Meat & Potatoes with The Prophet - Back in 2016
2015 and what’s in store for us in 2016
2015 will go down as a year that held many ups and downs for political leaders both in the State Federal and international. It certainly has changed the shape of politics forever and one wonders what 2016 can bring to compare with such and eventful year.
State of Queensland:
The Early election called by Campbell Newman will go down as one of the great mistakes of political history. First the timing, then the inability to hold on to government despite winning the majority vote. Brad Henderson’s role in pushing the “one vote” after a massive attack on conservative minors will go down in history as one of the all-time blunders in Queensland Politics. Tens of millions of dollars had been spent on campaigns against their allies which left the ALP to run their own show, and while the coalition shot them-selves in the face, the ALP worked with their allies to bring in the largest turnaround in political history. As requested by Brad the conservative minors ran “one votes” and or left the LNP off the ticket which was the deciding factor in Anastacia Palaszczuk being given the easy run into power. Anthony Chisolm couldn’t believe the easy run that Brad had delivered him. Later enquiries listed some of the issues listed here among others but history will show that Brad Henderson was a major factor in the loss of the LNP government. Will he be confined to history or will we see him pop up in a safe liberal Senate spot at a future election? Only time will tell. Major political parties have a habit of rewarding incompetence where loyalty and obedience reigns supreme.
In 2016 both major parties are pushing for the very unpopular 4 year fixed terms in state parliament via a referendum at our council elections. Queensland has a unicameral system which adopted option preferential voting in 1992 which quickly moved to a “first past the post system” by way of heavy marketing of the LNP and ALP. Strange that the LNP that relied so long on preferential voting would be the party that attacks its importance in 2015 as it came back to bite them by their loss of government. It seems its own marketing worked against it and it learnt the value of preferential voting. Queensland lacks an upper house so until these major issues are dealt with there is no way that fixed terms should be allowed in Queensland. We all witnessed the pain of the NSW’s electorate from 2007 to 2011 where we saw three premiers and two treasurers and a host of by-elections but had to bear the brunt of a poor government due to fixed terms. Could you imagine having fixed terms during Campbell Newman’s term or Anna Bligh’s asset selling spree? The No Vote is the only option if we are ever going to make this government accountable.
Federally and the fall of Tony Abbott – What now?
Loyalty was something that Tony Abbott relied on too much in 2015. Where on many occasions MP’s in trouble that were supported by him turned their backs and brought in what some saw as an election wining Malcolm Turnbull. The canning by election proved that their concerns were not really warranted. The North Sydney by election of the departing Joe Hockey showed no real swing as the ALP chose not to run. Yes Tony made many a blunder. The 2014 budget, the awarding to Prince Phillip of the “Knight of the order of Australia” will be the ones most remembered.
By all the polls you would think that the coalition is a united and happy group with some indicating Malcolm Turnbull has a popularity rating of 65%. The feelings I am getting from many members and former members is that the coalition has never been so divided. I did mention this late last year and the feeling has only grown from within the rank and file of the party. Could a party that has lasted so long be on the verge of a major split? Many are holding on and saying “let’s just grin and bear it “ but a man so unpopular in 2009 when he was ousted by the party is on shaky grounds and one wonders what will happen when we see the real Malcolm Turnbull.
Australia’s debt has raced to nearly a trillion dollars and no amount of showmanship will be able to hide that from the public at the next election. Which brings us to the next question when will that be? The TPP that Malcolm has championed is not only a dud it is out right dangerous with many worried that taxpayers will have to foot the bill of global corporations who will become a law unto themselves once this has been passed and the ISDS established. We have already seen a Swedish company sue the German Government over its move away from Nuclear; a French company sued the Egyptian government for raising its basic wage in 2012 and lists go on. Malcolm has played down the dangers as with the expected rise in health care bought about by extended years manufacturers can hold their intellectual property rights on new drugs. The TPP is a dud and Malcolm needs to come clean or at least point out the dangers in an attempt to make it somewhat acceptable. I can’t think of a single free trade agreement whereby Australia has won and that can be shown through our balance of trade. This could very well be his “Waterloo” and with falling mineral costs all the ALP have to do is sit back and be anti any change he wants to implement. Years of neo-liberalism have left our country vulnerable and one would have to have his head in the sand not to see that. Yes we have all heard Bob Katter’s and other minor party leaders warnings on foreign ownership, loss of the ability to refine fuel or even smelter our own steel in this country. But what have we done about it? Yes 2016 holds some very frightening possibilities and Malcolm would be aware of that.
Malcolm has two options this year. He can sit back and wait till September and let the year pan out with all its ugliness and having to implement an austerity budget that no doubt will not be accepted by Australians. Or he could ride with his popularity and try to force some tough measures through the Senate (some of which have already been tried) which may give him the trigger for a double dissolution and secure him his leadership for the next three years, and allow him to finally be elected by the people. He would win a double dissolution if held early enough, only because, Bill Shorten is unelectable. The danger is though that he would open up the possibility of a heap of minors and independents capitalising on the Senate half quota model of a double dissolution. But with popularity this high early in the year he would be mad not to initiate a DD before his honeymoon ends.
2016 no doubt will see the end of Palmer’s United Australia Party. In 2013 the PUP raced to elect 1 House of rep and three Senators only to see two defect to independents. State MLAs who had defected to the PUP also left including those members in the NT. It’s doubtful with all the controversy surrounding Clive at present that he will have an appetite to for an early election. If he stands he will lose his seat of Fairfax and many are suggesting he make a run for the Senate. Only time will tell.
Year ahead 2016
This year kicks of politically with Queensland holding all their council elections on March 19th. Brisbane and the Moreton shire included, with a lot of interest in the local Moreton shire council elections. Over the coming weeks we will be trying to interview most of the candidates for the divisions within Moreton and hopefully give our listeners as good an insight into their council members and issues as we have Federally and within our State.
The Prophet January 2016