July 9, 2014
We have a new Senate in Canberra with an increased number of Independents and the two major parties--Labor and Liberal --- are not happy as they are beginning to realize that they've lost control over their third senate spot. So the attacks on the micro-parties begin.
The Coalition has the biggest problem as it must negotiate with the cross bench Senators to get their roll back legislation into law. So far the Coalition has tried to bludgeon its way through, with little success. The Coalition is going to have to learn to work collaboratively and consultatively with the crossbench senators.
The majority rule crowd have little time for a Senate that sees itself as an important check on government power. The Senate should support the Coalition's agenda without hesitation. So the Coalition will endeavour to ensure that there is a falling out between Palmer and one or more of his underlings within the next few years.
The Coalition's politics of fear---eg., on IR, a fiscal crisis and carbon pricing--- has limited value in governing the economy and it will probably be counter productive. Thus the repeal of carbon pricing isn't going to make that much difference since energy prices will continue to rise and the Coalition will no longer have its carbon tax bogeyman. It will become ever more difficult to use the age of entitlement rhetoric to cover up the increasing inequality caused by the policies of the market fundamentalists.
What the Coalition doesn't seem to realize is that it is deeply unpopular because people feel that they have been fooled given the extent of the Coalition's broken promises after it came to power.
Their budget was a very different fiscal prescription from the one Abbott had continually promised voters.
There was no mention of increased university fees, a fuel tax rise, a GP co-payment, an extended retirement age, a temporary income tax rise, lower indexation for pensions, an $80 billion haircut in future Commonwealth outlays in health and education, cuts to family tax benefits, cuts to a range of payments and supplements, and so on. In fact, all these things were either expressly ruled out when raised or were covered off by overarching assurances such as the oft-quoted formula of ‘‘no new or increased taxes, no cuts to education or health, no cuts to pensions" etc.
The politics of fear isn't going to help increase the electorates trust of the Abbott Government.