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Day to Day Politics: Finally, policies will be put to the test

Tuesday 22 May 2018

”I find it impossible to imagine that the Australian people would be so gullible as to elect for a third term a government that has performed so miserably in the first two. But they just might” (JL).

“He has worked up a lovely public persona: as cultured as Keating but blessed with a kinder sense of humor; as intelligent as Rudd but far from as malevolent. And somehow, with his green-froth-drinking diet success and his endearing leather jackets and business shirts, his Stephen Fry-like adoration of gadgets and mastery of social media, his raffish smile and mellifluous voice, he has formed the perfect personality for most popular, and probably most trusted, politician in the nation” (Kate Holden, The Saturday Paper).

This description of Malcolm Turnbull, frankly, is the truth of it. Supporters of Turnbull should, while they cast aspersions at the character of the Leader of the Opposition, question the hypocrisy and character of their own leader.

Today I am compelled to continue from where I left off yesterday – weeding out those things I had missed while taking a week’s leave. Yes indeed, the political grass grows very quickly and the weeds of capitalism can grow quickly under one’s feet.

Never in my memory has a budget been presented and almost immediately faced the test of five by elections. Well I say “almost immediately,” given that Turnbull and his cohorts are playing ducks and drakes with the timing. They will all take place on the one-day ensuring a true test of the budgets worth and some policies that have already been released.

The Government’s tax cuts to the big end of town stand out as being a true test of the Government’s spine and Shorten’s ideological stand on unfairness.

The economic drip-down effect is finally being put to the test, as is both leader’s capacity to sell the measurers, even their character.

It is a bit lop-sided of course given that in terms of policy the Coalition went to the last election without any and will probably do the same this time. It’s Abbott’s old Liberal thinking that the conservatives could fix things just by being in office.

Now we have a clear demarcation. On the one hand we have the conservative view that by throwing loads of money at the rich it will create further wealth and that some of it will trickle down to the other classes.

On the other hand Labor believes that by taxing the rich a fairer more equitable society can be built with better hospitals and an improved education system for our children, among other things.

At the upcoming by elections the people will have a choice of returning those who have resigned – including the ALP MPs, Josh Wilson from Western Australia, Queensland’s Susan Lamb and Tasmania’s Justine Keay announced they will resign and re-contest their seats, along with former Nick Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie from Adelaide.

Under normal circumstances the AEC would have announced the date for the by-elections by now but the PM has a number of complications that may see him wait until next year for the general election.

Having said that though, if he wants to make a contest of those seats he will lose under redistribution he would have to go earlier. He would then have to explain why he chose to have the by elections and a general election a short time later. No wonder he’s taking his time. Greg Jericho wrote a piece in Sunday’s Guardian in which he used the Phrase Liberals pretend to care while making sure nothing changes.”

Looking at the facts it is a phrase well-suited to this Government. Remember Greg Hunt when he was Environment Minister? Year upon year he assured us that he had our emissions under control yet year after year they were going up.

At the same time our commitment to the Paris Agreement was secure. The only better liar at the time was Tony Abbott.

They are doing the same with an energy policy saying they are doing something while simultaneously doing everything to work against it because of coal.

The same approach is taken with women’s representation in their own party. Jericho writes that:

“Many in the Liberal party wish to do nothing about it, and those who do are mostly content to do something that looks like something while studiously avoiding the one solution that has been shown to work.”

Jericho adds that the same principle is applied to the ABC and:

“… the latest greenhouse gas emissions data released by the Department of Environment last week showed that during the carbon price period emissions continually fell, and since its end they have continually raised.”

But back to the by elections. In Federal by-elections issues pertaining to the individual seat are mainly put aside to focus on the seat in a federal context and the events of the time.

Because the election hangs heavily over these by-elections the victor will be able to claim a tactical victory. But finally, not withstanding what they finally come up with during the campaign, some policy issues will be put to the test. The spoils of victory will be an enormous, almost unmeasurable advantage. For the Libs not to stand candidates in two seats and by doing so not give their supporters a vote is poor political judgement. Particularly as they are likely to lose three others in redistributions adds to it.

For the conservatives it’s their massive tax cuts to big business and the recent budget. For Labor its fairness and better services. In between there are extenuating circumstances but I would rather be selling Labor’s policies than the Coalitions.

An observation

”I find it impossible to imagine that the Australian people would be so gullible as to elect for a third term a government that has performed so miserably in the first two. But they might.”


My thought for the day

“Truth is pure yet fragile and requires delicacy in delivery. There is however times when it needs some force to make it register.”


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  1. Harry

    Unbelievabull is a fitting epithet for snake oil salesman Turnbull.

  2. babyjewels10

    Turnbull, the cardboard cut-out man.

  3. Kaye Lee

    “This description of Malcolm Turnbull, frankly, is the truth of it.”

    It may have been what we thought the truth about Malcolm Turnbull was back when the description was written in December 2014. Any claim to being the most trusted politician in Australia has long since been proved false. Malcolm is the ultimate sell-out. The “raffish smile” is actually a vacuous silly inappropriate grin from an inadequate person who cannot even lead his own party let alone the nation.

  4. helvityni

    “… an inadequate person who cannot even lead his own party let alone the nation. ”

    That just about sums up the man, well said Kaye Lee.

  5. Glenn Barry

    Honesty is the minimum prerequisite that Turnbull cannot even vault

  6. Glenn Barry

    …and…I won’t shower Poorlene with adulation, but she’s just withdrawn her support for the LNP corporate tax plan

  7. Kaye Lee

    Pauline is a fool who is happy to vote for anything in exchange for completely unrelated horsetrading. She said she would vote for the tax cuts if they did an apprenticeship pilot program. Because they didn’t put money aside for that in the budget, she is withdrawing her support. She also said she was angry that they haven’t given in to her other demands to reduce immigration, build a coal fired power station in north Queensland and cut spending. The woman is mad as a hatter.

  8. Wam

    Do you remember the days of the lemon, fitzhylobatidae, the whining husic and the media like richo and phillip adams? They eventually got to shorten and gillard was gone.
    Trumballs hasn’t got slimes of that calibre?
    Besides, just as pence is far more dangerous than trump, who would replace trumballs that could win the next election? QED trumballs is safe and on target to win

  9. johno

    Isn’t Malcolm Roberts one of Pauline’s advisors now. Malcolm would be pushing for that coal fired power station. Malcolm would be quite worried that plants aren’t getting enough CO2.

  10. James O'Neill

    Two points about the delayed by-elections. The first is that the Opposition numbers are reduced for an indefinite period, thereby reducing the risk of Turnbull losing a parliamentary vote. In other words, a cynical exercise in arse covering.
    Secondly, the people in the five electorates are deprived of representation for an indefinite time. Turnbull won’t care because none of the electorates voted a Coalition member, but it makes a further mockery of his pretensions to democracy and the rule of law.

  11. Andrew Smith

    Me thinks, from reading the Oz today featuring Pauline Hanson on front page, the powers that be (NewsCorp/IPA) are unhappy with Turnbull and are using Hanson as a reminder to get cracking, or else….

  12. Kronomex

    I think Bishop is dreaming if she thinks the CCP is going to back down first, if anything our federal government will buckle before they do.

    What’s going to make it worse is

    We can expect attacks in their media and veiled economic threats from the CCP and it’s army of apologists and, sod it, suckups, here to go into confected rage about xenophobia, attacks on a “great” man, etc. I forsee much backing down and cap tugging by Trembles and Co. to try an make it all go away.

  13. DrakeN

    Greg Jericho is consistently accurate in his contributions in the Guardian Australia site.
    He confines himself to economics and rarely passes comment on anything else.
    But money isn’t the be-all and end-all of society.
    We need clearminded analyises and commentary on the state of the nation’s psyche, its cultural activities beyond Arts and Theatre doings to which commentary is usually constrained, the corrupt and corrosive activities of Party politicking and religious doctrine, and the ruinous malfeasance of corporate unscrupulousness.
    A Federal Independent Crime and Corruption Commission, adequately funded, with Terms of Reference as broad as possible, is the only reasonable response to the current diabolical state of the Nation’s affairs.
    Anything less will be akin to a bandaid on a severed limb.

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