Friday 21st of June 2019

saved in the nick of time...

titanic struggle...

Peter Dutton is not a sure vote winner even on his own home turf. The assumption that he’s a potent adversary of his party’s enemies in Queensland looks very shaky in the light of focus groups of undecided voters held in the last few days in his seat of Dickson.

He’s no hero to them. They haven’t forgotten – as Canberra strangely has in the turmoil of the last few days – that Dutton made his reputation imprisoning women and children out in the islands. These voters want the boats stopped but they reckon their MP is heartless, cruel and not very bright.

Dickson is not a bleak outer suburb of Brisbane. It’s leafy and only a quarter of an hour from town. It’s mostly middle class. The notion that this is some uniquely Queensland electorate is rubbish. There are electorates like this across Australia. If Dutton can’t hold onto his – and his margin is only about 2% – then how could he, as prime minister, hold such electorates across the nation?

They’ve had him as their local member for 17 years, but Dutton has no star power in Dickson. That he’s an ex-cop is one fact everyone knows about him. The other is that he’s uncompromising. Undecided voters split there. Some recoil from what they see as sheer stubbornness. Others read Dutton as principled with the guts to stand up to pressure from the Greens and Labor.

The focus groups in Dickson are being conducted for GetUp. The work is not finished but an interesting shift in attitudes to the boats is emerging.
First, these wavering voters are unconvinced that a switch to Labor would see the floodgates open. Second, they’re coming to view offshore detention as unruly, expensive and inhumane.

Why, they ask, should money be spent on lawyers just to get a sick kid from Nauru to hospital in Brisbane? And who is the man who runs that system? Their local member, Peter Dutton.

Having the prime minister as your local member is supposed to thrill electors. But a ReachTEL poll overnight in Dickson revealed half the electorate opposed Dutton trying to unseat Malcolm Turnbull and only a miserable 37.6% backed his lunge for power. All in all, he was Mr Unlikely.

This is voter analysis Australian-style. It presumes that everyone will turn out to vote. The challenge here isn’t to persuade what Americans call “the base” to leave home to drive to a polling station. Throwing red meat to the base is a necessity of US politics. Not here. First, party loyalty is breaking down in this country. We switch votes when our parties disappoint us. But almost nothing makes Americans break with their party. Nearly 80% of Republicans still support Trump. Walking over to the other side is so damn hard.

In order to excite his base and win voters on the fringe, Trump can put policies in place that appal most Republicans. He knows party support will hold. But that doesn’t work in Australia. That’s why – along with the uncertain appeal of Dutton the man – the talk in Canberra this week of meeting the demands of the base was so suspect.

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damage control on the titanic...

Of all the pointless convulsions in Australian politics in the last decade, this is surely the most pointless.

It achieved no benefit on any level but came at great cost to the government and to Australia.

There was no great principle at stake. The only policies at issue could have been worked through with a bit of goodwill, as Malcolm Turnbull said. The new prime minister isn’t even as electable as the one he replaced.


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Scott Morrison wird neuer Premierminister Australiens...


Entscheidung im Machtkampf

Scott Morrison wird neuer Premierminister Australiens

Die parteiinterne Kampfabstimmung bei den australischen Liberals ist entschieden - und das Land bekommt schon wieder einen neuen Premierminister: Scott Morrison folgt auf Malcolm Turnbull. mehr... [ Forum ]


changes ahead...changes ahead...

non-diplomatically speaking...

The country has dodged a bullet. I’d like to say that more diplomatically, but I have no energy to say it more diplomatically, and I strongly suspect voters don’t need diplomacy from me right now.

What’s needed is clarity.

So let’s have that.

There have been big stakes in this leadership ballot. A party of government fractured right in front of us. That political party contemplated its immediate future: would it be government by reason, steady deliberation by the technocrats, or would it be government by crass populism, by feelings, by resentments, by roiling, by the gut, by the vibe?

This same choice has played out in democracies around the world, post global financial crisis. This is the moment history has handed us. How we respond to it will determine our future.

The Liberal party teetered on the brink of that choice, descended into several days of abject madness as it sought to resolve it, and in the end, chose to stay within the lines; to not succumb, or at least not fully, to Trumpism and nativism. It leaned into the worst scenario, and pulled back by five votes.


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By pulling the trigger on Malcolm, Dutton shot himself badly... see: 

love in the liberal party...


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the legacy of shit-stirring by turdy abbott...

After three days of fighting to the death and destroying a Prime Minister, the Liberal Party has a new leader: Scott Morrison. 

He won 45 votes to 40.

Chief reactionary Peter Dutton did not, despite his protestations, have the numbers. Julie Bishop did not survive the first round and will leave the Parliament. So too will Malcolm Turnbull. The only question is whether they will resign immediately and cause by-elections, or hang on till the next election, whenever that is.  

At his farewell press conference, Turnbull gave the strong impression he would resign very soon.

A by-election in his seat of Wentworth might see Labor or the Greens win and the Morrison Government lose its majority in Parliament. They could still govern with the support of the more conservative crossbenchers, although we need to wait and see what their position is on the new Government.

If so it may be this dysfunctional, factionally riven incompetent government can survive until May next year. Certainly, those who threatened retribution if Dutton became Liberal leader will now stay on the Government benches. This means Scott Morrison and the Government he fashions from the walking wounded and brain dead in the wreckage of the last three days will most likely have the confidence of the House when it returns on 10 September.

In a further rebuff to the reactionary faction, Josh Frydenberg was elected deputy in the first round, with an absolute majority of the 85 votes.

Morrison was elected because he was not Peter Dutton. In saying that, however, it is clear he comes from the same gene pool as the Duttonistas. He made his name as the Immigration Minister, running the concentration camps on Manus Island and Nauru, and brutalising refugees and asylum seekers.

As Social Services Minister for nine months under Tony Abbott, he attacked poor people. As Treasurer under Malcolm Turnbull, his whole focus has been on attacking workers and the poor, and shifting wealth to capital. He was, until his elevation today, the Treasurer for the big end of town.

He will, like Turnbull, be a Prime Minister for capital. He is a big fan of discredited trickle-down economics. It was Morrison who led the charge for the company tax cuts to big business, based on the myth that this will produce a nirvana for workers of secure jobs and increased wages.

The Senate rejected this signature policy of his. The Party rejected the National Energy Guarantee, the signature policy of his Deputy, Josh Frydenberg.

Morrison will not be able to address the fundamental issue at the heart of the problem for neoliberal governments — neoliberalism. While the Liberal Party has narrowly rejected having Peter Dutton as leader yielding a chainsaw on workers, they have elected a man with what they hope is a scalpel to take to the body of the working class.

Past experience suggests he will have as little ability to sell his tickle down message to workers as Prime Minister as he had as Treasurer. Working Australians want secure full time well-paid jobs and proper health, education and transport services. Capital want profit, and the crisis of profitability that exists globally and in Australia means that wages, jobs and services are constantly under attack from their Governments.

On top of Morrison being unable to achieve the impossible and make stagnating wages, insecure work and declining public services attractive enough for workers to vote for him and his Coalition, he also has the problem that 40 of his own party wanted Peter Dutton. The forces of reaction are not going to disappear. Having destroyed one Prime Minister, they could do the same to his successor. 

That will happen anyway at the next election. It seems clear to me that the Coalition, through its familial slaughter over the last few days, has killed whatever slim chance it had of winning the next election, whenever that might be.

The pretence of unity behind Morrison will not pass any pub test given the deep divisions in the Liberal Party. In these circumstances the, 1% (other than, perhaps, the Murdoch empire) will turn to the Labor Party as their second eleven for stability and a dose of class collaboration to lock in workers to a subtler neoliberal agenda.

The new Morrison Government might limp along until May next year, pretending they love each other, and easing back on the attacks on workers and services. But their real agenda remains – to ensure capital is very profitable – needs be at our expense.

The shit sandwich remains the same. Only the chief salesman has changed.

May 2019 is too far away. If we want real progress in Australia, it is time for the Australian people to enter on to history’s stage, and sweep this rabble away — and in doing that, make sure the new Labor government reflects our wishes, not those of capital.


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tony abbott is as talented as a stick in the mud...

Tony Abbott is facing calls from some Liberal party colleagues to retire at the next election, but another former Liberal prime minister, John Howard believes Abbott should be promoted to cabinet.

Howard, Australia’s second longest serving prime minister says Scott Morrison needs to muster as much talent as possible for his frontbench.

“I have been of the view for quite a long time that Tony should be back in the ministry ... but that is entirely a matter for Scott,’’ Howard told the Australian.


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