Tag

Labor Party

12
Dec
2016

Bolt on Turnbull Dec 12 2016

In what is his last article for 2016 (see below), Andrew Bolt has made yet another important contribution to the culture wars in outlining why Turnbull “cannot lead the Liberals to victory”. This article is obviously based in part on being briefed by a minister on the Cabinet discussions on the terms of reference for the climate change policy review. The briefing revealed that in Cabinet Turnbull had supported the review covering a scheme which would operate to reduce emissions by some form of trading scheme, and which would involve the government setting a price on carbon, but which would not be specified in the terms of reference.
28
Nov
2016

Abbott’s Challenge on Policies & Trump’s Climate Change Policy

This morning I sent out a Commentary which referred to a Weekend Australian article in which Paul Kelly argued that recent policy announcements suggest there has been “a repositioning of Turnbull”. I suggested he may have realised that “something has to be done” to reverse Labor’s favourable polling and to minimise the risk of a challenge to his leadership by Abbott during the Christmas-New Year period. Shortly after the distribution of that Commentary a report appeared in The Australian on remarks made by Abbott, apparently in an interview on Sky News, suggesting he was seeking a recall to Cabinet and outlining issues on which the Coalition should focus in the period ahead (see attached Abbott is Repositioning Too).
27
Nov
2016

Winding Down the 2016 Year

We are used to politicians changing their policy positions but, when they do, a question inevitably arises as to whether to accept the latest version as a genuine change. This is particularly relevant to policy positions announced by Turnbull given his well-known history of critiques of Liberal Party policies. So, how to assess what The Weekend Australian’s Paul Kelly describes as “a repositioning of Turnbull” and a preparedness all of a sudden to assault Shorten on character grounds (see Paul Kelly on Turnbull 26-27 Nov 2016)? In fact, not all the change-rationales are canvassed in Kelly’s piece – for example, Turnbull may have at last realised that “something has to be done” to reverse Labor’s favourable polling and to minimise the risk of a challenge to his leadership by Abbott during the Christmas-New Year period.
23
Oct
2016

Abetz and other Speakers at HRNicholls Dinner

On Friday evening I attended the annual dinner of the HR Nicholls Society and gave the vote of thanks to the speaker, Senator Eric Abetz. His address was highlighted by The Weekend Australian giving it the front page lead story (see below) and the SMH also reported it, but not The Age. Abetz, who was dropped by Turnbull from ministerial ranks (he was Minister for Employment under PM Abbott) and from being Coalition leader in the Senate, used the HRN dinner as an opportunity to criticise Turnbull for failing to make reform of workplace relations a major policy issue at the election on 2 July. He pointed out that, with the ammunition provided by two major reports (the Heydon Royal Commission and the Productivity Commission), a policy advocating further reform had been a “gimme” and he noted that “not even the unlegislated ­elements of the 2013 election policy were taken forward such as changes to right of entry, transfer of business and individual flexibility arrangements”.
11
Oct
2016

Explaining Adoption of Renewables Policy

As expected, various “explanations” of the South Australian blackout and the role played by the use of renewables continue unabated. The most important is the revelation that the Federal Labor Party’s policy on renewables appears to have been framed initially in a pub by a Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN) whose membership included a Wilderness Society campaigner, Felicity Wade. LEAN adopted an international report by Climate Works which had the aim of achieving zero emissions from fossil fuels by 2050 (see Labor’s Pub Policy on Renewables). This involved an internal fight within the Labor party, with the CFMEU opposing its adoption and Shorten describing it only as an “ambition” with the details to be worked out by 1 October 2017. But the SA blackout appears to have forced Federal Labor to formally adopt the 50% renewables target by 2050 now and there have been similar “forced” effects on Labor State Governments’ renewable policies.
11
Oct
2016

New Polling on Political Parties and Use of Renewable Energy, Limits to Use of Windpower

The latest Newspoll confirms Labor’s lead of 52/48 on a TPP basis and shows a slight worsening in Turnbull’s net satisfaction to minus 25 (from minus 23), although he remains “better PM”. This outcome seems to confirm that Turnbull’s meetings and photos with world leaders during the break in Parliament did not impress the electorate. Nor did his photo op in a train with Lucy help.
3
Oct
2016

Turnbull’s New Strategy & New Assessment of Importance of Fossil Fuels

I have previously suggested that Turnbull is developing a strategy of making statements which are apparently compatible with the views of the conservative section of the Coalition parties but do not prevent him penetrating those views at the edge. This seems to have been the case with his strong support of a border controls policy while at the same time announcing a further increase in refugees despite Australia’s already high rate of intake, uncertainty about the checks to those admitted, and extensive public support for banning migrants from countries with substantial Muslim populations.
27
Sep
2016

Ken Henry on Budget Problem, Aleppo Highlights US Failures Under Obama, Ban Muslim Migrants?

The Weekend Australian ran as the lead report an interview by Paul Kelly with former Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry, who is now Chairman of the National Bank. Henry said that more needs to be done to reduce the budget deficit instead of talking about it (see Ken Henry on Budget Deficit). This provided an opportunity to point out that the “times have changed” since Henry was the TS and advised Rudd to go for broke: indeed the advice to Rudd was, at best, highly questionable if not wrong (see my letter below). The Australian is to be congratulated for continuing its helpful advocacy today partly through publishing a swag of supporting letters and partly by having its Canberra Bureau Chief, Phillip Hudson, pen a separate article (see Everyone to blame for our budget spiral of hopelessness). Hudson points out that one of the problems is that “ Neither Labor or the Coalition, on their current trajectory, ­promise a surplus before the next election. Morrison hopes for one in 2020-21. Labor went to the last election with a plan that would leave the budget $16bn worse off over the next four years before making everything tickety-boo within a decade. These scenarios are based on Australia continuing on its growth path of the past 25 years. What happens if something goes wrong?”
18
Sep
2016

Budget (?) “Wins”, Immigration Policy

Although we had a long election campaign during which Parliament was not sitting, it now has another “break” until 10 October during which Turnbull and two other ministers (including Immigration Minister Dutton) will travel to the US. In this coming week Turnbull is scheduled to attend what his press release describes as “the biggest summit on the international calendar” - the UN General Assembly Leaders’ Week, which will include “summits on refugees and migration” hosted by Ban Ki-moon and a smaller one arranged by Obama. But, while discussions at UN General Assemblies rarely produce meaningful policies for use back home, the risk is that Turnbull may relax our refugees policy and, as Abbott did, agree to take more refugees. Given the tightening of border controls by European countries, and increasing concern about terrorists being amongst asylum seekers, Australia’s existing policy would seem justifiable.
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.
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