Oh, the week that was. We got cosy with Barnaby Joyce’s progeny, the depths of the stock market and the national attempt at mirth. Yeah, not good.
Hello and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had jitters on the stock market, a possible sequel to an Aussie classic, controversy from Bad Bad Leroy Brown Barnaby Joyce, and Cory Bernardi at his best.
For those working in the financial sector, it’s been a difficult week. The US stockmarket has seen a rapid and major move downward with the Dow Jones industrial average falling more than 1,000 points twice this week.
By the end of Thursday, the Dow had dropped 10% from its highpoint this year, making it the steepest decline in any week since October 2008 – right in the middle of the 2007-2008 global financial crisis.
Experts are advising people not to panic, suggesting that the decline experienced this week is a “correction” rather than a “crash”. A correction is commonly regarded as a 10% drop in the stockmarket from its peak. Whilst the number is somewhat arbitrary, it’s the magic number most used by analysts.
If a drop like this continues and reaches 20%, it’s then considered a bear market which suggests a more sustained downturn. Over the past 20 years, there have been 10 corrections in the S&P 500 but only two of those have turned into bear markets, including the last, during the GFC. The catalyst appears to be an inflationary pressure which has analysts expecting a March interest rate rise in the US.
US Prez Trump came under fire immediately in light of the fact that he had been spruiking his economic successes over the past few weeks. In defence of Trump (yes, I did just vomit in my mouth as I wrote that), whilst the two are related, they aren’t related in the way that most would expect. At least part of the selloff is actually a result of improved employment and wage figures in the US, leading some investors and analysts to believe that the US economy may be strengthening too fast.
My brief defence of him out of the way, Trump finally weighed in on the sell-off, calling the decline a “big mistake” before going all grandpa about the “old days” when good economic news led to an improvement in the stock market.
Perhaps the economy is a little more complicated than that Don.
In the “old days,” when good news was reported, the Stock Market would go up. Today, when good news is reported, the Stock Market goes down. Big mistake, and we have so much good (great) news about the economy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2018
For the sports fans out there, this week began with one of the biggest sporting events on the calendar – the Superbowl.
Superbowl 52 was fought out between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles and it didn’t disappoint. The Pats were looking to make it back to back wins for the first time since 2003-2004 as well as giving quarterback Tom Brady his record sixth Superbowl ring and a sixth for coach Bill Belichick.
But the Eagles ruined the Pat’s party with some brave play and a lot of pressure.
With two minutes on the clock, the Patriots looked like they had all the time in the world to do what they normally do, and win from nowhere. Despite playing an incredible game, Brady was sacked by defensive end Brandon Graham, causing him to spill the ball and turn it back over to the Eagles.
The real highlight for us back in Aus was one of the famed Superbowl ads, featuring a trailer for the new Crocodile Dundee movie. The star studded-sequel had been teased prior to the game, before being unveiled to the world during the game. Or so we thought.
The trailer was actually a Tourism Australia ad, and a damn clever campaign if there ever was one. The ad featured an all start Aussie cast including Chris Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, Hugh Jackman and a cameo from Croc himself, Paul Hogan.
The hype may give the people what they want, however, with a #BringBackDundee hashtag campaign well under way and gaining momentum. At the very least it might help wipe the memory of Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles from our memories.
Deputy PM and proud Kiwi Barnaby Joyce would be counting his lucky stars that the New England bi-election was back in December. If it had been held this week, he would have lost even if he’d been unopposed.
It was revealed this week that Joyce is expecting a baby with a former member of his staff, 33-year-old media adviser Vikki Campion.
Rumours had apparently been circling while he was on the by-election campaign trail back in November, however he declined to comment at the time. Ms Campion left Joyce’s employ back in April last year however his now estranged wife, Natalie, has told the media that she understood the affair “has been going on for many months and started when was a paid employee.”
The majority of political players have supported Joyce and Campion’s right to privacy in the wake of the news this week. Greens MP Adam Bandt described the tabloid story as “despicable” and pointed to the fact that regardless of anyone’s opinion of Joyce, Campion hadn’t chosen to be a public figure.
Labor’s shadow treasurer, Chris Bowen, landed a small backhander saying “The Labor party has made no public statement about Barnaby Joyce’s personal situation for the last six months despite the fact it’s been well-known in this building. We’re not about to start today.”
You kind of did, Chris, but that’s okay.
Many have pointed to the hypocrisy of Joyce’s staunch opposition to marriage equality, including international media outlets like the Washington Post.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, however, has called on the PM to make sure “nothing untoward” had occurred during the course of Joyce’s affair – specifically when Campion was under his employ. The request has likely been borne from the fact that Campion now works for close Joyce ally, Senator Canavan, in a position that didn’t exist prior to her appointment.
The scandal has also led to the idea of banning relationships between employers and employees. Independent MP Cathy McGowan raised the idea of following a successful move in the US this week to ban sex between members of Congress and staff.
Apparently, our politicians find it so difficult to keep their dicks in their pants that we actually have to legislate emasculation. Oh, the humanity…
Also on The Big Smoke
- Current Affairs Wrap: Piers lubs Donald 4eva, Pyne rides the tram, 2018 will do something to someone
- Current Affairs Wrap: America rings in 2018 with gunshots, Australia chooses her best, Woo you Mr Woo
- Current Affairs Wrap: Trump government shuts down, Australia Day debate turns vicious, Wallaby complains about commute
Speaking of dicks politicians, everyone’s favourite Conservative, Cory Bernardi, hit the headlines again this week. Now that gay bashing is unacceptable again, Bernardi has turned his sights to women, arguing that allowing them to perform combat roles in our military isn’t in the best interests of national security.
Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds, who also holds the title of Australia’s first female brigadier, was having none of it, saying that his comments were “appalling” and that he was a “complete and utter disgrace,” before throwing one out from the Hinch playbook, “Shame on you.”
The debate started with a move to remove an exemption that currently exists in the Sex Discrimination Act which permits the discrimination against women being given combat roles. Given that Bernardi’s entire platform is based on trying to leave as much discrimination within our legislation as possible, he unsurprisingly dove in head first.
Defence Minister Marise Payne also weighed in:
Disappointing and ill informed views from Sen Bernardi re women in combat roles. The ADF is strengthened through engagement of great serving women and men. You can’t ignore the abilities of half the population in the 21st century.
— Marise Payne (@MarisePayne) February 5, 2018
With women and gays out of the way, we may have also got a preview of Bernardi’s next target as he likened Nick Xenophon to Con the Fruiterer. Xenophon is of course of Greek heritage and for the younguns playing at home, this is Con the Fruiterer.
Wacky and Wonderful
We have a tough time breaking stereotypes Down Under. I’ve made quite a few trips to the US and have inevitably faced the barrage of questions regarding my pet kangaroo, my crocodile hunting abilities and my skill level on the didgeridoo.
The problem may be worse than we thought.
Ashley Arnold, a student at the Southern New Hampshire University in the US, was tasked with writing an assignment that compared a social norm in the US and another country. Arnold chose to compare social media use between the US and Australia.
She was promptly failed by her lecturer.
The reason? Her lecturer refused to believe that Australia was a country and insisted it was a continent only.
It apparently took several back and forth exchanges between the two before the teacher finally researched the issue (which I’m assuming was simply typing “Is Australia a country?” into Google) and regraded the paper to a B+.
The lecturer concerned actually holds a PhD in sociology. The university had said they will investigate the matter. Who knows, with geographical expertise like that, they may make her the next President of the United States.
That’s it from me TBSers, have a cracking week!