Morgan Queensland Senate poll

Yesterday’s news by now, but let the record note that Roy Morgan has published a poll of Queensland Senate voting intentions derived from its surveys over the past three months. This has been prompted by last week’s flurry of publicity surrounding Pauline Hanson, whose support is put at 5 per cent. However, this is 0.5 per cent lower than the vote recorded for the Australian Democrats, who always do implausibly well in these Morgan Senate polls. For what it’s worth, the Morgan figures suggest that Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett would be re-elected, with the remaining seats going three Labor and two Coalition.

UPDATE: Bartlett joins the scrum in comments (see below).

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.

92 comments on “Morgan Queensland Senate poll”

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  1. I agree with the Speaker on this one; I regard it as the nearest thing to certainty that the Dems will be completely wiped out at this election. Natasha maintained their vote in 2001, but Meg Lees’ dealing with the bastards on the GST has now borne its bitter fruit for the Dems. Their performances in State and Federal elections since Natasha quit their leadership has been nothing short of pathetic.

  2. On entries 49 and 51

    Agree with the Speaker that Pauline and One Nations stance on intervention and protectionism would put them on the left of the spectrum. However to say that One Nation were conservative on social is also questionable – to my recollection ON didn’t have a problem with abortion or euthanasia. Can’t recall what their view on gay rights was but it was their attitude to race and immigration that put them out on the edge of the spectrum. In many ways, the ON may be counted as ‘conservative’ but would be the inverse of what for example the DLP would believe (Chris Curtis, would you agree?)

    The Democrats problem was that they gradually moved to the left away from their original position of liberal on both economic and social issues. The original position was always hard to hold but as a reasonably centrist party the Dems could pick up votes when the tide was turning i.e. post 1977, they had better results in years like 1983 and 1996 – 1990 was very much the exception. However as the party moved to the left, they found the ground was already occupied by the Greens – who have both a harder position ideologically and are generally less pragmatic, and have a firm constituency – and whats more the Greens were more able to articulate their position much more clearly. It also needs to be remembered that the Democrats were always pragmatic in their dealings with the government of the day and Meg Lees dealings on the GST were proof of that. And what she and Andrew Murray delivered was a much more palatable outcome.

    The second major problem is that without a firm position, a minor party needs a popular, respected and /or charismatic leader. The Democrats had this with Chipp, Haines, Kernot, Lees and Stott Despoja. Where they fell apart was when they lacked leadership – after 1990 and post 2002 – and by 2002 the position on the spectrum had shifted and the Greens were ready to take over. In retrospect the writing was on the wall when Cheryl Kernot bolted – so don’t blame Meg Lees Lord D blame Cheryl and Gareth Evans. Bob Brown would fall into the leadership categories outlined above but where will they go post Bob Brown?

    The third Democrat problem was that the Democrats were so small that there was a hothouse atmosphere within the party that tended to exacerbate personal tensions between members. They couldn’t be kept within the family so to speak, and tended to come to the surface – David Vigor walking in 1987, the problems in the NSW branch following the 1990 election over the activities of the Jonatahn King faction, and the resignation of Paul McLean – and the obvious bad blood between Natasha and Meg. In a large organisation these tensions could have been contained but in the Democrats the lid would blow off the pot.

    The pity of the whole situation is that the country now needs a political party occupying the position that the Democrats held under Chipp and Haines.

  3. William,

    According to Crikey, there’s a new Morgan poll out that puts Labor at 60% 2PP, with the primaries 51%-36% Labor’s way.

    The poll also finds that 87% of voters weren’t concerned with the strip club brouhaha and Rudd’s approval rating climbing to an all-time record of 74% (up 2%).

    This special telephone Morgan Poll was conducted on the nights 21/22 2007 with an Australia-wide cross section of 633 voters.

  4. Thanks to The Speaker for being a voice of commonsense – I was going to provide the same link to Morgan Senate polling at the same time of the cycle in 2004.

    Morgan Senate polling is entirely pointless. Nothing whatsoever can be read into the numbers. In fact, the only thing more pointless than Morgan Senate polling is a thread of arguments about said polling.

    But since we’re talking about the Dems…

    The Speaker is correct to point to the Dems’ consistent record since 2002. This sort of trend is not broken easily, or in fact at all.

    And whilst I agree that Bartlett has decent standing amongst lefties and the politically engaged (I would prefer him to a major party Senator anyday), let’s get real – the general public are likely to remember him much more for the couple of stupid things he’s done.

    And, whilst I would vote for Bartlett over the majors, I also take issue with his dissembling regarding Dem preference history. He tries to hide behind “let’s not talk about the past, everyone’s done things they shouldn’t have, it’s all about equal.”

    The fact remains that in 2004 Bartlett was leader of the Democrats and signed off on a deal to preference FF ahead of the Greens. That was immoral pure and simple, and in a completely different ballpark to anything the Greens may have ever done. I respect Bartlett’s work in many areas, but history will judge him harshly for that mistake (and already is.)

  5. Blackburnsteph,

    Good summary re the Democrats.

    I think their problem has always been that they are united more by what they stand against than what they stand for. Their constituency has always been splintered between small l-liberals, centrists and the hard left, whose only thing in common was dislike of the two-party system. This was not a problem while they were the only alternative party, but as soon as other minor parties appeared and the Democrats had to really define who they were and what they stood for, they began to fracture. Were they a centrist party who could deal with both sides equally fairly? A poor man’s Greens? A hard-left ‘Socialist’ party?

    All of the problems they’ve faced in the past decade (from Kernot’s defection to the GST saga to leadership tensions) seem to stem from this bigger problem: exactly who are the Democrats and what do they really stand for??

  6. re Blackburnpseph @52. Have to say I broadly agree. I thought that the Dems could have recovered ground with Andrew Murray’s plan which to mind would have positioned the party very much in that centrist position (although with the shift of the Libs to a more firmly right position and the ALP expanding ideologically to fill more space in the centre this would end up being a centre-right position). However, it was also never going to happen for all the reasons you’ve outlined, and because I think the party became a little more ideological and less practical – in some respects a good thing, but with a downside electorally.

    The saddest part I always felt was that the left-ward drift of the Dems brought them into conflict with the Greens, which I think meant an overall loss of progressive votes as people didn’t understand why there was a conflict and so moved back to either of the major parties. It also built a level of enmity between the 2 parties that has been quite unfortunate in the long term.

  7. Andrew B (not me) wrote “The fact remains that in 2004 Bartlett was leader of the Democrats and signed off on a deal to preference FF ahead of the Greens. That was immoral pure and simple, and in a completely different ballpark to anything the Greens may have ever done.”

    Yes, that it is a fact, and unlike other people and parties, I don’t try to pretend it didn’t happen, hide behind other people’s names or don’t use my own. I also admit my mistakes – I find it helps in the learning process. However, please don’t lecture me about morality – you simply don’t know what you are talking about. I have a litany of ‘sins’ of others I could expound at enormous length, but I won’t cos (a) it would bore most people, (b) I have better things to do and (c) I don’t expecially want to have a shot at the Greens. But one doesn’t want to let bald assertions like that stand, so I will just mention a few (staying with the preferences area, otherwise the pickings are too rich):

    The Greens in 2001 preferenced a range of micro parties in NSW, including an abolish child-support candidate and another with links to the far right ahead of the Democrats in the Senate – no doubt thinking these people had no chance of being elected, but the abolish child support candidate nearly did. But it did draw preferences to the Greens who managed to harvest a range of micro party preferences to leapfrog the Democrats and take their seat. The Greens also put One Nation above the Coalition in the Senate in the NT one year, and put Hanson above Family First and at least three other groups in Qld in 2004. Greens preferences produced a National Party led government in Qld in 1995. Even one of the commenters above wants to justify deals between the Greens and Nationals in WA as somehow different while in the same breath saying “let’s not talk about Native Title”, as though this is somehow an expendable issue. I am not seeking to have a shot at all these decisions – no doubt someone can explain/defend these in the context of the time and the alternatives on offer, as I can for each of the Democrat ones over the years, including the Family First one which was a perfectly rational but none the less mistaken attempt to stop the Libs getting control of the Senate by channeling preferences away from where they would other wise end up.

    I won’t correct much of the reinterpretation or misinterpretation of the Democrats’ history – mainly because history has shown me it doesn’t make any difference. The notion of the Democrats drifting leftwards is a furphy. People should actually look at some of the things Chipp and Haines said from the time, they will see plenty of examples of positions that would be seen today as more radical than some of the things the Democrats say today (or even the Greens on occasions when they are trying to present their moderate face – as they are now on drugs for example (for perfectly understandable reasons I might say)). At other times they took positions on other issues which would be seen as moderate or even leaning to the right (depending as always on where the observer is standing). Some of Chipp’s defence views were far more dovish than mine, for example.

    The simple fact is that in the late 1970s and through the 1980s, there were few minor parties, so the Democrats covered a broad spectrum from the centre to the left mostly on their own. When the Green Parties started to appear in a more organised sense in the late 1980s, early 1990s that got more crowded. It is silly to say the “Dems leftward drft brought them into conflict with the Greens” – the Dems were already there as part of the braoder specturm they sought to cover, and the Greens moved in (as they were totally entitled to do). The Democrats didn’t handle this well politically, but that’s a different matter.

    However, people should not think of the Democrats and Greens vote as interchangable. If my vote in the Senate as part of the Queensland Democrats does turn out be in the 2 per cent range as some are hoping, it will almost guarantee a 3-3 outcome shared between the majors, as there will not enough preferences around for the Greens to harvest to get them a seat (as 2004 showed in both Qld and NSW). Despite all the talk of the Dems having shifted from the centre, some of the Dem vote that was lost in 2004 did not go to the Greens, it went rightwards. The Greens should be hoping some of that centrist vote comes back to the Dems, so it can then flow across to them in preferences, because its not going to jump straight across to the Greens.

  8. Slightly off topic.

    Just to let you know that the Victorian State Parliament Electoral Review Committee will be meeting next week to review the conduct of the Victorian State Election. Warts and all..

    In the meantime Steve Tully continues his abuse and harassment this time misusing the Victorian Solicitors Generals Office as a form of harassment and intimidation in the leadup to the enquiry.

    As a reminder the Conduct of teh Victorian State election was on of the worst on record with the count of the election showing up a number of serious issues and errors. Not the least was the withholding of crucial information pertaining to the electronic counting of the ballot.

    Anyone wishing to make a submission to the Parliamentary inquiry should contact the Victorian State Parliament ASAP.

  9. blackburnpseph (August 23rd, 2007 at 1:18 pm),

    As someone who stood in what memory tells me was the very first election contested by the Democrats, the Greensborough by-election of 1977, I am happy to respond to your invitation for a few comments. I well remember This Day Tonight interviewed me in my lounge room whereas they interviewed the Democrat in his lovely Eltham garden, giving him a better background than they gave me. The Democrats outpolled me three-to-one – not hard to do, given that the media was giving Don Chipp publicity that the DLP could only dream about.

    In 1970, just over 19 per cent of Victorians voted for Frank McManus of the DLP, still the third party record in Senate elections. In 1977, more than 17 per cent of Victorians voted for Don Chipp in the Senate election. Most of the 1977 Democrat voters had been DLP voters in 1970. For those who find this hard to believe, I point out that many voters are not particularly ideological but do want someone to hold the balance of power in the Senate: in 1970, they chose Frank McManus, who was very well known; in 1977, they chose Don Chipp, also very well known.

    I still give weight to the traditional class-based division in politics, under which I label the DLP a centre-left party and the Democrats a centre-right party. The DLP senators would have rejected the Workplace Relations Act outright (just as Brian Harradine did), whereas the Democrats supported it. The DLP was certainly morally conservative in a way that the Democrats are not, and more supportive of the US alliance than the Democrats are.

    Given that the DLP became in 1961 the first party to oppose the White Australia Policy and apparently threatened to preference Labor in Corio rather than Hubert Opperman, the Immigration Minister, over one aspect of the issue, the DLP would be the antithesis of One Nation. On issues like privatisation, deregulation, unionism and the like, the DLP was a traditional Labor party, even to the left of the current ALP.

    In summary, Left and Right, progressive an conservative, tend to cover a multitude of differences.

    One problem the Democrats have now is that they do not seem to really exist as a party. When the DLP closed down in Victoria in 1978, it had ten full-time paid staff – and that was without public funding. It was able to raise money for campaigns, letterbox throughout the sate and man the polling booths. It is rare to find a Democrat doing these things today. Manning booths does make a difference. I cannot find the sheet with the figures on, but I think the DLP vote at Midhurst went from single figures to almost 30 per cent in 1970 because we manned the booth for the first time. You have to have workers on the ground.

    I agree with William that the Democrats will not survive this election. In a sense they are like the DLP in 1977, making one last tilt at the windmill, but doomed – in essence, just as the rise of the Democrats doomed the DLP, the rise of the Greens has doomed the Democrats.

  10. Andrew Bartlett – I’m not going to fill up the thread by repeating my arguments, and we’ll have to agree to disagree on some things.

    Just to be clear though – I’m not trying to be funny or sneaky or copying your name. I am also Andrew B – Andrew Burke – and I was certainly not trying to hide my identity, only abbreviating. Given that it’s obvious that I’m a Green it’s not hard to work out who I am. The other Greens here would certainly have known. Incidentally, I was the Aust Greens National Campaign Manager in 2004.

  11. Interesting to have Bartlett contribute…not to many Senator’s are that internet savvy so he should be commended for his efforts…regardless of whether you support his policies or re-election.

  12. One thing missed in all the discussion of dems/greens above is what I call the “Pivot Point”.

    Due to preference arrangements, the Dems/Greens almost operate like a unified block. Together they command quite an impressive vote share, and whichever party scores the highest vote ends up winning a senate seat. This is the “Pivot Point” between winning and losing.

    In 2001, the Dems narrowly beat the Greens in most states, riding their preferences home to four senate seats. They would have another senator in NSW except for One Nation preferences to the Greens.

    In 2004 they dropped below the Greens, which is death.

    If they could get ahead of the Greens again they’d win seats, the problem is they’ve dropped too far. They need I’d say.. 5% of the vote, and they are down in the 2% range.

  13. So Andrew, the same arguments and attitude you used after the last federal election I see.

    In respect of preferencing the Nationals – consider it was in the context of whether a National or a Liberal won the seat, not the ALP or an independent. Providing the Nationals with a seat over the Libs in WA always seemed like a thoroughly good idea, especially when they were prepared to preference Greens straight after the Libs (which I might add delivered a Green to the WA Leg Council and not a Christian Democrat – a slightly more progressive result wouldn’t you say?), and were prepared to put up some decent candidates (not just Lib time-servers or arch-conservatives). The Nats in WA may not have much of an idea on native title, but as I said, they have been good on other issues. (But maybe you were just having a dig…). In terms of delivering up a National Party Govt in Qld in 1995 – well Kernot made a deal with the Libs over seats in 1996 – oh yes, it was “x seats to the Libs and y to the ALP”, but it was key marginals that were being given away to the Libs – I watched it happen in WA. Oh and I almost forgot, democracy within the Greens means local branches still retain autonomy. Don’t forget the issue that decided those 4 Qld seats – a freeway through environmentally sensitive bushland with Koala’s in-situ to boot. Goss lost 9 seats in the election (10 if you count Mundingburra), so was not flavour of the month.

    You also think Chipp and Haines were more leftwing than the Democrats today?? Are you saying there was a rightwing drift in the party over the last 17 years? That might explain some decisions taken by some Democrat MP’s over the years, but it doesn’t explain your’s and Natasha’s comments over the years. Maybe you don’t realise that many Greens have appreciated your’s and Natasha’s position within your own party and lamented the economic positioning of Andrew Murray or John Coulter’s conservatism (and noting that both Jean Jenkins and Janet Powell have in fact joined the Greens in their respective states).

    Oh, and it was 1998 that the NT Greens put PHON ahead of the CLP in the NT – arguing that the CLP were in fact more racist than PHON, not that it mattered as the seats split 1-1 as they always have done in the Territory.

    And a little history – the Greens first appear in NSW in 1985, and in my home state of WA in 1987. They they appeared only 8 years after the Dems, and etched out their own political niche with no help (and at times a certain amount of animosity and arrogance) from your party.

    But perhaps we can call a truce in this mini-war. I note Andrew B is saying that (but more succinctly that me), and The Speaker rightly points out that our combined vote is still impressive (well, I hope it shall be this election).

  14. [Due to preference arrangements, the Dems/Greens almost operate like a unified block. ]

    If they ran a joint ticket, would they be able to shut out Hanson?

  15. To make an overstatement but a partly true one: The emergence of the Democrats was a sign of the political future that politics would no longer be about socialism vs. anti-socialism but liberalism vs. conservatism. Now that this transformation is complete and Labor is the small-l liberal party the Democrats ideological space has been taken. It is Labor not the Greens which has undercut the Democrats, the Greens have taken votes from Labor. The Democrats have gone the way of liberal Republicans in the US.

  16. Re Senate. The main reason John Howard has not called a double dissolution is that unless there is a massive swing away from the liberal party the Liberal Party will continue to hold the balance of power in the senate come the next election. You can expect that all major parties will consider their preference deal in queesland not in isolation but in consideration of all other seats Australia wide.

  17. Interesting thread.. some comments:

    1. Any real analysis here is largely going to be speculative, we all know that Senate polls are notoriously inaccurate because a) the numbers are too small to pick up signal on such small percentages because b) it costs too much to do a poll that not many Australians really want to read (what average punter knows what a senate even is??) and c) as correctly stated, senate voting falls into line “at the trophs” and compresses reported intentions.

    2. Arbie J: Way off line with FFP and the Exclusive Brethren. One of our friends is a Pastor at one of these AOG churches and thinks your comment is ill-informed. The Exclusive Brethren have no formal or other connections with the AOG and in fact most consider the EB a cult. Any libe dealings with this group won’t feature a blip on the radar with FFP, I would imagine.

    3. My analysis with Bill on this site examined Steve Fielding in some detail and I see far more work in Hansard transcripts than either Barnaby Joyce or (sorry and no offence intended, Andrew, since I respect you) Andrew Bartlett. Furthermore, current issues of petrol, grocery prices, predatory pricing, home ownership/mortgage issues and the internet have ALL been sourced to noise from Steven Fielding, despite sparse mainstream press coverage. Both parties are listening and drum-beating on his issues. To be frank, I think he is sensible and I see nothing in these policies that irks me at all, do you??? I even think I might vote for them now.

    4.Queensland, like last election, will determine the balance of power in this country. I’ll lay $100 on FFP taking the sixth from discussions on this thread because:

    a) Greens have a limited harvest from anyone but ALP/Dems for preferences (not enough). They also tend to do the worst in QLD.
    b) Andrew, I, like many others do feel you may lose your seat (thanks for your service!).
    c) Pauline Hanson has the Greens problem from the right, limited harvest. Also a little bit “old” on the electorate now, hasn’t done well for a while.
    d) FFP can harvest well from ALP and LIBs, may also grab from Nats, even Pauline may give them some leeway, so any suggestion that FFP is around 5% will get them over the line
    e) This Jeff Buchanan seems to have his head screwed on and is working very hard, according to political sources up here.

    I would predict a 2-1-2-1: LIB:NAT:ALP:FFP.. any takers?? 🙂

  18. Chris Curtis…. I remember that election well I do not think you lost that election because you were filmed in a less then favourable location. The democrats base was in Eltham at the time and the community was facing a range of issues not the least being the proposed freeway extension funded by the federal government and cuts in education. add to that the deep divisions that resulted form the Dismissal in 1975 and the fact that it was a bye-election, The electorate was looking for an alternative to the main stream parties and the DLP was not considered a fresh face on the block . The Democrats were a seen as a moderate breakaway party from the liberals at the time and they attracted a wide range of conservative middle class Eltham voters. I remember it because my family displayed both the ALP and the Democratic poster together . I joined the ALP around that time signing up to the Eltham branch. The DLP only registered with the catholic community and were still tainted from the events of 1955. sorry I think you need to look for another excuse why the DLP did not do so well and do not blame the ABC…

  19. Hear Hear Mr Speaker Full agreement what you call the pivot point I refer to the upper and lower thresholds that change the results. David Risstrom in Victoria fell short of the both thresholds in that the Labor vote was below the 39% and the liberals above 41% and they were below 8.5% all which played towards Risstrom defeat. Risstrom himself was a good candidate worthy of support. Lynn Alison likewise is a good candidate but in the end it is a matter of preferences and thresholds/pivot points. Please note there is more then one pivot point for minor parties hoping to leap-frog the steps of the ladder. A base vote is essential but is no good without the other preference convergences. IN the end you need to cut a deal first with those below you and then those that will become your main competitor be it the Greens or Family First and hope that you surpass and collect the main parties surplus.

  20. I blame the speaker for electing the DLP in Victoria’s Upperhouse. I am convinced it was his magic calculator that foretold the future… 🙂 Try cutting a deal with him.. 🙂

  21. As I said Stuart, there’s always a rationalisation that can be made within the context of the time – part of which tends to include increasing the chances of getting your own person in, which is (a) what most political parties usually do, and (b) another reason why lectures on morality are always hollow, because they pretend there is no element of self-interest. I use the same argument as I did after 2004 because it happens to be true. It didn’t work cos the Libs primary vote surged late in the campaign and our vote dropped too far, but it could have and I think stopping the Libs (or any one party) getting control of the Senate was fairly important – it is a pity hardly anybody else seemed to think it could happen until it did. It is worth repeating that it was the Qld Democrat seat going to the Liberals which gave them control of the Senate and they only just got it – an extra 15000 Democrat votes (less than 0.7%) would have stopped that happening, an outcome I presume most progressive voters would have preferred. Despite all that, I have also said it was none the less a mistake, and won’t happen again.

    But, one thing I would hope 2004 taught everybody is that running down the vote of either progressive party hurts us both, as we each rely on the other for preferences. The Speaker suggests this at #64 with his “pivot point” description, although I think she/he glosses over the 2004 experience, where the Dems vote was so low that the Greens did not gain enough benefit through preferences to win in Qld.

    As I said above, if I really do only get 2 per cent as some people hope, the Greens have no hope of winning a Qld seat. They should be hoping the 5.5% is real and that they just get enough to stay ahead of me – otherwise it would be a major party clean sweep again.

    I should note that my experiences with Greens in Queensland is generally quite positive, and there is much more of a cooperative engagement between us than an antagonistic one, which should help both out chances. Hopefully those southerners won’t ruin it for us (that’s a joke by the way).

    Finally, I am not saying Chipp and Haines were more leftwing than all the modern Democrats, I am saying trying to pigeon hole the party too narrowly in any era is misleading (or indeed individual people – you call John Coulter ‘conservative’ which is possibly true in some respects, but I would also say he was one of the most ‘deep green’ Democrat Senators ever). I have heard these type of comments that Greens “appreciate Natasha’s position within the Democrats”, but some of the most vehement public attacks on her (not counting from Meg Lees of course) I’ve heard have come from Greens – including, as ever, about preferences. My point is not to whinge, but to highlight the risks of over-generalisation or being too selective (something we are all prone to do, especially in political debate).

  22. In reference to a few of the above posters.

    Geoff – the point on whether the ALP has moved into the space occupied by the Democrats is a point that I will consider further. Possible an analogy would be that there is a finite political space. inside this space there are two big balloons, one blue and one red – each is moving about a bit and they are also expanding and contracting. Around these or balloons are various vapours that are moving around trying to fill the space between the big balloons or to each side. The problems is that there is now not much space between those balloons. Another aspect of your point regarding the ALP occupying the Democrats space is that the ALP is now a middle class party, the ‘labour’ element is probably on its last gasp – the major unions now representing the ‘middle class’ – teachers, public servants, etc. In the late ’70s the ‘traditional’ Labor Party still existed and was considered unpalatable for some of the middle class that could not identify with the Labor Party. If Don’s Party was written in 2007 – would the character played by Veronica Lang in the film talk about the Labor Party being filled with types wearing dirty overalls (or something to that effect) – but she may have voted Democrat in 1977 or Australia Party in 1972.

    Chris – I agree that people voted for the DLP (in 1970 especially) because they were looking for an alternative but it also has to be said that the DLP were aided by there being no serious competition in the political spectrum (whilst the DLP were elected in Vic, NSW and QLD – independents were elected in Tasmania and WA). But the other factor in the DLP success of the era is that the 1964, 67 and 70 senate elections were slightly unreal – people were not electing a government on the same day – they could afford to be ‘adventurous’ with their vote – and it was like a by election – you could punish the government if you had a beef with them, but you weren’t faced with changing them. Imagine if 1990 had been a Senate only election – the Democrats would have had a massive vote – or if 2007 senate only – the lib vote could be down in the ’20s but you would still have JWH at Kirribilli.

    Chris – agree wholeheartedly that manning booths increases votes enourmously. That is why I think Malcolm Turnbull’s majority in Wentworth is actually higher than it appears because the libs will pour resources into Potts Point, Darlinghurst, etc. Would have been wasted in 2004 but not now – I will expect to see very small swings to the ALP in those booths.

  23. Has the alleged 69th Edition of ‘The Rudd Report’ in my local freebie City South News rag today. I wonder where the other 68 went. Still its a glossy 4 page lift out that beams freshness and confidence at first sight. Guess we will all be getting alot more of this paper advertising in the mail etc in coming weeks, except of course from the ‘tree hugger’ Greens.

  24. William

    BTW thanks for running this site, keeps political tragics like us out of strip clubs and gives us something to do whilst waiting for Lateline to come on!

    I have popped $10 in your Paypal donations for the “save the bandwidth fund!”. I don’t blog often but admittedly, some are long ;). (this one being an exception!)

    Cheers again!

  25. Geoff Robinson Says:
    “Now that this transformation is complete and Labor is the small-l liberal party”

    I think you have summed it up and small-l liberal voters have to get over it and stop voting Liberal. Now the transformation is complete that is exactly what is happening.

    Carrying on about Rudd in a nightclub pushed a few more across the line.

  26. Speaker said “In 2001, the Dems narrowly beat the Greens in most states, riding their preferences home to four senate seats. They would have another senator in NSW except for One Nation preferences to the Greens.

    In 2004 they dropped below the Greens, which is death.”

    I’ve disagreed with pretty much everyone’s interpretation of the Democrats on this thread (except the Senator’s) but I agree with this comment by Speaker.

    I initially thought the FF pref deal *almost* worked for the Dems (especially in Victoria), but after doing some modelling of my own, I have come to the conclusion that the Democrats needed to outpoll the Greens at the last election, not Family First.

    I assume this might be the case in the next election too, and only in SA and QLD are they close at all. Although no-one has discussed the “Lyn Allison bounce” in Victoria (a showing of over 3% is my prediction there at the moment).

    On the claims that “the Democrats don’t know what they stand for” or “they’ve drifted to the left” – those are laughable things to say (and always said by ardent supporters of the other parties). The Democrats, as social liberals, have been the most ideologically consistent party in Australia over the last 30 years. In those decades, the Liberals have gone from being socially progressive and constitutionally conservative to socially conservative and constitutionally radical. Labor has gone from being socialists to free-marketeers! By contrast, the Democrats remain socially progressive economic interventionists. Really, the hackery on this site gets to me sometimes.

  27. On the topic of the DLP, the main DLP guy (forget his name) wrote a letter to the Age saying he was in with a chance, and I actually emailed him saying I agreed. It turned out te didn’t get up, but his comrade in the West did.

  28. Aided greatly by being the first Labor party on the ticket. Many labor voters are not that smart and they came across the Democratic Labor Party and are too stupid to realise that there is also an Australian Labor Party later on the ballot. It was clearly worth a percent or two.

  29. Melb city (August 23rd, 2007 at 5:50 pm),

    Of course I didn’t lose that election because of where I was filmed. My point about media bias was a much wider one. Anyone who can remember 1977 will remember he huge coverage that Don Chipp and the Democrats got as his party was established. That is why the Democrats were considered “a fresh face on the block”. The DLP’s being “tainted from the events of 1955” is no explanation for the fall in the DLP vote since 1970. It is only an explanation of the hostility to it that began in, and probably remained constant from, 1955, which is of course a separate question as to whether it or Dr Evatt deserved the hostility.

    blackburnpseph (August 23rd, 2007 at 6:51 pm),

    You are right in saying that “the DLP were aided by there being no serious competition in the political spectrum “ and “the other factor in the DLP success of the era is that the 1964, 67 and 70 senate elections were slightly unreal – people were not electing a government on the same day”.

    There has been room for a third party since 1955. The DLP created the space and built on it by using its balance of power role in the Senate until 1973 to make the Senate a genuine House of Review by switching its votes between the ALP and the coalition and by working with the ALP to set up the Senate committee system, from which we still benefit today, even with a coalition-controlled Senate. The third party was the DLP from the ‘50s to the ‘70s and the Democrats from the ‘70s to the ‘00s and will be the Greens from now on. There is not room for two third parties. I do not see Family First as ever achieving the success of the DLP, the Democrats or the Greens in the Senate. State Legislative Councils are different matters – and these did not have PR when the DLP was around.

  30. Chris

    My dad said to me that the sole purpose of the DLP was to keep labor out of office, he was pretty knowledgable, as all dads are, so your implying that the DLP trod the middle line was illuminating.

    The party I saw as trodding the middle line in recent times was the Democrats, I was saddened to see their demise and hope that Bartlet can spark a revival as I saw them as being a truly moderating force.

    As for who would replace the role of the DLP and the democrats, I would hope the Greens, their thinking and policies are ahead of time, and agree that Family First could never be an independent voice.

  31. Arbie Jay,

    Your dad’s view of the DLP was widely held, but would more accurately be put as the DLP’s aim was to recreate a Labor Party that DLP men and women could belong to again, and its strategy was to keep the ALP out of office until it reformed. Younger members of the DLP had dreams of creating a permanent centre party, but they turned out to be nothing but dreams. Five books with interesting perspectives are Robert Murray’s The Split, Ross Fitzgerald’s The Pope’s Battalions, Brian Costar et al’s The Great Labor Schism, somebody whose name I forget’s Democrats and Demons and Paul Reynolds’s The Democratic Labor Party.

    Malcolm Mackerras published a monograph on the DLP’s voting pattern in the Senate more than 30 years ago, the name of which I think was The Australian Senate: Who Held Control?. The problem for the DLP senators was that the ALP had been reformed enough to win government but not enough to end the Split. The senators forgot the DLP’s prominence as the party holding the balance of power and resisted so much of the Whitlam Government’s agenda that they became seen as submerged in the Opposition rather than independent decision-makers. They actually voted with the ALP a fair bit, but on many key issues they sided with the coalition, and this lost them support.

    I do not say that Family First can never be an independent voice. I say that it cannot establish a large enough constituency to be a long-term third party in the Senate as the other three have done.

  32. is there a large cathlic population in victoria? why did the DLP survive there but not elsewhere? Will they be standing interstate?

  33. Molotov,

    I don’t think Victoria’s proportion of Catholics is very different from the national average. The reason that the DLP survived in Victoria is that it was the DLP’s strongest state. The Victorian DLP was the legal continuation of the Victorian ALP, but in the days before registration of political names it could not hold the name, ALP. The majority of ALP branches and members became the DLP. A number of unions remained affiliated to the DLP. As far as I now, none did elsewhere.

    The Victorian DLP still had about 20,000 potential supporters – donors, letter-boxers, HTV hander-outers – in the 1970s. These were not party members, but people willing to do more than just vote DLP. In other states, these numbers were much smaller.

    The Victorian DLP was independent of the NCC – thanks to the efforts of Frank Dowling and Jim Brosnan back in the 1950s – so when the DLP fall out of favour with Bob Santamaria he did not have the power to close it down in Victoria. He had pushed the amalgamation with the Country Party, but the Victorian party never went along with that (even though there was a conference vote supportive of the idea in 1973 or 1974). I suspect he did elsewhere, but I cannot prove that.

    When the DLP officials, and then the Central Executive, decided in 1978 that there was nothing to be gained by continuing the party, the special conference voted 110-100 to disband. There was thus a strong minority opinion that wanted to keep going. This was the genesis of the new DLP, which Jon Mulholland will argue is the same DLP because the vote to disband was not, in his view, constitutionally valid.

    The DLP is not registered in any other state. I do not know if it ever will be. There isn’t much room for a DLP now that there are Family First and the Christian Democrats competing for the same slice, even though the latter do not have the Labor commitment of the DLP.

  34. ‘The Speaker’ (31) wrongly states that the Democrats vote in Victoria was “0.08%” in the State election. I presume the Speaker meant 0.8 %. But even this is an unfair statement as the Democrats did not contest all the State seats.

    My own vote in Southern Metro was 1.8%, in a sprawling electorate that comprises one in five Melbourne voters. In addition, there were exceptionally strong fields, evidenced by high-profile Stephen Mayne (of People Power) scoring just 1.2% in my electorate. They preferenced the Democrats first.

    For perspective on the Democrats performance in Victoria and the number of Parties that contested, one Upper House candidate for another minor Party was elected to the Upper House with 2.6% !

    Despite encouraging polling for Andrew in Queensland, the Democrats national vote remains low. But this does not justify misrepresenting the facts when they don’t sit well with your breathless, repetitive prediction of the death of the Democrats.

  35. Dembo, thank you.

    The Democrats will publicly anounce our candidate for Albert Park shortly. Nominations close on Thursday.

    Members are determined to run an excellent campaign in Albert Park focused on accountability and waste, public transport, education, mental, dental health and drug services, gambling, business research and innovation, progressive social policy, the bay, the Grand Prix and the urban and natural environment generally.

    I’ve already had many offers of support. For the first time in ages many impressive young people are getting active in the Democrats, reflected in the strong revival of the Young Democrats.

    This support for the Democrats is consistent with the general public mood I’ve noticed when discussiing politics with 9,000 (mostly) young people, and when addressing schools and forums during the recent State campaign.

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