from investment bank UBS analyst Jonathan Mott concluded that one-third of borrowers with a so-called interest-only loan don’t realise they aren’t paying back any of the loan’s principal.
Monthly repayments on interest-only loans — which do not require payment on the loan principal for about five years — jump by about 50 per cent at the end of the interest-only period.

'Held to ransom': Esso-BHP gas production drop to be examined by ACCC

Peter Hannam
Published: October 7 2017 - 8:40AM
The competition watchdog will demand ESSO and BHP Billiton explain in more detail why gas supplies from its Bass Strait joint venture will decline sharply next year amid concerns the nation is "being held to ransom".
There are also calls for acting resources minister Barnaby Joyce to make public a study into offshore gas resources he has had for more than a month that could shed light on the venture's future.
The Turnbull government has so far blamed soaring gas prices on governments in Victoria and NSW for blocking or stalling on new gasfields, and in Queensland for allowing excessive LNG exports.

National Budget Issues.

Coalition must stop gaming budget forecasts if it wants credibility

Simon Cowan
Published: September 30 2017 - 12:15AM
In recent years, the release of updated budget data has rarely been cause for celebration. Typically, the prime minister and treasurer of the day are forced to front the media and explain how the bad figures in the budget became even worse.
With the Turnbull government struggling in the polls and the marriage-equality survey causing rifts in the Coalition, it was probably a great relief for Treasurer Scott Morrison to be able to announce this week that the final bdget outcome for 2016-17 showed a reduced deficit.
But it's hardly a reason to break out the bunting: the deficit only reduced $4.4 billion from May's budget, and is just $3.9 billion better than was predicted in the 2016-17 budget. It is still nearly 2 per cent of GDP.

Coalition's economic gains force Labor to hold the champagne

Polls may look bleak for the government, but it will start getting the credit if things improve on the jobs and wages front
It was a week of another lot of bad polls for the government, but it also brought good economic news and remains a very stark reminder that the next election will be a tough one for the Labor party to win.
Normally, commentary on polls is considered among the lowest form of political analysis since it tends to explain politics as a horse race, but having set the parameters himself, such commentary is expected with Malcolm Turnbull. When he challenged the then prime minister Tony Abbott in 2015, he said the government had “lost 30 Newspolls in a row. It is clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Abbott’s leadership.” The fact that this week the Turnbull government has lost its 20th Newspoll in a row now takes on greater significance.

Scott Morrison's choice: 'If Donald Trump jumped off a cliff, would you?'

Jessica Irvine
Published: October 2 2017 - 11:08AM
Peer pressure is a powerful force, but not one that always leads to wise decision making.
Australia's corporate tax rate is again in the spotlight thanks to US President Donald Trump's ambitious tax plan announced last week to slice the US rate from 35 to 20 per cent.
Let's leave aside the issue of whether Trump will be able to deliver on this promise.

Lure of globalisation battles our instinctive tribalism

Ross Gittins
Published: October 1 2017 - 9:00PM
What has caused the rise in populism that's threatening the mainstream political parties around the developed world, including here?
Economists tend to explain it essentially in economic terms – the bottom has been given a rough deal for years, and finally is rising up – but other scholars see it much more in social and cultural terms: people objecting to being overrun by incomers. Immigrants, asylum seekers, Mexicans, Muslims, Asians.
In his new book for the Lowy Institute, Choosing Openness, Parliament's most accomplished economist, Dr Andrew Leigh, also Labor's shadow assistant treasurer, readily acknowledges the role of xenophobia in explaining why "openness makes us uncomfortable".

Real-time payments to be launched after Australia Day

Clancy Yeates
Published: October 3 2017 - 12:15AM
A new payments systems is "on track" to be able to deliver real time bank transfers and the ability to ditch BSB numbers from Australia Day.
While most people take a break over summer, banks will be putting the finishing touches on the biggest overhaul in the payments system in years. 
The new payments platform or NPP is a $1 billion project to deliver real-time payments between customers of different banks, and the company to run the system says it will be rolled out to the public after Australia Day next year. 

Greens plan for $2.2b national battery storage scheme

Cole Latimer
Published: October 4 2017 - 12:01AM
The Greens have called for the establishment of a national large-scale energy storage scheme, managed by the Australian Energy Market Operator and the Clean Energy Regulator, and supported by $2.2 billion in funding over a four-year period to build energy storage at grid level.
Launched in Adelaide today by Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt and senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young, the policy called for a legislated national target of 20 gigawatts of energy storage technology such as large battery installations.
Such a system could  deliver between 400 and 450-gigawatt hours of storage, which has the potential to power more than 100,000 homes for eight hours.
  • Updated Oct 5 2017 at 11:00 PM

APRA concerned about rising losses for disability insurance

Rising mental health claims have triggered sharp losses on disability income policies for some of the country's largest insurers, raising concern from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
Industry sources told The Australian Financial Review the prudential regulator is doing "focused work" on the retail disability income insurance market, which is also known as income protection, over concerns these loss-making policies are dragging down the profitability of the entire insurance industry.
It is understood APRA is asking both insurers and industry bodies for detailed information as it seeks to better understand why there have been such heavy losses, and whether the response has been sufficient. APRA's Geoff Summerhayes has oversight of the insurance industry and would be expected to oversee the matter.

A 'shocker' for retail spending as consumers shut wallets

Peter Martin
Published: October 6 2017 - 8:12AM
Low wage growth, higher electricity and gas bills and out-of-cycle mortgage rate increases have been blamed for a slump in consumer spending in July and August - the worst since 2010.
Retail spending slid 0.6 per cent in August after sliding 0.2 per cent in July.
Spending in cafes and restaurants and on takeaway food plunged 1.3 per cent in August to be only a little higher than it was the previous August, and lower per person after taking into account population growth.
Spending on household goods slid 1 per cent in August after sliding 2.1 per cent in July. Spending on food slipped 0.6 per cent, and spending on clothing 0.2 per cent after slipping 0.4 per cent. The only sectors where spending climbed were department stores, where spending climbed 0.7 per cent after sliding for three consecutive months, and "other retailing" where spending climbed 0.1 per cent.

Federal government seeks $8b controlling share of Snowy Hydro

KYLAR LOUSSIKIAN, The Daily Telegraph
October 5, 2017 12:00am
THE Turnbull government is prepared to pay as much as $8 billion to take control of Snowy Hydro ahead of a multi­billion-dollar expansion of the iconic scheme.
Federal sources have told The Daily Telegraph that Treasurer Scott Morrison was in negotiations with NSW and Victoria to purchase their shares of Snowy Hydro Ltd, which owns the major hydro-electric power generator.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the ­expansion in March.

Time to bust some myths about mortgage stress

  • The Australian
  • 6:22PM October 5, 2017

James Kirby

The IMF warned yet again this week about Australia’s high household debt and the message immediately got mangled with reports of rising “mortgage stress” but the two are not the same. Household debt is an economic statistic, mortgage stress is an assumption and one that has so many flaws it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Almost a million households are now facing “mortgage stress” says a new report from industry researcher Digital Analytics and that includes a rising number of some of the wealthiest postcodes in the nation.
But what is mortgage stress exactly? To the authors of this latest report it means there are 905,000 households where the ‘net income cannot cover ongoing costs’. To the Housing Industry Association it occurs where more than 30 per cent of household income goes on a mortgage.

Australia's energy trainwreck: How we ended up with the world's highest power bills

Perry Williams
Published: October 6 2017 - 10:51AM
A bungled transition from coal to clean energy has left our resource-rich country with an unwanted crown: the highest power prices in the world.
New Yorkers pay half as much as Sydneysiders to keep the lights on, despite Australia boasting among the world's largest coal and natural gas reserves, as well as ideal conditions for clean power generation.
It comes as a global survey of more than 12,400 executives from 136 countries finds that energy price shocks are the number one concern of Australian businesses. 

The reason Australia has never had a space agency

Eryk Bagshaw
Published: October 7 2017 - 12:15AM
There's a reason Australia has never had a space agency.
It's an opportunity cost. That is we've always reminded ourselves of all the other things we could buy for the price of going to 100 kilometres above sea level to the Kármán line, the internationally accepted border of earth and space.
But earlier this month, the Turnbull government said New Zealand's got one, we should have one, too.

Health Budget Issues.

Upcoming AIHW report: Health expenditure Australia 2015-16


Governments chipping in more for health, as individual Australians pay less

Government funding for health has risen, with individuals now funding a smaller proportion of health costs, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Health expenditure Australia 2015–16, shows that $170.4 billion was spent on health goods and services in 2015–16, with $114.6 billion (67.3%) of this funded by governments.
This is up from 66.9% the year before and is the first increase in the proportion that governments contributed since 2011–12.

Pinched health funds could go for bronze

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM October 6, 2017

Sean Parnell

Consumers would support moves to categorise health-insurance policies into gold, silver and bronze, with many people still unsure even what is covered by basic hospital policies, a reform committee has been told.
As Health Minister Greg Hunt finalises changes intended to reduce private health costs and make the sector more transparent, his private health ministerial advisory committee has seen market research showing introducing new categories would be a winner with consumers.
Within weeks, Mr Hunt is expected to announce the new categories of cover — likely to include a cut-price offering known internally as basic bronze — and encourage members to shop around for the best policy.

States urging hospitals to bill health insurers is pushing up premiums, analysis shows

  • The Australian
  • 4:57PM October 6, 2017

Sean Parnell

Public hospitals can access 44 per cent more funding for patients if they bill their insurer, according to a new analysis that gives further impetus to moves by federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to restrict the practice.
As ministers argue over funding and the Commonwealth pursues health insurance reforms, private hospital operator Healthscope commissioned Ernst and Young to calculate the financial incentive for public hospitals to subsidise their operations.
The states are encouraging public hospitals to bill more than $1 billion to insurers every year, often for patients who had a right to be treated in the public system without charge, putting further pressure on insurance premiums.


International Issues.

Donald Trump tells Rex Tillerson not to waste time negotiating with North Korea

Published: October 2 2017 - 2:33AM
Washington: US President Donald Trump on Sunday told his top diplomat not to waste his time trying to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
In an extraordinary tweet that appears to put the President at loggerheads with his Secretary of State over a key US policy, Mr Trump indicated he had little faith in Rex Tillerson's diplomatic efforts to defuse the North Korea situation. Via Twiter, Mr Trump told Mr Tillerson he was wasting his energy.
I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man...
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
...Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

Anger and violence in Barcelona as Catalan independence vote goes ahead

Nick Miller
Published: October 2 2017 - 11:14AM
Barcelona: Bloodshed and anger marred the Catalan independence vote in northern Spain on Sunday, as riot police stormed polling stations to seize ballot boxes, beating and firing rubber bullets at would-be voters.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau said hundreds of people had been injured in "police charges against the defenceless population". The Catalonia regional government's said more than 800 people required medical attention.
Ms Colau called for the resignation of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, saying he had "crossed all the red lines".

Donald Trump's combative rhetoric has helped North Korea crisis: Julie Bishop

Adam Gartrell
Published: October 1 2017 - 3:34PM
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has backed US President Donald Trump's combative rhetoric against North Korea, crediting him with bringing China to the negotiating table.
Ms Bishop said the careful and patient approach of Barack Obama had not worked and Mr Trump had at least "changed the debate".
Kim Jong-un's regime has repeatedly tested Mr Trump's resolve since he came to power this year, detonating a thermonuclear device and launching a number of test missiles. In response, the US President has promised "fire and fury" the likes of which the world has never seen.

Donald Trump visits Puerto Rico, says budget 'out of whack' after Hurricane Maria

Roberta Rampton and Gabriel Stargardter
Published: October 4 2017 - 5:45AM
San Juan: President Donald Trump is visiting Puerto Rico to reassure the island struggling to recover from a devastating hurricane.
One of the first people Trump met when he and his wife, Melania, touched down in San Juan on Tuesday was the city's mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has repeatedly blasted Trump as showing insufficient concern about the US territory's plight.
Trump, who has grappled with hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in the past six weeks, praised the federal assistance so far in Puerto Rico but also mentioned cost.
  • Updated Oct 5 2017 at 9:39 AM

Donald Trump is America's fake healer in chief

by Edward Luce
At the mere rumour of a terror attack in Europe, Donald Trump is always ready with a response.
"The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific," Mr Trump tweeted after the London Underground bomb last month, which claimed no lives. Scotland Yard should have been more "proactive", he added.
In contrast, Mr Trump turned to prayer after the largest mass shooting in his country's modern history, which killed 59 people.

Catalonia government declares overwhelming vote for independence

Raphael Minder
Published: October 7 2017 - 11:28AM
Barcelona, Spain: The Catalan government said on Friday that the official results of last Sunday's independence referendum showed it had passed overwhelmingly, setting up a potential showdown with the central government in Madrid.
Under their own laws, Catalan separatists had pledged to make the official vote result binding within 48 hours and unilaterally declare independence.
If Catalan separatists were to declare independence unilaterally, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy would most likely use emergency powers to take full administrative control of Catalonia, which could involve replacing the Catalan police force with Spanish police officers.

'Maybe it's the calm before the storm,' Trump says as he gathers with military leaders

Jenna Johnson
Published: October 7 2017 - 6:30AM
Washington: The White House has added further mystique to a cryptic comment made by President Donald Trump that it was the "calm before the storm".
"We're never going to say in advance what the president is going to do," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Saturday, adding that the comment wasn't a cheeky attempt to mess with the press.
On Friday, as President Donald Trump posed for a formal photo with his top military commanders and their spouses in the State Dining Room at the White House, he pointed to the leaders gathered around him and asked the small group of reporters standing before him: "You guys know what this represents?"

Tories wrestle with meaning of modern conservatism

Latika Bourke
Published: October 7 2017 - 7:57AM
Manchester: Two topics dominated conversations at fringe events, parties and dinners at this week's Tory party conference: Boris Johnson and where-to for the centre-right beyond Brexit. 
The first is a symptom of the second. 
Theresa May's leadership appears all but over - it is a matter of when and the question of whom with no obvious replacement in the wings. It had been expected that May would be forced to stand aside around March 2019 once the gritty work of negotiating Brexit has been completed.

Peter Hartcher: The three things Obama wanted to give America from Australia

Peter Hartcher
Published: October 7 2017 - 12:05AM
Barack Obama wanted three attributes of Australia for America. He wanted Australia's universal healthcare system, its gun laws and its compulsory voting system. These are three of the defining differences between the two societies.
A wise old Australian who had long lived in the US once told me of the 80:20 rule that applies to the relationship: the two countries are 80 per cent alike and 20 per cent different, but the 20 per cent is very different.
These three are a part of the 20 per cent. Of the trinity, the most prominent and urgent difference in recent years has been guns. "It was the first question that I was asked wherever I went in Australia," says the previous US ambassador, John Berry, "until Trump."

Conservative failures open door to return of socialism

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM October 7, 2017

Paul Kelly

Within the Anglosphere, the ideological lines are being drawn sharply and Britain leads the way. Speeches from Tory leader Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have raised the existential question: Are we returning to socialism?
The euphoria of British Labour, facilitated by Conservative Party traumas, has been on display. A slicker Corbyn told a rousing party conference his agenda is that of a “modern progressive socialist party that has rediscovered its roots and its purpose”.
The politics of the left has been in turmoil in the Anglosphere. Virtually all parties have moved to more radical positions tempered by different degrees of pragmatism: the ALP is among the most pragmatic and British Labour the most extreme.

Trump is on track to win re-election

Doug Sosnik
Published: October 8 2017 - 1:00AM
More than half of Americans don't think Donald Trump is fit to serve as president, yet he has a clear path to winning re-election.
If Trump isn't removed from office and doesn't lead the country into some form of global catastrophe, he could secure a second term simply by maintaining his current level of support with his political base.
We have entered a new era in American politics. The 2016 election exposed how economic, social and cultural issues have splintered the country and increasingly divided voters by age, race, education and geography. This isn't going to change.

Final tally in New Zealand election strengthens Labour

Published: October 8 2017 - 1:10AM
Wellington: A possible Labour-Green coalition has narrowed the gap with the ruling National Party in New Zealand's final election tally, strengthening their position ahead of talks with the small nationalist party which holds the balance of power.
The final September 23 election results released on Saturday showed National won 56 seats and Labour and Greens together took 54 seats, leaving them both reliant on New Zealand First's nine seats to meet the 61 seats needed for a majority in parliament in New Zealand's proportional representation system.
National lost two seats to the Labour-Green bloc compared with preliminary results - a development which Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said buoyed their position at the negotiating table.
I look forward to comments on all this!

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