The coalition is in chaos. Every week seems to bring a fresh disaster for Malcolm Turnbull.
Jeremy Corbyn’s spectacular success in the British election should have worried Malcolm Turnbull. The Tories were humiliated for their agenda of cuts, in the face of socialist Jeremy Corbyn’s promise to tax the rich to fund services.
Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have delivered a budget aimed at avoiding unpopular cuts, in a desperate effort to reverse their slide in the polls. The pundits say it’s a budget Labor could have delivered. But its tax increases deliver no real pain for the rich. Instead ordinary workers and the unemployed are being targeted.
Malcolm Turnbull has been left weak and humiliated by the election result. Turnbull will be constantly looking over his shoulder, worried about whether any of his MPs will break ranks and about his electoral popularity. The government will be vulnerable to public pressure.
The election has delivered a savage blow to Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition government. The danger is that the disaffection with the mainstream parties can be pulled to the right.
The centrepiece of Turnbull’s budget is handouts to business and high income earners. But for workers and the poor there are only cuts.
The 2016 Budget robs the poor to pay the rich. Its cuts to social welfare and other government payments and programs all had one target in mind—to fund tax cuts for big business. The handouts to business will cost $48 billion over ten years.
The wheels have come off Malcolm Turnbull, as he fumbles, stumbles, and slides in the polls. Newspoll has the Liberals behind Labor at 51-49 for the first time since Turnbull became PM. Turnbull’s personal approval rating is in freefall, with just 38 per cent approving of his performance.
Turnbull has pulled the trigger to call an early election, and is demanding that the Senate pass both the ABCC and the Registered Organisations bill, or he will hold a double dissolution election. The only guarantee that his anti-union laws can be stopped now is an industrial campaign.
Massive investment in new weaponry aimed at containing China, a commitment to more war, and more intervention in the South Pacific—that’s the Turnbull government’s vision for a “capable, agile and potent” defence force in the 2016 Defence White Paper.
Not content with cuts to pathology and diagnostic bulk-billing, the Turnbull government has resuscitated Tony Abbott’s plan to privatise Medicare payment systems. But these twin attacks on Medicare could prove to be Turnbull’s major mistake.
Part of the deal Malcolm Turnbull struck to take Tony Abbott’s job was promising to stick with his plan for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage after the next election.
The Coalition is wielding the scalpel on Medicare—again. As part of their December mini-budget, the government announced cuts of $650 million over four years to an incentive for pathologists to bulk bill patients.
The aftermath of the Paris attacks has seen an even more determined campaign to scapegoat the Muslim community. And Turnbull’s embrace of Abbott’s policies has been displayed at the climate summit.
Turnbull is fully committed to delivering policies that benefit big business and the rich through cutting spending and delivering “economic reform”, promising "a thoroughly Liberal Government".
The Turnbull led-Coalition claims to be “resetting” the relationship between the government and the Muslim community. Turnbull has junked reference to “Team Australia”, as well as Abbott’s favoured term for Islamic State, “death cult”. But changing the rhetoric hasn’t changed the substance.