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On the subject of...

Budget

8
Apr
2019

Polling Shifts for Parties

Two new polls tell different stories, one favouring the Coalition but the other not. First, Newspoll shows the Coalition’s TPP as up by two percentage points with Labor’s down the same two points compared with the March 7-10 poll. Hence the Coalition is up from 46 to 48 while Labor’s is down from 54 to 52 now. Also, while the primary votes ( before taking account of preferences from other parties) for the Coalition have improved (from 36 to 38), Labor’s have fallen (from 39 to 37). These send out a hopeful signal to the Coalition.
3
Apr
2019

Commonwealth Budget 2019/20

Today’s Media has included many comments on the Morrison Government’s Budget for 2019-20 as well as estimates of revenue and expenditure for the following three years. These include a large number of decisions and it would not be appropriate here to examine them in any detail: indeed I challenge anyone to examine what one journalist described as “a budget speech littered with references to plumbers, couriers, cranes, hard hats, teachers, tradies and nurses”. My general conclusion on the speech I watched on TV was that it did not impress most on the Coalition benches and some of those there tended to drop off and, after a time, showed little encouragement as Frydenberg continued well after the half-hour finishing time allocated to budget speeches. In consequence, what my comments below mainly relate to are the totals of revenue, expenditure and what is commonly treated as the deficit or surplus for the four years.
29
Nov
2018

How to Save the Coalition

Last Sunday I tried to explain in my Commentary why the Coalition lost the Victorian election with such an unexpectedly large swing to Labor (I then thought it was a 5% swing but it now appears closer to 6%) and this loss was immediately followed by a Newspoll showing at the federal level that Labor is ahead on a TPP basis of 55/45. While this is the same as in the previous Newspoll, and Morrison’s personal rating as Better PM actually improved to 46/34, it confirmed that the Coalition would almost certainly lose the Federal election, which Morrison has now set for March. I concluded my Commentary by saying that “whether at the federal or state levels this result is a reflection of the failure of the Liberals to distinguish themselves from Labor”.
14
May
2018

Polling on Budget & Bad Assessments by Commentators

Today’s Newspoll shows the Coalition still behind Labor on third party preference votes by 49/51 and indicates that only 41per cent think the tax-cutting budget was “good”. But the improvement in Turnbull’s Better PM rate to 46/35, compared with the 38/35 at the previous Newspoll, has led The Australian to present the poll as a major victory to Turnbull, to argue that the budget was “one of the most well-received …in a decade”, and to claim “the result maintains an electoral position for the Coalition that it has not enjoyed since September 2016”. It also says the result “builds momentum” for the five by-elections expected in early July (see attached Newspoll Shows No TPP Change on Budget).
10
May
2018

Disappointing Budget Assessment

A huge amount has been written about the 2018-19 Budget presented on Tuesday by Treasurer Scott Morrison as a 7 year plan to make personal income tax “lower, simpler and fairer” (see Morrison on Effect of Tax Cuts). But the proposed changes in the structure of the income tax system are not worth considering other than as possible thoughts for future budgets. There will be at least three more elections by 2025 and many thoughts raised or proposed about the structure. It is already apparent that the proposed changes in the tax treatment of those on high incomes will not get through the Senate and neither will the already proposed further reductions in company tax.
9
Jun
2017

Responding to Islamic Threat, Climate Change, Financing Budget Deficits

I suggested yesterday that there has recently been a higher rate of violent activity from Islamic jihadists and that has been confirmed by reports today of an arrest of a man for supplying a weapon to the now dead Brighton jihadist and police questioning of others possibly involved. Today’s Australian has also published a range of material on jihadism, including the whole of its letters page on critiques of Islam and suggestions of what should be done about it.
30
May
2017

Polling on the Budget, Terrorists Sources Not Recognised, Nor are Climate Changes

Turnbull’s further shift to the left (where is the middle now?) didn’t get any substantive support from the latest Newspoll, with the TPP percentages (47/53) unchanged. Some say that there was no budget “bounce” but the fact that it didn’t rise one bit sends a bad message on both the budget and Turnbull’s leadership even though his satisfaction ratio rose very slightly (so did Shorten’s). One commentator said that “the trend is set and it favours Shorten”.
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.
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