Today’s Australian has published considerable material on the failure of Labor to clearly enunciate its policies. I have previously drawn particular attention to Labor’s failure to publish aggregates alternative to those in the Coalition’s budget and to costings for the economy of its global warming policy. This defect remains. But the recent emergence of many questions about Labor’s policies on specific policy issues has opened the way for much wider challenges to be made. The opening up of this area should also allow Morrison to reduce his announcements of funding small projects, which appear too much as vote buying, and focus more on attacking Shorten. It has also led The Australian to inter alia run the main letters column today with the heading Uncertainty Surrounds Labor’s Announced Policies. I was fortunate in having my epistle included as “lead letter”
I have no doubt that Terry McCrann does not want to be labelled a spokesman for Donald T. But after his conclusion yesterday that, in the wake of what he described as “the Trump-quake”, Turnbull now has a last chance to pull his socks up, Terry has again pursued one of Trump’s favourite targets viz international institutions. On this occasion it is the International Monetary Fund and the report by its “mission” to Australia to report on the Australian economy and the economic policy being pursued by the Turnbull government.
As expected, various “explanations” of the South Australian blackout and the role played by the use of renewables continue unabated. The most important is the revelation that the Federal Labor Party’s policy on renewables appears to have been framed initially in a pub by a Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN) whose membership included a Wilderness Society campaigner, Felicity Wade. LEAN adopted an international report by Climate Works which had the aim of achieving zero emissions from fossil fuels by 2050 (see Labor’s Pub Policy on Renewables). This involved an internal fight within the Labor party, with the CFMEU opposing its adoption and Shorten describing it only as an “ambition” with the details to be worked out by 1 October 2017. But the SA blackout appears to have forced Federal Labor to formally adopt the 50% renewables target by 2050 now and there have been similar “forced” effects on Labor State Governments’ renewable policies.
With the imminent resumption of Parliament some warming-up is occurring. In The AustralianFinance Minister Cormann is reported as making new claims that the Coalition has already made large budget savings ($221bn over 10 years locked in) and that more could be made with Labor support. It appears Cormann refers to possible savings additional to those proposed by Turnbull to implement a miniscule $6.5 billion in budget savings said to have been agreed by Labor. But why hasn’t the Coalition detailed some possible additional savings?
Since the election on July 2, Turnbull has continued his record of mistaken decisions as to both substance and process, plus a failure to indicate what substantive policies will be pursued other than the legislation already foreshadowed to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission and to make unions more accountable under the registered organisation arrangements. But unless the (recounted) loss of Herbet by 37 votes is successfully challenged and another election held there (which seems too risky a venture), he has a majority of only one in the Reps and a deficit of 16 in the Senate.This means that if the two houses sit together he would need 9 votes from cross benchers (who include no less than 4 from One Nation and 3 from Xenophon) to obtain a majority to pass that legislation, which is a possibility but clearly uncertain. It is of some importance to climate change and extremist terrorist policy that One Nation ended up with 4 Senate seats, including one held by a sceptic (Malcolm Roberts) on global warming who is well versed in the data.