Month

May 2017

26
May
2017

The Source of Terrorism Today

Miracles do happen! Even so I was surprised to open today’s Age and find they had published my letter arguing for action to expose and attack extremist Islam. It was also the lead letter. The Australian also published a letter by me in similar vein, along with other “strong action” type letters (see both my letters below) and an excellent editorial which identifies in no uncertain way “that Islamist terror cannot be bought off; it wants nothing less than a totalitarian caliphate for the planet. Jihad denialism, which wilfully obscures the wellsprings of Islamist violence, has limited appeal in Australia although its supporters include progressive elites with their media megaphones” ( see attached Editorial on Terrorist Risk).
23
May
2017

Budget Deficiencies Neglected in Media, Trump in Saudi Arabia

In recent Commentaries I have referred to a number of deficiencies in the Budget which have either not been referred to in the main media, including even in The Australian, or have only been given limited attention. Despite this even The Australian has not published four letters I submitted on what I believe are serious analytical deficiencies, and the AFR often couldn’t decide whether to have a letters page. The Age almost automatically refuses to publish anyone deemed to be right of centre.
19
May
2017

Budget Doubts Enhanced, Threats to Trump

Both main sides continue to debate the second budget of the Turnbull government, with the most interesting development being the view expressed by Albanese that Labor should welcome the Coalition’s budget measures! But there is no indication from most Commentators that initial views have changed and that an improvement in the Coalition’s polling is likely to occur. In fact, doubts about the achievement of estimated budget outcomes have increased following the publication of a much lower growth in wages than assumed in the 2017-18 Budget estimates (1.9% cf 2.5%), a further fall in consumer confidence (the sixth successive occasion when pessimists have outweighed optimists), and a warning from credit agency S&P that while it kept Australia’s credit rating at AAA it also warned that it is at risk of a downside over the next two years. The improvement in the latest employment survey may help if it is sustained. But doubts continue about the survey’s reliability.
16
May
2017

Nonsense Claims that More Revenue Needed

Yesterday’s Commentary referred to three things which stood out from the post Budget polling – Labor remains 6 percentage points ahead, the very low net satisfaction ratios of both leaders suggest that voters want a change of leaders, and only 19% feel better off after the budget. Today we learn that, in “selling the budget” yesterday, Turnbull claimed that Newspoll showed there is majority support for the levy on the banks and the increase in the Medicare levy. He also claimed that, because the Senate has blocked spending cuts, “we obviously need to raise more revenue” (see Turnbull Defends Budget). This is absolute balderdash.
15
May
2017

Polling Result for Budget

There are three things which stand out from today’s polling: Both Newspoll and the Fairfax/Ipso poll show Labor the same distance ahead of the Coalition with Labor holding a lead of 6 percentage points on a TPP basis (53/47) in each poll; Neither leader has a favourable net satisfaction ratio in Newspoll, with Turnbull on 33/53 and Shorten on a 32/54 satisfied to dissatisfied ratios; The total who feel worse off after the budget (45%) is less than after the 2014 budget under Abbott (69%) in Newspoll. But more feel worse off than after each of the last three years of Labor’s budgets. Note that only 19% feel better off and 36% are uncommitted after this year’s budget. The age group which feels worst off after this year’s budget is the 35-49ers, with over 50s feeling least worse off ;
12
May
2017

Why Coalition Presented Labor Budget, Why Trump Sacked Comey

In his budget reply Shorten rightly claimed that the Turnbull government did not present a Labor budget: he said this because his presentation in fact took the Turnbull budget further down the socialist road (see attached Shorten’s Budget Reply). Although no estimates were given of Shorten’s Labor budget, there can be no doubt that it would mean higher spending and taxes. Those taxes would moreover be concentrated on alleged “high” income groups and would extend to emissions of CO2. In a sense, Turnbull provided Shorten with an opportunity to take a step further.
10
May
2017

Commonwealth Budget

It is difficult to find much in the way of compliments for the 2017-18 estimated budget presented by the Turnbull government, or for the budget projections (not estimates) for the following three years. It appears, rather, to involve the abandonment of the policy of “smaller government”, but without saying so. Indeed it is difficult to say what the Liberal Party under Turnbull now stands for. Various remarks made in public by Turnbull and Scott Morrison left something to be desired in regard to the functioning of the economy, particularly in regard to justifying (sic) the levy on major banks, and presenting an encouraging message. Several commentators have suggested that the rationale is to adopt policies similar to those pursued by Labor in the hope that this will improve the Coalition’s polling. Shorten has rejected this and will doubtless have more to say about it in his reply on Thursday evening (but he will likely retain the deficit levy on higher income groups, which the Coalition says it will abolish as promised ).
8
May
2017

Turnbull Trump Meeting, French Election & Review of Climate Change Policy

It is always difficult to interpret meetings between two leaders of countries and many words have been written about Malcolm Turnbull’s meeting with President Trump. In this instance the interpretation is made more difficult than usual because most of the meeting was in public and the two leaders were not inclined to be critical of each other. Perhaps the most important outcome (sic) is that it confirmed the importance for Australia of the US alliance. That Turnbull showed he could handle Trump should ceteris paribus also help his polling.