When Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister, Chinese media outlets gave him the nickname Tang Bao, which sounds like his surname and means sweet dumpling, according to Lisa Murray in the AFR. Yet the dumpling has turned sour as relations with China are assessed as worse than they were since the Tienanmen Square incident
On Saturday 9 December last year Turnbull stood in a leafy garden and let fly:
Historians may come to mark that day as a turning point, when Australia’s future was put into play, ending later during Bill Shorten’s period as PM with Australia declaring neutrality in relation to both China and the USA. Continue reading China matters: Turnbull puts Australia’s future in play
Barnaby Joyce as National Party warrior and Deputy PM has flamed out, and to mix metaphors is politically washed up for now, perhaps forever. The one certainty is that his pay will be sliced by about $200k. However, there is no easy agreement as to what has really happened and what it all means.
Phillip Coorey in the AFR said it was the end of the Barnaby Joyce experiment and his exit shows politics has changed:
Politics has changed. People used to survive much worse. Not any more.
Continue reading Barnaby Joyce flames out
Just before the Joyce affair broke and occupied all the media space, Guy Rundle at Crikey wrote an excoriating piece in which he stated that Turnbull is the most contemptible modern prime minister we’ve had. At least in the last 15 years. Continue reading Simply the worst: Rundle on Turnbull as PM
Like Labor, Turnbull and the Liberal Party had so far regarded Barnaby Joyce’s relationship with former staffer Vikki Campion as a private matter. As long as everything had been done within formal regulations, it didn’t matter that jobs had been found for Campion when her presence in Joyce’s office was no longer viable. It didn’t matter that a mate had given him free accommodation in Armidale, or that he had spent 50 nights in Canberra at taxpayers expense when parliament was not sitting.
All that changed when Turnbull launched a withering attack on his morals, his judgement and his character, and went on to say that forthwith no minister will have sex with a staff member under the new ministerial code of conduct. Moreover, Joyce was sent to the naughty corner to think about his position and his future by being sent on leave, rather than act as prime minister when Turnbull is overseas next week.
It was more than a vote of no confidence. As Mark Kenny said in the SMH, the message was that Joyce’s position as Deputy PM was not viable. Continue reading Turnbull launches a withering attack on Joyce
Last year around this time I did a post Will Turnbull be PM this time next year? Clearly he’s still here, but it seems a lot of people wish he wasn’t. Is he a dead man walking in politics?
The polls were diabolical back then – Turnbull had just chalked up his eighth losing Newspoll in a row. Now that has blown out to 25 and the situation has gotten worse. Back then the TPP vote was 52-48 in favour of Labor, now it is 54-46. Last year the Labor primary vote had nearly overtaken the Coalition, rising from an election deficit of 34.7-42.1 to 37-39. Now Labor leads 37-35.
Simon Benson writing in the Australian says Coalition close to a point of no return. In January 2001 John Howard was a dead man walking. Yet in November that year he won. Can Turnbull do the same? Continue reading Malcolm Turnbull has led us to a strange place
1. How not to run a party or a government
Malcolm Turnbull in announcing a royal commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, to be led by former High Court judge Kenneth Hayne, told us that the inquiry was entirely unnecessary, but the government was a couple of seats short and had effectively lost control of the agenda.
Chris Bowen, shadow treasurer, formally wrote to his counterpart Scott Morrison (AFR, pay-walled), saying that the inquiry was neither far-reaching enough nor adequately resourced, that there had been inadequate consultation over the terms of reference, plus the deliberate targeting of union-dominated industry superannuation funds – a political strategy which diminished its credibility. Continue reading Saturday salon 1/12
That was Ben Eltham on 6 November. Then you can go anywhere, for example:
Continue reading Saturday salon 25/11 – very late edition
For over a month now I’ve been trying to do two posts – one on climate as an existential threat, and another on whether 1.5ºC is at all still possible. I keep being diverted.
Malcolm Turnbull has been dithering for months over whether the government would accept the Finkel review recommendation for a Clean Energy Target. For some time now, it has been clear that the climate contrarians in his own party, and the Nationals starting with Barnaby Joyce, would not accept anything that is negative about coal. In the end they asked the brand new Security Energy Commission for advice, in terms that were severely constrained. They got their advice, faithful to the brief in an eight-page letter, and announced a “breakthrough” in the form of a National Energy Guarantee to deliver affordable, reliable electricity with industry and stakeholder consultations to follow, plus the necessary modelling to be undertaken only after the states have agreed. Therein lies the problem. Continue reading Turnbull does energy policy on the back of an envelope
On Monday and Tuesday this week we are going to have the AFR national Energy Summit in Sydney with everyone there, including Josh, Jay, Bill, Andrew Vesey and a different Malcolm Roberts (Chief Executive, APPEA). Should be fun.
The Weekend AFR had about half a dozen articles, led off by an article by Ben Potter, Angela Macdonald-Smith and Mark Ludlow (no doubt pay-walled) which said our energy has become dirty, expensive and annoyingly unreliable. They reckon something has to be done, it’s just that:
the causes identified by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – or unofficial backbench energy spokesman Tony Abbott – are not the same as the causes power industry experts and regulators highlight. Continue reading Climate clippings 117
According to Malcolm Farr, when the Finkel review appeared, this is what Malcolm Turnbull said about the Clean Energy Target:
“Well it would certainly work, there is no question it would work and we are looking at it, giving it very favourable consideration.”
Rafael Epstein interviewing Josh Frydenberg on RN Drive replayed Turnbull’s audio, saying also the CET had “strong virtues”. Continue reading Turnbull to walk away from the Clean Energy Target
Last week AEMO, the Australian Energy Market Operator produced two reports on future of electricity markets. The Coalition government under Turnbull cherry picked the reports in a way that was almost infantile, going completely feral, politicising the energy policy, making clear that bipartisanship will be avoided at all costs.
On Saturday at the Country Liberals annual conference in Darwin, he said this:
“I mean, Blackout Bill, fair dinkum, as my old dad would have said, he is so hopeless he could not find his backside with both hands.”
The electricity issue has been folded into his “kill Bill” strategy. Continue reading Turnbull goes feral on electricity