On the subject of...

Global Politics

17
Sep
2017

Will Coalition’s TPP Hold?

Federal Parliament does not sit again until 16 Oct (and then only for one week) and I assume there will be a Newspoll tomorrow. With Turnbull’s inability to decide an energy policy and the National Party Conference rejecting a clean energy target and voting to eliminate subsidies for renewable, the Coalition’s TPP is unlikely to increase. Indeed, with the No votes increasing on same sex marriage (but still above 50%), and No voter former PM Howard highlighting Turnbull’s failure before the vote to (at least) publish proposed protection for those opposing official legislation endorsing SS on an on-going basis , these last two weeks are more likely to have produced a fall in the TPP. That would be “exciting”.
15
Sep
2017

Our Power Bills

Today’s Australian says that the Renewable Energy Target (RET) of 23.5% by 2020 will not be changed as part of what is described as Turnbull’s overhaul of energy policy (see Renewable Energy Target). That target was reduced by Abbott when he was PM and the recent National Party Conference voted to “repudiate the central finding of the Finkel review for a clean energy target and eliminate subsidies for renewable to maximise the difference with Labor over surging power bills”, and hence to reject the Finkel proposed clean energy target of 42% of renewable energy by 2030. However, it appears that the halt to increasing the RET mainly reflects the mounting cost of the subsidies, which ran to a remarkable $2 billion just last year and which may already have reached the point where a continuation of the scheme would exceed the RET target without any new investment. There is a reference in today’s report to the likelihood of allowing more subsidies to those whose projects have not been completed. In other words the taxpayer is handing out money to a badly constructed scheme, not to mention the bad decision to have one at all before properly reviewing the basic need for it.
5
Sep
2017

Federal State Relationships Conference, Aboriginal Policies, NK & Iran, Newspoll Confirms Coalition’s Dire Straits

Since my last Commentary I have attended the Samuel Griffith Conference held in Perth from 25-27 August, where a record attendance of about 250 heardpapers on policies pursued by Federal and State governments and the respective responsibilities assumed by them (and the interpretations of the legal system) on various issues. I also took the opportunity to have a subsequent too-brief holiday with my wife, Felicity, at the highly commended Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort at Shark Bay on the west coast of WA (it operates in a protected area).
7
Aug
2017

Assessing the Polling & Turnbull’s Leadership

My Commentary of 5 August included a section on Coalition Leadership and suggested the basic question that Coalition MPs have to face is whether to continue with Turnbull as leader in the event that Newspoll shows no significant change as Parliament resumes. That in fact is what happened, with the Coalition’s TPP remaining at 47/53 (compared with 50.4 at the July 2016 election) and its Primary Vote remaining at 36 (42.1 at July 2016 election). A glimmer of hope was that Labor’s Primary Vote fell by one percentage point to 36 but this is still equal to the Coalition’s and is higher than its 34.7 at the July 2016 election.
23
Jul
2017

Activism by Turnbull

As I experienced a bout of flu, I have had a “enforced” quiet period for a week (my last Commentary was on Monday 17 July). During that past week, however, it was impossible not to notice Turnbull being unusually active on a number of political fronts attempting to improve the Coalition’s -- and his own-- polling. My conclusion is that any improvement is unlikely: rather the opposite.
13
Jul
2017

Some Puzzles About Energy & Climate Policies AND Turnbull

Today’s Australian reports that, at tomorrow’s meeting with his state counterparts, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg will “press his state and territory counterparts to agree to 49 of the 50 recommendations contained in the blueprint for reform handed down by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel last month, arguing that they will inject ‘stability and security’ into the market”. He will also “demand that Victoria and the Northern Territory lift their bans on onshore gas development. However “the meeting will not consider the proposed Clean Energy Target (CET), which is a priority for some states and many in industry, because of Coalition divisions over the policy” (see Finkel Not on Agenda for Meeting with States).
9
Jul
2017

More Concern Expressed About Turnbull & G20 Meeting Doesn’t Seem Global

My last Commentary (on Thursday) argued that a number of reports/comments in The Australian added to the increased recognition that the policies being pursued by Turnbull are often not consistent with Liberal Party objectives and that “it is difficult to envisage that Turnbull could make a come-back for the Coalition before the election whereas appointing a replacement in the near future would give it a reasonable chance”. I have now written a letter to The Australian with the same theme and pointing out that it is laughable to see the suggestion by some Ministerial colleagues that the cause of Turnbull’s problem is the expressions of concern in the last fortnight by Tony Abbott. My letter says that “the problem is not Abbott but the policies pursued by Turnbull”.
4
Jul
2017

Liberal Party Policies Under Turnbull

I referred in Sunday’s Commentary to the opportunity provided by Abbott’s continued advocacy for government policies to be more in line with stated objectives of the Liberal Party. I suggested that his suggestion to freeze the renewable target at its existing level of 15% (the Turnbull government’s target is 23.5% by 2020) provides just such an opportunity given the extent to which renewable usage has been heavily criticised by climate change experts.
18
Jun
2017

Bolt on Turnbull, Important New Rebutalls of Climate Policy, AFR Off-Track

Next week is the last for Parliament before it takes a month’s break. Turnbull will be trying to divert attention away from “difficult” issues, such as the Finkel Blueprint, Turnbull’s attack on Trump during a speech at the Winter ball, and the publication of a book in which the author claims that Turnbull told him he joined the Liberals only because Labor wouldn’t have him(see attached Bolt on Turnbull & Finkel).
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