On the subject of...

Australian Economy

16
Mar
2018

Minimum Wage & S African Unemployment

Among the many important issues which are at present subject to debate in society and the media, there is an inclination to let pass the determination by the Fair Work Commission of the minimum wage. It has received limited attention partly because the body allocated the job of regulating workplace relations has long determined the minimum and even though its analyses have been poor. The FWC has made decisions which have put Australia’s minimum rate at or very close to the highest in the world (over $36,000 pa). But this has not benefited the less skilled because employers cannot afford to pay such a rate for them. Instead of being employed they go on to welfare or crime.
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),
12
Mar
2018

Climate Change Debate on Q&A & in The US

The ABC ‘s Q&A program tonight has a panel discussing global warming and Tim Flannery will be on the panel, but apparently with no skeptics. Below Andrew Bolt suggests some questions that might be posed to Flannery. Also below is a report on a public debate which occurred recently in the US between two experts on climate change with different views. Note in particular the different rate of increase in electricity prices between the US state which has a high usage of renewable and the rest of the US.
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.
12
Feb
2018

Joyce & Public Interest

In my Commentary yesterday I suggested that various aspects of Joyce’s “affair” with staffer Vicki Campion were of public interest and not simply a “private” matter, as Joyce (and some other Coalition Ministers) had suggested. Today’s media has now woken up to the public interest (some journalists apparently knew about the affair some months ago) and have written about it, albeit in mostly soft tones. But Andrew Bolt identifies a number of questions which require answers (see Joyce’s Affair is of Public Interest),
1
Jan
2018

How to Save 20-30 Coalition Seats

As 2018 starts it is pertinent to ask whether we might expect an improved performance by the Turnbull government if it continues during the year. Turnbull himself had an article in Sunday’s Herald Sun and the heading to the article implies he is telling us just that, viz TIME TO FOCUS ON FUTURE (see attached, which I could only obtain digitally by first making a phone call to a technician at Herald Sun HQ as, rather surprisingly, they it did not have it on its web). Turnbull also sent me a message personally yesterday - and others too, presumably! (see My Message From Turnbull & use the right clicks).
24
Dec
2017

Newspoll & Policy Deficiences; Budget Outlook; Melbourne Killer

Following my Commentary of 10 December my computer became unusable for over a week and I missed the opportunity of commenting on the final Newspoll for 2017 on 18 December. Despite inclinations in some media that the Coalition might improve, its TPP remained at 47/53 and, although the “Better PM” indicator lifted Turnbull’s to a poor 41 (from 39), Shorten’s also rose to 34 (from 33). Both leaders’ performances were left at a miserable 32 “Satisfied”. Various events/decisions by the Leaders seem to have cancelled each other out and the swing of 5% against the Liberals in the 16 December Bennelong election can be regarded as “normal” for a by-election . But the deficiencies in Coalition policy stances remained extant and the Coalition needed a much better than normal outcome.
10
Dec
2017

SSex Marriage, Taxation & Terrorism

Once again, Turnbull has shown that he should not be leader of the Liberal Party. His handling of the Coalition’s policy on same sex marriage failed to recognise that the plebiscite produced substantial opposition (38.4%) to legislation allowing marriage between people of the same sex and that a proportion of those who voted Yes would also have wanted any such legislation to include provisions protecting freedom to express opposition to such marriages for religious reasons alone. Other opponents not necessarily based on religion simply wanted “marriage” to remain as a relationship between a man and a woman and that, whether between relationships of the same gender or even between a man and a woman but not formally married, should be expressed as “partnerships” or in similar vein.