On the subject of...

Federal Politics

23
Apr
2018

Coalition Still Behind

The slight improvement in the Coalition’s TPP (from 48/52 to 49/51) is scarcely something to write home about and did not reflect a “bounce”, as The Australian headlined it. The improvement might have been helped by Turnbull’s announcement of Commonwealth contributions to a railway to Melbourne’s airport and to two Queensland projects (see Newspoll 23 April). But it is not good tidings that Turnbull continues to fail to attract majority polling when his “jobs and growth” policy is consistent with what is actually happening in the economy, although not necessarily causing it.
20
Apr
2018

Energy Policy& China & Israel

Last night my wife and I attended an AIIA function to hear Rowan Callick speak about China under Xi. His analysis was truly alarming (see Callick on China). It seems that China is now run by the Communist Party even more than it was under Mao. I asked C what influence the military has on policy. He said that the previous military heads had been sacked and were replaced by those who were educated in the Communist line and this applies more or less across the board, including in the media. Just about every important organisation has been “communised”. At universities there are watchers who report on any dissidents and, at a recent discussion attended by students, seven cameras had been installed.
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.
12
Apr
2018

Energy Policy

Energy Minister Frydenberg has written an extraordinary article in today’s The Australian (see attached Frydenberg on NEG). It is not practicable to detail here all the problems it reveals with the energy policy apparently adopted by the Turnbull government. But it is based on the National Energy Guarantee scheme already announced by Turnbull and developed by the Energy Security Board (ESB) established by him. Frydenberg claims this is an independent body but its members are so-called “experts” who have unqualified acceptance of the dangerous global warming thesis and who were selected by Turnbull for that reason.
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).
6
Apr
2018

Energy Policy under Turnbull & US Role in Syria

My Commentary on Sunday April 1 covered many issues but, from a domestic political viewpoint, the most important was Energy Policy. Attached to that Commentary was my draft letter to The Australian about the Turnbull government’s National Energy Guarantee (NEG) that appeared to be the central component but which had not yet been explained to the electorate despite details having been promised some months ago. The draft letter also referred to the recent analysis published by three expert US climate scientists which, if accepted, would mean the abandonment of NEG.
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.
25
Mar
2018

So Many Questions Unanswered

Weekend Australian ran an article by former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, Karl Rove, in which, contrary to his usual practice with articles written for the Wall St Journal, he states no outright opinions and suggests no answers because it was “an especially chaotic and jam-packed week” (see attached Rove Asks What is Happening in the US). I have much the same feeling about developments in Australia as well as in the US, both of which leave some important questions outstanding.
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