Thursday, January 22, 2015

Short Kicks: The furniture is revolting

Still working hard on business stuff so no time for anything more than Short Kicks.

- As Piping Shrike rightly points out, the current leadership tension over Tony Abbott's increasingly woeful performance on so many issues is not going to have a happy ending for the Liberal Party. Backbenchers are leaking, journos are hyperventilating, it's #ruddmentum all over again. But as with the disappointing Rudd return, there is no thought that replacing Abbott with any of the clowns in the current front or back bench would lead to any different policy agenda. Perhaps getting rid of PPL and Abbott's other pet projects would be enough in itself. I doubt it. The only logic that works for the Libs at the moment is the same logic that they relentlessly mocked Labor for, in that they could write off the next election result but with a short term honeymoon poll bounce they could "save the furniture" by minimising the losses with a view to jagging the next one.

- As such, Abbott may look like a galah on the national stage on a daily basis but he is showing a some rat cunning regarding internal Liberal Party politics. His cabinet reshuffle seems to be focused mostly on making everyone else look bad in comparison to him, even though that is a negative-sum game. Sussan Ley has already been thrown to the wolves through the public humiliation of announcing the backflip on GP co-payments. Shifting Scott Morrison to Social Services is very shrewd, I think, because it means Morrison can wear all the blame for terrible decisions that Abbott makes as he tries to shaft his gray power voting base with tax hikes and welfare cuts in a vain attempt to balance the budget. Abbott has left Hockey as a shag on a rock for the most part during the failed budget negotiations, even though there have been leaks to try to pin blame for Abbott's dud policies on the PM. Turnbull is busy being shoulder-deep inside the Telstra cow, planting fiscal timebombs. Abbott has also allowed the media to scrutinise Julie Bishop without coming to her aid particularly, and since there's never been much substance there, that's a bad thing for Bishop's aspirations. Morrison is still the only hope for the Libs, but only if he makes a move before he gets too much of the Abbott stink on him.

- Meanwhile, though I got excited about Palmer populism last year, the cat of reality was quickly belled by Lenore Taylor and the public has reacted by abandoning PUP in the polls. Palmer has now stiffened up somewhat on other budget measures, but it's too late for his electoral fortunes as I suspect he has lost his chance to be the new face of people power. My analysis was not wrong as such, because the opportunity for Clive was real at the time - I merely overestimated him. Oh well, what can you expect from a billionaire. If only we had an Elizabeth Warren type in the Australian parliament.

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