On the subject of...

Election Cycle

14
Apr
2018

Energy Policy Becoming Critical

In last Thursday’s Commentary I argued that there are serious problems with the outline of the National Energy Guarantee scheme given by Energy Minister Frydenberg in an article published in The Australian (see Frydenberg on NEG). These included the incorrect claim that the Energy Security Board is independent; the claim that NEG would restore faith in the electricity market when in fact it’s main operative conditions would be stipulated by the government; and the consequent false claim that it would be based on engineering and economics.
10
Apr
2018

Turnbull & Policy Issues Here & O’Seas

Today’s Australian runs a Letters section titled “Newspoll is not all bad news for the Prime Minister”. Indeed! Even though it includes eight leadership quality measures showing a quite sharp deterioration in Turnbull’s assessment (see yesterday’s Commentary on web), no Liberal Party MP comes forward to challenge Turnbull (partly because he or she realises the enormous task required to undo his decisions). This suggests we face with another year or so of Turnbullism.
9
Apr
2018

Newspoll Shows Turnbull Not Acceptable PM

The 30th Newspoll since Turnbull challenged Abbott and won has confirmed that Labor remains well ahead on a TPP basis (52/48), although this is one percentage point lower for Labor than in March. However, Turnbull’s Better PM test also fell by a fraction (39/38) while Shorten’s was steady on 36, and he also fell on the Best Liberal leader test 30/28. At that level he is only one percentage point ahead of Bishop (28/27). The Coalition underTurnbull has now trailed Labor on two-party-preferred support for 564 days. Julia Gillard’s government trailed the Coalition for 521 consecutive days, Abbott’s government trailed Labor for 493 days while Howard’s longest period trailing Labor was 364 days (see PM has 30 Poll Losses).
1
Apr
2018

Cricket, Immigration, Temperatures, Energy Policy

I find it surprising that, so far, only three players have acknowledged involvement in the scrabbling (worse than “tampering”) of the ball in the last South African test match. Any of the Australian bowlers who used the scrabbled ball would surely have immediately realised that they were handling a ball that had been scrabbled. At his (incomplete) press conference, David Warner refused to answer questions about whether other players were involved. Darren Lehmann’s decision to resign without holding a press conference meant he did not have any questions posed but he should have known if some form of forbidden activity was being used. The same applies to the CEO of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland, who, even if he was told there were only three scrabblers, should have left the question open.
28
Mar
2018

The Bells are Ringing

Some will remember from their youth US singer Dean Martin singing this catchy tune “The bells are ringing for me and my gal. The birds are singing for me and my gal. Ev'rybody's been knowing to a wedding they're going. And for weeks they've been sewing every Suzie and Sal” With Frank Sinatra, Martin rose to the top before dying of emphanezema in the mid 1990s. Perhaps this fall from the top of his profession was the reason this song was the first one to come into my head when I heard of the appalling behaviour by Smith as captain of Australia’s cricket team in allowing the scrabbling of one side of the ball used in a test match. This has significance beyond cricket. It encourages widespread antagonism to other supposed leaders in Australian society and will make life more difficult for future Australian cricket teams, possibly even extending to other sports played internationally. The announced penalty imposed on only three players for only a year by cricket CEO Sutherland is a weak response that must be changed.
22
Mar
2018

Greens Policies & Labor’s Problem in Vic

The Greens leader’s attempt to “explain” his party’s loss of votes in recent elections has led him down a track which could result in his displacement as leader. His response has been to bring back into public debate the extremist view of Greens that climate change causes many of the problems which society faces. On this occasion the problem is bushfires and the alleged failure of the Turnbull government to take sufficient action to reduce CO2 emissions.
15
Mar
2018

Some Important Policy Announcements

Just announced have been some important policy decisions both here and in the US. The US changes are the most important but Shorten’s proposed changes to restore double taxation are of course most significant too (see Shorten’s Tax Breaks). This shows today’s Letters to the Editor , which include one by former Treasury Head, John Stone and are headed“An attack on hard-working savers and job creators”. I envisage that I will include further comments in due course. As to US developments, as Andrew Bolt points out in the attached (see Bolt on Tillerson Dismissal),
24
Feb
2018

Some Implications from Joyce’s Affair

Now that Joyce has made the right decision to resign as Leader of the National Party and hence Deputy PM, it is pertinent to attempt an interpretation of the various events and their potential implications. I don’t often agree with Paul Kelly’s analyses but his observation in an article today seems correct, viz “The entire crisis exposes again the essential problem of the Turnbull government: disastrous political management. The government was a sitting duck in the fallout from the Joyce affair. Turnbull and Joyce were never frank enough with each other even to devise a strategy. The fiasco is extraordinary” (see Kelly on Joyce’s Resignation).For Australia’s leading journalist to express such a view is an indication of the extent of the problem facing Coalition MPs.
18
Feb
2018

Turnbull/Joyce

The failure of Joyce to handle his affair with a staffer, starting with his astonishing attempt to “explain” it as only a private matter, has led to a failure by Turnbull to display the leadership role he is supposed to play as leader of the Coalition and PM of Australia. It will be surprising if tomorrow’s Newspoll does not show a drop in both the Coalition’s TPP (which was 48/52 a fortnight ago) and Turnbull’s satisfaction rate (37 to 50 dissatisfied). The political editor of The Australian suggests in his Inquirer article (see Shanahan on Joyce/Turnbull) that both leaders will see a fall in their satisfaction rates (Shorten’s was 34 to 52 last time). That is quite possible: the electorate is sick of the behaviour of both sides in Canberra.