Women replace the country’s most unpopular leaders

The jury remains out on whether Lowe pushed too hard on raising rates. But based on where the economy currently sits, he appears to have been successful in holding the narrow path he was trying to navigate between fighting inflation and avoiding recession.

Monday marks day one of Michele Bullock’s ascension to the public service’s most important and high-profile job.

Vanessa Hudson, right, needs to repair relations with staff and customers.

Vanessa Hudson, right, needs to repair relations with staff and customers.

Outside the rarefied world of economics, Bullock is essentially unknown. Based on a few media profiles, the new governor is portrayed as an intelligent, well-qualified, straightforward, honest and down-to-earth person who takes a more collegiate approach to decision making.

But there is little to suggest she will take a less hardline approach to unpopular decisions on rates than her predecessor.

Whether she is “dovish” (less aggressive on rate rises) or hawkish (more aggressive on raising rates) isn’t clear based on previous speeches.

And before Bullock’s feet were even under the desk, the ACTU made a pre-emptive plea for the Reserve Bank to take more account of the cost-of-living crisis in decisions on rates – to factor in the experience of those struggling with higher interest rates.


The good news for Bullock is that there is a good chance that under her stewardship the first interest rate decision made will be to lower them. This is not a shoo-in because if inflation remains sticky the Reserve Bank could opt for one more rise, but many economists are predicting the cycle of rate increases has now finished.

But any such move could be six to nine months away.

And had Lowe still been running the central bank, would this outcome be any different? Probably not.

But timing can be everything.

Vanessa Hudson, however, will need to employ a very different strategy to lure Qantas staff and customers who have fallen out of love with the airline.


She has also received a bit of advice from unions. The Transport Workers’ Union won a long legal battle with Qantas last week which upheld the view of lower courts that the airline illegally outsourced 1700 ground handling jobs during the pandemic. It called for the resignation of Qantas chairman Richard Goyder.

More recently, a letter to the Qantas chairman from the engineers union called for the company to sack consultants Boston Consulting Group.

It is symptomatic of the low ebb in relations between Qantas and its staff and will require Hudson to distance herself from industrial relations practices employed by Joyce.

Hudson needs to simultaneously look after aggrieved and loyal customers, disenchanted by the airline devaluing their loyalty points currency, and the roadblocks that have made it difficult to use or cash in COVID flight credits.

There is plenty of low-hanging fruit for Hudson to pick.

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