On the subject of...

Election Cycle

15
May
2017

Polling Result for Budget

There are three things which stand out from today’s polling: Both Newspoll and the Fairfax/Ipso poll show Labor the same distance ahead of the Coalition with Labor holding a lead of 6 percentage points on a TPP basis (53/47) in each poll; Neither leader has a favourable net satisfaction ratio in Newspoll, with Turnbull on 33/53 and Shorten on a 32/54 satisfied to dissatisfied ratios; The total who feel worse off after the budget (45%) is less than after the 2014 budget under Abbott (69%) in Newspoll. But more feel worse off than after each of the last three years of Labor’s budgets. Note that only 19% feel better off and 36% are uncommitted after this year’s budget. The age group which feels worst off after this year’s budget is the 35-49ers, with over 50s feeling least worse off ;
12
May
2017

Why Coalition Presented Labor Budget, Why Trump Sacked Comey

In his budget reply Shorten rightly claimed that the Turnbull government did not present a Labor budget: he said this because his presentation in fact took the Turnbull budget further down the socialist road (see attached Shorten’s Budget Reply). Although no estimates were given of Shorten’s Labor budget, there can be no doubt that it would mean higher spending and taxes. Those taxes would moreover be concentrated on alleged “high” income groups and would extend to emissions of CO2. In a sense, Turnbull provided Shorten with an opportunity to take a step further.
30
Apr
2017

Short Time Span for Replacement of Turnbull, McCitrick on Paris Agreement, Australian Defence Against Nuclear Missiles

Trump’s agreement to meet with Turnbull this coming week (an appointment which appears to have taken longer than expected) provides an opportunity to confirm the importance of the US alliance in the context of celebrating the vital role played by the US in the defeat of the Japanese in the Coral Sea battle 75 years ago in 1942 (see press release on meeting). It also means Turnbull will obtain more photo-ops. He will doubtless also attempt to convey to the Australian electorate that his meeting with Trump reflects another acknowledgment by him of the view of right-wingers.
24
Apr
2017

Slight Improvement in Newspoll, March for Science

Today’s Newspoll has improved the Coalition’s polling from 47/53 to 48/52 on a TPP basis but this still leaves it in an unwinnable position and, as Crowe points out, there is no improvement in the primary vote of 36 (Labor 35). Further, as Andrew Bolt argues, unless the continued division between Turnbull and Abbott is overcome the Coalition is unlikely to restore its polling to a winnable position. Bolt’s solution is for Turnbull to go. Note also that, while ticking the citizen tests, Bolt seeks a more meaningful approach by attacking the groups which portray an incorrect picture of Australia (see attachments).
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.