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.
Today’s media contains reports which are of serious concern in regard to the capacity of governments and political leaders to operate or propound policies which are in the interests of communities considered as an entity rather than of particular groups. These are briefly described below and, except for two, the attachments.
My Commentary on Tuesday 27 June noted that, in an address to an IPA function that day, Tony Abbott postulated that “the next election won’t be won by drawing closer to Labor. The next election can only be won by drawing up new battlelines that give our people something to fight for; and the public something to hope for”. I said that his main themes relate to Energy Policy (a freeze on the renewable target at the existing 15% and the construction of a “big” coal-fired power station); a referendum to change the Senate; a slow-down in Immigration; a repair of the Budget through getting spending under control; and tougher measures on terrorism, incl the banning of Hizb ut-Tahri. The text of the speech and a summary of his election agenda are in the attached Abbott’s Plan for Next Election.
Yesterday’s Commentary suggested that “the Coalition is in dire straits and will almost certainly experience a further drop in the next Newspoll”. Today’s media appears to confirm that.
While Turnbull himself could not be blamed for the absence of three ministers and other Coalition MPs at the end of Thursday’s Reps session, he must have failed to emphasise to the whips and others the importance of attending the first session after an election result which he had publicised as providing a majority. The absence of 10 Coalition MPs allowed Labor (which had obviously planned to take advantage of any absences) to indicate that this is another example of Turnbull of mis-management. And this theme has been taken up in the media too, including one suggestion that Turnbull lacks a “wingman” to support him in Parliament. Perhaps the failure to sack the Chief Whip, Pyne, illustrates the problem.