Rates up, comments unlocked

Due to a little stuff-up on my part, most comments made so far today went into moderation. The error has been rectified, and the comment build-up unblocked. As you’re all no doubt aware, the Reserve Bank has lifted official interest rates. In other news: giant Lego man washed up on Dutch beach.

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.

223 comments on “Rates up, comments unlocked”

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  1. I think it’s ridiculous to call Bennelong a bellwether seat. There may well be a huge swing which sweeps Labor into power, but much less of a swing in Bennelong because of the automatic status accorded a PM. He’s out there at Top Ryde kissing babies every other weekend… that’s a prime ministerial schmoosh!

  2. Why would the call it a bellwether seat when it has never been before?
    Plus being PM gives you added strength, even a ratty PM.

  3. There’s a lot of drivel being written here about historical interest rates. The fact is that fewer and fewer people are now able to afford a home of their own, and the cost and availability of rentals are even more frightening. I certainly found home affordability was greater when Keating had interest rates at 17% (though I didn’t like it at the time), than I do now, because of the massive rise in house prices. The other day I actually heard some teenagers discussing whether they should move to a country area, so that they could find an affordable house to rent, and perhaps one day find one to buy. When I was a teenager, these issues never even entered my head.

    For younger voters, what things were like under Keating (or Howard as Treasurer) are totally irrelevant. They’ll vote on how they find things now. A suggestion that interest rates under the coalition will always be lower than those under Labor will be meaningless to them.

    It’s an unfortunate aspect of economics that a well-run economy, with high employment and productivity, may need slowing down with interest rates, to prevent a sudden crash. The demises of Keating and Kennett show that voters will still kick out a government that is presiding over an improving economy, because the economy isn’t the only issue that matters to them. Arrogance is also an issue!

    If voters are worried that the economy is about to turn down, they may take refuge in the Howard Government, believing it’smore capable than Labor of dealing with hard times. But on the other hand, there’s every chance they will say Labor as better at managing education, health and welfare services when things get rough.

  4. Simon Howson #197, advises of another leaked Crosby/Textor poll finding. I wonder if Howard isn’t leaking unfavourable polls for all potential replacements in order to stave off the looming shoulder tap.

    I also wonder if references to long gone PM (Keating) don’t just make Howard seem old to younger voters. I remember that my grandfather was fixated on the past in his dotage!

  5. Did i read correctly- the media is biased towards Labor… Unbelievable.. Yep certainly was biased towards Labor in the 2004 election, look how they stalked, howded, ridiculed Mark Latham and for what i ask… what crime did he commit… But the media is biased…
    Howard told lie in 2004 and deserves to be hounded and besides this view that we have low interest rates please… in the western world CURRENTLY AUSTRALIA has the highest interest rates so much for this view that we have low rates….

  6. Yes Marky Marky you read it correctly. Blame the media, blame anyone but the obvious. The Coalition made a colossal mistake not asking John Howard to step down for a generational change a good year ago.
    It wasn’t just him who should have gone but the ministers from the last century- Ruddock, Downer and co.
    The Howard government looks so 20th century!

  7. OMG
    I am about to go to bed and thought I’d just check. Is he still there??
    It’s like sitting by a dying patient saying “it’s ok to let go now…”
    Someone should put the poor old bugger out of his misery and either call an election or have a coup.

  8. How critical is Bennelong?

    This is where the betting odds are quite interesting. The ALP is favoured to win but – seat by seat odds indicate a 50/50 contest. Both markets can’t be right. Which one is the most informed?

    It suggests than you can back the coalition to win (at around $2.5) and back the ALP to win the key sets such as Bennelong (at around $3) and either way you come out in front.

    Might be the only way to get some entertainment out of the election.

  9. In a economy threatening a downturn people will also be worried about thier jobs and protection from Business. WorkChoices has the reputation of ripping people off, having unions around to fight for workers may also seem more attractive.

    You even see the Govt losing newspaper polls in the Herald Sun now – now that is amazing.

  10. It seems Gerard Henderson has joined the chorus blaming the media.
    He attacked the Daily Telegraph this morning and quoted yesterday’s headlines and the one where Sydney was walking away from John Howard.
    Gerard is of course a rusted-on Liberal hardliner but he must know why the Telegraph is running that way.
    David Penberthy is a conservative but he’s not a fool.
    He’s not going to drive his circulation down by blindly supporting a failing leader.
    His readers have made it clear that they prefer Kevin Rudd and he knows they will buy papers with those headlines and stories.
    The Australian’s readers will most probably be in favour of the Coalition and they no doubt will reflect that.
    It’s just business.
    In the meantime, Wall Street and the European bourses have crashed overnight in another wild swing.
    The sub prime mortgage debacle is having profound effects.
    I believe the CDO problem is not the cause but a symptom of a badly managed financial system, rather like cancer is a symptom of a failing immune system.
    The world is awash with trillions of US dollars which are really not worth their face value.
    This is the real problem.
    When the oil exporting countries wake up to the fact that they are not getting value for money selling in US dollars, they will be obliged to switch to Euros or other currencies.
    Then watch the dollar.
    We are in for a very rough ride.
    Kevin Rudd may wish he had not won in a year’s time! It could be as turbulent as the Whitlam years with interest rates going through the roof internationally.
    It might be better for Labor to let Howard win by one or two seats and watch them struggle with the changing economic conditions, then win with a huge majority in three years!

  11. 165
    Richard Jones Says:
    August 9th, 2007 at 3:39 pm
    J-D Just a correction, Greiner did not go a year early in ‘91. He had no option. It was a three year term then. It was four years fixed from then on.
    LC members had their terms cut short from three terms of the lower house to two terms.

    Check your sources again.

    The change from a three-year term to a four-year term was made by Labor government in the 1980s (and the change for the Legislative Council was made at the same time). The first four-year term Parliament ran from the 1984 election to the 1988 election. Greiner came in with a four-year term in 1988 and could have run to 1992 if he had wanted to. Why he didn’t, I can’t imagine.

    The change to a [I]fixed[/I] four-year term was forced on Greiner after the 1991 election as part of the price for the support he needed from the Independents.

  12. 190
    Glen Says:
    August 9th, 2007 at 5:08 pm
    The day the average punter genuinely thinks Labor can manage money pigs will fly…never

    As I have pointed out previously, a majority of Australian voters voted Labor in 1969, 1972, 1974, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1993, and 1998.

    Maybe you think those majorities included none of the ‘average punters’, all of whom were still voting for the Coalition. I don’t know what you mean by ‘average’, but that seems unlikely.

    Or maybe you think that people voted Labor at those elections despite thinking that Labor can’t manage money. That also seems unlikely.

    Or maybe you think that it will never _again_ happen that a majority of Australian voters will vote Labor. That too seems unlikely, but time will tell.

  13. I’m sorry J-D you are incorrect. I was in the Legislative Council from 1988 to 2003 and voted on the legislation to cut my own term from three terms of the lower house to two terms. The fixed four year term and a reduction in numbers of the LC was passed at the same time.
    The Greiner government wanted to fix the numbers in the Legislative Assembly too but my vote prevented this. Sir Adrian Solomons, National Party, was pleased that I did that as it allowed for possible better representation for smaller country electorates in the future.

  14. The _fixed_ four-year term was passed when you were in the Legislative Council, but the _maximum_ term had been _already_ been extended to four years before that (and before you were in Parliament). The Parliament elected in 1984 ran for four years: there was no election between March 1984 and March 1988. Greiner _could_ have waited until March 1992 to hold the election: he _chose_ to go early in May 1991.

    As I said, check your sources. The election dates can be found online at the NSW Parliament website and on Wikipedia.

    I accept, however, that you are right about the timing of the change to the Legislative Council. I was misled there.

    Did the Greiner government want to fix Legislative Assembly numbers at 99? If so, your prevention of this, perhaps ironically, enabled the Carr government’s reduction to 93, with the consequence of larger country electorates. Still, this could hardly have been foreseen at the time. Every other change to the size of State Parliaments since Federation (I think) had been an increase: reductions are a more recent development.

  15. I’m not sure. I’d have to go back and check the speeches in Hansard. It was nearly twenty years ago. I had thought that we had four year terms for the first time then, so I was wrong. I should have been aware of that!The terms usually only lasted about two or three years and that is why the Upper House terms had been fixed at three terms of the Lower House. When they fixed the terms to four years they deemed it far too long for Upper House members to sit there for twelve years and they were right of course.
    Incidentally, the average terms of members of the Lower House when I last checked was seven years. That may have changed with the fixed term.
    My thoughts about not fixing the number of Lower House members was that in the future flexibility would be needed, especially with increasing populations.
    It might suit a Coalition government to increase the size of the Lower House to gain more country representatives. I guess we will see in future.
    I think it would be a good idea to have four year fixed terms for the House of Representatives as well, rather than having the PM of the day opportunistically picking the right time. It would or should lead to more stable government in my view.

  16. The advantages of incumbency are too great. I would like to see them reduced and fixed terms are one way of doing it. I’d like to see more frequent changes of govt — 11, 13 and 9 years are just too long in office.

  17. Admittedly Keating only had 5 years; the argument then becomes was his govt sufficiently different to Hawke’s.

  18. Amber Dekstris Says:
    August 10th, 2007 at 3:00 pm
    Admittedly Keating only had 5 years; the argument then becomes was his govt sufficiently different to Hawke’s.

    Personally, I voted against Keating. While I recognize the value of what he achieved as treasurer, I also recognize the damage he did against Hewson, so much that now no opposition attempts to get into government on a policy platform. He’s the reason John Howard won in 1996 with no policies.

    He was on the nose… and rightfully so. But it shouldn’t detract from his achievements, and more than it should from Menzies or Whitlam.

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