Coalition wins unwinable, Labour loses unlosable

May 19, 2019

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has won the election that pundits and pollsters said was unwinnable.

The Labor Party lost the one that was supposed to be unlosable and its leader Bill Shorten has resigned.

Scott Morrison has earnt a permanent place as a Liberal Party legend — returning the Government in what was meant to be an unwinnable election for the Coalition.

Mr Morrison smashed the doctrine that disunity will lead to electoral death.

Despite three prime ministers in two terms of government, the Queensland swing to back the Coalition and swings in Tasmania and WA showed that ultimately jobs and fear of change are too dominant.

Labor conceded but it’s not yet clear whether the Liberal Coalition has enough seats to govern as a majority government or whether it will be a minority one with the support of independent MPs.

The Prime Minister made the campaign all about economic management and himself — out-campaigning Labor by running a brutal and stunning campaign demolishing Labor’s big-target policy agenda.

Mr Morrison made the campaign a referendum on him and Bill Shorten, and downplayed the Liberal brand — cultivating a new Scott Morrison image and promising to be a steady pair of hands on the economy.

He told a packed crowd of Liberal supporters in Sydney he had always believed in miracles.

“And tonight we’ve been delivered another one,” he said. . . 

Labor took a big risk campaigning on big changes to tax loop holes including franking credits and negative gearing, allowing Mr Morrison to spend every day of the campaign casting doubt on the way Labor would remake the country.

His message was sharp, piercing and he never deviated from the one central claim — that Labor was a high-taxing risk to the economy and Mr Shorten would take money “from your pocket”. . . 

By contrast, Labor drifted from message to message — it started on health, moved to wages and staggered into climate change. . . 

The party prosecuted a message about the future premised on climate action and fairness while the Coalition stuck to a disciplined campaign with almost no new policy announced apart from the tax cuts unveiled in the Budget and a last-minute pitch for aspiring young home owners.

Are there lessons for New Zealand?

Economic management matters and high taxes don’t win elections.

It also raises questions about how much buy-in there is from the public to climate change policies which come at a high economic and social cost with questionable environmental benefit.


Advance Australia where?

July 3, 2016

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has not got the decisive election result for which he was hoping.

The Liberal coalition hasn’t got a majority but nor has Labor.

The answer to the question over where and how Australia will advance now matters on this side of the Tasman too.


Hard to hang on when cracks appear

February 9, 2015

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing a leadership vote this morning.

If he wins it, his victory is likely to be temporary. It is very hard to hang on to the leadership once cracks appear in a caucus.

He benefitted from that as Labor went through a prolonged leadership uncertainty with Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard then Rudd again.

We’ve seen it in New Zealand with members of the Labour caucus undermining successive leaders.

One of the reasons John Key’s leadership and the National Party have been so successful is because the caucus has been disciplined and united.

No doubt there are some robust conversations behind closed doors, which is healthy. But there has been none of the disunity or disloyalty that signal a caucus in turmoil and a leadership in trouble.

It is, of course, much easier to be united when your leader and party are popular.

But whether disunity and disloyalty precipitate a poll plunge or follow it, one builds on and encourages the other.

Party leaders come and go, and an unhappy and leaking caucus is a strong sign that the going is likely to be sooner rather than later.


NZ envy of world – Joe Hockey

July 23, 2014

Australian treasurer Joe Hockey says New Zealand’s economy is the envy of the world:

Mr Hockey told TV ONE’s Breakfast today that Australia could learn some lessons from their Kiwi neighbours.

“New Zealand has done a splendid job, the Key government is a standout government around the world and as a result of that it is heading towards a surplus,” he said.

“New Zealand is starting to live within its means.”

Delivering his first budget this year, Mr Hockey said he was forced to slash spending by $10 billion because of the previous Labor government’s overspending.

“They took us to a position where if we don’t take immediate action we will face much bigger debts,” he said.

“If you make the difficult but important decisions up front then you get the benefits down the track. We’ve got a long way to go to catch up to the budget position of New Zealand.”

The government borrowed to take the roughest edges off the global financial crisis but at the same time took a very disciplined approach to public spending.

By doing so it turned round the forecast decade of deficits Labour left it with and is now back on track to surplus.

The growing economy is one of the reasons we’re getting a net migration gain:

. . . In the June 2014 year, permanent and long-term (PLT) migrant arrivals numbered 100,800 (up 14 percent from 2013), the first time more than 100,000 arrivals have been recorded in a year. Migrant departures numbered 62,400 (down 22 percent). This resulted in a net gain of 38,300 migrants, the highest annual gain since the October 2003 year (39,300). New Zealand recorded its highest-ever net gain of 42,500 migrants in the May 2003 year.

In the latest year, New Zealand had a net loss of 8,300 migrants to Australia, well down from 31,200 a year earlier. Net gains were recorded from most other countries, led by India (7,000), China (6,300), and the United Kingdom (5,500).

In June 2014, New Zealand had a seasonally adjusted net gain (more arrivals than departures) of 4,300 migrants, the second-highest monthly gain of migrants. The highest gain ever recorded was in February 2003 (4,700).

Net migration has been positive and mostly increasing since September 2012. The difference in the net gains recorded in September 2012 and June 2014 was mainly due to:

  • fewer New Zealand citizens leaving for Australia (down 2,400) 
  • more non-New Zealand citizens arriving (up 1,500)
  • more New Zealand citizens arriving from Australia (up 500).

Seasonally adjusted PLT arrivals of 2,000 migrants from Australia in June 2014 matched the number of departures to that country, resulting in net migration of zero. The last time this series recorded net migration of zero was in August 1991. 

We’re on track for our first ever net gain of migrants from Australia.

No wonder their treasurer envies us and the benefits we’re reaping from the hard, but right, decisions taken to get the government back into surplus and the economy growing sustainably.


Rudd retires

November 14, 2013

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced he will retire from parliament.

. . . In a shock announcement on Wednesday night, an emotional Mr Rudd, who served twice as Prime Minister and was one of Labor’s most polarising figures, said there came a time in every politician’s life when their family said “enough is enough” and there was no point “being here for the sake of being here”.

He leaves at the end of the week and did not say what he planned to do next. The general reaction among his colleagues was a mixture of sadness, relief he was gone and concern for the byelection and the pressure it could place on Bill Shorten. . . .

It is very difficult for a former leader to go back to the back benches.

His presence there and active undermining of Julia Gillard destabilised her government.

Had he retired when she beat him in the leadership race the Labor Party might not have retained power but it would almost certainly be in a much stronger position than it is now.


Ruxon on Rudd

October 17, 2013

Former Labor MP Nicola Ruxon has delivered a very frank assessment of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:

NICOLA Roxon has called on Kevin Rudd to quit parliament, defending the 2010 coup as “an act of political bastardry” that was warranted because he had been “such a bastard himself”.

Delivering what would be her “first and last” public comments on Labor’s time in government, the former attorney-general launched a blistering attack on Mr Rudd.Ms Roxon said it was the “bitter truth” that as long as Mr Rudd remained in parliament, he would feature in leadership polls and be a destabilising figure.

“In my opinion and it is only my opinion, for the good of the federal parliamentary Labor Party . . . Kevin Rudd should leave the parliament,” she said.

“Removing Kevin was an act of political bastardry, for sure, but this act of political bastardry was made possible only because Kevin had been such a bastard himself.”  . . .

It’s difficult to understand why former leaders hang on when they’ve been ousted.

It must be very, very difficult to go from leading the country to warming a seat on the back bench.

Julia Gillard acted with dignity when she accepted her defeat as leader and didn’t seek re-election as an MP.

Rudd’s determination to stay in parliament will continue to destabilise his party.


Bill Shorten wins ALP leadership

October 13, 2013

Bill Shorten has won the leadership of the Australian Labor Party.

Mr Shorten, 46, of the right faction, is the first Labor leader to be elected under rules introduced by former prime minister Kevin Rudd, in which the result of a ballot of the Labor rank and file is weighted equally against a ballot of Labor MPs. . .

Reunifying the party after years of internal division and a substantial defeat at last month’s election will be a big job.


Importance of purpose

September 15, 2013

Julia GIllard has broken two months’ silence to write in The Guardian of the pain – personal and political – of losing.

In it she, criticises her party’s rule change which could entrench a leader, even though under it she would still have beaten Rudd the first time and been able to see off his challenge which unseated her.

But the piece which resonated most with me was this:

. . . Above all else, in politics, in government and in opposition, purpose matters.

Voters do not reject political parties because they believe they do not know how to read polls or hold focus groups or come up with slogans.

Purpose matters. Being able to answer the question what are you going to do for me, for my family, for our nation, matters.

Believing in a purpose larger than yourself and your immediate political interests matters. . .

Our government has a purpose. It’s a positive and aspirational one – to make New Zealand better for everyone.

It’s a purpose not achieved easily or quickly.

It’s a purpose which includes reducing the burden of the state, providing the environment for sustainable growth and helping those who need help to look after themselves to do so, while ensuring those who can’t are looked after.

Contrast that with the purpose of Labour’s three aspiring leaders. They’ve learned nothing from past mistakes and their purpose is to get elected through pork barrel promises  with no thought of the cost in financial, personal or social terms.

Their purpose is power at any cost, not progress at a sustainable price.


ABC calls election for Abbott

September 7, 2013

The polls haven’t long closed in Australia and already the ABC is calling the election for the Liberal National Coalition:

An hour into the vote count, respected ABC analyst Antony Green has called the federal election for the Coalition, ending Labor’s tumultuous six years in power.

Early poll numbers suggest the Government is facing strong swings against it in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, with a number of high-profile MPs fighting for their political survival.

“I think we can say the Government has been defeated. What we’re having fun and games with is trying to figure out the size of the swing,” Green said. . .

Tony Abbott will be Australia’s 28th Prime Minister.

Kevin Rudd will lose the election but the Sydney Morning Herald reports he will probably keep his seat:

7:33pm: In Mr Rudd’s Brisbane seat of Griffith the much discussed possibility of an upset now looks unlikely.

With 12 per cent of the vote counted Mr Rudd has 55.3 per cent of the vote compared with 44.7 per cent for the Liberal Party’s candidate Bill Glasson. . .


Labor decimated

March 25, 2012

The Australian Labor Party has been decimated in the Queensland State Elections

Disaffected voters deserted the government to deliver Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman a massive majority, while Ms Bligh was left fighting for political survival in her own seat.

With 70 per cent of the vote counted, Labor had scraped together just six seats, with the LNP picking up 75 in a 16 per cent statewide swing against the government. Labor needs nine seats to retain party status. Among the casualties were six Labor ministers, including Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser.

The victory puts the former Brisbane lord mayor into the record books for landing the premiership without having served a day in parliament.

Australian friends who are staying with us said that Anna Bligh was well regarded for her handling of last year’s floods and Cyclone Yasi but too many other factors were against her and her party.

They expect this to have repercussions at Federal level, making Julia Gillard’s position even more precarious and that Kevin Rudd might be stupid enough to have another tilt at the leadership.

While Australia is enjoying a mineral boom and farming is doing well, the rest of the economy is sluggish.

They said people are grumpy, Labor was spending too much and too many factions made it unstable.

 


April 27 in history

April 27, 2010

On April 27:

1124 David I became King of Scots.

DavidIofScotland.jpg

1296Battle of Dunbar: The Scots were defeated by Edward I of England.

A man in half figure with short, curly hair and a hint of beard is facing left. He wears a coronet and holds a sceptre in his right hand. He has a blue robe over a red tunic, and his hands are covered by white, embroidered gloves. His left hand seems to be pointing left, to something outside the picture.

1495 Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was born (d. 1566).

1509 Pope Julius II placed the Italian state of Venice under interdict.

09julius.jpg

1521 Battle of Mactan: Explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed in the Philippines by people led by chief Lapu-Lapu.

MactanShrinePainting2.jpg

1539  Re-founding of the city of Bogotá, New Granada (now Colombia), by Nikolaus Federmann and Sebastián de Belalcázar.

 

1565  Cebu was established as the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines.

1578  Duel of the Mignons claimed the lives of two favourites of Henry III of France and two favorites of Henry I, Duke of Guise.

1650 The Battle of Carbisdale: A Royalist army invaded mainland Scotland from Orkney Island but was defeated by a Covenanter army.

Carbisdale castle.jpg

1667 The blind and impoverished John Milton sold the copyright of Paradise Lost for £10.

Milton paradise.jpg

1749 First performance of Handel’s Fireworks Music in Green Park, London.

 

1759  Mary Wollstonecraft, English philosopher and early feminist, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was born (d. 1797).

Left-looking half-length portrait of a slightly pregnant woman in a white dress 

1773 The British parliament the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade.

1777 American Revolutionary War: The Battle of Ridgefield: A British invasion force engaged and defeated Continental Army regulars and militia irregulars.

1791 Samuel F. B. Morse, American inventor, was born (d. 1872).

1805 First Barbary War: United States Marines and Berbers attacked the Tripolitan city of Derna (The “shores of Tripoli” part of the Marines’ hymn).

 

1810 Beethoven composed his famous piano piece, Für Elise.

 

1813  War of 1812: United States troops captured the capital of Upper Canada, York (present day Toronto).

1822 Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and 18th President of the United States, was born. (d. 1885).

Ulysses S. Grant in a formal black and white photo. Grant is seated with arms folded. Grant looks weary and his beard is greying. This is the photo used for the $50.00 bill.

1840 Foundation stone for new Palace of Westminster was laid by Lady Sarah Barry,  wife of architect Sir Charles Barry.

   

1861 President of the United States Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus.

1865 The New York State Senate created Cornell University as the state’s land grant institution.

The Cornell University Seal

1865 – The steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,400 passengers, exploded and sank in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700, most of whom were Union survivors of the Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons.

 

1893 New Zealand’s Premier John Ballance died.

Death of Premier John Ballance

1904 The Australian Labor Party becomes the first such party to gain national government, under Chris Watson.

 
Australian Labor Party Logo

1904 Cecil Day-Lewis, Irish poet and writer, was born (d. 1972).

 

1909 Sultan of Ottoman Empire Abdul Hamid II was overthrown, and succeeded by his brother, Mehmed V.

1911 Following the resignation and death of William P. Frye, a compromise was reached to rotate the office of President pro tempore of the United States Senate.

1927  Carabineros de Chile (Chilean national police force and gendarmery) was created.

Roundel of Carabineros de Chile.svg

1927 Coretta Scott King, American civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King, Jr, was born (d. 2006).

1927 Sheila Scott, English aviatrix, was born (d. 1988).

1932 Pik Botha, South African politician, was born.

 

1941 – World War II: The Communist Party of Slovenia, the Slovene Christian Socialists, the left-wing Slovene Sokols (also known as “National Democrats”) and a group of progressive intellectuals established the Liberation Front of the Slovenian People.

1945 World War II: German troops were finally expelled from Finnish Lapland.

1945 World War II: The Völkischer Beobachter, the newspaper of the Nazi Party, ceased publication.

 

1945 World War II: Benito Mussolini was arrested by Italian partisans in Dongo, while attempting escape disguised as a German soldier.

 

1947 Peter Ham, Welsh singer and songwriter (Badfinger) (d. 1975), was born.

1948  Kate Pierson, American singer (The B-52’s), was born.

1950  Apartheid: In South Africa, the Group Areas Act was passed formally segregating races.

1951 – Ace Frehley, American musician (Kiss), was born.

1959  The last Canadian missionary left China.

1959 Sheena Easton, Scottish singer, was born.

1960  Togo gained independence from French-administered UN trusteeship.

1961 Sierra Leone was granted its independence from the United Kingdom, with Milton Margai as the first Prime Minister.

 

1967 Expo 67 officially opened in Montreal with a large opening ceremony broadcast around the world.

 

1967 Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, Dutch heir apparent, was born.

Close-up of Willem-Alexander wearing a military peaked cap

1967 Erik Thomson, Australian actor, was born.

Pttrtitle.png

1972  Constructive Vote of No Confidence against German Chancellor Willy Brandt failed under obscure circumstances.

1974 10,000 march in Washington, D.C. calling for the impeachment of US President Richard Nixon.

1977 28 people were killed in the Guatemala City air disaster.

1981 Xerox PARC introduced the computer mouse.

1987 The U.S. Department of Justice barred the Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States, saying he had aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War II.

1992 The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia and Montenegro, was proclaimed.

1992 Betty Boothroyd becamethe first woman to be elected Speaker of the British House of Commons in its 700-year history.

1992 Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics became members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

1993 All members of the Zambia national football team lost their lives in a plane crash off Libreville, Gabon in route to Dakar to play a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Senegal.

Shirt badge/Association crest

1994  South African general election, 1994: The first democratic general election in South Africa, in which black citizens could vote.

Nelson Mandela.jpg

1996 The 1996 Lebanon war ended.

2002 The last successful telemetry from the NASA space probe Pioneer 10.

 

2005 The superjumbo jet aircraft Airbus A380 made its first flight from Toulouse.

 

2006 Construction began on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Centre.

Freedom Tower New.jpg

2007 Estonian authorities removed the Bronze Soldier, a Soviet Red Army war memorial in Tallinn, amid political controversy with Russia.

 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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