Credit rating at risk: Morrison

For some time now the Nation’s AAA+ credit rating has been at risk due to the budget deficit. Whilst the threat of a downgrade was laughed off at the last election by Scott Morrison, who dismissed it as Labor spin, the treasurer is now putting the issue front and centre saying he will raise taxes if that’s what it takes to pay back the debt and keep the rating unchanged.
The national credit rating is an important international indicator of determining if a country has its economic house in order. The rating is set by three international credit rating companies. A downgrade in the rating will make it harder for the Government to borrow money in the event that it needs to; interest also becomes more expensive and a downgrade in the Federal rating automatically downgrades a states’ rating as well. 

Let the budget games begin…

All quiet on the western front

You may not have noticed it but something happened this week that will cause an lot of friction down the track for the Coalition. The WA Premier, Colin Barnett, has sealed a preference deal with Pauline Hanson for the upcoming state election in March. 

The WA Liberals will preference One Nation first in all their races ahead of the National Party. This will damage the result for the Nationals in WA and folks like Barnaby Joyce are not happy about it. Watch this space as eventually Malcolm Turnbull will have to weigh in at some point. 

In the last wave of One Nation popularity, John Howard declared a national ban on preference One Nation – ordering at they be last be last on every how to vote card in the country. What will Malcolm Turnbull do? Will he learn from history?

Keen for a deal: Morrison courts cross bench

Scott Morrison is desperate to lock budget savings in and is using an omnibus savings bill again – the last bill worked a treat late last year, it saved 6 billion. In the last couple of weeks, the treasurer has been courting the cross bench to get changes to paid maternity leave and family tax benefit through the Senate.
The carrot he is dangling is more affordable childcare, despite some payments being removed from some families at the higher end of the income scale. Morrison has also put on the table an extra 3 billion dollars of funding for the NDIS scheme; an amount they claim will fix the program following Labor’s under-investment in it. Labor strongly deny the allegation and have accused the government of ‘toying with the lives of disabled Australians’

Turnbull to turn up the heat in energy supply

With bushfires raging across NSW and the eastern side of the country coming to the end of several 40 degree days, the government has been pushing hard on a series of blackouts that took place in South Australia, blaming the loss of supply on the states renewable energy policies.

All of this won’t prevent the government from pushing on – they will continue their campaign on electricity supply this week in parliament. 

MP’s grounded by entitlement changes

With parliament returning today for the first time this year, Malcom Turnbull in one swift action has annoyed every MP in the building. Entitlements will be further restricted with the axing of the popular gold pass flights scheme which enabled retired MPs to travel domestically for free. It’s a part of a series of entitlement reforms the government is acting on following a review in 2014.

Why Cory’s move to the Senate crossbench is silly

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Cory Bernardi will move to the cross bench after he announced his intentions to form a new party, the Australian Conservatives, in the Senate this morning.

Despite the ‘doom and gloom’ predictions for Malcolm Turnbull in the last 24 hours, the abandonment of one particularly painful Senator on his backbench could be helpful for the PM.

Other than the glitzy short term media coverage, it’s hard to see this is a positive move for Bernadi, who claims he has started his party in order to return the Liberal Party to its traditional beliefs and support base. For starters, no one is joining him in this party. How he survives the “rat” label and attacks from Government ministers is another challenge.

As a colourful government backbencher, every time he opens his mouth, the press reported what he said; he doesn’t need a new party to speak to his issues. Bernardi has crossed the floor multiple times in his voting life; sitting with the independents won’t make a difference either. 

If he wanted to “serve the Liberal party” he’d still be in it, making the case for right leaning change. Moreover, if he wanted to “serve the Liberal Party”, he’d be working hard to axe his Prime Minister; a man who is seen as an enemy in his eyes. 

With Bernardi walking away, Turnbull doesn’t need an excuse to agree with him every time he says something controversial in the public sphere. With Bernardi gone, Turnbull’s chance of winning a leadership challenge just increased by 1 vote. 

Cory has chosen to put himself outside of the decision making tent, with a few good headlines for himself every now and then. Every policy battle just got easier for Malcolm Turnbull with this move. By far the biggest issue he needs to solve is how will he get re-elected at the next election? 

His home state of South Australia is also home to Nick Xenophon, who has several Senate seats. Bernardi has been at the top of the Liberal ticket for the last few elections, meaning that he’s seat is assured. But as an independent, the fight to get that last senate seat is extremely difficult. Cory will have to work very hard to win it.

So sure, today is a nice day for Cory Bernardi.

But he’ll be in trouble at the next election and now he’s now outside the sphere of influence, sitting on he cross bench, with a Prime Minister that can now disregard anything he says in the same way the PM disregards Pauline Hanson’s comments from time to time.

If today is a nice day for Cory Bernardi, it’s a great day for Malcolm Turnbull.

Back on the agenda: Same sex marriage

With a week to go until parliament sits in Canberra, a group of Liberal backbenchers have indicated they will put same sex marriage back on the agenda by campaigning for a free vote for government members.

Their main argument is grounded in the fact that they went to the election campaigning for a plebiscite. With the plebiscite killed off in the Senate, supporters of same sex marriage in the government believe they are free to pursue other options. Despite all of this, the same roadblocks still exist and haven’t changed in months – the conservatives and the nationals. 

Hanson on the rise in the states 

Pauline Hanson 2.0 is causing some major difficulties for the government on a Federal level. But in 2017, she’ll also be tackling State elections as well. 3 LNP MP’s have defected to One Nation, as well as the parties state director. 

In WA, the liberal party is considering a preference deal with her – breaking a rule John Howard put into place in 2001 to preference them last. #auspol #onenation

Hey big spender!

More than 7 months after the election, Malcolm Turnbull has revealed he donated $1.75 million dollars to the government’s campaign. Defending the decision, he stated he “was happy to put his money where his mouth is”.

Labor is calling for donations reform and its expected that the PM will announce new rules later this year. #auspol #Turnbull