1. Morrison muffs his lines and Turnbull in trouble
Laura Tingle talking to Phillip Adams gave Scott Morrison 3 out of 10 for his speech to the National Press Club. We were promised vision and leadership when they turfed out Tony, now it looks like tinkering at the edges.
Teflon Turnbull had a bad week.It started with a Fairfax-Ipsos poll showing the margins narrowing to 52-48, less than the 2013 election, with the LNP set to lose 10 seats, making a snap double dissolution election more likely.
Morrison looked in a muddle, obsessed by bracket creep and reigning in spending, so by the end of the week Turnbull decided to go completely negative on Labor’s negative gearing plans, saying the value of the family home would be “smashed”. He was outdoing Tony Abbott.
Meanwhile Lenore Taylor explains the four things we learnt from Scott Morrison:
- 1. The Coalition’s personal income tax cuts will be modest
2. The states are facing the ‘fiscal cliff’ on hospital and schools funding on their own
3. The problem the Coalition once said was urgent and called a ‘debt and deficit disaster’ will take a very, very long time to fix
4. All of which means the next election is shaping up as a choice between income tax cuts and services.
Commentators are starting to run out of patience. Michelle Grattan on Friday Scott Morrison struggles to stay afloat as he treads water on tax says:
- Turnbull is relying on his popularity and style to help him through this policy-free period.
Shock horror, this week could be a turning point!
- Evidence of a direct link between Zika and birth abnormalities is yet to be proven and health researchers are questioning whether the number of cases of babies born with microcephaly has been overstated.
Microcephaly cases are hard to quantify, with different standards for head circumference used around the world.
The incidence of microcephaly:
- rose from an average of 160 per year to 3,000 in 2015. But of the 1,200 cases examined by Brazil’s Ministry of Health, only 38 per cent have turned out to be microcephaly and the Zika virus was only present in one in ten of the affected babies.
There are suspicions that a toxic larvicide introduced into Brazil’s water supplies to kill off mosquito larvae may be the real culprit.
However, the WHO still think the link with Zika is strong and Zika should be held guilty until proven innocent. They reckon they’ll know fairly soon.
There may be separate problems with Brazil’s water supply.
3. Will Wi-Fi fry your brain?
Probably not, according to eminent health professionals, who question whether the ABC Catalyst program suggesting that Wi-Fi networks and mobile phone use may be associated with brain cancer should ever have gone to air.
Not quite. Melbourne is also doing well. Both cities grew by about 3% last financial year. The rest of us are marking time or going backwards:
- The Perth economy has been hit especially hard in the aftermath of the mining boom. Its growth rate slumped to just 0.3 per cent in 2014-15, the lowest mark since the recession of 1991. Brisbane’s growth rate was 0.9 per cent in the year, the third lowest on record. GDP per capita fell in regional NSW, regional Victoria, all of Queensland, regional South Australia and Perth in the last financial year.
- The financial services sector was Sydney’s strongest performing industry followed by media and telecommunications, construction, retail and real estate services.
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.
The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:
The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.