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.


Saturday’s smiles

July 2, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten were sitting next to each other on a flight from Sydney to Canberra. Bill leaned over to Malcolm and asked if he would like to play a fun game. Malcolm  just wanted to take a nap, so he politely declined and turned towards the window to catch a few winks.

Shorten persisted saying that the game was really easy and a lot of fun. “I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me $5, and visa-versa.”

Again, Turnbull politely declined and tried to get some shut-eye.

Shorten, now somewhat tetchy, said, “Okay, if you don’t know the answer you pay me $5, and if I don’t know the answer, I will pay you $50.”

That caught Malcolm’s attention. He also knew from long experiences with Bill in Parliament that there would be no end to this torment unless he played, so he agreed to the game.

Shorten asked the first question. “How much is the GST on a loaf of bread?” Malcolm reached into his wallet without saying a word, pulled out $5 and handed it to Bill.

Now, it’s Malcolm’s turn. He asked Bill, “What hops, carries its young in its pouch and flies?”

Shorten looked at Turnbull with a puzzled frown. He took out his laptop computer and searched all his references. He tapped into the air phone with his modem and searched the internet and the Commonwealth National Library. Frustrated, he sent emails to all his mates in the Labor Party and finally people in the Green Party. None of them had the answer.

After more than an hour and as the plane is approaching the airport to land, he woke up Turnbull and handed him $50. Malcolm took the $50 and readied himself for landing.

Bill, who was more than a little miffed, asked, “Well, so what’s the answer!”

Wordlessly,  Malcolm reached into his wallet, handed Bill a $5 note, and said, “What a pity the voters won’t know that you stayed awake for the whole flight and lost $40 and I slept most of the way but still finished $40 better off.”


Security agencies foil terror attack

September 18, 2014

Australian police have arrested suspected terrorists in Sydney and Brisbane:

A SERIES of anti-terrorism raids were sparked by intelligence reports that Islamic State supporters were planning a public execution in Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.

Details of the planned attack have emerged in the wake of the biggest anti-terrorism operation in Australia’s history, involving hundreds of police officers in co-ordinated raids across Sydney and Brisbane this morning.

Mr Abbott was briefed on the police raid on Wednesday night, which included intelligence that public beheadings were planned. “The exhortations, quite direct exhortations, were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country,” he told reporters.

“So this is not just suspicion, this is intent and that’s why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have.”

LIVE UPDATES: Terror raids

NSW Police will allege that some of the Sydney men arrested in the operation had communicated with the Islamic State organisation while developing their alleged plan to seize a random member of the public and behead them live on camera. . . .

Some comments on the raids:

    1:41pm: Labor leader Bill Shorten is holding a press conference about the terror raids.

“The raids will no doubt come as a shock to many Australians.”

“It does remind us that the threat of terror can actually occur on our shores.”

“The reports of what these people were allegedly preparing are truly shocking.”

“Australians should be reassured by the capabilities of our security agencies. People should be reassured that our [agencies] are able to do their job before bad things happen to people.”

He said four major terrorist attacks planned on Australian soil had been disrupted since 2003 with the participants convicted and jailed. . .

 

12:44pm: NSW Premier Mike Baird said the alleged plot, to behead a person on the streets of Sydney, was “undoubtedly horrifying”.

“But I want to pay absolute … thanks to the authorities that have done their job,” he said.

“We want to say to the community: be assured, the actions [today] show that every single effort will be made to ensure that we are safe.”

12:42pm: NSW Premier Mike Baird is holding a press conference about the anti-terrorism raids.

He warned those who wanted to harm the community that “we will hunt you down”.

“To those that think they may be operating in dark corners, we are shining the light upon you,” he said.

 

This puts into perspective what Prime Minister John Key said last night:

New Zealanders face real threats and as Prime Minister of New Zealand I can either choose to walk away from protecting New Zealanders or do my job. I will never walk away from protecting New Zealanders.

If we ever lived in a benign strategic environment we don’t now and that is why security agencies must have the powers they need to protect us.

 


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.


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.


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