Unsafe as houses

Having done my bit to fan the flames of anti-Australian hysteria, props are due to the paper for this morning’s typically excellent piece by George Megalogenis on regional variations in housing price movements. Crucially, a “two-speed housing market” is identified in New South Wales, promising to hit the Coalition hard in marginal suburban and hinterland electorates (specifically Parramatta, Lindsay, Dobell, Robertson and all-important Bennelong), while delivering worthless dividends in the rich inner suburbs (where double-digit swings to the Coalition were recorded in the March state election). There’s a particularly handy cut-out-and-keep graphic listing the 20 electorates where prices have moved most heavily either way, the “price rises” list being monopolised by Western Australia. This ties in nicely with localised polling showing the Coalition collapsing in NSW, while holding ground or better in WA. Also instructive are Possum Comitatus‘s renowned observations on the ratio of interest payments to disposable income. Further analysis of Megalogenis’s data from Simon Jackman.

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.

344 comments on “Unsafe as houses”

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  1. Pseph,
    No, Hartcher (SMH) was the interviewee, and he laid out the charges made by Costello, which are apparently featuring in to-morrow’s Fairfax papers. There will be several extracts in the coming days.
    I think Charlie (11.01 p.m.) has provided a fair summary of what Hartcher said.
    The biography of Howard is by Peter van Onselen and is to be released next week.
    Re Howard’s characterising Rudd’s “negative campaigning” as pathetic: I am gobsmacked at his (and his colleagues’) chutzpah. I didn’t think we’d see a more blatant example than who do you trust?, but then he exceeds himself. Yet to-day we had Ruddock presuming to lecture a barrister on ethics.
    May I also pick up a point that several posters have made about how obvious it now is that Howard should have done the hand-over last year? It certainly wasn’t obvious as recently as nine months ago; the good ship Howard seemed set fair for another regulation victory, and I doubt that there were more than a handful of muttering dissenters in the Liberal (and National) Parliamentary Party (ies). While Beazley had created a platform based on the opposition to Work Choices, it was by no means clear that this could be translated into a labor victory, until the coming of Rudd.

  2. Thanks for the piece on Lindsay.

    In it appears the following:

    In NSW, the ALP would need to win most or all of Lindsay, Greenway, Eden-Monaro and Dobell to take government. “Betting suggests this will not happen,” Mr Hobbs [Portlandbet betting agency spokesman Stephen Hobbs] said. “While we have seen strong betting support for the ALP in numerous electorates, it has not been in these marginals, where the election will be won and lost.”

    Can someone explain to me why it is assumed that the collectivity of gamblers are better judges of who will win which seat than the collectivity of psephologists, politicians and journalists, most of whom think the ALP *will* win those seats? Gamblers, taken collectively, are mugs. Overall, they must lose money on their gambling – otherwise bookies, the TAB, casinos etc would not make any money. Why is it that people who, more often than not, fail to pick the winners of horse-races, something which they study carefully, are thought to be accurate judges of election outcomes?

  3. Coz Adam 85% of our psephs,journalists and politicians incline to the apparat/Labor view of the world whereas our gamblers have purer motives – cash

  4. Edward, yes that is true in both respects. Nevertheless, gamblers are ipso facto fools, because they could safely make money by putting their cash into (say) property or the stock market, whereas they must, in the long run, lose it if they persist in any of the popular forms of gambling – ask any state treasurer or casino boss. I’d prefer to take the opinions of professionals, even biased ones, than those of mugs.

  5. Is voting compuslory in Ireland? What voting method do they use? What issues common to us did they have going in the election. Did they have a Rudd or Howard as leaders? I look forward to your detailed answer Edward. Wishing will not see your boy over the line Edward.

  6. True but one could say the same for politicians – preselections for example have huge elements of luck to them – if you want to do worthwhile things why not have a viable career which is not so completely subject to the vagaries of fate.

    For instance take someone like Daryl Melham who had the misfortune to get into Club Fed in 1990 and be just too junior for a ministry – time has passed him by for a ministry if Rudd wins through no fault of his own. There are obvious liberal examples too

  7. This is excellent, Rudd and Swan will get some good mileage out of this. The fact is Howard was a hopeless treasurer, too gutless to take on Fraser. Likewise, Costello is now revealing himself to be a gutless treasurer who wouldn’t take on Howard over blatantly political spending.

    Is this the start of a challenge? Surely the 2 back benchers who complained to the Fairfax papers were Costello supporters, now Hartcher talking up the juicy bits of his book. There only needs to be one more piece of information for a complete conspiracy. 🙂

  8. Howard should be rolled and Costello installed.

    But they’re too dumb.

    As to the Coalition’s chances under Howard – it is true that Bertie Ahern gained about 5% in the polls in the final weeks before the election. But Ahern is more popular than Howard (55% job approval I think), his opponents were not united, and he trashed Enda Kenny in the leaders debate. John Major is not terribly relevant in my mind, as he was a ‘new’ PM. Major is more of an argument for installing Costello IMHO.

    A lot of the ‘fundamentals’ remain strong for the government. But you can lose in spite of that – ask Jeff Kennett.

  9. Yes I know Adam but surely that is no guide to what will happen here, like the 2001 and 2004 elections are no guide. Thanks for the link.

  10. Yes, the Tories had to knife The Dominatrix because her polltax was leading them to a slaughter – no sentiment there. Heseltine had the nerve that Costello lacks, although the Thatcherites made sure that Hezza didn’t get the leadership. So that analogy doesn’t work at all.

    Howard = Thatcher
    WorkChoices = Poll tax
    Costello = Heseltine

    but Rudd /= Kinnock, thank goodness

  11. CYNIC – I was joking in the second part. I do however think this will start another round of leadership murmurings because the book extracts will get a go on the TV news tomorrow night. I don’t think anything will come of it, except maybe the ALP using Costello’s quotes during election adverts.

    I think Howard will lead the Government to the election, unless he is terribly ill. I am however in the minority camp that thinks the Government would do BETTER with Costello as P.M. for the reason that Leopold suggests above; voters would feel he should be given a term in his own right, before kicking him out in 2010, a la Keating.

  12. The problem with that theory though Simon is that Keating was gone for all money in ’93 but for Hewson’s 900 page suicide note.

  13. Dunkley is held by Billson, the Minister for Veteran Affairs who accused east timor vets of swinging the lead, he could be vulnerable.

    Goldstein held by Robb, should be safe but if Robb is arrogant enough to feel he does not need to campaign much he could be surprised.

  14. Let’s not forget that the election might not be held until January, and it will be held at a time of Howard’s liking. Six months is a VERY long time in politics.

    Perhaps what came from Costello today will only damage Costello’s future leadership ambitions and paint him as an opportunist while cementing Howard’s place in the pantheons of great statesmen. And it gives us the salivating prospect of having a more conservative replacement for our next PM when Howard does retire in 2009/10 – Tony Abbott.

  15. Nostro,

    Nice of you to clarify that you salivate in anticipation of Abbott’s acendancy to the top job. Make sure you put newspaper down first.

  16. The Irish election result has little predictive value for the Australian system.
    While Ahern remains Taoseacht the Irish Government did not win the election. A Fianna Fail/Progressive Democrat government was replaced by a Fianna Fail/ Progressive Democrat/ Green Government. This was despite the Greens having attacked Ahern for the previous 5 years and continuing to negotiate to form a government with Finn Gael until the last minute. If the Greens had kept true to their previous behaviour (??!!) the psephologists’ predictions would have been correct.
    So much for PR and the resultant need to form coalitions.

  17. Nostradamus there is no way a PM will call an election during school holidays. If you want to give yourself any chance of winning at all you don’t interrupt the voters’ holidays.

  18. Labor will have a field day with the Costello story about Howard being a bad treasurer. Of couse they will run it in their campaign. Why wouldn’t they? That and the murmurs about Costello replacing Howard before the election won’t do the Coalition any good. The polls again have no reason to turn Howard’s way. If anything they will confirm Rudd’s acendancy.
    Some of us have been accused of being Labor partisans. Just for the record I have never voted Labor in any election, state or federal, and have never belonged to a union. In fact I once resigned a highly paid job because I was told I would have to join the union. I do however recognise the valuable job unions have done over the past hundred years in protecting working conditions and wages of employees. I also recognise that Howard’s IR legislation has gone far too far in assisting employers to exploit employees.
    Let’s no continue with childish name calling.

  19. Sorry Nostradamus, leaving aside Abbott’s moral crusades (which he couldn’t put into effect as PM) he is to the left of Costello, have you not read his Quadrant article in support of a conservative multiculturalism? Like Howard Abbott is a pragmatic big government conservative.

  20. Goldstein is an interesting seat, on paper a very safe Liberal seat but its a very divervse seat with some very strong Liberal areas around Brighton and Sandringham with some good ALP areas around Bentleigh with some swing type middle class areas around Ormond and McKinnon.

    The state seat of Bentleigh is held by the ALP while the seats of Brighton, Sandringham and Caulfield are safe Liberal although both Caulfield and Sandringham have at certain times been marginal.

    Robb will need to campaign hard for if the polls are right then this seat could be interesting.

  21. Cisco, when I first entered politics in 1971, after a battle with Robert Askin over the destruction of Myall Lakes forests, I looked around for a party to join. I had absolutely no preconceptions nor loyalty to any side. I had voted Conservative in the UK as my parents had. I joined the Australia Party, remember them? I chose them because they appeared to care for the environment more than the others. I have since then voted for and given my preferences to those parties and independents who appear to care for the environment. I am fiscally conservative but care deeply about what happens to our planet. There are enough of us to change governments.

  22. bmwofoz,
    Sandringham (I’m not sure if it was called that at the time, but that was the geography of the electorate) was held for one term by State Labor at the beginning of the Cain years.
    Personally I’ll be shocked if Goldstein swings, but in this climate who knows?

  23. I don’t know if this is the forum I should be asking on, but can someone tell if Labor are running a candidate in Calare?

    If I am on the wrong forum, can someone point me in the right way?

  24. To answer Peter, yes it was Sandringham that Cain held in 1982, that same seat was reduced to a margin of about 2 -3 % after the 2001 State poll.

    I’m not sure how the Boundary was drawn back in 1982 but in 2001 the bulk of the seat sat inside Goldstein.

  25. Kooyong bucked the trend and actually recorded an anti-Liberal swing for a very important reason: it has Petro Georgiou as its MP who takes dissenting views on a number of social issues and has quite rightly been labelled a “political terrorist” by rising star Sophie Mirabella. If he really wants to promote his renegade agendas he should do the right thing and stand as an independent.

  26. The Libs could possibly do with a few more Georgious.
    With Rudd anxious to avoid a wedging, it gives the small ‘l’ Libs the chance to attack Labor from the left. It may sound bizarre, but voters have tuned out from all of the dog-whistling and fear campaigns. The Libs need to shed their ‘mean and tricky’ image, and could benefit from looking compassionate and caring on a few issues.

  27. Petro Georgiou while loved by some small l types is seen as a do nothing local MP.

    I know people whom have lived in the area for years and apart from a Budget time letter never see or hear from him.

    He is somewhat of a dud

  28. I’m not surprised in the least that Petro Georgiou is unable to carry out his responsibilities of representing the community who have elected him.

    Alex Hawke will be the next MP for Mitchell. Alex Lew for Kooyong!

  29. Yes Nostrils, the further Right the better I say, your beloved extreme right are electoral poison and a dominance will all but guarantee their political oblivion for many years to come.

  30. Is the Liberal candidate for Cook, the Dirk Wellham of Australian politics, sounds like he’s been to more clubs than Barry Crocker.

    Member of the Labor Party, member of the Liberal Party, member of Canterbury-Bankstown and the Cronulla Sharks, being from Redfern did he ever cheer on the Bunnies. Maybe he should have spent the 30K he’s alleged to have used for “recruitment” to get membership to ever other NRL team, A-League, NBL club, and if he has global focus he’ll have to pick up a jersey of L.A. Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus, Barcelona, Middlesex Cricket Club, Canterbury Crusaders et al.

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