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Day to Day Politics: Should the PM just own up?

Tuesday 25 July 2017

1 The question is, “are we entitled to know?”. When Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister after successfully challenging Tony Abbott the National Party placed certain conditions on him before they would form a Coalition.

Is he, or both, entitled to keep the secret to themselves or conversely are the voters entitled to know?

There are two sides to any argument. Turnbull might, on the one hand, argue that it is a private matter pertaining to his conditions of employment and therefore of no one’s business but his own.

On the other hand it might well be argued that it is in the public interest to know just what conditions did the junior party in a Coalition place on a senior party leader.

After all, with only 4% of the vote why should they yield such power? Whatever way you look at it Labor, after trying to get the information through FOI, and failing, are taking it to the Federal Court. Remember the PM tried to keep secret his personal donation to the party when it should have been disclosed immediately.

Malcolm is full-body when talking about open and transparent government but is ambiguous when he has to walk the walk. For me it goes without saying that deals between parties either by written or by spoken word should be known to the public.

August should at least be illuminating one-way or the other.

2 Australians have a notorious record for passing referenda. Even good referendums have been sunk in the murky waters of public mistrust. So what makes us think that a move to set parliamentary terms at four years would win approval. For Turnbull to consider a bipartisan effort suggests he is confident of winning the next election. It would give him another four years and then bow out gracefully.

Many say 4 years would give parties sufficient time to implement policy without having to worry about the next election.

Others of course justifiably say it’s just an extra year for politicians to stuff things up.

There are rights, wrongs and complications, whichever way you look. A three-year term with a fixed date might be the best compromise. Yesterday we had Scott Morrison overriding the PM saying it wasn’t a top priority. Just goes to show how little authority Turnbull has when his Treasurer just puts him in his place.

Mind you, he (Morisson) has a limited capacity for thoughts other than self-interest. I am sick to death of hearing that things are all too hard.

However, for those who follow my writing you will know I often refer to the inadequacy of the constitution. A document that has so many holes in it that one could, if one had the skill, fly a B52 through them.

If we had an independent standing ”Committee of constitutional Review’’ matters of this sort of could be referred to it, and recommendations made.

An observation.

”The danger in looking back to often is that we lose the will to go forward.”

3 All of this came from an interview where Bill Shorten gave a few insights into how Labor would approach the next election. I thought his answer to a question about the influence of Sanders and Corbyn was a little insipid and could have been handled better.

He inferred that there would be an announcement soon about tax reform and its odds on that ”Family Trusts” will be the target. Yes, inequality will be the central focus for Labor. You have to give it to Shorten he is certainly not playing small target and is prepared to announce policies during the off season so to speak.

At this stage I am prepared to stick my neck out and say that the election, after taking into account state elections and Senate requirements, will be in November of next year.

4 By the way, did you know that our carbon emissions continue to rise?

5 Almost everyone besides the Coalition believes that unemployment benefits are one reason many Australians are poor. They are simply inadequate for people to live on.

A Turnbull government minister has taken the novel approach of changing the definition of poverty to reject the widely held conclusion that inadequate unemployment benefits are one reason many Australians are poor.

But Human Services minister Alan Tudge’s speech this last week that bought high praise from the rapidly dementia ridden

Alan Jones, who told his listeners the minister was ”1000 per cent” right.

What did he do you ask. Well he had a very simple solution to paying out all this welfare. You simply redefine what welfare is. made the very valid point, we are one of the richest countries in the world, we’ve experienced 25 years of uninterrupted economic growth but impoverishment still exists. And it’s not a function of welfare you say, but of dysfunctional families,” Jones swooned.”

Tudge proposes a new definition – ”absolute deprivation” – a measure of whether people can afford the basics, such as food, clothing, shelter and education. You can read it all here.

An observation.

”The right of politics governs for those that have and the left for those who have not.”

6 Newspoll yesterday came in at 53/47 to Labor. Hate to sound like a broken record but once you dig a hole for yourself it’s very difficult to dig yourself out.

7 The Conservatives on the subject of Marriage Equality are all over the place with Peter Dutton (you would think he had enough to do) now wanting a postal plebiscite. It really is just making them appear more and more desperate on an issue that the public has made up their minds about.

An observation.

But change is a bit like the free market. If you leave it to its own devices, people can get hurt.”

8 Malcolm Turnbull’s monumental stuff-up of the NBN rollout seems to have gone past the point of no return. By that I mean scrapping it and starting from scratch appears out of the question.

That being the case Labor is preparing to put a compromise technology known as fibre-to-the-kerb at the centre of its plans for the National Broadband Network should it win the next election.

It is seen as a superior technology than fibre-to-the-node, which uses existing copper lines to connect premises to broadband through purpose-built street cabinets.

9 In the US never a day goes by without a Trump scandal of sorts. But it appears that the President has it all under control. Pardon me I hear you say. Exactly, he reckons he is able to pardon anybody for whatever they do and it will set matters right.

Sometimes I really think the man is really crazy. Like mad crazy.

To quote Tony Wright in Fairfax:

All those not-terribly-ancient tweets of his, now deleted, urging sensible folk not to fall for walls because they don’t work, praising a governor for staying out of the “Trump spectacle”, supporting Hillary Clinton (though that was way back in 2012), calling for gun control, describing himself as “for gay marriage, against the death penalty, and pro-choice”, not to mention praising Islam as a religion of peace. Oh, and dumping on the existence of climate-change deniers as “disheartening”.

His appointment as Trump’s communications director would, if such a thing were to occur in Australian politics, be as sensational and about as authentic as if Malcolm Turnbull suddenly put Peta Credlin in charge of sharpening his public message.

An observation

”Only in America.”

10 And if you read the tweets of his new communications guru Anthony Scaramucci’s you will find he agrees with me. And you’ll understand why he’s deleting them. It’s absolutely bizarre that you can say such things about you master and yet wind up as his chief spokesperson.

My thought for the day

”There of those who like to have robust political opinions yet conveniently ignore the consequences of what they say.”

PS: As I predicted. Channel 10 news service started with Bill Shorten’s class warfare has begun. You can rely on commercial TV for objectivity.

 

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13 comments

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  1. Barry

    Mr Lord, I look forward to your daily view on the world but one thing that does get up my nose, along with various other sites is the negative view of Bill Shorten. I’m no fan either but give the bloke a chance and as I’ve challenged other people, think you can do a better job?, put your hand up. He’s united a team that a few years ago couldn’t agree on the colour of grass so now they are at least singing from the same song sheet. Another thing that bugs me is supposedly all policy comes from Mr Shorten, I have news for you and everyone else, it’s the party that that comes up with the ideas. I know Bill isn’t the best salesman but look at the other lot….Anyway keep the interesting and insightful articles coming. Barry

  2. Kaye Lee

    I’m not sure if the deal with the Nats changed after last election but the Telegraph published the details of the deal Turnbull signed with Truss when he staged the coup.

    “Critical to the Nationals’ endorsement of Mr Turnbull as PM was a pledge written into the agreement that he would not change existing policy on climate change or same-sex marriage.

    In other words, it locked Mr Turnbull into a promise not to introduce an emissions trading scheme and to stick to the policy of a plebiscite on marriage equality.

    The deal will also include a promise of Cabinet consideration for a $600 million package to give 140,000 families with stay-at-home mums an extra $1000 a year in benefits.

    It will lock in restoration of youth allowance for regional tertiary students and ongoing funding of $150 million for ­regional road black spots.

    A rural jobs recovery program has also been included, as well as a commitment by Cabinet to consider changing consumer laws to include an “effects test” that would also impose fines and jail terms for business people who engage in anti-competitive behaviour.

    While the deal would shift the existing $2.5 billion water portfolio from the Liberals to the Nationals, there was also up to $1.5 billion in new budget measures in the deal.

    One Nationals MP said Mr Turnbull had not said “no” to anything they had demanded as the price of loyalty.”

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/malcolm-turnbulls-4-billion-deal-with-the-nationals-to-guarantee-coalition-unity/news-story/1cc0d538a70705b4970266c746b2b0d4

  3. tanginitoo

    Kaye Lee: Do you really get your news from the Telegraph?

  4. John Lord

    Kaye I think given the ALP is taking them to court perhaps they believe there is more in the deal.

  5. Kaye Lee

    tanginitoo,

    I go where google takes me. If it’s a Murdoch paper then I view it with great cynicism but, as they are the Coalition preferred place to leak, it may have some validity in this case.

    John,

    Yes but I wonder what. I am guessing that it may have to do with them pushing hard on the Finkel Review Clean Energy Target? Or is there more chicanery going on?

  6. Terry2

    You can only pardon somebody who has done wrong. If Trump pardons himself, he is admitting that he has done wrong, which he maintains he hasn’t – but he wouldn’t understand that.

  7. John Lord

    Kaye. Joyce got water. He has said nothing about the ABC programme.

  8. helvityni

    There’s a wonderful old movie called “Bicycle Thief”, then an equally captivating novel called “Book Thief” was written by a young Australian author Markus Zusak, which was also made into a movie…

    Now it looks like we have Water Thieves in Oz… Maybe we’ll see a future outback Aussie movie titled the same…. We live in interesting times 🙂

  9. wam

    The 4 corners episode shows the reality of the libs/nats philosophy. All talk but no responsibility and ‘less’ accountability. We can understand the libs allowing the few to make millions(THE CLP’S Ms Macfarlane in the NT)ho can understand the nationals supporting the cotton rorters and not the downstream farmers, graziers and townspeople?

    ps
    Barry, billy has had 4 years (and an election) against an inept prime minister and a changling! What do you think of his singing?

    Certainly, Labor finds it difficult to sing from any sheet because:
    the media stage needed to perform is owned and operated by rupert. Leaving a government controlled outlet with a limited range from which labor hopes depend on osmosis..
    the sound and lighting system is run by sunrise and today.

    But Billy’s backing group is the rank and file.
    What defence have we been given to counter the slogans and ‘fake’ history of economic management by little johnnie, costello, the rabbott’s joey et al?
    Why is there no ‘alerts’ on the windows of the labor offices?
    Why suppose fake advertising wont work and rely on hope that we will see for ourselves??

  10. paul walter

    Here is a look at Scaramouch…

    Words failed me.

  11. glenn k

    can i advise all of you to read Naomi Kleins latest book “No is not Enough”. it absolutely nails the LNP’s mindset. does a great job of clarifying their philosophy and the danger it represents.

  12. etnorb

    Another great think piece John! Thank you! I imagine a lot of Australians are now waiting for the next Federal election, one to kick out this inept, lying, obscenely over-paid bunch of so-called “Liberals”, & two, to really see just how far Labor will go with ALL the various tax rorts & schemes etc that the wealthy ALL think are their rights. Also, I hope they are going to also ensure that ALL companies here in Australia pay the taxes etc they should pay. We can live in hope that the Labor lot will actually do what Bill is saying, when elected.

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