Idle speculation: late March edition

By popular demand, an exciting new episode of Idle Speculation. You will have to make your own conversation starters – my focus has been elsewhere. I’m sure you’ll manage.

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.

250 comments on “Idle speculation: late March edition”

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  1. What Howard needs is a small war, a la Margaret Thatcher and the Falklands. That war certainly revived Thatchers career!

    Maybe something in August/September.

    Zimbabwe could be good. It wouldn’t be hard to overrun Mugabe, and everyone agrees he should go.

    Parachute troops in to take a small airfield in a corner of the country. Then fly men and equipment in.

    Mugabe would proably flee in no time and Howard would be the hero!

  2. Not sure if you’ve noticed Guru, but Howard has already got a few wars going – Iraq and Afghanistan most obviously, though he’s also been keen to use our khaki boys and girls in East Timor and the Solomons. Not sure it’s doing him any good.

    However, an invasion of Zimbabwe would probably appeal to Howard, as he could then ensure September’s cricket tour goes ahead.

  3. Okey dokey, Peter Andren is making an announcement on Thursday. Any books open on what it will be? Macquarie or Calare? Calare or Macquarie?

  4. I’m going to have a stab and say Calare as well. He’ll get better media coverage there, whereas in Macquarie he’ll get swallowed up by the Sydney coverage. He’ll also be up against a locally popular candidate Bob Debus (so rumour has it) in Macquarie, so Calare seems a better bet for Andren.

  5. I’m also tipping Calare.

    But a strong showing (12%) by a little-known local independent in the Blue Mountains on Saturday might change his mind?

  6. The point is that if he runs in Calare he will knock out a Nat and bring closer the possibility of himself and other indies having the balance of power. If he runs in Macquarie he helps the government and does nothing to help himself. Also I am not quite as certain as I was a few months ago that he would win Macquarie – if the Rudd juggernaut takes off he might get trampled in the rush. So my bet is on Calare..

    (thinks: do juggernauts “take off”? Perhaps not)

  7. No: a juggernaut is a larged wheeled chariot pulled through the streets during Hindu festivals. People get crushed beneath them, but they don’t take off

  8. Its Calare for me too.

    I seem to remember Andren saying around the time of the redistribution that he would rather stay in Calare and show he could still win that larger seat.

  9. That would defeat one of the purposes of the juggernaut for Hindus, which is to move towards nirvana by being meritoriously crushed beneath its wheels.

  10. Does Saturday’s poll tell us anything about Labor’s prospects in seats like Lindsay, Dobell and Eden-Monaro, which are must-wins for Labor?

  11. Holding Monaro was a plus, though rumour had it that Steve Whan would be the ALP candidate for Eden-Monaro if he’d lost, so maybe it was a mixed blessing to hold on to it. An encouraging swing in Penrith, but Jackie Kelly is (inexplicably) popular, so it might take more than that to take Lindsay. Some evidence that WorkNoChoices is biting here, as it seems to be on the Central Coast, which can only help the ALP, as can Howard’s refusal to see anything wrong with his legislative baby (one year old today).

  12. I think that if the Ruddslide really happens in Queensland, plus we win three in SA, two in Tas, and don’t lose any in WA, four in NSW (those three plus Parramatta) might almost get us there. The next level (Page, Robertson, Paterson) look much harder. (I am not counting Wentworth or Bennelong.)

  13. I understood that the swing in Penrith was because our new candidate there made such a bad impression last time (and from what I saw on TV on Saturday night I can see why), and this was just a correction.

  14. Your call of the board doesn’t have Labor regaining any in WA … is this feeling or polling and evidence based?

  15. I would be surprised if Peter Andren chose to run in Calare. It is a huge if not enormous seat with very little commonality and Orange (where he is best known) is at the very South Eastern corner of it. Bathurst and Lithgow (where he is also well known are in the seat of Macquarie).

    On the weekend in the state seat of Orange the local National Party member beat the Mayor of Orange (John Davis) standing as an independent with the preferences of both ALP and the Greens. Part of the reason that the independent did not succeed was because he was not known well in Wellington and Mudgee and was seen to be too Orange centric.

    I think it would be a big ask to expect the voters of Forbes, Parkes, Condobolin, Lake Cargelligo, Narromine, Nyngan, White Cliffs, Brewarrina, Cobar, Bourke, Willcannia, Hillston and Grenfell to vote other than National or ALP.

  16. One must also remember that Andren actually lives in what will be Macquarie. But I’m still placing bets on him contesting Calare… well not literally placing bets, figure of speech and all.

  17. Adelaide’s Sunday Mail this week had a front page story on the Labor candidate for Makin, Tony Zappia, who some years ago gave a reference which was produced in court on behalf of a bikie drug dealer. Zappia says he didn’t know the reference would be presented in court but that it was a mistake to make it. The reference did say that the drug dealer was on a rehabilitation program at Zappia’s gym. Overall, it did not seem any more than a venial sin which Kevin Rudd had forgiven. But some ALP heavies apparently believe that Zappia, the popular mayor of Salisbury, should be replaced for the fight against moneybags Liberal Bob Day.

  18. OK, if William is right then we can expect to win 2 in WA. Add to that 3 in SA, 2 in Tas and 1 in NT. That makes 8, which is halfway. If we win 4 in NSW we will need only 4 in Qld, and I think Rudd will do better than that in Qld. But I think 4 is the minimum we need in NSW. The 2 Tas seats are by no means guaranteed, and I know nothing about Solomon.

  19. I think Mr Andren the current member for Calare. will nominate again for calare.
    Whatever the boundaries he would win calare.

  20. Of course labor will pick up at least one WA seat. Probably not Hasluck, but Stirling (two-party preferred: keenan only holds it by 2%) is almost certain to swing back to ALPs, whose candidate is a stand-up character.

  21. Solomon is reputed to be very wise.

    I have long maintained that Mr Rudd will have a much better than average swing in Qld, votes wise, but it is very hard to predict, seats wise, when such large margins currently exist.

    After Bonner and Moreton we have Blair 5.7%, Herbert 6.1%, Longman 6.6%, Petrie 7.9% (all Liberal) then Flynn 7.9% and Hinkler 8.8% (both National and unlikely to swing nearly as much as Liberal seats).

    Fortunatly for Mr Rudd, the Qld branch of the Liberal Party continues to tear itself apart and the headlines in today’s Courier Mail…”Libs on brink of open warfare” says it all.,23739,21450953-3102,00.html

    Interestingly, the Liberal member for Ryan, Michael Johnson, who has a margin of 10.5% was reported a week ago as saying that his chances of re-election were being damaged by the actions of some of his federal colleagues (re allowance investigations etc) so perhaps the Libs have some private polling showing that a very big swing is on the cards?

  22. For my personal amusement, I have run a check on this site’s most prolific commenters. Interestingly, most of the front-runners only started poking their noses in relatively recently (or perhaps the plugin only checks back so far?). Note that this is distorted a little because people don’t always enter their details the same way:

    * Adam (215)
    * bill weller (121)
    * Edward StJohn (83)
    * Hugo (69)
    * oakeshott country (66)
    * Chris Curtis (62)
    * William Bowe (51)
    * Geoff Lambert (45)
    * Evan (42)
    * Ben Raue (42)
    * Gary Bruce (39)
    * Marcus (39)
    * Sacha (39)
    * bmwofoz (33)
    * Charlie (29)
    * Jason Briggs (29)
    * Barry (29)
    * Antony Green (27)
    * Stewart (25)
    * Leopold (24)

  23. Yep, thought so. Those were just for the past few months. Here are the all-time figures:

    * adam (536)
    * Melb city (392)
    * William Bowe (259)
    * Antony Green (252)
    * Melbcity (201)
    * bill weller (171)
    * Sacha (162)
    * Chris Curtis (139)
    * Geoff Lambert (135)
    * Ben Raue (131)
    * David Walsh (124)
    * Gary Bruce (107)
    * geoff R (105)
    * bmwofoz (99)
    * Hugo (97)
    * Evan (95)
    * Edward StJohn (94)
    * Ray (91)
    * oakeshott country (87)
    * tom (85)

  24. Dear William,

    Re your “Adam is big on the idea that the Burke affair will damage Labor in WA. As an almost life-long resident of the State of the Excitement, I believe he is mistaken”.

    Is your belief based on the recent WA state (Peel) byelection, or are there are there other factors drawing you to your cocnclusion?

  25. All this talk of Andren reminds me why the Electoral Commission is pure evil manipulated by the government of the day. Rural electorates are marginalised into irrelevancy by the politicians and alleged apolitical public servants (at the AEC) who have a great knowledge disconnect.

    Effectively rendering voting in rural areas, irrelevant.

    I was originally of the opinion Andren should run in Macquarie because I thought he had a better chance of winning there and a parliament with Andren or an Independent in it is better than a parliament without one. However, I believe it was Antony Green that said Andren would get more coverage in Calare than in the ignorant Sydney areas.

    On the Electorate redistributions, There were plenty of public submissions that provided a more equitable distribution. Did the AEC take notice? No. So much for democracy.

    It is extremely silly when you have two very small geographical electorates next to each other on the coast with similar problems. It would make more sense for it to be one electorate regardless of the number of people.

    As I understand it the new electorate redistributions don’t even follow the borders of LG areas – thats pretty stupid.

    Other people’s mention of the Sydney election and the Orange electorate as a comparison to Andren is poor because Andren’s time as a Prime News Reader also reached a lot of the areas that the new Calare is in. A choice between John Cobb and Peter Andren in Calare regardless of distribution should see Andren as a shoe-in.

  26. re WA: who is standing for the ALP in Stirling that they are a ‘stand-up’ character – if they win they’d be a ‘sit-down’ character surely…but seriously, who is the candidate this time round? Also, I realise that Randall in Canning looks unassailable, but he was sitting on a tiny margin last time – the swing could be repeated, no? And I would have thought Hasluck would be counted a winner, given that in the last state election I noticed that the ALP got 50% primary across East Metro (ensuring the re-election of Louise Pratt, soon to be a Senator), and its only held by 2% anyway. Kalgoorlie should also be considered in the maybe category, and I would like to think that even Moore was one to watch. If a genuine swing in WA emerges it could be magnified dependent on the district.

    Actually, thinking about WA, maybe Moore and Kal are a bit too much to ask…

  27. Fargo, the Peel by-election does have quite a lot to do with it. Plus the only WA-specific poll published since the three state ministers were sacked wasn’t so bad. The saga has been off the front pages for a month now and most people’s houses are still standing. You also need to consider that the scandal cost a WA Senator and a state Liberal MP their positions on front-bench, making the whole fiasco look bipartisan. But most importantly, it has to be appreciated how poisonous Mark Latham was for Labor over here. There were swings to the Coalition in every seat in 2004, as high as 9.6 per cent in previously marginal Canning. Labor was lucky to limit its losses to two seats – another 1 per cent and it would have been four. So there is almost as much slack for Labor to pick up in WA as in Queensland.

  28. I have become much more chatty since I ceased being a parly staffer and became a gentleman of leisure at Xmas. But I’m off to foreign parts in a couple of weeks so I’ll have less time for chatting. I’ll keep you all posted on the French presidential election. Go Sego!

  29. Gee guys have i said that much? Have a good one Adam, maybe when you get back ill be polling second in Kingston. HaHa

  30. Did everyone read The Australian today? The story titled ‘Rudd set for brawl with left’. by Steve Lewis. this is exactly what ive been warning my fellow members about

  31. We had a YR@W action today outside Richardson’s office with 50 people in attendance. Small yes but the support we are getting from passing motorists is huge. Rishworth nowhere to be seen

  32. Hello 100th post.

    When discussing a Country seat like Calare its important to remember that people travel greater distance when living in the Country, therefore news travels further, Peter Andren would have a high profile across Western NSW and I feel with ALP and Green Preferences would hold the seat.

  33. David Bradbury in Lindsay – what a fourth go? Talk about new blood !
    No wonder they” blow yet another election

  34. The NSW election saw strong swings to the Coalition in seats like Mulgoa (Lindsay covers it federally). The Entrance, Wyong (Dobell).

    Although Monaro and Bega (Eden-Monaro) had a swing towards Labor, so did Penrith (part of Lindsay). I think Parramatta is covered by bits of Baulkham Hills at a state level which recorded a strong swing to the Libs, while Parramatta recorded a tiny swing to Labor.

    Interesting enough seats the Liberals already hold and the more middle class Labor electorates recorded big swings to the Liberals. While working class seats recorded little swing to the Liberals and even swings to Labor. Work Choices at work perhaps.

    You got to remember the outer suburban electorates like Dobell and Lindsay aren’t very working class anymore, they are full of para-professionals and the self employed, who see themselves as middle class.

    I think come the federal election, Labor will get the biggest swings in working class electorates. While middle class electorates could go the other way or record lower swings to Labor.

  35. Wasn’t the ALP’s primary vote in WA only about 33% in 2004? That’s unnaturally low. The ALP have good candidates in both seats – Peter Tinley in Stirling and the former member Sharryn Jackson in Hasluck – and frankly, I just can’t imagine the ALP winning without taking those two seats.

  36. I just been revising my predictions for the federal election. I orginally predicted for a 8 seat Coalition majority. Now I am expecting a 2 seat Labor majority, if they can win both Stirling and Hasluck (Hasluck more likely), that would make it a 4 seat majority. Well I am predicting a 3% swing to Labor on two party vote, with 7% in Queensland, only 2% elsewhere.

  37. None in Victoria [theyve done enough] 3 in SA {Kingston, Wakefeild, Makin-forget Pynes seat, hes solid] , 2 in WA [Stirling and Hasluck], 2 in Tassie [make that a flush], maybe 3 in NSW [Eden Monaro, Greenway and perhaps Paige}, many is that then.. 10 on my estimates…some see Red ties in Solomon {NT], so thats 11. That leaves this older ALP optimistic realist looking at his involuntary home state…Banana Land. Oh yes, unless Howard can find a few rabbits to pull out the hat and toss the Media’s way I am predicting a minimum 4.0 rabbit swing away from the blue ties. But then there is the question of not so sunny Qld. Some down south are looking to Mr Rudd to more than bring a tan to the Big House in Canberra. My squirrels are digging around– weve only been able to locate 1 seat {starting with a B] that is seriously up for grabs. The punters up here are happy to see the Liberal Party Machine self destruct and and mock the bespeckled leader, even in ASCOT, yet be wary of the Queenslander psyche- it dosent move an inch without a SIGNIFICANT amout of prodding, cause some discomfort up to the wallet and ur in trouble, nothing else matters too much when the sun is shining on Beatties Bald head and the bananas are back to affordable prices……….a net total of 72ish for the ALP, OH SO CLOSE !!

  38. 50.5-49.5 to the ALP, with a 2 seat Liberal majority. When was the last time we had uniform swings nationally?
    Also when the NSW State government starts revealing the turds they have been hiding for the poll you can expect the ALP to gain zip in NSW

  39. hang me- tis going to be the theme come Election night. I will leave the commentary box now and enjoy the discourse from my radio. NO RABBITS IN QLD.

  40. Has anyone done a comparative analysis of the NSW upper-house vote to teach NSW Senate vote by low-house District? NSW tends to vote for the party that is not in power in the other level. IE if Liberals are in power Federally they tend to vote for Labor State and vice-a-versa. If there is a change and Liberals are elected in the State then they tend to vote Labor. This is just rule of idol observation and not backed up by any real research. I am curious if there is such a trend that effects the 5-10%of swinging voters..

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