Dec 15, 2016

Shifting political faultlines make life harder for Turnbull

Shifts in economics and role-reversals mean our major parties are in very different positions to where they were five years ago.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

If we step back from day-to-day politics, it’s noteworthy that our major political parties are in markedly different positions than ones they’ve occupied in recent years.

Labor is now into its second term with the same leader, something not seen since last century. It also has a stronger and clearer agenda. For a party that was criticised while in government for lacking a “narrative” (while passing a large volume of important legislation) and being uncertain as to what it stood for, it has led the policy debate in crucial areas for two years. And while rickety, its overall economic policy is internally consistent: mildly protectionist on trade, investment and jobs; big spending on health and education but committed to additional taxation and greater taxation integrity; strongly neo-protectionist on manufacturing. It’s a set of policies that appeals to its base, the union movement, and to much of the electorate. And it is structured around a theme of inclusive prosperity that is suddenly gospel right across the political spectrum. Even Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and big business are suddenly talking about the need for economic growth to bring everyone along. The ideological ground has shifted in Labor’s favour.

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21 thoughts on “Shifting political faultlines make life harder for Turnbull

  1. Richard

    Turnbull makes life hard for Turnbull.

  2. Desmond Carroll

    ” … the appalling union hack Kimberley Kitching” managed to wrest her workers’ collective from the heap of financial faeces into which the ghastly Kathy Jackson had plunged it. How frightful!

  3. klewso

    “Where they (Abbott-Hockey) tried to develop a positive agenda, such as on infrastructure, the results were frustrating and highly mixed”? ‘Successes’ including ……?

  4. klewso

    Turbott is reaping the homecoming Howard-Costello genetically modified chickens.

  5. AR

    I am reminded of the man who faced the sun and cast no shadow, he rose without trace but great report.

  6. old greybearded one

    This goes back to Howard, whom Menzies would have executed for his lack of vision. He changed the Liberals to a nasty small minded group of racist orientation, decrying many migrants while selling the opportunity to live here to any crook with money in his pocket. Turnbull is a walking ego, but he has some forward vision. What he has however is stymied by a most unpleasant collection of pseudo Christians, who are hard to describe in seemly terms.

    1. leon knight

      You have nailed it old grey fellow….

  7. bushby jane

    If Turnbull had the gumption, I reckon that he could do what he wanted and the rwnj mob would follow, as all they really want to do is stay in power. But perhaps he is doing what he wants and dills like you Bernard can’t see it.

    1. gerald butler

      I think of LBJ and his comment on being told he couldn’t do this or that. He said,” well what’s the presidency for”, and acted. Mind you he was a gifted politician (Vietnam excepted ) unlike the perplexing, supine Mal.

  8. klewso

    What a waste of ego?

  9. Phillip Lloyd

    This article is being too kind to Turnbull. His failings as PM reflect failings in his character. He is nothing more than a product of his upbringing, his exclusive education and his previous professions as barrister and investment banker. As weak and as vacillating as he so obviously is, he is uniquely unsuitable to fulfil the highest office in the land. Even more so given the very unique and serious and urgent challenges of climate change, Trump, China and the Australian economy post mining boom. So many of his comments on so many issues indicate the shallowness of the man.
    Blaming Turnbull’s failings upon the power of the conservative faction in his party room demonstrates the kind of lazy analysis so widely practiced in newspapers and other media outlets in this country.

    1. Duncan Gilbey

      You continue to be way too kind to Turnbull.
      What we’re seeing now is exactly what we saw when he was Opposition Leader in 2009: someone who is not up to the job.

      1. Duncan Gilbey

        My previous comment should be in reply to Bernard, not you Phillip Lloyd.

  10. Steve777

    The deep problem with the Liberal agenda is that it’s electoral poison outside the nation’s board rooms and executive suites, so they can’t talk about it at election time. Look what happened when they revealed their first instalment in the 2014 budget.

    So, while in opposition, they set out to get enough punters on board by working with media allies to create moral panic over boats, carbon pricing and some vague ‘waste and mismanagement’. Add to this the dogwhistle, union bashing and culture war stuff. Stop the boats, stop the batts, stop the carbon tax and the goid times roll in.

    And now in Government, they still act like an opposition because, while they have an agenda, which is basically to make life better for Big Money at the expense of everyone else, they have no hope of selling it.

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