What You Missed in the News This Week

The Federal Government has prevented Chinese company Yuxiao Fund from raising its stake in Northern Minerals on grounds of national interest.

Yuxiao Fund wanted to increase its holding from 9.92% to 19.9% but needed approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Northern Minerals has been focused on fine-tuning its heavy rare earths processing system through a pilot plant, which could make the Western Australia-based miner one world’s first significant heavy rare earth producer outside of China.


Northern Minerals


The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has ordered Alcoa to clean out the toxic pipeline it built over Samson Dam in Waroona without approval.

The US based company had already built the pipeline to move firefighting PFAS contaminated water over the dam before even applying for approval.

DWER found the pipeline did not meet the requirements to prevent leaks and its location made it at risk of damage by vehicles.

This news is the latest in a series of potentially disastrous environmental blunders by Alcoa: earlier in the week the WA Forest Alliance called in the WA Environment Protection Authority to review Alcoa’s plans to mine jarrah forests after fear their mines will endanger Perth’s water supply and last week the state government expressed concerns Alcoa mines posed a risk to 1/3 of Perth’s drinking water in Serpentine Dam.

Forest Alliance convenor Jess Beckerling said the risks from Alcoa’s mining warranted a full and transparent assessment of its cumulative impact.

“This is obviously a matter of major public concern,” she said.

“The expectation must be that current best-practice WA government policy and aspirations are applied and maintained, and that the safety of drinking water and the integrity of ecological function is protected.”


Anon via WA Today


Austral Gold has completed the sale of its Pinguino project to E2 Minerals, receiving $3.7M on Tuesday, with another $3.7M over the next 3 years.

Austral Gold’s CEO Stabro Kasaneva said “The transaction resulted in the immediate cash injection of US$2.5M to partially fund the development of the Heap Reprocessing project at our flagship Guanaco-Amancaya mine complex in Chile.”


Austral Gold


Enegex has entered into a sale agreement with Caravel Minerals to sell them a tenement of Walebing Project.

Tenement E70/5442’s 82.4km2 are located 122km northeast of Perth.

Enegex will retain 100% ownership of the remaining 3 tenements at the site.

Enegex Director, Rae Clark, said they are excited the transaction will “provide Enegex with exposure to Caravel’s exploration expertise through a royalty agreement.”



The S&P/ASX200 markets had a positive week, finishing at 7,284 points, 0.39% higher than Thursday. The top performing stocks were Liontown Resources, up 13.19%, and Ramelius Resources, up 5.58%.

Liontown was also the top performing stock in the All Ordinaries, the markets finished at 7,484 points.



Gold has made a swift recovery after a disappointing end to February. The week started at February’s lowest of $1,812.73USD before steadily climbing to $1,850.38USD.

Silver peaked on Wednesday at $21.35, stumbling on Thursday before recovering on Friday to $21.31.

What You Missed in the News This Week

Weeks after the West Australian Government raised concerns that Alcoa’s mines posed a risk to the Serpentine Dam and 1/5 of Perth’s drinking water, it has been discovered that the US miner has risked another WA dam.

Alcoa applied for approval to build pipelines over WA’s Waroona Dam to pump PFAS contaminated water from firefighting foam, and despite not yet receiving approval, has already built the pipeline.

The Water Corporation worries a leak in the pipeline could contaminate the dam and said Alcoa built it without their knowledge.

A spokesperson from Water Corp said “It is Water Corporation’s view that such a pipeline would, along with other concerns, present an unacceptable risk to drinking water quality, therefore, Water Corporation does not support Alcoa’s proposal in its current form.”

Anon via WA Today


BHP has announced it is selling its Daunia and Blackwater mines in Queensland, citing a 9.3B (32%) drop in its half-year profits and increased royalties.

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance asset president Mauro Neves said the Queensland Government’s decision to raise cola royalties had made the state uncompetitive.



Mineral Resources has entered into two binding agreements with Albemarle Corporation, the first to change their 40% ownership of the joint owned Wodgina Mine to 50% and the second to increase investment in lithium in China.

MinRes managing director Chis Ellison said “We are delighted to have reached these binding agreements, which cement MinRes’ place as a world-leader in lithium mining and leverage our partner Albemarle’s strong track record in battery chemical production.

“By growing our battery chemicals business and expanding into global chemical marketing, MinRes will become one of the world’s largest fully integrated lithium chemical suppliers to auto manufacturers, capitalising on the increasing demand for sustainable battery mineral products.”



The Federal and West Australian governments will invest $565m into expanding and upgrading the port at Port Headland.

In the first stage, two seawalls and a causeway will be constructed, increasing the port’s capacity to export lithium and copper.

MGN Civil will complete the construction works, with 90 per cent of materials and suppliers being sourced within the Pilbara region along with partnerships with First Nations businesses.

Anthony Albanese said “Demand is growing locally and overseas for clean energy sources and our Government’s investment in the Lumsden Point expansion will help position northern Australia to take advantage of the economic opportunities this demand presents.”


Town of Port Hedland


Magnis Energy Technologies has entered into an agreement with Tesla to supply them with critical minerals for electric vehicles.

Tesla will buy a minimum of 17,500 tonnes per annum of lithium and other critical minerals from February 2025.

Magnis chairman Frank Poullas said “We are really excited to bring our high-performing AAM to market that requires no chemical or thermal purification throughout the whole process, which differentiates this sustainable material in the market and provides great value to all parties.”




The S&P/ASX200 markets have continued its month-long downward path. The week started at 7,354 points, falling sharply on Tuesday and Wednesday, before raising slightly to 7,307 points at close of day Friday.

The All Ordinaries saw similar drops on Tuesday and Wednesday. The index lost 0.52% for the last 5 days.



Gold had a somewhat disappointing week, dropping from $1,848.42USD on Monday to $1,828.95USD on Friday, continuing the downward trend for the month.

Silver stayed steady at the start of the week, though stumbling at the end of the week to finish off at $21.58USD.

Federal Budget Breakdown

The 2022 October Federal Budget has been announced. Here’s how the Goldfields and mining are affected.


The migration cap will increase 35,000 persons to 195,000 people in 2022-23. At least 90% of these 35,000 will be for skilled migrants and more than 25% will be targeted to regional areas.

This will ease labour shortages and include accelerating visa processing. Student and secondary training visa holders will have their work restrictions relaxed until 30 June 2023.


In an effort to transform regional industries to net zero by 2025, the Government will establish a $1.9B Powering the Regions Fund to transform Australia into a renewable energy superpower. $1.5B will be allocated to the Pilbara Region to support mining, mineral processing, and local manufacturing, and provide investment in hydrogen and renewable energy projects.


$500M Driving the Nation Fund will reduce transport emissions by installing electric charging infrastructure at 117 highway sites and hydrogen highways for key freight routes. Electric cars will be exempt from fringe benefits tax (FBT) and the 5% import tariff.

$350.0M will be dedicated to seal the Tanami Road between Norther Western Australia and the Northern Territory, $400M for the Alice Springs to Halls Creek Corridor upgrade and $125M for electric bus charging in Perth.


$757.7M will be allocated to improving mobile and broadband connectivity in regional Australia. $7.4B will be invested to support regional development across Australia. The Growing Regions Program will support community groups, fund local projects such as libraries and regional airport upgrades. The Government will also dedicate $1.4B for local community, sport and infrastructure projects across Australia.


$143.3M will be provided over 4 years to support access to healthcare in rural and regional areas by investing in primary care services, training, workforce incentives and trials for innovative models of care.


A $50.5M Critical Minerals Research and Development Fund will invest in lithium, cobalt, manganese, titanium and rare earths to meet growing demands for batteries, electric vehicles and clean technology.


Multinational corporations will pay an extra $1B in tax with the crackdown on excessive deductions and profit-shifting to lower-taxing countries.

Individual taxpayers and businesses will also be targeted with the ATO cracking down on over-claiming deductions and incorrect reporting of income.


Due to high inflation and low wage growth, worker’s pay will effectively go backwards until 2024-25 when inflation is expected to return to 2-3%. Inflation is expected to peak at 7.75% in December.


The Better Regions Fund (BBRF) was the former Government’s regional grants program designed to deliver funding for regional infrastructure projects and community development activities. The Government scrapped the fund in the budget as they believe the fund wasn’t awarded based on merit and were favouring National Party electorates.

However, the budget includes a new national grants program.


Truck drivers will be hit with an extra 0.8 cents in tax for every litre of diesel they purchase. The Heavy Vehicle Road User Charge will increase from 26.4 cents/litre to 27.2cents/litre.


Consumer confidence continues to sit at a low, having peaked in 2021. The current figure is comparable to the start of the pandemic in 2020 and the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.

Source: Westpac-Melbourne Institute, MWM Research, October 2022

Today’s Top Story – Does The Corporate World and the Media Treat People Fairly Anymore?

Today I thought I would look at how the media and some corporations treat people and ask; Is that really fair?

For example, the media in the last day or two have been all over the case of Channel Nine News director, Darren Wick, who was charged with a high-level alcohol driving offence that occurred last Friday evening.  Mr Wick has since come out and said that he has realised he has a drinking problem and taking steps to address it.

Prior to this, if you had surveyed all of Australia and asked; “Who is Darren Wick?’ the vast majority would have said, Who?  Yet here he is having his personal life splashed across the media; and of course, it was their competitors doing most of the wailing.  Don’t get me wrong, I in no way condone drink driving and what he did was reckless.  But did he deserve the attention he got? He is not a public figure. He is not a prominent person even if he does influence how news is delivered by Channel Nine.

If the Prime Minister was caught doing the same, I can see the rationale behind it being a story, but the prominence given to Mr. Wick was disproportionate in my opinion. One thing I can say is good on him for being so candid.

I would like to talk about a footballer at AFL level now who has been banned from playing football for about 400 days and still no charges have been laid or an end in sight to when it will be resolved.  West Coast player, Willie Rioli, has been accused of tampering with a urine sample he was asked to provide in August 2018.  He was stood down in September 2019 after he received a second breach for testing positive to cannabis.

Neither of the two accusations have been tested at a tribunal or any other forum where he can try and clear his name or accept responsibility for what has happened. The AFL has wiped their hands of it saying that ASADA has responsibility for how and when the case will proceed. I thought the AFL controlled the AFL not ASADA.

Apparently because of the way the AFL is structured, and the agreements clubs and players have with the AFL, there is no legal recourse to make the AFL act quicker.  As for ASADA, they apparently don’t care that a player has literally been left on the sidelines for so long, that it could affect his future, not only with the club, but life after footy.

Surely ASADA isn’t inundated with cases to the point that a back log of such magnitude exits. Surely it doesn’t take 400 plus days to analyse a “B” sample and report back to the AFL. If this is the case, there is a case for AFL to move away from the ASADA regime and start their own testing facility that they can exercise their own timelines on.

On top of all this if the eventual charges are proved he could face a four-year ban that will effectively end his career.  I don’t know if time already banned from the game will be taken into consideration when issuing a ban, but I hope for Mr. Rioli’s sake it will be.

Because Mr. Wick is going through the court system, he will be dealt with quickly, even though it is a serious charge, he has publicly acknowledged the facts and the courts can deal with cases like this quickly. In most cases like this it is the defendant that causes delays, if there are any.

With Mr. Rioli, it is a case of not even been charged with an offence or offences and no prospect in site, as those responsible for carriage of the case drag their feet. No Charges – no play doesn’t sound fair to me.

These are just two examples of people being harshly treated by media and corporations, in my opinion, that have little empathy or sympathy for the people involved. There are countless others who have been in similar situations that have had their lives changed forever.

Written by Gary Brown.

Tonight’s Top Story – Are We Over-Governed by Politicians and Bureaucrats in Australia and at What Cost?

File:Australian Senate - Parliament of Australia.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

We have a federal government; each state and territory have a government and there is a myriad of councils and shires in each as well.

Each level of government has its own responsibilities however there is a lot of crossover in some areas.  Take for example health and education.  The federal government provides a lot of the funds that each state and territory government need to operate these sectors.  Although the feds provide the bulk of the finances it is the states and territory governments that are responsible for them.

In health you have a bureaucracy at federal level determining what level of funding should be allocated where.  In particular the feds are responsible for funding hospitals, but the states run them.  You then have another bureaucracy at state level allocating the funding to each public hospital and of course another bureaucracy within each hospital allocating funding to the various departments.  That is a lot of money being spent from the allocated budget before one patient receives a benefit.

And for education the process is repeated, again with a lot of money being spent before one student lifts a pencil in a classroom.  Then there is the political argy-bargy that goes on between state and federal counterparts in the sectors.  Each minister in each sector would have a plethora of advisors, media and administrative personnel so the minister can be across their brief and take pot-shots at others over how their administration is better than the others.  More money out the door before it gets to be used on grassroot purposes.

At the recent Hotel Quarantine Inquiry in Victoria a complicated bureaucratic system of decision making has been revealed.  The end result was a disaster that no one is keen on taking responsibility for.  Now I am sure that this level of bureaucracy is not unique to Victoria and there will be other jurisdictions that have the same complexity of administration in various areas.  This again highlights the theme of a lot of money being spent before what is left over gets an outcome.

The public service juggernaut in Australia sailed through the Covid19 restrictions without a scratch.  While other sectors were laying off people, reducing hours or closing down, the fortnightly paycheque for public servants kept on being deposited into their accounts.  All hell broke out in NSW when the government put a freeze on public service wages during Covid19.  Unions threatened industrial action, not satisfied that they didn’t have to take the risks like those in the private sector.  Secure in their jobs and with no pay cuts it riled many that were suffering through no fault of their own.

At the local level the various shires and councils that look after their patches are too many in some states.  In WA there are 138 councils.  Yes, WA is a big area but some of these shires cater for a population of 300 ratepayers or less.  The WA government has flagged that they are amenable to reducing the number of shires to make it more practical.  Peppermint Grove Council in Perth’s leafy western suburbs covers an area of one square kilometre. (That is not a typo).  It has revenue of only $5M and at last count had 24 employees.  Surely it would be a candidate to merge with another council, in fact as part of a merger of a few councils in the area.  The government is also keen to reduce the number of councillors that sit around the table.

I suppose the point I am trying to make is that at all levels we have too many politicians and too many bureaucrats that waste money that could be going towards the myriad of projects that need the money more.

Today’s Top Story – When Will The WA Bubble Burst?

Who would have thought six months ago that the words “travel bubble” would have been used so prolifically, yet alone anyone even thinking of it?  Yet here we are talking about it, hoping that these bubbles will open up between states and glory be internationally.

Western Australia has lived within its own bubble since almost the beginning of the Covid19 living regime.  Early on in this timeline the state was split into regions with travel restricted to within each region only, unless an exemption was given.  And exemptions weren’t given out easily as the government was determined to contain the virus.  Eventually those travel restrictions were lifted except for some remote communities and people were free to move around the state.

But restrictions still apply for people trying to enter the state and an exemption must be granted.  If, however you have been in Victoria you must have a more valid reason than just wanting to visit.

The travel restrictions in WA have had a significant affect on FIFO operations and workers.  Companies have started to employ people only living in WA and some have encouraged their interstate FIFO workforce to consider relocating to WA to avoid quarantining when returning home.  Decisions like this cannot be taken lightly and peoples’ livelihoods are being affected the longer it goes on.  Some people will be suffering economic losses for years to come – let alone the mental anguish that comes with it.

Conversely, those workers who travel from WA to other states for FIFO work are spending most of their time back home in self isolation, which for most of them means having no social interaction until the restrictions are lifted.  Some people have likened it to house arrest, and it is likely to stay in place until mid-next year if the premier sticks to his guns.

Not mining related, but WA people are now exploring more of their own state rather than taking cheap international holidays or flitting over east for a Gold Coast fix or to watch their favourite football team.

It is this writer’s opinion that some borders should be opened up without the onerous restrictions that are still in place even when coming from the Northern Territory or South Australia.  Their Covid19 transmission rate is the same as WAs, which makes them ideal jurisdictions to have free travel with.  All their recent cases have been from returning overseas travelers, the same reason for all the cases currently in WA.

Speaking of overseas, there is now talk from the federal government to looking at travel bubbles between some international locations.  New Zealand is an obvious location to allow this to happen and obviously places the likes of Brazil, USA and England would not be contemplated at the moment.  Other places that are up for consideration are Singapore, South Korea and Japan who all seem to have their Covid19 response well in hand.

But what the federal government wants and what the state and territory leaders allow could be two different things.  A staged process of opening up Australia to other nations needs to be considered now, otherwise restrictions good last for years if a vaccine is not found.

More businesses will flounder the longer restrictions are kept in place, whether that be interstate or international travel.  NSW, ACT and NT are opening their borders to New Zealand as of today, which is a positive step for those jurisdictions.

Australia is the lucky country, there is no mistaking that, but let’s not turn it into a basket case – let’s look for innovative ways we can open the borders.

Today’s Top Story – Western Australia continues to be the envy of the world.

The price of iron ore has never been so important to the Western Australian economy as has been evident in the recently announced state budget.  On the back of soaring iron ore prices, the state government collected nearly $8.45B in royalties from the miners who exported millions of tonnes of the ore to overseas markets, in particular China.

The forecast for the next 12 months shows a similar amount of royalties will be collected before prices start coming off their highs in 2022, or earlier.  It has been a huge windfall for the state and has cushioned the impact of Covid19 on the economy.  While other states’ economies have wallowed, Western Australia has powered on and even produced a healthy surplus for the last financial year.

Whether it was good planning or luck, the decision by the state government to keep miners going, at almost any cost, has proven to be a master stroke.  It didn’t matter if they were mining gold, copper or any other mineral or iron ore, miners ploughed ahead as other industries took a hit.  Fortunately, the mining industry kept alive manufacturers and industry related to the sector.

The state government cannot be complacent though, as it would not take much for the price of iron ore to come off the boil or buyers to disappear.  If Brazil can get Covid19 under control and exports crank up from them, China could well look away from Western Australia as their main source of the ore.  With the sometimes-delicate relationship we have with China it could mean they hit us in the wallet – just because they can.

The price per tonne of iron ore reached a low of $37USD in 2015 and has since soared to be currently sitting at $122USD.  Miners are making the most of it as well as the government and mine expansions are on the increase to cash in on the bonanza.

The miners are also tackling the issue of staffing as the FIFO experience has shown that having workers self-isolate when they travel from interstate is proving costly and is in no way practical.  It isn’t good for workers either who are spending more time away from family, if they are able to travel from interstate.  This is making the companies rethink their strategy of employing someone no matter where they live in Australia and encouraging workers to pack up and move west.

This is creating problems in the housing market across the board as rental vacancies have reached extremely low levels in Perth and major regional centres.  Real estate agencies are experiencing the best sales figures in a long time but unfortunately for sellers the needle is yet to move on house prices.  This will change as supply starts to dry up.  It will probably mean a boon for the state government as stamp duty revenue is sure to increase for them.

During the last mining boom thousands of people flocked to WA to make the most of the circumstances.  When mining went off the boil many returned to the east coast.  Will we see the same happen again and will it be a short term hit or can it be sustained?

Already the unemployment rate in WA has fallen below the expected rate of 8% and likely to fall further if circumstances don’t change because of Covid19.  With changes to Jobkeeper and Jobseeker being phased-in, unemployed people are more likely to seek out employment which will bring the rate down even further.

WA must surely be the envy of the other states, even if the borders are shut to the east coast.  A healthy economy, tourism experiencing healthy numbers from WA locals and mining powering on it all looks rosy for the near future.  Can the government make the most of it and plan wisely for that future?

Today’s Top Story – Changes to Superannuation Reporting

Changes to Superannuation Reporting.

There appears to be some welcome changes into how superannuation funds will be scrutinised in the future, hopefully as early as July 2021.

The government is working on making funds more transparent in an attempt to expose those making poor returns for those contributing to them.  The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) will be responsible for testing each fund and any fund that fails the test two years in a row will not be allowed to take on new members.  The testing will be carried out over a rolling eight-year period to smooth out any unusual performances by funds.

The funds will also be more accountable to their members in much the same way ASX listed companies must be to their shareholders.  Details that will need to be disclosed in the proposed changes include: political donations, marketing expenditure, sponsorships, remuneration to executives and payment to industry bodies, trade associations or related parties.

An annual general meeting to face members may also be on the agenda, again, much like publicly listed companies.

A welcome change for super contributors will be the ability to take one superannuation fund from employer to employer, without having to create new accounts that some employers insist on.  This could have a dramatic effect on industry based super funds which have strong ties to unions.

The Productivity Commission has been working on how the testing will be done and Treasury is confident that the methodology will be right.

An issue that will need to be addressed will be the complexity of the reporting system that the funds will be required to do.  Fund members’ eyes could roll back in their head if standard financial reports are issued for them to consume.  A simple reporting system that is easy to read and understand for those that don’t have a financial background will be required if it is to have any meaning.

Another change that should be welcomed by fund members will be the requirement for funds to act in the “best financial interests” of its members.  Previously they only had to act in “the best interest”, which was far too broad a term for it to be truly meaningful.

But what about the government’s responsibility to those contributing to funds?

The maximum someone can contribute to a fund in one financial year is $25,000, after which they are taxed heavily for any additional funds deposited.  If we take a fund member who is approaching retirement, has no debt and accumulating cash in a bank account, why can’t they contribute more?

Currently, banks are offering virtually no return on deposits when compared to even a conservative superannuation fund.  What if the member could salary sacrifice a large portion of their salary into their fund and exceed the $25,000 threshold?  The government could still tax the excess but at a modest level compared to what it is now, and the person would be receiving far greater returns than what the bank is offering.

Afterall, one of the ideas of superannuation is for the person to fund their own retirement without having to rely on any government welfare to get them through.  The long-term savings for the government could be immense for a little pain in the present.  They could limit the pain by only making this option available to those over 60 who are approaching retirement age and more likely to have disposable income that they would like to use to secure their financial future.

Of course, there is also argument about the current and future levels of super contributions by employers.  Some want the level increased at a quicker rate than what is being forecast while others don’t want it increased at all.  For most the argument is about which option is going to be best for them.

Another argument is to abolish superannuation altogether and let individuals manage their own money.  The pros and cons of this are too great to tackle here and it is sure that everyone will have an opinion on this.

Today’s Top Story – Federal Budget 20/21

Federal Budget 20/21

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! has been the mantra of the federal government since they started “leaking” details of the budget before its official release last night.  And it seems they have put their money where their mouth is.

Employers, no matter how big or small they are, will receive up to $200 a week for each new employee they take on providing they meet certain criteria; employees will be required to work a minimum of 20 hours a week, and must have received the JobSeeker, Youth ­Allowance or parenting payment for at least one of the previous three months.  Employers must show that their payroll has increased as well as number of employees to qualify.

The scheme is to cost $4B over 12 months if the government’s prediction of 450,000 new positions is to be believed and could come in to law on Wednesday if legislation is passed in an omnibus bill to be introduced by the treasurer.  Called JobMaker Hiring Credit it is sure to go done well with employers.

The government is also pending $1.2B on wages subsidies in the hope that 100,000 new apprentices and trainees will enter the workforce.  This could be a huge boost for industries that still require hands on workers for skilled positions and hold back a looming shortfall in experienced tradesmen.

A win for businesses with a turnover of up to $5B will be the write-off on assets up to June 2022.  It is for capital equipment and will be welcome relief for those businesses looking to expand their business or make necessary capital purchases.  The government is hoping it will be a game changer, unlocking investment and boosting the order books of the nation.

Taxpayers have had a win in the budget with across the board tax cuts for all tax brackets.  The percentage of less tax people will be paying ranges from 3.8% for the highest bracket up to 21.4% for the those in the lower bracket; although the dollar figure is higher for the top bracket.

Some will benefit from the changing of the threshold for some of the lower brackets with people being able to earn more before tipping into a higher bracket.  The government has forecast that the extra money the consumers will have will create an extra 50,000 jobs.

The government will lose out on $12.5B in tax takings for this financial year, which will obviously add to the mounting debt expected to be near a trillion dollars.

There are other incentives to get business going in what will be the biggest budget spend this nation has ever seen.  However it is all predicated on the belief that there will be a vaccine for the Covid19 virus that has landed us in this predicament in the first place.  It is a big assumption to make and if a vaccine isn’t forthcoming then the budget forecasts will be doomed for failure.  For the sake of Australia we must hope that the assumption is right.

The Prime Minister and Treasurer have been quick to boast that this is the right budget for the right time to get spending going again.  The question will be, will those receiving the benefits turn it over in to the economy or will they use it to pay down debt or increase savings?  Only in due course will we know the answer to this.  If it does go back in to the economy then the optimistic predictions of the government may come to fruition.  If people hold on to it or just pay down debt then the less than optimal outcome will be pounced upon by the opposition who will make the most of it in the lead up to the next election.