Tuesday 19 June 2018
After further consideration and another clue I am prepared to say that it is still possible to have a federal election in September or October.
The next two weeks of the sitting of the Parliament the Government has a full agenda and noticeably missing is a bill to ban foreign donations.
The Prime Minister has advised he will make an apology to the children found to have been abused by the Royal Commission on 22 October. It could be delayed or bought forward if a snap election were considered to be in the Government’s best interests.
If it were to win the Government might do something about foreign donations in its next term, but why would it forego the millions it could collect for this one? And Malcolm wouldn’t be inclined to put his hand in his own pocket again. For Labor’s part it gave up this generous cash cow 18 months ago whereas the Liberal Party has its hand out to anyone who needs a favour or two, including the Chinese, which is said to be about $3 million. Note no other comparative democracies accept foreign donations.
The bill seems to have disappeared into a black hole of the Government’s own digging. Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann denies the Government is being deliberate sluggish with it.
It’s just that next election is top of mind and takes precedence over anything else. Of course, the Government runs the risk of a public backlash given the current talk of interference in our domestic politics.
Early in the New Year it is believed that the Prime Minister told the Party Room that it was in a strong position to attack Labor on National security. Shorten though is making it difficult by agreeing with anything he says on the subject:
“But efforts to paint the Opposition as weak in this area are undermined by selectivity. This is especially the case in light of government ministers frequently quoting our domestic spy chief, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s Duncan Lewis, warning that foreign interference in our domestic politics is now at unprecedented levels. This is a claim we are expected to take at face value, as there has been no evidence put forward to substantiate it.”
On Insiders Sunday 10 June Attorney-General Christian Porter talked about this threat, making it perfectly clear that it needed urgent attention before the next farce in our democratic procedures: the citizenship by-elections.
The left-wing advocacy group GetUp! says:
“ … this is exactly what the government is doing, even in this amended legislation. Its national director, Paul Oosting, says the suggestion that it is about reducing offshore influence in our political system “is a farce”. At its core, he says, this legislation is an attempt to protect the Turnbull government from criticism from its own citizens. Very broad definitions of national security, sabotage and espionage catch in their net demonstrations, sit-ins, whistleblowers and investigative journalists. All are liable to new fines or jail terms.”
It is nothing more than an attempt to wedge Labor using the most draconian legislation possible. An imperative leading up to, and into the upcoming campaigns is that national security be front of mind in the electorate. If that means scaring people, then so be it.
The Coalition – since 2013 – have brought in more security bills than they have had people charged under them. It believes national security is one of weaknesses. Personally, I would suggest that after 34 Newspoll losses it is one of the Coalition’s.
On the one hand if Turnbull were to win the three seats it is contesting he would most likely call a general election. Mind you, he would have to defy history to do it. On the other hand if he lost all three, his leadership would come into contention.
Conversely, if Labor were to lose both Braddon in Tasmania and Longman in Queensland then Shorten might find his leadership in a spot of bother with Albo sitting in the wings just waiting. Whatever happens, it will give us some insight into how the electorate is thinking.
My thought for the day
“The real enemy of neo conservative politics in Australia is not Labor or indeed democratic socialism. It is simply what Australians affectionately call. A fair go.”