Sunrise in the west

More good news for the Howard government from Patterson Market Research’s Westpoll, published in today’s West Australian. Surveys of three marginal seats, each from a sample of more than 400, show the Liberals set to maintain their tenuous hold on Stirling and Hasluck (which were won from Labor in 2004 with respective margins of 2.0 per cent and 1.8 per cent), and gain Cowan (which retiring Labor member Graham Edwards held in 2004 by 0.8 per cent after a 4.8 per cent swing).

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.

62 comments on “Sunrise in the west”

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  1. I agree with Peter Fuller, in WA the Labor held seat most vulnerable appears to be Cowan- at this point in time I would punt on Cowan going to the Coalition and the rest staying as they are, with perhaps a marginal 2PP ^ in Swan for Labor. Have the demographics in Cowan shifted much in 3 years ?

  2. I also agree with Peter Fuller in that Cowan will be a tough one as Graham Edwards does indeed a a strong local presence and I would suggest a significant personal vote (he’s the sort of bloke its hard not to like). With him gone and the West looking strong for the Libs I’d say that Cowan might just be a chance (although I stand by my original position that I’m still expecting a modest statewide swing to the ALP over here).
    If that holds true in Swan then the Libs might stand a chance. Kim Wilkie has, as far as I can tell, an insignificant personal following (Although I’ll acknowledge he does try to get his face out there in public) and the last Lib campaign was somewhat blighted. Should that not happen this time… who knows?

  3. Arguments for a Coalition win in Cowan —
    (A) Cowan is a classic mortgage belt seat. This fundamental demographic meshes with the perception that WA mortgage holders will stick with the Federal Government if they feel Howard can keep a lid on economic security, (B) enough of them haven’t tired of running up credit card debts for incidentals and/or (C) think the ‘mining boom’ in WA is going to offset potential Federal economic ‘errors’ which may put a quarter or half percent increase on mortgages; (D) Labor instigated ‘threats’(sic) to current capital-labour arrangements in WA mining Companies which business will campaign against strongly in WA media.
    (E) The loss of the personal appeal (10 years) of Graham Edwards, which accounted for at least some of any rationale that could be used to explain why Labor held on to this seat despite a substantial swing against Labor in Cowan.
    (F) Labors primary vote in Cowan in 2004 was 43.8%, well above Labor’s primary vote in WA in 2004 (34.7%) and Labor’s primary vote across Australia (37.6%). However, the 2004 2PP swing against Labor in Cowan was 4.73 %, leaving Edwards with a 2PP advantage of 50.78 to 49.22.
    (G) Any lingering discontent with the ‘Brian Burke Affair’ (see Adam Carr site for a prognosis on this one)

    Arguments for a Labor win in Cowan–
    On the positive side of the ledger, there isn’t a lot and it is mostly reliant on WA attention to national issues such as (A) The ‘terrible’ Latham image of an L plate economist [Rudd is doing better on this issue-at present]; (B) the political climate of 2001 when the horrible Bali bombings occurred and shifted many peoples focus (and rightly so) to National security [people will not vote for a change of Government in a state of War or image of imminent terrorist activity] with Mr Howard asking the electorate “Who do you trust to keep the economy strong and protect family living standards?”
    Contrast, at that time (C) the image of Howard as the fatherly protector of Australia against that almost openly violent, awful women’s vote losing image of the Latham-Howard meeting at a radio station where Latham assaulted Howard’s small hand in his massive paw and stood over him like a bully in a school-yard. [Rudd’s image is anything but that of a bully in a schoolyard, more the thinking nerd in the library].
    (D) In the course of the last election, Labor waited until mid way through the election campaign to launch important education and taxation policy and, worse, introduced and fumbled over selling the Tasmanian Forestry policy a week out from election day [Rudd is well ahead on presenting and promoting key policy]
    (F) Howard constantly out polled Latham as preferred Prime Minister (by an average of 11.5 percentage points according to Wikipeda). [Rudd is doing a lot better on that score-at least he is competitive] and
    (G) The Howard retirement issue and the ‘Costello’ factor. This time around it is going to be much more apparent (and concerning) to those in the Electorate who will be concerned about the reality that the PM we vote for at the Election is very unlikely to be the one we end up with if Howard wins this election.
    His often quoted line that he will lead the party and serve the Australian community for as long as he is invited to do so will not wash this time; people will want to know- Moreover, Peter Costello is about as popular with the general electorate as a potential PM as Keating was in 1996 (a consistent message of opinion polls for years). His ‘smug’ image is as unpopular as Keating’s Italian suits.
    What about Work Choices, Senator Santori and Co in QLD (misappropriation), the budget wins for income tax payers, the $ pay off of pensioners, the bucket loads of funding the Government will direct to marginal seats infrastructure and employment/business developments, the Coalitions broadband roll out, the ‘fairness’ amendments to Work Choices and further yet to be announced vote buying strategies which I suspect the electorate are ‘savvy’ to and can/will still get without having to put Johnny back in Kirribilli ? Who knows, I thought the Babies Overboard fiasco was enough to make most of us want to puke.

  4. Peter Costello gave a speech on how Australia is in surplus during the past ten years and thanks to sound economic management this would have never happened.

    Thanks should be given to previous Liberal Premier Richard Court for his negotiations with China for our economy. The WA mining boom, that has been going on for 10 years and without it Australia’s economy would not be so great.

    Think about the taxes we are paying, we pay more State taxes today than ever before in the history of Australia.
    We have now a nest of Labor State governments charging exorbitant stamp duties for housing. They are skimming Federal grants for education to employ “Project consultants”

    Remember the higher the price the more tax we pay on a item, think about the tax we pay on petrol, we don’t see petrol prices below a dollar any more, even though Federal excise is fixed. Look at the purchase price of house and land packages, the duty the States collect that we pay on today’s home and land packages used to be considered as a deposit in the old days.

    Homes and land are so expensive that we pay huge amounts of tax when we purchase properties. This is a good source of revenue for the Labor State governments when properties are bought and sold, yet they claim they can’t even afford an efficient police force!

    We are suffering drought problems, and Federal government money that has been allocated to farmers affected by the problem is helping, but only going part of the way to assist.

    Just look how bad transport is and minimal State money has been spent to fix this problem. This is yet another responsibility of the States. The Commonwealth Road Funding has maintained major arterial roads, and improved services to many parts of the country, but the Labor States have neglected their area of jurisdiction. Observe how congested and bad our roads are and no State money has been spent to fix this problem, even though it is returned to the States by way of GST.

    It is obvious how bad our education system is and, as a State Government responsibility it is disappointing that minimal money has been spent to fix this problem, and yet of the Federal funding that has been allocated, up to 40% has been squandered away by incompetent State Governments on “Project Consultants”.

    It was pleasing to hear unemployment numbers are the lowest in 32 years!
    Industrial unrest through strike actions has been at the lowest since 1913!

    We can legitimately criticise the Labour government for interest rates being as high as 22% in the Hawke / Keating days.

    Even though properties were cheaper then, it is all relevant to earnings.
    Land could be bought for $25,000 but incomes were averaging $35,000 pa. (71% of earnings).
    Interest rates at under 8% today and land is $120,000, and incomes in some mining sectors are over $220,000 p.a. (54% of earnings), an improvement of 131%. In other words we are one third better off in percentage terms, almost five times better off in terms of property value, and a whopping six times better off in wages terms!

    Interest rates may go up, but even at a rate of 10% it would still be less than half of the Keating years, but then, we are not paying out for piggeries. Are we?

  5. It is incumbent on a Prime Minister to protect the citizens under his charge where the States have failed! It is not the blame of Mr Howard that the State Premiers have dismally neglected their constituents, but when it comes to finding solutions to overcome their inadequacies, he acts swiftly and decisively!
    Don’t criticise the Federal government for coming to the aid of your community, go and ask your State Member why there isn’t so much as a First Aid Station in your local school!

  6. I think Rudd would be better savaging McDonald, Reynolds, Harkin, Olsen and any other union “gentlemen” he would like to expel from the ALP, but no, he is too busy going after softer targets like Harry Quick, and his own brother! What a fine specimen of an Australian the Dudd turned out to be, but then again, for a puppet, his mouth moves a lot!
    The public have seen through your little charade, and the froth and bubble has gone. Now we just have the kruddy ring of scum, and it smells!

  7. In May 1975 we were blessed with an all time high 90 day bills rate of 21.75% thanks to Gough Whitlam
    Then, in December 1985 we had a follow up act from Piggery Paul, with a mammoth 19.56%! He tried very hard, but just couldn’t get his J curve into the 20’s
    Then, in December 2001 we had the team of John Howard and Peter Costello, give us a miniscule 4.25%, after taking Labor’s monumental interest rate apart.

    Howard and Costello had to work, brick by brick, until the $94,000,000,000.00 black hole was filled in! And the rewarded the public with tax cuts! No, not L.A.W tax cuts, real ones, many of
    Hey, The undertaker is gone!
    Do you really want to go back to grave digging again?

  8. Tasmanian union accused of unfair dismissal
    As unions continue to attack Federal workplace laws, a former Tasmanian union employee has accused her old boss of unfair dismissal.
    Cassie Whitehall says her claims of bullying were ignored and she was sacked without warning.
    She claims she began to be bullied soon after starting work as a receptionist with the Australian Services Union last year.
    Ms Whitehall says her complaint was ignored and she was sacked without reason.
    “I was treated the way that all unions are fighting against being treated,” she said.
    Industrial law lecturer and former Tasmanian Labor Attorney General, Peter Patmore, says if the facts are as Ms Whitehill states, there appears to have been a lack of care on the part of the union.
    “Particularly coming from a union I mean this is what unions are for isn’t it,” Mr Patmore said.
    Um, Where is Rudd the Dudd when you really need him? Kevin07!
    Get out from in front of the cameras and do what you say you are going to!

  9. Interesting facts about interest rates and inflation.

    1) May 1975 saw Gough Whitlam achieve a record 21.75% interest rate! The highest this nation has seen!

    2) When Howard took up Government after Keating’s $96 Billion black hole the interest rates were 7.53% More than 100 points higher than today. Howard said he would keep interest rates lower than Labor, and he has done just that!

    3) GST will only increase, as the NSW treasurer alluded to, if there is Labor State, and Labor Federal governments.

    4) in WA alone, third party insurance, Transport costs, Vehicle licences, Motor driver licences have increases by 4.8% Residential emergency services lavy up 6.77% Sewage charges up by 6.81% Water rates up by 8.07% even though the nominated national inflation rate is running at 2.7%

    All the above items contribute to the increased cost of living, i.e. inflation, which proves the claim that at least one State, and a State in an economic boom period, has contributed to the cause for increases in interest rates.

    Compare your States increases with the federal figures, and see how you fare, then tell us the State Labor governments are not manipulating the figures to assist the federal Labor campaign! At YOUR expense!

  10. Charged with two counts of common assault, Mr Purcell, the Labor Member for Bulimba, will appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on August 24.

    The former official of the Australian Building Construction Employees’ and Building Labourers’ Federation Pat Purcell has been charged with assaulting two Queensland public servants in July.

    On July 4, Mr Purcell was forced to resign from the Beattie Ministry after the he was accused of slapping a State Emergency Services director, and senior public servant from Emergency Management.

    The CMC launched an investigation into the matter on July 25.

    Mr Purcell won the seat of Bulimba in 1992 and sat on a wide range of parliamentary committees before becoming the Minister for Emergency Services in July 2005.

    The former BCE and BLF official was elected to Parliament in 1992

    It seems Mr Purcell is well qualified to be a Member of the Labor Party and, with this type of union bullyboy tactic he should be welcomed to the fold by Mr Rudd!

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