RBA holds steady on cash rate in light of Budget stimulus

Record low interest rates are likely to continue in the wake of the Federal budget as the Reserve Bank of Australia considers ways to support jobs and economic growth, economists predict.

The record-low cash rate target of 0.25% remains unchanged for the seventh month in a row, following emergency measures taken in March to reduce impacts of a COVID-driven recession.

Economics commentator and former Deutsche Bank investment banker Claire Rushe said the RBA’s decision to maintain the current cash rate setting was not surprising.

“With fiscal policy drip-feeding all day, why would you use the last bullet of monetary policy,” she said.

“It would be quite poor timing.”

The RBA also considered future “additional monetary easing,” signalling further rate cuts as the economy expands.

Despite the RBA’s “dovish” language, Ms Rushe said she was sceptical of deeper rate cuts.

She said her time at Deutsche Bank during the 2008 global financial crisis saw wholesale slashing of rates, resulting in clients “paying money to put cash in the bank.”

“Cash rates going down further may not have much kick,” Ms Rushe said.

“But dovish language like this keeps the general population thinking there is monetary policy potential to support it. Hopefully, they don’t need to use it.”

Ms Rushe said it would be worthwhile to see how the Federal government’s fiscal stimulus handled the reduction of JobKeeper and JobSeeker.

The RBA noted economic recovery was under way in most of Australia, although the second-wave covid-19 outbreak in Victoria had resulted in “further contraction.”

With the differing levels of economic recovery around the country, Ross Forrester, director of Westcourt Accounting in Perth, said he expected the central bank to remain stoic.

“The blunt instrument of the RBA has big impact – if you change interest rates, you change them across Australia,” he said.

“Whereas the government’s fiscal stimulus can target business needs in places like Victoria and New South Wales which are more affected than say, WA.”

The RBA is expected to publish a full set of updated forecasts next month.

Published in the NewsVineWA – student journalism publication for Edith Cowan University in Western Australia:

RBA holds steady on cash rate in light of Budget stimulus

Lack of Diversity on Australian TV – Interview with Professor James Arvanitakis

A landmark study of television news and current affairs has found that presenters, commentators and reporters on Australian television – are overwhelmingly of an Anglo-Celtic background.

The study shows that television media has an “extraordinarily long way to go” in boosting representation of people from diverse backgrounds.

RTRFM’s Allan Boyd spoke with one of the report authors: Professor James Arvanitakis – from Western Sydney University to discuss the report findings.

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Australia credits itself on being a successful multicultural society – but a new report shows that our TV content does not accurately reflect the make-up of the wider community. This is especially evident in television News. It’s been described as a “Whitewash”.

According to new research by four Australian universities – in partnership with Media Diversity Australia – television news media and current affairs – lacks cultural and linguistic diversity.

The report, released last week entitled “Who Gets To Tell Australian Stories?” investigates Australian television – and illustrates that TV news content – is far more Anglocentric than the country it represents – and implies a lack of cultural diversity…

I spoke with James Arvanitakis – from Western Sydney University – who is one of the report authors.

Locals ignored over Ocean Reef Marina redevelopment – Interview with Alison Xamon MLC

Has the local community been kept in the dark about the enormous Ocean Reef Marina development in Perth’s northern suburban coast?

RTRFM Perth Indymedia Radio’s Allan Boyd spoke with North Metro MLC Alison Xamon about claims over the lack of community consultation – and why locals are concerned over the sheer scale of a housing development beachfront site… (Save Ocean Reef)

RTRFM 92.1 – Monday 24 August 2020

Media Name and Shame – Interview with Dr Denis Muller

Interview with Dr Denis Muller by Allan Boyd on RTRFM Thursday 06 August 2020.

SCROLL DOWN FOR AUDIO INTERVIEW

Anyone who follows the news, will know that two young Brisbane women – returning to Queensland from Victoria recently – had allegedly broken coronavirus border restriction laws. It was alleged that they had lied on their border declaration forms to avoid quarantine after a party trip to Melbourne.

The two teenagers have now been named and shamed by Australia’s big media. Last week, the Courier Mail – Brisbane’s only daily newspaper – labelled the women “Enemies of the State” on the front page.

Multiple media outlets – including the ABC, Herald Sun, Sydney Morning Herald, the Age, Brisbane Times, Daily Mail and commercial television outlets – also named the women and published their photographs – which were taken from their social media accounts.

But shouldn’t the right to privacy apply equally to everyone?

To talk about all this is journalism expert Dr Denis Muller – Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Advancing Journalism – University of Melbourne…

Ten-year-olds do not belong in detention – Interview with Dr Chris Cunneen

Interview with Dr Chris Cunneen by Allan Boyd on RTRFM Thursday 30 July 2020.

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Across Australia, children as young as 10 – can be arrested by police, charged with an offence, remanded in custody, convicted by the courts – and imprisoned.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are disproportionately impacted by these laws – accounting for 65 per cent of children in prisons.

There is a growing community campaign, calling on our leaders to raise the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14.

This week, Australia’s state and federal attorneys-general met to discuss raising the age of criminal responsibility.

To discuss this – Allan Boyd caught up with Doctor Chris Cunneen, Professor of Criminology, University of Technology Sydney – and asked him:

How many children are locked up around the country at the moment?

You can read Chris’s article in the Conversation this week – and find out more about the campaign to raise the age of Criminal Responsibility at raisetheage.org.au

(Article in The Conversation: Ten-year-olds do not belong in detention. Why Australia must raise the age of criminal responsibility – Dr Chris Cunneen – Professor of Criminology, University of Technology Sydney)

Parler, Twitter and the concept of Free Speech – Interview with Audrey Courty

Interview with Audrey Courty– PhD candidate, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Griffith University. Played on RTRFM – Perth Indymedia (27/07/2020)

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There’s been noisy accusations recently – that social media platforms are suppressing users right to free speech.

Among the so-called stifling of debate – rival platform – Parler is gaining interest for its so-called, self-claimed anti-censorship stance.

Parler claims it is a non-biased free speech driven entity – but is it?

Over recent months – “anti-twitter” – right-leaning users have flocked to the Parler or the alt-Twitter as it has been dubbed – whose main selling point is that it vows to champion free speech.

With me to talk about all this is Audrey Courty – digital media and political communications specialist – and a PhD candidate at the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science – Griffith University

Audrey’s article “Parler: what you need to know about the ‘free speech’ Twitter alternative” was published in the Conversation recently.

Locals oppose scale of massive Ocean Reef Marina redevelopment – Interview with Save Ocean Reef action group spokesperson – Jeff Fondacaro

Interview with Save Ocean Reef action group spokesperson – Jeff Fondacaro

Story also published in The WA DAILY

A new waterfront precinct currently under development in Perth’s northern coastal suburb of Ocean Reef has been touted by developers as “the living, working and playing destination the community has been waiting for.”

When complete, the development will feature 12,000sqm of retail and commercial space, 550 boat pens, 200 boat stackers – and more than 1000 residential homes.

The Ocean Reef Marina is a WA Government project, delivered by DevelopmentWA (a recent merger of LandCorp and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority), in collaboration with the City of Joondalup.

The proposed 65ha precinct will include waterfront cafes and restaurants, a protected internal beach – is located at the existing Ocean Reef Boat Harbour – and encroaches into the Marmion Marine Park and a Bush Forever site.

The Marina involves 10 tonnes, or around 100,000 abalones, to be relocated ahead of the development.

The project will redevelop and expand on existing Harbour facilities and includes two new breakwaters, approximately two kilometres in length and requires up to 800,000 tonnes of limestone to be dumped onto the seabed.

The project has been marketed as “a world-class tourism, residential, retail and marine base providing facilities for boats and vibrant new spaces for residents and tourists alike.”

But not everybody is on board.

Locally-led community action group Save Ocean Reef advocates for the interests of local residents in the marina’s development area.

They recently began meeting weekly on site to protest the “immense” scope of the project – with over 100 people demonstrating in a recent action.

The group of like-minded residents are alarmed that developers have not listened to their concerns and say they will now be “taking it public.”

“This is a housing development masquerading as a marina. It has never received community approval,” the group say. “The concept does not meet the needs of the boating industry and represents an opportunity for developer’s to secure untouched prime coastal land, at low cost, at our expense.”

They fear not enough is being done to protect the encroached Bush Forever site or the Marmion Marine Park sanctuary.

WA Lands Minister Ben Wyatt said in June, that the marina will be a key economic driver for the region with the creation of hundreds of new jobs.

Jeff Fondacaro, spokesperson for the Save Ocean Reef action group, has lived in Ocean Reef for over 30 years. He told The WA Daily, “the notion of an infrastructure upgrade for the marina component was always on the cards.”

He said the initial 2009 concept of a marina upgrade had well over 90 percent local support. However, since then, the plan has substantially changed.

He and his fellow Ocean Reef residents claim they only recently realised the addition of a high-density housing development. They were shocked to discover that over 3000 new residents may soon be “living at the end of the street.”

Whilst they are not opposed to a redevelopment of the aging marina, the Save Ocean Reef group do not support such a large-scale housing project.

Labeling himself an “accidental activist,” Mr Fondacaro says he feels “duped” and is prepared to take direct action and to “lock-on” to save the bush – if it comes to it.

He urges anyone who knows the Ocean Reef coastline, and wants to help protect it, to visit the group’s website and get involved.

Save Ocean Reef say they will continue to meet weekly on-site to protest the scale of the redevelopment.

Facial recognition technology: now available at the local 7-Eleven – Interview with Rick Sarre

Sign posted in 7Eleven StoreBalaclava, Victoria – Image from https://twitter.com/Asher_Wolf/status/1274892763599736833

Facial recognition technology is increasingly being trialled and deployed around Australia.

The technology scans and stores facial features as unique data.

It can then be data-matched against photos — such as pictures stored in the Federal Government’s massive biometric database, which includes drivers licences, passports and harvested from social media accounts.

Queensland and Western Australia are reportedly already using real-time facial recognition through CCTV cameras.

Over the past decade, facial recognition technology has spread across a number of industries. In many stores in China, you can now pay with your face.

7-Eleven Australia is also deploying facial recognition technology in its 700 stores nationwide for what it says is customer feedback.

To discuss this I spoke with Rick Sarre Adjunct Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at the University of South Australia.

[Note: Apologies for the intro – I have a cold!]

Read Rick Sarre’s article in the Conversation… 

Art Gallery of WA rooftop to feature massive Noongar artwork

Art Gallery of WA rooftop to feature massive Noongar artwork

The WA Daily

The McGowan Government has announced it will transform the Art Gallery of WA’s rooftop into a multi-use gallery and 500-person venue over the next six months.

The new rooftop gallery known as “Elevate” will feature a 34-metre artwork by prominent Noongar artist Christopher Pease.

The giant painting will wrap around one third of the rooftop wall.

The Art Gallery of WA say the new work will be the largest Aboriginal art commission in the Gallery’s history and will be part of the State Art Collection.

Pease’s powerful, multi-layered artworks often focus on postcolonial history and Aboriginal identity – overlaying traditional scenes of Indigenous ways of living with ideas of western culture.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said he was delighted the huge Noongar artwork will be a centrepiece for the development.

“Aboriginal art is not only strikingly beautiful, it is critical to truth telling and provides us insight into the history of our State and the connection of first nations people with these lands,” he said.

Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman said the project, the largest rooftop venue in Perth, will provide views of the hills, the city skyline and the new WA Museum.

He said the “combination of rooftop events, artworks and people will add vibrancy to the Perth Cultural Centre precinct.”

Other Art Gallery of WA announcements include the appointment of an Indigenous curator to focus on Noongar art and a new ground floor gallery dedicated to contemporary Aboriginal art.

Elevate will also include an external lift and skybridge from the Perth Cultural Centre precinct enabling access to the rooftop after-hours.

It is expected the project will be completed by January 2021 and will support 265 construction jobs.

Pauline Hanson dropped for offensive commentary – Interview with Denis Muller

Is it the job of corporate media to amplify divisive and offensive commentators?

The vitriolic and inflammatory Senator Pauline Hanson was dropped by Channel Nine last week – when they announced she would no longer be a regular commentator on the Today Show.

Hanson had made divisive, offensive and racist comments on the show – in reference to the residents of Melbourne’s nine public housing towers – who were under COVID-19 lockdown – labeling tenants ‘drug addicts’ and ‘alcoholics’.

Senator Hanson, who had regularly appeared as a contributor in a news chat segment on the show,  made comments regarding residents inside public housing towers under COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne.

In a statement, Channel Nine said: “We don’t shy away from diverse opinions and robust debate on the Today Show. But … accusations from Pauline Hanson were ill-informed and divisive” – and said – Hanson “will no longer be appearing on our program as a regular contributor”.

When voices such as Hanson’s are amplified – is the safety of the public put at risk? Is the job of the mainstream media to give a platform for public figures who will probably make racist remarks?

I caught up with Journalism expert Dr Denis Muller – Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne to discuss the effects of the language of Pauline Hanson in the media.

Dr Muller’s article in the Conversation can be found here: “When The Today Show gave Pauline Hanson a megaphone, it diminished Australia’s social capital”.

I asked Denis: how does Hanson continue to vent her opinions on the public? This has been happening for decades – Why do media organisations continue to support her offensive ranting? Is it about ratings? What’s going on?