A salutary reminder. Yesterday’s back flip on plans for an emissions trading scheme was like one of those revision lessons before an exam. It reminded us that while the Government can talk as it if is the government, it cannot actually govern alone. To finally do things Labor needs the support of others. Pushing back the starting date for its scheme and softening the cost to business and the impact on jobs was a clear attempt to come up with a proposal that the Liberal-National parties would pass through the Senate. If the Opposition has any political sense they will eventually agree to support it, for if Labor cannot get their numbers then the alternative will be to do a deal with the Greens after a double dissolution. That is a prospect that should horrify the business community.

Back to the minor parties? A feature of this morning’s Newspoll is that it appears a large part of any movement against Labor is going to third parties, rather than the Liberal-National Coalition. Newspoll puts the Greens on 11%, which is a couple of points higher than at the last election. Independents and others are also shown as doing more than two points better at 9%. That is exactly what I would expect to happen to the Labor vote as it suffers the inevitable down turn before Kevin Rudd next faces the electorate. There is very little joy in that process for Malcolm Turnbull.

Thankfully the ice is growing. With global warming threatening to wreak major changes on the world it is at least a little comfort that one of the warning signs of rising temperatures is giving some respite. At both the north and south poles sea ice is on the increase as these sea ice trend graphs from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre show:

Rupert Murdoch buys an ice cream. From the latest Los Angeles Times:

One stimulus that worked. The increase in the first home buyers grant is one part of the Government stimulus that surely has worked. Dwelling construction figures out this morning from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the trend estimate for total dwelling units approved rose 0.4% in March 2009, the first rise since November 2007. The seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwelling units approved rose 3.5% and has risen for two months. That the growth in the number of dwellings has come from the lower end of the market is indicated by the fact that the trend estimate for the value of total building approved fell 1.2% with the value of new residential building approved falling 0.7% and the value of alterations and additions down 0.4%. The trend estimate for the value of non-residential building approved fell 2.0%.

The strongest growth in dwelling approvals is coming from Victoria with New South Wales faring worst:

Peter Fray

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