Nowhere fast

The Sydney Morning Herald has just previewed a poll to be published tomorrow which shows Labor leading 57-43 in New South Wales. This hardens my impression that, for all the government’s extensive list of negatives, the Coalition will make very few inroads at the March 24 election. I will now set to work on charts tracking opinion poll results through the current term and add them to this post when I have finished. In the meantime, you might like to take another look at my election guide: seats on the Labor side of the table down to and including Heathcote have been brought up to date with photos, further candidate information and, in some cases, analyses of booth variations.

UPDATE: It’s even worse for the Coalition in Newspoll – Labor leads 59-41, "its best result on the two-party preferred measure since the eve of former premier Bob Carr’s third election victory in March 2003".

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.

104 comments on “Nowhere fast”

Comments Page 2 of 3
1 2 3
  1. Remember Victoria in 1999. Everyone said Kennet couldn’t lose, yet he did. Admittedly he didn’t have polls this good, and Steve Bracks was actually a competent party leader (as opposed to Peter Debnam).

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Labor ended up with the Mackerras prediction of a one seat majority, or even minority government. God forbid anyone entertains the possibility they could still lose…

  2. If the result is as bad as the polls are suggesting then the right will be somewhat cowed, and this far from preselctions it is forseaable that members would be prepared to act independantly.

    knocking off sitting members who act in the partys obvious interest is harder than it looks. People are less factionally viscious than a lot of people think

  3. Edward StJohn,

    Do you have any evidence when you claim that the ‘ALP In NSW is congenitally incapable of taking hard choices when it comes to the public service’? I ask because this sort of claim is often made about teachers in one way or the other, and the figures prove it is completely not so in Victoria, which is the place I keep a close eye on. I know that editorials in The Australian love to make this sort of claim about all state Labor governments, but they have never once included any facts or figures in support. Nor have I ever seen a proper study to support such a claim.

  4. Chris, here are two names from the past which might remind you of the relationship between Labor state governments and public sector unions: Irene Bolger and Lou di Grigorio

  5. Adam,

    I used to dream about how teachers would have avoided the pay cuts and the increased workloads of the last 30 years if Irene Bolger and Norm Gallagher had been leading their unions. Now, I think Paul Mullett could do the job for us. But teachers would have to have the commitment to their union that police have to theirs.


    I was hoping for more than the current public sector employment numbers and current wage growth – something like 30-year account of public sector employment, a breakdown of types (eg, teachers, managers, electricity authority employees, etc), real and relative wage movements over that time, taxation as a percentage of Gross State Product, etc. I don’t expect 20,000 words on this site, but a reference to a reputable study would help.

  6. Chris,

    Try the State Budget Papers , Just look at recurrent spending as a percentage of total government expenditure or gross state product. Or look at the pay rates for teachers in NSW say to anywhere else.

    Bottom Line the govt bought “industrial peace” by keeping the public sector unions sweet. It’s worked for now but those chickens will come home to roost for everybody.

  7. There are media stories saying that the NSW govt hasn’t done any forced redundancies – this is perhaps an example of the suggestion above that “The ALP In NSW is congenitally incapable of taking hard choices when it comes to the public service”, along with the fact that NSW public servants have been getting very good pay rises in the last few years.

  8. Perhaps that NSW teachers are paid more is a good thing, it keeps teachers teaching, and attracts teachers from interstate. THe increased wages allow for more competition for positions and hopefully better teacher quality in NSW.

    A free market explanation compared to a cosy union relationship explanation.

  9. I read in “City News”, an independent inner-Sydney monthly newspaper, that John McInerney, a councillor on Clover Moore’s team on the City of Sydney Council, is going to run for the NSW Legislative Council, apparently because legislators who know about climate change issues when dealing with urban planning are needed.

    I wonder how Cl McInerney will contribute in debates and the votes on other matters before the Legislative Council if elected?

  10. Um, Chris, Norm Gallagher was a communist, remember? You guys spent 40 years trying to get people like him out of the unions. I seem to recall Newsweekly going on endlessly about the communist leaders of the VSTA and the TTAV, not to mention the NSWTF. Don’t tell me you miss the commos, Chris?

  11. Basically The NSW State Liberal Party is hopeless. If the Liberal Party fail. to make inroads they will certainly suffer a major moral defeat in the lead-up to the Federal Elction.

    I am wondering is someone has the stats how many times has NSW voted for a state government with the same party in power Federally.

    Has anyone done an upper-house projected analyses for NSW and even a comparison with the Senate?

  12. Adam,

    Don’t confuse the DLP with the NCC, and don’t think of the VSTA as the same as the TTAV/TTUV/FTUV, my experience of being in a school with a branch of the latter being enough to turn you off them for life. The extraordinary thing about the VSTA/AEU is that its run by a supposedly ultra-militant group that took over from a supposedly militant group way back in 1981 and is opposed by a super-ultra-militant group which thinks we need a general strike to bring down the Bjelke-Petersen government, the latter group being in turn opposed by a few individuals to the left of Mao, yet pay and conditions in teaching have deteriorated dramatically despite all this militancy. Just to add to that mix, I have to point out that the government school in Victoria with the best teaching conditions in the state between 2002 and 2004 was the one whose timetabler was a former state official of the DLP, not one of those with Trotskyite AEU unionists in it.

    I do not wish for the communists to come back, but the advantage of their existence was that they provided some restraint on the capitalists.

    My comment about Norm and Irene was tongue-in-cheek, but it does illustrate how un-militant the supposedly militant teachers are.


    Thank you for the link. I shall read it, but I do not think it will have enough information for me.

    I have an interest in how beliefs spread through a community. Their truth or falseness has nothing to do with it. It is probably something to do with repetition and a receptive soil. I say this because I have kept records of comments about teaching and education for some 30 years. The amount of ignorance displayed in these is astonishing. The Australian, for example, has been running a campaign against teachers for the last few years, a campaign basically founded on the repetition of the same lie about the pampered pubic sector and the supposed fear Labor governments have of supposedly powerful teachers’ unions. Anyone who looks at the long-term trends in pay and conditions can see immediately that this is false, but the claims will not stop. Facts are irrelevant. So, when I see the same claims made about NSW, I am immediately suspicious, thinking of some short-term selection of figures by the IPA.

    The Australian claimed that “Mr Hunt [was] on solid ground to admonish state governments for squandering the economic boom dividend on public-sector wages” (“Election Budget high ground fight begins”, 4/7). Like every other occasion on which this claim has been made, no evidence was produced.

    Teachers in the public sector have suffered a dramatic drop in pay over the last thirty years while helping to create the prosperity that the whole nation enjoys. In 1975, a beginning Victorian teacher was paid 118.8 percent of male average ordinary time earnings. That equated to $65,379 as of January last year. A beginning teacher was in fact paid $44,783 then – a relative cut of $20,596!

    After seven years a teacher reached the top of the scale and was paid 166.6 per cent of the average. That would have been $91,684 a year ago, compared with an actual rate of $56,072 – a relative cut of $35,612. The new top level, which takes eleven years to reach, was only $63,202 – a relative cut of $28,482. A Senior Teacher in 1975 was paid 189.8 per cent of the average. That would be $104,452 for the equivalent Leading Teacher, who actually got $76,383 – a relative cut of $28,069.

    Given that teachers need a 35 per cent plus increase just to get back to where they were three decades ago in a much poorer state, I would like someone, anyone, to give us the long-term figures proving this oft-claimed squandering on public sector wages.

    Staffing figures are also worse. The evidence I have shows that Victoria has about 2,000 fewer secondary teachers than it would have had under either the 1992 or the 1981 staffing levels. The current secondary pupil-teacher ratio is 12.0:1, compared with 10.8:1 (1992) and 10.9:1 (1981).

    Teaching loads (a maximum of 20 hours) are higher than 20 years ago (a maximum of 18 hours, plus one extra a fortnight). Teachers are now more likely to be on short-tern contracts. Promotion positions have limited tenure to facilitate bullying by principals, the quality of which declined in the 1992-99 era.

    Despite all these facts, the usual suspects unblushingly claim that the sate governments have squandered their GST bonus, are controlled by public sector unions, allow the education system to run for the benefit of teachers, and so on.

    NSW teacher salaries are higher than elsewhere, but I bet they are lower than they were 20 and 30 years ago. I suspect a long-term study in NSW would show the same long-term as in Victoria.

    All of this is probably somewhat off the topic, except that one techniques used by the Liberals to gain and keep power in Victoria in the ‘nineties was teacher-bashing.

  13. As always the teacher bashing by both sides is fantastically evidenced by Chris. But it is a battle in a much bigger war.

    The amount of public sector wages doesn’t matter except in light of the service they deliver. This applies to all areas of public service, except that perhaps teaching is a great example of how shallow the anti-public service arguments are:

    * Do parents want their children educated by good teachers in good schools? Answer obviously yes.

    * Is it apparent that the teaching profession has slipped in its attraction to potential teachers and it is more complex but you look at Chris’ numbers and it has one causal factor in the wage alone. Why would you teach a trade for example at $60K a year when you can earn $130K a year just doing it?

    Now one classic conservative weapon is to attack the teachers, and attack the union … and I guess that works where no counter case is put. For example someone quite illinformed and happy with very simple analysis might accept ‘teachers are rubbish and hurting your children and it is all the unions fault for protecting the rubbish teachers [for example by not encouraging Julie Bishops bonus payments to politically sound teachers – lets not pretend the States will be allowed to manage the bonus scheme].

    But most people see how unattractive the profession is financially and we all know in WA that they were 200 teachers short in week one.

    So selling to the public that teachers need to be paid more and the career made more attractive should be a no brainer. If you don’t attract enough teachers and you do introduce differential pay based on things that please a federal govt you can’t have the theoretically poor teachers leave the profession you will just be making a portion of the group of people we give our children to every school day much less happy and much less motivated …

    It is simple cause and effect and it applies in largely similar terms across teh whole public service …

  14. Chris, off topic, but interesting. I was aware there was a decline, but not of that order. Wherever state government budgets have gone, it is not into education funding.

    Adam, you point out about lefties being concerned about the right-wing takeover of the NSW Libs. I think these results have totally vindicated my concern. The Far-right takeover of the Libs has ensured the return of the Iemma government. This in turn will make it far harder to knock off Howard. the NSW state branch will have a much smaller role in that campaign, and will do little damage to Howard’s chances while, as you have noted, Iemma’s return will help Howard dramatically.

    For the first time in my life I want the Libs to win something and they have proved themselves utterly incapable of delivering. It’s like when a team you hate is playing your team’s rival for a spot in the finals. You find yourself barracking for your worst enemies, only to find them utterly inept as well as evil

  15. The bizarre thing is that both Rudd and Howard have big worries about their respective state parties. Howard has to worry whether the Liberal state branches are so demoralised, faction-ridden and broke that they won’t be able to do basic legwork for the campaign, and he will have to carry the whole show himself; while Rudd has to worry that the incompetence and corruption of at least some of the state governments will make voters more likely to vote for Howard. The situation in WA is increasingly dire and might well lead to the resignation of Carpenter and/or a snap election. The situation in NSW is … well we know what it is.

    (I can’t resist an joke here: “The situation in France is serious but not desperate. The situation in Italy is desperate but not serious.”)

  16. If a scandal riddled government like Iemma’s with pretty high disapproval ratings can get re-elected with exactly the same majority in the forthcoming state election. The Federal Coalition should have little difficulty getting a similar majority it did last time, come October or November. Howard’s government has far less of a disapproval rating than Iemma’s.

  17. Queenslander,

    NSW probably does attract interstate teachers because of the higher pay, but it is not that easy to uproot yourself and your family for what may turn out to be a temporary advantage.


    Education is my field, so I pay careful and time-consuming attention to it, but you are right to say that it is but an example of a bigger battle regarding the role of the public sector. Having family members who have worked in various private companies and having to deal with some private companies myself, I know that the idea of private sector efficiency is a myth.


    It is even in the interest of teacher unions to hide these facts because they need to claim that they keep winning victories when they get done like a dinner every time.


    I have read through some of the NSW budget papers. I can find a reference to a wages increase of 60 per cent since 1996, but it is not clear if this is the wages bill or the wage rates and it does not show what those wages would be now if they had retained, say, their 1975 value or relativities to average earnings.

    Between 1997-98 and 2005-2006, revenue as a percentage of GSP has gone from 13.2 per cent to 12.8 per cent; expenditure, from 12.6 per cent to 12.6 per cent. This suggests quite a healthy budget position to me, but there may be other factors that I am unaware of.

    My experience of the regular attacks on public expenditure is that they select short periods of time for their comparisons and once looked at carefully, they just dissolve. When the IPA and the Liberals were launching their attacks on Victorian education, they would always make comparisons with NSW and Queensland because those states were worse than Victoria, rather than SDA which was better.

    I noted also that NSW intends to employ an additional 1,500 teachers to bring prep to grade 2 class sizes to an overall average of 22, which will almost catch up with Victoria, in which schools are funded to allow a maximum of 21 pupils in such classes.


    I am sure it is a source of anger and frustration to Labor supporters that there are corruption, criminal and mismanagement allegations in almost every Labor state. Not Victoria, of course.

  18. Did any one else read Debnam re why there is a housing shortage.

    New South Wales Opposition Leader Peter Debnam has chosen to highlight the
    tax burden of a couple who own five properties in Sydney’s west.
    Mr Debnam has today continued to sell his promise to cut land tax and
    invited the media out to Cranebrook to highlight the problems faced by the
    couple who own a real estate agency and five investment homes.
    Mr Debnam says they are typical mum and dad investors, carrying the burden
    of paying a hefty land tax bill.
    “This is a standard thing in NSW, they are not big property investors,” he
    “Why do you think we’ve got a rental crisis in NSW, it’s because of State
    Government policies and unless you actually get that tax burden down on
    the property market, you are going to have a further rental squeeze.”

    Typical mum and dad investor, not big propoerty investor 5 Houses!

    I feel so very sepressed as I am still trying to pay off one house.

    Still at least we know where the money from the 20,000 sacked public servants is going, to help out struggling mum and dad property investors.

    Pete has got my goat, sorry vote, I was thinking of the bloke from Wyong.

  19. In later news it was shown they owned 8 properties. They didn’t mention the other three because they were actually owned by their superannuation fund

  20. So you see, Tristan, that’s why Howard is in trouble while Iemma isn’t. Howard is being opposed by an opposition leader who is brilliant and ruthless, while Iemma is being opposed by a complete dill.

  21. Qlder, I have had some chance to watch KR at close quarters, and I can assure you he is brilliant, in both an intellectual and political-strategy sense. He is also ruthless, as anyone who has seen him operate knows. His coup against Beazley was a masterpiece of ruthlessness. Of course he also has negative qualities, but I will not be discussing those here.

  22. The ‘negatives’… you mean he is a self-obsessed megalomaniac?

    I think everyone with a TV set worked that out a while back.

    And ‘brilliant’… still waiting for evidence on that one. His philosophical ramblings last year suggest otherwise.

    However – focussing on the topic of this thread: I’ll believe it when I see it. I refuse to believe a scandal-ridden, 12-year-old government facing an economic slowdown can get a swing to them. Even against Peter Debnam.

    I’ll add that a result that bad for Debnam would probably be very grim news for Federal Labor.

  23. I met KR during the 2004 election campaign and I was very impressed by his command and understanding of his portfolio (Foreign Affairs) Also knowing Julia Gillard over many years I am confident that the Rudd.Gillard team will most certainly give the tied and lackluster Howard Government a run for their money. What is clear is that Peter Costello will not hold t5he keys to the lodge my guess is that Malcolm Turnbull will be the next Liberal Party leader,

  24. Leopold – “I’ll add that a result that bad for Debnam would probably be very grim news for Federal Labor. ”
    So the strong vote Labor got in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland in recent times are also bad news for Labor? Hell, they could be facing a total wipe out.

  25. Not so interested in Queensland, where the economy is humming, or SA, with a first-term government.

    In Victoria, the government lost 5% on primaries, and a net 7 seats, the worst result for an incumbent ALP state government since 1995. It was a good sign for Federal Labor in my view, a hint that the slowing economy in the two big south-eastern states might have electoral bite.

    The NSW government is 12 years old (regardless of what Iemma says) and the state economy is sluggish. If there is any part of the country where the electoral fundamentals should be good for oppositions, it is NSW. If Iemma gets back with a swing to him, I will be punting every spare dollar I have on Howard at the earliest opportunity, because clearly, things are still going well enough, even in the most tepid part of the national economy, that people are not really desperate for change.

    However, I do not believe that will happen. The media focus on Heavy Kevvie has something to do with these poll results, and as the election gets closer, we’ll see a shift away from Labor and a swing to the opposition on the day. Or so I, Mackerras-like, predict…

  26. Chris

    You mention – somewhat tongue in cheek I think – that mismanagement is not taking place in Vic.

    Mismanagement means managing badly – in Victoria the government does not manage – it does nothing – witness Lynne Kosky’s comments on public transport this week “would we want to run a public transport system . I don’t think so”.

    The Vic govt has abdicated responsibilty for managing anything (except schools and hospitals now that the police have been handed over to Paul Mullett) and hence logically can’t have mismanaged as they don’t manage to start with.

    Saying that, except for SA, the other labor governments are a mess – and should have been brought to account. The liberal oppositions are useless, the press don’t care, and the public don’t care about state politics any more. Maybe there would be more attention paid if the elctoral cycle were shorter (back to 3 years). After all, these days the states only spend, they don’t tax (except for land tax – paid by a small proportion of the population). We have been shonked by both 4 year terms and fixed terms – both of which are convenient for governments especially and political candidates. Were the voters ever asked if they wanted 4 year terms – no – (except in Qld once where 4 year terms were voted against) and why not when a voters opportunity to effect change is reduced by 25% over a voting life.

  27. Leopold – we can all play the numbers game and leave out vital information. Firstly, the Labor Party in Victoria was at it’s high water mark (a record) after the 2003 election. If the Libs, given the circumstances, couldn’t make some gains in the seats they once owned then they were never going to do it. Secondly, you didn’t say that the Libs had a small swing overall to them somewhere in the order of 2 to 3 percent, well short of the 7 to 8 percent needed. Thirdly, if you asked any conservative politician if they thought they did well with that result you would get a resounding no. It was recognised by all as being pathetic and they should have done better and lastly you didn’t mention that it was the second best result by the ALP in Victoria in its history.
    I think you are missing the reason for people voting against the conservatives. Labor and the unions n Victoria, SA and Tasmania conducted a fear campaign against Howards IR laws. People voted accordingly. Imagine what they will do when Howard, the instigator of these laws, comes up for the vote.

  28. Rod B,

    I think part of the problem for the Libs is that they really believe that people who own 5 houses are Mum and Dad investors. Most of the live in a bubble where everyone they know has at least that wealth, if not more so. Labor MPs also live in something of a bubble (and Green activists like myself) but perhaps one not quite as divorced from reality.

    Howard’s boosters talk about how he is so in tune with the mood of ordinary Australians. I think it is exaggerated, but relative to a lot of their MPs it is quite true.

  29. Melb City,

    where does the clarity come from that costello want be the next liberal leader.

    He continues to be the star performer in parliament and in cabinet, and if people are willing to tolerate Rudds self regard they should be able to tolerate Costellos,

    No matter what the papers say Costello is the logical, obvious successor, most of his challengers for heir apparent have gone by the by, while he remains

    however One thing that runs in turnbulls favour however is he is NSW right, yet idealogically many things he stands for are shibboleths of the NSW left (ARM for example) and he did run for preselection for Mosman in 1984, which makes him different to most other celebrity types, in that he has a long standing commitment to the party, not just as a supporter of its values (there is a difference, and it matters to insiders)

  30. The Coalition had a 3.4% swing against Labor at the 2006 Victorian election, and gained a net 8 seats (7 off Labor). Whether it was ‘what they needed’ is beside the point; the issue is, when you take into account what has happened in comparable elections around the country, what you could expect, how did it compare?

    The Beattie government in Queensland in 2001 was at its ‘high water mark’ but lost just 3 seats in 2004. Carr reached his ‘high water mark’ in 1999 but was returned with no loss of seats in 2003. Bacon peaked in 2002, but Lennon retained the same number of seats in 2005. Again and again, right around the country, for more than 7 years now, we have seen the same pattern of re-elections followed by state government after state government.

    Bracks’ 2PP vote was 54.4%, the worst result for a state ALP government outside WA seeking re-election since 1995. His loss of seats was the worst for a state ALP government seeking re-election since 1995.

    Of course it was not an outstanding result for the Liberals. Who said it was? The point is, that over the last decade there have been very clear patterns in Australian politics; the Victorian election was an unusually poor result for an incumbent Labor state government, and an unusually good result for a State Coalition party. The logical underlying cause (Baillieu being relatively moderate and engaging probably helped) is the economy.

    As for ‘WorkChoices’ – I suppose that was the cause of Beattie (2001, 2004), Carr (1999, 2003), Bacon/Lennon (2002, 2005) and Bracks (2002) getting whopping results?

  31. One weapon that has disappeared from the Liberals electoral and campaign armoury in the last 20 years (partly from 11 years of coalition IR laws) but evident from the Hawke ‘accord’ onwards is that strikes have largely disappeared. Privatisation of many economic sectors and consequent de unionisation would have contributed also.

    Remember the days when oil refinery workers, train drivers, power station workers, postmen used to go out on strike on a regualr basis.

    Thinking back to the 1970’s, striking unionists in essential services could easily be linked by conservative governments, the press and/ or the voting public to the ALP. People were inconvenienced and this would be exploited by the lkes of Joh Bjelke – Petersen or voters would take out their anger on a Labor government as SA voters did in 1979 after a snap bus strike. If major strikes did occur, the consequences for ALP governments seemed greater – witness the ‘parking the trams’ dispute and how that was a major contributor to destroying John Cain’s credibility.

    The reduction of union power and union numbers may have been a blessing in disguise for the ALP at state level as the lack of strikes shows that they can provide services .

  32. Leopold – “As for ‘WorkChoices’ – I suppose that was the cause of Beattie (2001, 2004), Carr (1999, 2003), Bacon/Lennon (2002, 2005) and Bracks (2002) getting whopping results?” No, but it was the cause for seemingly damaged Labor governments being comfortably returned in the last twelve months.
    The Victorian government also lost two seats by very small margins. They could have gone either way. It was an atrocious result for the Liberals. They could have just as easily only won 5 seats off Labor. This was a third term election. By comparison to other Victorian elections and given the circumstances it was an amazing result, as were the Queensland and Tasmanian results.
    Why on earth would the return of Labor in NSW be bad for Federal Labor?

  33. It isn’t Workkchoices that has placed electoral success out of reach for the NSW Liberals, rather, its the inability to communicate policy. The inability to clarify the Public Service policy, direction for the state and key areas of reform. ‘Lets fix NSW’ is not enough.

  34. Stewart – if Labor is as on the nose as I’ve heard it is then a failure to communicate should not really stop people voting for the opposition. Policy itself surely would be more the reason. The public service policy has a fear factor to it and is related to IR policy. The nurses are running an effective anti IR campaign. I’m sure there are other factors as well but the IR policy is a ready made scare campaign. It seems mighty odd to me that ever since workchoices Labor state governments have had little trouble being returned.

  35. “It seems mighty odd to me that ever since workchoices Labor state governments have had little trouble being returned. ”

    What trouble were they having before WorkChoices? The ‘mighty odd’ thing is trying to claim that the state results over the last 12 months have been better than the ones prior to that.

    Your claims about WorkChoices are no more than assertions, with zero evidence to back them up. And you can spin until the cows come home: it is an empirical fact that Bracks’ result in November was the worst performance by an incumbent Labor government outside WA since 1995.

    “By comparison to other Victorian elections and given the circumstances it was an amazing result, as were the Queensland and Tasmanian results.”

    How could it be ‘amazing’ when it was actually inferior to the comparable results in other states? Election results at state level have been following a relentless and predictable pattern for 10 years now, in all states. Anyone ‘amazed’ by the Bracks government being returned with a substantial majority must have been asleep for the last 10 years. The mildly surprising thing was the substantial swings on both PV and 2PP and the notable loss of seats.

    If the NSW Government is returned, that will be bad for Federal Labor, because a small proportion of voters DO split their votes intentionally, and the ‘coast-to-coast Labor governments’ line has bite. If it is returned with a swing to it, it will be a signal that incumbents are not really on the nose even in New South Wales, which is good news for the PM.

  36. Leopold – “What trouble were they having before WorkChoices? The ‘mighty odd’ thing is trying to claim that the state results over the last 12 months have been better than the ones prior to that.” I’ve read this much of your post so far and already you have misunderstood my position. Firstly, my point is not that they are winning better than they did in the past but that governments that deserve to be severly censured by the voters are not copping their just deserts. This is undeniable. Secondly, before work choices they were either in opposition, still very popular governments or new governments. This hasn’t applied to most of the governments that have faced the people in the last 12 months.
    “How could it be ‘amazing’ when it was actually inferior to the comparable results in other states?” Absolutely irrelevant. What is important is what was expected in that state. Months out from the election people were expecting the Bracks government to lose many seats. The issues were there and it didn’t happen. Bracks was returned relatively unscathed.
    “If it is returned with a swing to it, it will be a signal that incumbents are not really on the nose even in New South Wales, which is good news for the PM.” Except for one thing Rudd is in front in the polls and has public opinion on his side on most issues, Debnam is not in front in the polls and is not popular. You maybe right about the small portion of voters but you are giving them too much weight and credit for being able to change an election.
    Can I prove my contention, no but neither can you. Supply the proof of this statement “If the NSW Government is returned, that will be bad for Federal Labor, because a small proportion of voters DO split their votes intentionally, and the ‘coast-to-coast Labor governments’ line has bite.” Your numbers and figures are not proof of what will happen just data showing what did happen.

  37. ‘Absolutely irrelevant. What is important is what was expected in that state. Months out from the election people were expecting the Bracks government to lose many seats. ‘

    What people? Where? Robert Doyle bolted for the exit six months from the election because people were expecting a big swing to the Liberals? Tosh, and you know it. Bracks opinion poll results through the team were mostly better than his final vote, and everyone expected a big win for Labor.

    And your insistence that ‘what is important is… that state’ refuses to acknowledge the duplicated results across ALL states in recent years. Every state has followed the same pattern. Trying to interpret state elections based on individual state issues, when voters in EVERY state are behaving in the same way is an act of willful blindness. As Mumble puts it, ‘something is afoot in the Australian collective psyche’.

    If you are really determined to cling to the belief that, despite the recurrence of duplicated patterns across all state jurisdictions, we have to analyse each one individually without reference to the comparable elections in other states, I can see no point in continuing to debate you.


  38. No point in arguing with someone who makes irrational assertions in practically every paragraph.

    And if you want to continue the debate, why don’t you tell me who exactly was expecting heavy losses of seats for Labor in Victoria in 2006? Robert Doyle?

  39. Debnam reminds me of the Tories in the last UK election, they thought they could win a campaign on xenophobia, but forgot that what voters whinge about in focus groups is not necessarily the major factor in determining their votes. Maybe Melanie Phillips could do some guest appearences for the Libs? The other notable factor is that the Greens are as usual playing to the converted rather than trying to win a broader range of voters.

  40. Leopold, Doyle didn’t bolt, he got kicked out. All polls Morgan, Neilson, Alp, Grn, Lib etc, were saying Labor would lose at least 10 seats.

    How can you compare WA to Tas?
    Tas to anywhere?
    Qld to anywhere?
    Sa to a state that has a Nat party?

    You can’t. No one in WA would punish the state ALP because of something Bracks, Beattie or Iemma has done.

  41. Leopold – We had a galaxy poll suggesting Labor could lose up to 16 seats just as the election campaign got underway. The papers loved Big Ted and thought he would make great gains. Bracks integrity was being questioned by the Herald Sun. On a blog in the Herald sun we had bloggers tipping big losses for awhile. You can question their accuracy but you asked to name those expecting heavy losses.
    Now if you could address the points I made in my previous post. I don’t believe I said anything outlandish or grossly wrong but, hey, convince me.
    As for “As Mumble puts it, ’something is afoot in the Australian collective psyche’.” I agree and I”ve already stated what I think it is – something you reject.

  42. In reference to Gary’s post above:

    Has work choices really made that much difference to the state election results results in the last 12 months?

    Victoria: ‘Months out from the election people expected the Bracks government to lose many seats’ – One of us is inhabiting a parallel universe as it was obvious only months out that the liberals under Robert Doyle were going down to a hiding to nothing. The changeover to Ted Baillieu was quick and clean and much credit needs to be given to Robert Doyle for handling it all with great decorum. It was a few months out and frankly, especially at state level, oppositions don’t get much oxygen. The liberals should have done better, but, did pick up a swag of seats, achieved a few decent swings, and most importantly got some big swings in their heartland which had been left dangerously exposed in the 2002 debacle. Where the liberals conspicuously failed was that the swings in Ballarat, Geelong and the Melbourne / regional interface seats (Macedon, Monbulk, Seymour etc) were very low meaning that a win in 2010 is a very big ask. However the new upper house may expose the Bracks government to more scrutiny (it has already started on gambling licenses). The libs and nats also wasted time and money fighting each other – they need a coalition. But was work choices an issue – maybe the Herald Sun endorsement of the Bracks govt was more important. BTW: I am not a Hun reader but why did they endorse Bracks?

    Qld: Why did Peter Beattie win so handsomely in six words or less – Bruce Flegg,Bruce Flegg, Bruce Flegg. Viewed from interstate the lib / nat campaign was obviously a disaster, and the libs especially should take the blame. Gary, your average voter isn’t as silly as some would have us believe – the Beattie government had not been travelling well and deserved censure – but joe average voter wants to replace them with something as good or better, not an evident rabble and they want to know what they are getting – the old QLD lib / nat chestnut that the nats have more seats now (and are the official opp. ) but the libs have to win enough seats for them to be the leading party.

    But are we making too much of this run of incumbent governments winning elections? The ’80s and ’90s had a much greater turnover of governments at state levels than any previous decade since 1940. Maybe we are just reverting to the long term condition of state governments being in power for long periods (of whichever political stripe) and winning most elections easily (there are plenty of precedents for this statement) – and with 4 year terms there is less opportunity to change government.

  43. blackburnpseph – I supplied a list of those suggesting the election was going to be closer than it was. I left out radio talkback where they were convinced the Eastlink broken promise would reek havok. I actually never thought it would be close but some did.
    You say “did pick up a swag of seats” – your definition of a swag and mine are miles apart I’m afraid.
    I’m not surprised these governments were returned. I am surprised, given their circumstances, they were returned like there was nothing wrong. Even inept oppositions should have done better than they did.
    We can debate all we like as to why but I believe the Federal election will give as more of a clue. We’ll just have to wait and see. I’ve stated my case, one I can’t prove I’m afraid but neither can anyone else.

  44. Gary
    I am with you on Work Choices.
    Debnam knows it is on the nose, he has assured the nurses that they will stay on the state award, but this has not helped.
    I don’t think people trust him and feel he would do a Howard if elected and say his promise not to implement work choices was a non core promise.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 2 of 3
1 2 3