The Distillery: Born to rule?

One jotter perceives an underlying belief the Liberal Party is the proper economic ruler, while another sees no short-term election boost for the market.

Ever since Tony Abbott cruised to victory – and in fact, for a long time before – the crusaders of commerce in Australia's business pages have seemingly held up the leader as a timely cure for all that ails business and the economy. 

But could these views be based on some unconscious belief that the Liberals have always been the rightful rulers? Ross Gittins thinks so.

"We see the Liberals – the party of the bosses – as the party best suited to run the country," the Fairfax columnist writes this morning. "Sometimes enough of us feel sufficiently rebellious to install Labor – the party of the workers – but this leaves many of us deeply uncomfortable and yearning for the return of the masters. And when, sooner or later, it becomes clear Labor isn't doing well, no one is terribly surprised and we rush back to the security of our pater familias. You don't understand anything about the underlying forces of Australian politics until you understand that."

He concludes: "The hope that all our problems will evaporate now the good guys are back in charge is wishful thinking."

The apparent misconception is on display just a few pages over, with his papermate Adele Ferguson sure the incoming communications minister Malcolm Tunbull will deliver the national broadband network a shiny new board, management team, culture, strategy, fresh cost structures and a new set of relationships in the telecommunications sector – all better than what Labor had in place.

"Turnbull and [likely new NBN Co boss Ziggy] Switkowski will have their work cut out for them unpicking some of the contracts put in place by their predecessors and making sure the right industry structure, regulation and entity is created. But given the current state of play, it seems they are starting from a low base."

The Australian Financial Review's Jennifer Hewett, meanwhile, says Telstra shareholders will be feeling more relaxed than NBN Co about Turnbull’s imminent arrival as the new Minister for Communications.

The Coalition's win, expected as it was, is also being credited for a long-awaited pick-up in business confidence data, although John Durie notes in The Australian that the economy still looks shaky.

"Business confidence rose last month on expectations that Tony Abbott would win the election but the harsh reality behind the latest NAB business survey is the economy is going nowhere fast and unemployment is set to rise further. The gloomy reality underlines the huge job ahead for the new government with politics lifting confidence at least for the moment but conditions worsening across much of the economy."

As for the sharemarket, the newspaper's Criterion columnist, Tim Boreham, doesn't think the change of government will provide much of a boost in the near-term.

"Those expecting a virile post-election bounce should take a Bex and a good lie down, because the market has had a decent run since mid-June and most of the new mob's slated reforms are amorphous and/or long-dated."

The Australian Financial Review's Tony Boyd blames gloom surrounding Sydney's Cross City Tunnel not on traffic numbers, but a stamp duty spat with the government and the changed economics of toll roads – although the Chanticleer columnist says a receiver would probably receive strong demand for the asset.

In fact: "Going bust is probably the best option for all concerned at Sydney’s loss-making Cross City Tunnel."

In the other Fairfax papers, Malcolm Maiden writes that the ASX's BookBuild platform is, in theory at least, a "game-changer" for share issues – and a real threat to investment banks.

Finally, the Australian Financial Review's Karen Maley says investors are becoming jittery at the prospect of increasing Italian political instability, as disgraced former leader Silvio Berlusconi stages a desperate battle to prolong his political career.

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