The latest Newspoll shows that, after three successive results on 47/53 TPPs, the Coalition has now fallen to 46/54. Even though Morrison’s personal approval ratings improved a single point to 43 per cent so too did Shorten’s and, while Morrison’s disapproval numbers fell from 48 per cent to 45 per cent, Shorten’s also fell two points. These ratings gaps have not altered to any significant extent over the last fortnight and, although they still favour Morrison, there is no real sign that the Coalition can close the overall gap on TPPs by the May election (see Coalition’s Newspoll Down To 46/54).
“The Australian’s National Affairs editor argues that “Scott Morrison is approaching the point of no return. He either sticks with the current political strategy in the hope it will eventually start to bite, or he changes course before it’s too late. Both options are loaded with risk. The polls suggest that whatever the Coalition is doing, it is not working. But to restart the government agenda now would be ridiculous. There is no other narrative for Morrison. The economy and national security are what Coalition governments do. Cooler heads within government will be advising colleagues that the real driver of the polling numbers are the constant, and one would have to assume tactical, interventions. (see Morrison Near Point of No Return)
My belief is that the Coalition should in fact “change courses” asap. Even if it is too late now to win an election, it should aim to provide a better base from which to counter Labor in office. Such changes should include
- A statement that policies operated during Turnbull’s reign will hitherto be revised to better reflect the Liberal Party’s small government and competition market beliefs. That should be accompanied by indicating that moves will be made to expel Turnbull from leadership of the Liberal party (see Turnbull).
- Morrison should offer to subject himself to another election contest and indicate that he would support the appointment of Abbott if he won such a contest.
- An indication that policy changes include changes in climate change policy involving a withdrawal from the Paris agreement, a major reduction in the emissions reductions target, a major lowering of the renewable target, the elimination of related subsidies, no increase in refugees from the already high level, a substantive reduction in immigration from the present rate, a closing of any gaps that allow asylum seekers to obtain unwarranted residence, and a reduction in government expenditure over the next three years to the level reached in the last year of the Howard government (to 23.% of GDP from the present rate of about 24.5%) to be set out in the April budget, with a reduction in the income levels at which social welfare is provided.