Daniel Flitton summarises the results in this way:
Australians are feeling more unsafe than at any other time in a decade, seized by fears of terrorism and a bleak view of the economy.
But the Abbott government has not much profited from the anxiety – or even won much credit for the hardline stance against asylum seeker boats – and risks losing touch with yet another public shift in concern about the danger of global warming.
Back in 2006, I complained (Words and Manners - the use and abuse of "the punters") about the condescending use of the term punter or mug punter to describe the electorate, a point now made by Peter Hartcher. I actually think things have got better here. When I wrote, the term was almost universal among the commentariat who dominated the TV political programs. On one program, the one that triggered the post, I must have heard the term punter used twenty times.
Consider the current mess over the alleged payments of bribes to people smugglers to return boats to Indonesia. Practically, if it happened you either deny it (lie) or say that you will investigate. Some ministers did deny. By then obfuscating on the woolly grounds of not commenting on operational matters, the Government has created a significant incident, further complicating (among other things) our relations with Indonesia.
I can't see a way out of this beyond further mess. Maybe the Government can find one. At this point, it just strikes me as incompetence.
The level of textual detail in this report on what just took place on the high seas with that boat makes it highly credible. I would be interested, Legal Eagle comes to mind, on just how many laws were broken.
Since I first added this postscript, apparent information about previous payments has become available, leading to backtracking by Labor and exposing Opposition leader Shorten to criticism. I would have thought that these latest payments were of a different order,
When I said that I couldn't see a way out for the Government on this one, I hadn't counted on Labor!
The Lowy Institute poll I referred to is now on-line. The timing is a little unfortunate, since it indicates a further cooling in Australian popular perceptions of Indonesia, something that has been picked in the Indonesian media such as this story in the Jakarta Post.
The Melbourne Age has come out with two editorials (here, here) that essentially suggest that the Abbott Government has lost its moral compass.
More details on the boat transaction from ABC.And here. And I should just record that Mr Turnbull appears to have broken ranks on the citizenship issue.