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
You guessed it, he chose the clapped out Liddell coal-fired power plant.
AEMO, the Australian Energy Market Operator, said New South Wales may be short of power when Liddell closes, as scheduled, in 2022, based on known plans and government policy positions, federal and state. AEMO had just published two documents – Electricity Statement of Opportunities for the National Electricity Market and Advice to Commonwealth Government on Dispatchable Capability. Apart from the risk of blackouts this coming summer in SA and Victoria, the next pressure point could be in 2022 in NSW with the closure of Liddell.
As David Blowers of the Grattan Institute said, the second report carried a clear message, though not stated directly – the system is broken a bipartisan clean energy policy is badly needed. Continue reading Turnbull’s choice – a clapped out coal burner or a clean energy plan
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
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
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
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