Home > Current Affairs, Politics - Domestic, The EYE-BALL Herman O'HERMITAGE > EYE-BALL’s Herman on – A March early Federal election …

EYE-BALL’s Herman on – A March early Federal election …

November 2, 2012
Links to Previous ‘Herman’ Posts:

– 25th Oct – Energy Debate – CPI Shocks the analysts – Rod Sims finally arrives like a Knight in Shining armour

22nd Oct – 2012 Overture – Halloween – Glass half full

3rd oct – 2012 Overture: Twiggy – a metaphor for wafer thin margins … RBA further stimulates economy surprising the stock market!

2nd Oct – The All Ordinaries is a totally misleading index and Australia’s lack of domestic Savings!

18th Sept – A Microcosm of Our Democracy – Auburn City Council elections.

28th Aug – – 2012 Overture – The Northern Fall (Autumn) –

17th Aug:  – A Political Alternative – Australian Community Party –

Aug 6th:   – Shang Yang’s good governance – or is it good faith?

July 21st:   –  Micro Economics – Thoughts and opinions on the Energy Debate!!!

July 18th:   –  A Chronology of Farce – and of a Government who Wonders Why Their Opinion Polls are so low.

July 4th:   –  2012 Overture – The Northern Summer Arrives –

June 16th:   2012 Overture – The Greek Elections

June 2nd:   Creative Destruction …

May 26th:   White Collar Crime – Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper … or just Federal Parliament?

May 17th:   The 2012 Overture Act III

Apr 23rd:   An update on the French Presidential elections and other

Apr 21st:   A Philosophical Appraisal of Social Economic Index… to Capture Wider Social Well Being.

Mar 26th:   The 2012 Overture – A Crappy New Year – Part III.

Feb 14th: Democrazy Part XV – Clinging to Power.

To see more EYE-BALL ‘Herman’ posts:

click here …

– A March early Federal election –
| Author: EYE-BALL’s Herman | 2nd Nov 2012 |
If we go to the polls before June of 2013, then it would only be an election for MHR’s. The senate requires elected members to assemble from July 1, 2014.  With opinion polls now neck and neck the PM would jump at any chance to win another term. More than that any punter would expect the economic environment to be much more conducive by 2016, therefore getting through 2013 is the immediate problem.

Attempting to project economic cycle is always difficult. I personally believe Australia will struggle to match immediate past performance over the coming 5 years, but the international cycle can’t get much worse. I expect Australian GDP to stagnate at about 2%, unemployment to rise to about 6.5%, over inflated currency to persist, (record high terms of trade, due to quantitative easing) and inflation to remain benign. Housing stats are much more convoluted and therefore the timing is the tough part.

Both the major parties want (need) a double dissolution. Both believe they will eliminate the current imbroglio of having to deal extensively with the minorities. Given the closeness of opinion polls neither party would be likely to gain control of the upper house. Say about 36 Coalition 32 Labor 7 Greens and 1 independent (Nick Xenaphon). While that mix is changed the politics hasn’t. Under a half senate election the Coalition is most unlikely to do any better. Labor too will need the support of the Greens (probably 9 of them).

In the Lower House, it is far too difficult to call. Every marginal will be determined by demographic specific logics. I think Dobell will go Coalition. Fisher will revert to Coalition. But Coalition will likely lose swing seats in WA, over an issue of compromising core value of deregulation of wheat marketing. Melbourne reverting to ALP does not affect the current logics, and Denison is likely to go either way, as always depending on the heartland battle of Wilderness vs. Afforestation, most likely labor. It is often strange how many wilderness supporters are not always Tasmania voters.

Tony Windsor’s seat of New England will be tough to pick up by the coalition, and they might well not even contest Kennedy. The respect shown to Katter by both parties over his initiatives to micro irrigation in Far North Queensland is noted. Off course each party would love to remove him as a thorn, but their energies are more likely productive elsewhere. Should Oakeshott lose Lyne and it reverts to Nationals, the balance is in the flux but there are many other issues to balance. Lyne has obtained special favour from the government as part of supporting a minority government.

I expect there will be swings to Liberal in all the Eastern States, but right now there are far too many uncertainties. NSW is one kettle of fish with the State Government lead by Barry O’Farrell compared to Queensland led by Campbell Newman. ALP won government generally in 2007 but it was going to be close until the Qld effect of Qld based PM and Treasurer delivered a very handsome majority.

The Green’s agreeing to Government proposals on problem gambling is indicative of that party realising they don’t want a double dissolution. Similarly The Liberal recalcitrance over wheat marketing is very short sighted. It wasn’t that long ago the government compromised values on policy towards the super trawler and now that is long forgotten. Their 4 policies in 4 days on the super trawler issue was utter incompetence, but elections are rarely determined by one single issue. Even Peter Slipper attacking Tony Abbott over wheat marketing can be construed in several ways. Is it payback and/or attempting to de-stabilise, his validation of his position (needing to be heard) maybe even sucking to marginal voters in Fisher)? By the New Year many little things will be forgotten, but several won’t. Those that won’t be quickly forgotten are James Ashby in relation to Peter Slipper, Michael Williamson in relation to Craig Thomson (or Kathy Jackson) and several more. Then there will be new developments.

On policy Tony Abbott has definitely underplayed his hand. Removing Carbon Tax and balancing the budget is only appealing to heartland. The retirees and business in all of its forms. He needs some major initiatives on manufacturing and jobs and rising middle class to inspire. Slashing budgets creates fear amongst marginal voters. How could shedding 20,000 Canberra based bureaucracy jobs win votes?

The Government does offer more in this regard, but many of their policies are much pitched at their heartland, broadband, education, non government schools. National disability and Medicare dental are hard to fathom. Recently struggling to get through the White Paper “Australia in the Asian Century” I reverted to reading the Cooper Review on Superannuation. It is slightly more riveting, slightly. Trying to follow all of the reports that make up current affairs is difficult, and itself confusing. It is parliament abrogating their responsibility and attempting to hide behind a greater authority. Gonski is pipe dream and unaffordable often missing the real point of inefficiencies and entrench work practices and biases, Houston is whitewash, whatever happened to Henry now MRRT is such a watered down and nothing piece of essentially failed legislation. Failed by collapse in iron ore prices? In part but still for all of Australia’s mineral extraction it amounts to exporting jobs through over inflated currency amongst other things.

All that has been said on the White Paper Australia in the Asian Century I absolutely concur. It is a collection of statements of common sense it is intended to focus Australians and Business leaders of the growing economic Importance of East Asia and the sub continent. It does nothing whatsoever to flesh out plans to increase Australia’s share of economic goods and services other than addressing cultural issues like increased teaching of languages and Asian Studies within the education system. Free trade agreements are critical. There is nothing wrong with the paper itself but I do believe the significance is just too political. The 22 simultaneous press releases by Ministers of government is really over kill.

The DPMC – [Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet] – is finally starting to show some return for its increased budgetary allocation of $400mio last May, but what an aggrandising and wasteful exercise. Before DPMC where were these functions performed? It compromises the very concept of economic efficiency.

Months ago when the opinion polls were heavily against the government, I advocated taking those polls with a grain of salt. The electorate expressing their disapproval with the government is one thing, but therefore installing the coalition alternative is something different again. The saddest part is there are only 2 foreseeable choices. I still warn I do not take Newspoll as any authority whatsoever. Private party polling is much more accurate.

A couple of years ago Newspoll called me. They asked questions which were fast, often unconnected, went all around many issues, very often nothing to do with politics. Hot breakfasts, Eggs or branded cereals, new cars, second hand car advertising. After about 15 minutes I said enough and hung up. It was so fast your recall of the questions or my response is extremely limited. You can’t even remember a tiny fraction of what you were asked to answer. Then you wonder about the process. Where the questions designed with a bias?

Last Monday a private market research company called while I was watching Australian Story. They claimed to be authorised by government. I simply said thank you and hung up.

That all said, with the question raised this week about Abbott’s leadership I am now searching through history for answers to what might occur over the period up to the next election. After August 2010 the coalition declared Tony Abbott leader for as long as he wanted, he had saved the party from political insignificance. The coalition had won more seats than the ALP. It was ever so close. However, the party is steeped in pragmatism and doesn’t like losers. Last April he let slip a massive popularity margin by acting like a government in waiting. He has overplayed Carbon Tax to the exclusion of all others. His front bench is not scoring points on the government. This week only Julia Bishop attacking the Prime Minister’s credibility is working. Joe Hockey is not making inroads but the corruption issue is tenuous. I can perceive the Coalition’s policies are very weak. The government labelling them to be reckless or wreckers or negative sticks because the Coalition don’t display any vision.

During the Hawke and Keating years the Lib’s were mainly divided by Howard and Peacock. They turned to alternatives like Hewson and Downer. In the end Peacock took an overseas posting and Howard did a Lazarus. He went on to become Australia’s 2nd longest serving PM and so on. During the Howard years ALP went through similar with Beazley and Crean. Throw in Latham and Rudd and the parallels are complete. Kevin Rudd was the messiah for a while. The unchecked ambitions of many ALP MP’s gave the Coalition minus Costello and Downer and other high profile candidates a chance, Abbott the right wing buffoon got a chance. ALP went ever so close to not getting a second term. Abbott had turned his image around.

Since John Hewson’s famous fightback package Oppositions have not set out extensive policy manifestos. Fightback was used to besmirch Hewson. Alexander Downer did produce “the Things that Matter”. (A basic collection of homilies) For Howard in 1996, he simply said in he would not introduce a goods and services tax in the first term. He did not spend that much time as opposition leader. He was made leader on January 30 1995 and became prime Minister on March 11, 1996. In those 14 months he was careful not to give Keating a target by producing a large policy manifesto. Similar then occurred with Rudd. He became opposition Leader on December 4 1995 to become prime Minister on November 24 2007. He did not produce a large policy platform but did differentiate himself. Overturn Workchoices, Kyoto, Sorry and position on Iraq and Afghanistan. Hence the perception that Howard or Rudd didn’t win government but Keating and Howard lost government. Howard and Workchoices is a story in itself.

Noting that Tony Abbott has now dyed hair you might think that he mimicking the prime minister rather than envisioning something for Australia’s future. Which goose advised him to dye his hair? Soften the macho man image? Come into the 21st century, with all of its me generation rather than wisdom of the ages. The Liberal party are conservatives, which includes the wisdom of the ages. If he wants to be a modern man then why does he keep referring to the previous government and all of their last century policies?

On June 18, 2012 the PM made her famous speech in Europe “take a leaf out of Australia’s book!” Given how she was besmirched at the time “Who were her advisers?” “How could she be so arrogant?” it tends to be forgotten. Joe Hockey made his speech “The Age of Entitlement” on April 17, 2012. But by vacillating on the baby bonus and opposing a means test on Medicare rebate the Liberal party have trashed their party platform. Joe Hockey is diminished as a potential leader by not influencing on these issues in the party room and upholding to his speech. Maybe Gillard learned from her scenario the need for fiscal responsibility.

I feel that the Liberal party might likely promote Kevin Andrews to Leader. Faced with another 3 years in opposition the time is right. Abbott will be given an extremely high profile portfolio. This could then be sufficient change for Turnbull to take treasury. What would be even better is a QLD or WA leader, but that does not seem too likely. NSW and Vic voting blocs will be what they always are (or were).

That all said, The PM was lost at sea only a month ago. Why hasn’t this translated to something more tangible? With HSU and Peter Slipper removed from the Speaker’s chair, and the ongoing stench best termed AWU, what has changed?

This week the Kangaroo Court of Australia has broken a new story regarding Tony Sheldon – Union Official embroiled in another ‘slush-fund’ scandal.

The fact that Fair Work Australia is some form of oversight for Trade Unions is a very deep seated problem. This is a micro economic reform and requires the highest scrutiny possible. Recent chatter that HSU might fail in its Federal Court claims against Craig Thomson due to statute of limitations is another high farce. Recent claims that Fairwork has spent $1.3mio on external consultants investigating Craig Thomson shows the insidiousness of corruption. Further claims that $2mio has been expended pursuing Craig Thomson are worse. He is alleged to have spent somewhere between $100,000 to $270,000 of union finds, yet it costs the economy (generally) $2mio to find the truth. What a disgraceful waste of economic resources. That example shows how any claims to improve productivity are truly hollow. Nothing but fairy floss. At the highest level (Federal Parliament) abuse of position and inefficiency flourish. Thereafter further distraction from the real task at hand follows.

Julie Bishop runs the issue of AWU in question time consistently, but why hasn’t the opposition moved to have both Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper removed from parliament? Wednesday NSW police have laid a total of 48 charges against Michael Williamson (previously 20, now 48). They warn 2 others will be likely charged. There are allegations against Williamson’s wife and children relating to perverting the course of justice. Charges are not convictions. The Justice Steven Rares in the James Ashby matter has reserved his decision. Nicola Roxon’s alleged interference won’t go away. No one understands why the decision is reserved for 4 weeks and continuing. ICAC’s hearing into Labor’s Obeid, Roozenthal and McDonald has only just begun. Of course there is the issue of subjudice, but simply move a vote of no confidence in a government only held together with those votes and let the motion be defeated on numbers in the House of Representatives. It will be the news cycle for months to come. It will also scrutinise the element of self serving government.

Yesterday outgoing Chairman of the Australian Productivity Commission Mr Gary Banks has made a speech on why manufacturing reform has gone off the boil. He surmised it is now in the too hard basket.

Recently my Editor opined that Tony Abbott wants to lose the next election. No egotist accepts defeat lightly. If Abbott isn’t the man for the job party strategists will find someone else. There are aspiring politics and those in marginal seats who believe they are up to fixing the grander problems.
In the States Mitt Romney has campaigned heavily on returning issues to the individual states. In the aftermath of tropical cyclone Sandy the national contribution of FEMA has been critical. I await latest opinion polls to measure the effect, the swing against Romney to the incumbent. In Australia we have a Federal Government who wants to nationalise policy on Health and Education away from the states control. I believe local administrations would be more affective. Yet in Federal parliament the opposition misses this point.

On Carbon Tax the real issue is much wider. The real economic argument should be; pricing of energy to households and as an industrial input. That debate has gained momentum in the last two weeks. Given we are now going into summer, that issue could well go off the boil until the winter months. Too much appears to be populist politics.

Something simply is not right.

Believing in Sanity is itself insanity.

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EYE-BALL’s ‘Herman’ …

  1. November 2, 2012 at 11:23 am

    A brilliant article Herman – summary of a Parliament behaving like headless chooks …

    It is a merry-go-ride of ups and downs and scatterbrain tactics – that is what our Parliament represents …

  2. November 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    This coalition of clowns that make up our government in NSW have often been referred to as a team of “Learners” whose front bench and Ministry should come with L Plates. It is becoming clearer with each passing day that instead of L Plates, maybe a Dunce Hat would be more appropriate. They could each have a turn wearing it so that they all get a go.

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