When Labor’s Anthony Albanese began the election campaign saying “everything is going up except your wages”, he wasn’t literally correct. Wages (on the official data) were climbing at an annual rate of 2.3%.

But he has effectively been proved right after all. The inflation figures released yesterday show consumer prices climbing at 5.1%, the highest rate in two decades. If wages continue to grow at just 2.3%, they will be climbing at half the pace of prices, sending the living standards of wage-earners backwards.

As John Hawkins writes this morning, it’s the cost of housing (up a barely-precedented 13.7% over the year) and the cost of petrol, up an astounding 35.1%, that are doing the most damage.

For mortgage-holders, and for a Coalition government fighting for re-election, it might be about to get even worse. The Reserve Bank board meets on Tuesday to consider pushing up interest rates, in a bid to get inflation under control.

Peter Martin

Section Editor: Business + Economy

Inflation hits an extraordinary 5.1%. How long until mortgage rates climb?

John Hawkins, University of Canberra

Inflation is well outside the Reserve Bank’s target band and higher than it has been for two decades.

How do the major parties rate on an independent anti-corruption commission? We asked 5 experts

Kate Griffiths, Grattan Institute; Adam Graycar, University of Adelaide; A J Brown, Griffith University; Gabrielle Appleby, UNSW Sydney; Yee-Fui Ng, Monash University

Our experts rated the Coalition’s model as either very unsatisfactory or a fail. Most agreed Labor’s proposed model is much better, but said a lot more detail is needed.

View from The Hill: Warring within Coalition over 2050 target brings some gold dust for ‘teals’

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

“The world has moved past Matt Canavan,” David Littleproud declared on Wednesday, tossing his colleague and former resources minister firmly under the bus as the “climate wars” exploded within the Coalition

Net zero by 2050 will hit a major timing problem technology can’t solve. We need to talk about cutting consumption

Mark Diesendorf, UNSW Sydney

In 2000, fossil fuels were 80% of total energy consumption. In 2019, they were 81%. Renewables are simply not growing fast enough. It’s time to talk about cutting energy consumption.

Stella Prize shortlist 2022: your guide to six urgent, boundary-breaking books

Camilla Nelson, University of Notre Dame Australia

For the first time, only one novel has been shortlisted, amid works of poetry, essays and graphic fiction. They tackle big issues - racism, grief, sexual abuse - but are leavened by joy.

Restricting calories leads to weight loss, not necessarily the window of time you eat them in

Clare Collins, University of Newcastle

A new study on intermittent fasting didn’t find much of an effect, but the participants usual diet patterns may have something to do with it.

You can’t be happy all the time: how Encanto and Turning Red can help families wrestle with anger and sadness

Cher McGillivray, Bond University

It’s only when the characters learn how to embrace all of their emotions that they can become their true, authentic selves.

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