That’s the message from Malcolm Turnbull’s son Alex:
- “This (leadership spill) isn’t exactly a first for Australian politics, but it does lead you to the conclusion that a stable government might not be as stable as some people would like you to think,” he said.
“To me, this particular event seems to show the Liberal party has been taken over, frankly from extremists on the hard right who aren’t particularly motivated to win an election and aren’t particularly motivated to serve the general public – they just want to pursue a crazy agenda.”
He then turned to energy policy:
- “…there is no way coal can compete anymore, renewables have gotten too cheap, firming costs are reasonable, and really there is no trade-off anymore to lowering your power bills and reducing emissions,” he said.
He then said there was one way voters of Wentworth could intervene to “pull the Liberal Party back from the brink”. Don’t vote for the Liberal Party.
That’s a headline from the AFR which appeared online, but somehow did not make it to the dead tree version. Here’s the state by state graphic:
After the expansion to 151 seats and redistribution in SA and Victoria the ALP will start the election campaign next year with a notional 71 seats, the Coalition 75 seats and there are five crossbenchers.
The gain in SA/NT for the LNP gives it no extra seats if evenly distributed.
In WA Pearce, held by Attorney-General Christian Porter, Hasluck, held by Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt, and Swan, held by Steve Irons could go to Labor.
In Qld Labor could gain Dickson, held by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, as well as Capricornia, Forde, Flynn, Petrie, Dawson, Bonner, Leichhardt and Brisbane.
In NSW Labor could gain Banks, held by Immigration Minister David Coleman, as well as Gilmore, Robertson and Page.
In Victoria, now 56-44 to Labor, the seats of Corangamite, Chisholm and La Trobe could fall.
- Nationally, Labor leads the Coalition by 53 per cent to 47 per cent.
Labor’s primary vote on an aggregate basis is 34 per cent, slightly down from 35 per cent at the election, and the Coalition’s primary vote is 35 per cent, a slump from the 42 per cent it received at the election. The Greens are on 13 per cent, up from 10 per cent on election day, and One Nation is on 7 per cent.
The poll doesn’t help in relation to Tasmania or The Greens, but if The Greens improve from 10 to 13 they could be a chance here and there.
Newspoll should be out this week, so we’ll see how that goes.
3. Philip Ruddock’s religious freedom review
Seems the Government wanted to keep this in the can until after the Wentworth by-election. Bits were leaked, and David Marr for one was blunt:
Let’s face it: throwing kids out of school for being gay is disgusting. Not for a long, long time has such an idea been respectable in this country. But in 2018 Philip Ruddock’s religious freedom review has kept it on the table.
This isn’t about freedom. It’s cruelty.
Ruddock’s team should have knocked it on the head instead of recommending a few protections. And politicians calling, pathetically, for no fresh laws allowing faith schools to expel gay kids should be demanding the practice ends right now everywhere in Australia.
Derryn Hinch said Strip funding from private schools that exclude gay teachers, students.
Should our money be funding bigotry?
Scott Morrison, for whatever reason has announced that he will legislate to stop schools excluding gay students, overriding state legislation which varies around the country, and will write to Shorten to invite Labor to work on a bipartisan approach.
Watching Insiders this morning, there is little doubt that this issue has been an own goal for those who started it. Also, it really would not have been resolved in the way it has been absent Wentworth.
No mention of teachers, however, and laws will not stop bigotry. Consider the story of Jess, who was the secretly gay captain of a private Christian school. She came out early the next year:
- “I came out on Facebook to my friends and that Facebook post was printed and taken to the school and then distributed to principals and the heads of schools.
“It was discussed that I have my name taken off the captains’s board.”
“At the time I was tutoring students on premises and I was told by a teacher there that it would probably be best if I take my tutoring off-site.”
“I lost all the friends I went to school with and felt like crap.”
4. The power of Alan Jones
Radio broadcaster Alan Jones ended up apologising, kind of, for comments he made to Opera House chief Louise Herron, after calling for her to be sacked during a debate on the promotion of a horse race on the iconic sails.
There is an excellent article in The Saturday Paper on The power of Alan Jones if you can get in.
Alan Jones and Drew Hutton, founder of The Greens in Queensland, both grew up on the Darling Downs. They were associated when Jones was a teacher at Brisbane Boys Grammar. Hutton was a student. Jones coached Hutton in tennis and athletics outside school hours.
Hutton says Jones was indefatigable, up at 4.30am to hit the track at 5.00, then taught all day. If he liked you, he would do anything for you, if he didn’t your life was hell.
With contrasting political views, years later, from about 2010, they later collaborated in campaigning against coal seam gas, when Hutton moved to work full-time on Lock the Gate. Hutton says Jones is very intelligent, has a photographic memory, can absorb huge amounts of information, but broadcasts 150,000 words a week, and is sometimes dead wrong. Then the facts don’t matter.
Jones tried to destroy the Wagner family, who owned a quarry where the wall collapsed in the Lockyer Creek floods in 2011, wiping out Grantham and killing 21 people. Anyone with half a brain knew that the cloudburst on the Toowoomba Range overwhelmed everything, and could not have been held back by a mere quarry wall. Jones is appealing, but he’s been ordered to pay $3.7 million in a defamation case. It is said that he had a crack at the Wagners some 150 times on his program (from memory, not the article).
Rebecca Huntley is right in saying, I think, that Jones is only powerful because politicians think he is. The optics of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s decision to allow advertising were awful.
However, Jones is so vicious there really should be a law against him using his position to that effect. In other words, he should be sin-binned for abuse of power. There should be a concept of a ‘fit and proper person’ in broadcasting. Jones is a serial offender to the extent that we should consider a rule change.
Laura Tingle’s weekend article for the AFR and the ABC is a bit more complex, but I think she blames the lack of deliberative discourse from politicians and public figures. It leaves the field open for the shock jocks.
I note that Bill Shorten, in accommodating the small business tax cuts said:
“We are determined to restore people’s faith in politics.
People are tired of the Punch and Judy show in politics.”
5. The wisdom of John Howard
I was surprised at how articulate John Howard was in A Conversation on Culture recorded 10 July 2018 Centre for Independent Studies, broadcast on Big Ideas.
He is a classic liberal free speech man, and worries about how dissenting social and religious views are shouted down in the name of tolerance and inclusion. What was striking however, was his delineation of the basic requirements of a civilised, decent society:
- a robust parliamentary system of democracy,
- an uncorrupt judicial system,
- a free and critical media.
He left out, IMO, elements that allow all people equally to fulfill their potential, to become what they can be.
Things like equal access to a fair justice system, the basics of food, safety and shelter, also equal access to free education (schooling, university TAFE), free and equal access to medical services and hospital, the provision of a social safety net that does not excoriate and blame, decent retirement and end of life care support. In other words, the elements of a welfare state, which we pretty much attained post WW2, and now appear to be moving away from.
5. Australia’s alt-right movement plan to join major political parties and influence their policy agendas from within
The full story has been uncovered in the latest RN Background Briefing Haircuts and hate: The rise of Australia’s alt-right.
These are serious fascists, worse than the “extremists on the hard right” Alex Turnbull worries about, although they are bad enough.
The Nats are alert and alarmed, so we’ll see how they go.
Good to see our ABC on the job with serious investigative journalism.
6. Wayne’s worry
Finally, in a segment after Background Briefing there was an interview with Wayne Swan, in 2011 the acclaimed world’s best finance minister, and now taking over as president of the ALP. Wayne reckons the world got through the GFC because the G20 came together (very much Kevin Rudd’s initiative, who convinced the US of the need).
His worry now is that any concerted action would be impossible with Trump as POTUS. Simple as that.
He also reminded us that Australia’s economy had grown be 30% compared with pre-GFC. Would we have done as well if the LNP had been in power at the time?