On the subject of...

Federal Politics

29
Nov
2015

Turnbull, 7.30 Interview and Related Developments

On Tuesday I circulated a strong critique of Turnbull’s National Security statement. This is on my Institute for Private Enterprise web site. By contrast, almost all commentators praised it, although in both Wednesday’s and yesterday’s The Australian political editor Dennis Shanahan expressed some reservations, including in regard to Turnbull’s dismissal of the idea of attacking ISIL by sending troops –or, as it is commonly called, “putting troops on the ground”. Shanahan also suggested that having “a prime minister use a security address to parliament as an instrument to respond to a backbencher — albeit one who was prime minister only two months ago — devalues his own message and simultaneously emboldens and enrages Abbott” (see “Turnbull v Abbott –Shanahan” and “Interpretation of Turnbull’s Security Statement”).
22
Nov
2015

Some Things are Ruled Out, Some Not

We have now experienced two meetings/summits of world leaders following the Paris terrorist attacks last Friday, one by the G20 in Turkey and one in Manila by those involved in the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (still to be approved by the US Congress). Although there was a general recognition at both meetings that the Islamic State constituted a powerful force and agreement that “something needs to be done” to combat it, no specific combined response was agreed, except that whatever else might be done boots on the ground are ruled out.
15
Nov
2015

Islamic Problem – Some Implications from French Attack

French Premier Hollande has responded to the killings and/or serious wounding of seemingly over 200 people in Paris (perhaps 450 killed or wounded in total) by declaring war on IS and closing French borders (presumably to migrants from other European countries). Just what this means in practice remains to be seen: with about 6mn Muslims in France the government seems unlikely to change its “philosophy” that terrorism does not have religious motives and that what “we” are dealing with are extremists operating contrary to the Islamic religion. IS is said to be doing that.
22
Sep
2015

Coalition TPP Up under Turnbull. Turnbill on 7.30. Environment Threats as Paris Nears. A Greek Victory?

The Coalition’s Newspoll increase from a TPP of 46/54 to 51/49 is encouraging, particularly for Turnbull supporters, although it suggests a “wait and see” picture rather than the establishment of a conclusive electoral position. More encouraging is Turnbull’s improvement in the Better PM verdict from a minus 4% net under Abbott to a plus 34% net. Even here however there is a wait and see element in the 24% who remain “uncommitted”. Roy Morgan’s index of consumer confidence also jumped but only to fractionally above the long term average.
22
Sep
2015

Some Implications of Changing Leaders

Many who support the Coalition but have serious doubts about Turnbull becoming PM have nonetheless accepted his appointment because they believe he should defeat Labor at the next election whereas the belief was that Abbott had reached the point where he could not. On the surface that certainly appears to be the case, although the latest opinion poll of an improved 51/49 TPP taken after Turnbull’s appointment still suggests a close call if an early election (which some suggest) were to be held. Similarly, the Liberal win in the Canning by-election with a swing of “only” 6-7% to Labor does not suggest a Turnbull “bounce” (a 5% swing against the party holding the seat is “normal” in a by-election).
17
Sep
2015

More Questions About Turnbull

It remains difficult to reach any firm conclusion about the implications of Turnbull’s acquisition of the Prime Ministership. As expected, the first opinion poll shows Turnbull as a Better PM than Shorten (62/38 %) - compared with the 42/58% under Abbott - and a lift in the TPP to 50/50 from 46/54 in the last Newspoll. But one might have expected an initial more favourable outcome for Turnbull.
16
Sep
2015

Turnbull as PM?

My Commentary distributed yesterday containing a section on Turnbull as PM has attracted interest and serious questioning about why the Liberal Party chose Turnbull to replace Abbott. One contact has drawn my attention to a document tracing the associations Turnbull has had with the Labor Party and the numerous criticisms he has made of Liberal Party policies and leaders up to August 2010. This document provides back-up links which have been checked and it gives rise to serious concern for those who believe in liberal policies and philosophy.
13
Sep
2015

Refugees Surge Raises Serious Problems

The difficulties being experienced by refugees from Syria, Iraq and other Middle East countries in reaching Germany are not stopping the increasing attempts by individuals to take advantage of the free inflow which that country is allowing. Some are portraying Merkel as a saviour and there is pressure on other western countries to accept increased numbers.
10
Sep
2015

Employment Grows Faster than Budget Forecast

The August ABS Labour Force figures show an encouraging growth of 2.0% s.adj in employment over the past twelve months. This is faster than the 2015-16 budget forecast (1.5%) and than the growth in the working age population of 1.5%. This means that there has been a significant increase (2.2%) in the participation rate ie the proportion of the working age population which is employed or actively looking for work.
9
Sep
2015

Policies on Refugees & Islamic Extremism

There has been universal agreement that the large numbers now fleeing from Syria, Iraq, Libya and other Middle East/African countries should either be accepted as refugees or provided with assistance in some form. Unfortunately, there is no public recognition that the primary cause of the refugee surge is the ongoing murder and destruction occurring under the terrorist activity of IS, al-Qaeda and other extremist Islamic groups. This includes the Assad regime, which is being helped by the Russians and the Iranians.