Month

March 2016

24
Mar
2016

Some Implications of Brussels

Some are asking why Brussels has experienced an act of terrorism which has killed over 30 and wounded over 250. The answer is simple. Belgium has a large Muslim population centred in Brussels and which includes a significant number of extremists committed to jihadist acts against both Westerners and Muslims who have not accepted jihadism. Belgium is also exposed to the an immigration policy within Europe which is almost a free go and, more recently, allows large numbers of refugees from Syria and Iraq who have included jihadists.
23
Mar
2016

Turnbull Decides Early Election & Budget

No sooner had the latest Newspoll been published (details are attached) with a 51/49 TPP in favour of the Coalition, but with the first negative net satisfaction ratio for Turnbull personally, than he announced an early return of Parliament to (again) consider two pieces of legislation on workplace relations and a double dissolution election on 2 July if the legislation is not passed this time by the Senate (of the two pieces of legislation, one has already been rejected twice and this rejection could be used to call a DD). This would be a considerably earlier election than the September/October months which Turnbull himself had previously foreshadowed.
16
Mar
2016

Turnbull Likely to Cease being PM

My letter published in today’s Financial Review (see below “Turnbull’s Elevation”) draws on a pretty damning critique of Turnbull by columnist Jennifer Hewett (see attached Hewett on Turnbull) who concludes that “The Government won't want anyone to be able to point out the real risk –that the Prime Minister Emperor has no policy clothes”.
11
Mar
2016

Savva’s Assessment of Abbott, Turnbull’s Visit to Mosque, C Change by Aus Institute

I circulated yesterday copies of articles by Andrew Bolt and Niki Savva discussing the Prime Ministership of Tony Abbott and the role played by Abbott’s chief of staff, Peta Credlin. I made strong criticism of the Savva comments, particularly that Abbott had performed worse than Rudd and the implication she left (without any supporting evidence) that he had slept with Credlin. I did not mention that I had previously written to The Australian criticising its handling of Savva comments, particularly by giving unwarranted attention to considerable amounts of what seemed to largely be gossip.
8
Mar
2016

Electoral Position, Defence & Budget Policies

Today’s Australian publishes an unchanged electoral position of the two major parties (TPPs of 50% each) but another reduction in Turnbull’s net satisfaction ratio. He is still well ahead of Shorten in the unchanged Better PM category (55/21). But the uncertainty about Coalition policy in various areas has been allowed by Turnbull to reach the point where an “early” election seems increasingly likely, with policies being unduly determined by electoral “demands” and Turnbull himself having a bigger say as to what is in the policies.
5
Mar
2016

Turnbull’s Credibility on Defence Policy

It’s not often that I send my Commentaries on successive days. But it seemed necessary to follow up yesterday’s given that the credibility of Turnbull and his ministers appears now to be at stake because he and his Defence Minister have failed to indicate that there has been a change of policy in delaying the acquisition of new submarines until the early 2030s and failed to explain coherently the reasons for that decision (and whether it was a decision that was confirmed with Cabinet’s six member National Security Committee).
4
Mar
2016

Civil Wars in Australia & America

That it has now become almost certain that Trump will win the US Republican primaries has led Romney (the winner of the last primaries) to enunciate a detailed analysis to the effect that Trump is not acceptable as the official Republican nomination for President. The author of the article detailing Romney’s analysis (see attached Romney on Trump) claims that a significant proportion of Republicans will not vote for Trump if he is the official candidate. The author argues that there is now a “civil war” within the Republican movement about what to do. Separately, there is now some talk of starting a third party and there appears to be a provision in the US Constitution that provides for this possibility. Such a move could attract voters from each side.
2
Mar
2016

Economic Outlook

At a time when in January the IMF revised down its global GDP forecast for 2016 from 3.6% to 3.4%, and also forecast a fall of 9.5% in non-oil commodity prices (after a fall of 17.4% last year), Treasurer Scott Morrison is justified in repeating his boast that today’s December quarter GDP increase of 0.6% (seasonally adjusted) shows Australia is continuing to grow well above the average in the OECD. In fact, the trend in GDP growth has edged up slightly since 2013.