• Pete Jonson

News&Views Number 18

Updated: May 27

Dear readers, 22 May, ‘Change of management’.


The Oz, May 21-22, Paul Kelly, ‘Crucial test of democracy’.


Paul Kelly, Greg Sheridan and various other members of the stars of The Weekend Oz and a good other totally readable articles.


All weekend articles were written presumably on May 20. Interestingly most pundits during the entire 6 weeks of determining the likely outcome were reluctant to nominate the winner because of the risk of another of Scomo’s ‘Miracle outcome’.


Neither major party had what is a conventional number of winning seats in the forties but apparently Labor (with smaller numbers of winning seats) had friendlier numbers of ‘Teal ladies’ (a new type), Greens and presumably also a clear majority of preferences by other smaller groups. The result that Anthony Albanese was known as the thirty-first Prime minister by the end of Saturday.


As various people have said, this heralded what the AFR today called ‘The new Labor era.’ The Weekend AFR on its front page had a ‘Day of reckoning,’ Including, ‘The world turned upside down’,


‘Parties are choosing their new tribes, ‘The 20 seats to watch tonight’ and ‘PM open to minority government.’


Pages 2 and 3 have articles about ‘Employers offering ‘huge pay rises’ to retain key staff and ‘Flexible workplaces are the winners.’



The Oz, May 23, P3, Olivia Caisley, ‘Morrison ‘misunderstood’ on issues that proved his undoing’.


‘Asked directly if he thought he had been misunderstood, he said: ‘Yes, I do think that.’

‘Of all the issues to do with women that inflicted major political blows, it was his mishandling of Brittany Higgins who had been raped in a ministerial wing at Parliament that proved most corrosive.’…


‘… scandals about assault allegations against Christian Porter and Alan Tudge, which they strenuously denied. …


His government had been incredibly sensitive and it had been ‘very, very hard to navigate that terrain.’


P6, John Ferguson, ‘Women, climate a fatal combination for Frydenberg’.


Women furious, and concern over climate change combined to oust Josh Frydenberg from Kooyong, with the outgoing minister shedding once rusted-on voters in the most conservative parts of the electorate,’


I must place a comment. Josh worked his butt off, and in my view is the best treasurer I have known, and I worked at the Reserve Bank, as CEO of two serious companies, and as Chairman of about 10 companies. Replacing a doctor to replace a top Treasurer is from a company view absurd.


Now for the heavyweight matters. The OZ, May 23, P14, ‘Economic and strategic challenges face Albanese.’


The main column in the Australian covers a number of many important issues, and is well worth careful reading. The Australian offers good will to the new government. It also warns of difficulties ahead.

Key points:

· Prime Minister Albanese is off to the Quad with Foreign Minister Wong. The PM says he will have several key issues: our engagement in key issues: ‘you have a strong partner in Australia; that we want to work with our friends; and our alliance with the US; our engagement with the region; and our support for multilateral forums’.

· Labor inherits a strong economy

· International inflation is serious and major countries are facing the possibility of entering recession, that even the Australian economy may not be able to prevent.

· Labor looks like having a narrow overall win, but this occurred with a paltry 32,8 per cent of the popular vote.

· The Coalition had 35.4 per cent.

· It beggars belief that Dr Monique would not be making tax policies or declaring war, said her campaign director’s flippant remark.


Josh Frydenberg as speaker?


Johannes Leak has provided a brilliant cartoon. A bunch of women (a chattering) class walking over Messrs Frydenberg and Scomo as in a French revolutionary day out.


AFR, May 23, P 46, Editorial&Opinion,‘Small-target labor now needs a big agenda’.

This is a full page of passionate material. I will quote what I think is important.


‘It is the end of politics as usual. The 2022 election has shaken Australia’s century-old political duopoly to its core. Albanese will leave the country with less than a third of that primary vote.’ …


Mr Albanese’s first hope is to secure ‘at least a bare majority government’ (which seems to be done). … His biggest problem is that his core promise to tackle the cost-of-living blowout and revise wages growth by reversing the productivity slowdown has no underlying mandate to deliver it.’…


‘Mr Albanese’s first job as Prime Minister will be at (today’s) Quad leader’s summit in Tokyo. The revival of the four-power regional grouping was, along with the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal, a signature part of the Morrison government’s strategic pushback against China’s geopolitical assertiveness.’ …


Read on gentle colleagues. The Aussie political scene has taken a dramatic switch and we shall all (?) take time to understand.


The Oz, May 24, P1, Ben Packham, Geoff Chambers, ‘Albanese signs up the new Biden alliance’.


‘Anthony Albanese will sign Australia up to a new US-led Asia-Pacific economic block aimed at countering Chinese regional dominance as he meets Quad allies in Tokyo amid heightened US-China tensions over Taiwan’.


Greg Sheridan, May 24, P 11, ‘Lib lurch to the left would be disastrous’.


‘Liberal post-mortems will be lengthy. But sheer staggering incompetence, a lack of respect for party democracy, over centralisation of power, including candidate choice, and a strange willingness to seriously fight for anything more important than questions of left versus right. That’s a moderate conservative truth’.


Peter Jennings, P11, Mr Albanese goes to Tokyo to face his first big security test’.


Troy Bramston, ‘Electoral earthquake reshapes political landscape forever.’


AFR, May 24, P 36, Richard Holden, ‘Albanese must choose: Old Way or Third Way.’


‘Saturday’s election shifts the balance of power in the Liberal Party to the right. With moderates such as Josh Frydenberg, Dave Sharma, Trent Zimmerman gone, the Liberals will be dragged further to the right on issues including climate change , national security and LGBT rights.’


‘With fewer people in the Liberal Party to stand up for centrist economic liberalism, the party could simply vacate the field and become a populist conservative party devoid of sensible thinking , as the Republicans have done in the United States.’


‘If so, there maybe nobody to hold the Labor government to account on economic policy. And the big question is whether – unconstrained by an opposition that believes in markets – the ALP will pursue a Hawke-Keating-style third way policy, od downward drift to democratic socialism.


Read on here. What ARE the moderate Liberals going to do?


The Oz, May 25, P1, Prime Minister, ‘Change the climate’.


This was the PM’s crucial policy change, and it is a nice contrast to Coalition policy which was rather mulish in holding back on a powerful policy objective. 2030 will tell the tale. 2050 will tell the general story. I am prepared to bet that China will fail both date objectives, perhaps with rather many ‘regular good delivery nations’.

I hope I am wrong.


Mr Albanese performed well at his meeting with leaders of USA, India and Japan. His policies were very similar to Australia’s Coalition except for his bolder Climate proposal. But no doubt the overall Labor package will begin to divert from the Coalition’s set of ideas.

Labor will realise soon, and may already know the painful tasks ahead.


Judith Sloan provided a warning: ‘No honeymoon for Chalmers as clouds gather on horizon.’

‘Inflation, cost-of-living pressures, rising energy costs, falling housing affordability – these will require the attention of our politicians. (Also perhaps a renewal of arrival of large numbers of immigrants, the usual state of Australian labor markets.)


‘And let’s not forget the deteriorating national security environment. The low rate of unemployment may not last long, it did not in 1974. By all means, we should celebrate the achievement, but there is no time like the present to deal with the long list of challenges while acknowledging that government actions can make things worse,’


AFR, 25 May, P1, Phillip Coorey, ‘PM to China: lift the trade bans’.


‘China should dump its tariffs on Australian exports if it was serious about mending relations with Canberra, Anthony Albanese has suggested as he reassured the region that a change of government in Australia should not be mistaken for a change in the nation’s resolve to seek regional peace and stability.


‘Attending the Quadrilateral (Quad) in Tokyo with the leaders of the United States, India and Japan, the prime minister also differential from his predecessor, Scott Morrison, by highlighting the importance of climate change action to keep China at bay.


‘We will act in recognition that climate change is the main economic and security challenge for the island countries of the Pacific,’ he said ahead of discussions that focussed heavily on China’s security pact with Solomon.’


‘Editorial&Opinion, P 46, ‘Climate policy must not be blown off course again.’


‘Newly energised Green and teal members of Parliament went to railroad the Albanese government into more radical steps on decarbonising the Australian economy than it pledged at the election . But Australia has been there before – with Julia Gillard’s ‘no carbon tax promise before the 2010 election – and everyone knows how that turned out.’


Also, Michael Smith, ‘Quad leaders slam Russian aggression.’


Also, P47, John Roskam, ‘The Liberals lost to Labor by standing for nothing.’

Here is a nice story


I recalled it when I heard that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand raised its interest rate by 50 basis points to 2.0 %.


Paddy (PP) McGuiness many years ago.


Australia and New Zealand should be merged. Australia should run everything except central banking which should be done by New Zealand. Hear, hear was my response.


KULTURE

Fiona Prior sees a little World Champion Wrestling. More here.

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