RBA board to be split

Sweeping changes are to be implemented at the Reserve Bank of Australia following a formal independent review by the federal government.

What we know:

  • The findings of the long-awaited independent review of the Reserve Bank commissioned by Treasurer Jim Chalmers will be released today, with the treasurer already flagging in-principle agreement with all 51 recommendations (The Conversation).
  • Titled “An RBA fit for the future”, it is the first formal review of the bank since the 1990s. The 294-page report makes 51 recommendations grouped under 14 headings.
  • Changes include splitting its board in two – a monetary policy board and governance board – to enable greater focus on how interest rates are decided, more effective decision making and governance arrangements.
  • The creation of a monetary policy board mirrors the central bank structures of countries such as Canada and the UK (The Guardian).
  • The government will continue to support the bank's independence, and inflation-targeting framework (AFR).
  • Two new board members will be appointed to the existing nine-member board, which will remain in place until the two-board system is legislated later this or next year.
  • Chalmers praised shadow treasurer Angus Taylor for his engagement with the review, saying the RBA Act should be something that we can agree on and put beyond politics.
  • The review panel received more than 1500 submissions and consulted 137 global and domestic experts, including current and former RBA board and staff, MPs, academics, business representatives, unions, public institutions and community groups.
  • Bank governor Philip Lowe has been criticised for predicting no lift to the cash rate before 2024, influencing the decisions of some home buyers (The Saturday Paper).

Pollution cap on new cars

Mandatory pollution caps will be applied to all new vehicles, as part of the federal government’s National Electric Vehicle Strategy to drive uptake of clean cars to help Australia meet its climate targets.

What we know:

  • A key component of its strategy includes the introduction of fuel efficiency standards on manufacturers’ fleets of passenger vehicles, an Australian first (The Conversation).
  • Announced by Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen and Transport Minister Catherine King on Wednesday, the efficiency standards will limit average emissions of the overall fleet of vehicles sold into the market, encouraging carmakers to sell more EVs (SMH).
  • However, some climate experts say the strategy fails to introduce meaningful new measures to expedite the transition to a net-zero economy.
  • Climate consultant Ketan Joshi said, “It's weird how all these Steps In The Right Direction don't seem to be adding up to actual movement in the right direction” (Twitter).
  • The Australia Institute called for greater acceleration of fuel efficiency standards and an end to subsidies for large four-wheel-drive utes (The Australia Institute).

Bob Maguire dies aged 88

Beloved social justice advocate and Catholic priest, Father Bob Maguire, champion of the “unloved and unlovely”, has died, his foundation confirmed Wednesday.

Maquire, 88, worked tirelessly to feed and house Melbourne’s disadvantaged, often in defiance of the Catholic Church to whom he was a frequent thorn in the side (The Guardian).

Church leaders struggled with McGuire's forthright, populist approach to Catholicism, a conflict which eventually drove him from his parish after almost four decades.

He established the Father Bob Foundation in 2003 to provide a range of relief programs for the city's most marginalised, including food, education, social inclusion and advocacy (SMH).

The self-described larrikin attracted new adherents if not to his faith then to his unwavering compassion, and through his long-time radio and documentary partnership with John Safran, who described Maguire as “somehow kinder and funnier than he was publicly” (ABC).


McGowan ‘hot mic’ hurts Hastie

WA premier Mark McGowan reignited a longstanding feud with shadow Defence minister Andrew Hastie after he was caught on a “hot mic” deriding Hastie’s views on China.

The comments were picked up by a microphone at the China-Australia Chamber of Commerce lunch in Beijing where McGowan was spruiking WA as an investment destination (WA Today).

McGowan’s office on Tuesday sent footage from the lunch that depicted McGowan disparaging Hasite as well as OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann.

Of Hastie, McGowan said, “He swallowed some sort of Cold War pills back … when he was born, and he couldn’t get his mindset out of that.”

Of Cormann, “He had the same view as me, but he had no sway... on the issue. He had a lot of sway, but on this issue, he was the odd one out."

Hastie, a former SAS officer, responded by saying McGowan was out of his "intellectual depth"  and was a “prison guard looking for work, now that the pandemic is finished” (The Australian).


Huge green energy boost needed

Australia will need nearly three terrawatts, or 3000 gigawatts, of wind and solar if it is to meet its goal of a net zero economy by 2030, according to a new study.

The extraordinary numbers were revealed in a new report released Wednesday – Net Zero Australia – jointly published by Melbourne University, the University of Queensland, and the Nous Group (Renew Economy).

The energy, industrial and export infrastructure required to meet Australia's net-zero target will require about $9 trillion of capital, the researchers say (The Canberra Times).

Decarbonisation is expected to create 700,000 direct jobs, mainly in regional and rural areas, according to independent modelling released on Wednesday.


There is no public value in baselessly attacking an Elder as 'not completely Indigenous', or maligning the Voice as 'racist at heart', or discrediting decades of nationally distributed collaboration behind the Uluru Statement from the Heart as a 'Canberra

Esther Anatolitis on outrage triggers and how centring writers in debates that aren't theirs are eroding our capacity for sophisticated debate. (Crikey)



Who is Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price?

After a week that forced a reshuffle on the Coalition front bench, Peter Dutton had to announce a new spokesperson for Indigenous Australians – he needed someone who would enthusiastically support his ‘No’ position on the Voice to Parliament. His choice was Jacinta Nampijinpa Price – a first-term senator. So who is Dutton’s new pick? How did she rise so quickly through the ranks? And what does she really believe about Indigenous Affairs? Today, chief political correspondent for The Saturday Paper Karen Middleton, on why the Liberal party is betting it all on Jacinta Nampijinpa Price.