The danger of dialogue and appeasing North Korea

by Crispin Hull on May 19, 2017

EIGHTY years ago, Hitler had just remilitarised the Rhineland and had his eye on taking Austria and the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia. Nothing happened after those takeovers but talks, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declaring, “Peace in our time.” Naivety and appeasement. Today we have North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. The history is similar. [click to continue…]


Budget: season of sectors and selfishness

by Crispin Hull on May 12, 2017

BUDGET time often shows Australia at its most sectional and selfish, especially if it is a Coalition Budget. This one was certainly no exception. It has been described as a turning away from the meanness of the Abbott Government’s mean approach of the 2014 Budget and turning away from obsession with deficits. But I get the sense that virtually every 2017 Budget measure was done with an eye to voters, but not to voters or society overall, but to particular “sectors” of voters who might change their vote for or against the Government according to how well or badly or unchanged the Budget affected their individual financial position. [click to continue…]


Good debt. Bad debt. Good govt. Bad Govt

by Crispin Hull on May 5, 2017

LET’S start with some definitions.

Good Investment: spending on things like disadvantaged schools where you get more bang for your bucks rather than elite schools because at disadvantaged schools the extra money goes on teaching. Elite schools already spend enough on education so the extra money goes on diving pools and the like, and do not improve educational outcomes. So that is Bad Investment. [click to continue…]

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IS Malcolm Turnbull determined to lose the 2019 election? His statement this week that the Government could underwrite the rail line for the Adani mine would have increased the anger among small businesses in the six Reef Seats. [click to continue…]

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80 years on, Guernica has lessons about bombing for us

by Crispin Hull on April 22, 2017

THURSDAY (26 April) will be the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Guernica in the Spanish Civil War. It is perhaps timely to reflect on it, given the emphasis on bombing in the past couple of weeks: the bombing of Syria “in retaliation” for the use of chemical weapons; the Mother of All Bombs being dropped in Afghanistan; and the threats by North Korea to pre-emptively use nuclear bombs. [click to continue…]


GOVERNMENTS, at state and federal level, are only looking at a half the “housing affordability” crisis, if that. The missing bit is that we have to go beyond merely discouraging investors from buying more houses to taking action to encourage existing investors to sell and move their money into more productive activity. [click to continue…]


The “jobs and growth” distorted delusion

by Crispin Hull on April 7, 2017

THE Government would like us to measure its success on the “jobs and growth” illusion. It points to 103 quarters without a recession (growth). It points to increasing job vacancies and lower unemployment (jobs). And the ministers smile smugly. [click to continue…]


The GDP delusion – don’t pop the corks just yet

by Crispin Hull on April 1, 2017

Yesterday (31 March 2016), Australia equalled the Netherlands’ record of 103 consecutive quarters of economic growth, as measured by Gross Domestic Product, without a recession. So why aren’t the champagne corks popping? The Netherlands’ boom came with gas in 1982 and ended with the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. [click to continue…]


Fuel and health taxes the next do-nothing inequities

by Crispin Hull on March 24, 2017

MOST economists regard hypothecation as a Bad Thing. In the financial (as distinct from the legal) world, hypothecation is where a government agrees to apply all the money raised by a particular tax to a particular area of spending. [click to continue…]


Ich bin ein Great Barrier Reefer

by Crispin Hull on March 17, 2017

The Great Barrier Reef belongs to all humanity. A Hamburg newspaper picked up last week’s column