Wednesday April 6 2014
1 In my naivety, after so much damage had been done by Tony Abbott to our democratic institutions, I like many others thought that with the advent of Malcolm Turnbull, that a new era of politics might be possible, one in which civility prevailed over crass debate. I had hoped that this election might somehow be the contest of ideas that Bill Shorten had talked about.
I was of course wrong. After watching the debacle last week that cumulated in the states knocking back Turnbull’s states tax proposal I am convinced that this election will follow all others before it with the same quantity of rusted on bullshit that attaches itself to those who seek power over leadership and governance for the common good. It will be an election like all the others of my lifetime. An election of claims versus counter claims, of lies and promises designed to either gain or retain office.
2 Yesterday’s Newspoll 51/49 to Labor result got everyone excited at the possibility of a Labor victory. No one seemed to notice that the Morgan Poll released the same day had the Coalition well ahead on 52.5 to Labor 47.5. Morgan suggested, if you believe them, that this was because Turnbull was showing leadership. You can add to the mix Tuesday’s Essential Poll which had the two parties on 50/50.
Polls only ever reflect what people are thinking at the time. They are not a ‘who will win’ barometer this far out. One would need to look at seat by seat polling to get a feel for that. However, Labor has to be pleased with the trend towards it.
The fact is, that the government is in very bad shape with a leader who seems to be in very poor form. His Government is riddled with disunity. Even the mouth that roared, Chrissy Pyne agreed after hearing the Newspoll result on Q&A. Nobody feigns indignation better than the fixer.
Abbott is in the background being who he is. Conservative senator Cory Bernardi is registering his own Donald Trump-style political party and Morrison isn’t talking with the boss, but both he and Mathias Cormann are. They pop up here there and everywhere talking and talking and talking like the proverbial broken record. Rarely do they actually say anything.
Andrews would even challenge with half a chance. Turnbull puts things on the table and takes them off before people have had a chance to peruse the menu.
His ‘last big idea’ that was presented to the Premiers, a tiered tax system together with segregated education system, lasted three days. The process Turnbull used to present his ideas was simply deplorable. If a manager presented a plan such as this, on a sheet of A4 to the board of a major company they would laugh him out of the boardroom. We deserve better than this sort of crap. Pardon my Tonyism.
Somehow the Murdoch press managed to spin it as Turnbull confronting the states. Can you believe it?
Now if you believe Turnbull, Morrison and Cormann that the only problem we have is one of spending too much, then the budget is a disaster waiting to happen, then the next budget will have to be the most draconian in recent history. The question arises will they do the right thing for the country or will they present a survival budget with an eye on doing the dirty work in a second term if the win?
3 Turnbull faces many problems as the election approaches. The two that stand out are ones of comparative fairness. It was he after all who said that the government had to apply a fairness test to its proposals. He wants to give business a tax break in the midst of raging controversy over corporations and wealthy individuals not paying any. Stories of the prevalence of tax evasion are everywhere, on TV, the radio and news programs. The super-rich and the privileged don’t have to pay. Why should we?
The Panama Papers have revealed some 800 Australians people being investigated by the ATO. People see the unfairness. PAYG taxpayers must think the government is just using them to cook the books.
Only last month the Tax Office admitted that 321 companies with earnings over $200 million didn’t pay any tax in 2013-2014. The Melbourne Institute which shows the top 1 per cent of Australian earners had amassed 9 per cent of Australian income in 2013, more than double the rate of wealth concentration than was the case in the 1980s.
I mean fair suck of the sav as someone once said.
4 They want the ABCC legislation passed and won’t even consider structuring an authority to oversee corruption in big business and government. People see the unfairness. It looks like and sounds like a vendetta against Unions for no other reason than political gain.
So to repeat myself.
It will be an election like all the others of my lifetime. An election of claims versus counter claims, of lies and promises, all designed to either gain or retain office. Nothing more, nothing less.
5 Quoting Peter Hartcher.
Australia had a bipartisan consensus on climate change under John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull. The consensus was that climate change was real and that pricing carbon through an emissions trading scheme was the best way for Australia to respond.
Abbott shattered the consensus. He rode to power on a conservative reaction against climate change action. He used it to destroy Turnbull’s leadership and then Rudd’s and, finally, Julia Gillard’s. The bleaching of the Barrier Reef.
In the first week of the news breaking, it ranked as the ninth most reported subject, according to the media monitoring specialists at iSentia. The most reported topics of that week in Australia were tax reform, the Twenty20 World Cup, the Socceroos, the Australian Building and Construction Commission and the Egyptian airline hijacking.
In the second week, as more evidence of yet more extensive mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef emerged, the topic dropped to number 10.
Similarly, there was relatively little reporting of the record-breaking heatwaves of February, says iSentia’s Patrick Baume.
Why? “It’s only a hypothesis, but I think there’s been a peaking of interest or concern” in matters related to climate change.
“It’s seen as something a bit from the past, as if getting rid of the carbon tax meant we’d got rid of climate change. It’s a funny one.”
My thought for the day.
‘If we’re not raising new generations to be better stewards of the environment, what’s the point?