On the subject of...

Australian Economy

24
Jul
2017

Same Coalition Newspoll, Dutton’s Status Rises, Abbott Speaks Out Again

I suggested in yesterday’s Commentary that Turnbull’s activism over the past couple of weeks was a desperate attempt to help him survive as leader. But while the latest Newspoll has put Turnbull 11 points ahead in the Better PM category (only 8 points ahead last time), there was no change in Newspoll’s TPP (still at 47/53 as it was a fortnight ago). Also, even though the Coalition’s primary vote did improve slightly (from 35 to 36), this is 6 points lower than it was when elected a year ago and still leaves unchanged the problem with the basic policy being pursued by Turnbull. Relevant here too is that Labor’s primary vote also increased to 37 (from 36) (see Newspoll 24 July).
23
Jul
2017

Activism by Turnbull

As I experienced a bout of flu, I have had a “enforced” quiet period for a week (my last Commentary was on Monday 17 July). During that past week, however, it was impossible not to notice Turnbull being unusually active on a number of political fronts attempting to improve the Coalition’s -- and his own-- polling. My conclusion is that any improvement is unlikely: rather the opposite.
17
Jul
2017

More Support for Reduced/Abolished Restriction on CO2 Emissions

Another development in the debate on climate policy is the publication of an article in the AFR by journalist Aaron Patrick reporting that the executive director of the IPA, John Roskam, told him that “The majority of federal Liberal MPs are not convinced the science behind climate change is settled and support reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases for political reasons”. He said “he hadn't conducted a formal count but found most Liberal politicians shared his doubts about what many experts say is the greatest global threat to mankind” (see AFR Aaron Patrick on Sceptics on Climate Change).
9
Jul
2017

More Concern Expressed About Turnbull & G20 Meeting Doesn’t Seem Global

My last Commentary (on Thursday) argued that a number of reports/comments in The Australian added to the increased recognition that the policies being pursued by Turnbull are often not consistent with Liberal Party objectives and that “it is difficult to envisage that Turnbull could make a come-back for the Coalition before the election whereas appointing a replacement in the near future would give it a reasonable chance”. I have now written a letter to The Australian with the same theme and pointing out that it is laughable to see the suggestion by some Ministerial colleagues that the cause of Turnbull’s problem is the expressions of concern in the last fortnight by Tony Abbott. My letter says that “the problem is not Abbott but the policies pursued by Turnbull”.
2
Jul
2017

Abbott Advocates Different Policies & More Problems with Turnbull’s Climate Policy

My Commentary last Thursday repeated earlier suggestions that the only way to reverse the Coalition’s 47/53 TPP polling is to replace Turnbull. This has become more possible now that Abbott has continued to advocate the adoption of policies more in line with the stated objectives of the Liberal Party. It is reported in today’s Herald Sun that he will also be talking tomorrow in the Deakin electorate currently held by Michael Sukkar, who is presently an Assistant Treasurer in the Turnbull government (see attached Abbott to Make Another Talk). Significantly, this is a marginal seat and, as it will go to Labor if existing polling is not reversed, Sukkar has doubtless realised the need to present a different Liberal party to his electorate. Separately, the Herald Sun has run an interview with Turnbull in which he said that he would quit politics if he loses being PM.
29
Jun
2017

Turnbull or The Liberal Party

My Commentary on Tuesday 27 June noted that, in an address to an IPA function that day, Tony Abbott postulated that “the next election won’t be won by drawing closer to Labor. The next election can only be won by drawing up new battlelines that give our people something to fight for; and the public something to hope for”. I said that his main themes relate to Energy Policy (a freeze on the renewable target at the existing 15% and the construction of a “big” coal-fired power station); a referendum to change the Senate; a slow-down in Immigration; a repair of the Budget through getting spending under control; and tougher measures on terrorism, incl the banning of Hizb ut-Tahri. The text of the speech and a summary of his election agenda are in the attached Abbott’s Plan for Next Election.
25
Jun
2017

How Much Longer Can Turnbull Last?

The end of the Parliamentary session (it resumes in 6 weeks) has produced various comments about its performance, including Turnbull’s claim that it showed that the Coalition is governing. He referred in particular the $6bn bank tax, gas export restrictions, the avoidance of Aboriginal Title restrictions on the $21bn Adani coal mine in Queensland, and the much publicised new arrangements for schools. The Weekend Australian observes critically that “the Prime Minister has won this victory only by adopting what even he argues is a purer version of Labor’s Gonski plan and by promising tens of billions of dollars that are yet to be raised and which, on the available evidence, will not necessarily boost education outcomes”.
22
Jun
2017

Analysing Turnbull

Today Andrew Bolt has made a scathing attack on Turnbull and has extended that to the Liberal Party itself for allowing Turnbull to get away with it. He suggests that, even if Abbott replaced Turnbull, the left that now exists of that party is so strong that he would be unable to repair it. Genuine supporters of liberalism would therefore have to decide where they would vote at the next election. I suspect a goodly number have already decided.
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