Australian politics, society & culture

Wednesday, 17th September 2014


Today's Essential poll delivers to the Abbott government the same message it's been receiving since the May budget: on every policy area other than national security, a majority of voters don't like where it's taking the country. Crikey's PollBludger records a reversal during the past fortnight of the pro-government trend since July, which problematises the folk wisdom which expects the Coalition to do well out of a focus on terrorism, security and war. But the baseball bats aren't out.

Contrast the mood of those who oppose Tony Abbott's government with those who opposed Julia Gillard's. Within months of Gillard's alleged broken promise over the carbon price the anger was palpable, and it didn't dissipate. That was despite the carbon price actually working as it was intended, and without costing consumers more than the amount they were being compensated. By contrast, Abbott has broken at least eight specific promises, and intends in his budget to break more while increasing the cost of living for many at the lower end of the income scale. Climate change – Australia's greatest security risk, according to today's Climate Council report – is being ignored, and despite being in New York the following day Abbott will not attend next week's UN Climate Summit. (Barack Obama and David Cameron are going.) But after flashes of rage in May, community opposition has lost its sharpness. Not even students are being stirred into action.

Russell Marks
Politicoz Editor

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Australia under pressure to announce deeper emissions cuts at UN summit

"Australia is under pressure to commit to a ‘bold’ new post-2020 greenhouse emissions reduction target at next week’s special UN summit, even though it has not yet legislated a policy to meet a minimum pre-2020 target." (Lenore Taylor, The Guardian)

Also: Rising sea levels a 'sleeping giant' that could cost $226bn, report says (Oliver Milman, The Guardian); Wind farms are ruining the landscape and are 'appalling', Hockey says (James Glenday, ABC News)

Analysis: Is Abbott enveloped in a London fog? (Tristan Edis, Business Spectator)

Abbott pushes recognition referendum out to 2017

"The Australian understands the prime minister will stick to his preferred timing, based on the recommendations of a committee headed by former deputy prime minister John Anderson and delivering on expectations he will commit to a clear time­frame during his week in Arnhem Land." (Patricia Karvelas, The Australian, possible paywall)

Also: Abbott interrupts Arnhem Land stay to farewell troops (Michael Gordon and David Wroe, Fairfax); Ken Wyatt breaks ranks with Abbott by calling for early referendum (Gabrielle Chan, The Guardian)

Ken Henry slams Australian economic ‘mercantilism’

"Former Treasury secretary Ken Henry has slammed the obsession with an outdated concept of ‘international competitiveness’ pervading Australia's policymaking circles." (Gareth Hutchens, Fairfax)

Comment: The ideological chasm of budget fairness (Simon Cowan, The Drum)

Abbott declares UN resolution unnecessary for Australian forces to fight in Iraq

"Australia can wage war in Iraq without a United Nations Security Council resolution, Tony Abbott has declared, while pointedly leaving open the possibility of expanding the current mission to include Syria if needed." (Mark Kenny, Fairfax)

Comment: On the IS debate, Labor is missing in action (Michael Gawenda, Business Spectator)

Unemployment rises among postgraduates

"Unemployment continues to rise for people with postgraduate degrees, especially architects, scientists, accountants and teachers." (Tim Dodd, Australian Financial Review)

Also: Pyne hits back at union over 'secretive and biased' report (Justine Ferrari, The Australian, possible paywall)