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Day to Day Politics: Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

1 Tuesday’s Newspoll sees both Labor and the Coalition on 50/50 confirming that the poll a fortnight ago wasn’t a rogue one. There is no doubt the polls are tightening.

The Morgan Poll remains virtually unchanged with the Coalition on 53% and Labor on 47%

Essential is also unchanged from last week at 50/50.

This leaves the risk averse Malcolm Turnbull with a dilemma. Does he go to an election in July or wait until August/September?

If he chooses July it has to be following a budget where he said he will reveal his Tax Reform Policy. A policy that must be so diluted by now that there will be little to present. It will also be a budget, if savings are the objective that hits social services, health and education hard. Other areas won’t give them the required savings for budget repair.

Whichever way you look at it he cannot deliver an election year budget full of goodies. Having said that, any budget delivered immediately before an election campaign wouldn’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.

If he elects to wait then he risks a further deterioration in the polls. Now if it were me I would, given I have nothing to lose, take it up to the right-wing of the Party. Shirtfront them. Even a little headbutting wouldn’t go astray.

Tell them that if they want to win it’s my way or the bush. Grow some balls and be your own man, Malcolm.

The honeymoon, however, does appear to be well and truly over with Turnbull’s performance rating slumping to 44% – a fall of 16 points since November. He does, however, remain preferred PM with 55% to Bill Shorten 21%

2 Whilst I understand the ABC’s desire to have a diversity of views on its panel, for the life of me, given his past, I cannot understand how having Alan Jones opining about the Catholic Church, boys, and morality, was appropriate.

3 A Royal Commission into the banks and the financial advice industry is long overdue. Conservative governments are loathe to investigate the big end of town for ideological reasons. Last night’s Four Corners program should ensure one is implemented. It also highlights the need for a national ICAC.

4 Nancy Reagan has passed away. I don’t carry fond memories of her. The one I do recall was her simplistic naïve answer to America’s drug problem: ‘Just say no’.

5 I have read many political books in my lifetime both biographical and scholarly. My favourite in terms of insight into how government works has always been Don Watson’s masterly study of Paul Keating; ‘Recollections of a Bleeding Heart’. Yesterday I began reading the book of the moment – Nikki Savva’s ‘Road to Ruin’. It gives promise of an insight into all that is wrong with the way we are governed.

6 The IPA gains a voice in the Senate with the selection of 28-year-old James Paterson to the top of the Liberal Victorian ticket. Paterson has strong libertarian views on issues like free speech. Together with the right, the IPA have had a victory.

7 In the words of former Opposition Leader Dr John Hewson, speaking about Tony Abbott:

‘I suffered from his disloyalty because he was a constant channel from my office to John Howard’.

‘He did go down in history as probably the most effective leader of the opposition in the sense that he made negativity an art form, but from the point of view of good government and reform processes and so on, it was a pretty disastrous period’.

My thought for the day.

‘We dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that we can make permanent that which makes us feel secure. Yet change is in fact part of the very fabric of our existence’.

PS. I’m 80 pages in to ‘Road to Ruin’. My conclusion: If all is true and I have no doubt it is, Tony Abbott is guilty of not seeking help for the lady in question.



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  1. Möbius Ecko

    Most pundits have an early election in July with no budget, but just a budget statement. A July election only allows one week for the budget so a statement is all the government can manage.

    According to the Drum piece I saw last night, and I mostly agreed with, an early election is a very high risk strategy for Turnbull. He will need to face a full Senate election that even with election reforms can come back to bite the major parties in a big way. Nick Xenophon has stated his aligned members can gain six seats and the Greens will do very well. The members of the micro parties that the reforms are supposed to get rid of will come back as Independents and that may lead to an increase of Indies in the Senate, all of which can make the Senate harder to deal with than the current make-up.

    Also only releasing a budget statement is high risk as most people will see straight through it as the vapour ware it will be. It will be more about election promises than any real budget measures and policies. Election promises that will be broken the moment the election is over and the L&NP win.

    No matter which way this government goes its all in all a huge mess from arguably the most dysfunctional and one of the worst governments we’ve had.

  2. Michael Taylor

    Mobius, those pundits obviously – and rightfully – have no respect or faith in the government if they don’t even think they can hand down a budget. This is unprecedented.

    As to an early election, how quickly can one be called after a security threat? It only took two months after 9/11 and the Tampa affair for Howard.

  3. Adrianne Haddow

    While I generally avoid Alan Jones’ opinions, as any sane person would, I admired the way he challenged Michaela Screech’s well rehearsed rhetoric regarding 457 visa workers and justification for the sale of Australian farming enterprises as ‘investment’.
    As he said ‘once it’s sold, it isn’t investment’.

  4. Gerry

    The Lying Nasty Party will be looking for handouts to con the electorate like they always do. This is what the “Budget” will aim to do just like Howard before elections. They will do anything to stay in power. If they succeed we can look forward to more destructive cuts to all social services and science, especially climate science because the LNP continues to endorse extremist from the IPA and nut bags from the hard right. Alas despite the expansion of the debt under this chaotic “team” the electorate seems ever sucked in by the perception that this mob are better at economic management. How to deal with this conundrum: first, we need young people to enrol to vote to shift the demographics of voters and second, we need to stop pandering to the ridiculous notion that a state is like a household and should always seek to avoid a debt (especially a relatively small debt like ours). Investment in renewables funded by the state would be a good start; so would investment in public transport.

  5. Terry2

    I have always understood the provision for a Double Dissolution of both of our Houses of Parliament was incorporated in our Constitution as a safety valve to allow the government of the day to govern in the face of a hostile Senate.

    Denying monetary supply was the classic illustration of the use of a DD in 1975 but now we seem to be seeing the coalition using a DD as a political tool to force a full Senate election rather than the conventional half Senate election scheduled for later this year.The motivation of the Liberal party seems to be to try and achieve domination of the Senate but that objective could badly backfire : Australian electors are instinctively suspicious of a government dominating both Houses.

    Then we have the unnecessary plebiscite on marriage equality and for some reason this government won’t combine this with the forthcoming election even though the cost of a stand alone plebiscite ($158 million) can in no sense be justified, yet this cost would be significantly reduced if combined with an election.

    It is no surprise that Turnbull is starting to lose his initial gloss as he morphs into just another version of his predecessor.

  6. Peter F

    Tuenbull has not lost my support . . .

  7. terry

    that’s good peter , that’s how In ten years time, most of our kids will spell his name. just like yourself

  8. David (other)

    I am getting a strong feeling there is a growing disquiet re the Tory/Greens bedfellow bastardy over the Senate voting changes. Australians are realising this is not for their benefit but a move by the Government to attempt to sure-up their numbers in the Senate, giving them total control in both HOR and Senate, to continue their savage attacks on low and middle income earners, beneficiaries and families.
    One thing the electorate has shown over and over again, blatant deceit is intolerable, it will get the offending Govt eventually. Turnbull is I believe already a dead man walking, regardless of the election result.

    An update on the request I made to Barry Cassidy for a reason why he completely ignored the NBN when interviewing Communications Minister Fifield on Insiders last Sunday.

    I asked

    @barriecassidy Mr Cassidy may I ask with respect, why on #insiders you did not ask Minister Fifield one question re the Govts NBN shambles?

    No response.

  9. Terry2


    If the Greens are seen as cuddling up to the LNP they will die at the ballot box just as the Democrats did.

    I would be very disappointed if Barrie does not reply to you.

  10. PeterStevenson

    Surely the Liberals aren’t that stupid to not realise only for the cross benches voting against the 2014 completely unfair budget that they would be turfed out in a landslide at the 2016 election.

  11. margcal

    Whether polls show 53/47 or 50/50 in one sense is immaterial. Both figures point to a situation that has to be overcome, a message that isn’t getting out there.

    Bugger the climate and stuff refugees, the legion – for they must be – who don’t even vote for themselves have to somehow be hit with the facts …. any user of public health, education, public transport is significantly worse off under the LNP, as are those who rely on income from the state – the unemployed, disabled, genuine old age pensioners (distinguishing between those with little behind them from the comfortable who wangle a couple of dollars in order to get concessions).

    When people can be so cruel, shortsighted and all the rest about people and situations “out there” how can they suddenly be unselfish about their own immediate situation? How do we tackle that stupidity and ignorance?

    And yes, I do know Labor* has done some dastardly deeds, but while it’s a horrible situation, even voting for the lesser evil will be making a start on improvements in justice and fairness.

    *Recognising that Labor is the alternative governing party but I’ll be voting small party or independent come the election. That won’t get rid of Frydenberg but it might do some good in the senate.

  12. margcal

    David (other) ….
    Seems that celebrations re Tony Windsor are premature. Live in hope until tomorrow.

    Also, could you give a brief summary of what’s in the Australian. It’s behind a paywall for me, and no doubt others.
    Many thanks.

  13. terry

    in hindsight peter , most of your family will be dead because they cannot afford medical treatment or medication , or considering suicide because they are stuck working for the dole because no work only part time at best on $10 a hour and that’s a round number and tip of the iceberg . you keep voting for turnbull

  14. Kaye Lee

    Breaking News…Windsor is standing against Joyce!!! Woooohooooo

  15. Bacchus

    I do hope he does Kaye, but the speculation is premature:

  16. margcal

    timed at four hours ago (3.30pm as I write) from Tony Windsor’s twitter account:

    Tony Windsor ‏@TonyHWindsor 4h4 hours ago
    Contrary to some reports in the media I haven’t made any announcements in relation to any political intentions . Will do tomorrow 10am.

    Whom do we believe, Fairfax or Twitter’s time stamp?
    His running seems the likely announcement but ….. until it’s a done deal …..

  17. Ella

    David (other) I am so sad that there has been no reply…is the ABC gagged?

    As I said I would write to Minister Fifield and I have.
    I asked 2 questions of him. One about the NBN the other about the change in the ABC since the new Board.
    I have paid extra attention to Q&A, 7.30, and Insiders, the Drum and I agree , the ABC is on a go lightly on the Government .
    I asked if he provided Insiders with questions , or did he tell Insiders that he would not discuss the NBN.
    I also asked him not to provide me with spin or gov. propaganda in his answer. I also told him that I was not interested in what Labor did or did not do.

    David, one good thought, on Q&A and I sadly forget his name, one person said;
    they know they are lying , we watch them lie and know they are lying . I would add it is hard to defend the indefensible so they squirm and lie.
    I am a dreamer…

  18. Kaye Lee

    margcal, when I click on that tweet is says March 8, 4:41 pm.

    There are many comments on his facebook page too.

  19. Terry2

    Seriously, can we afford to have Dutton in charge of immigration or anything else for that matter : the Cambodians must be looking around for what else they can sell us – a bridge perhaps ?

    Are the good folk in Dutton’s electorate of Dickson watching this ? It seems that only they can rid us of this blundering buffoon.

    There are so many things that we could spend $55 million on as we could the $160 million plebiscite cost.

    Strangely these blokes are looking around for savings……….I give up !

  20. David (other)

    Ella I wasn’t expecting too much, but even the courtesy of acknowledgement of receipt would have been the actions of a gentleman.

  21. Bacchus

    Looks like you’re correct again Kaye Lee – there was definitely some confusion with the times on the twitter feed.

  22. Bacchus

    The talk of a DD election in July is interesting, because a normal 1/2 senate election can be held on or after August 6. Would the electorate become even more cynical of Turnbull’s motives if he calls an election for less than a month before this date?

  23. Kaye Lee

    Bacchus, as you know, I am a middle aged woman in jammies and the only people who have me on speed dial are my family. I just report what I read as I trawl around. The thing that makes it a done deal for me (aside from Fairfax) is why would Windsor call a presser for tomorrow unless he was announcing he would run. I always respect your input and I am by no means infallible. I thought Tony Abbott was unelectable for example.

  24. smee

    Apparently the press conference has been arranged some time

  25. gangey1959

    I know that the world is going to Hell in a handbasket, and there is still a possibility that our pet rentamoron ex-pm might even make a comeback run at the top job, but here is some bright news just in from Madrid.

    Yesterday – on the eve of International Women’s Day – the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey Team (yes, we play ice hockey in Australia) won gold at the World Championships in Spain. Cue the tumbleweeds and sustained media silence.
    The squad – known simply as NWT (National Women’s Team) – defeated home team Spain to collect the gold.
    Granted, Australia doesn’t play in the top tier of the competition, where the great hockey nations like Canada, the US, Russia, Sweden and Finland reside. But a gold medal is still a gold medal.
    The NWT tied with Mexico in regular time in the first game of the series, but lost the shoot out. They went on to thrash Turkey 12-0, and arch rivals New Zealand 21-1.
    The NWT also defeated Iceland 3-2 in a come from behind win, before defeating Spain in their final match 4-1 (after losing a week earlier to Spain in a practice match 6-3). (Copied from New Matilda)

    Let’s give the poor girls a name. (Half of them probably play in the Diamonds or Matildas or the Cricket team too.)
    What about the “Penguins”?

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