The whether vane has shifted

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and former deputy leader Julie Bishop at the West Australian Liberal Party campaign rally. Picture: AAP

A good sign indeed of whether the Libs are in with a real chance: Key figures attend Lib rally in WA seat of Swan. That’s from The Oz.

Julie Bishop has heaped praise on Scott Morrison at a Liberal Party rally in Perth this evening.

“Scott’s been campaigning so well. I’m feeling very confident. I’ve been saying for a long time that we will win this election,” Ms Bishop told reporters after the prime minister’s speech.

“Scott’s a very experienced politician and he was a very good Treasurer, and he took on the role of Prime Minister in less than ideal circumstances and he’s done an exceedingly good job.”

And then there’s this in both The Age and the SMH: It took John Howard just one minute to deliver the campaign’s most potent attack on Bill Shorten. And look who’s in the picture.

Then Howard appealed to the voters of Warringah, on Sydney’s northern beaches.

“They’re not the big end of town. I mean, that is an insult to every successful small businessman who has worked hard accumulated a bit and wants to leave it to his kids,” Mr Howard said. “I mean that’s what this country is all about!”

John Howard meets shoppers flanked by Tony Abbott.
John Howard meets shoppers flanked by Tony Abbott.CREDIT:NICK MOIR

It was vintage Howard – a nod to Menzies’ forgotten Australians, a paean to suburban values, indignation for those who denigrate diligence, and yes, just a little bit old-fashioned in his gendered pronouns.

Malcolm, who’s Malcolm?

This election is a character test for Australia

Scott Morrison gives flowers to his mother Marion and wife Jenny as he takes the stage at the Liberal party’s 2019 Australian federal election campaign

I have just watched the Coalition policy launch in Melbourne, and each party leader delivered an absolute stemwinder of a speech.

The choice right now is whether we preserve what we have or throw it away on unaffordable waste while preserving us from a global warming (aka climate change) that is non-existent.

Mostly on the economy, both what the Coalition will do – like balancing the budget – and what Labor will do – which is drive us into the poor house while plundering every cache of money they can get their hands on. In the PM’s words: “To spend well, you have to know how to manage money”. That is definitely not the ALP’s long suit.

And just for me, at the end the PM added in that they will keep our borders secure: “only the Liberal-National parties can be trusted”. Absolutely right.

It is game on and the election remains a toss up, but now leaning slightly, but only slightly, towards the Libs.

Here is the description from Channel Nine.

The PM interviewed by Waleed Aly

An amazing interview, that starts slowly but truly builds. The PM has the better of the argument and represented Australia just as it is. Meanwhile Waleed is trying to be as divisive as he possibly can, challenging the PM’s good faith. The PM defended both himself, his Party and our country extremely well. He is exasperated by the stupidity and ill-will of the interviewer who spends oceans of time over the utterly irrelevant issues, such as whether there will be a preference deal with One Nation at the next election.

I now really like Scott Morrison. He took the creepy trouble-making Waleed head on, completely routing him on every point he raised.

And don’t forget this bit of background as you watch the interview.

And behind it all is Malcolm

The inanity revealed in the Coalition is something to behold: Liberal deserter Julia Banks fuels chaos in Coalition ranks. What Ms Banks thinks the major issue of our day is remains unrevealed, other than that Peter Dutton should have his eligibility to sit in Parliament tested by the courts. My only wish is that she was right to say that the Coalition had been taken over by “right-wing” forces. Meanwhile, Ms Bishop is seeking to have the National Energy Guarantee restored. Does she really believe global warming is a problem?

The only other bit of news in the story is that the election will likely be in mid-May.

And behind it all is Malcolm, whose empty and shallow policy formation remains possibly the single most destructive force in Australian political history.

Will also refer you to Andrew Bolt who writes Left Trashes Liberals, Right Blamed. Sometimes a big tent is too big if it lets all kinds of lefty loons enter a party of the conservative right.

Small mercies

No doubt we should be grateful for small mercies. Malcolm is gone, although not gone all that far, and that is something. Scott Morrison is a step up, but lacks either gravitas or the charismatic glow. Perhaps we will be surprised, but I won’t be surprised if we’re not surprised. But he can win the next election and I most assuredly hope he does.

But what has been the most disturbing part of the day’s events were the 40 votes cast against the spill. It is possible the number was made up to save a bit of face for Malcolm. On the other hand, it really may reflect the attitudes within the party room. It would mean near enough half the Liberal Party is made up of Keynesian central planners who think they can spend our money better than we can, and who see themselves at the centre of the economy by dispensing billions towards their favourite projects. These same people wonder why productivity growth has come to a stop. Economic illiterates, but then most economists are as well. No idea how a decentralised economy causes growth almost without effort. They did it themselves under Peter Costello who made the economy hum by savage cuts to public spending and the easing of some of the burdens placed on businesses by governments. You can see the same result in the US right now, but no one here or there sees the cause and effect relationship between freer markets and economic prosperity.

The 40 votes against the spill also suggest that a large part of the party accept that global warming is such a major and pressing problem that it is worth wrecking our economy and our productive base to do what they can to ward off this phantom catastrophe. For myself, anyone who entertains this possibility at this late date is a credulous fool of the highest order, basically a simpleton without a shred of common sense. We sell our coal which gets burned up in a far more polluting way than if we used “clean coal” ourselves. And whether or not we stopped selling coal in an act of suicidal idiocy, the CO2 levels will do whatever they will do with our sacrifice or without. Meanwhile more and more Australians will freeze in the dark as the power bills go up.

The Libs plus the Nats remain better than Labor, and Morrison does at least have form in having stopped the boats and does apparently want to cut back on public spending. And all those folk who think letting Labor have a go while the Libs rejig themselves are the worst fantasists of all.

We must all live in hope, but as they say, hope is not a policy. We shall see.

Where’s our Donald Trump?

I watched Bolt this morning and the interview with Scott Morrison over Peter Dutton’s off-the-record but on-the-microphone comment. So this is where we now are, Peter Dutton apologises for microphone gaffe.

First, it was not a gaffe, it was a joke. In fact, it is the kind of joke that gives people like me some kind of hope that there are some amongst the Libs who understand climate change is a political scam, not the most urgent issue of our time.

Second, what is he doing apologising? Why isn’t the response something along the lines of – you guys in the media are such airheads that it is impossible to have an adult conversation with any of you around. The actual response, on the other hand, makes me think that these guys do not have the internal fortitude to do what needs doing:

“Obviously it was a private conversation – I should have realised the mike was there,” Mr Dutton told Sky News. “I didn’t; it was directly behind me. I made a mistake and I apologise to anyone who has taken offence to it. It was a light-hearted discussion with the PM and I didn’t mean any offence to anyone.

“If anyone has taken offence they should accept my apology. I’m disappointed that it allowed for a distraction from what was a very good policy announcement.”

Now imagine Donald Trump having been picked up by some stray microphone making a joke about some policy issue, especially one where to his own side he would be showing a bit of common sense. The most important change that may yet be wrought by Trump is his taking the media on. They are far left loons, and part of an amazingly uninformed, poorly educated cohort of journalists whose views, for the most part, are not worth the newspapers they are printed on. No self-respecting government should be forced to treat them seriously.