Probably the most important aspect of today’s Newspoll, covering each state in the June quarter, is the large drop in Abbott’s rating as preferred PM. Turnbull’s public comment that the budget was not well sold (he made no contribution) is contributing to this and is keeping his flag flying even though he has no prospect of returning to be leader. But, as I have previously argued, the failure to “sell” the budget does remain a major problem.
The second week-end of fairly small demos on “Bust the Budget” produced no substantive response from government ministers. Of course, it is not normally desirable to respond to such demos. But on an issue vital to the government, a terse response by a senior minister with some numbers would have helped. For example, that even with the proposed reductions in spending, the deficit would still be $30 billion and that this could reach $50 billion if Labor/Greens carry out their threat of preventing a number of reductions …
In this context Henry Ergas’s analysis below of the refusal by Shorten to acknowledge failures by Labor provides another example for a response that could be developed more by Abbott. As Ergas says, “Unless Shorten learns from it, Labor will join the brain dead of international social democracy; and the noose that swung for Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard will also swing for him”.
It is surprising that the Opposition and the Greens (and now Malcolm Fraser too with an extraordinary comparison), with much help from the ABC, continue to focus on asylum seekers, in this case from Sri Lanka. The Australian’s editorial below puts the issue in perspective, which includes that they should not be allowed to jump the queue. Reports indicating that European countries are increasingly failing to control their borders should send a message to anyone here with a modicum of common sense. There is a similar story in the US (and from Central America as well as Mexico), with Obama trying to defend his failure there by saying that “America is and always has been a nation of immigrants”.
Andrew Bolt’s brief piece below is also spot on.
The claim to be a caliph of much of N Iraq/Syria by al-Baghdadi, who was released from a US detention centre in Iraq in 2009, might be viewed as an example of a failure of the US under Obama to address the threat from extremist Muslims (many released from Guantanamo Bay returned to fighting). Now we see the current Iraqi PM (Malaki) obtaining help from Russia as well as Iran because Obama is holding back.
The performance and status of Obama is increasingly being subjected to critical analysis and polling now has him the worst President since World War ll. This is worrying for an Australia which has an important military alliance with the US and looks to it as a supporter of the market system. The article below by Peggy Noonan has to be read on the basis that it was written by a major speech writer for President Reagan. Even so it is consistent with other material emanating from the US.