January 26th 2019


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The Natural Family as an integrative social force in American history

EDITORIAL The Remnant, resistant, creative minority

ENERGY POLICY Enough hot air about carbon dioxide; let's talk LPG

CANBERRA OBSERVED Federal election: the media have done our duty at the polls for us

NSW ELECTION NSW is just starting to sizzle

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Archbishop Wilson free, but trial was no witchhunt

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Awaiting Hayne: full report sure to shake finance sector

LIFE ISSUES The unvarnished truth about surrogacy

HIGHER EDUCATION Massification: that's the name of the game

SOCIETY Dover Beach: a mordant post-Christmas reflection

IRELAND TODAY Celtic Tiger changed out of all recognition

MUSIC One note does not a monotone make

CINEMA Aquaman: High fantasy in ocean depths

BOOK REVIEW Uninformed consent

BOOK REVIEW A thoroughly modern movement

BOOK REVEW The foundation of a successful society

LETTERS

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CANBERRA OBSERVED
Federal election: the media have done our duty at the polls for us




News Weekly, January 26, 2019

There should be no need for Australians to bother with an election campaign this year as far as the media are concerned; for them, it has already been decided.

The Coalition's preselection "processor"
doubles an an energy policy.

Many commentators of note, including those on the ABC, have called the race even before the starting gun has been fired and installed Bill Shorten in the Lodge. While business and other lobby groups have begun muting their criticisms of Labor and ingratiating themselves with the Labor frontbench.

Oddly though, the Australian economy continues to perform strongly and unemployment and inflation remain low compared with similar economies.

There are certainly problems with high household debt and low wage growth, but these are nothing compared with what a recession would inflict on households.

Changes of government in Australia are uncommon at a federal level since World War II, averaging about one a decade, although the frequency appears to be increasing.

When there is a change, though, federal governments tend to be disposed of during times of severe economic stress, and particularly when unemployment is high.

Sir Robert Menzies’ long term as prime minister almost came to a sudden halt as a result of the 1961 credit squeeze, while an economic downturn during William McMahon’s tenure contributed to the momentum for a change of Labor’s “It’s Time” campaign.

The Whitlam government (considerable self-inflicted wounds notwithstanding) was subject to severe economic problems arising from the early 1970s oil inflation that resulted in many governments around the world being thrown out.

Bob Hawke led Labor back to power on the back of the early 1980s recession, defeating Malcolm Fraser, who had been in government for just over seven years.

Paul Keating used high-interest rates to engineer the early 1990s downturn he described as the “recession we had to have”, resulting in a serious outbreak of high unemployment. But he escaped an election loss in 1993 courtesy of John Hewson’s ineptitude.

But Keating’s 1993 triumph was a stay of execution and, eventually, John Howard won government in 1996, presaging a long period of economic growth under his (and Peter Costello’s) stewardship.

Howard eventually lost in 2007 to Kevin Rudd. But in that case it was mainly as a result of policy over-reach with WorkChoices – a radical industrial relations policy that Labor used to mount a massive scare campaign.

Kevin Rudd promised steady continuity without WorkChoices – a promise he spectacularly failed to deliver on.

Rudd was hit by the GFC but Labor’s collective remedies and mad solutions were almost worse than the illness, resulting in spectacular overspending that put the country into hock for years.

This time the Coalition Government has presided over a strong economy and actually delivered on its “jobs and growth” commitment. It has, however, been unable to wind back Labor’s debt; but this is largely because Labor itself has blocked all attempts to do so in the Senate.

Despite the strong economy, disunity, division and a series of self-inflicted wounds have taken their toll on the Coalition.

It is not necessary here to rehash the Abbott-Turnbull feuding or the difficulties of reconciling the ideological divisions within the Liberal-National parties such as over climate change policy. Suffice to say that a bad run in Newspoll should never be a criterion for dumping a sitting prime minister.

Every prime minister of note – Menzies, Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke, Keating and Howard – went through patches where voters were disenchanted with them, sometimes severely so, but they were re-elected.

This time the Coalition Government is sitting on a knife-edge and actually has to win seats following distributions.

So, it is left to Scott Morrison, with little time to fight the fight through to election day.

His last throw of the dice will be on April 2, when he (and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg) will deliver the Budget to showcase the Government’s economic credentials.

Morrison is socially conservative, a practising Christian, and a dedicated family man.

In normal circumstances and with time, Morrison would be likely to push for policies that reinforce the family unit, including support for stay-at-home mothers, and stand up to some of the political correctness and unnecessary social engineering that has infected Australian society.

The problem is that Morrison has no political capital in the bank and presides over a party room that is still bruised from leadership battles past.

Nevertheless, the economy remains the Coalition’s one saving asset and, with international storm clouds looming, sound economic management is more important than ever.

And Bill Shorten’s “fairness solution” is Ruddesque, with its $200 billion in new taxes and penalties that will hit pensioners, homeowners and renters. Higher energy bills are guaranteed and, in all probability, unemployment queues will lengthen.

Yet he remains odds-on to win!




























All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99


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