In my Commentary on Tuesday I suggested that Turnbull’s announcement at the WA Liberal Party’s conference held last weekend that each State would now be guaranteed a minimum share of GST revenue was, once again, lacking in any serious analysis or any checking first even with senior ministers, let alone other states. It has subsequently emerged that the new arrangements, the calculation of which has not been stated, are first to be discussed with other states and that it is unclear when they might start (although WA Premier Barnett who has an election next March says he thought it would be this calendar year). The Australian also published an analysis on the assumption that the minimum share would likely be 75% and that WA (now receiving only 30%) might not receive any future benefit from any such arrangement. My letter to the Australian on the issue was published yesterday with four others (see GST Shares).
The latest Newspoll showing a negative TTP of 49/51 for the Coalition (see below) has sent the Turnbull government, and the Liberal Party itself, a clear message to fix the role being played by the current leadership. The poll includes a section indicating only 19% favoured allowing the States to impose an income tax. This does not necessarily rule out such a development in the future. But it confirms that the handling of the issue by Turnbull has been so bad that, as suggested in yesterday’s Commentary, it requires a major change in the role being played by him as PM.
Today’s Newspoll shows the two major parties are now on the same TPP (down from a steady 53/47 for the Coalition). Although Turnbull remains clearly preferred as PM, his indecisiveness over whether to raise the GST/cut income tax and his failure to produce any new substantive economic policy has contributed to the downturn. Turnbull’s general approach of not ruling any policy in or out –and then not deciding on anything – has not helped and his net satisfaction rating is down to 10 compared with 38 in mid-November. As Rowan Dean put it in Saturday’s AFR, “Turnbull: The Force Awakens has lost business to Deadbill”.
It is not often that one accepts most assertions and back up used by 7.30’s Leigh Sales when interviewing a minister from the Coalition Government. But her interview of Scott Morrison after he gave a 9 page address to the National Press Club (text attached with 5 pages of Q&A) go to the heart of the problem with the performance of the government led by Turnbull since he became PM. The text of her interview with SM is set out below and attached are comments on the address by her, another ABC interviewer and Shadow Treasurer Bowen. Following are the main points arising from SM’s presentation and his interview with Sales.
The CEO of CSIRO, Dr Larry Marshall, who was appointed in Jan 2015, has set the cat amongst the pigeons, including some international ones, by declaring that the organisation will cease to examine the causes of climate change and concentrate instead on how to mitigate the effects of it (see “CSIRO Head Abandons Research on Climate Change”). The clear implication is that he regards the science as settled. But although a physicist, Marshall appears to have had no experience in analysing climate change. His CV indicates that he is an “innovator” - and an exaggerator who claims (unbelievably) Australia has been responsible for “more than 100 great inventions”
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.