Another year is over and we say goodbye to a mixed 2018 punctuated by political manoeuvrings and scandals, tragedies and heroic triumphs, and angry tweets and global uncertainty.
While we don’t have access to a crystal ball, The New Daily has identified more than a few reasons to look forward to 2019.
Battles on TV and in Parliament
Game of Thrones fans are looking forward to their long wait to end with the final instalment from Westeros expected in April.
Winter is well and truly here, and the show’s producers have not only promised answers to all the tantalising/irritating questions posed in the previous seven seasons, they’ll also give us the the bloodthirsty final battle we’ve been waiting for.
As Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) told Entertainment Weekly in November, the final battle “makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park”.
While Canberra bears little resemblance to the Westeros capital of Kings Landing, the political bloodshed and recriminations spawned by the Liberal leadership spill in August was worthy of a Game of Thrones plot.
Regardless of political machinations, Australians will have their own chance to decide who leads their nation when they go to the polls for a federal election this year.
While the date is yet to be announced, an election must be held by May at the latest. And if the polls are to be believed, Bill Shorten could be prime minister with a landslide victory in less than six months.
Economic good news
While 2018 was plagued by talk of an impending housing market collapse, low wage growth and record household debt, much of that has overlooked a fairly important detail: Australia’s economy remains a “standout” among developed economies.
Global consultancy firm Deloitte pointed out in October that “Australia’s economy remains on a steady trajectory” despite the nation’s seemingly unending political turmoil.
The Reserve Bank agrees, noting in its November statement on monetary policy that “domestic economic conditions have been a bit stronger” than predicted in the previous statement in August.
There could also be good news for pay packets in 2019, with the RBA predicting a “modest pick-up” in wages, supported by the steady falls in unemployment seen through the past year.
Deloitte shared this view, as did the OECD in its economic forecast summary from November, adding the RBA will need to monitor its policies as wages increase.
And if you were worried about the value of your home, the “crash” that Australia’s property market has been supposedly barrelling toward will probably turn out to be something of a “soft landing” this year, according to property expert Michael Yardney.
“I’m calling it a soft landing because there are very few forced sales at present, and only recently (December 2018) APRA have lifted their restrictions on interest-only loans to investors and the RBA Governor has encouraged the banks to lend more,” he said in an article published on December 26.
This year, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s ambitious plan to revolutionise the global internet is expected to take another leap as SpaceX looks into raising a further $US500 million ($710 million) in private equity to make his plan to take the internet to the developing world a reality.
Called Starlink, the project will see Space X launch 12,000 satellites to create a network of delivering the world wide web to every corner of the world.
Gamers will rejoice as yet another console is rendered redundant by the possible release of Sony’s next-generation PlayStation 5 (PS5).
Shawn Layden, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, recently confirmed to German website, Golem.de, to expect the PS5 in 2019. Speculation as to what it will offer has raged ever since.
With a women’s World Cup looming, 2019 might be the year Australia stakes its claim to having the world’s best footballer.
Sam Kerr was nominated for the inaugural female Ballon d’Or in 2018, but lost out to Norway’s Ada Hegerberg.
TND’s sports editor Francis Leach says Kerr is every bit as good as Hegerberg and if she plays with the full range of her talent at June’s World Cup in France, she will become Australia’s most celebrated sports star, and the Matildas its most venerated team.
English cricket fans, meanwhile, are salivating at the prospect of hounding the “cheating Aussies” when they arrive to defend the Ashes in August.
While current performances from Tim Paine’s Australian team has been underwhelming, the potential return of the “Cape Town trio” of David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft significantly boosts the baggy green batting stocks and makes them a real chance to retain the urn, despite the howls of derision and the insults that will rain down upon them wherever they go.
If Australia can win the Ashes in England after all that has gone on, it would be one hell of an achievement.
In cycling, Richie Porte has been considered a potential Tour de France winner for a number of years but it hasn’t come together for him so far.
Leach says it’s now or never from the pocket rocket from Launceston, Tasmania, after he abandoned the 2018 Tour after breaking his collarbone on Stage 9.
At 33 years of age, Porte will not get a better chance to join Cadel Evans as an Australian cycling legend by winning the world’s most celebrated race.