1. Premiers – perceptions of performance
One would think that Australia’s state premiers have performed well in the so-called war with Covid 19. Newspoll on 27 April found that they had indeed done so in the perception of voters. It’s pay-walled, but here is the graph:
That is a bit hard to read, but the satisfaction rate on the second graph runs from the bottom, Palaszczuk (Qld) 72, Berejiklian (NSW) 77, Marshall (SA) 82, Andrews (Vic) 83, Gutwein (Tas) 89 and McGowan (WA) 94.
The only comment I would make is that I think Queensland has been a bit below the radar nationally, so perhaps that has affected perceptions..
The top part of the graph which shows general satisfaction with premiers is easier to see in this image:
The net satisfaction is, Palaszczuk 16, Berejiklian 46, Marshall 47, Andrews 58, Gutwein 73 and McGowan 83.
That sequence is in the same order, but it is noteworthy how far Palaszczuk is behind and how far Gutwein and McGowan are in front.
Voting intention is another matter, but it seems evident that the crisis may have given a political boost to the incumbent, but perhaps not Labor in Queensland.
Labor is never going to win the election due in October while Clive Palmer is allowed to indulge in political advertising, so it is a question, I think, not of the outcome, but by how much.
Queensland’s economy was not doing well before the virus. Drought, floods and fire added to the pain. There were incidents and accidents. Now the ABC has started it’s coverage:
- At least 130,000 Queenslander have lost their jobs; about 20,000 businesses were forced to close or temporarily shut down; state revenue has plummeted by at least $4 billion and our debt levels will soar above $90 billion.
For the average Queenslander climbing of out the financial blackhole could take years.
Implying the government has caused people to be locked up.
I think the future will be worse than most commentators have predicted, because they tend to assume that the economy will snap back to ‘normal’. And the article is right in suggesting there is a real risk of the public reaching a tolerance tipping point, if economic pain and social dislocation linger. It’s all set up for the LNP to run a negative campaign, and the Greens to win over (seduce?) the inner city elites by offering hope and happiness.
The Greens may be assisted by the LNP decision to preference them over Labor. Almost certainly South Brisbane will go to Amy McMahon for the Greens, turfing out Jackie Trad, Deputy Premier and leader of Labor Left. Look at the bright shining faces. Forget the policies. They won’t be implemented and are irrelevant.
Antony Green’s analysis after the recent Brisbane City Council election is that The Greens could grow from one to three, but that the fate of the Palaszczuk government depends on the regions. There I think Labor sustained mortal damage from Adani. One Nation and Katter will be significant, but nail in the coffin will be truth, or rather the lack of it, in advertising plus an inability to constrain Clive Palmer. There is a bill before parliament to limit spending to $150,000 per electorate, and advertisers must have a candidate running. However, Palmer has form in running candidates as a formality, with no expectation that they will win.
2. Jackie Trad stands aside
In breaking news, Jackie Trad, Deputy Premier and Treasurer of Queensland, has stood aside from ministerial duties over corruption investigation. See also article in the Brisbane Times.
- Ms Trad was referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission in November last year by the LNP opposition MP Jarrod Bleijie over allegations she had interfered in the selection process for the principal of the Inner City South State Secondary College.
This is what happened:
- Principal Kirsten Ferdinands was last year appointed to lead the school, which is currently under construction in Brisbane’s south, despite a panel selecting candidate Tracey Cook weeks earlier.
While the selection panel originally signed off on Ms Cook’s appointment, the position was re-advertised in May at a more senior level based on new modelling that the school would likely outgrow its projected size, according to the Department of Education.
The director general of education confirmed this story.
Trad’s mortal sin was to admit that she had spoken with both principal candidates and the school is in her electorate.
Trad’s statement was:
- “Let me be clear, no applicant to the principal position was known to me in any capacity, personal, political or professional.
“Further, I have never expressed a view to anyone on who should fill that role.
“I fully intend on running for the seat of South Brisbane and ensuring strong, progressive leadership for our community.”
Problem is Trad has had a few other incidents and accidents. The LNP are trying to extend their smear of her reputation.
Jarrod Bleijie from Kawana on the Sunshine Coast is a very strange person, and is what passes for a Liberal within the LNP. He was the one when in government with Campbell Newman who decided that people riding bikes in company were by definition ‘bikies’ and as such should be locked up, where they were dressed in pink overalls to make sure that if they didn’t hate the system already, they would then.
Compare and contrast what Liberals and Nationals at Federal level can do and retain their positions.
Campbell Newman was shaping to sell off the real estate that the Labor government was later to use for multi-story inner-city schools.
3. Has Covid 19 made a prime minister of Scott Morrison?
Scott Morrison has been rewarded in political perception for his handling of the coronavirus issue in Australia.
Newspoll found Morrison with a net satisfaction rate of -22 in January. By late April he was +40, while Albanese has languished at +10.
For all of January and February Albanese was ahead of Morrison as preferred PM. On April 26 Morrison was ahead 56 to 28.
I can’t give a pass mark to anyone who thought that 2.1 million people in Australia are not worth feeding when he did his economic rescue package.
Australia’s story in combatting the virus is contained in this graph (from the ABC):
If we compare ourselves to Taiwan, we see a similar shaped graph:
The arrow points to Friday March 13.
(See also WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM TAIWAN COV19.)
The difference is in the y-axis. We have had about 10 times more cases than Taiwan, with a similar population, and they kept the place open.
The Taiwanese began to act on January 1. We waited until China officially announced human to human transmission on January 20. Here:
- The Communicable Disease Network requested a coordinated national health response on 20 January, and Australia’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, convened a meeting of his state counterparts to discuss developments.
Here we did little but talk for nearly two months. See Katharine Murphy – The two meetings that changed the trajectory of Australia’s coronavirus response.
While Queensland declared a public health emergency on 29 January, at a national level we quarantined people coming back from Wuhan at Christmas Island, then took our eye off the ball with infected people returning from places like Iran, Europe and the United States, being thoroughly distracts by sports rorts.
By February 28 Murphy reports that at a meeting of health officials only Queensland and New South Wales had a sharp grasp of what was coming. Although there already were serious outbreaks in South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Iran, Morrison was still telling us we could carry on with normal life.
About two weeks later Daniel Andrews had gotten the message. At a health officers meeting Queensland was calling for what is now called ‘social distancing. On Thursday night as the state leaders prepared for COAG on Friday 13, the world was in chaos:
- By the time the leaders woke the next day and made their way out to Parramatta stadium, which was the venue for the Coag talks, the world had reached 130,000 Covid-19 cases, and more than 4,700 deaths had been recorded. The Italian health system had been overwhelmed. There were more than 1,000 fatalities.
Overnight, there was a wipeout on global financial markets. London and Wall Street had recorded their worst trading days since Black Monday in 1987. Donald Trump slapped a travel ban on Europe. When the Australian markets opened, the ASX plunged 7%. The Reserve Bank pumped more than $8bn into short term bank funding. Flight Centre closed 100 stores. The Grand Prix fell over, which triggered a cascade of event cancellations over the course of the day.
I’ve marked that day on the graph above. That was when social distancing and footy without crowds was instituted. However, Morrison was a reluctant starter and has ever since been resistant to the next move, all the while keeping up a comforting patter about our worlds returning to ‘normal’.
Morrison is aware that there is a health issue, and there is an economic issue, and that the two are interrelated. Peter Martin and Gigi took an interesting look at how the world we live and work in will change. In two months at home our brains have changed to new patterns of behaviour. Some of these will persist, such as working from home, staggered working hours, not gathering for beer and /or coffee at every possible opportunity.
We will have vastly less discretionary spending, but at the same time we could have more government spending, as Ross Garnaut says, when the cost of borrowing money is, to government, less than inflation.
In general, the change could be as dramatic as emerging from WW2. Creative destruction will be at work, and could have worked more positively if we had not tied workers’ emergency support to companies that may never trade again.
We are getting no vision from Morrison and crew. Frydenberg has put the cue in the rack, resting his laurels on what has already been done.
After WW2 we had marginal tax rates for the rich up to 90% and built a society in the ‘West’ where not only the basics were catered for. Common folks could pay for food and shelter, have a car in every garage, access health and education services, have paid sick and holiday leave. That won’t happen this time with the neoliberals in charge.
I think Morrison is balking at the last hurdle on health, thus foregoing the chance to eliminate the virus, giving in to industry pressure. His vision is to concentrate on agriculture and mining to restore or economic fortunes. So he has selected Neville Power AO to head the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, basically, I understand, a miner (worked for Twiggy) who sees gas as the future, and has no focus on renewables or greenhouse emissions.