On 9 May my Commentary drew attention to the estimates for the budget and the economy in the next two years and suggested that these should be the starting point for assessing election proposals by the major parties. I repeat here the following table summarising the budget estimates.
It is becoming more difficult by the day to guess what rationale is behind the limited policy announcements Malcolm Turnbull is starting to make. One interpretation of Turnbull’s latest announcement is that he reached a personal view that he needed to announce something new. That led to his decision to announce a “new” policy on federal-state relations without providing substantive detail because he thought that there would general agreement that something needed to be done to reduce the vertical fiscal imbalance between the Federal and State governments. And that there would be much discussion of the idea and praise for him for initiating it.
No sooner had the latest Newspoll been published (details are attached) with a 51/49 TPP in favour of the Coalition, but with the first negative net satisfaction ratio for Turnbull personally, than he announced an early return of Parliament to (again) consider two pieces of legislation on workplace relations and a double dissolution election on 2 July if the legislation is not passed this time by the Senate (of the two pieces of legislation, one has already been rejected twice and this rejection could be used to call a DD). This would be a considerably earlier election than the September/October months which Turnbull himself had previously foreshadowed.
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.
So far I have read only Volume I of the Overview and introduction of the final report of the Heydon Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. Volumes 2-4 largely deal with specific cases and Volume 5 with policy and law reform. Based on the Overview there appears to be a first rate analysis for the Turnbull government to use in framing major reforms of regulatory arrangements covering the role of trade unions and relations between employees and employers.
On page 3 of the Weekend Australian the political party of which I have become a member, Australian Liberty Alliance, ran an advertisement titled “We will stop Islamisation” (see ALA attached). I became a member some time ago because I regard the threat of Islamisation as the most seriousness danger facing Australia and the western world - and ALA as the only party prepared to publicly advocate its elimination as a serious priority. I am not referring here to those Muslims who seek and lead a peaceful life but to those who advocate violence and/or who are prepared to commit violent acts. The latter are jihadists who seek the destruction of both western and peaceful Muslim societies.
When on 15 September Turnbull defeated Abbott 54/44 in his challenge for PM, he encouraged the then Industry Minister Macfarlane to vote for him by reminding him what good friends they were. But that did not stop Turnbull removing Macfarlane from Cabinet. Such is politics one might say.
Many who support the Coalition but have serious doubts about Turnbull becoming PM have nonetheless accepted his appointment because they believe he should defeat Labor at the next election whereas the belief was that Abbott had reached the point where he could not. On the surface that certainly appears to be the case, although the latest opinion poll of an improved 51/49 TPP taken after Turnbull’s appointment still suggests a close call if an early election (which some suggest) were to be held. Similarly, the Liberal win in the Canning by-election with a swing of “only” 6-7% to Labor does not suggest a Turnbull “bounce” (a 5% swing against the party holding the seat is “normal” in a by-election).
My Commentary distributed yesterday containing a section on Turnbull as PM has attracted interest and serious questioning about why the Liberal Party chose Turnbull to replace Abbott. One contact has drawn my attention to a document tracing the associations Turnbull has had with the Labor Party and the numerous criticisms he has made of Liberal Party policies and leaders up to August 2010. This document provides back-up links which have been checked and it gives rise to serious concern for those who believe in liberal policies and philosophy.