"We seem to have lost sight of the whole cause and effect thing in a lot of policy debates. The Grattan paper – and the forum next week – give us a chance to refocus our sights on the task ahead."
This week's economic figures - growth, employment, household consumption, productivity and inflation - were unequivocally good. According to Wayne Swan, they should be a circuit-breaker in the national discussion.
And today a Grattan Institute report on economic reform landed - an opportunity to consider 'some actual data and stop banging the same old drums', as Laura Tingle puts it. The report suggests that instead of the usual suspects - IR reform, infrastructure - we should be increasing the participation of women and older people in the workforce and looking at a change in the tax mix.
Tony Abbott immediately rejected two of the central proposals and, in other news, the Australian head of Glencore (a multinational and commodities trader) likened the investment risk of doing business in Australia to the Congo, Colombia and Kazakhstan.
"Extending the GST to fund lower income taxes, making it easier for mothers to return to work and increasing the retirement age to keep older people in work are 'game-changing' reforms for Australia over the next decade... The three measures would boost gross domestic product by a combined $80 billion a year by 2022 - or 5 per cent of the total economy."
"The RBA board should have kept rates where they were, not only this month but last month as well. The bank's rate cuts from November and December are only now starting to have their full effect, let alone the half percentage point cut last month."
The latest in the 'At least we're not...' category: "Greek talk shows are by nature combustible affairs. But rarely have they witnessed anything quite as shocking as the moment when a leading member of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party launched a physical assault on two female politicians." (video)