On the subject of...

Election Cycle

18
Apr
2017

Controlling Islamic Extremism & Handling N Korea

As mentioned in yesterday’s Commentary, the publication in The Australian of reports on the treatment of wives by Muslim men prompted me to circulate a Gatehouse report on various incidents involving Muslims in March in the UK. I also sent a letter to The Australian suggesting “the wives issue” raised a question about allowing the continued operation of Hitzb ut-Tahrir in Australia. That letter is below with two others on the issue, albeit one of which suggests that it would be discriminatory to point the finger at any particular group, including Muslims, which uses violence against women.
4
Apr
2017

Turnbull’s Polling & Developments in Climate Policy

The Newspoll published yesterday showed a return of the Coalition to the rating of 47/53 after the upward blip to 48/52 in mid March. Turnbull’s net satisfaction rate continued to slide, now to the worst since becoming PM, while Shorten’s rose to be a fraction above Turnbull’s (the graph below tells a story in itself). The only poll now favouring Turnbull is the Better PM one but even there his rating fell while Shorten’s improved to 32/41. As The Australian’s Political Editor has pointed out, “The message is that voters are in no mood to reward Turnbull for making progress on his old agenda. Why should they, if they think he is heading in the wrong direction? For any other prime minister, the solution would be a bold new direction on a social or economic issue, but this is fraught with danger for Turnbull … The alarms are sounding for the entire Coalition, not just the Prime Minister. Turnbull cannot win from making incremental progress alone. He will have to do something far more dramatic”.
27
Feb
2017

Turnbull Must Go

Today’s Newspoll shows that, despite Turnbull’s very recent decision to start attacking Shorten more aggressively, the Coalition’s polling has dropped a further percentage point (to 45/55 on a TPP) and Turnbull’s personal polling has dropped sharply to 29/59 satisfied compared with 33/54 last time. This has occurred after Shorten was not only unable to state the estimated cost of Labor’s 50% target for renewable energy but also announced that he would try to reverse the decision by Fair Work Australia to slightly reduce penalty rates even though he had previously supported a review when he was minister under Labor! With Labor on the back foot, the Coalition’s polling ought to have improved.
9
Feb
2017

Bolt on Turnbull, Interpreting Bernardi, Costello at HRN

For the second day in a row Turnbull has “savaged” Shorten in Parliament – and outside it. The savaging included an accusation about the benefit to Shorten arising from “managing” one of the deals done by the union he led before he became an MP and Labor’s leader, as outlined in the Heydon Royal Commission. The opportunity for the government to use those investigations has so far been largely neglected and the attack on Shorten presumably reflects a number of recent unfavourable developments, such as the drop in Coalition polling to 46/54 on a TPP, the resignation from the Liberal Party of Senator Bernardi, and the apparent success of Trump in effecting major changes in policy in the US (one of which was even quite favourably regarded in a poll here).
6
Jul
2016

McCrann on Turnbull

Whether the Coalition will have enough seats to form government remains unclear and it is by no means certain that it will be able to remain in government. But one or two certainties are clear. Most importantly, the governing of Australia will be much more difficult, perhaps as difficult as it was under Whitlam when the initial budget was put together by Whitlam and his Deputy on their own. The Turnbull government has already introduced a budget but that has still be considered by Parliament. Labor will doubtless argue that Turnbull’s bad election result means that this budget needs to be revised. As Terry McCrann points out below, any budget now needs to alsotake account of the likely reduction in Australia’s AAA credit rating.
5
Jul
2016

Election Result & Muslim Leader on Homosexuality

Whatever the outcome of the election, the 2.8% swing against the Coalition, and thenow very real possibility that it will be unable to form government on its own, is clearly a vote of no confidence in Turnbull and the policies he presented since taking-over from Abbott – or rather the lack of them. Those who were characterised as Del-Cons, which included myself, correctly identified that Turnbull is at heart a big government interventionist who lacks the capacity to adopt policies which would encourage private enterprise and should not be a leader of the Liberal Party. His attempt to persuade the electorate that he had an “economic plan” was unconvincing and wrongly used the word “plan”. Concern remains that a government led by him would aggressively pursue policies supported by him in the past, such as global warming, but not outlined before or during the election campaign.
29
Jun
2016

Some Important Implications of Brexit, Failures in Interpreting Muslim Religion

David Cameron has been British PM since May 2010 and won a second term in May 2015 with an all Conservative government (his first government was a Coalition with the Liberal Democrats). That second term was won with a much larger majority (331-232) than predicted by polls, probably because the polls under-estimated the (then) unpopular proposals by Labour Leader Millibrand (now replaced by the extremist Corbyn!). An independent inquiry into the polling suggested that the polling methods resulted in conservative voters being under-represented. The 72.7% who voted on the EU referendum exceeded the proportion in the May 2015 election (66.4%) and the 1975 European referendum’s 64.62%. Reports indicate that those who voted to leave appear to have comprised a high proportion of lower-middle income groups.
26
Jun
2016

Voters Want Neither Turnbull nor Shorten

The longer this election campaign continues the more it becomes apparent that voters are becoming increasingly sick to death of both leaders. The analysis below of voter satisfaction shows that “last weekend, net satisfaction — the difference between satisfaction and dissatisfaction — for the Prime Minister was minus 16, the Opposition Leader’s was minus 15 and both had 51 per cent of people dissatisfied with their ­performance. While Turnbull is favoured over Shorten as preferred prime minister 46 per cent to 31 per cent, there’s never been as low a collective vote nor as high an undecided factor at election time”
19
Jun
2016

Turnbull’s Islamic Policy

Due to the time needed to complete the sale of the house Felicity and I owned at Malua Bay, I have not been able to send a Commentary since 29 May. With the house sale completed today, it is opportune to comment briefly on an attempt by Turnbull to portray a close relationship with Australia’s Muslim community while at the same time acknowledging that “in this age of terrorism –overwhelmingly inspired by radical Islamist ideology –our security agencies must have the trust of Isalmic communities in order to succeed”. Attached are reports from today’s Australian, which gave front page treatment to Turnbull’s dinner invitation “dozens” of Muslims.
25
May
2016

Election Proposals Omit Structural Reforms Too

My Commentary sent out late Sunday (thanks to those who sent compliments) drew particular attention to the article by Judith Sloan on the Federal budget and her conclusion that “Labor is completely out of control fiscally; the Coalition is slightly better but no cigar”. This followed other strong critiques, including by John Stone. Meantime we have Turnbull and Shorten buying votes as they go from electorate to electorate and adding up to $100mn a day to budget spending. What does the odd million matter?