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NZ Killings

As expected, there has been universal condemnation of the killing of 49 Muslims in two NZ mosques by an Australian using automatic weapons. That person is Breton Tarrant, who seems to have planned the killings carefully, including by spending three months in Christchurch and maintaining contacts with 3-4 colleagues. The incident has naturally raised questions about the implications for police/defence policies and whether existing policies are adequate.

RBA Publishes Surprise Pre-election Analysis Of CC

I was surprised yesterday to see a report on a speech made by the RBA’s Dep Gov, Guy Debelle, on climate change and the possible implications for the economy and monetary policy. I judged that, with just a few weeks until the election, it would be wrong to publish an analysis on how to treat changes in climate when that subject is probably the most controversial between the political parties. Statements by government bodies which can influence attitudes, add to the controversy and possibly favour one party, should not be made at this time. This generally accepted rule applies to the Reserve Bank notwithstanding its claim to be “independent” and the more so as Debelle claims climate change influences monetary policy.

Coalition Must Take Now Risks with Policies & leaders

In yesterday’s Commentary I argued that, given the latest Newspoll (and for policy reasons too), the Coalition should “change courses” asap. I also sent a letter to OZ (unpublished) advocating the cancellation of Turnbull’s membership of the Liberal Party. My advocacies are based on my perspective that, although risky, the Coalition needs to take risks now if it is to have any chance of winning the election and that an improved set of policies would in any event provide a better starting point in Opposition to a Labor government.

Should Coalition Change Any Policies?

The latest Newspoll shows that, after three successive results on 47/53 TPPs, the Coalition has now fallen to 46/54. Even though Morrison’s personal approval ratings improved a single point to 43 per cent so too did Shorten’s and, while Morrison’s disapproval numbers fell from 48 per cent to 45 per cent, Shorten’s also fell two points. These ratings gaps have not altered to any significant extent over the last fortnight and, although they still favour Morrison, there is no real sign that the Coalition can close the overall gap on TPPs by the May election

More Ministers Quit; Treasury Officer’s Life

Last Friday’s Commentary suggested that the latest Coalition’s Newspoll of 47/53 for the third successive time indicated that the Morrison government was still in serious trouble. I suggested that the additional policy decisions announced by Morrison on climate policy would be unlikely to help close the gap. These measures included acceptance of the Paris agreement and an expanded use of renewable through the establishment of the very uneconomic Snowy2.0 and the usage of “big batteries”. Energy Minister Taylor also claimed the new measures would cut energy bills while lowering emissions but this failed to take account of the additional costs from using the Snowy or from back-ups needed when other renewable are not available. I noted that it seemed unlikely that the Energy Minister would be able to reduce electricity prices except through the adoption of a regulatory system which legally limited the maximum price able to be charged by retailers.

Coalition Remains in Serious Trouble

Due to a major technical problem which put my computer out of action for two days (possibly caused by a hacker I was advised) I am now in a catch-up position in regard to circumstances where numerous pre-election statements have been floated around by both major sides of politics. It has almost seemed like a new policy per day, which seems unlikely to have attracted votes because of the limited attention by the Coalition to explaining benefits. One commentator even described Morrison as a Muppet and, despite his increased media appearance, it is difficult to see a closing of the polling gap next time.

Ispos Poll Shows Big Improvement in Coaliton Polling

Today’s polling, not by NewspolI but by Ispos for Fairfax press, must have come as a bit of a surprise to those associates with that media group, as it also has for those supporting the Coalition. Most of the latter have been expecting an improvement in the Morrison government’s polling from the 46/54 TPP result last December but not by three percentage points to a 49/51 TPP. That is close enough to the election result in July 2016 under Turnbull (50.4/49.6) to lead the Fairfax media (and the ABC) to downplay it as much as they can.

Minority Govt Problems; Over-rule Qld Labor’s Refusal on Adani Coal Mine

In yesterday’s Commentary I drew attention to Labor’s success in forcing legislation through Parliament which allowed asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island to “doctor” themselves to Australia for treatment without ministerial approval (except for security reasons). I added that “it also remains to be seen how long he can run a minority government where there is an opposition which is able to force legislation right through Parliament and effectively change the Coalition’s policies on other matters too” . I added that “there has already been a (failed) attempt today to establish a Royal Commission on some failure of access to disabilities and there will inevitably be a debate on aspects of the budget set to be presented in early April. That would provide Labor/Greens with opportunities to have amendments to the budget passed through Parliament not by the Coalition but by the Opposition”. Some recipients of Commentary indicated that they did not understand my analysis and in particular my (and others) view that an early election might be called. Today we have an illustration of what I meant.