More Responses to NEG Modelling

Responses to By-elections & Modelling Continue

The editorial in today’s Australian is critical of the policy approach adopted by the Turnbull government –“under Mr Turnbull the Coalition seems to think all it needs to do is announce elegant policy and await the plaudits” – but (disappointedly) does not advocate considering any change of leadership. By contrast, while agreeing about the need for policy changes, Andrew Bolt rightly argues that any policy changes needs to be preceded by a change in leadership (see OZ Prescribes Tighter Econ Strategy and Bolt says Change Leader Then Policies).

There are also reports that there may be an increase in opposition from within the Coalition –“ Malcolm Turnbull’s centrepiece energy policy faces an eleventh-hour threat from dissatisfied ­Coalition MPs who have attacked new modelling that shows the ­nation’s reliance on renewable energy will more than double by 2030 under the national energy guarantee, as coal-fired plants are powered down” (see Threat to NEG from within Coalition).

I have managed to get two similar letters published, one in The Australian and one in the AFR, both of which include the replacement of Turnbull option. The one in The Australian is below (the bits in square brackets were deleted by Ed) and the one in the AFR is here.

Two of last Saturday’s by-elections have produced such swings against the Turnbull government that they suggest the need for a major change in policies or the replacement of its leader, who was personally heavily involved in the campaign in the Longman electorate in particular.

Malcolm Turnbull gave himself ample opportunity to explain his policies by prescribing an [extraordinary] eight week  campaign, [the same as for the last general election in 2016. As he only just scraped home then,] that in itself suggests an inability to learn from past experience.

More important is his failure to justify the results [claimed outcomes] of his policies. The trouble is that there is so little to show for such policies so Turnbull was forced to concentrate on attacking the personality of the Opposition leader. [It is clear that] his policies on [such important issues as] the budget, immigration, environment, education, and defence have barely held together [and need major improvements].

The Coalition now has [a spate of possible] replacement ministers who have experienced what not to do. Such replacements include former PM Abbott who has indicated quietly but admirably where he would go. His previous rebuttal of the need to effect an increased role of government in managing the environment has been proved right by Turnbull’s failure to convince that we need a NEG. The attempt to convince the electorate has produced a modelled prescription by supposed experts. No Liberal party should go down that path.

What happens now? I suspect that there will be more pressure on the Turnbull/Frydenberg clique to better explain the modelling of the price effects of NEG. The publication of yet another “final” explanation by the ESB is far from convincing and it seems likely that Abbott will repeat his “pigs might fly” description of that explanation.  Meantime, remember that Turnbull wants to see out his term as PM.

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