- The Guardian
- Issue #2017
The 1959 act that brought the Reserve Bank of Australia into being, stated in its objectives that the bank will be committed to full employment, stability of the currency and “the economic prosperity and welfare of the people of Australia.” Fine words, but the bank is really a clockwork mechanism that tries to manage the peaks and troughs of capitalism’s rollercoaster economy. The Albanese government has set up a review panel to “examine” the above stated objectives so as to give the board over completely to corporate control. The minutes from the last RBA Board meeting of 5th July gives a pointer as to the purpose of the rejig: they show that it’s businesses passing on price increases from the “non-labour inputs” that is a key contributor to inflation, and not wage growth. The RBA Board minutes noted that companies “had indicated a greater propensity to pass through cost increases to consumer prices. As a result of these price pressures, inflation was expected to increase in year-ended terms through the remainder of 2022,” that is, profits are the main cause of inflation in Australia. It pointed out that wages are still only growing at 2.4 per cent in the year to March 2022, while by the Bank’s own predictions inflation is tipped to reach seven per cent by the end of the year. Said ACTU President Michele O’Neil: “While corporate Australia are warning that the sky will fall in if wages keep pace with inflation they are creating an inflationary cycle by pocketing record profits and paying out record bonuses to CEOs.”
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal that one in five Australians had a mental health illness during the first two years of the COVID 19 pandemic. The ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, with 5,500 face-to-face interviews, is based on the World Health Organisation’s international classifications. When an individual’s mental health is compromised, this impacts the individual, their family, support networks and the wider community. The Institute of Clinical Psychologists notes that the incidence of anxiety and depression was increasing within the community before the pandemic. In 2016, serious mental ill-health was estimated to cost the Australian economy almost $60 billion and six per cent of GDP. A simple and cost-effective way to address existing gaps in accessible and affordable mental health care is to permanently increase the number of Medicare sessions for psychology services. Curious, if not bloody-minded, that the Albanese government is going to cut Medicare-funded services for mental health treatment.
PARASITE OF THE WEEK: “Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools. But above all, we should [deny] specific remedies for ravaging diseases.” These were the plans of the Reverend Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) who set the ideological and economic agenda for the emerging capitalist ruling class, right up to today.