1. Has Australian politics jumped the shark?
“Jumped the shark” is not a usual phrase for me, but Urban Dictionary says:
- The beginning of the end. Something is said to have “jumped the shark” when it has reached its peak and begun a downhill slide to mediocrity or oblivion.
Here’s Mark David’s take on Scott Morrison post the Wentworth by-election:
Laura Tingle wrote a piece A week later, it’s nearly like the Wentworth by-election trouncing never happened, and then went on leave. Will she bother coming back?
In the end she asks whether it is possible for our new PM to change policy on anything. Seems not:
- it turns out he is just as trapped by the destructive forces tearing conservative politics apart as Malcolm Turnbull ever was.
Michelle Grattan says Now Malcolm Turnbull is the sniper at the window.
I think she got that wrong. Malcolm is now free and can tell the truth, rather than make up stories to fit an untenable position. This could get interesting. On Thursday 8 November at 8pm there will be a special of Malcolm, by himself, on Q&A.
I think if people ask questions he may be inclined to give straight answers, which could be fun. The ‘real’ Malcolm may be back, minus the ambition to be PM.
Why Morrison and his like go on Alan Jones show I’ll never figure. Seems there is a prerequisite that if you don’t agree with Jones there’s trouble. Also you can’t expect to get into the sewer and come up smelling roses.
Turnbull has found a new gig with the Greater Talent Network (GTN) in New York, where he gives speeches for an expected $US75,000 a time plus air fares and accommodation. Seems, like Julia Gillard, he has credibility on the international scene he lacked at home.
Newspoll came out last Monday with Labor ahead 54-46 TPP. The real interest was in ScoMo’s personal rating which went negative in about 8 weeks, a tad longer than Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd Mk II. For Malcolm Turnbull it took 6 months Julia Gillard took 8 months, John Howard took 1 year 2 months, and Rudd Mk I took 2 years 4 months.
PJ Keating took no time at all, because he never had a positive rating.
Since Morrison became PM, his net approvals have been +2, +5, +7 and now -3. Turnbull’s first four net approvals were +18, +25, +35 and +32.
A sputter or two before the candle went out, or “a downhill slide to mediocrity” without reaching a peak.
Meanwhile Bill Shorten just isn’t newsworthy in the MSM, but Paula Mathewson says he has actually been very busy on social media, where he can communicate directly without the distortion of the MSM.
2. US mid-term elections
Trump on TV is hard to watch as he becomes more rabid before the US mid-term elections on Tuesday. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight looks at the House in The Battleground In The House Is Really Big — And That Makes Life Hard For Republicans.
There are about 100 seats in play in the election for the House of Representatives, the Democrats only need 23 more to take charge.
Silver says that if things go roughly to form nationwide, the Democrats almost certainly will get there but it would be hard to circle more than about 12 or 15 of these districts that can safely be predicted to wind up in Democrats’ hands.
On the Senate, Google tells me:
- The U.S. Senate has 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats (including two independents). The 2018 Senate election takes place on November 6, 2018. There are 35 seats up in 2018*, of which 26 are held by Democrats. That party will need to gain 2 seats to take control.
Silver says the Democrats Need A Systematic Polling Error To Win The Senate and even that might not be enough. He says Trump on their models had a 3 out of 10 chance of winning in 2016. The democrats have even less chance of taking the Senate.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for Stacey Abrams: The Deep South woman vying to make history. If she wins in Georgia she will be the country’s first black female governor.
For anyone who thinks voting is fair in the USA, have a look at Wikipedia’s extensive article Voter suppression in the United States.
After the mid-terms, expect to hear more about what Robert Mueller is up to. One way or another we will probably find out what Mueller thinks Trump and his crew did in 2016, but will Trump be forced to testify where he’s bound to perjure himself, will Trump fire Mueller, will it end in the Supreme Court where Trump might find what black letter law means, or…?
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are specialises in analysing Google searches. He says that in surveys, people exaggerate, try to say what their better self thinks they should say, or treat it as a joke. In any case, the opinions and information from surveys is unreliable.
On social media people lie shamelessly, trying to make a good impression.
When they search Google, they are being honest with themselves. It’s like a secret confessional as to what is on their mind.
I gather all Seth has to go on is the time, place and the exact wording of a search. So after Obama makes a speech you will find searches like ‘Obama + n***er + jokes’. There is no ID or demographic information directly. Seth discerns patterns in the searches and relates them to real-world events and media statements.
Here I’ll just mention that while he thinks the contributions to Trump’s election success were multifactorial, he needed a lot of ducks in a row to win, the standout was his appeal to racism. Seth says racism is east rather than west in the US, but then it is north as well as south, not just south.
4. Manufacturing job surge
- Manufacturing jobs are experiencing a resurgence, defying doom and gloom forecasts following the demise of the automotive assembly sector.
Analysis of recent ABS job figures shows that more than 85,000 jobs have been added to the sector in the past year, returning to levels not seen since 2010.
Experts say the growth has been fuelled by the low Australian dollar, which has increased export demand for high quality food and beverages as well as component car parts.
Employment in manufacturing has declined steadily for the past 40 years, falling from 1.38 million jobs in 1973 to 870,000 at the end of 2017.
However, strong growth in the year to August 2018 has seen that figure jump past 956,000, rising from 7.1 per cent of total employment last year to 7.6 per cent.
Don’t break out the champagne, lest it turn out to be a sampling error. However, it seems we hit the bottom in 2016, 2017 was level, now it’s on the up.
Food and beverage accounts for 26.5 per cent or 246,000, fuelled by strong export growth to Asia. Other examples include:
- Geelong wheel maker Carbon Revolution announced a $100 million expansion of its manufacturing facility and the promise of 500 new jobs after signing export contracts with global car makers.
Queensland company Northern Light Technologies, which manufactures unique communication products for underground mines and tunnels, has experienced 20 per cent growth over the past year and expects the same or more over the next.