Politics with Michelle Grattan

Ross Gittins on the government’s ‘surplus obsession’

October 29, 2019

The Australian economy is growing slowly, with people not opening their purses and businesses uncertain about the future.

The Reserve Bank has cut interest rates three times this year - the official cash rate is currently at a historic low of 0.75%. Many are arguing monetary policy has run its course, and fiscal stimulus is needed. This week’s Essential poll shows voters tend to think so as well, with 56% agreeing that stimulating the economy should be prioritised over getting back to budget surplus.

The Morrison government, however, is reluctant to do anything impinging on the projected surplus, which has become a political icon for it.

How long can the government maintain this position if the growth numbers don’t improve? And does action need to be taken now? Joining Michelle Grattan to talk about these issues is Ross Gittins, economics editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Additional audio:

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.

Image:

AAP/ Mick Tsikas