Features

Australia confounds the pundits

The centre-right retains power on a tax-cutting agenda. Matthew Partridge reports.

948-Morrison-634

In the run up to Saturday's election in Australia, the Labor party was ascendent in every opinion poll, with almost all pundits expecting it to remove the Liberal-National coalition from power, says Katharine Murphy in The Guardian. When the votes were counted, Prime Minister Scott Morrison ended up "the hero of the hour", managing "to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat". This means that after three years of turmoil, which has seen both major parties replace their leader, Australia has ended up "back where it started when former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull won the 2016 election by one seat".

No appetite for change

Morrison drew a contrast between his plans for "tax cuts for low- and middle-income households" and Labor's promises "to increase levies on capital gains, superannuation [that is, pensions] and family trusts to pay for social spending", and that helped him to victory, says The Times. However, the decisive issue was probably climate change. Morrison exploited economic modelling that "purported to show that the 45% reduction in carbon emissions proposed by Labor would cost 167,000 jobs". And Labor's opposition to the planned Carmichael coal mine led tolarge swings to the coalition in important Queensland marginals.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

Morrison's victory could therefore have "global implications", saysThe Straits Times. Australia's share of global emissions may make it "a minnow" compared with China or the US, the world's top two greenhouse-gas polluters. But Morrison's exhortation to voters to choose between "jobs or climate" means that the Carmichael project is now much more likely to go ahead. If it does, "billions more tonnes" of coal will be available to export and burn in places such as India, "fuelling global warming and a growing climate crisis".

The election outcome in Australia has therefore revealed "the urgent need to broaden the message for reducing carbon emissions, and to separate it from the divisive culture wars afflicting Western democracies", says The New York Times. Morrison's victory "does not necessarily mean he will do nothing about greenhouse gases". Indeed, with growing pressure from the young for action on climate change, and from the candidates who pushed a climate-change agenda who did win, there's still a chance that he could confound the pundits and take a lead on the issue. After all, Australia is a country "where the ravages ofman-made climate change are most evident".

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/519858/how-long-can-the-good-times-roll
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
Visit/504252/brace-yourself-the-global-economy-might-be-healthier-than-it-looks
Economy

Brace yourself – the global economy might be healthier than it looks

Investors have been worried about a global recession since the start of the year. But the latest indicators suggest things might not be so bad. John S…
2 Apr 2019
Visit/investments/stockmarkets/600878/coronavirus-pandemic-financial-markets
Stockmarkets

A global coronavirus pandemic seems inevitable – are markets still too complacent?

Coronavirus is going global. It’s only a matter of time before it’s classed as a pandemic. John Stepek looks at the markets’ reaction, and explains ho…
24 Feb 2020
Visit/economy/global-economy/600876/the-charts-that-matter-its-starting-to-look-a-little-unhinged-out
Global Economy

The charts that matter: it’s starting to look a little unhinged out there

Things aren't normal in the markets right now, says John Stepek. Here, he looks at the charts that matter most to the global economy for clues to what…
22 Feb 2020

Most Popular

Visit/investments/stockmarkets/600909/will-coronavirus-kill-off-the-bull-market
Stockmarkets

Will coronavirus kill off the bull market?

It seems clear now the coronavirus will at some point go global. And when it does, will it bring down the stockmarket’s bull market? John Stepek looks…
27 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/commodities/gold/600887/gold-price-coronavirus-cost-of-face-masks
Gold

Gold, coronavirus, and the high cost of face masks in northern Italy

The price of gold is spiking – as it always does in a global panic. But this bull market predates the coronavirus epidemic, says Dominic Frisby, and w…
26 Feb 2020
Visit/personal-finance/pensions/pension-tax/600877/why-it-makes-sense-to-scrap-higher-rate-pensions-tax
Pension tax

Why it makes sense to scrap higher-rate pensions tax relief

The point of pensions tax relief is to keep you out of the means-tested benefits system. The current system is ridiculously generous, says Merryn Some…
24 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/stockmarkets/european-stockmarkets/600725/is-2020-the-year-for-european-small-cap
Sponsored

Is 2020 the year for European small-cap stocks?

SPONSORED CONTENT - Ollie Beckett, manager of the TR European Growth Trust, on why he believes European small-cap stocks are performing well.
12 Feb 2019