PM’s unofficial memo accidentally leaked to the media


The prime minister's office has accidentally sent the coalition's talking points to the entire Canberra press gallery, highlighting some of the government's perceived vulnerabilities.

The extensive talking points cover a broad range of topics including drought assistance, a banking inquiry and climate change targets.

The document contains a series of anticipated questions from journalists on potential weak spots, including the lack of a national drought policy, rising carbon emissions and inadequacy of the Newstart allowance.



As television and radio hosts made light of the blunder, Attorney-General Christian Porter denied it was an embarrassment.

"I didn't know that they were (distributed)," he told ABC radio today.

"These things happen from time to time."

The government likes to co-ordinate its message, ensuring its members are on the same page on a wide range of issues.

While there is nothing particularly sensitive in the document, it offers a rare insight into how political spin is crafted.

What will the PM make of this? Picture: AAP
What will the PM make of this? Picture: AAP


It comes as Deloitte Access Economics says Australia has been a big winner from the trade war between the United States and China, but the drought and housing slowdown are hurting at home.

A new report also warns global risks to the economy are only increasing, hurting Australia's changes of extending its 28 consecutive years of economic growth.

Deloitte Access Economics partner Chris Richardson says the problems with the global economy have been dominated by fears, rather than things actually going wrong.

"You shouldn't overstate the weakness in the current path of global growth. It's below trend, but not markedly," he says in a report released today.

"The world may be run by dictators and dumbos but, to date, the damage that has caused has been well contained.

"Australia has been a big winner from the world slowdown. Yep, winner.

"China is fighting its slowdown with stimulus, which has led to a pay rise for Oz via higher iron ore and coal prices."

Instead, Mr Richardson says the pain in Australia's economy has come from a deflating housing boom leaving consumers cautious, and a "nasty" drought flattening farmers.

"The bad news is that, although global events have so far helped our economy rather than hurt it, that could change fast," he said.

"Brexit, Kashmir, Hong Kong, Iran and the Saudis … the roll call of possible flashpoints is growing ever longer."

Labor shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said Australians know there is a problem with the economy through stagnating wages and the cost of essentials such as child care, which have "skyrocketed".

"The report also highlights that the RBA has been doing all the heavy lifting, and faces an increasingly difficult balancing act of trying to support the economy while preserving flexibility should global downside risks materialise," Mr Chalmers said.

A housing slowdown is hurting Australia’s economy. Picture: Darren England
A housing slowdown is hurting Australia’s economy. Picture: Darren England

Mr Richardson warns a slow rise in wages is likely to stall over the coming year, despite three interest rate cuts since June.

"Rates are also falling because these days the world's growth shows up more in jobs than in wages, so inflation is harder to get moving than it used to be," he said.

Mr Richardson said that explains why the Reserve Bank is "doubling down on the accelerator", cutting rates to boost a slowing economy and drive inflation upwards.

"The world has been giving Australia a pay rise amid a global slowdown. That's never happened before," he said.

"That marvellous combination has given us the first current account surplus in more than four decades.

"Borrowing costs have collapsed. That's a big benefit for a nation with a trillion dollars in global debt, with the savings from that building substantially over time via a lower net income deficit."