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Politics crowds out good economic tale

It's been a chaotic year in federal politics, to say the least, but at least Scott Morrison will have a reasonable tale to tell at the end of it ... if anyone is listening.

The treasurer will shortly hand down his mid-year budget review - the final major political event of the year - and likely point to smaller-than-predicted deficits over the next few years.

The promised budget surplus by mid-2021 is expected to remain intact.

But like this week's largely upbeat economic growth figures - swamped by the seemingly never-ending citizenship fiasco haunting parliament - the thoughts of most Australian will be about readying themselves for Christmas when Scott Morrison hands down the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook.

Unlike the budget, which usually has a set date for delivery, the timing of the release of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook is at the discretion of the treasurer.

Morrison's predecessor Joe Hockey started the trend of waiting until after the release of the September quarter national accounts, due on the first Wednesday of December, before handing down the review.

While many past mid-year reviews had been released in November, or as early as October by Labor one year, Hockey felt by waiting Treasury would get at least one quarter of the financial year under its belt before revising its May budget forecasts.

But of course, when the national accounts aren't released until the sixth of the month, it pushes back the scheduled somewhat, although perhaps not quite clashing with the Queen's Christmas message.

The most recent monthly Commonwealth financial statement for October showed the budget running at $23.1 billion, about $3.5 billion smaller than had been anticipated after four months of the financial year and largely as a result of higher tax receipts.

Treasury forecast a deficit of $29.4 billion for the full 2017/18 financial year in May.

The budget will have benefited from the revenue boost from higher company profits over the past year, up 20 per cent, aided in part by higher commodity prices and stronger global economic growth.

Iron ore prices have held up reasonably well, touching $US72 per tonne this week compared with $US66 at the time of the budget.

The strong rise in Australian employment - a rise of 1000 jobs a day during the September quarter - is also fuelling personal tax receipts.

The national accounts showed the national wage bill grew 1.2 per cent in the September quarter to three per cent over the year as a result of a strengthening labour market.

The various forward-looking indicators, like job advertisements, continue to point to solid growth in employment ahead.

But individual wage growth remains close to a two-decade low and why household consumption barely made a contribution to economic growth in the September quarter.

Instead, business investment, inventories - stock on shelves and in warehouses - and construction were key inputs to the growth result.

The economy expanded by 0.6 per cent in the quarter, slightly smaller than economists were expecting and an after upwardly revised 0.9 per cent increase in the June quarter.

However, the annual rate accelerated to 2.8 per cent from a revised 1.9 per cent previously, partly reflecting the weather-affected growth contraction recorded in the 2016 September quarter dropping out of the equation.

It was the strongest annual rate for over a year and puts Australia back towards the "top of the pack" of major advanced economies, according to Morrison.

Not a bad way to start the 27th year of uninterrupted economic growth.