May 18th 2019

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Green energy policies freeze out the poor

EDITORIAL Religious freedom will be suffocated if ALP elected

FEDERAL ELECTION Majors fling barrels of pork in the way of disillusioned voters

CANBERRA OBSERVED If independents rule in House, stability is a goner

SOCIETY 'Ladies Wanted' flyers lure women into porn

CULTURE AND SOCIETY The last of his tribe

ECONOMICS Trading in the toxic legacy of neoliberalism

TECHNOLOGY The wheels come off Tesla's electric dream

HISTORY OF SCIENCE Faith and reason and Father Stanley Jaki Part 1

STATE POLITICS Notes from the hustings

A TRIBUTE TO LES MURRAY A man of the Word: the poet and the Logos

MUSIC Workhorse themes: Sonic sub-rhythms

CINEMA Avengers: Endgame: Marvellous final chapter

BOOK REVIEW The left has our schools in bondage

BOOK REVIEW Philosopher hits all the right notes

OBITUARY Bob Hawke: astute politician; flawed policies


EDITORIAL How Scott Morrison routed Labor, the Greens, GetUp and the left media

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How Scott Morrison routed Labor, the Greens, GetUp and the left media

by Patrick J. Byrne and Peter Westmore

News Weekly, May 18, 2019

The triumph of Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who single-handedly led the Liberal Party to victory on May 18, will go down as the greatest win since Labor’s Paul Keating defeated John Hewson 25 years ago.

Labor’s heavy focus on climate change flopped in Queensland, the nation’s most decentralised state, and the huge campaign to stop the Adani coalmine only turned voters away from Labor to the LNP.

The left-wing media, particularly the ABC and the Fairfax press, were completely wrong-footed by the result. Predicting a Labor landslide when the campaign began in mid-April, they backed Labor leader Bill Shorten right up to election day, when they still anticipated a 52 per cent to 48 Labor win.

In the event, Labor lost seats in Queensland (there are no Labor seats left north of Brisbane) and Tasmania, made no significant gains in New South Wales, South Australia and WA, and only slight gains in Victoria.

Despite being leader for only nine months, following the resignation of Malcolm Turnbull – who later undermined the Liberals at every turn – Scott Morrison performed as a statesman on the campaign trail and in three televised debates. He promised a continuation of the Coalition’s economic program of personal tax reductions for low and middle-income earners, and returning the federal budget to surplus in 2018-19.


Adani mine

Adani is the first of a number of new large coalmines planned for the Galilee Basin, which is located 400 kilometres inland from the North Queensland coast. Despite claims by environmentalists, it could not pose any threat to the Great Barrier Reef as it is well inland from the Great Dividing Range.

Although it has met all Australian federal environmental requirements, Adani has been delayed by the Queensland Labor Government over the black-throated finch, which in reality occupies a wide habitat over large stretches of Queensland. Clearly, this was nothing more than a delaying tactic, pending the election of a federal Labor government that would have denied the project environmental approvals and export licences.

If the plan was to shift the political fallout from the Queensland to the federal government with minimal electoral consequence, it seriously backfired.

The concerted national campaign against Adani involved left-wing agitprop group GetUp, the Greens, far-left unions such as the CFMEU, which ran a huge advertising campaign against Adani in Queensland, and powerful media outlets including the government-funded ABC, the Guardian, and Fairfax media.

Former Greens leader Bob Brown led a caravan from Tasmania to North Queensland, demanding that the Adani coalmine be stopped. The cavalcade received maximum publicity from the ABC and Fairfax, but on the ground it was given a cold reception in Queensland towns desperately needing new industries and the jobs they bring.

Labor also promised a multibillion-dollar increase in government expenditure on health and education, funded by the abolition of franking credits paid to retirees and negative gearing on property investments, and unspecified taxes to achieve Mr Shorten’s commitment to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, and 100 per cent renewables by 2050.

High prices of gas and electricity are already cutting deep into the budgets of struggling families across Australia, due to the depletion of low-cost gas fields in Bass Strait that supply Victoria, NSW and South Australia, and government-subsidised investment in costly renewable energy, which is replacing low-cost coal-fired power in electricity generation.

Labor’s policies would have made these problems worse, despite their promise to reduce power prices.

Mr Shorten also committed to 50 per cent of new cars being electric by 2030, a policy which could only be achieved by punitive taxes on existing petrol and diesel-powered vehicles, and lavish subsidies for electric vehicles, as in countries such as Denmark.

It would have involved the purchase of over 500,000 new electric vehicles a year for cars largely restricted to city use and that cost about twice as much as conventional vehicles, and would have cost billions of dollars a year.

While Mr Shorten’s campaign centred on his new “vision for Australia”, there were highly funded campaigns run by GetUp and Malcolm Turnbull's son Alex, who backed anti-Liberal “independents” in a handful of key seats where the left targeted high-profile Liberals who disagreed with their climate-change agenda.

GetUp alone claimed to be spending $12.8 million campaigning against Tony Abbott, Josh Frydenberg, Greg Hunt, Peter Dutton, Dave Sharma in the seat of Wentworth, and others. They were successful only against Tony Abbott.

The seats of Menzies, Deakin, Aston and Casey were also targeted, but all were retained by the Liberals, with DLP candidates in those seats outpolling the Reason (formerly Sex) Party and the Animal Justice Party. The seat of Chisholm was also targeted and the DLP ran a candidate there. Early on it looked like Chisholm would go to the ALP but the Liberal candidate is ahead at the time of writing.

In a gracious concession speech on election night, Tony Abbott pointed out that since the Liberals’ defeat in Wentworth last year, he knew he was being targeted; but the Morrison victory overshadowed his personal defeat.

The Prime Minister paid tribute to Mr Abbott’s contribution to public life over 25 years, in his victory speech on May 18.

The re-election of the Morrison Government was a defeat not only for Bill Shorten, who subsequently resigned, but for GetUp, the Turnbull campaign, the extreme environmental movement, the CFMEU and left-wing media organisations.

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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm