On the subject of...

Election Cycle

7
Aug
2017

Assessing the Polling & Turnbull’s Leadership

My Commentary of 5 August included a section on Coalition Leadership and suggested the basic question that Coalition MPs have to face is whether to continue with Turnbull as leader in the event that Newspoll shows no significant change as Parliament resumes. That in fact is what happened, with the Coalition’s TPP remaining at 47/53 (compared with 50.4 at the July 2016 election) and its Primary Vote remaining at 36 (42.1 at July 2016 election). A glimmer of hope was that Labor’s Primary Vote fell by one percentage point to 36 but this is still equal to the Coalition’s and is higher than its 34.7 at the July 2016 election.
5
Aug
2017

Can Turnbull Save the Day & Experts Challenge Energy Policy

As Parliament resumes next week after its winter break, new views about the leadership of the Coalition are naturally emerging and another Newspoll will occur. The last one on 24 July showed no change in the Coalition’s TPP (47/53), although its primary vote did improve slightly (from 35 to 36). But Labor’s primary also increased by one percentage point (to 37) and gave no indication that it was “slipping”.
25
Jul
2017

Turnbull v Abbott?

I suggested in yesterday’s Commentary that various developments, including the apparent praise for Dutton following his appointment as Minister-Designate for Home Affairs, continued to put Turnbull’s present leadership on shaky ground. This despite the fact that Turnbull himself made the appointment. Today we find that The Australian has published the result of a special Newspoll, taken between 20-23 July, showing that 58 per cent of voters say Malcolm Turnbull has the best values and leadership credentials while only 23 per cent favour Tony Abbott. The survey also shows that Abbott is little favoured as a either a senior Cabinet Minister (23%) or as a commentator on important issues (17%). Even only 48% support him as a backbencher who makes no public comments, but with fewer Coalition supporters than those from other parties (see Newspoll on Turnbull Leadership).
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.