Topic Of The Day :- “Musical Chairs: On Australia’s New Prime Minister”

As Scott Morrison assumes charge as Australia’s Prime Minister, the question is whether he can put an end to the country’s protracted political instability. He takes over from Malcolm Turnbull after a contest for the leadership of the Liberal Party, and is the sixth person to be Prime Minister in just over a decade; during this time none has lasted a full three-year term. Political instability feeds off an elusive bipartisan consensus on Canberra’s energy and environmental policy. Differences over finding an effective approach to tackle global warming go to the heart of divisions between the conservative and moderate sections within the Liberal Party in the world’s largest coal-exporting nation. This week, in a bid to stave off a challenge to his leadership, Mr. Turnbull deferred legislation on national emissions reduction targets it had committed to under the Paris climate accord. The overall package, which aims to reduce energy prices and comply with emissions standards, won broad backing from the Opposition centre-left Labour Party and the business community. But the ruling Liberal-National coalition’s efforts at a consensus were hamstrung by hostile backbenchers led by Peter Dutton, who launched an abortive bid for leadership and resigned as Minister for Home Affairs. Mr. Dutton is even said to have thought of pulling Australia out of the Paris accord. Last October, Canberra decided to phase out subsidies for renewable energy from 2020, under a policy that ostensibly sought to balance reductions in greenhouse gas emissions with the need to deliver reliable and affordable electricity. The climate-sceptic Tony Abbott, also of the Liberal Party, repealed a carbon emissions tax in 2014 when he was Prime Minister, fulfilling a poll promise to “axe the tax.” But he was careful to project the move as a mere reduction in the tax, not as an easing of emissions targets. The Liberal Party’s bruisingleadership contest that led to Mr. Morrison’s elevation was the second in the span of a week. Having survived a vote on Tuesday, Mr. Turnbull stepped aside from the race on Friday, which also dealt a blow to Mr. Dutton’s leadership ambitions. With the dramatic developments of the week behind, there is hope of respite at least until the 2019 general elections. In any case, the ruling coalition’s razor-thin majority in Parliament affords the government little leverage on policy initiatives. Mr. Morrison is considered a canny politician, capable of navigating the tumultuous currents within the Liberal Party. The first test of his dynamism will be his ability to ride out his time in office until the coming elections. But the bigger task is for Australia’s leaders to rise above partisan ends to address humanity’s gravest challenge of global warming.



1) Protracted

Meaning: Lasting for a long time or longer than expected or usual.

Example: “a protracted and bitter dispute”

2) Feeds off

Meaning: To increase because of something, or to use something to succeed or get advantages.

Example: Local suppliers feed off the region’s car manufacturing industry.

3) Elusive

Meaning: Difficult to find, catch, or achieve.

Example: “success will become ever more elusive”

Synonyms: Evasive, Shifty

4) Consensus

Meaning: A general agreement.

Example: “there is a growing consensus that the current regime has failed”

Synonyms: Agreement, Concord

Antonyms: Disagreement

5) Tackle

Meaning: Make determined efforts to deal with (a problem or difficult task).

Example: “police have launched an initiative to tackle rising crime”

Synonyms: Approach, Handle

6) Stave off

Meaning: To stop something bad from happening, or to keep an unwanted situation or person away, usually temporarily.

Example: We were hoping to stave off these difficult decisions until September.

7) Deferred

Meaning: Put off (an action or event) to a later time; postpone.

Example: “they deferred the decision until February”

Synonyms: Postpone, Adjourn

8) Accord

Meaning: An official agreement or treaty.

Example: “opposition groups refused to sign the accord”

Synonyms: Agreement, Deal

9) Hamstrung

Meaning: Severely restrict the efficiency or effectiveness of.

Example: “we were hamstrung by a total lack of knowledge”

Synonyms: Constrain, Restrict

Antonyms: Help

10) Backbenchers

Meaning: (in the UK) a Member of Parliament who does not hold office in the government or opposition and who sits behind the front benches in the House of Commons.

Example: “he was cheered by Tory backbenchers”

11) Abortive

Meaning: Failing to produce the intended result.

Example: “the rebel officers who led the abortive coup were shot”

Synonyms: Failed, Vain

Antonyms: Successful, Fruitful

12) Phase out

Meaning: To remove or stop using something gradually or in stages.

Example: The airline is planning to phase out the aircraft at the end of this year.

13) Ostensibly

Meaning: As appears or is stated to be true, though not necessarily so; apparently.

Example: “the party secretary resigned, ostensibly from ill health”

Synonyms: Apparently, Seemingly

Antonyms: Genuinely, Really

14) Repealed

Meaning: Revoke or annul (a law or act of parliament).

Example: “the legislation was repealed five months later”

Synonyms: Revoke, Rescind

Antonyms: Introduce, Enact

15) Bruising

Meaning: (of a competitive situation) conducted in an aggressive way and likely to be stressful.

Example: “a bruising cabinet battle over public spending”

16) Stepped aside

Meaning: To step sideways to make a space for someone else.

Example: Step aside, please – this lady needs a doctor.

17) Dealt a blow to

Meaning: To cause someone or something, usually a plan or hope, to fail or to be affected very badly.

Example: The latest trade figures have dealt a severe blow to hopes of an early economic recovery.

18) Respite

Meaning: A short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.

Example: “the refugee encampments will provide some respite from the suffering”

Synonyms: Break, Interval

19) Razor-thin

Meaning: (especially of a margin of victory) very slim; barely achieved.

Example: “a razor-thin margin of eight votes”

20) Leverage

Meaning: The power to influence a person or situation.

Example: “the right wing had lost much of its political leverage in the Assembly”

Synonyms: Power, Authority

21) Canny

Meaning: Having or showing shrewdness and good judgement, especially in money or business matters.

Example: “canny investors will switch banks if they think they are getting a raw deal”

Synonyms: Shrewd, Sharp

Antonyms: Foolish, Reckless

22) Tumultuous

Meaning: Making an uproar or loud, confused noise.

Example: “tumultuous applause”

Synonyms: Loud, Vociferous

Antonyms: Soft

23) Dynamism

Meaning: The quality of being dynamic and positive in attitude.

Example: “he was known for his dynamism and strong views”

Synonyms: Energy, Vitality

24) Ride out

Meaning: To continue to exist during a difficult situation and until it ends, without serious harm.

Example: Many companies did not manage to ride out the recession.

25) Gravest

Meaning: Giving cause for alarm; serious.

Example: “a matter of grave concern”

Synonyms: Serious, Important

Antonyms: Trivial