Tag

G20

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.
11
Jul
2017

Energy & Climate Policy AND Turnbull

Yesterday Environment Minister Frydenberg had a lead article published in The Australian in which he argued that “in order to create a more affordable and stable energy system, the states need to lift their game — business as usual is not an option” (see Frydenberg on States Energy Policies). I submitted a letter arguing that “the same comment might be made about the Commonwealth’s policy game”, but it was not published.
9
Jul
2017

More Concern Expressed About Turnbull & G20 Meeting Doesn’t Seem Global

My last Commentary (on Thursday) argued that a number of reports/comments in The Australian added to the increased recognition that the policies being pursued by Turnbull are often not consistent with Liberal Party objectives and that “it is difficult to envisage that Turnbull could make a come-back for the Coalition before the election whereas appointing a replacement in the near future would give it a reasonable chance”. I have now written a letter to The Australian with the same theme and pointing out that it is laughable to see the suggestion by some Ministerial colleagues that the cause of Turnbull’s problem is the expressions of concern in the last fortnight by Tony Abbott. My letter says that “the problem is not Abbott but the policies pursued by Turnbull”.
11
Sep
2016

Turnbull’s First Year

As the end of the first year of Turnbull’s Prime Ministerialism draws nigh, assessments of his performance are appearing in the media from various quarters. The Weekend Australian’s lead article reports former Treasurer Peter Costello as not directly criticising Turnbull but as calling on the Liberal Party to “explain better its agenda, motivations and priorities” and to “smash the high-tax cheer squad”. The AFR has even published a survey of the views of 50 people regarding his achievements and, in the range from A to F, has awarded him only a D+ (see attached Results Turnbull’s AFR Survey). In fact, almost all commentators in the media (including journalists themselves) have reservations about Turnbull’s contribution to the political debate and to where Australia is or should be heading. While they tend to focus on how he has been performing recently against Shorten or on specific issues, rather than the longer term and broader perspective, this suggests that there may not be a ready recovery of Turnbull’s personal polling in the current session of Parliament. This despite Shorten’s poor handling of the contradiction of Labor’s foreign policy in statements made by Shadow Minister Senator Dastyari.
7
Sep
2016

G20 a Success ? Clinton Behind in Latest Poll

Can there be any question that the G20 meeting in China was not “a success”? The length of the communiqué (7000 words!) and the policies approved might seem to establish it was (see G20 Communiqué). Indeed, it is difficult to find anything missing from the endorsed policies. But one wonders how the discussion of them by 20 leaders could possibly have been covered in the two days and whether any of those endorsed policies will replace those currently being implemented at home. All the more so given that there were numerous important bilaterals on the sidelines.
6
Sep
2016

Turnbull & G20, Iran Threat, Andrews Poll Down; Obama’s Dr on Hilary

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.
2
Mar
2016

Economic Outlook

At a time when in January the IMF revised down its global GDP forecast for 2016 from 3.6% to 3.4%, and also forecast a fall of 9.5% in non-oil commodity prices (after a fall of 17.4% last year), Treasurer Scott Morrison is justified in repeating his boast that today’s December quarter GDP increase of 0.6% (seasonally adjusted) shows Australia is continuing to grow well above the average in the OECD. In fact, the trend in GDP growth has edged up slightly since 2013.
3
Dec
2015

Islamism Problem Recognised – CC Target Puzzle

Today’s news suggests that the US has made an important change in the handling of the Syrian/Iraq war. The US Defense Secretary, Ash Carter, is reported as stating that the US will “deploy a specialized expeditionary targeting force to Iraq to launch unilateral raids” and "put even more pressure" on ISIS. U.S. special operation forces will conduct operations in Iraq "at the invitation of the Iraqi government" and be in position "to conduct unilateral operations into Syria," Carter said. "We're at war. We're using the might of the finest fighting force the world has ever known," Carter told the House Armed Services Committee. "Tens of thousands of U.S. personnel are operating in the broader Middle East region, and more are on the way. " (see the attached “US Policy Change on Syria/Iraq?”).
22
Nov
2015

Some Things are Ruled Out, Some Not

We have now experienced two meetings/summits of world leaders following the Paris terrorist attacks last Friday, one by the G20 in Turkey and one in Manila by those involved in the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (still to be approved by the US Congress). Although there was a general recognition at both meetings that the Islamic State constituted a powerful force and agreement that “something needs to be done” to combat it, no specific combined response was agreed, except that whatever else might be done boots on the ground are ruled out.