/ The Institute for Private Enterprise is a think-tank promoting increased private enterprise and smaller governments except for defence to protect society.
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AFR

17
Apr
2019

Election Campaign Still Not Informing Voters

I start by mentioning that my daughter, Lisa, is re-visiting us in Australia after performing in America (where she presently lives) to give piano recitals here. She has recently played on several occasions in New York and has had excellent reviews in the NY Times. Her first recital here on this occasion is at the Melbourne Recital Centre next Wednesday at 6pm (the program is here and tickets are available – phone 9699 3333). Yesterday’s electioneering has started across scattered issues, with both sides seemingly stuck on announcing every day small amounts of new money for initiatives regarding which the great majority know little about (other of course than to “buy votes”). The Coalition needs to focus more on the economic picture which, Morrison says, is what the Coalition is all about. Rather surprisingly, Shorten has attracted media criticism while Morrison has come off largely scot free. Of particular interest was that the leftish Australian Financial Review drew considerable attention to Shorten’s problems. It is encouraging that this section of the media has (almost) given a bipartisan view/comment.
14
Apr
2019

Coalition Election Campaign Starts Poorly

The campaign for the election on 18 May started officially on11 April although statements of policy had been made prior to that, as had media assessments. Two prominent conservative commentators had in fact already indicated their view that Labor will win. Terry McCrann wrote on 11 Apr “One thing is absolutely crystal clear about the election. If Labor wins — as to me, seems certain — it will hit the ground running, straight after the election, in June”. He added that “it has a program to dramatically increase taxes on negative gearing, franking credits, capital gains and trusts; it will not cut the company tax on big companies from 30 per cent, which is now very uncompetitive, with the US down to 21 per cent, and will revisit the cut on medium-sized companies; it will also further squeeze especially small and medium-sized businesses with the so-called “living wage”; and then there’s the whole issue of power prices, which will just continue to increase and increase at an accelerating rate under Labor’s so-called climate change policy”
12
Mar
2019

Coalition Must Take Now Risks with Policies & leaders

In yesterday’s Commentary I argued that, given the latest Newspoll (and for policy reasons too), the Coalition should “change courses” asap. I also sent a letter to OZ (unpublished) advocating the cancellation of Turnbull’s membership of the Liberal Party. My advocacies are based on my perspective that, although risky, the Coalition needs to take risks now if it is to have any chance of winning the election and that an improved set of policies would in any event provide a better starting point in Opposition to a Labor government.
4
Mar
2019

More Ministers Quit; Treasury Officer’s Life

Last Friday’s Commentary suggested that the latest Coalition’s Newspoll of 47/53 for the third successive time indicated that the Morrison government was still in serious trouble. I suggested that the additional policy decisions announced by Morrison on climate policy would be unlikely to help close the gap. These measures included acceptance of the Paris agreement and an expanded use of renewable through the establishment of the very uneconomic Snowy2.0 and the usage of “big batteries”. Energy Minister Taylor also claimed the new measures would cut energy bills while lowering emissions but this failed to take account of the additional costs from using the Snowy or from back-ups needed when other renewable are not available. I noted that it seemed unlikely that the Energy Minister would be able to reduce electricity prices except through the adoption of a regulatory system which legally limited the maximum price able to be charged by retailers.
18
Feb
2019

Ispos Poll Shows Big Improvement in Coaliton Polling

Today’s polling, not by NewspolI but by Ispos for Fairfax press, must have come as a bit of a surprise to those associates with that media group, as it also has for those supporting the Coalition. Most of the latter have been expecting an improvement in the Morrison government’s polling from the 46/54 TPP result last December but not by three percentage points to a 49/51 TPP. That is close enough to the election result in July 2016 under Turnbull (50.4/49.6) to lead the Fairfax media (and the ABC) to downplay it as much as they can.
31
Jan
2019

Can Electricity Prices be Reduced?

The improvement in the Coalition’s Newspoll on 29 January (still down at 47/53 TPP) has almost been forgotten and questions continue as to whether Morrison is able to address the “two big things” (quit Paris accord and slash immigration) needed to give the Coalition a chance. The need for quitting the Paris accord has been enhanced by what has happened under heat waves in Victoria, South Australia and now NSW.
12
Jan
2019

US Defence & Immigration Policies; US/China Trade; OZ Energy Policy

Trump’s sudden announcement that the US intends to “immediately withdraw” troops from Syria (and much reduced troops for Afghanistan) has caused much confusion as to US defence policy and, following the resignation of Mattis as Defence Secretary, Trump has found it difficult to get a replacement. While consistent with his election manifesto, Trump appears to have recognised that he was being too hasty and it appears he has accepted the view of National Security adviser, John Bolton, that the withdrawal be extended over a longer period and that it should first involve the elimination of IS (which Trump initially claimed had been achieved). Even so, policy uncertainty remains.
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.
9
Jul
2018

Polling and Electricity Prices

Today we have been “flooded” by opinion polls which, while not showing any overall deterioration in the Turnbull Coalition’s polling, confirm its continued inability to effect any significant improvement in that polling. The state by state Newspoll for the February-March quarter also suggests there is a continued problem in Queensland, where the One Nation vote is much higher than in other states and has increased significantly since the 2016 election result (from 5.5 to 13 percent in the February- March quarter).
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