Saturday salon 24/12

1. Party time for the Tories

Christmas is the silly season, it seems, for LNP politicians. George Christiansen likes to keep himself in the news. Earlier this month he cam back from the Philippines praising President Rodrigo Duterte for his program of summarily shooting people involved in drugs. Duterte showed the way himself when he was mayor, personally shooting three people to show how it is done.

Now Christiansen is saying he may have to leave the Liberal Party unless the Turnbull Government starts acting like a proper conservative government. There have been consistent rumours that Cory Bernadi is on the move also. Both are fans of Trump.

Bernadi says Trump has inspired him to be a catalyst for change. Tony Windsor says he should do Turnbull a favour piss off. Jeff Kennett thinks Bernadi is not worth the paper his name is written on. He’s a nobody.

However, Jeff thinks Liberal governments would have to learn to work with One Nation to get policy outcomes.

Katherine Murphy likes the idea of a conservative split, as it would free up the Liberal party to be truly liberal. Now there’s an idea!

Erich Abetz, helpful as usual, said everyone’s voice was heard when Abbott was PM.

2. ANU Election Study

Laura Tingle has a good summary. If it’s pay-walled google her name and this sentence:

    Faith in the way democracy and politics works in Australia dropped to its lowest level in almost 40 years with voters in the long-running ANU Election Study, particularly voters in their 30s, finding their yearning for “good government” unfulfilled by the major parties.

It’s not a crisis, rather a wake-up call to our political elites.

Health and Medicare was by far the most important issue mentioned by voters in the election campaign, so Bill Shorten got that one right. Bill himself scored 4.22 on a 10 point scale, while Malcolm got 4.94, both in negative territory.

Australians don’t think the government is much use on the economy:

    Just 7 per cent of Australians thought that the government had had a good effect on the country’s economy over the previous year.

    Just 13 per cent thought it would have a good effect over the coming year. These are the lowest figures the survey has recorded since first asking the question in 1987.

Trust in government has declined from 43% in 2007 to 26% in 2016, the lowest figure recorded since the question was first asked in 1969.

    Asked about their satisfaction levels “with the way democracy works in Australia”, 60 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with democracy and 40 per cent said they were not satisfied. This compared with 72 per cent/28 per cent in 2013 and a recent peak of 86 per cent/14 per cent in 2007.

That was when Kevin came down from Queensland to help.

In trust in democracy we rank in the middle of OECD countries.

3. Hard left faction forms within Greens aiming to ‘end capitalism’

I don’t think Greens are supposed to have factions, but Senator Lee Rhiannon has decided they need one dedicated to the “fight to bring about the end of capitalism”.

    The formation of the group calling itself “Left Renewal” is an escalation of an ongoing battle between the so-called eastern bloc of the Greens and the group they dismiss as “tree Tories”.

Bob Brown says it looks like a hoax, and has pretty much nothing to do with the environment.

4. Housing affordability inquiry makes no recommendations

We’ve had a parliamentary committee inquiring into housing affordability for yonks, and it has come up dry. If Turnbull’s mob thinks that is good enough, they should think again. Graham Young in an opinion piece tells us that home ownership within the 25-34 age group has fallen from 60 to 48%.. The problem, he says, is not so much the repayments, which have effectively fallen 30% with lower interest rates. Young people simply cannot rake together the deposit.

One solution is staring at us, he says. Allow people to use their super for a deposit on a first home. Canada has already done so effectively, with one in eight participating.

Along the way he says everyone knows that doing something about negative gearing won’t reduce prices. Someone should tell our Mr Turnbull. Remember house prices being “smashed” by labor’s policy?

5. Berlin suspect shot in Milan

Anis Amri, the chief suspect of the Berlin market attack, has been killed in a shootout with police in Milan. Germany has suffered a number of violent incidents with refugees and immigrants this year, but the event is most reminiscent of the Nice attack in July, where around 84 were killed by a lorry.

For a comprehensive account there is Der Spiegel. One of the issues is the difficulty in establishing the true identity of asylum seekers who have no case for asylum, and returning them to source countries which are not keen to take them back. Here we lock such people up, by bipartisan policy. In Germany there are so many that detention is probably not feasible.

There will be other political ramifications of course, like Marie Le Pen (if you can read that, I can’t) who is using the incident to criticise the Shengen system, which allows free travel between about a dozen countries..

While that was going on, and while the Russian ambassador was shot in Turkey, we heard nothing about the man who stormed into a Z├╝rich mosque and shot three people.

In Melbourne a terrorist plot to disrupt Christmas was avoided. Good police work and probably a bit of luck. This one will be with us for many years.

6 thoughts on “Saturday salon 24/12”

  1. I’m astonished …. that the ANU study showed so many people believing that the government had had a good effect on the economy over that past year. Who are these people? Are they likely to be a threat to our way of life? Are they organized, concentrated and militant – or does that 7% simply indicate an alarming level of mass delusion in the country?

  2. Dunno, Graham, ScoMo might have a few mates but not that many. Maybe some people just wanted to cheer the researchers up a bit.

  3. It is a bit hard to take an alleged “Green Renewal” faction that no-one admits to belonging too seriously even though there are some members of the Greens who have serious doubts about capitalism. All I can really say is that I see no evidence of factionalism in the Qld Greens even though there is a range of opinions on most issues.

  4. Part of the problem with housing affordability is that, if anything is done to prick the current housing bubble a lot of voters will be caught in a situation where they owe more on their home than the house will sell for. The politics of the situation encourages people like Turnbull to defend negative gearing in terms of threatening the value of people’s homes.
    It also encourages politicians to offer things like first home buyers subsidies even though the end result is a boost to housing prices. While I am in favour of super being used early for critical expenditures one wonders what effect using super to pay deposits would have on housing prices and what the overseas experience is.

  5. Canada apparently has one in eight in the 25-34 age group using super. I recall the Vancouver, for example, has house prices somewhere near the Sydney level. I doubt one country’s experience would tell us much, but I suspect the effect would not be huge.

    On Left Renewal, it looks like Lee Rhiannon herself is a one-person faction, doing a fine job keeping Tanya Plibersek and Albo in their seats.

  6. John D.: The housing quagmire is a self-correcting one – though I think some of the housing stock will be burnt down or rendered uninhabitable during the correction period.

    Obviously, our great-&-glorious leaders think the worst that will happen is a re-run of the squatting that happened in the ’80s and ’90s in some European cities. Those happy days have long since gone – and housing injustice is likely to be a compelling recruiting tool for some of the nastier groups on the edge of society.

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