“Steve Kates on Malcolm Turnbull”

If you google, “Steve Kates on Malcolm Turnbull”, these are the first two items that come up:

Malcolm Turnbull for PM | Catallaxy Files
catallaxyfiles.com/2015/09/16/malcolm-turnbull-for-pm/
Malcolm Turnbull for PM. Posted on 9:36 am, September 16, 2015 by Steve Kates. Every political … 375 Responses to Malcolm Turnbull for PM. « Previous 1 2.

I would never vote for a Coalition led by Malcolm Turnbull
catallaxyfiles.com/…/i-would-never-vote-for-a-coalition-led-by-malcolm…
Posted on 9:01 am, February 27, 2015 by Steve Kates. Andrew Bolt says that Malcolm Turnbull is about to have his final go at taking over the leadership of the …

The first of these, written just as he became PM, ends like this:

The Liberal Party is filled with others like Malcolm and it is a problem. But here is where we are. There are the 44 who are still in the party room, and there are the Coalition National Party also in the government. And Labor is a disaster in the making of such massive proportion, of the Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn variety, that not voting Coalition at the next election is unthinkable. Malcolm has now got this to add to his CV, everyone in the party room knows the extent to which he is an empty vessel, but the stakes are too high even to think about Bill Shorten, never mind Tanya as PM.

The second, written a few months before, begins like this:

When I used to work in Canberra, our offices backed onto the Liberal Party headquarters, and I was asked one time, even before Malcolm entered Parliament, what I thought about him. My answer was that if I was in the constituency that would decide the fate of the next election, and my vote was the one that would put him in or out, that I would hesitate about which way to go. That was then. Today I would have no doubt.

So here’s the deal. We have the likes of Gary Johns, with so many others over at The Australian, following company orders in trying to convince the rest of us to take the switch to Malcolm as a fait accompli about which nothing can be done, so just lie back and enjoy it. But things don’t work like that. And there are two reasons for me not to sit back and take it.

First, what’s the point of blogging if you don’t say what you want about the things that interest you? I think Malcolm’s political instincts are dreadful and his personal values a disgrace. I am angry he is now PM, and I think the Coalition is less likely to win the next election than if Tony had remained. He’s barely ahead and he hasn’t done a single unpopular thing. Tony only did what was ABC-unpopular and was within easy striking distance. He was a mile ahead in Canning, which is why the coup happened when it did. Tony was odds-on to win in 2016.

The second derives from the first. If we all become pragmatists, then Malcolm and his slimy crew can get away with anything they want, since they can always say that Bill and Tanya are worse. The challenge now for Malcolm and the 54 is to keep us onside who are now offside. You know, there is this meeting in Paris, and then there is the need to keep the boats stopped, and there are lots of other things just as important to people like me. And on this I rate the economy high. I don’t think Tony did get it, but I also don’t think Malcolm gets it, and he doesn’t get it even worse than Tony didn’t get it. The NBN has been my standard test, and Malcolm is a capital-F Fail.

Tony was not perfect, but he was far more perfect than Malcolm. I could give you the list, but I am pragmatic to my back teeth. I take each of those who are leaders and accept that they come as a package deal since what else can you do? Malcolm now has his work cut out for him to convince people such as myself that he thinks our views matter. If he doesn’t end up showing he is responsive to the political wishes of conservative voters, he may find out all too soon how much it really mattered after all.

UPDATE: Alerted by CL, we have this from The Oz this morning, Ousted PM Tony Abbott speaks to Ray Hadley. From which we learn:

“If you judge things by the polls, I’ve never been very popular. All through the days of Opposition my personal ratings were poor, but it didn’t stop us,” the Prime Minister told 2GB’s Ray Hadley in his first broadcast interview since being ousted as prime minister.

“Our politics rightly or wrongly is more and more presidential. You can be not especially popular in these personal approval or disapproval ratings and at the same time lead a very effective political operation.

“We saw with David Cameron in Britain just a couple of months back the British conservative government was behind in the polls the entire time – absolutely the entire five years they were behind in the polls – and then they had really quite a convincing victory.

“I am confident that had I continued at the head of the government that’s exactly what we would have had,” he said.

My view as well.

There are alternatives and we will find them

I am still unable to read The Australian in the morning with all the happy news about our new Prime Minister. The fact is, I don’t see it that way at all. I look at our new Prime Minister as a shallow lightweight whose only merit is that he leads a Coalition with the 44 of good sense plus the Nationals. If he decides to lead the Labor Party against the will of people like me, he will find himself the preferred PM only among people who will never vote for the party he leads. The alerts from Andrew Bolt today about how potentially disastrous the government Malcolm is leading may turn out to be. Here are the examples he lists. You should go to the links to see the full stories:

1) Green rentseekers get sniff of Turnbull cash:

Environment Minister Greg Hunt says the renewables industry should feel “very supported” under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, after they complained of investment instability fuelled by Tony Abbott’s hostility towards the sector.

Mr Hunt has also said he would seek ways for Australia to “do more” on climate change with Mr Turnbull after the United Nations conference in Paris, and said the appointment of five new members of the Climate Change Authority board was delayed by the leadership spill.

The former prime minister was frequently scathing of wind turbines and the renewable energy target…

In a change of tack, Mr Hunt told The Australian Financial Review, “I think [the renewables industry] should feel that with myself, Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg, they will be in a very, very supportive environment.” …

Mr Hunt also revealed he was about to appoint five new members to the Climate Change Authority board before last week’s leadership change delayed the decision…

“Malcolm is passionate about the global climate challenge, and I am passionate about it.”

2) ABC wants reward for backing Turnbull:

The ABC is hopeful the installation of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister will allow it to claw back some of the $250 million slashed from the broadcaster last year as tension between the government and broadcaster cools off.

The shift from Tony Abbott to Mr Turnbull represents a change at the top of the government from one of the Coalition’s biggest critics of the ABC to one of its biggest supporters.

“There will be no more culture wars,” a Liberal source said, flagging an end to the open hostilities between the government and the ABC during recent times.

3) Credlin’s critics can’t hurt her like she can now hurt them. So back off:

Liberal MPs have warned that ongoing commentary from Peta Credlin about her time as the former­ prime minister’s chief of staff risks triggering a bitter “slanging match” and disclosure of negative stories about her conduct in the job.

Ms Credlin vented her frustration at what she believed were the unhelpful feminine stereotypes in which she had been characterised as chief of staff to Tony Abbott at an event hosted by The Australian Women’s Weekly on Tuesday night. Some Liberal MPs took issue yesterday with a statement in which she noted the role she played in engineering the ­Coalition victory in 2013.

They warned that she was just as responsible for leading the government “into oblivion” and questioned why she did not do more to elevate women in the Abbott government…

North Queensland MP Warren Entsch warned Ms Credlin against playing a spoiling role following the departure­ of Mr Abbott and raised the prospect of retribution against her.

4) African and Arab media report Turnbull softer on border policies:

New Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Wednesday he was concerned about the plight of asylum seekers in Australia’s offshore detention centres, and hinted at changes to the policy of his predecessor Tony Abbott…

Abbott’s “stop the boats” policy was criticised for being too hardline, but also touted as one of the successes of his administration.

In an interview with Sky News on his ninth day in office after ousting Abbott, Turnbull acknowledged the detention policy was “controversial”.

“I have the same concerns about the situation of people on Manus and Nauru … as I think all Australians do,” Turnbull said.

“All policies change, but when we do make changes we will do so in a considered way and they will be made by the minister, myself [and] the cabinet.”

5) Turnbull has to cut this waffle:

He pauses, he stutters, he umms and he ahhs. Hesitant moments as his hands wave meaninglessly in the air; awkward body shifts and gestures attempt to make up for the lack of substantive comment. No, it’s not Tony Abbott on a bad day: it’s Malcolm Turnbull. Not since Kevin Rudd last graced our TV screens have we had a prime minister who a) has so many words to deploy and b) has so little to say with them.

6) Turnbull gets credit for Abbott’s domestic violence package because he’s more enlightened, you see:

In fact, Abbott had already decried the rate of family violence deaths, put the issue on the national agenda, raised it with the Commonwealth heads of government meeting, appointed an inquiry and put together this very package, which he was due to release in the week he was toppled.

7) Fairfax still reports falsehoods on the Prime Minister, but not yet to destroy:

Now that Malcolm Turnbull is prime minister, Fairfax political writers still write false stories – but as yet not with hostile intent.

Malcolm, you will also not be able to fix the economy without really annoying all of your latest fans who think public spending only enriches us. That, unfortunately, is how I think you think. No apology for and criticism of the NBN you oversaw convinced me your economics is no deeper than a first year Keynesian economics text.

If you’re so rich why aren’t you smart?

Malcolm is almost the perfect reflection of media opinion. He is like blotting paper, soaking up every conventional opinion without any actual apparent ability to think for himself. He is a non-entity in the Barack Obama mould, filled with vapid thoughts and a high opinion of his own abilities and intellect that is never at any stage reflected in anything he says or any action he takes.

He apparently won on the promise that he would not change any of the more contentious compromises Abbott had been able to meld, which is to say, he won promising not to do the very things that he wants to do, and which the media will look to him to do. The Great Communicator he is not. He is a shallow and pompous blowhard. If there is more to him, we will find out. If there isn’t, the 54 fools who backed him into the Lodge will perhaps regret what they have done, but in the meantime will have caused great harm to this country, while not even saving a single Parliamentary seat.

AND CONTINUING: The one opinion I was interested in was Tim Blair’s.

UPDATE III. The winner and new Prime Minister: Malcolm Turnbull, by 54 to 44 votes. Julie Bishop elected deputy. Disaster.

OK Malcolm. It’s now up to you to show us we were wrong.

Is it still the GFC from 2009, you numbskull kidders?

It it is hard, indeed it seems impossible, to get across the message that using up resources to produce loss-making forms of output causes an economy to slow, lowers the standard of living and reduces employment. Keynesian economics is driven by C+I+G; whatever you spend on makes no difference. So here’s an interesting story, about which Malcolm Turnbull has had an important role to play:

The company building the National Broadband Network could blow its budget by as much as $15 billion after revealing that revenue flow will slow and the costs of construction are far greater than it first expected.

The government-funded company revealed that its peak funding will now come in between $46 billion and $56 billion, up from the $41 billion assumption it previously held.

The company is aiming to complete the build — which will pass eight million homes by 2020 — for $49 billion, which is 20 per cent more than its original forecast. A worst-case scenario would see costs blow out by 36 per cent or $15bn.

The increased funding has smashed the rate of return that the project will generate for the government, which will now come in the range of 2.7-3.5 per cent. The previous rate of return was around 5 per cent. Despite the low return the project will remain off the budget.

The funding increase has been brought on by increases in the capital and operational costs of the build as well as increases in the costs to roll out of fibre to the node technology.

This is the final para of the story, which for some reason did not mention Malcolm.

The NBN received another $4.7bn of government funds in the past year to take its total equity to $13.2 billion in equity at end of financial year 2015. Total government equity contributions are capped at $29.5 billion.

This is just one example of the worldwide waste of resources in one government stimulus project after another. No modern textbook, other than mine, can explain to you why our economies are heading over the cliff. As the latest news has it, Aussie stockmarket tumbles amid growing fears over health of global economy. You’ll have to remind me again what it is that has caused all these problems? Is it still the GFC from 2009, you numbskull kidders? Meanwhile, a bit of whistling by the graveyard:

Treasurer Joe Hockey said that while markets would fluctuate, the fundamentals were still good for the global economy, particularly the US.

He said several factors would cause volatility in the markets in the next few months, particularly any decision by the US Federal Reserve to move on interest rates in September.

“If they do increase their interest rates, then you will see movement of money from equity markets, probably into bond markets,” he said.

He said such volatility would hit confidence in Australia and that’s why the government had to keep reminding people that their economy is one of the fastest-growing in the world right.

The fundamentals are disastrous in the US and not so good here either. These Treasury advisors do not have a clue.

Solidarity forever

Why do we even know what Malcolm Turncoat’s views are? Hasn’t he heard of cabinet solidarity?

Tony Abbott is staring down ­internal critics of his plan for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, locking in conservative support in the wake of a Coalition dispute that has triggered renewed sniping over his leadership.

The Prime Minister threw more weight behind the plebiscite hours after Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull warned against the proposal, highlighting a conflict within the government over the way the idea was devised.

Another Donald Trump, who knows only his own opinion, respects no one else’s and cannot convince anyone of anything they don’t already believe.

Dealing with the red-green faction of the Liberal Party

In the poll showcased by Sinclair, this was the tally that mattered. So far as Coalition voters are concerned: Abbott 41% / Turnbull 21%. Among Coalition voters, the split thus is 66.1% Abbott and 33.9% Turnbull. And would you like to know why? From a few days ago:

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull added pressure by live-tweeting his morning journey by public transport from Melbourne to Geelong — the same journey for which Mrs ­Bishop notoriously claimed a $5227 helicopter bill in ­November. “One tram, one train, one car,” Mr Turnbull said.

My dim and distant memory is that Peter Costello refused the leadership in 2007 primarily because he was not prepared to put up with the continuous white anting from Turnbull. Life was to short so he gave it away, and we have missed out on a great potential Prime Minister. Instead we had Brendan Nelson, who was white anted instead. Then Turnbull, who white anted himself with his incompetence. And how he is doing the same with Abbott.

The red-green faction of the Liberal Party is a major problem, and I just wish they’d stop. The government would be in a much better position if there was less treachery. Abbott I think understands all too well what is happening around him. But you are forced to work with the materials you have. He remains the most conservative and free market Prime Minister we are likely to have any time soon. He’s not perfect. He’s only better than any and all of the rest.

Pig Iron Mal

Picked up at Andrew Bolt that Malcolm Turnbull wishes to line up on the New York Times side of every issue, in this case possibly the single most important foreign policy issue of our generation. On the ABC naturally, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Islamic State threat should not be inflated. OK, but it all depends on what you mean by inflated. Here is Malcolm showing off his lack of political imagination:

Daesh is not Hitler’s Germany, Tojo’s Japan or Stalin’s Russia.

Really? What year we talking about, Malcolm? How about 1933? Same kind of stupid remark could have been made about all three at the time. Why don’t we leave it alone to fester a bit. Remember 911? That was the date. The year was 2001, fourteen years ago. Leave this one alone and where will we be fourteen years from now? Like Pig Iron Bob, we now have pig ignorant Mal.

Packed full of platitudes

Let me start with Malcolm Turnbull’s speech on the economy the other day and about what a great job he believes he could do to sell the current need to bring fiscal responsibility back into vogue. Maybe so, but the evidence Turnbull can sell anything other than pre-approved Labor polices to Labor voters is still untested. So it is therefore good to have seen another perspective: Hartigan attacks Turnbull on “woeful” record, also a few days back. It begins:

FORMER News Corp boss John Hartigan has launched a blistering attack against Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull for failing to reform media laws, accusing of him of having a “woeful” track record and ignoring regional communities.

The chairman of regional TV company Prime Media Group was responding to Turnbull’s “tough talking speech about the economy” to the Brisbane Club yesterday, which he said was “packed full of platitudes about embracing the future and the need for reform”.

Hartigan said: “Malcolm Turnbull reckons he can sell tough reform, but his track record in his own portfolio is woeful.”

“The Minister likes to talk the talk when discussing the economy, but when it comes to tackling much needed media reform in his own portfolio, I wonder if he will walk the walk?

For Malcolm to think he has been a political genius in finding a way to bring in Labor’s NBN with a mild reduction in the level of pure waste may seem wonderful to him but not to me. Where was he when the NBN was being debated in the first place? A white elephant that will sink our living standards, an outcome on which I have never heard Turnbull say a word. I wonder if he even knows.

The Australian and Mr Abbott

The Australian seems ever so gently to be edging towards an anti-Abbott position which may, or may not, reflect the views of its owner, but which definitely does not reflect the views of at least one of its readers. I almost always start the paper with Cut and Paste which, up until recently, had always been written up in a way that matched my own view of things. But of late, there have been a few that have left me completely perplexed, since to make sense of them as a form of irony, you would have to be pro-Labor. Today Cut and Paste was devoted to Andrew Bolt’s deconstruction of John Lyon’s nonsense story on Abbott’s supposed plan for a unilateral invasion of Iraq. Andrew is back on this theme today, and you will have to pardon his French: This campaign to intimidate me will not work: Lyons’ claim remains bullshit. Why The Australian persists with this story, since it was utterly implausible from the start, I do not know, but it does make me nervous. The editorial, also today, critical of Abbott’s statement about the cost of funding remote aboriginal communities, was more of the same.

And just to push the same message along, there is the feature opinion piece of the day, also a negative take on the cost of servicing remote aboriginal sites, and written by the presenter of Radio National’s Drive Program. Naturally, the need to contain costs is as remote from her consciousness as are these various sites.

And again today, also on the opinion page, there is an article near on incomprehensible to me by Nikki Savva, who I normally ignore, about something Credlin wrote to some Senator and the smouldering resentment it seems to have caused for reasons that remain unclear. Whatever it was, she has seen fit to do a bit of troublemaking, whose long-term good can only be for the Labor Party, but may provide some assistance along the way to Malcolm.

Then yesterday, on the front page but below the fold, there was a small but respectful article about Malcolm Turnbull’s speech on the economy and about what a great job he believes he could do to sell the current need to bring fiscal responsibility back. Maybe so, but the evidence Turnbull can sell anything other than pre-approved Labor polices to Labor voters is still untested. So it is good to see another perspective: Hartigan attacks Turnbull on “woeful” record. It begins:

FORMER News Corp boss John Hartigan has launched a blistering attack against Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull for failing to reform media laws, accusing of him of having a “woeful” track record and ignoring regional communities.

The chairman of regional TV company Prime Media Group was responding to Turnbull’s “tough talking speech about the economy” to the Brisbane Club yesterday, which he said was “packed full of platitudes about embracing the future and the need for reform”.

Hartigan said: “Malcolm Turnbull reckons he can sell tough reform, but his track record in his own portfolio is woeful.”

“The Minister likes to talk the talk when discussing the economy, but when it comes to tackling much needed media reform in his own portfolio, I wonder if he will walk the walk?

For Malcolm to think he has been a political genius in finding a way to bring in Labor’s NBN with a mild reduction in the level of pure waste may seem wonderful to him but not to me. Where was he when the NBN was being debated in the first place? A white elephant that will sink our living standards, an outcome on which I have never heard Turnbull say a word. I wonder if he even knows.

But the story is also anti-Coalition since it the Government’s media policy, not just Turnbull’s. Not good. Very not good is all I can say.

I would never vote for a Coalition led by Malcolm Turnbull

Andrew Bolt says that Malcolm Turnbull is about to have his final go at taking over the leadership of the Liberal Party by Tuesday, so that it is now or never to make our views known (see here and here).

When I used to work in Canberra, our offices backed onto the Liberal Party headquarters, and I was asked one time, even before Malcolm entered Parliament, what I thought about him. My answer was that if I was in the constituency that would decide the fate of the next election, and my vote was the one that would put him in or out, that I would hesitate about which way to go. That was then. Today I would have no doubt. The reasons.

Peter Wright For me, national security is the ultimate issue in any election. There are always international issues that matter, and they weigh heavy with me. All but forgotten today, The Spycatcher Trial was one of those moments I do not forget. Wright was an MI5 agent who set out to write a tell-all/reveal-all of the English intelligence service. Margaret Thatcher sought to prevent the publication of his book, and the final determination was in a court in Tasmania, in which Malcolm Turnbull sought to defend Wright and ultimately was successful in allowing the book to be published worldwide because it could be published in Australia. I was told then that everyone deserves the best defence and etc etc, but if Malcolm has ever said that he defended Wright even though he was treasonous scum, I haven’t heard it. I would never trust Turnbull on any national security issue, and there is nothing more important at the present time.

He’s a Warmist Anyone soft-headed enough to take in the Global Warming scam without at least some doubts is not a possessor of the shrewd, sensible, incisive mind I am looking for in a leader. He lost the leadership on this one issue at the time because there are people like me who would never line up behind anyone who believes this stuff needs trillion dollar government solutions to what is looking every day less of a problem.

He’s a Keynesian I once had a conversation with Malcolm over economic issues and mentioned something that I think of instinctively as an issue, the kind of thing Peter Costello put at the centre of his own management of the economy. His response was to walk off. Having watched and listened to him over the years, he has no sense of how an economy works. Given that when he led the Libs he was all set to follow Labor’s lead on the stimulus, and declared that the Coalition would have done much the same, in many ways he owns the problems we have right now.

Useless as a Minister He may be popular with the ABC and others like it, but this is only because he has never done anything of any use that would upset them. If he doesn’t upset the ABC, what could he possibly stand for? What issue has he carried forward as part of the government that has done an ounce of good? If the NBN is his crowning achievement, he has done nothing other than implement Kevin Rudd’s back-of-the-envelope idiocy that will cost us billions and return millions.

He Cannot be Trusted To draw a distinction between himself and the Prime Minister over the Human Rights Commission Report on children in detention not only shows the worst imaginable political judgement, but has him line up with the Government’s enemies. I am a million miles from Canberra right now, but since all and sundry report Turnbull’s treachery, who am I to doubt it. This is a government that needs to survive and win that next election. Abbott is learning how to be a PM on the job, and is actually getting the hang of it. Shame about the wasted first year, but that is now the past.

There is clearly a succession plan in place at the top of the Liberal Party. What may have begun as the second eleven is now starting to function as a very good government. And the PM does not like to lose, and I don’t think he will.