Category Archives: Politics & Government

Saturday salon 12/8

1. Made in Australia by the Turnbull government

The Liberal Party Has Overwhelmingly Decided To Keep Its Plebiscite Policy, so because the Senate again failed to pass the necessary legislation, we are off to a $122 million postal vote, which is really a voluntary survey to be conducted by the ABS, if the High Court lets them.

Except, we already know what the people think, because they’ve already been surveyed, and people who know about these things say that the proposed survey is incompetent as a survey, lacking proper sampling. Of course, the opponents of same sex-marriage see this as their best chance of getting a “no” vote and kicking the can down the road.

Peter FitzSimons asks, How did the Liberal Party get into such a mess? Continue reading Saturday salon 12/8

Pressing the reset button on the NBN

Would that they were.

Paul Budde has urged the government to press the reset button on the NBN, as short-term and longer-term faults and complaints affect up to a third of connected customers and large numbers of premises are being put in the too hard basket for connection.

One man was without a phone or internet for four months, and only got relief after media involvement. Then he got relief by being reconnected to the legacy service he had left, which is against the rules. Continue reading Pressing the reset button on the NBN

AER, ACCC and the ABC join the fray on Qld electricity prices

In last Tuesday’s post It’s gas, not renewables, pushing up electricity prices the federal Minister Josh Frydenberg attacked the Queensland government through it’s state-owned generators for “gaming the system”, which, he said gave Queensland the nation’s most expensive electricity, costing jobs. In that post Queensland’s electricity was shown to be low compared to those of the other eastern mainland states, in recent years and in recent months the lowest.

The state has now been attacked by the AER (Australian Energy Regulator) and by the ACCC. At the end of it all, Steve Austin, the host of Mornings on Brisbane’s local ABC, sank the boot in. So what to make of it all? Continue reading AER, ACCC and the ABC join the fray on Qld electricity prices

Saturday salon 22/7

1. Turnbull’s Kim Jong-un moment

One of two big stories this week, from the SMH, Peter Dutton to head merged ASIO, AFP and Border Force super security department. However, Paula Matthewson at The New Daily captured the spirit of the thing by focussing on the optics in Hilarious and menacing at the same time: Turnbull’s Kim Jong-un moment. When Abbott made a national security announcement, this is what we got:

Continue reading Saturday salon 22/7

It’s gas, not renewables, pushing up electricity prices

There has been a war about electricity prices reflected in front page headlines. For example:

Continue reading It’s gas, not renewables, pushing up electricity prices

Saturday salon 15/7

1. Electric shock

The big story in Australian politics this week was the shocking state of the political debate on electricity. Giles Parkinson says, when you thought it couldn’t get any dumber, it did.

‘People will die due to renewables’, said Turnbull government MP Craig Kelly.

Commentators who don’t understand the grid should butt out of the battery debate, said Ketan Joshi, a communications consultant for the renewable energy industry. Continue reading Saturday salon 15/7

Saturday salon 1/7

1. Cardinal Pell to face the music

Cardinal Pell is to come back to Australia to face “historical sexual assault offences“. There have been and will be many words written about Pell, but I liked Sean Kenny at The Monthly. Kenny is worth reading on the current political follies, but he says the Pell case reminds us that there are more important changes happening in society.

Charging someone so senior in the Catholic church would have been unthinkable not so long ago. Sexual abuse of minors is finally being taken seriously. Continue reading Saturday salon 1/7

Pollie follies

Malcolm Turnbull took the press gallery to Cooma for an update on Snowy Hydro 2.0 (they are drilling the rocks to see whether the tunnelling is feasible) but all the press was interested in was whether it was time to sack Christopher Pyne and, of course, in Tony Abbott.

It was supposed to be the winter recess, with politics on the backburner. On Friday night Pyne, in a Sydney bar with some of his ‘moderate’ Liberal mates, indulged in a bit of triumphalism about how with Malcolm at the helm the moderates now control the agenda. He also said what everyone probably knew, that he’s voted for Turnbull over Abbott every chance he got, and said same-sex marriage may come sooner than we think. Continue reading Pollie follies

Gonski 2.0 – has Labor lost its soul?

We have been told over and over by respected journalists that Labor is only opposing the Coalition’s Gonski 2.0 schools funding scheme for base political reasons. Laura Tingle, Phillip Coorey, Bernard Keane and others said it. Andrew Probyn on the 7.30 Report last week, crossed the line from reporter to judgemental pontificator last week, basically saying that Labor was a disgrace. Back in May, when Gonski 2.0 was announced, Paula Mathewson declared that Labor had “lost it’s soul to Abbott-style negativity”. Tingle and Coorey accused Labor of voting against its own policies.

Excuse me, that was never the case. Labor had worked hard against rabid opposition to sign up the 27 entities involved in funding schools in Australia. The deal was to roll out the funds over six years, albeit backloaded in the last two, just beyond the budget estimates. Now Turnbull comes up with a cheaper deal, snatching away the final realisation of needs-based funding schools have been preparing for over the last four years, extending it out over another 10 years. Labor had signed agreements delivering the funding to the relevant school funding entities. Were they expected to rat on the deals they had entered in good faith? Continue reading Gonski 2.0 – has Labor lost its soul?

Adani – a mirage that will dissolve into mist?

The Adani board has given the nod to the $16.5 billion Carmichael projects which would generate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, with pre-construction works starting in the September quarter of 2017.

Yet there are some cautionary voices:

Continue reading Adani – a mirage that will dissolve into mist?

How the 2017 budget was made

There was a story around that Mark Textor had a hand in the creation of the 2017 budget. Joe Aston in the AFR says Forget Mark Textor, JWS’ John Scales was the Treasurer’s budget pollster. Aston says that Scales, who was a protégé of Textor’s did the real work, or at least his company JWS Research.

However, Textor did play an important role. The Daily Telegraph reported back in early April that Textor’s research (for the Liberal Party) “highlighted the critical issue of housing affordability”, following which, ScoMo proposed changes to negative gearing that were shot down immediately by Mathias Cormann and Peter Dutton. Continue reading How the 2017 budget was made

Budget 2017: we live in a Labor world

As I said in the post on infrastructure and debt, Peter Martin heaved a sigh of relief that the Coalition Government finally understood that the services, infrastructure and welfare that we depend on to function have to be paid for, by raising revenue if necessary. Laura Tingle goes further. She says the Coalition has reset the debate on the role of government by moving to:

    a more central position which embraces, and even advocates, a bigger role for government, both in terms of its fiscal position and its interventions in the economy, whether that be by building, owning and running airports or regulating product and labour markets.

She says that the government is actually seeking to own Labor’s modern signature policies – Gonski, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Medicare. Continue reading Budget 2017: we live in a Labor world