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Election open thread

May 9th, 2016

For once I feel pretty happy about my predictions: a Labor win in a class war election. Have your own say on this or any election-related topic.

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  1. Paul Norton
    May 9th, 2016 at 10:08 | #1

    Corporate tax cuts are not the sort of thing I would have made the central plank of a re-election campaign. I’m cautiously optimistic about a Labor win.

  2. bjb
    May 9th, 2016 at 10:24 | #2

    I think it might hinge on how long Malcolm can keep in check his obvious contempt for all those he considers his intellectual inferiors.

  3. Tim Macknay
    May 9th, 2016 at 11:14 | #3

    @bjb
    It seems to me that Turnbull’s propensity to keep his contempt for his far-right compatriots in check is partly what’s holding him back. If he broke away from the Abbott-era policy platforms of his government, his position would be a lot less precarious (electorally, at least – it would presumably be more precarious within the Liberal Party). That said, I sincerely hope that Prof Q is correct and Labor wins the election (a minority government with a centre-left Senate majority would be a good outcome IMHO).

  4. Geoff Edwards
    May 9th, 2016 at 11:40 | #4

    There are a couple of problems with the mainstream commentary that Turnbull is an effective leader of moderate opinion. First, his background as a lawyer and merchant banker would tend to place him squarely in the “Right” sector, however that might be defined. He may not be as iconoclastic / radical as the neoconservatives of the IPA persuasion, but there is nothing in his background to suggest that he is a flag waver for progressive, environmental or social justice causes. Progressives and heterodox economists should not expect his government, even if the neocons were purged, to champion their agendas.

    The second problem is that Turnbull is not a natural born politician. He may have been an effective advocate in a courtroom, but he is not a natural born negotiator and I have yet to see any good oratory from him.

    A third, related problem is the hairy-chested decision to confront the crossbench rather than accept them as a fact of life and get on with governing. He has stoked up some influential opponents and in a double dissolution election, he really needed to create some powerful friends.

    The reflex approach of attacking anyone not carrying your camp’s label seems to be a behaviour of the conservative side of politics – they seem not to acknowledge the legitimacy of other points of view. This has long been a problem, such as during the Whitlam governments, but came into modern focus during the Abbott years, as evidenced by the invective hurled upon Tony Windsor for allegedly betraying a conservative electorate. We do seem to have imported the worst uncompromising ideological partisanship of the American Republicans.

  5. James of St James
    May 9th, 2016 at 12:39 | #5

    I think Labour would do better if every Labour politican inevery media interview says “the Turnbull Abbott Government has tripled The Government’s unless than three year, that is bad economic management.” at least three times.

  6. Ernestine Gross
    May 9th, 2016 at 14:35 | #6

    My comments are restricted to the Budget.

    1. Personal tax cuts. Waste of money. It is too small for individuals to notice but in aggregate, that is revenue foregone, it matters. Furthermoe, it is only a small change from the Howard-Costello time. Then the tax cuts started at the wrong end, namely at the top instead of at the bottom (tax free amount). Now the tax cut starts at some hypothetical ‘middle’. It is still the wrong end.

    2. Business tax. Waste of money in the short term for most if not all businesses. The sting is in this so-called 10 year plan. It is a continuation of the trickle-down – supply-side- neocon con. To say: “stay the course” is unfortunate, IMO.

    3. Still on tax: multinationals and, I hope, other complex company structures. Lets see what happens. But good objective in principle.

    4. Tax expenditure: Negative gearing and capital gains tax concession. On a scale of -10 to 10: -10 for NLP, 5 for ALP.
    Superannuation: Using the same scale: 6 for NLP, 2 for ALP. (The NLP’s plan has some clever subplots regarding how income is defined. Lets see how this will go down in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.)
    Industry subsidies: No substantial change as far as I can tell.

    Regarding the big picture objectives: Financial stability, environmental stability, wealth distribution. These objectives are interrelated. No improvement to speak of, I’d say.

    Regarding macro-economic theories: Odd mixture of undergraduate textbook Keynesian (‘slight stimulus in aggregate demand’ but missing Keynes sentence to the effect: ‘the wrong people have the money’) and neo-con doctrine as outlined above.

  7. Ikonoclast
    May 9th, 2016 at 15:49 | #7

    JQ not only accepts but advances a class war thesis. I agree. The question is this. What are the modern classes now involved? A simple, old-fashioned workers vs capitalists division does not quite seem to capture it all. So, what are the class lines now? I am quite interested in J.Q.’s ideas on this point. My own ideas are not entirely set. Some class lines seem somewhat fluid, and even blurred, at present.

  8. bjb
    May 9th, 2016 at 15:55 | #8

    @James of St James
    I agree. I don’t why Shorten didn’t highlight this in his budget reply – before the last election we had a “budget emergency” and a “debt and deficit disaster”. The LNP solution – more than triple (?) the deficit. If nothing else, it would emphasise what a bunch of hypocrites the LNP are.

  9. John Quiggin
    May 9th, 2016 at 15:56 | #9

    @Ikonoclast

    I had a go at this topic a few years ago

  10. Newtownian
    May 9th, 2016 at 15:58 | #10

    Tim Macknay :
    @bjb
    It seems to me that Turnbull’s propensity to keep his contempt for his far-right compatriots in check is partly what’s holding him back.

    This is an interesting/important hypothesis.

    Unfortunately the indicators now are that Turnbull represents no significant change whatever (although counter examples that he will shortly turn into a beautiful butterfly are welcome).

    For example:
    – we do not see a jot of real difference in bell weather existential issues where more was expected like Climate Change and humane treatment of refugees and where not much money was required. Instead we get more building of roads for fossil fuel powered transport.
    – the northern Australia development boondoggle still seems on the table
    – we see support for big business especially in the budget
    – the language used by Turnbull feels like it is coming from an autocue rather than from a functional cerebellum as might be expected from a self styled renaissance man.
    – there is Turnbull’s obliviousness to housing unaffordability in the big cities for those in the Millennial generation who cannot expect parental subsidies.

    One reason which could explain Turnbull’s disappointing performance that is not often raised is Turnbull’s age, which being a year older I feel entitled to do. He is the oldest person to start being PM since Billy McMahon and even older than John Howard who always seemed old in his outlook. No doubt Turnbull sees himself as still young and virile but his views were largely formed back in the 1960s/70s… so in truth he is now entering his twilight which nothing but a monkey gland transplant could stop. This observation is not meant to be an insult but simply a statement of the facts of life which mean he cant help but be out of touch to an increasing degree. Older people can keep flexible if they choose, Bernie Sanders being a current example. But Malcolm’s drive for power means he has had to suppress his idiosyncracies which are the flip side of being an acceptable conservative candidate. This is particularly evident in his continued adherence to the Thatcher/Reagan free market which 2008 showed to be a dead end, though the message has not got through still to Malcolm and his finance industry mates.

  11. Econocrisis
    May 9th, 2016 at 16:00 | #11

    P.M. Turnbull looks good and sounds sensible and reassuring to the Australian middle class. Compared to his reactionary predecessor he won’t frighten the horses. The problem is Turnbull leads a team which is the same old miserable, mean spirited and penny pinching outfit it has always been.

  12. Tyler
    May 9th, 2016 at 16:23 | #12

    I think hung parliament is more likely outcome (not a bad thing by any means), will be doing my bit in the SA marginals when i get the chance. Good luck to all labor/green volunteers hope we get the result we need.

  13. wmmb
    May 9th, 2016 at 16:34 | #13

    Would it have been possible to call a double dissolution after the budget? Was the long election campaign dictated by constitutional requirements? My understanding of the changes to Senate voting probably makes more likely if voters take the trouble to vote below the line, which is now more user friendly. Regardless of its merits for democratic engagement, a long campaign will more likely than not undermine a story to tell other than a fictional plan.

  14. J-D
    May 9th, 2016 at 18:36 | #14

    @wmmb

    Section 57 of the Constitution specifies that a dissolution of both houses cannot take place ‘within six months before the date of the expiry of the House of Representatives’. The House just dissolved first sat on 12 November 2013, which means its expiry date was 11 November 2016, so no double dissolution could have taken place after 11 May.

    Section 13 of the Constitution states that the terms of a Senator after a full dissolution of the Senate ‘shall be taken to begin on the first day of July preceding the day of his election’.

    So if the double dissolution election had been held before 1 July 2016, Senate terms would have been backdated to 1 July 2015 and the next half-Senate election (and so the likely date for the next House election) would be in the first half of 2018 (or earlier, in the second half of 2017).

    With the double dissolution election held after 1 July 2016, the Senate terms will be backdated to 1 July 2016, and the next half-Senate election doesn’t have to be before the first half of 2019, giving the new Parliament (and the incoming government) a potential extra year (or so) of life.

    The double dissolution election of 1987 was in July; that Parliament could have run for nearly three years (in the result, the government decided to call the election a few months before they had to). The double dissolution election of 1983 was in March; that Parliament could not have run for much more than two years (in the result, the government decided to call the election a few months before they had to).

  15. John Turner
    May 9th, 2016 at 19:41 | #15

    @Ernestine Gross
    Re super neither party seems willing to tackle it at the correct end. I.e instead of input taxes there should be rules limiting the tax free inputs on the basis of reasonable benefits limits and a tax on the income reveived when super is taken in retirement.

  16. FlannOB
    May 9th, 2016 at 19:41 | #16

    @bjb
    Agree. Too much Malsplaining and too much superciliousness and, over 8 weeks, he could do himself in. The trouble about thinking you’re the smartest guy in the room is that you can think others are idiots.

  17. John Turner
    May 9th, 2016 at 19:45 | #17

    @J-D
    Thanks for the explanation

  18. John Turner
    May 9th, 2016 at 19:53 | #18

    @Ikonoclast
    I think Warren Buffett said it succinctly “there is class war all right, it is my class the rich that is making war and they are winning”.

    I see little in the labour party’s policies that are going to change that, but I guess they are better than the other lot.

  19. Peter Chapman
    May 9th, 2016 at 20:10 | #19

    And where did I read recently a statement to the effect that the alternative to a class war (or at least class struggle) is an unquestioned class domination…?

  20. Ikonoclast
    May 9th, 2016 at 20:27 | #20

    @John Quiggin

    My recent attempts for contemporary society might come out like this;

    (a) Plutocratic Class
    (b) Elite Managerial Class
    (c) Technocratic Class
    (d) Securocratic Class
    (e) Petty Rentier Class
    (e) General working class.
    (f) Unemployed, labour reserve and underclasses.

    But this would take a bit of developing out and there are overlaps and questions. For example, upper brass in the military and police are clearly of the Securocratic Class but specialists (elite forces, riot-squads, anti-terrorism squads) may also qualify as Securocratic Class. Rank and file military and police can behave as Securocratic Class or as General working class depending on social context and official / personal behaviours. Human castes in modern western societies are not single and set like ant species castes (for example).

  21. wmmb
    May 9th, 2016 at 20:47 | #21

    @J-D

    Thank you for the explanation. A long election campaign might advantage the voters.

  22. Peter Evans
    May 9th, 2016 at 21:10 | #22

    I think there’s a reasonable chance of a Labor victory, or a hung parliament. In the case of the latter, I think the independents will be far more likely to give the LNP a shot than Labor, but the LNP will blow it within 6 months on account of their familiar hubris. Speaking of which, relatedly, the single most striking thing, to me, about the post-2013 government has been its laziness. They just can’t be bothered trying hard at anything, relying on an overweening sense of self-importance and born-to-rule arrogance (which the mainstream media is largely leaves unchallenged). Their contempt and laziness, this “we only have to show up, and Hallelujah!” attitude is their undoing. They’ll just drift in the campaign, slumping slowly lower in the polls. Some late desperation is sure to backfire. Turnbull is one of the worst offenders, and I think his office has been terrible in doing it’s job and keeping him occupied and focused. They look a mess to me.

  23. May 10th, 2016 at 00:10 | #23

    Elsewhere I wrote:

    Australia votes for a new government in a few weeks. The election has been called, and campaigning has started. I’m a supporter of the Australian Labor Party (ALP). So what should the ALP do?

    In my mind it is quite simple. When you look at the recent past and the probable future, there is a consistent theme of change:

    Big business and rich individuals refuse to pay tax.
    Continual technological improvements reduce the number of jobs available.
    Increasingly Australian workers are competing directly with overseas workers. And this is driving down wages.

    The Liberal Party (Australia’s conservative party) responds to these changes as follows. They recognise that their tax income is falling, and therefore reduce their expenditure. They recognise that there aren’t the jobs needed, so the penalise the unemployed, and invent fictitious paths to employment. They actively support the use of overseas labour.

    The Libs also pander to the fears that Australians have about the future by encouraging them to “get ahead”. Its a fear thing. The perception is that in the future if you retire without enough money, you will suffer very real hardship, because the government can’t collect the taxes needed to give you a decent retirement. So the Libs will be generous in helping you avoid that fate – through tax tricks like negative gearing, and (until they fixed it a week ago) through incredibly generous superannuation for the well off. Basically, its the Titanic. Everyone is scrambling for lifeboats, of which there are too few (lack of taxes…). There is some effort involved in climbing up to get on a lifeboat, and the Libs model is that some people should kneel down and form steps to help others get on board.

    So my suggestion for the ALP. Firstly paint the Libs model in all its defeatist and elitist glory. And then, speak directly to those people who fear missing out on a lifeboat. Tell them that you will tax the rich and the corporations, and that there will be lifeboats for all. Tell them that they won’t be used as stepping stones to help others clamber on to lifeboats. Tell them that since we live in an ever more productive society, then need never fear being “left behind”, and that we live in a time of plenty, not scarcity.

  24. Moz of Yarramulla
    May 10th, 2016 at 09:54 | #24

    Geoff Edwards :
    The reflex approach of attacking anyone not carrying your camp’s label seems to be a behaviour of the conservative side of politics

    I don’t know if you’ve paid attention to ALP comments about The Greens, but observers might question whether your comment is really limited to conservatives (viz, those who don’t want change, often back-dating the time at which change should stop). In a way, that kind of pre-emptive delegitimisation is a perfect political tactic, and while it’s unethical and anti-democratic, those are not obstacles to most politicians. So we see it all the time, epitomised (caricatured?) by the Daily Terrograph.

    What I found interesting about the budget and the Liberal campaign more generally, is their focus on “everything is fine, we will keep doing this”. Whether that’s sledging the opposition, austerity, tax cuts or trying to establish a proper military-industrial complex here (50% of the economy, just like Uncle Sam). Giving me hope is the apparently widespread derision for their precise tactics – tax cuts in 10 years time, budget surplus in the never-never, submarines, piling up even more legislative nonsense for the senate to refuse.

    On that note, my real fear is that if we lose the DD the new Liberal-National-LNP-FamilyFist-etc coalition might just pass all that pending legislation and sort out the conflicts and problems later when they become obvious.

  25. Ivor
    May 10th, 2016 at 13:21 | #25

    It is far too early to make a prediction. I would wait until more polling of marginal seats is available.

    It does not matter if Labor, or Shorten are ahead in the polls if these are national polls.

    The swing has to occur where it matters.

  26. David Allen
    May 10th, 2016 at 18:25 | #26

    @Ikonoclast
    I would simplify the classes
    1. The people who own everything and have all the power.
    2. Sheep who vote against their own interests.

  27. May 10th, 2016 at 20:02 | #27

    Watched a bit of Q&A last night. Couldn’t help thinking that O’Dwyer and Willox were doing an immense amount of harm to their side of politics. Hilarious watching O’Dwyer get tetchy when Tony Jones pulls her up about the budget deficits actually getting bigger under the Libs. And Willox rhymes with pillocks, but that doesn’t excuse the extent to which these people are out of touch.

  28. Stockingrate
    May 10th, 2016 at 21:27 | #28

    The Greens will continue their environmental vandalism through overpopulation.
    Labor will continue to harm Australian labour through overpopulation.
    The Conservatives will continue to damage the economic interests of Australians through overpopulation.

  29. hc
    May 10th, 2016 at 22:20 | #29

    I think Labor will lose by a large margin. The “class war” nonsense belonged to the late 19th century (if ever). We are growing strongly as an economy and have a decent, fair liberal democracy which is highly redistributive. Why the desire to polarise things and create a false aura of crisis? This view of things creates a terrible politics.

    What we want are lazy politicians who are not committed to passing much legislation. The legislation, if any, should correct past interventionist mistakes such as the Dawkins revolution in the universities, the destruction of the CSIRO etc.

    Like university Vice Chancellors our pollies should be sent on expensive, regular tax-payer funded study tours of Amalfi and Florence. Do less damage than if they construct crises to further their lust for power.

  30. May 10th, 2016 at 22:26 | #30

    @hc
    Yeah, sure, nothing to see here, everything is going really well.

  31. wmmb
    May 11th, 2016 at 01:56 | #31

    Don’t worry hc the further implementation neoliberal policies with the bogus claims of “jobs and growth” will soon make short work of fairness and democracy. The class – or structural – violence will become even more apparent.

    Suppose one of the major parties were to be large majority in the House of Reps, then it does not follow they will be able to win a Senate majority. At this stage of the campaign the Senate is ignored. A double dissolution in which the government does not gain a majority in the Senate would on the face of it appear pointless.

    A hung parliament is at least as likely, and probably more so. I wonder about the wisdom of Bill Shorten’s dismissal of an agreement with the Greens. He could have said the ALP would deal with electoral outcome if it were to happen. The discussion suggests the outcome is thought possible, or is being promoted for political expediency.

  32. chrisl
    May 11th, 2016 at 05:19 | #32

    hc
    At the very least there should be a rule that you can’t make a new law unless you rescind an old law(preferably two)
    And what the hell is a class war?
    What class are all our good readers in?
    If a tradesman can earn more than a university graduate , are they bedfellows or opposites?

  33. rog
    May 11th, 2016 at 09:12 | #33

    This very long campaign could be bad for the LNP – greater scrutiny of their ability can only weaken their image.

    On QandA Kelly O’Dwyer performed badly and when confronted with a real life situation could only fall back on worn out memes such as “grow the pie” and “a matter of balance”. Since then comments on her Facebook page reflect the growing dismay at her cheerful vacuity.

    On the same QandA Andrew Leigh gave a strong performance.

  34. Ivor
    May 11th, 2016 at 10:48 | #34

    @hc

    The facts are against this view.

    The “class war” nonsense belonged to the late 19th century (if ever). We are growing strongly as an economy and have a decent, fair liberal democracy which is highly redistributive. Why the desire to polarise things and create a false aura of crisis?

    Real wages are stagnant, or in the case of Commonwealth public servants – falling. This is the result of a class war between Capital and labour. The fact that people cannot buy the houses they once war – is also a clear sign of the redistribution from labour to capital. This is class war.

    If you think the crisis is false then you have not been looking at the total debt to GDP trends and you seem totally unconcerned with the fact that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

    This is class war.

  35. bjb
    May 11th, 2016 at 11:57 | #35

    Stockingrate :
    The Greens will continue their environmental vandalism through overpopulation

    WTF ? Maybe you should read http://greens.org.au/policies/population

    “The current level of population, population growth and the way we produce and consume are outstripping environmental capacity. Australia must contribute to achieving a globally sustainable population and encourage and support other nations to do the same.”

  36. tony lynch
    May 11th, 2016 at 13:39 | #36

    @Stockingrate

    Then set us all an example.

  37. Tim Macknay
    May 11th, 2016 at 15:20 | #37

    @hc

    I think Labor will lose by a large margin.

    It’s certainly possible that Labor will lose. As to the margin it depends on what you mean by “large”. If history is anything to go by, the margin will almost certainly be smaller than it was in 2013.

    Of course, something unexpected could happen this time, but given that the Abbott/Turnbull government has not been particularly highly regarded, it has to be considered much more likely that the Coalition vote will be smaller in 2016 than it was in 2013 than that it will be larger. The only real question is how much smaller. It seems to me that it would take something like the proverbial dead girl/live boy scenario on the Labor side to shift that.

  38. Troy Prideaux
    May 11th, 2016 at 16:09 | #38

    @Tim Macknay
    Agreed. 2013 saw a very ugly public war for leadership within the ALP that turned a lot of people off. None of that this time. 2013 saw a very effective negative campaign on that “tax” by an effective negative campaigner who was very disciplined and continually on-message everyday with effective slogans that cut through. 2013, the LNP was seen to be setting the agenda for dealing with boat arrivals (putting aside the morals of the argument). 2013 didn’t see many slip-ups for the LNP campaign albeit devoid of intellectual substance. Abbott only really conducted sit-down interviews with “friendly” interviewers of which there were a few. Never once appeared on probing programs like Lateline where he’d be subject to scrutiny.
    Post 2013, the LNP was seen to be full of broken promises and disappointments and in 2014 delivered a budget that was only popular with the right wing constituency that cheerlead them home in the 2013 champaign.
    Early signs for this campaign illustrate that those setting the LNP policy agenda are the same types behind that unpopular 2014 budget (at least that appears to be the way the electorate is perceiving it). Abbott himself has provided public claims to that effect.
    The 2013 claims of fixing the ALP’s budget deficit have materialised into a larger budget deficit which the electorate (rightly or wrongly) are wary of albeit much of it out of the LNP ‘s control. The ALP are scoring political points from this.
    The promise of a new progressive leader with a new progressive, positive, aspirational, supporting future generations style of policy agenda has so far materialised into an unimpressive familiar conservative platform with bits of positive reform (superannuation changes).
    The LNP campaign hasn’t got off to a positive start. There’s no clear direction, there’s no perception of a clear direction within the coalition. Maybe this can be mended.
    I just can’t see any landslide on the table.

  39. James
    May 11th, 2016 at 16:40 | #39

    Chris Bowen’s should really stop using grumpy coalition supporters as his main focus group. And if that is not the cause, he should get new political advisors.

    The ‘we will not form a coalition with the greens’ has a seeming rationale of appealing to disaffected conservatives who would be scared witless at such a thought. But the only rational outcome is the point will be either mute, since the need for such a deal will not arise, or as Mr Turnbull correctly notes, they will do a deal to attain government. If it is the latter then Mr Bowen will start his role as Treasurer with a huge trust deficit, the very thing Labor is trying to overcome in terms of economic management.

    The second matter is much more serious. In order to appear like ‘very serious people’ on economic matters, he is again, like his predecessor, borrowing all the most stupidly reactionary arguments from the neo-liberal right (read, triple AAA onanism). This is a political and economic argument that is doomed to fail. Does he not understand that he cannot win the argument using their terms, not because of the terms themselves are not precise, but due to the deep and insidious ideological construct that underpins them. It may be too late, and impractical, to re-educate the Australian electorate during an election campaign, but the minimum requirement would be to reframe the argument.

    What he needs is a good stump speech. As in, yes, Labor would have to manage the deficit, but the way the Australian government manages its debt is not the same as how a household has to manage its debt. Cue rhetorical question: How would you manage your debt if you issued your own currency? And lots of positive statements about a fair tax system, investment in physical and social infrastructure, etc, etc. Or something similar.

    But to my jaundiced eye it almost looks as if he wants to lose the argument to the neo-liberal right, in the process creating an economic straight-jacket that will undermine a Labor government at every turn and again defeat the purported goal of being credible economic managers. Now, why might he want to do that?

  40. May 11th, 2016 at 17:12 | #40

    I am amused to see an outbreak of Randian moocher-calling going on from the Right as a result of Mr Storrar’s appearance on Q&A which (so I read, I didn’t see it myself) led to a weak response from the increasingly less impressive Kelly O’Dwyer. The Australian led the “fight back” on Storrar, so to speak, and now Sinclair Davidson at Catallaxy is quoting at length from Atlas Shrugged in response! (I also saw SD on Lateline last night defending negative gearing to the hilt, and Judith Sloan is leading the charge against the government on behalf of the downtrodden retired with $1million plus super balances. The IPA seems to be threatening an advertising campaign to come on the same issue.)

    This is all, I have little doubt, on balance hurting the Coalition. Fans of Rand (is there a collective noun for that?) seem to have no idea how greedy and elitist they look when carrying on like this. It sure didn’t help Romney to be caught sounding Randian; it will not help the Coalition here, either.

    I suspect that, for every swinging voter who might think “oh, the Liberals are making the rich complain, they must be doing something right” there’ll be two who think instead “oh, the Liberals are captive of the rich, who have kept their negative gearing and probably going to convince the government to reverse the super changes.”

  41. JohnG
    May 11th, 2016 at 17:44 | #41

    I’m not sure how to frame this. But, my concern is that I think there are still a lot of people out there who think that, if Turnbull gets back in then he will return to the Malcolm of old, and bring back his more rational, middle-of-the-road ideas. However, he’s now running with Abbott’s policies. So, does that mean that he wants us to believe that he is lying when he states that he supports the policies put forward in the “Plan for the future” and that his true self will be revealed when he wins. Then we can all relax as the country starts to implement a real program of reducing carbon emissions and getting rid of negative gearing etc.

    I thought that that was sort of implicit in some of the comments during the early parts of Q&A on Monday night.

  42. Tim Macknay
    May 11th, 2016 at 17:52 | #42

    @steve from brisbane

    Fans of Rand (is there a collective noun for that?)

    I’m led to believe that the correct term is “collective”.

  43. May 11th, 2016 at 18:06 | #43

    JohnG: I’m not sure about that. I think the main reasons for the polling slide under Turnbull are the way he and Morrison obviously weren’t getting their lines straight; the continuing publicity seeking of Abbott; and now the talk of party vengence against Hendy. It’s a party fractured, perhaps not quite to the same extent as Labor under Gillard/Rudd, but looking pretty dysfunctional nonetheless.

    Turnbull, if he wins, is likely to do so with a seriously reduced majority, but with Abbott and some of his supporters still on board, and certainly with a Treasurer it seems he doesn’t like talking to. I suspect, and I think others may too, that such a win will not give Turnbull the clear air to reform policies in the way he presumably would like to.

  44. May 11th, 2016 at 18:37 | #44

    Ohh.. I shouldn’t have used “moocher” – I see now from SD himself that the correct term for Storrar is “parasite”. [Seriously, some people who seek to influence policy really shouldn’t blog or tweet.]

  45. Urbie
    May 11th, 2016 at 23:25 | #45

    Is it just me, or has the body language of the front runners of the parties been telling?
    The Libs appear to be wound up and on edge (holding a poker face) and Labor seems increasingly relaxed and confident.
    Their internal polling just might be driving this.

  46. Julie Thomas
    May 12th, 2016 at 08:55 | #46

    @hc

    Robert Gotleibson doesn’t agree with you. He writes in The Australian, “…the business and investment communities need to divorce themselves from what they think should happen and prepare for the clear possibility of a Shorten win.”

    You can google the phrase above and read the full article.

  47. sunshine
    May 12th, 2016 at 19:21 | #47

    2 months is such a long campaign ,a lot can go wrong. I think it is a mistake . I cant see any sign Malcolm actually does posses the immense intellect so often spoken of .Right now he just looks like a pathetic fraud who simply wanted to be PM .Having lots of money does not guarantee intelligence. The longer people think about it ,the more the Coalition will be associated with the trickle down key idea of punishing the poor to further enrich the powerful. Its hard to enact those policies without owning up to what you are doing. As the polls tighten the Coalition are transparently hoping for some kind of national security or asylum seeker incident ,desperately looking for ways to play their trump card .Shorten should just come out and say that no matter how blood thirsty ,barbaric ,or repressive the Coalition gets, Labor will guarantee to exceed that low- disgusting. Bring back public floggings I say.

  48. Stockingrate
    May 12th, 2016 at 20:35 | #48

    @bjb
    Ok, what do all those words in the policy mean in terms of population growth for Australia -300,000pa increase, 200,000; 100,000; 20,000: ZPG: doubling of population over an indeterminate number of years then holding flat?

    I read this or similar population policy bafflegab from the Greens a few years ago. I was disappointed then and don’t see any change.

  49. peach la mar.
    May 12th, 2016 at 22:39 | #49

    Peter at sub matters is reporting that French company jeumont, whose generators crippled the Collins for years, have already been awarded the contract to supply the propulsion pack for the new shortfin, but Turnbull is keeping it quiet.

  50. Tim Macknay
    May 13th, 2016 at 15:24 | #50

    Unsurprisingly, the High Court has unanimously thrown out the “challenge” to the Senate voting reforms.

  51. JohnG
    May 13th, 2016 at 18:23 | #51

    @stevefrombrisbane #43
    I suspect you’re correct. Should Shorten just go hard and drive Malcolm to commit to not changing any of the policies he is now running with, just to make it clear to everyone that Malcolm isn’t the nice guy people think he is?

  52. Salient Green
    May 13th, 2016 at 19:35 | #52

    @Stockingrate
    I agree that the Greens population policy is weak and I have sent several emails to them on the subject, saying it is embarrassing having to defend such a weak stance on population from an environmental party. The wording has strengthened slightly over the last three election cycles.
    However, I also realise that exceeding the Earth’s environmental capacity is not as simple as too many people. Clearly that horse has long ago bolted and we are headed for major ecosystem crashes even if population growth was to halt now.
    The Greens know that we need to fundamentally change the political system and the economic/financial system just to mitigate the worst of the consequences of ecosystem collapses. Sharing our wealth fairly by assisting the developing world out of poverty sustainably is essential.
    At least the Greens have a population policy. Try finding one on the old party’s sites. I feel sure that, were the Greens closer to achieving government, all of our policies would be more defined – unlike the major parties whose manifesto seems to become ever more vague with each election.

  53. Stockingrate
    May 14th, 2016 at 14:49 | #53

    @Salient Green
    “At least the Greens have a population policy.”
    I think it is just greenwash and so counterproductive to green causes.

  54. Salient Green
    May 14th, 2016 at 17:46 | #54

    @Stockingrate
    So you think that the Greens population policy is just marketing spin? Do you think other Greens policies are marketing spin? How does marketing spin have the opposite of the desired effect?

  55. Ivor
    May 14th, 2016 at 18:58 | #55

    @Stockingrate

    How on earth is population policy counterproductive to green causes.

    A Green cause is – derr – “sustainable population”.

    This just means we need more greenwash.

  56. Geoff Edwards
    May 14th, 2016 at 22:21 | #56

    @Stockingrate I agree with Salient Green. Of all the parties, the Greens are about the only one to acknowledge that the present course of our economy is unsustainable. The environmental movement has been publishing and advocating on this since the 1970s. The Greens Party inherits this understanding. (Incidentally, ecological footprint is a resultant of population times drawdown of natural resources not just population alone).

  57. Geoff Edwards
    May 14th, 2016 at 22:31 | #57

    @Moz of Yarramulla
    Moz your point that the Labor Party is also attacking the Greens reflexively is a valid one.

    As to the rest of your post and many of the other comments in this thread, participants seem to be trying hard to make sense of the convoluted set of policy positions articulated by the Coalition. I think there is a simple explanation for the lack of coherence in the Coalition’s narrative: it reflects the policy agenda of Rupert Murdoch himself expressed through his acolytes.

    Murdoch’s worldview is incoherent, replete with internal contradictions and if pruned to its bare bones, profoundly antithetical to Australian values. To attempt to find logic in his mishmash of anti-environmental, pro-US, anti-public service and pro-free trade positions is to seek water in a dry gully.

  58. May 15th, 2016 at 00:10 | #58

    Going back to Duncan Storrar on Q&A, I realise it was an “emperors new clothes” moment. The naif asking the question that all sensible people were too polite to ask. And I still don’t know the answer.

    Its a very simple question. Why choose to make changes that increase the pay of the well off, but not that of the poor?

    What is the answer? Here are some possibilities.

    The well off deserve the money, and the poor don’t.
    Our current system is too generous to the poor, and we are just fixing it.
    The well off need the money more than the poor.
    By giving money to the well off, the overall wealth of society increases, and everyone benefits.
    We need to reduce the tax burden on the well off, or they will take their talents to countries with lower taxes.
    By lowering the taxes of the well off, we are saving their employers money, because they won’t want as big a pay rise, now that they pay less tax. There is no wage pressure at the poor end of the spectrum, so they don’t need tax cuts.
    Lowering taxes on hard working high income earners will cause them to work even harder and earn more, thus boosting out tax revenue.

    But I suspect the real reason is that these are our people. We like them, and they vote for us, so we reward them.

    Anyone actually know why the Libs lowered taxes on the well off?

  59. Donald Oats
    May 18th, 2016 at 18:51 | #59

    The minister for against immigration, Peter Dutton, really gave the game away on why we have such a brutal policy for asylum seekers arriving by irregular means: the LNP’s minister believes that they suck up Aussie resources like leeches, if I have translated the subtleties of his argument correctly. Is this the very best Australian talent we have to offer, are ministerial positions so unwanted they have to go to people who think and say these Duttonesque things? Truly, truly, Gordon Bennett!

    They won’t be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English. These people would be taking Australian jobs, there’s no question about that. For many of them that would be unemployed, they would languish in unemployment queues and on Medicare and the rest of it so there would be huge cost and there’s no sense in sugar-coating that, that’s the scenario.

    …so we dump them on islands in the backyard of our Asian neighbours, there to languish under lock and key, in limbo and anguish—indefinitely, and costing billions? Is this the very best of Australian politics? The best we can ever expect to see? Jesus wept, and now I know why.

  60. Troy Prideaux
    May 19th, 2016 at 11:26 | #60

    @Donald Oats
    Yeah, the worst thing we can do is let those leeches in that take our unskilled jobs (the ones that nobody wants). That would be a complete disaster for the economy. Almost as bad as letting those gawd-awful backpackers work here without penalty.

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