On the subject of...

Global Politics

20
Nov
2018

Immigration Policy; Turnbull Rampant; Terrorist Identification Rules

In last Thursday’s Commentary I drew attention to an article in The Australian by John Stone suggesting that immigration isthe most obvious example of Morrison’s present policy deficiencies and arguing that the permanent settler program should be cut by 60,000. Stone added that if Morrison was “prepared to say that Australia will continue to be non-discriminatory on racial or ethnic grounds, but will henceforth reject all permanen­t visa applicants judged to be culturally incompatible with our Australian way of life, he would enormously enhance his electoral prospects next year”.
8
Nov
2018

Trump Succeeds in US Elections

For Republicans the US mid-term elections provide a forecast increase in Senate seats to 52/48 (from 51/49) and a forecast reduction in House seats to 197/235 (from 241/194). All 435 seats in House were up for election but only 35 of the 100 Senate seats were. If the forecast loss by Republicans of 44 seats occurs in the House, that would be the smallest mid-term loss under a post war President except for Reagan’s loss of only 26 seats in 1982 ie a mid-term loss of House seats is “normal”.
6
Nov
2018

Morrison Active But No Major Policy Statements

My last Commentary (4 November) was headed “How Much Longer Can Morrison Last” and suggested that he must quickly address major policy issues and stop announcing handouts mainly designed to demonstrate that he is an “active” PM. But his decision to establish a electoral promotion bus to travel around parts of Queensland has so far not produced major policy statements. Of some interest is that senior Queensland Liberal Steve Ciobo (who voted for Dutton in the leadership spill) “refused to say yesterday whether the leadership switch to Mr Morrison would help improve the government’s stocks in the state”: ‘I don’t think it serves anyone’s purpose and I also don’t think, frankly, that Queenslanders or indeed Australians more generally, care about what’s happened,’ Mr Ciobo told Sky News (see Morrison Qld Bus Tour).
4
Nov
2018

Morrison’s Leadership Still Astray

In my Commentary on 29 October I suggested that last Monday’s Newspoll of a 46/54 TPP, and the negative personal “Satisfaction” rate for Morrison himself, required him to quickly change his current strategy or face the question as to whether he should continue to be leader. I noted that, while Abbott was not currently presenting himself as an alternative PM, he is participating actively in the general political debate and previous PM candidate Dutton is also active as Home Affairs Minister. But on last Monday’s Newspoll Dutton and other Coalition MPs would likely lose their seats and he and other Coalition members ought to be pressing Morrison to address major policy issues and stop announcing fewer handouts designed to demonstrate that he is an “active” PM.
14
Oct
2018

IPCC Report

My Commentary on Friday 12 October examined the IPCC report and, inter alia, drew attention to the fact that “there have been two periods since the early 20th century when temperatures have been relatively stable despite CO2 concentration levels having increased strongly. This suggests little or no correlation between the two ie prima facie, this means that even though human activity does contribute to CO2 concentrations, they could be having only a minor effect on total temperatures”. I also pointed out that, as only a relatively small proportion of CO2 concentrations appear to stay in the atmosphere, this suggests that other factors are likely to be more causitative contributors to temperature increases. By contrast, the IPCC analysis implies that temperature increases are all due to increases in CO2 concentrations and that this conclusion is science-based.
30
Sep
2018

ABC, Energy Policy, Trump at UN

There is one thing that emerges from the ABC shenigans, viz it establishes a strong case that there is now no need to have a public broadcaster covering the field, even if there was when it was established. The private sector now has many broadcasters and has ready access to “news” about what is happening overseas and to the views of visiting “experts” from overseas. This extends to the rural sector as well as the urban, although the former does not have as wide an access. There is a marvellous opportunity for the government to review the role of public broadcasting
27
Jul
2018

Questioning Continues Regarding Effects on Pricing under NEG

Today’s Australian reports that the views of three groups in the Senate appear to depend on whether and/or by how much the supposed final version of NEG will reduce costs. Pauline Hanson says she is “strongly against” the NEG and wants to pull out of the Paris accord requiring reduced carbon emissions as coal-fired power stations would deliver cheaper power. Senator Leyonhjelm, the Liberal Democrat, said he wanted to see evidence the NEG would dramatically lower power prices before he would back the deal: “they need to fall by at least 50 per cent to restore competitiveness and take pressure off households”. The Centre Alliance’s Rex Patrick said he and Senate colleague Stirling Griff backed the NEG’s goals but their vote would depend on how much the policy brought down power bills: “we would expect on the pricing side for there to be a clear indication of what the savings will be, and that the modelling that generates those savings is released publicly, including all assumptions that were made,” Senator Patrick said (see Some Senate Opposition to NEG).
16
Jul
2018

Frydenberg Gets Help with NEG O’Seas

Today’s AFR reports it had an exclusive interview with the executive director of the International Energy Agency, Faith Birol, about the Turnbull/Frydenberg NEG policy (I have highlighted the major points made). This appears to follow Frydenberg’s private meeting with Birol purporting to explain NEG and a speech to diplomats and energy policy makers at IEA’s Paris HQ. He also claims to have briefed “key” Trump officials and chairs of US energy committees in Washington.
22
Jun
2018

Turnbull’s Questionable Energy Policy

The debate on energy policy between the Coalition and Labor has seen both up to now adopting the same policy of reducing emissions of CO2 but with Labor supporting a much larger reduction. But we now we see an open split within the Coalition, with Abbott warning that a number may cross the floor and vote against the National Energy Guarantee (NEG). In Abbott on NEG he argues that the Turnbull government has conducted a “fundamental failure of process” that has been “stifling the proper debate that we should be able to have inside our party room”. He argues that the government has spent an “enormous amount of time” negotiating with the crossbench, but warned the backbench was being ignored. “I reckon the government needs to spend a bit more time talking to the backbench. “Yes, the crossbench in the Senate is important. Don’t forget the backbench, because you are only in government because you’ve got a backbench that’s prepared to support your legislation”.