In yesterday’s Commentary I argued that, given the latest Newspoll (and for policy reasons too), the Coalition should “change courses” asap. I also sent a letter to OZ (unpublished) advocating the cancellation of Turnbull’s membership of the Liberal Party. My advocacies are based on my perspective that, although risky, the Coalition needs to take risks now if it is to have any chance of winning the election and that an improved set of policies would in any event provide a better starting point in Opposition to a Labor government.
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 polling, not by NewspolI but by Ispos for Fairfax press, must have come as a bit of a surprise to those associates with that media group, as it also has for those supporting the Coalition. Most of the latter have been expecting an improvement in the Morrison government’s polling from the 46/54 TPP result last December but not by three percentage points to a 49/51 TPP. That is close enough to the election result in July 2016 under Turnbull (50.4/49.6) to lead the Fairfax media (and the ABC) to downplay it as much as they can.
In today’s Herald Sun, Andrew Bolt points out that on Tuesday Malcolm Turnbull “gave a ludicrously generous endorsement to Liberal turncoat Julia Banks, the MP now running as an independent against Liberal Health Minister Greg Hunt” and rightly describes this and other actions by Turnbull as “treachery” which however many journalists have failed to so characterize
Today’s first Newspoll for 2019 shows a helpful improvement for the Coalition in its TPP gap from 45/55 in early December to 47/53 but Morrison’s “Satisfactory” rate as PM went down from 42 to 40 and his “Dissatisfaction” rate went up from 45 to 47. By contrast, the “Satisfactory” and “Dissatisfaction” rates for Shorten each improved by a point and left him only 3 rates behind Morrison. In the “Better PM” rate Morrison also dropped a point while Shorten’s rate was unchanged, albeit at 7 points behind Morrison. This Newspoll was taken during the period when three ministers announced they would not stand at the next election
In last Sunday’s Commentary I pointed out that, while in August Dutton challenged Turnbull for the leadership he did not really spell out the reasons for doing so, but Dutton had now covered much more ground than any former Cabinet minister has done since Turnbull’s departure in an article published that day written by a journalist. In particular that the Coalition would have lost 25 seats under Turnbull and that he was all talk and little action
In yesterday’s Commentary I said that, while an early election as suggested by Terry McCrann would risk the Morrison government being portrayed as a “cut and run” attempt at winning and avoiding outstanding issues, it would have the potential to bring the Liberal party closer together and take advantage of various issues on which Morrison seems actually or potentially head of Shorten, including the now near absence of Turnbull as a policy maker. In particular, an election in March would “lock in” the likely favourable budgetary and economic forecasts in the MYEFO publication (next Monday) and prevent any significant change in the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) which is made by Treasury before an election.
Not surprisingly there has been no response to my suggestion in yesterday’s Commentary that Victorian Attorney General Pakula should resign because he falsely told Victorians that the Victorian police had not received information from Federal agencies indicating that Shire Ali was a jihadist. Now, we also know that, for six days, Victorian Premier Andrews “kept to himself the fact that Shire Ali … had actually been out on bail”
There is one thing that emerges from the ABC shenigans, viz it establishes a strong case that there is now no need to have a public broadcaster covering the field, even if there was when it was established. The private sector now has many broadcasters and has ready access to “news” about what is happening overseas and to the views of visiting “experts” from overseas. This extends to the rural sector as well as the urban, although the former does not have as wide an access. There is a marvellous opportunity for the government to review the role of public broadcasting
In yesterday’s editorial The Australian concluded by saying that “at some stage we need a serious debate about what we are doing and why” on energy policy (see OZ Editorial on Energy Policy, 12/9). Also yesterday Morrison answered Shorten’s question in the House about why Turnbull has been sacked by telling him to “get over it”. But he is the one who needs to “get over it” – the “it” being Turnbull, who is reportedly still busy from New York telling colleagues to have Dutton’s eligibility to be a minister tested in the High Court. Morrison had no real option but to reject this proposal.