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
My last Commentary on 6 September suggested that Morrison has an “in-between” policy on energy and that it was hoped that he would make a broad announcement on policies in a speech scheduled to be made in Albury later that day. Alas, that has not proved to be the case and, despite the abandonment of the Turnbull/Frydenberg NEG, energy policy is worse and as confusing as it was under Turnbull. A quotation from his speech published in the SMH/Age gives the gist of his position
Once again, Turnbull has shown that he should not be leader of the Liberal Party. His handling of the Coalition’s policy on same sex marriage failed to recognise that the plebiscite produced substantial opposition (38.4%) to legislation allowing marriage between people of the same sex and that a proportion of those who voted Yes would also have wanted any such legislation to include provisions protecting freedom to express opposition to such marriages for religious reasons alone. Other opponents not necessarily based on religion simply wanted “marriage” to remain as a relationship between a man and a woman and that, whether between relationships of the same gender or even between a man and a woman but not formally married, should be expressed as “partnerships” or in similar vein.
My Commentary sent out late Sunday (thanks to those who sent compliments) drew particular attention to the article by Judith Sloan on the Federal budget and her conclusion that “Labor is completely out of control fiscally; the Coalition is slightly better but no cigar”. This followed other strong critiques, including by John Stone. Meantime we have Turnbull and Shorten buying votes as they go from electorate to electorate and adding up to $100mn a day to budget spending. What does the odd million matter?
Most of those involved in assessing the public commentaries by Prime Minister Turnbull have spent the week-end trying to work out what might happen now and what Turnbull might say next. His latest “slogan” that “we must live within our means” is of course meaningless unless accompanied by appropriate policies.
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.
Apart from Heydon’s decision to continue as RC, the most important part of his rejection of the apprehended bias claim is the detailed analysis he made of the submissions by unions. That analysis can fairly be said to have left the unions standing on only one leg, at least from a legal perspective. His 67 page judgement justifying his decision sets out three reasons, argued in detail:
Like me, Mick Jagger was once a student at the London School of Economics (not long after I left there). He once wrote “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need” (I would have said “if you keep trying”). My point here is that there are at last some signs that increasing numbers, even inside the ABC and other leftist media , are accepting that there is a real need to do something about the quasi-monopoly power unions have acquired. But can Tony Abbott recover his polling by increasing his recent attack on the Labor-union connection and identifying the problems with existing workplace relations?