1. How does ScoMo intend to face up to parliament?
You will recall that back in December ScoMo closed parliament and scarpered rather than face up to a bill promoted by Kerryn Phelps on setting some rules which would see doctors’ assessments of health matters being taken seriously in relation to medical evacuations from Nauru and Manus Island.
Guess what, Kerryn Phelps is still there and still sees the same urgency in passing the bill. It is reckoned that if PM Scott Morrison had intended to go to an early election we would have heard about it last week. ScoMo must have a strategy of returning to parliament without being embarrassed. I look forward to seeing what it is.
Meanwhile, the election campaign itself, which started before Christmas, has now been resumed in earnest.
Newspoll narrowed a bit, within the margin or error, from 55-45 to Labor TPP to 53-47. Some people may have forgotten just how deranged they looked late last year.
Here’s the longer term primary vote:
It’s hard to see the massive disaffection for the major parties. There has been recent volatility, but since the people woke up in fright after the last election, nothing much has changed.
What has changed is the number of Liberals not recontesting, or jumping ship to run as independents, to be joined by high-profile independents having a crack. They are all claiming to be from the “sensible centre”, that is liberal/conservative, but not wanting to get into bed with the crazies currently attempting to govern the country.
Most are saying they want to do something about climate change. On Julia Banks having a crack at Greg Hunt’s seat, Paddy Manning asks, A challenging climate: Can independents force action on climate change?
If that is what they really want to do, the answer is simple. Vote for Labor, or if they prefer, The Greens.
As it is, come election, there will be multiple individual seat battles of interest. There is yet another sideshow created by ScoMO, parachuting Warren Mundine into Gilmore, against the wishes of the locals. This reminds Laura Tingle of the attempt to resurrect Peter Beattie magic in the Federal sphere in 2013 in the seat of Forde, a spectacular failure.
Here is the archived TPP for 2016, showing Labor ahead during the election period to 23 May, but then the situation flipped to become 51-49 in favour of the LNP by June 27. Mediscare arguably prevented a comfortable win. However, we have to conclude that Turnbull out-campaigned Shorten:
This one shows the world of pain the LNP has been in since dumping Turnbull, when at 51-49 behind they were within striking distance:
I think ScoMo and the Libs think they are back in the hunt if they get to 52-48 behind.
2. Brexit bumbles on
The British House of Commons can agree it hates no deal – but not on a way to prevent it. Parliament has now decided:
(a) not to seek an extension of Article 50
(b) to renegotiate the deal with the EU
(c) to have a deal.
The EU within minutes said the negotiated deal stands, the only alternative is no deal. Realistically the three options now are:
1. Slide into a ‘no deal’ Brexit
2. Revoke Article 50 and stay, to take a longer run at Brexit later.
3. The EU will decide that at the death it doesn’t want a ‘no deal’ Brexit, because it’s not in their interest either, and re-open negotiations.
Yanis Varoufakis has said that to negotiate with the EU with a deadline hanging over you is foolish. It advantages the big gorilla which is already advantaged because of size. However, he says now that to revoke Article 50 now would be an abnegation of democracy. Now:
If Brexit has an upside, it is that it has revealed the need for a “People’s Debate”, not only regarding the UK-EU relationship, but also the festering wounds that the British establishment has kept out of sight: the disenfranchisement of rural England, an archaic electoral system, the UK’s ailing economic model, and the Irish and Scottish questions. Crashing out of, or back into, the EU would negate this opportunity by thwarting such a People’s Debate.
So Brexit and fixit.
Jeremy Corbyn in all this seems to be straddling the barbed wire fence. His party is not united on the issue either. Moreover, he’s no doubt aware that the EU is basically neoliberal in its policies, and that his social-economic vision may be easier to achieve outside the EU framework.
3. It’s not fun to be old and poor
However, that is the fate of many Australians:
There is some discussion here, if you are allowed in. It’s true that the percentages above appear to be based on income. Owning the roof over your head makes a massive difference, and a more accurate index would take this into account. However, I’d agree with Max Chandler-Mather, Greens candidate for Griffith:
- We desperately need an increase to the aged pension and a major overhaul of how our society cares for an ageing population, including rapidly expanding a public aged care system that guarantees everyone a meaningful and enjoyable later life.
Indeed we do, especially because large segments of the population are being locked out of the housing market.
4. Australia loses gloss in corruptions index
Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018 released on Tuesday showed more than two-thirds of countries scoring below 50, on its scale where 100 is very clean and zero is very corrupt. Here’s the order for the first 22:
The AFR has the story.
Denmark is on 88 and New Zealand on 87. Germany and the UK are equal on 80. Back in 2012 we used to be on 85, and firmly in the top 10. We have now firmed our position in the second tier at 77.
I can’t blame John Howard for this one, but I do blame Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. They trashed the perception of decency in our politics and public institutions by being negative and routinely using lies in sloganeering and scare campaigns. Kill Bill and $200 billion in taxes (it’s over 10 years and maybe a few percentage points, leaving us one of the lowest taxing countries) are current faves. Craig Emerson offers a succinct account as to why we need the steady hand that Labor offers in troubled times.
Trump’s America has taken a hit, sinking into the quicksand:
- With a score of 71, the US lost four points over 2017 and dropped out of the top 20 nations for the first time since 2011.
They don’t just make these numbers up:
- The index is calculated using 13 different data sources that provide perceptions of public sector corruption from business people and country experts.
Increasingly we are justified in being less proud to be Australian.