On the subject of...

Federal Politics

13
Nov
2016

US Election, Turnbull Govt Down Again, Climate Change, Aboriginal Recognition

Too much has already been said and written about interpreting the victory by Donald Trump and why it was not predicted. But some aspects have been overlooked or given too little attention. This is partly because almost all of the media either predicted or wanted a Hillary victory and many of them do not want now to accept that government regulation of and interference in the lives of individuals and businesses has gone too far. Associated with that has been the failure to accept the possibility that there could be a reversal of that intrusion, and that Trumps’ “swamp” in Washington might be heavily drained. What is involved here is not just a matter of actually stopping or reducing government intrusion: it requires reducing the expectation that governments will or should come to the rescue when there is a marked change in circumstances. The failure to deal with that expectation appears to have particularly affected voting in US manufacturing states where Trump succeeded.
31
Oct
2016

Turnbull Let Loose in Qld, Balancing Act Increase on Environmental Policies

During the first of the two weeks break from Parliament (Yes, it must have had the fewest meeting days for some years!), Turnbull spent some time in Queensland, possibly reflecting the number of marginal seats there and with One Nation seen as posing an increasing threat (although it’s polling percentage for Australia dropped slightly in the latest Newspoll). Of course, PMs are on the job all the time and when there is some spare time they can buy votes.
23
Oct
2016

Abetz and other Speakers at HRNicholls Dinner

On Friday evening I attended the annual dinner of the HR Nicholls Society and gave the vote of thanks to the speaker, Senator Eric Abetz. His address was highlighted by The Weekend Australian giving it the front page lead story (see below) and the SMH also reported it, but not The Age. Abetz, who was dropped by Turnbull from ministerial ranks (he was Minister for Employment under PM Abbott) and from being Coalition leader in the Senate, used the HRN dinner as an opportunity to criticise Turnbull for failing to make reform of workplace relations a major policy issue at the election on 2 July. He pointed out that, with the ammunition provided by two major reports (the Heydon Royal Commission and the Productivity Commission), a policy advocating further reform had been a “gimme” and he noted that “not even the unlegislated ­elements of the 2013 election policy were taken forward such as changes to right of entry, transfer of business and individual flexibility arrangements”.
20
Oct
2016

The ABC, More on South Australian Blackout, Qld renewables, and Paris Agreement.

Yesterday’s The Australian detailed the bias we all know already exists at the ABC: in this instance our reference point is a TV presentation by ABC Four Corners, apparently approved by editorial director Sunderland (and with no reference to the almost invisible “new” CEO Guthrie). This presentation obviously grossly distorted the behaviour of the Nauruan community and the standard of government facilities in Nauru and, hence, its unsuitability to accommodate “refugees” trying to come to Australia. The ABC (and its sister SBS) are well known supporters of the refugee cause.
16
Oct
2016

SA Blackout, Qld Commits to Renewables, Turnbull on Racial Discrimination

It is now more than two weeks since the South Australian blackout on 28 Sept and yet the South Australian government has said nothing about the possible need to change its existing policy of relying on wind power to supply 40 per cent of the energy for electricity. Indeed, in terms of official news releases it took five days before on Oct 4 Premier Weatherill made even a formal acknowledgement of the blackout However, he did then announce an “independent” review led by former Police Commissioner Burns on October 4. My inquiry to the Premier’s office about whether submissions could be made has still not been answered.
11
Oct
2016

Explaining Adoption of Renewables Policy

As expected, various “explanations” of the South Australian blackout and the role played by the use of renewables continue unabated. The most important is the revelation that the Federal Labor Party’s policy on renewables appears to have been framed initially in a pub by a Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN) whose membership included a Wilderness Society campaigner, Felicity Wade. LEAN adopted an international report by Climate Works which had the aim of achieving zero emissions from fossil fuels by 2050 (see Labor’s Pub Policy on Renewables). This involved an internal fight within the Labor party, with the CFMEU opposing its adoption and Shorten describing it only as an “ambition” with the details to be worked out by 1 October 2017. But the SA blackout appears to have forced Federal Labor to formally adopt the 50% renewables target by 2050 now and there have been similar “forced” effects on Labor State Governments’ renewable policies.
11
Oct
2016

New Polling on Political Parties and Use of Renewable Energy, Limits to Use of Windpower

The latest Newspoll confirms Labor’s lead of 52/48 on a TPP basis and shows a slight worsening in Turnbull’s net satisfaction to minus 25 (from minus 23), although he remains “better PM”. This outcome seems to confirm that Turnbull’s meetings and photos with world leaders during the break in Parliament did not impress the electorate. Nor did his photo op in a train with Lucy help.
9
Oct
2016

Energy Security Review 9 Oct 2016

The agreement by Federal and State Energy Ministers to have an independent review to “DEVELOP A NATIONAL ENERGY SECURITY BLUEPRINT” provides for Chief Scientist Finkel to head the review and to have two deputies. It anticipates that the review will be completed by December (see attached communiqué/ press release by federal Environment and Energy Minister Frydenberg).
3
Oct
2016

Turnbull’s New Strategy & New Assessment of Importance of Fossil Fuels

I have previously suggested that Turnbull is developing a strategy of making statements which are apparently compatible with the views of the conservative section of the Coalition parties but do not prevent him penetrating those views at the edge. This seems to have been the case with his strong support of a border controls policy while at the same time announcing a further increase in refugees despite Australia’s already high rate of intake, uncertainty about the checks to those admitted, and extensive public support for banning migrants from countries with substantial Muslim populations.
30
Sep
2016

Turnbull Needs to Go, Growing Threat from Muslim Adherents

Today’s front page of the Australian Financial Review carries the composite photo below of Malcolm Turnbull seated on a couch with Bill Shorten and Nick Xenophon and Pauline Hanson standing at the back. The accompanying (very) glossy magazine purports to present them as four of those in Power in Australia. In its subsequent pages the magazine includes many others, along with, surprisingly, Muslim Waleed Aly. President Obama is added for good measure, possibly because it is the last chance to do so.