Other stuff

In order to spread the comments load, I have hived off those parts of Idle Speculation relating to individual seats from the poll results summary:

• The Liberals’ preselection vote for the blue-ribbon north Sydney seat of Mitchell will be held on Saturday. Sixty-nine year old incumbent Alan Cadman is running again, but only the most sentimental of local branch members doubt that he is past his use-by date. Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports that observers predict he “could score as few as 10 preselection votes out of a total of 120 if he contests a ballot”. Excitingly, the front-runner would seem to be Cadman’s Right faction colleague, Alex Hawke, the staffer for controversial state upper house warlord David Clarke who was widely blamed/credited with the machinations behind John Brogden’s demise. This not surprisingly displeases the Left, who are backing Australian Hotels Association executive David Elliott. Sunday’s Sun-Herald reported that Elliott has the backing of Nick Greiner along with two identities not normally associated with the Left, David Flint and former prime ministerial chief-of-staff Arthur Sinodinos. Also in the field is Paul Blanch, a Killara lawyer and Bathurst grazier.

• Another Liberal in a safe seat who faces a challenge on Saturday is Bronwyn Bishop in Mackellar, although Michelle Grattan reports she is “expected to have the numbers to hold”. Her challenger is Maureen Shelley, convenor of the Office of Film and Literature Classification’s review board. Andrew Clennell of the Sydney Morning Herald reports that Liberal preselectors have received a leaflet which criticises Shelley for “having a son from a previous marriage who has been jailed for a criminal offence”, and for allowing “films with ‘real sex, filth and violence’ to be screened in Australia”.

• The Coalition Senate ticket is yet to be formalised, but is reportedly a done deal with Helen Coonan in first place, John “Wacka” Williams in the Nationals’ mandated second place (he previously defeated the incumbent Sandy MacDonald for the party’s preselection) and Left faction incumbent Marise Payne in precarious third. The Prime Minister has reportedly used his influence to protect Payne’s position, resulting in the withdrawal of Right faction challenger Scot Macdonald.

• Also looming is the preselection to replace the retiring Bruce Baird in the safe southern Sydney seat of Cook. Michelle Grattan reports that the field includes “managing director of Tourism Australia, Scott Morrison, who was also NSW Liberal director and is current favourite for the seat; Optus executive Paul Fletcher; PBL executive David Coleman; barrister Mark Speakman; and Peter Tynan, recently returned from working as a consultant in the US, who comes from a prominent business family in the Sutherland Shire”, along with a “dark horse” – businessman Michael Towke, a former ALP member who has “signed up a big contingent of new members to the Miranda branch”.

• Also still in play for the NSW Liberals are the somewhat less attractive prospects of Parramatta, notionally a marginal Liberal seat following the redistribution, and Lindsay, held by the retiring Jackie Kelly with a diminished post-redistribution margin. The front-runner in Parramatta is reportedly navy pilot Tim Bolitho; Penrith councillor Mark Davies is reportedly set to replace Kelly.

• Labor’s South Australian Senate ticket has been finalised, with Don Farrell of the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association in first place, Left faction incumbent Penny Wong in second and journalist Cath Perry taking third with the backing of the Left faction Amalgamated Metal Workers Union. The other incumbent, Linda Kirk, was dumped by her erstwhile backers in the Right to make way for Farrell.

• The South Australian Liberal Party’s has rejected Maria Kourtesis’s appeal against her defeat by Mary Jo Fisher, of the rival Right faction, in the vote to succeed retiring Senator Amanda Vanstone. Greg Kelton of The Advertiser reports Kourtesis blamed her loss on “a vicious campaign aimed at her Greek heritage and a rumour of being ineligible to stand”. Fisher will serve out the rest of Vanstone’s term, which expires in 2011.

• Glenn Milne’s Monday column in The Australian was devoted to an unhealthy prognosis for Malcolm Turnbull in Wentworth. This was based on the detailed assessment of former NSW Labor stategist Shane Easson, which can be read at Mumble. Also worth noting at Mumble are Peter Brent’s observations from June 8 about the effect changed electoral laws will have in Wentworth.

• Speaking of changed electoral laws, a challenge to the one that disenfranchises those serving jail sentences came before the High Court yesterday. The challenge has been brought by Vickie Lee Roach, an indigenous woman serving a sentence at Dame Phyllis Frost women’s prison in Victoria, with the support of former Federal Court judge Ron Merkel. At issue is that perennial constitutional hot potato, the precise meaning of the requirement that parliament be “directly chosen by the people”.

• Dig the redesigned Australian Electoral Commission site, which has dispensed with the stupid “what, who, why, when, how” (WTF?) categorisations. In other AEC news, the organisation is being agreeably assertive in raising awareness about the new deadlines for enrolment, as you can probably see if you look at the top right of this page. Clicking on Ads by Google is now officially good for democracy.

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.

58 comments on “Other stuff”

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  1. I argue Rudd should put some distance between himself and the Unions.
    Probably hard to do before an election, but I think he’ll at least make some concession on AWAs to placate business.
    Was it just me thinking the Liberals yesterday overdid the attack on the ALP over the ACTU supposed “Dirty Tricks” manual? You’d never accuse Costello and Abbott of being subtle!
    The polls: of course they are going to narrow. There’s no way Rudd will win an election with 60% of the 2PP vote.

  2. Speaking of the AEC, does anyone else hate that annoying ad with the nice old bloke getting a light-filled jar out of his basement?

    What is this telling us? That our power is something we store away in a dusty place and are allowed to play with once every few years, after which we store it again?

    Excuse me while I vomit. And why are all the old people in ads _nice_? I see heaps of bitter old people on the streets, why can’t they get modelling contracts?

  3. The Labor candidate is Michael Visilli who beat out 3 other candidates. As it’s margin is around 11%, the swing would really have to be on to get within coee of defeating Markus.

  4. One of the things I noticed when looking at the Liberal candidates for seats where incumbents are retiring, or the very marginal ALP seats, was that there really didn’t seem to be any “stars”. Some of these people may be very good, but only one (can’t remember which) had a CV that made me think “hmm potential frontbencher” on first reading.

    This might be about to change with the ones you discuss above. Alex Hawke may be an extremist to an extent federal parliament has not seen for quite a while, but there is no doubt the guy has organisational skills. Scott Morrison is at least a known name.

    I was on the verge of saying that the lack of obvious talent coming through in the Liberals (in contrast to Combet, McKew, the military figures etc) indicated a lack of confidence from potential Liberal candidates and wondering whether this would seep out to the public. However, maybe that’s wrong, although certainly none of the names mentioned so far can match what Labor has brought in.

  5. BTW I agree that the old AEC website design was terrible. It’s certainly easier to find things on this one – if they’re there. However, it seems like some useful information is no longer online, including the changes in enrollment over time and the list of currently registered parties.

    Which is worse, not having some important information on the site, or having it there but making *everything* incredibly hard to find?

  6. John “Wacka” Williams in the Nationals’ mandated second place (he has won the party’s preselection to replace the retiring Sandy MacDonald)

    Actually Macdonald contested preselection, and lost. He’s only ‘retiring’ in the sense that he afterwards rejected the offer to stand in the unwinnable fourth spot.

  7. I thought that, David, but then I saw some media report that spoke of MacDonald’s “retirement” and figured that I must have thought wrong. But obviously they meant retirement in the sense of which you speak. I have made an amendment.

  8. heard on a radio program on radio national dealing with the change in electrol law regarding the shorting of the time to enroll once the election is called from 7 days to 8pm on theday the election is called.in the 2004 federal election there was an 8 million dollar enroll to vote campaign and still 423,000 ,yes,423,000 people registered in the 7 days after the election was called ,3% of the voting public .with the new law how many people are going to be disenfranchised because of this.
    the liberal party reason for the change ,’to maintain integerity of the electrol system’, according to the head of the aec there is no problem with the electrol system, which begs the question ‘why has it been changed’

  9. “There’s no way Rudd will win an election with 60% of the 2PP vote.”

    Hate to be pedantic, Evan, but unless Joh set the electorate boundaries, I think he’d make it with 60% 2PP.

    I take your point, though, that 60% is unlikely to be sustained up to and including polling day.

  10. The liberal minister is talking rubbish. Nobody knows how those 423,000 people voted unless the secret ballot has been abolished and nobody told me.

  11. matt d that was my thoughts too, how do they know how these people voted, that issue was’nt brought up in the interview, still i was suprised by the large number that registered and it would appear common sense to leave the electrol closing at 7 days because of the large number

  12. Matt D is, probably, correct (nobody knows how the 423,000 voted). Does that mean, then, that both the “liberal minister” and The Speaker (on this thread) are engaging in speculation on the likely voting intentions of the “disenfranchised”? That is not “talk(ing) rubbish”, it is just speculation.

  13. The Speaker is speculating.

    The liberal minister if he or she said that more of the 423,000 last time voted liberal in those words is talking rubbish. What happened in the past is factual. If you can’t know the facts but make a statement that sounds like you do, that is rubbish.

    I acknowledge that other words may have been used to qualify this. I am just going on what has been reported here.

  14. Well I would say if Labor loses the next stop is voluntary voting so this will look good in comparison.

    Early closure of the roll will be mild in comparison to the damage that will do.

  15. HOw will voluntary voting damage things.

    Potentially the parties will become more extreme and les centrist, but other than that what damage would be done

  16. edward stjohn , i can also can see voluntary voting in the liberal party pipeline, they have advocated it before, if labor loses and the liberal party continues to control the senate i think it will happen, or they will have a go at it ,public opinion might halt them for awhile, it might be an issue like the current access card ,meets public resistance , put it on the back burner for awhile and have another go later

  17. Andrew
    I’m not quite sure about voluntary voting encouraging extremism.
    Some of the world’s largest democracies have voluntary voting and major parties no more (and possibly even less) extreme than ours (of course there are some exceptions).
    I was puzzled by the comment that late enrollers (for lack of a better phrase to describe them) would necessarily support the ALP more than the Libs. Why do you think that Speaker? Or, to be more precise – how does a diminished franchise assit the conservatives. I am not sure that it doesn’t – just wondering how. Especially given the recent news about ACTU grassroots support. Surely the ALP has more resources available to ensure enrolment and turn-out with their Union connections…??? Just pondering aloud.

  18. VPL
    * Electoral roll: The argument runs that those least likely to be on the roll are renters, uni students, young people just turning 18, new migrants, etc who are more likely to vote Labor.

    * Voluntary voting means that political parties have to make an extra effort to appeal to their core constituency, whereas under compulsory voting they can take the diehards’ vote for granted and go after the middle ground. Hence the argument that it leads to increased extremism.

  19. I have some experience on these areas since my former employer was Deputy Chair of the Electoral Matters committee and I sat through a lot of its hearings (where I gained a healthy respect for the forensic skills of George Brandis). No-one will technically lose their right to vote under the new Electoral Act (except some prisoners). But at least several hundred thousand people will lose their vote because they have failed to enrol or to keep their enrolment up to date. These will overwhelmingly be first-time voters (18-21yos), new citizens, Indigneous people and non-English speakers. It is well known that all these categories vote Labor at above-average levels. The whole thrust of the changes was to make it harder to enrol, re-enrol or change your enrolment (and of course easier to donate money anonymously to the Liberal Party). As Malcolm Mackerras said, all the changes were dictated by the electoral interests of the Coalition.

  20. I support compulsory voting as a bulwark against increasing civic and political disengagement, but I don’t think its abolition would make much difference politically. There are deep divisions in the Liberal Party on this and I doubt a re-elected Coalition government would make any moves on it.

  21. I see no reason why, in a democracy with compulsory voting, it should be necessary to keep the rolls open after an election is called. Anyone in this country who is unaware this is an election year should probably not be trusted to vote. The old bleat about closing the rolls disadavantages the ALP blah, blah, blah. Perhaps death notices should cease being published when an election is called, to prevent thousands of dead people voting for the ALP, many of them several times at different booths, a not unknown occurence in the past. As to ‘youths’ being somehow more attracted to Labor, you may well find this should no longer be assumed considering, inter alia, the demise of compulsory student unionism. And with Prof Mackerras backing Labor, the ALP should be very, very concerned.

  22. I didn’t say he backed Labor (he is a former employee of the Liberal Party). I said he condemned the government’s changes to the Electoral Act. Mackerras may be a goose when it comes to predicting elections (and who among us can cast the first stone in that regard?), but he does know quite a lot about electoral law.

  23. australians are notorious for leaving it to the last minute, thus the 423,000 last election, the liberal party are preying on this and think it is to their political advantage by closing the electrol roll on the same day as the election is announced.

  24. Dionysius,
    *As electioneering happens all year every year, there is not yet a noticeable increase in campaining this year. When people are moving house, or having exams, enrolling isn’t really the first thing on your mind.

    *The only thing decreasing student unionism shows us is that most students dont realise where union money was going, once things start to dissapear, there will be a substantial increase in members.

  25. I consider myself very actively engaged in politics and knew of the law changes, yet I only got around to changing my enrolment last week after moving in October last year. As Dave C said, it’s just not a priority for most people.

    There is absolutely no reason why the roll cannot remain open until 12am on election day.

  26. As Adam points out we don’t know how the late enrollers voted last time, but we do know they came from demographic groups known to vote Labor (at least on preferences – some of these groups have high Green votes). If the minister really said that he is straight out lying.

    My housemate is 18. She enrolled to vote at her parents place but then moved to Melbourne for university. She’s been here six months but hasn’t got around to updating her enrollment, despite the fact that I got her one of the forms. Quite likely she will have been kicked off the roll at her parents place by now and will discover this too late. (Actually that isn’t going to happen because she moved in with me, but with 99% of housemates it might).

    Should she pay more attention to her democratic duties? Of course. But its hardly surprising that someone living in a new city with the distractions of a job, a university course, a live music scene and suitors etc has other things on her mind. She agrees voting is important, although she hasn’t decided how she will vote (very exciting for me to be living with an actual live swinging voter). Hundreds of thousands like here will either find themselves not enrolled at all or enrolled in the wrong electorate. The net effect will be about a 0.5% benefit to the coalition. As Peter Brent has pointed out, the effect will be larger in some seats, including Wentworth.

  27. As I understand the research, the later you leave the rolls open, the higher the franchise – ie; the greater the number of people enrol and vote. The research I’m thinking of has been in the US (which is obviously non-complusory voting), but with a wide variance in the laws relating to voting (due to states creating the legislation governing federal elections in their state). Plus there’s lots of info around on the creation of admin blocks to voter registration, and you would assume that anything that limited your ability to vote (as a citizen) was in fact anti-democratic. However, perhaps we’ll have to wait and see what happens on election day – if enough people turn up and are turned away I’m sure it’ll create at least some sort of stink. Maybe the various Electoral Reform Societies could ask to watch proceeding at sample booths as “scrutineer’s” as it were of the process. Kind of like the OSCE, UN or EU election observers.

  28. Why is the majority here so opposed to voluntary voting? Why should we force people to vote if they don’t want to endorse any party and give them $2.10 (when they poll over 4pc)

  29. If the Liberals scrapped compulsory voting it is not a shoe in that it would favour them.. more people that is the people who are aware of political parties policies and what they stand for tend to be Labor people in my view… it may if anything hurt them more…

    and Labor in my view does not need to distance itself from the unions it should instead be promoting and selling its message better with the unions help… distancing yourself and caving in would be a massive backflip and would lose you votes… Labor needs to sell the message and why on earth the union movement does not want to tell people what the five conditions are at present and what they were before is beyond me.. why tell a few lies? the message is simple no penalty rates, no overtime and meal breaks describe what is not being provided and what was before work choices…
    and keep stating the message that unemployment was low even before workchoices came in..
    and another thing the new union leader is so bland and boring…

  30. From Patterson Research that produces WestPoll

    “For the marginal seat analysis Patterson had to limit the surveys to a sample size of N=200 per seat, which provided a survey error of ?6.5% at the 95% level of confidence, or about ?3.8% at the 70% level of confidence.”

    6.5% margin of error for a marginal seats which could change hands with a 2-3% deviation or even less – its about as useless as tits on a bull.

  31. I notice that the close of nominations will still occur at least 10 days after the election is called.

    That gives political parties a week and a half to sort out their affairs. I don’t see how those pushing the “you should already be correctly enrolled” line can credibly argue that ordinary citizens should be more politically engaged than political parties.

  32. The section I quoted shows clearly that the writer rejects the view he ascribes (not entirely accurately) to “most modern historians” and gives cogent reasons why it should be rejected. You have given nothing but stale gossip and (yet again) personal insinuation. Since I really have no interest in debating historical questions with slimes like you, this correspondence is now closed.

  33. Scott Morrison… wasn’t he errr… released early from his contract for the $300k pa gig with the Tourism Commission. And his record as director of the NSW Libs was to say the least not crowned with huge success.

    He was responsible for bringing fellow Hillsonger, Lousie Markus, into the Liberal party just in time to be preselected for Greenway to run as the WASXtian against the unelectable cradle Muslim for the ALP.

    Morrison ensured that Markus’s campaign did not put a foot wrong with at least two flacks alongside at an one time during the 3 month run into election day and a vast amount of money was thrown at her campaign. She was clueless about politics when she came into the game and she is still so if her recent performance on the SSA at Badgerys Creekis anything to go by.

    Meanwhile in more serious news teh High Court further reduced our rights of free speech in their decision in John Fairfax Publications Pty Ltd v Gacic yestrerday. It seems to methat if you can’t say that a noshery is crap without having a bluey shoved up your nostril and having to fork out a motza in legals and damages then our democracy is some danger. Perhaps we will have to be more oblique in forums like this too.

    See http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2007/28.html and http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/national/curtain-lowered-on-age-of-fearless-food-critic/2007/06/14/1181414469662.html

  34. More on Morrsion at the Megachurch Watch blog at http://megachurchwatch.org/?p=27

    I wish I had got $500k every time I ever resigned from a job.

    He was obviously a big help on Debenham’s (who he?) campaign so he will clearly be an ornament on the Liberal Party benches.

  35. Anyone willing to make a call on Newspoll next week?

    I am tipping 54-46 TPP.

    On historical questions I am sure our fellow bloggers can judge who is being precious/ name calling and who is wrong and right. I think the facts are clear now.

  36. Unless you buy the Galaxy is biased angle there does seem to be some sort of trend back out there – at least on the basis of Galaxy,Westpoll and Morgan.

    My view for what its worth is that about 6% of the 60/40 TPP is we like Rudd but are never going to vote Labor when it comes down it type of support. Its the support that was always going to come back to the Rodent. I think the interesting thing is the 5% in the 48-53 TPP voting range – will these come back? I dont think we will really know about them until October/November?

    After all 53-47 for the ALP would be a massive swing from 2004 akin to something like 1975 in reverse – ie 5-6% swing.

  37. According to Peter Hartcher in today’s SMH, the ALP ought to pack up and go home now: the economy will win Howard the election! Gee Pete, maybe I shouldn’t bother voting if it’s such a fait accompli.
    Seriously, Rudd, Swan and co will need a very credible economic/tax policy, and some concessions to business on Industrial Relations. If that means Gillard and the union hacks of the ALP kick up a stink, so be it.
    Newspoll prediction: ALP:55, Coalition: 45

  38. I’ll go with Ed St John, 54-46.

    I now think the election will end up being 50-50 with the ALP falling about six seats short.

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