15
Oct
2017

Where Can Turnbull Go Now?

Some More Statements on Abbott’s Address

My Commentary of last Thursday reported that the (scientist) President of the US SEPP group had described Abbott’s address on Daring to Doubt as “one of the best talks given by a politician in decades”. I also reported that the US EPA head had announced the repeal of the Clean Power Plan initiated by Obama but rejected by the US Supreme Court. Here in Australia, leading journalist Terry McCrann had described Abbott’s address as “seminal”.

Since Thursday, the main comment on the address by Turnbull and Frydenberg, along with some sympathetic journos, has been that Abbott had done no more than contradict himself reversed his and that he is inconsistent with currently accepted scientific views. In addition, we have been told to expect a statement by Turnbull this week on energy policy which will not include a Clean Energy Target (CET) and which will reduce the federal subsidies on renewable. Some States have however said they would continue their emissions reductions and the use of renewable policies. By contrast, one of The Australian’s principal economic writers, Judith Sloan, has savagely attacked the various possible policies that are being floated around and suggested that the government invest in building new baseload coal-fired generators, viz

The critical challenge now is to create incentives for the building of new baseload electricity plants (probably on the sites of ­existing plants) and to inject more competition into the generation space. The gaming that is going on in the system is probably adding close to 30 per cent to the wholesale electricity price and will only get worse with more renewable energy. If we care about manufacturing and minerals processing, there is no alternative”.

Better still would be to establish a federal policy which announced that it sought no further reductions in emissions, advised Paris of its reduced aim, and indicated that it would provide no further subsidies for renewable. It would also call a meeting of COAG to tell the states which have excessive reductions in emissions and in subsidies for renewable that it would make commensurate reductions in grants to them.

Newspoll Necessitates Radical Change in Energy & Other Policies

For two Newspolls in a row the Coalition has now had a 46/54 TPP on Newspoll. This is down one percentage point before that and compares with its 50.4/49.6 TPP at last July’s election result  in 2016. The margin of a one seat majority has well and truly disappeared and an election would lose many Coalition seats. In fact, no comfort can be taken by Turnbull from having the same TPP for two Newspolls in a row. His net satisfaction rate has dropped since the last Newspoll three weeks ago from 35/52 to 32/56. For how long can we have a PM whose satisfaction rate is 32?  Support for Turnbull as better PM has also fallen from 42 to 41 per cent while Shorten’s has risen from 31 to 33 per cent. See David Crowe article.

Those receiving this  Commentary will be well aware of my now long standing recommendation viz to have any chance of winning the election Turnbull must be replaced asap. Abbott’s seminal address in London suggests he is a changed man. As one of my Commentary recipients recommends, Abbott’s chances of making a comeback would be improved if he made a statement indicating that he recognises that he made certain mistakes last time and listing some.

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