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Malcolm In The Muddle – Election Date Announced … Sort Of!

Driving home tonight, I heard the ABC commentator tell me that after weeks of dithering on policy, Malcolm Turnbull was now sounding decisive and determined. He’d decided that the Senate must pass the ABCC legislation or else he was calling a double dissolution. And just to show how determined he was, he’d called Parliament back so that the Budget could be brought down on May 3rd, instead of May 10th.

Of course, there’s always a bit of shadow puppet theatre involved in politics. If you look at the people, you’ll probably miss the point. It’s the shadows that are the real show. In order to move the Budget forward by a week, preparations needed to be made. For example, the Great Hall is needed, and by a fortunate coincidence it just happened to be booked by the government for May 3rd. Mind you, this was done several weeks ago, for an event. Exactly what the event was doesn’t seem to matter any more, because it’ll be Budget night!

And the Budget needed to be moved forward because the last possible date to call a double dissolution was May 11th. It would have been impractical to have brought down the Budget on May 10th, then call an election the next day. It would have denied the Opposition leader the right of reply to the Budget, as well as making it impossible for the Senate to pass the supply bills.

Yep, the idea that there was ever any doubt that we’d have anything other than a July 2nd double dissolution was the sort of fantasy that only the politicians, the uninformed and those journalists paid to fill newspapers with speculation about the date of the election could indulge in.

But now, Turnbull is out there, determined, decisive, strong, in control. I expect we’ll hear a lot about how he’s turned the corner, he’s grasped the nettle, he’s taken the bull by the horns, he’s a true leader and all those stories about how he was being led by the nose and not game to stand up to the extreme elements in his party will be somehow less important.

Yep, I expect we’ll be hearing about how the ABCC is necessary to keep those building unions in line. And if there should be arguments about the necessity of workplace safety or should anyone bring up injuries or deaths in the construction industry, why they’ll just be using tragedies for political advantage and one should never do that unless it’s when four workers are killed installing insulation and it’s clearly Labor’s fault for not having enough oversight.

And I expect that we’ll hear about the lawlessness and thuggery of the building unions. Turnbull will demand that Shorten refuse to take money from them because of their alleged criminality. Which is rather funny considering the Liberal Party’s Millennium Forum took Mafia money.

We’ll get the Budget and it’ll contain company tax cuts because – as Arthur “I don’t recall” Sinodinos told us – company tax cuts benefit everyone because companies will employ more people and give people higher wages. I guess this also means that a cut to company tax takes away the need to cut penalty rates.

But won’t these higher wages lead to bracket creep and create a strong case for personal tax cuts? Undoubtedly. We may even get a modest cut now with the promise of more later when “things improve” and the milk and honey is flowing and the companies have such increases in profits that the manna once again falls gently from heaven and we’ve been saved from the soaring rents and falling house prices under Shorten. Similarly, we’ll hear of a future where every worker is paid less but somehow earns more.

We’ll hear of how “Minister for The Greatest Story Ever Told” Greg Hunt has saved the Great Barrier Reef by getting it taken off the endangered list and so the recent stories of it dying at a rapid rate must just be the result of the Reef not actually keeping up with the news. He may even tell us how well the Direct Action is working because, even though emissions are rising, companies are promising to use the money they’ve been given wisely in the future.

And there’ll be promises of ships and submarines being built in Adelaide, Budget surpluses, lower unemployment, cuts to spending, but no cuts to services, promises not privatise anything more, accusations that Labor is just running a scare campaign because there’s no plan to do anything at all and WorkChoices is dead, buried, created and don’t you think you can trust us enough to give us a Senate majority because, well, it worked so well last time. Otherwise, you’ll just have people slowing things down by asking questions and, even worse, wanting answers.

Scrutiny. That doesn’t suit a determined, decisive go-getter like Mr Turnbull. Why, it’s positively undemocratic!

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18 comments

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  1. Stuart Dean

    This should have been held in conjunction with the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, Mr Speaker, which ultimately achieved very little and at great cost, Mr Speaker. Bring on the ABCC and defer a D.D.The ensuing election could then be fought over fascism and the cynicism of the L-NP in their denial of a Federal ICAC, It will hurt more people and workers, unionists. Rage will build and a positive progressive party result may have more chance than now. Or am I dreaming?

  2. panzeroojack

    ironically it was the senate which has saved this government from itself. The bills blocked by the senate would have demonstrated to the bulk of the Australian people just how unfair, out of touch and extremist the government really is. Because the senate blocked those measures the MSM was able to sugercoat Turnbull and his band of thugs.
    Now with the voting changes and the impending wipe out of the cross bench/ possible gains for the LNP in the senate, we have the very real prospect of a government which is voted back in, will inflict horror upon the Australian people.
    Though the bigger elephant in the room is the unspoken/ unheard of concept that maybe, just maybe the LNP will ditch Turnbull and reinstall Abbott. Abbott back in charge with a senate majority.
    That is the stuff of nightmares, but also very plausible. Not that anyone in the MSM is allowed to scare voters with that scenario, or what the LNP might do in a second term.

  3. Carol Taylor

    For all the rah-rah applauding from the MSM about Turnbull’s so-called ‘clever tactics’, I wonder if any of these journalists will actually bother to ask Turnbull which policies he will inflict on Australia – or will this election be yet another policy-free zone such as MSM journalists permitted to happen last election. I seem to recall much loud applauding about ‘tactics’ and ‘cleverness’ about Abbott then as well.

  4. Jaquix

    So Malcolm has been lying through his teeth all this time, when he told us the election would be at the normal time? Now he has confected this sudden emergency and gets headlines about being “decisive at last”. If that were true, why did he need to read NOTES to deliver this supposedly important announcement? A barrister doesnt need notes …..

  5. Florence nee Fedup

    Nothing stopping Labor having three weeks very public debate of ABCC, letting it go through with promise they will repeal it when they get into government

    PM would have no DD. A shonky budget to deliver. Morrison is no longer in charge of budget. Parkinson is over viewing all budget discussions.

    Parliament would be sitting for budget session. PM facing qt every day.

    I suspect PM hasn’t much control at all.

  6. Rossleigh

    As I’ve pointed out many times, one of the things that makes me wonder about the mental capacity of those giving us the news is when the newsreader or commentator announces the results of a poll and tells us: “This poll is within the three percent margin of error”!
    What they actually mean to say is that this poll HAS a three percent margin of error… Without polling everyone, there’s no way of knowing that it really IS within the accepted error margin and not an unusually inaccurate poll.

    Having said that, I’m intrigued that it was Newspoll getting all the attention when historically Roy Morgan has been more accurate. Latest Morgan Poll here:

    http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/6723-morgan-poll-federal-voting-intention-march-21-2016-201603210505

  7. margcal

    How would it work if all the independent media sites got together, chose three independent candidates in each state for the Senate and campaigned to vote them 1,2,3 below the line?

    I’d love to serve it up to both the LNP and Merde-och.

  8. You can't be serious?

    I say to Labor and the cross benchers give them the ABCC. The cross benchers need to look out for themselves and Australia. They were in the end the only thing that stood between us and the monstrous LNP ( and of course Labor and the Greens who could not have done it without the all sorts).
    I prefer the cross benchers stay there. They have done a good job so far. Results and outcomes are what matter – not the empty promises, back flips and slippery weasel words of the Government that black is white and white is black.
    When Labor get back in they can repeal it if they have the Senate numbers.
    I won’t be voting Greens this time due to what they have just done to themselves and us via the so called Senate reforms.
    We are in a fight for our good society against this extremist, neo-con, religious wreck the joint LNP.
    We need all the help we can get including from the independent and minor party Senators who have more sense and sensibility than the entire stupid, destructive LNP.

  9. You can't be serious?

    Yep tried to insult the intelligence of voters again by expecting us to believe the hogwash that no DD was actually planned and that the budget was being planned fro delivery at the usual time. What John Elliott used to say!
    No one in their personal and business relationships would accept such bald faced duplicity and we should accept it even less in our politicians. We should not reward it when it happens by voting for those who treat us this way.

  10. keerti

    you forgot to mention the bit about how reducing tax for companies whic will then pay bigger dividends to their shareholders and result in the rest of us getting bigger wages?

  11. Rossleigh

    Just read a few articles from tomorrow’s papers online…

    Ok, can we just forget the absurdity of tomorrow’s papers being here today, and concentrate on the other absurdity for a moment…

    Yep, it seems that Turnbull now has a clear plan. He’s going to the election in July. Such clarity. What a vision for the future! And it seems that he’s had this all along, so we can’t say that he has no idea and he’s indecisive. We can’t even talk about the fact that this clearly means that when he’s been saying that the dates for the budget and the election haven’t been decided yet, he’s been lying through his teeth!

  12. keerti

    Nothing new about that!

  13. mark delmege

    i can see pants dropping and buckles at knees

  14. Möbius Ecko

    Rossleigh I am fed up with the media over Malcolm, and especially the ABC. Not only are they now saying Turnbull is suddenly decisive, after singing his praises from the moment he took the leadership, the ABC this morning is saying that Turnbull’s double dissolution threat is a master stroke that has caught the Senate by surprise and off guard.

    WTF, caught the Senate by surprise. Only the dimmest of the dim not in politics could not have seen this move by Turnbull, as for the Senate they have been talking of it happening for weeks now if not for longer. So how in hell have they been surprised?

    Then there’s Turnbull’s supposed achievements he’s currently talking up. They are all either previous Labor initiated, a couple going back to Howard, or they are Abbott’s woeful policies. Abbott has been quick to point this out whilst adding the bullshit about his “strong” performance. If throwing away billions to turn back a few leaky wooden boats and incarcerate hapless peoples in hell holes is a measure of success then Abbott has set a very low bar for success indeed.

  15. Rossleigh

    Yes, Mobius, given that the media have been speculating about a July 2nd double dissolution for the past couple of months, it’s about as surprising as when John Howard announced that he wouldn’t be standing down to give Peter Costello the job, or when we discovered that Liberace was gay.
    Perhaps, they work on the theory that politicians don’t read the articles and so they can just speculate and nobody will take them seriously becauae they get it wrong so often!

  16. Rossleigh

    Although to be fair, it does sound like Scott Morrison was taken completely by surprise!

    “May 10, May 10,” Morrison told Ray Hadley at 9.30 am, “We’re preparing for May 10 Ray, I can’t be clearer than that.”

  17. jim

    Yea even on the ABC yesterday Mr Turnball was very “cunning”, very “smart” a “shrewd business man” while Bill Shorten had a plan for Australia, what was cut out was Mr Shorten had a plan for Australia’s “future” imo this happens 99% of the time (Cutting the bits the Liberals don’t want us to hear) . Do the Liberals really think the average Joe is really that dumb? you…you… bet you is.

  18. paul walter

    Thinking on Carol Taylor’s remark, it’s become a theme, the recognition that the government has used the election spectacle to draw attention away the manifold and parlous black hole that represents its response to the long list of broken promises, wacky policy, a weird sadism toward those weaker who can’t defend themselves, topped by the current real world problems this country and globe face.

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