1. Coalition chaos
On another thread Geoff Miell pointed to an article by Phillip Coorey’s comments in the AFR headlined Coalition chaos: Abbott backflips, Turnbull attacks, Barnaby Joyce sharpens knife, beginning with:
- Chaos is rife in the Coalition with Tony Abbott performing another climate change backflip, Malcolm Turnbull launching a fresh attack on those who dumped him, and Barnaby Joyce signalling he is ready to roll Nationals Leader Michael McCormack on the cusp of the election campaign.
As Scott Morrison dismissed the eruptions of past animosities as “history”, discipline in and around the Coalition was unravelling.
Apart from a plausible threat to roll Mr McCormack when Parliament sits briefly in April for the budget and before the election is called, we are told ‘All hell will break loose’:
- Nationals MPs say that unless the government allows the lower house to vote on legislation enabling the forced divestment of energy companies, and that the government also commits before the election to underwriting a coal-fired power station, “all hell will break loose”.
Sounds ideal for the start of an election campaign. Here’s Mark David’s view of the Joyce reprise:
There’s more at the ABC.
2. Welcome to emoji politics
On Friday Coorey was again in fine form in Rapists, recessions and wages: welcome to emoji politics.
Politics for ScoMo is becoming very shouty, because he’s desperate and people are barely listening to headlines. To people who follow politics, read the AFR and watch ABC’s Insiders, what they hear sounds like blithering idiocy. Coorey reports on the experience of Bill Scales of JWS Reeach, who found only one bloke in a focus group knew enough to outline the arguments for and against Adani. A second knew little other than “it was bad”. The rest knew nothing at all about Adani.
How is it that so many photographers manage to make ScoMo look really silly?
Yes he did, to his face:
NSW Opposition leader Michael Daley has threatened to sack Alan Jones in an explosive pre-election interview….
Alan grilled the want-to-be premier over his promise not to rebuild Allianz Stadium, despite independent reports saying it’s not safe to continue as is.
Mr Daley claims the SCG Trust, which runs the stadium, isn’t telling the truth about the risks.
“That’s one of the reasons Alan why I’m going to sack the board,” he says.
“If I’m elected, the board will go. I know you’ve been on that board for 30 years.”
The reason is simple. Now a lot more people will know who Michael Daley is. And politically, there is more to be gained than lost by telling Jones where to get off. A recent poll gives Labor a chance:
- A recent poll indicates Labor leads the coalition 51 to 49 per cent on a two-party preferred basis with Mr Daley ahead of Ms Berejiklian as preferred premier.
The UComms/ReachTel poll, published in the Sun-Herald on Saturday, also shows the coalition’s primary vote has dropped to 28.7 per cent while Labor’s remains steady at 34.1 per cent.
As it happens, the celebrated architect behind the Sydney Football Stadium, Philip Cox:
believes it is still “one of the great stadiums of the world” and considers plans to demolish it shows “a certain philistinism” in NSW.
4. Asylum seekers fly over ScoMo’s wall
Here’s Scott Morrison waving his arms around on Christmas Island, claiming to be the “brick wall” standing between Australians and those who would game our country’s immigration system:
Mike Seccombe has the story in The Saturday Paper:
More than 64,000 people have claimed asylum in Australia over the past three years.
In the most recent financial year alone, 27,931 applications for protection visas were made. That figure eclipsed the biggest year of arrivals under the previous Labor government – 26,845 in 2012–13.
And the number of asylum seekers continues to grow. In just six months, up to the end of January this year, there were another 14,231 applications made.
The people coming now, however, are not coming by boat. Instead, they are flying over the Great Wall of Morrison and landing at Australia’s airports.
Furthermore, most of the people landing are not legitimate asylum seekers. Senate estimates were told that 90 per cent of the new wave of asylum applicants have no legitimate claim:
- In reality, more asylum seekers are turning up under his government’s watch than ever did under Labor. And these people are rapidly becoming an underclass of cheap, exploited labour, hidden from view on farms, on construction sites and in the restaurants and other businesses across Australia.
Emma Germano, vice-president of the Victorian Farmers Federation, says the Sunraysia district’s horticulture industry essentially relies on illegal labour.
Of 65 growers they interviewed only one or two have said they have fully compliant labour. About half the labour is noncompliant. And she says that Border Force raids are just a PR exercise.
Abul Rizvi, a former deputy secretary of the immigration department, lifts the lid:
Much of the issue goes back four years to a bureaucratic restructuring initiated by Morrison when he was immigration minister, says Rizvi.
“I believe the change started with the marriage of customs and immigration,” he says.
“The Border Force function – essentially the people with the uniforms and guns – got a higher priority than the public servants at desks, who process visas in the first place.
“Two things happened: morale declined among visa processing staff and we had less resources, relative to the number of applications. So, processing times blew out.”
That had an impact on visas of all types. In response, says Rizvi, more people began coming into the country as visitors and applying onshore. This applied to spouses, business-sponsored migrants and, particularly asylum seekers.
So the offshore backlog became an onshore backlog, which now extends to nearly 200,000.
People smugglers saw that paralysis onshore, and spotted an opportunity.
“What was in the first instance a bureaucratic problem is becoming a national security problem, in that the vast majority of these people entered Australia on a visitor visa.”
Only limited background checks are done.
“We now have a very large number of people who have entered Australia essentially on the basis of telling us they have no criminal record, and we believe them.
More importantly, for 30 to 40 years Australia has avoided the problems that have plagued countries in Europe and North America, which is the creation of a large, permanent underclass of failed asylum seekers in the country.
“What has happened in the last three years is unprecedented,” Rizvi says. “If the government doesn’t act quickly, the problem will just keep growing, and eventually reach a point where, similar to the US and Europe, you just can’t do anything about it.”
He calls it a “shit sandwich” no-one wants to bite into before the election.
The Coalition has now extended 18 categories of visas to four years.
Farmers are still complaining about access to labour, The Victorian Farmers Federation says the latest moves don’t change anything that matters, so I’m assuming the Mike Seccombe is right, the people-smugglers are flying people far above Morrison’s ‘wall’.
Makes what he’s doing on Christmas Island sick joke, surely.
5. Shorten flags ‘living wage’ to replace minimum wage
Business is alarmed as Shorten flags a ‘living wage’ to replace the minimum wage.
Business seems to want the right to pay people less than they need to live on, lest the whole capitalist edifice crumbles.
The Greens want to back the proposal first pushed by ACTU secretary Sally McManus in late 2017.
- At the time, her proposal for a living wage equal to 60 per cent of the median wage, would have seen the then-minimum wage of $695 a week jump to $852.
- told the business audience he wanted to work with business, not engage in business bashing, but there would need to be levels of cooperation akin to those of the Accord era during the Hawke-Keating government.
- “We need a renewed spirit of co-operation, a renewed willingness on all sides to sit down and negotiate.”
He has already promised to restore weekend penalty rates, crack down on sham contracting and labour hire, and he left on the table on Wednesday the reintroduction of pattern bargaining in low-paid sectors such as cleaning and childcare.
Patricia Karvelas in talking to Brendan O’Connor, Shadow Employment and Workplace Relations Minister, did not understand that Labor in government would not be making decisions on wages. Firstly, they would talk to everyone, including the Greens. Then https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/drive/a-living-wage-the-slowing-economy-coal-power-electricity-prices/10881106″>talking to Brendan O’Connor spoke about giving the Fair Work Commission new tools and new parameters. He said it was unacceptable for full-time workers to be working in poverty. In 1983 the minimum wage was 70% of the average wage. Now it is 55%. In the last year profits had grown by 11%, wages only by 1.7%.
He also talked of criminal penalties for systemic underpayment and what is effectively “modern slavery”.
It’s 54-46 to Labor and the pattern looks stubborn for the LNP:
In the Oz they are saying the point of no return is nigh, so what happens when the people in power become really desperate?