June 25, 2014
The Abbott Coalition still appears to have one style of governance. Bash the doors down, yell at the buffons to clear a passage way and kick those who get in the way. It comes across as tactics of the bully boy throwing his weight around.
I cannot see these techniques being a successful negotiating strategy to deal with the Senate acting as a house of review. Trying to pushing senators around is just going to get the cross bench Senators backs up.
The Coalition's assumption is that once the Green/Labor control of the Senate passes and the new Senate takes its place the Independents and PUP will fall in line quickly and pass all the Coalition's legislation to wind back Labor's reforms.
They are in for a surprise. The new Senators are in no mood to be kicked around given the contradictions in the budget, its inequities, the slogans (“debt and deficit disaster”), the small government ideology, the lack of an economic crisis, and the use of fear as a sales pitch for the neo-liberal winding back the welfare state.
The cross bench senators can also see that the rhetoric of the " end of the age of entitlement" applies to poor people, not to big corporations like Big Mining. The know that the states have less money for schools, hospitals and public transport and yet the subsidies to Big Mining continue.
The Coalition's political strategy is to polarize a divided electorate, ensure that the right is in the majority, and so continue to stay in power. It's the US Republican playbook. News Corp can be expected to help the Coalition by using its media power to deepen the polarization in the electorate.
No doubt News Ltd and the Coalition will push a link between Islamic terrorists (jihadists), asylum seekers and Australian jihadists in the name of national security and defending Australia from the threats of gangs of Islamic fundamentalists.
Now here's a surprise from an inconvenient senate.
Palmer's United Party will use its balance of power to ensure that the carbon price will be repealed. The Coalition's, alternative, Direct Action, is likely to go down as well. But PUP has blunted the Coalition's attempt to destroy the renewable energy industry. Some parts of the current climate change laws will be retained: the clean energy finance corporation (CEFC), the independent climate change authority (CCA) and the Renewable Energy Target. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is in limbo.
What Palmer appears to have done with his intervention is to leave the key infrastructure of the carbon pricing mechanism in place. A market based mechanism can be dusted off and re-introduced at short notice when Abbott is gone.
What is unclear is whether there will be new investment in renewable energy, and if so, how long before it starts to flow?