Last Sunday I tried to explain in my Commentary why the Coalition lost the Victorian election with such an unexpectedly large swing to Labor (I then thought it was a 5% swing but it now appears closer to 6%) and this loss was immediately followed by a Newspoll showing at the federal level that Labor is ahead on a TPP basis of 55/45. While this is the same as in the previous Newspoll, and Morrison’s personal rating as Better PM actually improved to 46/34, it confirmed that the Coalition would almost certainly lose the Federal election, which Morrison has now set for March. I concluded my Commentary by saying that “whether at the federal or state levels this result is a reflection of the failure of the Liberals to distinguish themselves from Labor”.
With the imminent resumption of Parliament some warming-up is occurring. In The AustralianFinance Minister Cormann is reported as making new claims that the Coalition has already made large budget savings ($221bn over 10 years locked in) and that more could be made with Labor support. It appears Cormann refers to possible savings additional to those proposed by Turnbull to implement a miniscule $6.5 billion in budget savings said to have been agreed by Labor. But why hasn’t the Coalition detailed some possible additional savings?