POLL BATTLES

After a week filled of analysis and response to last Tuesday’s budget from the media and various stakeholders, comes the moment of truth — how did the whole thing play with the public? Well, it depends on who you ask. The Australian reports that “Turnbull’s budget gamble” backfired. According to the latest Newspoll, Labor’s support modestly improved in both the primary vote (up to 36 from 35) and the two party preferred (53 from 52). Over in the Fairfax papers however, a sunnier picture was painted for the Coalition, with their Ipsos poll showing a “Coalition budget boost” in the aftermath of the budget, up 2 points to 47 in the two party preferred poll. 

Despite the different angles, the two polls found broad agreement on many topics: both report a boost for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull‘s individual approval rating, and support for two of the budget’s key measures — the increase to the Medicare levy, and the $6.2 billion tax on the big five banks. The Ipsos poll also found overall support for Gonksi 2.0. Another point of overlap for the polls was the unsurprising finding that the 2017 budget was much, much better received than the 2014 Tony Abbott/Joe Hockey effort.  

FAIRFAX TO REJECT TPG BID

Elizabeth Knight writes today in the Fairfax papers that their parent company is set to turn down a $2.2 billion takeover demerge proposal from TPG. The bid (far in excess of the company’s actual worth, according to Crikey‘s Glenn Dyer and other analysts) is unlikely to the be the private equity group’s last, with Knight reporting on speculation that TPG could increase it’s offer to $1.20 per share a figure that Fairfax insiders reportedly say would “not be far off the mark.” 

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Billiton name buried in BHP makeover

First Australian business infected in global cyber attack

Global defence giant Northrop Grumman will build $50 million ‘centre of excellence’ at Badgerys Creek Airport

Soaring female Indigenous imprisonment rate obstructing Closing the Gap targets, says report

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will announce a new defence centre at Badgerys Creek which will employ 500 people.

Sydney: Treasurer Scott Morrison to attend the ACOSS breakfast

THE COMMENTARIAT

Newspoll: Malcolm Turnbull didn’t budget on such failure — Dennis Shanahan (The Australian $): “Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison concocted the 2017 budget unashamedly as a political document. It has failed.”

Post-budget polling finally going in the right direction for Malcolm Turnbull — Jennifer Hewett (Australian Financial Review $): “Overwhelming poll support for the increase in school education funding also demonstrates why the Turnbull government had little choice politically but to concede the argument from Labor and, of course, from the ever-mendicant states.”

Polls-driven policy is the mark of a spineless party — Peta Credlin (The Australian $):”Watching your back worried about the polls drives decision-making risk-avoidance and reactionary policy. But by following Labor’s lead on knifing leaders, this is a problem of its own making. A partyroom without the ticker to stand for something more than just their own job security stands for ­nothing.”

Why the bank levy is a good idea, not just a populist tax grab — Jessica Irvine (Sydney Morning Herald): “The bottom line is the Turnbull government has come up with a policy of genuine merit; one that will help fix the budget, while also boosting competition and reducing systemic risks in the banking system.”

How Sam Dastyari can make a real difference to Australian media — Tony Walker (Sydney Morning Herald): “Irrespective of your view of Murdoch being enabled to enlarge his media footprint in Australia to include newspapers and broadcast media in one market, what is needed is a transparent debate about the pros and cons of the sort of reforms being proposed.”

THE WORLD

Businesses and government service providers are bracing for the second wave of a global cyberattack as workers return to their computers after the weekend. The ransomware attack has already hit 200,000 computers and impacted universities, major corporations, Britain’s National Health Service, and Russia’s Interior Ministry. The initial version of the attack included a flaw that was discovered and publicised but there are warnings it could be easily fixed if a new version of the attack was launched. — New York Times

Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced $124 billion will be invested in upgrading his country’s rail, ports, and roads, in an attempt to boost trade and develop a new Silk Road. Global leaders including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan were in attendance for the announcement. — BBC

Emmanuel Macron has been inaugurated as the president of France, in a ceremony that employed strong military imagery. Eschewing the traditional limousine ride down the Champs-Elysees, Macron instead rode in a military jeep. His first test after taking office will be next month’s parliamentary elections. — The Guardian

North Korea has tested a ballistic missile, with the weapon landing in the sea south of Russian territory. US Pacific Command said it was not an intercontinental missile, with Japan and some American experts suggesting it could be a new kind of weapon. — Reuters  

WHAT WE’RE READING

Emmanuel Macron, the novel (Project Syndicate): “Like the eleventh-century Danish King Canute, who commanded the waves not to strike his throne, and then, setting his throne on the beach, demonstrated the fragility of his empire to the flatterers and dreamers who imagined him to be master of the universe, Macron will have to behave modestly.”

Blasphemy verdict mainstreams Islamisation in Indonesia (Deutsche Welle): “Indonesia has long enjoyed a positive reputation for practicing a moderate and tolerant form of Islam. But the situation in the world’s most populous Muslim nation doesn’t appear to be so positive any longer. Radical forces across the country are gaining strength and seeking to transform the currently pluralistic democracy into an Islamic state.”

The return of Tony Blair (The New Yorker): “It is impossible not to fantasize about a second coming. British politics, for the most part, is a dingy scene these days, completely dominated by May, a cautious and uneasy figure. The enormousness of Brexit dwarfs its protagonists; Blair liked nothing more than a big occasion.”

Thanks to Mom, the Marxist revolutionary (New York Times): “From ages 5 to 11, I traveled with my mother from Detroit to a Berkeley commune to a socialist collective farm in Chile to the coastal shantytowns of Peru. Fleeing marriage, coups and arrest warrants, my mother joined street protests and picket lines, and wrote passionately about the oppression of the poor and powerless.”

A theory: Trump fired Comey because he’s taller (Washington Post): “In a Trumpian world, stalled somewhere between second grade and a prep school locker room, even the ridiculous seems plausible. So, let’s try a wild one: Maybe Trump fired Comey for being taller, at 6 feet, 8 inches. In light of his infatuation with size, one can easily imagine that a 6-foot-3-inch Trump would resent having to look up to the guy who was investigating possible collusion between his campaign and Russia.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

Correction: An earlier version of this article said NSW Premier Mike Baird.

 

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Peter Fray
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