Sydney or the bush

Media tart par excellence Peter Brent writes to ask my opinion on independent Calare MP Peter Andren’s chances in his ambitious tilt for a Senate seat, the answer to which is that I haven’t really formulated one. He also suggests I open a thread on the topic, and I can certainly do that. My first instinct was that Andren didn’t stand a chance. The only independent ever to win a Senate seat in the era of six-seat half-Senate elections (the first of which was in 1990) has been Brian Harradine, who notably did so in the nation’s smallest state as opposed to its largest.

Then I remembered that I would never have credited Nick Xenophon with an ability to pull 21 per cent of the statewide vote for the South Australian upper house, which the “No Pokies” MP managed to achieve at last year’s election. Does Andren have an even remotely comparable profile across the premier state, particularly in Sydney? Personally, I wouldn’t have thought so. Does he need one? Not necessarily. There is no doubt he has enough vote-pulling power to be worth doing business with when the time comes for preference negotiations; he will certainly get the Coalition’s preferences ahead of the Greens, and very likely Labor’s also. Let’s say he gets 5 per cent of the vote. If either major party polls less than 38.3 per cent (Labor got 36.4 per cent last time, though this would be augmented slightly by preferences), he will defeat their third candidate and pick up their surplus as preferences. That would probably put him ahead of the Greens, who polled 7.3 per cent last time. Greens preferences would then decide the outcome.

UPDATE: Whoops – thanks to Chris Curtis for pointing out that two quotas is 28.6 per cent, not 33.3 per cent. So if Andren gets 5 per cent, the lowest major party vote will have to be 33.6 per cent, not 38.3 per cent. Which places a slightly different complexion on things.

There is no doubt that the Greens will put Andren ahead of the Coalition, and little doubt they will put him ahead of Labor – he won brownie points (greenie points?) by opposing to the Iraq war and the government’s stance on asylum seekers in 2001, and was second on the Greens how to vote card in Calare in 2004. Suddenly his tilt doesn’t look so quixotic after all. The decisive factor is likely to be whether his vote can exceed the worst performing major party’s surplus over 33.3 per cent.

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.

121 comments on “Sydney or the bush”

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  1. The comparison with Nick Xenophon is a worthy one, but even he had a relatively slick campaign behind him (the Muppet ads, the regular media appearances and the odd stunt to boot – kid goats, anyone?). While Andren is a hard worker and campaigner, I find it difficult to see him being as big a media tart as Xenophon is.

    That said, it does set up a Fundies-type situation where parties, major and minor, will park their preferences with Andren in an attempt to starve their opponents, and end up assisting him over the line. But it will depend on how he campaigns in Metropolitan Sydney – he’ll garner support outside the Basin relatively easily.

  2. Very interesting.

    I think with the rise in Labor’s primary vote most states will split 3-3 (ALP-Lib/Nat). I can’t see any Democrat holding their seat and Nettle stands less chance of winning the 6th NSW spot than Andren does.

    The exception is Bob Brown in Tas who will easily retain his seat.

  3. William,

    The quota for a Senate seat is 14.3 per cent, not 16.7 per cent, making two quotas 28.6 per cent, not 33.3 per cent. You need to recalculate.

  4. If Steven Fielding can win on 1.8% of the vote anything is possible.
    The great issue becomes if the ALP’s primary vote is above 43% (or near enough) then there is a lack of seat on the left side of the ledger to be won and he would be relying on the Liberal and Nat primary vote to fall back a fair bit.
    ALP primary was only 35% in NSW senate but the current poll figures are suggesting there may be a major swing to them at the moment.

  5. I don’t think the comparison is very good – Xenophon as an MLC already had state-wide profile. Beyond the small bunch of pseudo-psephos and enthusiasts here – does Andren really have much of a profile outside his local area? Without a balance-of-power issue it can be difficult for many lower-house independents to get much recognition.

    My suggestion = Buckleys.

  6. The real irony would be if we end up with a hung Parliament and Andren staying in Calare could have had the balance of power. But I digress.

    I’d guess his best chance would be to garner the votes of the politically active (who would know who he is) that want a change, but don’t want to vote Labor in both houses. I’d assume he’s going to get an above the line box of course, as without that he’d stand no chance at all. The question is whether there’s enough of them. I’d probably vote for him if I were in NSW

  7. This Sydneysider is also sceptical about Andren’s statewide profile.

    Though if I am underestimating him, who would his support come at the expense of? As a leftish independent, it might be the Greens who suffer the most damage. (Which in turn, would make Andren more likely to creep ahead of the Greens and receive their preferences.)

    On Xenophon, does he harbour any federal ambitions? With the demise of Democrats, SA looks like being most predictable state in Senate contests (3 ALP 3 Lib) for the foreseeable future. It seems to me that only Xenophon could shake that up. Of course, presently he’s just one year into an 8-year LC term, so there’d be no rush to make the transition.

  8. OOPs, Sorry.

    The situation is similair to the time when Hendy Cowan ran for the Senate with the Nationals in WA. He was a high profile Nationals leader who had a big following in the bush but barely polled two percent in the Senate ballot. While he was well regarded and popular, that does not translate into votes in the Senate where the punters have many competing interests.

    Fielding got elected off a low base because the Dems and the ALP did not anticipate him getting prefs from such a broad base and thus passing them. I don’t think FF will surpirsie anyone in this ballot and neither will Andren.

    Also, why would the ALP direct prefs to Andren ahead of the Greens?

    Your calculations of the Senate quota are also wrong.

  9. If Peter Andren, in his senate bid was able to garner 50% of the vote in the old Calare, he would be up to 1% of the statewide vote already. If he had the support of Tony Windsor on his HTV cards, this would give another 1% statewide. If he builds up like this, he may in with a chance. Also if the ALP directed their preferences to him over the Greens, it would show that the ALP is ‘not in bed’with the Greens. And surely,Peter Andren would be preferable over Kerry Nettle.

  10. NSW has a greater capacity to deliver a surprise result than Vic did.
    If you look at how the count unfolded in 2004 it is easy to see how a micro party/group can harvest a seat.

    You can see liberals for forrests and CDP were in the count until the end with primary votes of 0.6% and 2.6% respectively.

    If one had factored in a 5% swing to Labor, according to my modeling the final seat would have been delivered to liberals for forrests. Yes, from 0.57% primary!!

    Not knowing how popular Peter Andren is outside of his rural seat, it is hard to assert what his primary vote would be state wide. But if he remains ahead of the pack of a plethora of micro parties, and if he has reasonable negotiation skills when it comes to preference trades, then anything is possible.

    Don’t rule him out.

  11. I think that either Andren or Nettle will win a seat,.
    Who ever is still in when the other go out (I think that Andren miy well preference the Greens.)

  12. As shown above any party/group that can get more than 2% is in with a real chance.

    I think the more important question is, if Andren or any other minor (CDP/FFP) gets up, will it be at the expense of Libs or ALP. If it is at the expense of the Libs, then he may well hold the BoP with Steve Fielding.

    Labor will need to limit Libs to two seats, to have a chance of wresting control of the Senate from the coalition. I think they can do this in Tas, so one other state needs to deliver such a result as well.

  13. Xenophon had a massive profile as an “ordinary” bloke who champions the kind of minor things that the major parties forget about. I don’t think he’s comparable to a rural independent.

    If Labor’s primary vote is up and/or the Coalition’s holds strong, there won’t be many (if any) minors or independents elected.

  14. Sad to say, Andren has as good a chance as Nettle in the Senate because he will garner votes from the Coalition ahead of Nettle. The ALP (at current polling) will be at or just under a 3rd seat, so will have little or nothing to give to Nettle (who the ALP will prefer over an Independent who delivers nothing state-wide). Just being on Windsor’s HTV guarantee’s absolutely nothing as Windsor voters are voting for him not “Independent” – they’ll mostly track back to their home parties. Andren wont poll 50% in the old Calare unless he spends his whole time campaigning there and that equally guarantee’s him nothing.

    IMHO Andren will run a low-level state-wide campaign, concentrated across the west of the state, but with some high-profile media activity in Sydney. I would have thought his expenses would run to $100k at most given that he wont get 4% and funding – so will have to rely on his own money and donations. This alone will limit his campaign options.

    However, Andren will be able to garner votes from a wide range of minor parties. His real trouble, however, will be staying ahead of the Libs & Greens. If the Greens are first out Andren will be elected (and a third ALP if the ALP hasn’t quite made the third quota). If Libs go out then Andren will be elected. And obviously if he goes out, his preferences will determine whether Lib or Green is elected. But I think he will have trouble staying in the race. The CDP have a close relationship with the Libs, and the Libs will badly want to get the seat – I expect they will try for (and get) CDP #2’s – perhaps in exchange for all their #2’s. The Libs will also quite likely get most of the fish’n’-shoot’n’-hunt’n’ fraternity vote (coz Andren’s not really on their side).

    Still, most people still don’t realise the effort (and thought) Druery put into getting L4F into the position he did, especially in convincing other parties where to put him (ie; ahead of which parties) to maximise his chances.

    Andren’s real hope is that he just gets ahead of the Greens and there are no ALP votes to distribute, so either Green or Lib preferences get him over the line. And that’s still a big ask. Just as it is for Nettle to get ahead of him…

    And of course the real unknown factor is how low will the Coalition Senate vote fall? If it doesn’t then this is all rather academic.

  15. I think he’s going to do well. He is widely known, and generally extremely highly regarded across a broad range of city and country electorates, in the same way Ted Mack was.

    Don’t forget that he can command a huge swathe of rural TV and radio, and is known across a wide range of country areas. He will get support from every independent running in NSW, so if they all poll something around 4% … and then you’ve got the old Calare, and the new one, and Windsor’s seat … so it goes. All the country folk who are disillusioned with the Nats but wouldn’t vote Labor in a pink fit will put a vote his way.

  16. I don’t profess any special knowledge about NSW, except to begin with the assumption that it was easier for Brian Harradine in Tasmania. This was not just because of the nature of Tasmania, but also because BH had a significant state-wide support base (remnant DLP, Church and supportive right-wing unionists).
    However, Andren is potentially a very attractive candidate; he is likely to have appeal to those who’ve given up on the Democrats, and many others who support the “anyone but the majors’ party”, particularly if they have reservations about the Greens. There was a very favourable profile of him on Compass some months back. While I know very few electors would have watched, I’d expect DVDs of this to be aired quite a bit as the campaign proceeds.
    As well as the Fielding precedent there is the example from the Victorian Legislative Council poll of the DLP candidate who was elected with 2.57% of the primary vote by the expedient of staying in the count (others in the thread have alluded to a NSW Legislative Council success based on a similar strategy).
    Of course, ultimately it all depends on how the majors fare, specifically if they are both close to (or over) the 42.86% mark.
    My guess is Andren won’t win, but I don’t think it’s out of the question.

  17. Also, why would the ALP direct prefs to Andren ahead of the Greens?

    Why should the ALP direct prefs to the Greens instead of Andren? I really am at a complete loss as to why they would do this. Andren, if given a bit of a boost over a small third-quota surplus, might take a conservative seat, and would be a better left-ish independent Senator than Kerry Nettle. There are good Greens parliamentarians, but KN ain’t one of them.

  18. The comparison with Xenophon is invalid.

    For every Xenophon, there are a hundred Peter Lewises (a sitting SA lower house member who tried to cross to the upper in the same SA election).. there was also Ralph? somebody who was already in the SA upper house and failed to get re-elected.

    I can’t see Peter Andren getting a goat named Zorba, wearing boxing gloves or driving a toy car around.

    Remember, SA is one giant electoral district, so showing Xenophon on TV there is of interest to everyone in the state. Federally, noone outside NSW could give a rats which means he has no chance of getting on national broadcasts.

    – He has no infrastructure for HTV handing out outside his electorate
    – NSW is the biggest state and thus the most expensive for advertising etc and an incredible number of polling places
    – For every 1 minute of TV coverage Andren gets, Pauline will get 100.
    – Andren will say nothing interesting or exciting and never has. There is no reason for the media to cover him.
    – His primary vote will be 1-2% at best.
    – Andren will not win a seat.

  19. Everyone is forgetting that Andren is an old style country based journalist. He knows every newsroom west of the great divide. He feeds the chooks very well with 3 aggregated commercial TV networks, Aunty and a bevvy of local radio networks who feel aggrieved by recent media laws give Andren more coverage than any other “irrelivant independent.”

    Then all the local papers take great delight in re-printing his press releases ver batim.

    He garnered a lot of support during the redistribution process, and don’t under-estimate the anger of our country cousin’s who have seen another rural seat get abolished, and their perception of being under-represented being exacerbated.

    There in lies his campaign – giving the country some real representation.

    If he can secure 50% of the vote of old Calare, then he should be able to get about 20% from the new areas of Calare, plus the implicit support of Tony Windsor in the Northern Tablelands – he could be looking at 10 to 20% in Parkes and New England respectively.

    There is a real chance of him getting a state wide vote of 3 to 5 percent on primaries alone.

  20. Who will Hanson preference, I wonder. Not the Greens, obviously.

    Is Hanson above the line? No-one will preference her, so she can’t win, but (if above the line) she has to send her preferences somewhere.

  21. My understanding is that one of the major reasons why independents have such a difficult task in the senate is their inability to put “troops on the ground” in electorates across the state. Clearly Andren has considered this and Tony Windsor will obviously be onside. Perhaps he has worked a deal with the state independents who number 7 or 8, many of whom are strategically placed around the state. I also suspect that Andren has a high recognition factor amongst people who are looking to vote strategically in the election. and then of course there are preference deals.
    As with all senate contests, the challenge is to keep your quota ahead of competitors until you can start reaping the results of preference deals already done. If Andren has a strategy for getting workers on the ground then I think he has a good chance.

  22. I suspect TheSpeaker is referring to Ralph Clarke, the former Labor deputy leader in SA. He resigned from the ALP and very nearly held his LOWER house seat as an independent. He would have pulled it off but for a new area which was added to his seat.

  23. according to mumble, the qld poll means alp will ‘only’ win 11 more qld seats


    anyone notice how the major party vote totals to 89.. thats very high.

  24. I still think people are over-estimating Andren’s vote. Given that parties such as FFP/CDP struggle to get to 4% with state-wide networks, relatively high profile MP’s, and good fundraising prospects then I find it hard to imagine that Peter Andren will find it any easier.

    Note that in the NSW state election Independents did not fare as well as people expected, and generally only prospered where there was significant ill-feeling towards parties or candidates (Piper in Lake Macquarie), or they were long established (Oakeshot in Port Macquarie). I don’t think Andren will get a high Senate primary in Calare, or a big flow-on from Windsor’s HTV. To get a reasonable statewide vote he is going to have to poll 10% in the 14 rural electorates – because there are still 35 urban/regional seats.

    He will face competition for any national media, and have to rely on local media – that might work in few areas, but then he is also up against the Lib/Nat media work, which will be working hard to sideline all but themselves. If it does look like the ALP is heading for 3 quotas and the Coalition is under then they will go after him to maintain their own hold on the Senate.

    The one real measurable chance is if the Libs are particularly low (34-35%), but then then opens up the possibilities of a CDP win, so I’m still not convinced. Of course if the ALP were at 34-35% he would again have a reasonable chance (not because of preference flows, but because that means voters who voted ALP in HoR’s will have parked their votes somewhere else, so why not with Andren).

    While I consider Andren a reasonable chance to get to 2% I still don’t see him getting to a quota.

  25. I suspect TheSpeaker was thinking of both former ALP Deputy Leader Ralph Clarke (Phil’s facts are nearly there: he resigned from the ALP after losing his preselection, not over some great issue of conscience) and Terry Cameron – former State Secretary of the ALP elected as an ALP Legislative Councillor, resigned from the ALP to vote for the sale of ETSA, formed a new Party called SA First that ran candidates in just about every seat at the 2002 election (none got any votes worth mentioning), ran for reelection himself in 2006 and went down without a whimper.

  26. Andren’s constituency is the much-talked-about “doctors’ wives”, the sort of people who voted for Ted Mack in North Sydney and who are warming to Maxine McKew in Bennelong. These people used to be moderate liberals, whom John Howard has abandoned. They were the sort of people who voted for the Republic in 1999 – not enough to change the head of state, but more than enough to get a Senator elected. The sort of people who voted Democrat: the Democrat vote would rise when a change of government was apparent, but now that the Democrats have vacated the field, where else will their vote go but to Andren? If Andren joined the Australian Democrats now he’d be doing them a bigger favour than they could ever do for him.

    Andren’s other constituency is in rural areas, always underpolled, the sort of people disenchanted by the Nationals but resistant to Labor. These people returned Andren four times and similar people return Tony Windsor in New England. National MP Kay Hull and Liberal MP Alby Schultz court such people (and frustrate a potent source of opposition within their electorates) by their robust intermittent attacks on their own parties. Marise Payne, third on the Coalition ticket, would claim to represent these people but she doesn’t. The Liberal label will sink her.

    You underestimate this constituency, and overestimate that of the Greens.

    (an aside: when phone calls to rural areas were comparatively more expensive than they are now, it was understandable that polling organisations would not poll rural electorates. Now that there are only four STD zones nationally and the price of calling RARA has dropped in real terms, and given that many rural/regional seats are very much in play at this election, then to poll only subrban voters is to do readers a disservice).

    For Nettle to beat Andren, she’d need the foil of a seemingly invincible conservative government or a rallying point like Franklin Dam/Tampa. Neither are present at this stage, and Nettle has hardly been high-profile. Peter Garrett has proven skilful at bringing Green votes into the Labor fold, leaving non-Labor Green votes (i.e. “doctors’ wives”) politically homeless and attractive to Andren. Nettle would have to move to the centre to counteract this but she is still the same barking Trot and hence will be repellent to swinging voters.

    Andren to take fifth Senate spot for NSW, third Labor (Ursula Stephens?) to take the sixth, and bye bye Marise.

  27. Once again I’m not convinced by the Galaxy Poll. In 2004 Labor received a TPP vote of 43% to the coalition 57% (from the AEC figures not the incorrect figures supplied by Galaxy). Now, according to this poll, Labor has 52% and the coalition 48%. A 9% turn around and they say this is bad for Labor? Also take a look at the preferred PM figures. Rudd has a job satisfaction rating of 72%, Howard 49%. Preferred PM – Rudd 55%, Howard 40% (gee they really hate Rudd up there). Who would do the best for Queensland – Rudd 60%, Howard 31%. If ever a vote was soft it is the one for the coalition in this poll.

  28. Phil Robins:

    Ralph Clarke ran for the SA Upperhouse in 2006 under the “INDEPENDENT RALPH CLARKE BUY BACK ETSA” banner. He got 0.12% of the vote.

    I have no idea what ETSA is, why it was sold, or why we should buy it back.

    I think pundits judging Andren’s chances should look not only at the successes but also the failures, of which there are many more.

  29. Speaker,

    A third-party candidate needs to either take a sizeable chunk of the vote away from a major party (as the DLP did with the ALP), or take enough away from both major parties as to amass a fair vote (as Xenophon, Harradine and the Democrats did).

    As stated above, Andren can (and is likely to) do the latter. Clarke, and many of the other examples in your arsenal, failed to do either.

  30. A third-party candidate needs to either take a sizeable chunk of the vote away from a major party.. or take enough away from both major parties as to amass a fair vote .. Andren can (and is likely to) do the latter. Clarke, and many of the other examples in your arsenal, failed to do either.

    Andren will fail to do either too. In a year’s time, I’ll have added Andren to my ‘arsenal’ of failed upper house candidates.

    He might appeal to a broad cross-section of the community as you say, however they won’t vote for him. No one cares enough to learn what he’s about, and he lacks money for the advertising campaign to educate them.

    Andren will end up as road-kill in the election stampede.

  31. I do not think Tony Windsor will even do well in the Old Calare, when he was on the HoR paper, he is one of 5 to 6 names, so he is easily recognisable, now that he is on one of 20 names in the senate paper, people who are not in tune with politics might not even find or recognised him.

    He also will not be able to spend so much time/money on 1 electorate, he will need to devote more time to other part of the country.

    Further since people normally vote on HoR first, the might now pick Labor/National on the HoR and continue to vote them on the Senate, I would be surprise if he does get more than 3% of the statewide vote

  32. There is a difference between a dormant political constituency, which can be awakened, and one that never existed, which can’t. Andren gets plenty of free publicity, just like Hanson or NSD-era Democrats. Macka’s Sunday morning show on ABC radio is little more than a regular, extended ad for the Mack/Katter/Windsor/Andren style of politics, as are many other programs on that network.

    Andren has a massive head start, on par with any of the minor parties, none of which appeal to both the city and country as above.

    The correlation between ad spend and votes is strong only for those who sell ad space/time, not for those who buy it, and certainly not for those subjected to the ads.

    The idea that people vote for the same party in the Senate as they do in the House is on a longterm downward trend, one that accelerates with the uncertainty surrounding a change of government. 3% is more than Fleming got in Victoria.

  33. To compare the profile of Andren and Hanson is surely laughable.

    No doubt Hanson could easily recruit thousands of people all over the state to hand out HTVs in a split second based on her name alone. Can you really imagine Andren doing the same thing?

  34. None of the above leads me to change my view that NSW (like every state except Tas and possibly WA) will elect 3 Labor and 3 Coalition Senators. In NSW Labor will certainly get three quotas, and the Coalition will get 2-point-something and take the last place on preferences. The Green primary vote will drop and they will get no surplus from Labor, hence Nettle must lose. If Andren gets 3% I’ll be very surprised.

    Andren is a nice guy of moderate centrist views who was a good fit for a marginal rural seat. Labor people happily voted for him to stop the Nats winning the seat, and vice versa. As a Senate candidate, why would anyone vote for him? What does he stand for? There is no constituency for earnest moderation – ask the Democrats. The “doctors wives” someone mentioned will vote solidly for Rudd.

  35. Ralph Clarke’s belated and quixotic upper house candidature was designed to help Nick Xenophon. In the end, Xenophon swept all before him without the need for any piffling help along the way.

  36. “Nettle would have to move to the centre to counteract this but she is still the same barking Trot and hence will be repellent to swinging voters.”

    Never were truer words spoken – the Greens, like the NDP before them, have been infested by the loathesome and outdated far left of Trots and Marxists.

  37. Speaker, Pauline Hanson will not campaign. She is in it to cream public funding, believing she was dudded of $500k in the One Nation deregistration fiasco. She left her campaign return blank last time – suggesting she spent a risible amount last time. She scraped over 4% last time.

    She will poll well less than in 2004 for two reasons. First, more than ever, this time she is more an old celeb and even less a public/policy figure. Second, the electorate is polarising (a la ’93 the last time the perception was both of an election up for grabs, and discernible ideological differences). Hanson will suffer more than other independents because the polarisation will be sharper in Qld – witness the latest Galaxy poll; also due to Rudd’s popularity.

    Hanson’s preferences will flow back to the Coalition – she has always been a conservative, and most of the votes she garners these days are old regional votes.

  38. Graeme:

    She has started a new party called Pauline Hansen’s United Australia. How do I know this ? – I saw it on TV while I was in Adelaide.

    Andren could only dream of that sort of coverage.

    Since the money will go to her new party, she won’t be able to receive the money personally without some tricky accounting. If she was in it for the money she would have stayed independent.

    She will get more votes than last time, and here is why:
    – With her new party she’ll be easier to find on the ballot paper (Group K last time)
    – One Nation got 3% – many of them probably meant to vote for Pauline. Many of these votes will go to her this time.
    – She announced her candidacy the day before the nominations closed in 2004. This time she has a year in advance.
    – I’ve seen people reading her book on the bus (I’m in QLD)
    – She actually features in a commercial for ginger where she goes around with a microphone interviewing people in a shopping centre.

    – Andren is more likely to win a senate seat than her because he will receive preferences.
    – If she puts the Libs before the Nats on her GVT she could kill off Ron Boswell.

  39. Apparently the latest Westpoll, published in The West Australian last Saturday, shows the Coalition leading Labor by 56.3 per cent to 43.7 per cent in WA. Very bad news for Labor.

  40. Is it all turning to shite for Rudd?

    I wonder if Adam is “feeling excited” yet? He has been conspicuous on his silence on this point despite his partisan rantings.

    Are you opinions your own Adam or what you are pledged to spout as a party member? After it is a breach of party rules to disagree with the ALP line isnt it?

    Me thinks most people would take 4 federal elections over 20 state elections anyday. After all 1 federal is worth about 100 tassie elections and 20 NSW elections.

  41. It’ll certainly be interesting if Boswell realises his life is on the line and does a deal with Pauline or not…he’ll also need the Fishing Party again, and Family First, who might go to the Libs or even ALP since Rudd is a Qlder and Barnaby says the Nats shouldn’t touch FF.

  42. Western Australia looks like a real problem for Rudd.
    Perhaps he should bite the bullet, and do a Tony Blair – ie. dump the ACTU and Gillard, announce he’s retaining AWAs, but without the harsher elements of Work Choices. Gillard’s “Fair Work Australia” smells like another Medicare Gold debacle.
    Go Kev, take that great leap into the unknown, and the News Ltd papers will suddenly be your champion!

  43. Did I dream it up , or is the ALP in the process of attempting to negotiate a preferences deal with The Greens in NSW – ALP support for Nettle ahead of the rest in return for Green preferences in the 23 marginal seats in NSW – its $1.00 each way for the ALP- If the ALP pulls a third Senate seat in NSW based on a substantial primary vote increase of around 5%^, its been done before in not too distant Federal Elections, whahoo for the ALP. If not, and the ALP can make a ‘deal’ with the NSW Greens [remember the Greens on the Central Coast in NSW refused to direct preferences to the ALP at the last State Election and are not happy with the ALP apparently flirting with the idea of “playing footsies” with Family First in SA and/or VIC], IF the ALP can pull off a deal with The Greens in NSW, Nettle’s chances of re-election are much better than watching ALP preferences run to The [Dead in the Water] Democrats in NSW again. In this scenario, Nettle may hold on, without this scenario, she is doomed.

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