In NSW election wrap-up provided an overview of the results of the NSW election. Counting has continued slowly, but all lower house seats have now been finalised. The outcome is:
- Liberals 51 seats, up 27
- Labor 20 seats, down 30
- Nationals 18 seats, up 5
- Independents 3 seats, down 3
- Greens 1 seat, up 1
The main changes since the first projections are the final Green victory in the inner west Sydney seat of Balmain, while the Nationals have gained a further seat at the expense of Labor. Legislative Council counting continues. There the main question lies in the final seat: will this be gained by the Greens or Pauline Hanson.
I will do a more detailed wrap up on the New England Australia blog, along with comments on the newly announced Liberal-National ministry. I will also set out the criteria that I will be using to assess the early performance of the new Government.
While my attention has been elsewhere, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released new population estimates for Australia for the year ending 30 September. The annual population growth rate for was 1.6%, has been declining since the peak of 2.2% for the year ended 31 December 2008 and was the lowest recorded since the year ended 30 September 2006.
The decline in the population growth rate was due entirely to a fall in net migration. You can see just how important migration is to the population growth from the ABS chart.
A little later, the ABS also released more detailed regional population analysis. Again, I will comment on these on the New England Australia blog.
The rate of growth was a significant issue at the last Federal election, with battles between big and little Australians. This debate was a little misguided simply because net migration (those arriving minus those leaving) depends upon factors beyond the Government's immediate control. In the year ending 30 September, Australia needed 255,800 new arrivals just to offset the number of residents leaving the country. What is more interesting is the distributional and compositional effects.
The discussion on migration links directly to the question of skills shortages. According to a story in the Australian, up to eight million Australian workers don't have the reading, writing or numeracy skills to undertake training for trade or professional jobs. Indeed, it is argued that standards now are lower than they were in the 1960s.
This is a perennial issue and one not easily addressed by current analytical methods. I say this because there is apparent conflict in the data as compared to the anecdotal evidence. Perhaps a fuller comment later.
In Fault lines in Australian politics I referred to the anti and pro carbon tax demonstrations. These have continued. I haven't commented on the detail of the Australian Government's proposals because I don't feel competent to do so. I just haven't worked through the detail in my own mind.
If we start from the premise as I do that climate change is an issue that we need to address, then some form of price on carbon is inevitable. Beyond that point, the issue is defining the best way to do it.
One thing that does concern me is the argument that a carbon price can come without cost to the majority of the community. More precisely, that there will be a cost that can be offset by compensation. People don't believe this and they are right to be cautious. Apart from anything else, even if on average costs and compensation are equal for low and middle income earners, there are likely to be considerable distributional differences within that average.
Well, its coming up on 6.50. Time to prepare for the week.