Turnbull’s Status Since the July Election

The last Newspoll on 20 November showed the Turnbull Government with a TPP of 47/53, the exact opposite to what it was on 23 Nov in 2015 and down from the 50/50 TPP as recently as 12 September. Judging by what happened last year, there will be another poll in early December ie very soon. This should provide an indication of the extent to which, as Turnbull claimed in addressing the Party Room on 29 Nov (see Turnbull on Performance), “we are delivering … on the National Economic Plan” (sic). It will be recalled that, after an extended eight-week official campaign period and with the first election under a new voting system for the Senate that replaced group voting tickets with optional preferential voting, the Coalition lost 14 seats in the 2 July election. It is left with only a one seat majority and a Senate with 11 cross-benchers of diverse views (and 35 Labor/Greens and 30 Coalition).

Big World Temperature Fall Not Published, ABCC Passed

Yesterday my Commentary drew attention to the 1C fall in average world temperature since the middle of the year and I assumed that would be published in Australian media today. But I have not been able to find any reference to a fall anywhere in the media. In one sense this might be regarded as “just typical”. But I still find it astonishing given the graphical presentation below and the fact that the temperature measurement comes from a NASA satellite. A fair interpretation would be that, once the El Nino peaks are set aside on the ground that they are temporary, there has been little or no change in temperature since 1996.

Abbott’s Challenge on Policies & Trump’s Climate Change Policy

This morning I sent out a Commentary which referred to a Weekend Australian article in which Paul Kelly argued that recent policy announcements suggest there has been “a repositioning of Turnbull”. I suggested he may have realised that “something has to be done” to reverse Labor’s favourable polling and to minimise the risk of a challenge to his leadership by Abbott during the Christmas-New Year period. Shortly after the distribution of that Commentary a report appeared in The Australian on remarks made by Abbott, apparently in an interview on Sky News, suggesting he was seeking a recall to Cabinet and outlining issues on which the Coalition should focus in the period ahead (see attached Abbott is Repositioning Too).

Winding Down the 2016 Year

We are used to politicians changing their policy positions but, when they do, a question inevitably arises as to whether to accept the latest version as a genuine change. This is particularly relevant to policy positions announced by Turnbull given his well-known history of critiques of Liberal Party policies. So, how to assess what The Weekend Australian’s Paul Kelly describes as “a repositioning of Turnbull” and a preparedness all of a sudden to assault Shorten on character grounds (see Paul Kelly on Turnbull 26-27 Nov 2016)? In fact, not all the change-rationales are canvassed in Kelly’s piece – for example, Turnbull may have at last realised that “something has to be done” to reverse Labor’s favourable polling and to minimise the risk of a challenge to his leadership by Abbott during the Christmas-New Year period.

After the Last Two Weeks of Parliament?

The outcome of the imminent last two weeks of Parliament will set the scene for the Christmas- New Year period during which changes in our political leaders may be foreshadowed or possibly even occur. The most prominent change in Australia in this period was probably the overthrow of Bob Hawke as leader and PM by Paul Keating on 19 December 1991. This occurred after a long period of rivalry between the two Labor leaders. The election of Trump as President and the raising of expectation of changes in government policies around the western worldhas also set the scene for possible leadership changes around the world.

Criticism of IMF Report Justified, Important to Maximise Use of Coal as Energy Source

I have no doubt that Terry McCrann does not want to be labelled a spokesman for Donald T. But after his conclusion yesterday that, in the wake of what he described as “the Trump-quake”, Turnbull now has a last chance to pull his socks up, Terry has again pursued one of Trump’s favourite targets viz international institutions. On this occasion it is the International Monetary Fund and the report by its “mission” to Australia to report on the Australian economy and the economic policy being pursued by the Turnbull government.

US Election, Turnbull Govt Down Again, Climate Change, Aboriginal Recognition

Too much has already been said and written about interpreting the victory by Donald Trump and why it was not predicted. But some aspects have been overlooked or given too little attention. This is partly because almost all of the media either predicted or wanted a Hillary victory and many of them do not want now to accept that government regulation of and interference in the lives of individuals and businesses has gone too far. Associated with that has been the failure to accept the possibility that there could be a reversal of that intrusion, and that Trumps’ “swamp” in Washington might be heavily drained. What is involved here is not just a matter of actually stopping or reducing government intrusion: it requires reducing the expectation that governments will or should come to the rescue when there is a marked change in circumstances. The failure to deal with that expectation appears to have particularly affected voting in US manufacturing states where Trump succeeded.

Bolt Slams BOM & CSIRO Climate Report

The Commentary I sent yesterday included inter alia the erroneous responses by Chief Scientist Finkel to questions asked at a Senate Committee meeting by Senator Malcolm Roberts about the effects of human activity on carbon dioxide and any consequent effects on temperatures. It also drew attention to a 13 page analysis sent to Finkel by climate expert William Kininmonth and his assessment that Finkel had misrepresented the physics in a way which leads to erroneous conclusions.