Some will remember from their youth US singer Dean Martin singing this catchy tune “The bells are ringing for me and my gal. The birds are singing for me and my gal. Ev'rybody's been knowing to a wedding they're going. And for weeks they've been sewing every Suzie and Sal” With Frank Sinatra, Martin rose to the top before dying of emphanezema in the mid 1990s. Perhaps this fall from the top of his profession was the reason this song was the first one to come into my head when I heard of the appalling behaviour by Smith as captain of Australia’s cricket team in allowing the scrabbling of one side of the ball used in a test match. This has significance beyond cricket. It encourages widespread antagonism to other supposed leaders in Australian society and will make life more difficult for future Australian cricket teams, possibly even extending to other sports played internationally. The announced penalty imposed on only three players for only a year by cricket CEO Sutherland is a weak response that must be changed.
Discussion and media coverage about the political situation is focussed mainly on the citizenship issue and its possible implications. It is an important and difficult issue on which to agree on what should be done (or attempted) to ensure that future elections (including the half Senate ones) have candidates who can pass a “no foreigners” test as prescribed by the High Court. The leaders of the two major parties seem to accept that it would be desirable on practical grounds to reach an agreement asap regarding the “audit” for future elections.
As soon as Turnbull arrived back in Australia from his visit to Israel for the BeerSheba, he held a press conference in Perth at which he rejected the idea of having an audit to determine whether MPs have complied with the constitutional requirement of having no foreign ancestry or, if so, of having renounced it before becoming federal MPs. He particularly attacked reports that Frydenberg might be deemed to be of Hungarian ancestry because his mother was born in Hungary but escaped the killing of Jews there and migrated to Australia. Frydenberg is reported as telling the ABC that “I did seek some advice and I am very confident with that advice but also contacted the embassy here and I was very comforted by conversations with them”.
The further fall (down to a 46/54 TPP) in the Coalition’s Newspoll last Monday might have been expected to produce a swathe of comments as to either the possible replacement of Turnbull or possible major changes in Coalition policies. Surprisingly, few did so.
In his budget reply Shorten rightly claimed that the Turnbull government did not present a Labor budget: he said this because his presentation in fact took the Turnbull budget further down the socialist road (see attached Shorten’s Budget Reply). Although no estimates were given of Shorten’s Labor budget, there can be no doubt that it would mean higher spending and taxes. Those taxes would moreover be concentrated on alleged “high” income groups and would extend to emissions of CO2. In a sense, Turnbull provided Shorten with an opportunity to take a step further.
Most of those involved in assessing the public commentaries by Prime Minister Turnbull have spent the week-end trying to work out what might happen now and what Turnbull might say next. His latest “slogan” that “we must live within our means” is of course meaningless unless accompanied by appropriate policies.