Newspoll; Chief Scientist Finkel

In yesterday’s Commentary I said that, while an early election as suggested by Terry McCrann would risk the Morrison government being portrayed as a “cut and run” attempt at winning and avoiding outstanding issues, it would have the potential to bring the Liberal party closer together and take advantage of various issues on which Morrison seems actually or potentially head of Shorten, including the now near absence of Turnbull as a policy maker. In particular, an election in March would “lock in” the likely favourable budgetary and economic forecasts in the MYEFO publication (next Monday) and prevent any significant change in the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) which is made by Treasury before an election.

An Early Election?

In Thursday’s Commentary I referred to the view of The Australian’s political editor (Dennis Shanahan) that Morrison still has a “last chance” of winning the election. In Weekend Australian Shanahan acknowledges that “the Liberal Party is in a mess” but also points out that “Labor finished the last week of parliament for the year on the back foot over national security and border protection, giving Morrison a reprieve from the dismal Liberal outlook. The Prime Minister was able to declare there would be a budget surplus next year, he changed Liberal leadership rules, intervened to stop a preselection brawl, asserted his authority over Turnbull and avoided an embarrassing defeat on the floor of parliament”

Last Chancer Morrison

Today’s article by The Australian’s political editor Dennis Shanahan argues that Morrison still has a last chance and points out that “in late 1992 and early 1993, the Keating government hopelessly trailed John Hewson’s opposition. In February 1993, the Coalition led Labor 53.5 to 46.5 on a two-party-preferred basis in Newspoll.On election day, March 13, Labor pipped the Coalition 51.4 per cent to 48.6 per cent and Keating remained prime minister. The key to this dramatic turnaround was that voters became wary of Hewson and his radical tax plans”

Turnbull & Related Matters

Much of yesterday’s political/media exchanges were about the role Malcolm Turnbull has been playing recently in trying to undermine the Liberal Party and, now, its new leader Scott Morrison. Today’s Australian reports numerous commentaries all of which are unfavourable to Turnbull and include the view of political editor, Dennis Shanahan, that he should have been sacked after the 2016 election which reduced the Coalition’s majority to one – “To borrow Turnbull’s own words, the Liberals simply left “his arse” for too long on the seat of C1 — the prime ministerial commonwealth car “

US Wins at G20; Morrison Meets Trump; Germany Fails To Successfully Employ Renewables; Stone on Immigration

Although there has been a “final statement” by leaders attending the meeting of the G20 in Argentina, the text does not seem available on the web and nor does the communique. However, some media are reporting on what was agreed. The outcome on trade was expected to reveal something on the what has been described as a dispute between the US and China (but which has implications for all trading nations). It appears that the US did succeed at G20 in obtaining agreement that the present arrangements need to be changed.

How to Save the Coalition

Last Sunday I tried to explain in my Commentary why the Coalition lost the Victorian election with such an unexpectedly large swing to Labor (I then thought it was a 5% swing but it now appears closer to 6%) and this loss was immediately followed by a Newspoll showing at the federal level that Labor is ahead on a TPP basis of 55/45. While this is the same as in the previous Newspoll, and Morrison’s personal rating as Better PM actually improved to 46/34, it confirmed that the Coalition would almost certainly lose the Federal election, which Morrison has now set for March. I concluded my Commentary by saying that “whether at the federal or state levels this result is a reflection of the failure of the Liberals to distinguish themselves from Labor”.

Victorian Election

The extent of the Coalition’s loss in the Victorian elections far exceeds predictions in pre-election polling: it looks like a 5% swing against the Coalition which could mean they hold only 25 seats in a Lower House of 88 total seats and could lose 5 of their 16 seats in the Upper House, which has 40 seats. As such their capacity to constitute an effective opposition will be difficult, to say the least. The unanswered question is why such a loss has occurred particularly in the so-called sand-belt area on the east coast of Port Phillip bay which would include middle income groups.

New Measures to Stop Terrorists; Morrison Attacks Labor’s Energy Policy

Not surprisingly there has been no response to my suggestion in yesterday’s Commentary that Victorian Attorney General Pakula should resign because he falsely told Victorians that the Victorian police had not received information from Federal agencies indicating that Shire Ali was a jihadist. Now, we also know that, for six days, Victorian Premier Andrews “kept to himself the fact that Shire Ali … had actually been out on bail”