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Robin Hood & Costs of Inaction

Part of my upbringing involved learning nursery rhymes one of which covered the life of Robin Hood. In those days Robin Hood was portrayed, at least to me, as an outlaw who lived in the forest and whose income came either from the proceeds of his attacks on the local town or from those passing through the forest. But he was portrayed as a hero because he (supposedly) gave the proceeds to the poor. It was only later that I realized that RH’s “fair go” came from failing to allow the local sheriff from observing the law and protecting those who maintained it.

Uncertainty in Labor’s Policies; Islamic Threat

Today’s Australian has published considerable material on the failure of Labor to clearly enunciate its policies. I have previously drawn particular attention to Labor’s failure to publish aggregates alternative to those in the Coalition’s budget and to costings for the economy of its global warming policy. This defect remains. But the recent emergence of many questions about Labor’s policies on specific policy issues has opened the way for much wider challenges to be made. The opening up of this area should also allow Morrison to reduce his announcements of funding small projects, which appear too much as vote buying, and focus more on attacking Shorten. It has also led The Australian to inter alia run the main letters column today with the heading Uncertainty Surrounds Labor’s Announced Policies. I was fortunate in having my epistle included as “lead letter”

Election Campaign Still Not Informing Voters

I start by mentioning that my daughter, Lisa, is re-visiting us in Australia after performing in America (where she presently lives) to give piano recitals here. She has recently played on several occasions in New York and has had excellent reviews in the NY Times. Her first recital here on this occasion is at the Melbourne Recital Centre next Wednesday at 6pm (the program is here and tickets are available – phone 9699 3333). Yesterday’s electioneering has started across scattered issues, with both sides seemingly stuck on announcing every day small amounts of new money for initiatives regarding which the great majority know little about (other of course than to “buy votes”). The Coalition needs to focus more on the economic picture which, Morrison says, is what the Coalition is all about. Rather surprisingly, Shorten has attracted media criticism while Morrison has come off largely scot free. Of particular interest was that the leftish Australian Financial Review drew considerable attention to Shorten’s problems. It is encouraging that this section of the media has (almost) given a bipartisan view/comment.

Coalition Election Campaign Starts Poorly

The campaign for the election on 18 May started officially on11 April although statements of policy had been made prior to that, as had media assessments. Two prominent conservative commentators had in fact already indicated their view that Labor will win. Terry McCrann wrote on 11 Apr “One thing is absolutely crystal clear about the election. If Labor wins — as to me, seems certain — it will hit the ground running, straight after the election, in June”. He added that “it has a program to dramatically increase taxes on negative gearing, franking credits, capital gains and trusts; it will not cut the company tax on big companies from 30 per cent, which is now very uncompetitive, with the US down to 21 per cent, and will revisit the cut on medium-sized companies; it will also further squeeze especially small and medium-sized businesses with the so-called “living wage”; and then there’s the whole issue of power prices, which will just continue to increase and increase at an accelerating rate under Labor’s so-called climate change policy”

Polling Shifts for Parties

Two new polls tell different stories, one favouring the Coalition but the other not. First, Newspoll shows the Coalition’s TPP as up by two percentage points with Labor’s down the same two points compared with the March 7-10 poll. Hence the Coalition is up from 46 to 48 while Labor’s is down from 54 to 52 now. Also, while the primary votes ( before taking account of preferences from other parties) for the Coalition have improved (from 36 to 38), Labor’s have fallen (from 39 to 37). These send out a hopeful signal to the Coalition.

Commonwealth Budget 2019/20

Today’s Media has included many comments on the Morrison Government’s Budget for 2019-20 as well as estimates of revenue and expenditure for the following three years. These include a large number of decisions and it would not be appropriate here to examine them in any detail: indeed I challenge anyone to examine what one journalist described as “a budget speech littered with references to plumbers, couriers, cranes, hard hats, teachers, tradies and nurses”. My general conclusion on the speech I watched on TV was that it did not impress most on the Coalition benches and some of those there tended to drop off and, after a time, showed little encouragement as Frydenberg continued well after the half-hour finishing time allocated to budget speeches. In consequence, what my comments below mainly relate to are the totals of revenue, expenditure and what is commonly treated as the deficit or surplus for the four years.

How to Solve the Dangerous Warming Threat

I am presenting a Commentary which has no attachments because their inclusion would make it difficult to circulate the Commentary with the attachments and because I can send an attachment to those who wish to see it. The whole Commentary with attachments will also be in my web site. When controversial policy issues come under discussion in the public arena, there are often weird suggestions proposing government action. And the media publicises a supposed issue to give the impression that ““something needs to be done”. Take for example the idea that action to solve the dangerous warming threat might come if school children miss school one day and parade down the streets all over the country (and in other countries too) with placards instructing our elected politicians that urgent action is required. This is just what has happened. But has this publicity simply led to the school children going back to school and are people a bit tired of being told that much quoted models “prove” that climate change action is needed by government? Do such models actually so prove.