Monday 28th November 2016 - 6:51 pm
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How are they traveling?

by Alan Thornhill




The small laugh that the tough South Australian Liberal Senator  Cori Bernardi gave, when asked if his three month study trip to the United Nations would benefit the UN – or the Liberal party – more confirmed much.


Senator  Bernardi had sharply criticised Malcolm Turnbull’s campaign before the July 2 elections – and even spoken of forming another political party – to the right of the Liberals.


So he- knew that  many of his colleagues would be pleased to see the back of him,


And he admitted it.


A firm supporter of Mr Turnbull’s main rival, Tony Abbott,  who is now campaigning for much faster resoration of budget “balance”,

Senator Bernardi’s presence in Canberra right now would not have been particularly welcome, among Mr Turnbull’s supporters.


Getting the budget back into good shape is certainly a high priority for the government.


After all, major ratings agencies have already warned that its triple A credit rating, which this country has now held for decades,

is already on “negative review.”


So the government knows, only too well, that it might soon find itself paying quite high interest rates, if it wants to borrow abroad.


There are also other issues on which it is losing support.



Peter Dutton’s criticism of Malcolm Fraser, for example, for encouraging migration to Australia from South Lebanon,

many years ago, is among them.


So is Mr Turnbull’s determination  that no-one, who came to Australia, as a boat person, will ever be allowed to stay.


But what does it all add up to?


Well, a major poll, published in The Sydney Morning Herald today, shows the government once again trailing Labor, 49-51.


And the Ipsos poll which  gave Mr Turnbull a net approval rate of zero was particularly damaging for a Prime Minister

who could only manage a majority of one, in the recent national elections.

His Labor Opponent,  Bill Shorten, though chalked up “some improvements” in the poll.


The next scheduled Federal elections are, of course, still a long way away.


But there is very little, in the latest opinion poll, to give either of our major parties much comfort.

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Monday 28th November 2016 - 6:36 pm
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by Alan Thornhill


Monday 28th November 2016 - 5:24 pm
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The news:Monday November 28

by Alan Thornhill

Barnaby Joyce says the 15 per cent rate agreed upon today for the backpacker tax is similar those charged

by comparable countries overseas ABC


Syrian government forces have retaken a second rebel-held district in eastern Aleppo, as thousands of civilians flee. BBC


Donald J. Trump’s visit to a black church here on Saturday will be a major moment for a candidate with a history of offending

the sensibilities of black Americans.

Saturday 26th November 2016 - 7:07 pm
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The news:Saturday November 26

by Alan Thornhill

Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former president and leader of the Communist revolution, has died aged 90, his brother has



Australian-islamic-state-fighter-neil-prakash-arrested-in-turkey abc


Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that he will let hundreds of thousands of migrants travel on to Europe

if pushed by the EU smh

Thursday 24th November 2016 - 7:51 am
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The news:Thursday November 24

by Alan Thornhill

Senate accepts a government bill which will trim some $600 million from the tax cuts offered on superannuation ABC



However the Senate also insists thathe 19 per cent rate  the  the government is proposing on its backpacker tax is too high ABC



Donald Trump appoints two women to his front bench BBC



Wednesday 23rd November 2016 - 8:05 am
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The news: Wednesday November 23

by Alan Thornhill

Donalld Trump has repudiated the fringe “alt-right” group that celebrated his election win with Nazi salutes.



One Nation’s Pauline Hanson has demanded to meet with fellow senator Rod Culleton this morning to discuss a letter he wrote that prompted a referral to the Queensland police chief.


Call for empty homes tax to ease rental ‘crisis’

Ther are calls for a Vancouver-style tax on empty houses to help ease the rental affordability crisis gripping Australian cities.

Tuesday 22nd November 2016 - 1:35 pm
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We’re out from Day 1:Trump

by Alan Thornhill

The incoming US President  Donald  Trump declared today that the his country will leave the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership from  the day he takes office,


The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has conceded that this will deliver a fatal blow to this ambitious project.



Mr Trump, an avowed opponent of free trade, declared that the proposed TPP deal would have been disastrous for the US.


He made the announcement in a video  message


Mr Trump said he wold end the trade deal on his first day in the White House.

He takes office in January.

The TPP trade deal was signed by 12 countries which together cover 40 per cent of the world’s economy.

The Republican also pledged to reduce “job-killing restrictions” on coal production and stop visa abuses.

But there iwas no mention of repealing Obamacare or building a wall on the southern border with Mexico, two actions he said during the campaign he would do on day one.

His surprise election win two weeks ago has sparked protests across the US.

The TPP was agreed in 2015 by countries including Japan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico, but is not yet ratified.

Its aim was to deepen economic ties and boost growth but its opponents said it was negotiated in secret and it favours big corporations.

So what is the TPP and why dos it matter?

Asia-Pacific leaders meeting in Peru over the weekend said they will continue to pursue free trade deals despite Mr Trump’s opposition.

But on Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the TPP trade deal would be meaningless without the involvement of the US.

Protesters say the trade deal kills American jobs

In the video message, Mr Trump said his governing agenda would be based on “putting America first”.

The six executive actions he would take on day one are:

  • issuing notice of withdrawing from TPP
  • cancelling restrictions on US energy production
  • cutting regulations on businesses
  • ordering a plan to combat cyber-attacks
  • investigating visa abuses that undercut American workers
  • imposing a five-year ban on people leaving government to become lobbyists

The president-elect has spent the last week starting to put together his new team.

Monday 21st November 2016 - 9:18 pm
Comments Off on When allies think twice

When allies think twice

by Alan Thornhill



The American alliance has always had a price.






That’s because it is, ultimately about those things,


And a whole lot more besides.


Australia’s survival, for example.


Crude talk about the yellow peril, of course is just that now.


Since the Second World War, when this country was directly attacked by Japan, Australia has found two of its best customers in Asia.


Japan and China respectively.


That has contributed enormously to the prosperity of most, Australians.


But as Malcolm Turnbull admits, Australia, like the United States, has had its losers, as well

as its winners.


That contributed heavily to  rising flood of protectionist sentiment, which saw Donald Trump swept towards the White House  earlier this month,


It also   left Malcolm Turnbull supporting China’s arguments for free trade at an APEC meeting in Peru last week.


And many Australians were left feeling distinctly uneasy, as well..



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Weathercoast by Alan Thornhill

A novel on the murder of seven young Anglican Christian Brothers in the Solomon Islands.

Available now on the iTunes store.


Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.

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