Tag Archives: Federal Election 2016

Will Turnbull be PM this time next year?

My son Mark, who has a better idea about these things than I do, thinks we’ll have Abbott back again as PM, probably about six months before the next election. That way he can blame everything that’s wrong on Malcolm and concentrate on developing some nice slogans for an election, something he’s really good at.

Turnbull has just chalked up his eighth losing Newspoll in a row. By the middle of next year that could be over 20. Around about that time, with another unconvincing budget from ScoMo and Matthias Cormann, we should be due to lose our triple-A credit rating. If Malcolm continues to displease the conservative right in his party he will be vulnerable from that time on.

Newspoll, which looked at October-December as a block, had a few interesting tales to tell. Continue reading Will Turnbull be PM this time next year?

Political posturing and policy paralysis


Craig Emerson thinks we are getting political posturing and policy paralysis in parliament right now, and that’s what we’ll continue to get in the 45th parliament unless attitudes and strategies change.

Emerson suggests that Malcolm Turnbull will be facing two oppositions in parliament, one across the aisle and one within (make that many):

    The more Mr Turnbull tries to appease the masters of hyper-partisanship in the Coalition’s extreme right by pursuing their lunar agenda and by slagging off at Labor and progressives in the broader community, the less productive will be the 45th parliament and his own prime ministership. Continue reading Political posturing and policy paralysis

Senate terms decided by the major parties

To suit themselves, largely. Pauline Hanson, Nick Xenophon and his mate Stirling Griff, plus Jacqui Lambie will get six-year terms. The rest of the crossbench will have to front up again next election.

The Greens, who had argued for a ‘fairer’ method, lose out. Only Richard Di Natale, Scott Ludlam and Peter Whish-Wilson get 6-year terms. Continue reading Senate terms decided by the major parties

A gridlocked senate?

The vote is in, almost five weeks after we went to the polls. In simple terms, Malcolm Turnbull’s LNP scraped in with a one seat majority in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, with 30 seats and needing 39 to pass legislation, he has three options. He can link with Labor’s 26, or with the Greens 9, or look for 9 of 11 crossbenchers, where the voting blocks of 3 Xenephon (NXT) and 4 One Nation are both unavoidable.

To block legislation requires 38 votes, not 39 as Radio National has been saying. Hence Labor voting with the Greens and the ‘centrist’ Xenophon team can block legislation. Continue reading A gridlocked senate?

Turnbull’s problem with women and has he bought an election?

In the AFR Fleur Anderson tells us that women are becoming demonstrably disenfranchised from the Coalition. Only 13 out of the 76 or 77 LNP MPs elected to the House of Representatives are women. There’s only one, Robertson’s Lucy Wicks, in the 35 seats of Australia’s most populous region, the Sydney basin. Three Liberal women were turfed out in favour of Labor women.

“To say Liberal women are dismayed is an understatement,” says Anderson. Continue reading Turnbull’s problem with women and has he bought an election?

Senate update

Voters wanting to elect a party of an independent other than the LNP or Labor, or indeed the Greens, are more likely to do so in the senate. Kevin Bonham says:

    Nationally, the overall “Others” vote is up only slightly in the Reps (12.88% from 12.42%) but it is up from 23.54% to 25.70% in the Senate.

Tim Colebatch points out that we had 54 parties or combinations of parties running for the senate, and 631 candidates for the 76 seats. People voting for something different want their vote to mean something, so how is the new senate shaping up?

William Bowe (Poll Bludger) thinks (paywalled) it “looks no less problematic for the government than the one that preceded it.” Indeed it is likely to be more so. Continue reading Senate update

Standard & Poor’s lays it on the line


Standard & Poor’s looks in the first instance at a government rather than at political parties. I can’t find the statement freely available, but here are articles by Michael Janda at the ABC and by Jacob Greber and Phillip Coorey in the AFR.

Essentially S&P want to see the budget under control. Explicitly:

    There is a one-in-three chance that we could lower the rating within the next two years if we believe that parliament is unlikely to legislate savings or revenue measures sufficient for the general government sector budget deficit to narrow materially and to be in a balanced position by the early 2020s.

Continue reading Standard & Poor’s lays it on the line

Whither the Greens?

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Bob Brown said on several occasions “We don’t want to keep the bastards honest, we want to replace them.” It may be a time to reflect whether this is a realistic prospect, or whether the Greens will settle into being a niche party of the left.

I’d suggest the the Greens are no longer primarily a protest party for those disaffected by Labor, and to a lesser extent the LNP. Rather they a party with an ideology in their own right, based on values related to the environment, sustainability, human dignity and social justice. As such they have become an enduring part of the political furniture. But the question now is whether their trajectory to replace Labor as the main party on the left is still on course, or whether it has seriously stalled. Continue reading Whither the Greens?

What have we done?

While Antony Green at the end of Saturday night deemed the election result unknowable, Bill Shorten gave a victory speech that declined to claim victory, but said the Coalition had lost their mandate. “Labor is back”, he said.

Turnbull waited until after midnight, claimed a victory in the making, and in what many considered an ungracious speech, blamed everyone except himself. It was a political speech which neglected some of the conventions. Michelle Grattan, in an excellent analysis, said he was “extraordinarily lacking in self-awareness”, “showed not a scintilla of humility” and “made no gesture of contrition, no promise that he had heard the message the people had delivered.”

Let’s look at the numbers. Continue reading What have we done?

Election 2016 open thread: nearly there!

Bill Shorten looked comfortable with Annabel Crabb in Kitchen Cabinet. He seems fresh as a daisy this late in the campaign. I think he has found the way of being in the moment, so nothing knocks him off balance, not even the bossy Sarah Ferguson, who seemed to get under Malcolm Turnbull’s skin in her Four Corners interviews. On Thursday he sailed through a disgraceful interview with Patricia Karvelas on ABC RN Drive intended to humiliate him, and another spiky and mostly irrelevant interview with the airhead Leigh Sales. He almost looks born to run.

Same sex marriage

The big story mid-week was said to be same sex marriage, I think because The Australian ran a story (paywalled – Google Dennis Shanahan Bill Shorten flips on gay marriage plebiscite) saying he’s flipped in his views from 2103 about a plebiscite. Apparently it’s a character weakness to change your mind. Continue reading Election 2016 open thread: nearly there!

A story of two plans

John Quiggin observed:

    more than at any time in the past 20 years, the two parties have presented strongly opposed policy platforms reflecting underlying ideological differences on economic policy, symbolic (bankers vs unionists) and substantive (upper income tax cuts) class issues, climate policy, equal marriage and more.

But, he says, none of the big issues have been debated. Labor have beavered away with their 100 policies, but have struggled to be heard. The LNP have used slogans and smooth words, oft repeated, which according to electioneering theory is what you may well remember as you wander into the polling booth.

So it was with the diverging economic plans, or what Turnbull called his plan for the country. Continue reading A story of two plans

Labor’s costings go phut!

The basic story of Labor’s costings could be told in one graph, but because of their media incompetence I couldn’t find a square-on shot of it on the net on Sunday. Here it is from the AFR:

Labor costings 2016_1466939611932

The story is really quite simple. Labor makes structural improvements to the budget which lead to larger and growing surpluses over the longer term. The Coalition’s company tax makes the budget progressively more difficult in the out years. Continue reading Labor’s costings go phut!