Tag

The Australian

20
Nov
2017

Turnbull’s Playing For Time.

By suddenly announcing that the resumption of Parliament will be delayed until 4 December, Turnbull has postponed by a week the possibility of a defeat on the floor of the Lower House. At the same time, it was indicated that the finishing date for Parliament could now be Friday 15 December, or even later. The stated reason(s) for seeking the extra time are that it may be needed to debate the legislation on same sex marriage and resolve outstanding citizenship issues. Turnbull told The Australian that “ he was ‘very confident’ parliament would pass same-sex marriage legislation before Christmas”. “Parliament absolutely can and I’m very confident it will, and my priority and the government’s priority is to recognise the will of the people is that we should get this done, and that’s what we’re going to be doing everything we can to achieve it before Christmas,” the Prime Minister said. “I think the Opposition have got a similar commitment, so between us I’m very confident we can make it work. “There’ll obviously be a lot of debate, a lot of amendments discussed. That’s what parliament’s for, but ultimately we know we have got a very clear direction from our masters, the Australian people.”
8
Nov
2017

Rekindling Urgently Needed

Many of us are still recovering from the wrong decisions we made in making a bet on the Melbourne Cup (mine came last!). Who would have thought that two horses from Ireland would have come first and second and that they both came from Tipperary , to which it’s a long way to go according to the song whose joint author was a Williams. News Ltd Cartoonist, Mark Night has today brilliantly captured the contrast between Lloyd Williams’s sixth cup winner (Rekindling) and what one can only describe as Turnbull’s continued run of losers (and who should now “pack up his troubles in the old kit bag” and move along).At the end of this Commentary I have included today’s Knight cartoon along with his of 7 November, where he pictures Turnbull “having fun”.
23
Oct
2017

Energy Policy

Today’s Media has published two damming criticisms of government policy on global warming and, in particular, its predictions that NEG will result in falls in power prices. These come after yesterday morning’s seemingly desperate attempt by Frydenberg to support NEG including by his astonishing recourse to “experts” picked by Turnbull and himself viz “we are absolutely confident that prices will come down because that’s the best advice of the Energy Security Board which represents the best experts in the field … This is no subsidies. No taxes. No trading schemes. No carbon price”. It’s using existing market mechanisms involving “contracts exchanged for physical electricity”. One pertinent comment I received (from a different expert) is that NEG is similar to a plan by Lenin!
15
Oct
2017

Where Can Turnbull Go Now?

My Commentary of last Thursday reported that the (scientist) President of the US SEPP group had described Abbott’s address on Daring to Doubt as “one of the best talks given by a politician in decades”. I also reported that the US EPA head had announced the repeal of the Clean Power Plan initiated by Obama but rejected by the US Supreme Court. Here in Australia, leading journalist Terry McCrann had described Abbott’s address as “seminal”.
9
Oct
2017

Newspoll Shows Coalition Stuck on Low Rating

The (normally) two weekly Newspoll on 25 September showed the Coalition’s TPP had fallen by 1 percentage point to 46/54. Today’s Newspoll is a quarterly one that shows the TPP at 47/53 but this is the same as the previous two quarterly ones and, while Turnbull’s performance improved from 33 to 35 “satisfied”, Shorten’s “satisfied” also improved (from 32 to 34). Turnbull’s rating as PM fell fractionally to 43 (from 44) while Shorten’s stayed at 32.
1
Oct
2017

Gas Crisis & Fly Me to the Moon

My Commentary last Thursday 28 Sept questioned whether the “agreement” between Turnbull and three big gas exporters to have the latter supply additional gas domestically has solved the gas crisis. Yesterday the media took up the issue, with an editorial in Weekend Australian suggesting that Turnbull has made “an interim breakthrough this week when Australia’s three big gas exporters agreed to fix the ‘emergency’ shortfall that threatens to send prices soaring and shut down factories. A formal agreement in the coming week with Santos, Origin Energy and Shell appears likely to avert dire shortages next year and in 2019. The deal will avoid the need for the government to impose drastic controls on overseas shipments” (see Oz Editorial on Energy Crisis)
22
Sep
2017

Energy Policy is Getting Nowhere at All

Today’s Australian runs a front page story saying that “Australian households are paying 60 per cent more for their power than those in the US and double their Canadian counterparts”. But while Minister Frydenberg acknowledges that our power cost is “still too high”, he claims that most of the price hike occurred under Labor and that the Turnbull government is “taking unprecedented action to reduce pressure on …household bills “(see “Electricity Bills”). Short of subsidising electricity it is difficult however to envisage significant falls. Frydenberg has dug himself so deeply in the Turnbull camp that is difficult to see how he can get out. Readers of my Commentaries will be aware of the widespread scepticism about the various policy changes first being considered by Turnbull and then dropped or put on one side. As to falls in electricity bills, Frydenberg’s attempt to shift the blame on to Labor seemingly overlooks the recent large increases imposed by my retail supplier AGL and doubtless other similarly large retailers too.
20
Sep
2017

Abbott Challenges Turnbull on Climate & Energy Policy

The lead front page item in today’s Australian reports Abbott as indicating publicly that he will not support a clean energy target and that he advocates subsidies cease to be paid on wind and solar projects. The Australian also publishes an article by Abbott explaining his position. Both articles are attached. Abbott’s own article seems well written and, for the increasing number of sceptics on climate policy, it contains a sensible approach to energy policy which, inter alia, would ensure a reduction in electricity prices.
17
Sep
2017

Will Coalition’s TPP Hold?

Federal Parliament does not sit again until 16 Oct (and then only for one week) and I assume there will be a Newspoll tomorrow. With Turnbull’s inability to decide an energy policy and the National Party Conference rejecting a clean energy target and voting to eliminate subsidies for renewable, the Coalition’s TPP is unlikely to increase. Indeed, with the No votes increasing on same sex marriage (but still above 50%), and No voter former PM Howard highlighting Turnbull’s failure before the vote to (at least) publish proposed protection for those opposing official legislation endorsing SS on an on-going basis , these last two weeks are more likely to have produced a fall in the TPP. That would be “exciting”.
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