The ‘gold standard’ temporarily loses its glitter – The Australian Financial Review

Working women felt they were among the losers from Tuesday’s federal budget, and Anthony Albanese has heard their cries. The Opposition Leader used his budget-in-reply address to promise a $6.2 billion childcare boost, but the big-ticket item was $20 billion to green up the power grid.

Also crying: the 100-plus companies with foreign affiliates whose offshore earnings mean they won’t qualify for the federal budget’s tax break.

The sharemarket’s post-budget bump continued apace. The big four banks, major miners, healthcare and tech led the fourth consecutive day of gains, and equity market investors could enjoy a “huge tailwind” once the budget stimulus has been deployed. The shift from monetary policy to fiscal stimulus to fire up the economy is on in earnest, and not a moment too soon for one detractor of a “reactionary” central bank he says is prone to backflips.

Millennials have taken the hardest hit to the hip pocket from the coronavirus recession, but they also have the brightest outlook for the future. The budget’s JobMaker credit to encourage the hiring of the aforementioned generation can now count Labor among its critics, though Prime Minister Scott Morrison brushed off what he dismissed as “voices of division”.

Over in the divided states, things were borderline normal. Following last week’s “Hieronymus Bosch hellscape” of a US presidential debate, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris both exuded vice-presidential gravitas in the debate America yearned for. Honours were shared as both candidates landed blows, with the showstopping moment (aside from a fly photobombing Pence) coming when Harris channelled Julia Gillard’s star-making speech.

Ahead of the encounter, a prestigious medical journal backed the Democrats’ attacks on the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic. “They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy,” wrote The New England Journal of Medicine.

The mounting chaos in the US is taking a toll on Transurban. Its three roads near the US capital are haemorrhaging traffic, and it’s seeking equity injections similar to arrangements it has on its Queensland and NSW toll roads – not to keep the company afloat, says chairman Lindsay Maxsted, but to ready it for the imminent infrastructure bonanza on home soil.

Gilbert + Tobin co-founder Danny Gilbert has a sense that staff in Melbourne are “busting to get back in the office”. He wants them there, too, but won’t be forcing the issue, and says only those in the legal profession with a high digital IQ will survive the upheaval. Boutique consultancy ThinkPlace is measuring the dollars saved by the convenience of online collaboration, and may have found a solution to Zoom fatigue in the process.

Morning and afternoon surfs with your son. Taking a break to hang out with the kids when they finish school. While not all dads are enjoying the great work from home/parenting experiment, Kathmandu’s Stephen Domancie says Melbourne lockdown life has been great for his two sons. “It’s the most they’ve ever seen me since they’ve been born.”

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