Friday, 16 December 2016
The Guardian, 4 December 2016:
Parliament ended the year with a mixture of bang and whimper.
The whimper was the legislative “fight”. It says a fair bit about the way the government is travelling that the big political issue was the backpacker tax (important as it is for farmers, it is not one that should have caused such grief) and the passing of the Building and Construction Commission legislation. This has been so laughably altered from its original intent that the main issue for unions is ensuring the ABCC does adhere to the legislation – such as the requirement that the commissioner performs his or her functions “in an apolitical manner”.
The bang was a protest that disrupted question time.
There was, of course, a lot of hand-wringing over the protest – there always is when the left protests in Australia. After all, we had much the same response about disruption of democracy from the powers that be a couple years ago when students protested against Christopher Pyne during an episode of Q&A.
The protesters certainly did disrupt the proceedings of parliament, but they did no one any harm and were no danger to anyone. Their putting a stop to the proceedings of question time actually produced a net benefit to the nation’s IQ, even if only for three-quarters of an hour.
That’s not to say question time is unimportant or always brain dulling in its idiocy. There are times, mostly by accident, when something worthwhile does occur, but for the most part it is just a poorly scripted play performed by mediocre actors……
It should be noted that on Wednesday it took Malcolm Turnbull two sentences to deliver his answer about attacking the ALP, while on Thursday it took him three.
Notionally his answer was about the passing of the legislation to reinstate the ABCC, but perhaps because the legislation was so neutered he felt on surer ground to talk about the ALP’s faults rather than his government’s achievements.
The ABCC legislation, however, nicely encapsulated the government’s policy process – rushed, sloppy and actually failing to deliver what was intended.
The government was so desperate to get the legislation passed that it agreed to all manner of amendments – including those that were highly protectionist, made the commissioner’s position virtually untenable, and those that didn’t make a lot of sense……
How I’ll remember Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull during Question Time in 2016:
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
SBS News, 6 December 2016:
Voter support for Malcolm Turnbull has fallen to its lowest level since he seized power, the latest Newspoll shows.
The Coalition heads into Christmas with its two-party preferred vote up from 47 to 48 per cent but still trailing Labor, which has notched up its sixth successive lead, on 52 per cent, the poll taken for The Australian newspaper shows.
Mr Turnbull's standing has again fallen, with his rating as better prime minister dropping two points to 41 per cent, the lowest level since he toppled Tony Abbott as leader 15 months ago.
The prime minister's standing has tumbled 18 points over the course of this year.
His margin over Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who is favoured by 32 per cent as the preferred prime minister, has dropped from a 39-point lead in January to just nine points.
The Newspoll of 1629 voters, taken from Thursday to Sunday, shows the government's primary vote has gained one point to 39 per cent and Labor's primary vote fell two points to a two-month low of 36 per cent.
The Greens remain unchanged on 10 per cent while support for independents and other parties edged up from 14 to 15 per cent.