In this week’s essential reading guide Kohler calculates Labor's budget fallout, Gottliebsen hails an IR revolution, Bartholomeusz ponders a banking ‘big five’ and Koukoulas counts green shoots for the market.

It’s all about Abbott’s deficit among women
Alan Kohler
Normally a broken budget surplus promise would spell disaster for the government, but Tony Abbott's own particular deficit leaves Labor with a hope of victory next year.

A glut of budget energy sappers
Robert Gottliebsen
Recent governments have been spending as if the resources boom would last forever, but the massive US and Iraqi oil and gas discoveries will mean future governments must permanently adjust to far lower revenues.

Swan, Stevens and the budget botch-up
Stephen Koukoulas
Wayne Swan's latest budget forecast could be prematurely negative, but if the Reserve Bank had cut rates by an extra 50 basis points this year a deficit may not have been on the cards at all.

Australia's in a cannon war with a popgun
Alan Kohler
The Reserve Bank seems to be pinning its hopes on a housing lift to replace the mining boom, while preparing to wield far lower rates as the weapon of choice in a global currency war it can't win.

Will Yellow Brick build a fifth bank pillar?
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Hot on the heels of the CBA-Aussie deal, another non-bank, Yellow Brick Road, has stitched up a big alliance. It sets the scene for a non-bank raid on the big four, or even a fifth giant.

How Newman's IR revolution will flourish
Robert Gottliebsen
The way to get the most of the Queensland industrial relations revolution is simple: small enterprises must pay a fair base rate and they must remain unincorporated.

ACCC tick gives Qantas wings
Stephen Bartholomeusz
The ACCC's approval of the Qantas-Emirates tie-up will allow the flying kangaroo to move away from its UK-oriented agenda and re-focus on growing much closer to home.

Green market shoots for 2013
Stephen Koukoulas
A trickle of positive economic news from around the globe shows growth in the coming year could surprise on the upside.

Where to for house prices in 2013?
Steve Keen
Calls for a national property price rise up to 5 per cent in 2013 are overdone. Meanwhile, Australia remains on track for a 40 per cent fall within 15 years of the 2008 peak.

America's sad certainty: violent deaths and lower taxes
Mike Mangan
You can see it with guns, the fiscal cliff, even subprime lending – in many ways America remains a victim of its birth and the arguments used to justify that birth several centuries ago. Maybe the wrong side won?

Desperate solutions for a broken union brand
Ken Phillips
In the wake of funding scandals, the union movement is trying to repair its brand image with a bold attack on independent workers.

Five events that shaped 2012
Gideon Rachman, Financial Times
While the Western world preoccupies itself with a shift towards Asia, it's striking how movements in Europe and the Middle East still dominate.

Japan's pedal to the metal
Craig Mark
Monetary and fiscal stimulus from Japan's new leaders will be combined with a tilt towards more assertive nationalism and military, but expect doomed free trade negotiations for Australia – although (maybe) with a yellowcake sweetener.

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