Idle speculation: February edition

The previous federal election thread was getting long and unwieldy, so I’ve closed it and set up shop here. Perhaps you might like to discuss today’s front page splash in The Australian, "Labor in strongest electoral position since 2001", based on a 56-44 Newspoll result.

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.

324 comments on “Idle speculation: February edition”

  1. Adam, when you get your own blog you can tell people what to post, until then you’ll have to put up with other peoples posts, instead of trying to censor ideas you don’t agree with. regards mally.

  2. Peter Garrett was on the fringe and now he’s in the big game. As a team player he has to lose a little in order to achieve a lot. Naturally his Liberal opponents see him as a threat and, as usual, go for the man and not the message.

  3. * “Extreme passion” in politics is nearly always bad. I refer you to the history of the 20th century.
    * If the majority here are passionately anti-Howard, that just shows how unrepresentative we of the online chattering classes are of Australians as a whole, who still (by a narrow majority just now) prefer Howard to Rudd as PM. The intelligentsia always assume they represent the people, but this is seldom true.

  4. Just had to pass on this clever little bulletin from ……

    Over 1.5 billion gallons of fuel are used each year by US truckers leaving their engines to idle overnight so they can keep the heating or air conditioning on.
    Green Futures (Sep/Oct 2003)

    Midnight Oil: the policy documents
    Quoting Midnight Oil lyrics on the US alliance is like shooting fish in a bucket. There’s so much more ground to cover:

    Veteran’s affairs

    You’re watching people fighting you’re watching
    People losing on Armistice Day
    You’re watching people fighting
    You’re watching people losing on Armistice Day

    Border security

    I’m back on the borderline
    Yes I’m back on the borderline

    Budgetary equity

    You say times are tough
    We’ve got the best of both worlds here
    Things are rough
    We’ve got the best of both worlds here
    Times are tough
    We’ve got the best of both worlds here


    The bosses they can sense your mood
    All in place to a hand that rules
    They all want to deal you out


    We’re all looking for a shorter day
    We’re all looking for an easy way
    Even when the debts are dead and gone

    Leadership aspiration

    I’m an innocent victim, I’m just like you
    We end up in home units with a brick wall view
    I can’t believe the perfect families on my colour TV
    If I don’t make it to the top it’ll never bother me

    Resources policy

    Heavy machinery loud in the outback
    Dreamtime developers they make all the sound
    Where will we be when they leave us a quarry?

    Defence support

    Put down that weapon or we’ll all be gone
    I must know something to know it’s so wrong

    Retirement Income

    And if the blue sky mining company won’t come to my rescue
    If the sugar refining company won’t save me
    Who’s gonna save me?

    Land Transport

    Nothing could be longer than a corrugated road
    No one ever follows where the road trains go
    And nowhere in the country do the dust storms blow so hard
    So hard


    The raising of children, the rearing of young
    Used to be simple but look what it’s become
    The choice of career, the proper vocation
    Out of your hands, all for the needs of the nation


    The time has come
    To say fair’s fair
    To pay the rent
    To pay our share

    Omnibus positioning statement

    Terracotta homes – backyard BBQ and eucalyptus smell
    It’s fine on the clothes line, it’s fast food and slow life and red roof
    My silence – comic interruptions
    Surely there’s some relief from atomic art and the fragile state of world
    Events with clowns who love the kings and power and the mutant media babes
    Working on dreams and fashions and toilet paper flowers
    Don’t talk to me in this backyard – it’s clandestine, it’s nuclear
    Smell of space and now forever I wanna go straight down the exit eight mile
    Attraction u-turn is up and the time clock sings let’s go.

  5. I am not on this blog to convert authors to my way of thinking or to make this a political background. My posts are generally are reactions to some people that put minor parties as non important waste of time groups. History shows the opposite,take for instance One Nation and how Howard, while bashing them outwardly was in fact working in ways to engulf them. Policies aside it showed the importance of Pauline Hanson and the way major parties gain that vote. With the rise of the Greens on the left and the Labor Party moving more to the center right the ALP needs to gain votes. The only way it will gain Government is to capture the Green vote with issues such as the Environment, War, IR and Social Justice. It was politically smart to wheel out Garrett to make the ALP look green without being too radical and is in fact a sell out. There no other way to describe it and shows the ALP using Howard’s way to gain the small party vote. As for the comment that Garrett is loosing a little of his ideals to gain allot does not work in environmental terms. The environment can not afford and neither can we a party going down the conservative road on this life supporting issue. One mistake, one pause to many and it will be too late to repair the damage History is full of such issues and as the years roll on they will increase considerably

  6. Actually history is full of issues which people at the time loudly asserted were matters of life and death but which with the perspective of time can be seen not to have been as scary as they looked at the time. Once it was the arms race. Then it was the “population bomb”. Then it was the “limits to growth”. I’m not disputing that these were and are real issues. I’m saying that they were not as apocalyptic as they seemed to some people at the time. Now it’s climate change, and no doubt the same will prove to be the case. The intelligentsia is always prone to hysteria and overstatement.

  7. I was brought up in a ALP/Union household, taught the importance of anti-racism, the environment, the evils of war, Animal liberation and social justice. I was arrested with my father exposing the misuse of authority by the police on Aboriginals in SA. It was like a “religion” passed down from generation to generation ( a good “religion” but still a “religion”) This meant to change your colors would be of great concern and disappointment. My sister has followed the ALP path both becoming a member and working for ALP candidates in here electorate. For here to do this she has had to soften her beliefs to fit in ( Garrett? ) and support candidates which have more in common with the Libs than any ALP of old. My parents while saying they are proud of me running for both State and Federal Parliament do support my sister profusely as she is towing the “religions” line even though its moved away from their core beliefs. Another point is the promotion that the Greens have a Doctors wives following. This may be true but in Kingston the Opposite is true . I am surprised at how many unionist and ALP wives not only vote Green but are or will become members. The mood of the people is changing once again as it was during the Hawke era, The environment is center stage

  8. Adam those issues are still here they have been watered down to suit capitalism promotion of itself. Countries are arming themselves to blackmail western countries to give them aid. The population timebomb is still ticking which increases global warming due to consumerism.

  9. I did not deny that they were real issues which are still with us. I said that people in the 70s who said (for example0 that the “population bomb” would destroy the world (read Paul Ehrlich) were wrong.

  10. And incidentally, WHY were Ehrlich and co wrong about population? Because capitalism creates prosperity and prosperity leads to falling birthrates, something Ehrlich didn’t allow for in his predictions.

  11. Because capitalism creates prosperity and prosperity leads to falling birthrates, something Ehrlich didn’t allow for in his predictions. Capitalism leads to consumerism which leads to poverty. Why is it that people that can least afford to try to keep up with consumer products. Drive down roads in my area and the amount rubbish been thrown out by residence because of poor quality is enormous. Capitalism dictates that we must buy buy buy and for those of us who make up 95% of the population its buy throw away tvs mobile phones furniture etc. Children are the major target of capitalistic predators and their generation will be totally materialistic making the bosses rub their hand with glee. The worker is “better of ” than his parents or grand parents but is due to credit cards and loans. It is well known that the more people in poverty the more children they have trying to make the family survive. A poll of working areas and rich areas would prove that right. The third world is increasing at alarming rates yet being the poorest areas of the world and being totally exploited by capitalism and the Governments who embrace it ( all governments are capitalist in some form). The environment and its protection covers all issues from IR to economics. To not take global warming and its affects seriously as the number 1 issue would be disastrous.

  12. I’m an active member of the Greens, and I’ll admit that I’ve sometimes strayed into pushing Green policy positions on this site (and taking swipes at other parties) but I’d agree with Adam.

    It’s inevitable that we will sometimes get on our individual soapboxes, but I think we should try to avoid it, and remind people when they do. There are plenty of sites to discuss political issues. There are very few sites to discuss Australian psephology and it would disappointing if this one got taken over with other matters – I’m already finding it hard to locate the psephological discussions amongst the rest.

    That said, I wouldn’t mind taking you up on your comments about population elsewhere Adam if you can suggest a suitable venue.

  13. I suspect this year’s election will end up being a rather polarised affair and I think we can expect the two major parties to achieve solid 40+ primary votes. The Greens will do well (though not as well as opinion polls might suggest), the Dems will go the way of the DLP (which I guess means they’ll make a comeback in about 2030) and Indepedents will hold the balance of power backing a minority Rudd government. This government will be up against a hostile Senate and we’ll be back to the polls in late 2008/ early 2009.

    How’s that for psephological musing?

  14. Hugo, I think that’s a very nice scenario. Assuming we have the same three independents (Andren, Windsor and Katter), and assuming they agree to support Labor (a VERY dubious assumption in Katter’s case), Labor needs to win 13 seats and lose none. This is still a big ask, but not impossible. As to a DD in 2008, that depends on whether Rudd is a whitlamite “crash through or crash” PM or not. I suspect he won’t be. He might follow the Bracks-Beattie-Rann scenario – sneak into office, spend your first term smiling a lot, win a second election in a landslide. The difficulty with that scenario for Rudd is that the unions will demand the repeal of Work Choices ASAP, and with a hostile Senate that will be difficult.

  15. Adam, Rudd’s task in winning the 2007 election is much easier if the mortgage-belt seats swing to Labor, which might be happening (think about the recent polls in the Adelaide seats which might, of course, just reflect the current labor surge).

    If there is a mortgage-belt surge to labor, the ALP *might* pick up Longman, Dickson, Petrie, Bonner, Bowman (long shot), Moreton and Oxley in Qld, and Kingston, Makin and Wakefield in SA, which altogether are 10 seats of the 16 odd seats they need to win.

    As Antony Green points out, it was the mortgage belt seats that saved the 1998 election for Howard.

    I don’t think that Katter would ever support an ALP govt.

  16. Adam mentions that Ruddy might ‘win narrowly, smile a lot and then win hamdsomely the second time around’ scenario similar to Beattie, Rann, Bracks etc. State governments, particularly (but not always of the ALP persuasion) have been doing this for decades. When federal governments change, they usually do it with a bang and slowly slide backwards (1931, 49, 75, 83, 96). The only new government to have a small majority in recent times has been Whitlam in 1972 who peaked in some states (Qld, SA, WA) in 1969 and by 1972 the tide in these states was running out -and more than balanced by NSW and VIC to give a majority of 9. If he does win narrowly – at this stage there doesn’t seem to be the ‘big mo’ (courtesy of the West Wing) – his majorities may stay narrow. At the federal level there is a much broader range of constituencies (not just geographic) and economic issues are usually paramount – and to some extent out of the govts control. By 2010 there may be also be some state ALP governments that voters want to punish. It has been mentioned that this may be Kevin’s 1969 – if that is the case, this will be the Liberals ‘one election too many’ – and Kevin will win handsomely in 2010.

    There are a few other issues to be considered – is there really a mood for change out there? – bloggers on this site do not count, the PM is starting to look stale, but the rest of the govt has been largely rejuvenated since 1996 (Costello, Downer, Ruddock excepted) – contrast this to the last labor government when by 1995 / 96 the ministry was down to the second XI – and is the mortgage belt that upset? – except for those in Sydney who went in too far, and possibly should not have been given loans to begin with (refer RBA warnings over the years). 2007 may be the one election too many.

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