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Heydon Royal Commission

9
Jan
2016

Heydon Report – Ministerial Behaviour- A Hydrogen Bomb?- Saudi Arabi v Iran

The behaviour of the Turnbull Government continues to raise questions. Immediately following the publication by Justice Heydon of the Royal Commission on Trade Union Governance and Corruption, on 30 December the government issued a press release by the joint team of Turnbull, Brandis and Cash acknowledging the assessment of “a ‘widespread’ and ‘deep seated’ culture of lawlessness among many union officials. It also said it would submit improved legislation on regulating the construction industry and (separately) on the governance of trade unions. It promised to give full and careful consideration to the recommendations in the final report and “announce a detailed response to the public in early 2016”.
3
Jan
2016

More Needed than Heydon RC Recommends & Turnbull Proposes So Far

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.
22
Dec
2015

Turnbull – Consistency with Menzies Centre ? Recognition of Religion Influence in Indonesia? Unable to Understand Business Economics?

The Menzies Research Centre says it supports “principles of individual liberty, free speech, competitive enterprise, limited government, democracy, and the family as the foundation of a stable society” and, although it does not endorse the Liberal Party per se, it claims that its publications “go to the heart of Liberal Party policy-making”. Today, its Executive Director, Nick Cater, has had published a critique in The Australian of Lewis’s attempt to set “appropriate” limits on public debate on the influence of Islamic religion on terrorism (see article below). However, while Cater naturally does not mention that the current leader of the Liberal Party, Malcolm Turnbull, has made similar statements to those by Lewis, he is very much on the right track.
22
Sep
2015

Coalition TPP Up under Turnbull. Turnbill on 7.30. Environment Threats as Paris Nears. A Greek Victory?

The Coalition’s Newspoll increase from a TPP of 46/54 to 51/49 is encouraging, particularly for Turnbull supporters, although it suggests a “wait and see” picture rather than the establishment of a conclusive electoral position. More encouraging is Turnbull’s improvement in the Better PM verdict from a minus 4% net under Abbott to a plus 34% net. Even here however there is a wait and see element in the 24% who remain “uncommitted”. Roy Morgan’s index of consumer confidence also jumped but only to fractionally above the long term average.
22
Sep
2015

Some Implications of Changing Leaders

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).
8
Sep
2015

Coalition Needs Major Policy Initiative

It is becoming increasingly difficult to see how Abbott can survive on the basis of existing policies and the way they are presented. After a period of public debate over the Royal Commission, during which Shorten and various unions were exposed as having behaved very poorly, Newspoll is still unchanged on a TPP basis (46/54) and Shorten remains Better PM (41/37). In addition, while 68% want the RC to continue, Heydon himself gets bad marks for his mishandling of the invitation to a Liberal Party function. Further, the support for the China FTA (only 43% and 22% uncommitted) indicates a failure to fully explain that it exposed virtually no risk from foreign-sourced labour ( Robb’s explanations yesterday on the ABC’s Insiders was excellent but he should have been more upfront earlier).
2
Sep
2015

RC Outcome Provides Golden Opportuinity

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:
25
Aug
2015

Can Union Power be Diminished?

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?
23
Aug
2015

Increased Challenges Faced by Abbott -Responses Needed

As indicated by its failure to have the Senate re-instate the powers of the Australian Building & Construction Commission, and by anti-coal groups’s revealed use of legislation to stop coal projects and purporting thereby to protect “the environment”, the Abbott government is facing increased difficulties in implementing existing policies, let alone maintain policies which have hitherto been widely accepted as important to on-going development and employment. As Greg Sheridan points out (see “Shutting the door to growth” below), “Australia has created a public–political culture in which the avenues to block something from happening are endless”. More strictly, it is that certain groups, not Australia itself, which have created this culture and are now actively moving to apply it.
20
Aug
2015

Game On?

My Commentary yesterday drew attention to the apparent adoption of a more aggressive Coalition policy strategy and the publication by News Corp of detailed information on union activities. Today’s media exhibits remarkably different priorities, with Fairfax press and the ABC barely touching on either Coalition strategy or the Heydon issue and News Corp going full blast on unions and Labor.