How do you solve a problem like Mathias

Jockeying begins to fill Mathias Cormann’s Senate vacancy, plus a new poll of doubtful utility on the republic question.

No Newspoll this week, a three week schedule clearly being the deal now; presumably Essential Research will be along tomorrow morning, hopefully inclusive of the monthly leadership ratings (voting intention apparently being too much to ask). Beyond that, there is the following to relate:

• Mathias Cormann’s recent announcement that he will quit politics at the end of the year leaves the Western Australian Liberals with a Senate vacancy to fill. The West Australian ($) has identified three potential preselection nominees: Sam Calabrese, the state party director; Joe Francis, a minister in Colin Barnett’s government who lost his seat at the 2017 election; and Sherry Sufi, a party activist whose radicalism caused him to be dumped as candidate for Fremantle in 2016, but apparently times have changed. Also named initially was Paul Everingham, chief executive of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy, but he told the paper ($) on the weekend that he had decided not to run.

• The Sunday News Corp tabloids ($) reported on a YouGov poll on republicanism, which I’m guessing was commissioned by the Australian Republican Movement, because it posed the softball question of whether respondents wanted an “Australian as our head of state”. Put thus, the question reliably receives a favourable response, in this case 52% yes, 32% no and 16% don’t know. The poll was conducted from a large sample of “nearly 4500”, on field work dates not identified.

• Below is a podcast from Ben Raue of the Tally Room in which he and I discuss the Eden-Monaro by-election and looming federal redistributions.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

833 comments on “How do you solve a problem like Mathias”

Comments Page 16 of 17
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  1. That’s right L’arse. Now I’m bullying YOU.

    What a giant of an imagination. The first resort of the pipsqueak is to whinge he’s being bullied.

  2. Bushfire Bill says:
    Monday, July 13, 2020 at 9:06 pm
    I refuse to respond to your nasty personal attacks!

    Your misogynistic jibes sadly may have worked on pegasus but I think most here have worked out your rage and anger motivations and ignore them!

  3. Labor wasn’t going to touch franking credits on tax paid, so I understood your cap in that context – not paying a refund unless it reduced tax paid. Thus in order to miss out on a franking credit one must pay less tax than franking credits earned. At worst case one’s shares are fully franked, so I divided your cap by 0.3 – if you earn $166k you receive $50k franking credits. At lower franking rates your income would have to be higher. To be denied $50k of franking credits all of that income would have to be tax free.

  4. boerwar @ #740 Monday, July 13th, 2020 – 8:57 pm

    I agree that he was impressive.
    What I was trying to get across is that Amalrik’s technique of picking an end date and a change state and working backwards has large potential margins of error.
    One difficulty is a tendency to think/understand from analogy.
    Another is that large stochastic events can happen – the pandemic – but which are difficult to time if the discussion is about what might happen within one or two generations. The Virus was one of a list of predictions I made when I was 20.
    Another is how emerging technologies might change control/freedom equations.
    Emerging technologies are turning several US citizens into trillionaires and are pushing 1.4 billion Chinese into a draconian Big Brother situation.

    I think the point of Amalrik’s theories is not that any particular event is defining, it is that once you have entered the “comfort cult”, any event can trigger massive disruption … even those that you thought at the time were momentary and possibly even trivial setbacks in a generally positive trend.

    I think Trump’s election was one such. It has exposed fundamental flaws on the USA’s much vaunted “democracy” that I am sure few in the USA would ever have thought possible. In essence, one man who just refuses to play by the rules has virtually destroyed an entire system of government. This is entirely due to complacency. The “comfort cult” in action.

    Covid-19 is another. Who (at least in the USA) would ever have conceived that a country that loudly proclaims itself to have the “best health system in the world” would be so easily brought undone by a pandemic that many other countries are controlling with relative ease? Again, the “comfort cult” in action.

    It is a powerful concept.

  5. There is a photo of Bradman hitting Hadley Verity for six in the 1934 or 36/37 Ashes.

    Only one or two others.

  6. Scotty at Footy while:

    Bill Shorten MP

    7tS pdoSnmsnolhrsrgaed · Shared with Public
    Today the Morrison Govt is ending free childcare and JobKeeper for childcare workers.
    This will mean incredibly difficult working conditions for many parents, as well as making it harder for childcare facilities to make ends meet.
    These kids, and the people who educate them, deserve better.

  7. No Brett,

    If you earned $166K in dividends (assuming the dividends are fully franked) in your personal capacity then you would have a franking credit of $50K which would offset most of the income tax. This is the position Keating created.

    If you earned $166K in dividends in your self managed super fund – then you would normally have to pay 15c in the dollar tax ie $24K – but because tax of $50K had already been paid – you would receive a refund of $26k. This is what Howard created.

    The reality is there some people in Australia who are earning millions in SMSF super and getting refunds in the millions. These are all grandfathered because of the caps on super contributions Turnbull introduced.

    The above is a pretty good example of why dividend imputation was cray-cray.

  8. Zerlo @ #765 Monday, July 13th, 2020 – 7:19 pm

    Scotty at Footy while:

    Bill Shorten MP

    7tS pdoSnmsnolhrsrgaed · Shared with Public
    Today the Morrison Govt is ending free childcare and JobKeeper for childcare workers.
    This will mean incredibly difficult working conditions for many parents, as well as making it harder for childcare facilities to make ends meet.
    These kids, and the people who educate them, deserve better.
    ” rel=”nofollow”>

    Great book!

  9. Labor’s franking credits policy would not have affected most people who owned shares and received dividends. Franking credits could still have been used to offset tax on wages, salaries, dividends, interest or any other income. If your income exceeded the credit you got its value in full. Basically, you offset tax paid by the company against your personal tax liability. If you didn’t pay tax, there’s nothing to offset. Just as, if you make a contribution to charity and you don’t pay tax, you don’t get a refund of tax you didn’t pay. Makes perfect sense.

    Howard and Costello vandalised the tax system, possibly to “starve the beast”.

  10. p1
    A bit circular IMO.
    How to decide when ‘reasonable’ levels of social, political, economic and environmental comfort are actually symptoms of a comfort cult?
    Forecasting a future collapsed state and working backwards is interesting and useful but may not be all that accurate.
    On the particulars you raise, if your point is that Trump is not an aberration but a symptom of destabilizing trends, I agree.
    I also agree the US public health response to Covid is both symptomatic and a possible trigger for regime instability.
    Other biggies to feed into Almarik’s hindcasting exercize are the disappearance of huge swathes of the US middle class, the rapid replacement of English by Spanish as the dominant US language/culture, the debt, and the erosion of the dollar as reserve currency.

  11. Steve777
    Not so much to starve the beast but more about creating a voting block among a traditional swinging part of the electorate.

  12. Interesting day tomorrow…

    We’ll finally find out more of the truth regarding Betty Windsor’s involvement in the Dismissal.

    Originally not due for release until 2027 – when she will be 100 and will presumably have to send herself her own telegram – an Australian court has ordered the “private” letters between herself and Kerr to be released forthwith.

    No wonder ScoMo’s on holiday.

    And no wonder pollsters are starting to ferret out opinions on the monarchy. I think it was an astonishing 32% in the last day or so who did NOT think Australia deserved an Australian head of state.

    I wonder what that number will be when we find out the truth?

  13. BB
    There will be some interest but I doubt that it is going to be front of mind for most Australians at this point in time.

  14. [‘But Sir John appeared to hope the letters would be released one day, just as he appeared to want Sir Anthony’s role to be revealed to add to the public knowledge of the advice from the High Court chief justice, Sir Garfield Barwick.’]

    Old fucking Barwick (please excuse the fucking french) should’ve not proffered an advisory opinion to Kerr, nor should’ve Mason. The ’75 coup, still uppermost in at least my mind.

  15. I recall seeing the footage of Steven Bradbury’s gold-medal-winning speed skating performance. As I recall, Mr Bradbury skated past the finish line ahead of a bunch of people sliding around on their arses crashing into walls. A requirement of speed-skating would appear to be to remain upright on your skates and cross the finish line. That’s what Steven did and which all the other competitors failed to do. That’s a win, just like Labor won Eden Monaro.

  16. Quaser
    Do they enable Australians to be whisked away to Xi’s dictatorship, there to disappear, to be tortured, be locked up for life, or to be executed?

  17. Player One

    In case anyone is interested, here is some more about Andrei Amalrik, the man who fairly accurately predicted the demise of Soviet Russia, decades before it actually happened:

    All countries end. Every society has its own rock bottom, obscured by darkness until impact is imminent. Already in the sixth century, Amalrik wrote, goats were grazing in the Roman Forum. As a theorist of his own condition, he was in many ways a fatalist. He believed that the Soviet Union lacked the nimbleness to engage in system-shaking reform and still survive, and he was correct. But his broader contribution was to show the citizens of other, differently structured countries how to worry well. He offered a technique for suspending one’s deepest political mythologies and posing questions that might seem, here and now, to lie at the frontier of crankery.
    The application of his theories to modern-day USA do indeed make one wonder … are we perhaps witnessing the beginning of the end of yet another great power?

    Very interesting article, and thanks for linking it.

    Amalrik, like many futurists (using the word loosely) gets quite a number of things right, but also some things quite wrong. Charles King, who authored the article gives a balanced analysis of what Amalrik got right and wrong.

    I would add an additional factor to the way things turn out after a major power falls back to “ordinary” status: Luck

    I think it was unfortunate that the Soviet Union came to an end under Thatcher and Reagan. The neo-liberal carpetbaggers swooped in, and made a fortune for ex-KGB agents who went on to become the “Oligarchs”. Also, the most laissez-faire economic systems were introduced into the former Soviet Union, under the guise that “this is the modern way”. Plenty of the neo-liberal carpetbaggers who had previously had nothing to do with the Soviet Union also cleaned up.

    Reagan is regarded as a hero in Hungary. I was gobsmacked to come across a statue of him in a park near the parliament on the Pest side of Budapest. Near a stature of Imre Nagy, the hero of 1956.

    On the other hand, at the end of WWII, the prevailing Keynesian economics meant that the US and the world invested a large amount of money into bringing liberal social democracies into Western Europe, which have brought a spectacular combination of prosperity and compassion to these same democracies.

    I still remember a question from my 2 Unit History HSC exam in 1977:

    “Five world powers went into WWII, but only two superpowers emerged. Discuss.”

    Coming back to luck, three of those world powers were France, the UK and Germany. They may have lost their word power status, but all introduced significant reforms to make sure their citizens had health care, food, jobs and houses.

    I think all three of these countries are in a better situation as far as looking after their citizens goes (and what else is a central administration for really), that the two super powers that emerged ( including the successor states to the Soviet Union).

    Although, the UK really does seem to have jumped the shark!

  18. Has Xi captured Witness K and rendered him to China?
    Has Witness K been executed?
    Has Witness K been tortured?
    I had not realized.


    Greste says provisional findings of the ongoing study suggest senior journalists’ sources are drying up as they find it increasingly difficult to protect their sources and to guarantee their sources’ anonymity. “The data retention legislation, the espionage legislation, the encryption legislation and now the raids – it’s all been very damaging,” says Greste.

    Legal and media experts say recent directives by Attorney-General Christian Porter and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton are unlikely to warm the chilling effect that Australia’s unique and draconian national security laws and the AFP raids are having on public-interest journalism.

  20. boerwar @ #780 Monday, July 13th, 2020 – 9:36 pm

    Has Xi captured Witness K and rendered him to China?
    Has Witness K been executed?
    Has Witness K been tortured?
    I had not realized.

    Yes, it’s not Nazism. It’s not really evidence of a properly functioning Western democracy with strong protections for civil rights and liberties either.

    Also add Richard Boyle to the list.

  21. D&M @9:32
    ”I think it was unfortunate that the Soviet Union came to an end under Thatcher and Reagan.“

    Interesting. I’ve not thought of that before and not seen it written, but I think you’re right.

  22. Wasn’t witness K found not guilty? There is a difference between being prosecuted and being found guilty and punished.

    I don’t think the odds of being found not guilty in China are all that good.

  23. ar
    I take your point.
    There are other legislated powers that fit your view.
    For example, when Australian citizens are in airport precincts we have close to zero human rights.

  24. boerwar @ #768 Monday, July 13th, 2020 – 9:23 pm

    A bit circular IMO.

    Perhaps. But what other choice do you have when normal thinking only allows you to predict the correct outcome in hindsight?

    I think the concept of the “comfort cult” explains much that is wrong with modern politics and its increasingly dysfunctional role in society. In both the USA and here. Basically, if you start out by assuming that everything is going to be fine and that the future will always obey rational rules, you are likely to end up surprised.

    From the article I posted:

    The “comfort cult,” as he called it—the tendency in seemingly stable societies to believe “that ‘Reason will prevail’ and that ‘Everything will be all right’”—is seductive. As a result, when a terminal crisis comes, it is likely to be unexpected, confusing, and catastrophic, with the causes so seemingly trivial, the consequences so easily reparable if political leaders would only do the right thing, that no one can quite believe it has come to this.

    Simple? Yes.

    Insightful? Yes, I think it might be.

  25. Lars Von Trier says:
    Monday, July 13, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    “The reality is there some people in Australia who are earning millions in SMSF super and getting refunds in the millions. These are all grandfathered because of the caps on super contributions Turnbull introduced.”

    I’m interested to see the data supporting your claim. Are there actually any SMSF earning millions? Even if there are they will disappear under the current laws because the death benefits will have to be paid out as members die.

  26. Point is boerwar, how is Australia going to enforce any morale standpoint on China. Just words, pissing in the wind.

  27. Bucephalus – here you go extracted from a much lengthier article in the AFR
    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has announced it has a self managed super fund (SMSF) top 100. Among its greatest hits are the 100 SMSFs with the largest asset balances.

    The ATO has offered a rare glimpse of its more detailed, confidential data on self managed super funds.
    Combined, these 100 funds control more than $7.9 billion. That’s an average fund balance of $79 million each, an impressive sum. They control 1 per cent of all SMSF funds totalling $755 billion.

  28. P1

    ‘But what other choice do you have when normal thinking only allows you to predict the correct outcome in hindsight?’

    The problem is that you might end up begging the question because you think you know what the answer should be (or shouldn’t) be because you don’t agree with ‘normal’ thinking.

    In this case we would both probably agree that global warming is an example of where ‘normal’ thinking does not match the need.

    But in other areas we might not agree about where ‘normal’ thinking is going pear-shaped. For example, my view is that racism in the United States is not a system-changing event. It has not been for the past four centuries and it is difficult to see that changing any time soon.

    OTOH, I regard the switch from english-speaking majority to a spanish-speaking majority as being profoundly destabilizing for the stability of the US regime. IMO it is one of the trends feeding TRumpism. Current symptoms include Trump’s wall.

  29. Mason, CJ attempted to extricate himself later by going feral, but he was integral in the sacking of Whitlam – make no mistake about it. Jenny Hocking, whatever’s published tomorrow, is a hero.

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