Australian Politics


Lomborg ‘consensus centre’ extinct

By Leith van Onselen First Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull jettisoned Tony Abbott’s “captain’s calls” not to reform Australia’s giant and inequitable tax concessions (e.g. superannuation, negative gearing and the CGT discount), now he has taken an axe to Abbott’s “captain’s call” to appoint and fund “sceptical environmentalist”, Bjorn Lomborg, as an adjunct professor for a new “consensus centre”,


We hurt the loon pond’s feelings

The Loon Pond is hurt, via The Australian: Liberal senator Eric Abetz has ­unleashed an attack on the Canberra press gallery, arguing it is hostile to conservative, Christian politicians while giving favourable treatment to left-leaning or Muslim MPs. Senator Abetz said the media had treated him and his conservative colleagues, in particular former prime minister


Westpac comedy complete as Gail talks it up

From Victoria Thieberger: One of the trickiest tasks in keeping the Australian economy growing into a 25th year is preventing shaky business and consumer confidence sliding into bleak pessimism, despite clear signs of a cooling housing market. The Reserve Bank knows this, and the government knows it. There are tentative signs that PM Turnbull’s positive


Mirabile dictu: A policy election?

From Laura Tingle: [Greg] Hunt has had a busy week this week. He’s finally appointed board members to the Climate Change Authority (which suggests it might survive after Abbott’s attempts to kill it). There have been announcements about maps of the electricity grid designed to pinpoint spots where the efficiency of renewable energy investments can


Bitter Maurice sprays loon pond all over

From The Australian comes a loon pond spray to remember: Malcolm Turnbull’s dispatch of Tony Abbott from the prime ministership settled a score that had been festering from the moment Abbott became opposition leader. They are very different people. Unlike conservative Abbott, Turnbull appeals to the fashionable Left. He is a postmodern kind of guy,


Will the Abbottalypse return?

From Phil Coorey: The day after his ouster, Abbott promised no sniping, no destabilisation…That undertaking lasted barely a week. None of this should come as a surprise to anyone. It’s what happens when you dump a first term prime minister. Clearly, there is a guerilla campaign afoot that would make even Kevin Rudd blush. In the 17


Di Natale nails Press Club address

By Leith van Onselen I am fast becoming a fan of the Australian Greens under senator Richard Di Natale, who took over the leadership in May from Christine Milne. Under Di Natale, the Greens quickly changed track and supported the Government’s fuel excise re-indexation (opposed by Labor). The Greens then supported the Government’s Aged Pension


“Hundreds” desert Libs over Abbottalypse

Hard not laugh at this one from The Australian: The Liberal Party is receiving hundreds of letters of resignation from branch members nationwide, refusals to work on election campaigns and threats to join or create new parties as a result of the removal of Tony ­Abbott as prime minister. The loss of “hundreds” of votes


Malcolm calls reform summit but is he ready?

It appears Malcolm Turnbull has studied the consensus methods of the Bob Hawke prime ministership which is all to the good, from The Age: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called a mini-summit for later this week, inviting leaders from the worlds of business, unions, community organisations and think tanks to discuss the state of the


Get gloomy or fail, Malcolm

The Australian elite have fully embraced pop-psychology as their primary economic narrative and if it continues it will sink the nation and its new government. New examples appear every day with the drover’s dog telling Malcolm Turnbull to be “positive” and repair “confidence”. To wit from the AFR: It is not going to be the all


Hunt grabs electricity doom loop live wires

Some whacky stuff from Environment Minister Greg Hunt via The Australian: Mr Hunt has created the Office of Climate Change and Renew­ables Innovation within the Environment Department, which will bring together all climate change and renewable energy programs from across government. …Mr Hunt said there were no changes to existing policies. The new office would reinforce


Morrison’s vision: Tax cuts and welfare cheats

From The Australian comes the Morrison vision for reform of the national economy: In his first interview as Treasurer, Mr Morrison said the Turnbull government would focus on “starting” the economy rather than simply “stopping” things like the carbon and mining taxes. “Spending as a percentage of GDP is at 26 per cent. That is not sustainable,” Mr


Abbott’s brown shirts fume

So much for going gently into that good night, from the AFR: Liberals still seething over last week’s leadership spill are vowing to target Treasurer Scott Morrison, who has found himself the ongoing focus of Tony Abbott’s ire. Mr Abbott accused Mr Morrison of “badly misleading” the Australian people after Mr Morrison said last week that he


Turnbull’s moderate poll bounce continues

It’s not scorching but Malcolm Turnbull has turned around the Coalition’s electoral fortunes for now, from The Australian: The Coalition’s primary vote jumped five points to 44 per cent, its highest level since November 2013 and only 1.6 points below the result at the last election. Labor’s primary vote tumbled four points to a three-month


Farewell Maurice, it was bizarre

From Fairfax: As expected. Our new PM, Malcolm Turnbull, quietly let Maurice Newman’s position as chairman of the Business Advisory Council expire Saturday night while everyone’s focus was on his ministerial chess play. It leaves the BAC without a chairman for now, according to the council’s web site. But the real test of Turnbull’s intentions


Super reform will win the election

The magnificent David Murray has ramped up pressure on Malcolm Turnbull to abandon the Abbottalyptic ban on super concession reform. From the AFR: The current framework for superannuation tax concessions was “particularly harmful” to low income people, he said. “In order to deliver value to the Australians in the superannuation system, policymakers will have to come to


Turnbull delivers moderate poll boost

From Fairfax: A nationwide ReachTel Seven-West poll of just under 3300 voters taken on Tuesday night showed voters were flooding back to the Coalition under its new management, with Mr Turnbull catapulting ahead of Labor’s Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister with a lead of 61.9 per cent to 38.1 per cent. The Coalition’s support has also rebounded


Nationals kill carbon pricing

From the AFR: Nationals Leader Warren Truss and deputy Barnaby Joyce are due to announce full details of a deal after Question Time on Tuesday, which sees major wins for the Nationals, including an about face on the effects test in competition legislation. But Nationals sources have told the Financial Review that central to the agreement


Abbottalypse gone

The great political wanker of his time has bowed out, from the AFR: A bitterly disappointed Tony Abbott has bowed out, blaming the media and treacherous colleagues for his downfall while vowing to do nothing to destabilise Malcolm Turnbull. Mr Abbott, who lost Monday night’s leadership ballot by 54 voteds to 44 votes, said he was ousted by “poll-driven panic”


What does the squid think of Turnbull?

From Tim Toohey at Goldman Sachs: The Prime Minister elect is promising a “thoroughly liberal government” promoting freedom of “individuals and markets” and promising to consult and explain the case policy change. It is clear that the Prime Minister-elect is targeting business confidence and individual freedom, in a step to reinvigorate the prominence of the ‘small


Turnbull to challenge Abbott LIVE!

From the AFR: Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed he is challenging Prime Minister Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal party. “I met with the Prime Minister and advised him that I would be challenging him for the leadership of the Liberal Party” “And we need a different style of leadership…A style of leadership that