/ 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

15
Aug
2017

How are Energy Prices Determined?

My Commentary last Sunday reported that, in a speech to the South Australian Liberal Party, Turnbull said that Labor’s approach to energy was a combination of ideology and politics, compared to the Liberal focus on economics and engineering. No doubt with the South Australian Labor Premier in mind, he classified South Australian policy as “it’s actually ideology and idiocy in equal measure”.
24
Jul
2017

Same Coalition Newspoll, Dutton’s Status Rises, Abbott Speaks Out Again

I suggested in yesterday’s Commentary that Turnbull’s activism over the past couple of weeks was a desperate attempt to help him survive as leader. But while the latest Newspoll has put Turnbull 11 points ahead in the Better PM category (only 8 points ahead last time), there was no change in Newspoll’s TPP (still at 47/53 as it was a fortnight ago). Also, even though the Coalition’s primary vote did improve slightly (from 35 to 36), this is 6 points lower than it was when elected a year ago and still leaves unchanged the problem with the basic policy being pursued by Turnbull. Relevant here too is that Labor’s primary vote also increased to 37 (from 36) (see Newspoll 24 July).
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.
17
Jul
2017

More Support for Reduced/Abolished Restriction on CO2 Emissions

Another development in the debate on climate policy is the publication of an article in the AFR by journalist Aaron Patrick reporting that the executive director of the IPA, John Roskam, told him that “The majority of federal Liberal MPs are not convinced the science behind climate change is settled and support reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases for political reasons”. He said “he hadn't conducted a formal count but found most Liberal politicians shared his doubts about what many experts say is the greatest global threat to mankind” (see AFR Aaron Patrick on Sceptics on Climate Change).
2
Jul
2017

Abbott Advocates Different Policies & More Problems with Turnbull’s Climate Policy

My Commentary last Thursday repeated earlier suggestions that the only way to reverse the Coalition’s 47/53 TPP polling is to replace Turnbull. This has become more possible now that Abbott has continued to advocate the adoption of policies more in line with the stated objectives of the Liberal Party. It is reported in today’s Herald Sun that he will also be talking tomorrow in the Deakin electorate currently held by Michael Sukkar, who is presently an Assistant Treasurer in the Turnbull government (see attached Abbott to Make Another Talk). Significantly, this is a marginal seat and, as it will go to Labor if existing polling is not reversed, Sukkar has doubtless realised the need to present a different Liberal party to his electorate. Separately, the Herald Sun has run an interview with Turnbull in which he said that he would quit politics if he loses being PM.
25
Jun
2017

How Much Longer Can Turnbull Last?

The end of the Parliamentary session (it resumes in 6 weeks) has produced various comments about its performance, including Turnbull’s claim that it showed that the Coalition is governing. He referred in particular the $6bn bank tax, gas export restrictions, the avoidance of Aboriginal Title restrictions on the $21bn Adani coal mine in Queensland, and the much publicised new arrangements for schools. The Weekend Australian observes critically that “the Prime Minister has won this victory only by adopting what even he argues is a purer version of Labor’s Gonski plan and by promising tens of billions of dollars that are yet to be raised and which, on the available evidence, will not necessarily boost education outcomes”.
20
Jun
2017

Does Turnbull Have an Energy Policy?

I referred yesterday to the publication in the AFR of my letter headlined “Emission Target should be Reviewed”. This raised the possibility that Australia might follow the three largest emitters (China, India and the US) by dropping our target of a 26-28% reduction in emissions by 2030. Today I also had the following letter (abbreviated by Ed) published in The Australian
19
Jun
2017

Energy Policy, Turnbull Down 3 Points

The debate over energy policy (which is really about climate policy) looks like continuing apace, with today’s AFR reporting a discussion at tomorrow’s joint Party Room on what it describes as “the energy crisis”. The fact that the Nationals are invited certainly suggests that there is a crisis of sorts (as a separate party, they do not normally participate). Deputy PM Joyce is pictured in the attached digital version practicing with his whip (see Mix of Energies Will Do) and as suggesting that there may be a discussion of a government-owned coal-fired generator. It surely can’t be that such a possibility might be seriously discussed: with an energy policy involving an increase in renewable (under a Finkel 42% by 2030) coal usage would progressively decline and there would be no new investments in coal-fired generators. In such circumstances any government coal-fired generator would lose money and would have to be subsidized. It would not on its own “save” coal.
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).
23
May
2017

Budget Deficiencies Neglected in Media, Trump in Saudi Arabia

In recent Commentaries I have referred to a number of deficiencies in the Budget which have either not been referred to in the main media, including even in The Australian, or have only been given limited attention. Despite this even The Australian has not published four letters I submitted on what I believe are serious analytical deficiencies, and the AFR often couldn’t decide whether to have a letters page. The Age almost automatically refuses to publish anyone deemed to be right of centre.