On the subject of...

Australian Economy

11
Mar
2019

Should Coalition Change Any Policies?

The latest Newspoll shows that, after three successive results on 47/53 TPPs, the Coalition has now fallen to 46/54. Even though Morrison’s personal approval ratings improved a single point to 43 per cent so too did Shorten’s and, while Morrison’s disapproval numbers fell from 48 per cent to 45 per cent, Shorten’s also fell two points. These ratings gaps have not altered to any significant extent over the last fortnight and, although they still favour Morrison, there is no real sign that the Coalition can close the overall gap on TPPs by the May election
4
Mar
2019

More Ministers Quit; Treasury Officer’s Life

Last Friday’s Commentary suggested that the latest Coalition’s Newspoll of 47/53 for the third successive time indicated that the Morrison government was still in serious trouble. I suggested that the additional policy decisions announced by Morrison on climate policy would be unlikely to help close the gap. These measures included acceptance of the Paris agreement and an expanded use of renewable through the establishment of the very uneconomic Snowy2.0 and the usage of “big batteries”. Energy Minister Taylor also claimed the new measures would cut energy bills while lowering emissions but this failed to take account of the additional costs from using the Snowy or from back-ups needed when other renewable are not available. I noted that it seemed unlikely that the Energy Minister would be able to reduce electricity prices except through the adoption of a regulatory system which legally limited the maximum price able to be charged by retailers.
1
Mar
2019

Coalition Remains in Serious Trouble

Due to a major technical problem which put my computer out of action for two days (possibly caused by a hacker I was advised) I am now in a catch-up position in regard to circumstances where numerous pre-election statements have been floated around by both major sides of politics. It has almost seemed like a new policy per day, which seems unlikely to have attracted votes because of the limited attention by the Coalition to explaining benefits. One commentator even described Morrison as a Muppet and, despite his increased media appearance, it is difficult to see a closing of the polling gap next time.
18
Feb
2019

Ispos Poll Shows Big Improvement in Coaliton Polling

Today’s polling, not by NewspolI but by Ispos for Fairfax press, must have come as a bit of a surprise to those associates with that media group, as it also has for those supporting the Coalition. Most of the latter have been expecting an improvement in the Morrison government’s polling from the 46/54 TPP result last December but not by three percentage points to a 49/51 TPP. That is close enough to the election result in July 2016 under Turnbull (50.4/49.6) to lead the Fairfax media (and the ABC) to downplay it as much as they can.
16
Feb
2019

Minority Govt Problems; Over-rule Qld Labor’s Refusal on Adani Coal Mine

In yesterday’s Commentary I drew attention to Labor’s success in forcing legislation through Parliament which allowed asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island to “doctor” themselves to Australia for treatment without ministerial approval (except for security reasons). I added that “it also remains to be seen how long he can run a minority government where there is an opposition which is able to force legislation right through Parliament and effectively change the Coalition’s policies on other matters too” . I added that “there has already been a (failed) attempt today to establish a Royal Commission on some failure of access to disabilities and there will inevitably be a debate on aspects of the budget set to be presented in early April. That would provide Labor/Greens with opportunities to have amendments to the budget passed through Parliament not by the Coalition but by the Opposition”. Some recipients of Commentary indicated that they did not understand my analysis and in particular my (and others) view that an early election might be called. Today we have an illustration of what I meant.
14
Feb
2019

Border Controls; Early Election Now Likely

On Tuesday I referred to Andrew Bolt’s suggestion on Sky News that the decision by Labor to push legislation through the lower House allowing asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island to “doctor” themselves to Australia for treatment without ministerial approval and, by obtaining court approval, to then “recuperate” here for a indefinite period. With the support of the Greens et al, this legislation has now passed the Senate too but, despite his strong attack on Shorten and accusation that he has broken what had seemed a bipartisan agreement on border control, Morrison has said that he will not call an early election. Even so, Bolt tonight again repeated on Sky News his advocacy of an early election by taking advantage of the policy windfall provided by Labor.
29
Jan
2019

Newspoll Lift Helpful But Coalition Has a Long Way to Go

Today’s first Newspoll for 2019 shows a helpful improvement for the Coalition in its TPP gap from 45/55 in early December to 47/53 but Morrison’s “Satisfactory” rate as PM went down from 42 to 40 and his “Dissatisfaction” rate went up from 45 to 47. By contrast, the “Satisfactory” and “Dissatisfaction” rates for Shorten each improved by a point and left him only 3 rates behind Morrison. In the “Better PM” rate Morrison also dropped a point while Shorten’s rate was unchanged, albeit at 7 points behind Morrison. This Newspoll was taken during the period when three ministers announced they would not stand at the next election
27
Jan
2019

Morrison Falls Short of Coherent Leadership; Victorian Coalition Likewise.

My previous Commentary have argued that, as a Coalition leader facing an election, Scott Morrison needs to get cracking on enunciating policies asap in the New Year. But although active since early January, he seems to have focussed on matters which are mostly “organisational” and would have limited appeal to the electorate in general. Indeed, his poor handling of some of these matters might even have attracted negative comment or a sort of “well what was that all about”.
20
Jan
2019

Morrison’s Objectives Not Clear; Sea Levels; O’Dwyer Resignation

In my Commentary for 17 January I noted that “there is no sign yet of a more comprehensive presentation of Coalition policies even though Turnbull has gone”. Recent developments have now raised the question of what Morrison is actually seeking to achieve as leader of the Coalition. For example, his three day visit to Vanuatu and Fiji, accompanied by his wife, and the announcement of financial provisions for extensive infrastructure and other aid have made it appear an important initiative for Australia