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THE NEWS WRAP: Abbott to leave savings options open in budget reply speech

Thursday, 16 May 2013 | By Andrew Sadauskas

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will reportedly leave his options open in his official budget reply speech tonight, with shadow treasurer Joe Hockey to detail the Coalition’s positions on saving measures in a speech to the National Press Club next week.


“Never give a bad government a blank cheque," Abbott will say in the speech, according to The Australian.


Meanwhile, the prospect of a mini-budget following a Coalition victory in September appears in jeopardy, with a commission of audit expected to take several months to complete, making it more likely to inform the next federal budget.


“A very challenging five years” ahead economically: Morgan Stanley’s Australian chief


Morgan Stanley’s Australian chief executive, Steven Harker, has warned the next five years are likely to be tough economically over the next five years for whichever party wins the September election in an interview with The Australian.


"The high dollar has killed the non-resources sector, and that's where we are seeing the creep-up in unemployment,” Harker said.


"I believe unemployment, or underemployment, will be higher. I think we could have a 'six' number on it.


"We have to go through a period of good fundamental economic and productivity reform at all levels of government over the next five years.”


France in recession


French President Francois Hollande has announced his country’s economy is officially in recession just one year after his Socialist government took office, with the economy contracting 0.2% in both the last quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.


“Now we must strengthen our economic systems, mobilise all of our energy to create jobs and to ensure that we have an economy that is more flexible, more competitive, more responsive, more creative and more innovative," French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said.


"Francois Hollande's government stopped all reforms, cancelled them, and did not replace them with any real initiative for competitiveness," former prime minister Francois Fillon said.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.38% to 15,273.69. The Aussie dollar is steady at US98.83 cents.