Idle Speculation: APEC edition

Stuck for a title for a new open thread, I thought I’d revive a beloved old brand name (royalties still owing to Adam Carr). You might like to discuss:

• The Australian statsmeister George Megalogenis‘s rundown on Mal Brough’s semi-rural Queensland seat of Longman. Megalogenis also elaborates upon his earlier identification of single mothers as an important demographic. The top 30 list for this group includes Wakefield (SA, Liberal 0.7%), Cowper (NSW, Nationals 6.5%), Lindsay (NSW, Liberal 2.9%), Dobell (NSW, Liberal 4.8%), Solomon (NT, CLP 2.9%), Page (NSW, Nationals 5.5%), Robertson (NSW, Liberal 6.9%), Kingston (SA, Liberal 0.1%) and Bass (Tas, Liberal 2.7%). Well down the order are Bennelong (number 119) and Wentworth (number 139).

Bowman MP Andrew Laming and Moreton MP Gary Hardgrave getting tetchy about the six months taken by the Australian Federal Police and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to resolve whether charges will be laid against them over the “printgate” affair (also of interest to Bonner MP Ross Vasta). The Courier-Mail ran an editorial criticising the AFP’s tardiness on this front way back on June 19.

• Still in Queensland, Possum Comitatus’s adventurous analysis of the safe Liberal (or is it?) Gold Coast seat of McPherson.

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.

396 comments on “Idle Speculation: APEC edition”

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  1. Idle speculation, eh?

    I offer up this tidbit from Wednesday’s edition of the Daily Telegraph here in Sydney, cut and paste :

    “With election fever starting to grip the national capital, the Government has also placed Labor and the minor parties on notice that next week may – just may – be the final week of parliamentary sittings before the polls.

    Senate leader Nick Minchin has signalled to Labor, Greens, Australian Democrats and Family First that the Senate may sit very long and very late next week.”

  2. This is not relavent to the fed election (yet), but does anyone have news from the by-elections in Vic?
    From what I’ve heard from a fairly high up from the Greens and 2 branch secretaries from the ALP, is that a Green win in both seats is quite probable. In fact one of them quoted Adam of saying something similar on this site, but I can’t find it. Care to comment Adam?

    If, and its a big if, the Greens win both seats, how will this change things Federally? I mean, Albert Park is within Melbourne isn’t it?

  3. When an appointment with the executioner is inevitable, why hang back, wetting your pants in the dark of the night? Howard should go now and get it over with while his team are still publicly on his side. The longer his team have to contemplate post parliamentary life the harder it will be for him to maintain discipline within the ranks. So far only Wilson Tuckey has been stupid enough to shoot off his mouth.

    The rush for the lifeboats will soon begin, and jostling for post election power and perks can be counterproductive for effective electioneering message setting. Things could easily get worse the Coalition if the wait is too long for the fatal appointment.

    I recall the 1977 election which this one is beginning to resemble. The opposition went from a rabble to worse as they waited for the inevitable.

  4. Remembering 1996 and Keating seeming to wait and wait to call the election but looking at the election date itself shows it was actually 11 days short of 3 years. In fact 1990, 1993 & 1996 were all in March within 3 weeks of each other, and each looked like turning up a loss, so maybe Howard will simply look at the 3 year time period and just go with it – his 3 have all been between Oct 3 & Nov 10, so I’m punting he’ll go between these days again – maybe now Nov 3 IS looking good. I also think Turnbull will bite the bullet on the Tas pulp mill one way or another and get on with campaigning in his own seat. This last Newspoll aside, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some firewalling going on for mainland seats (so letting Bass & Braddon go for now).

    Also, when Nostradamus and Steven Kaye were posting there most invective driven posts they were studiously ignored. Last night people indulged Glen when he should have just been ignored. Can we perhaps return to a bit more of an even keel today?

    Finally, has anyone noticed that the NSW Police have resorted to trying to injunct APEC demonstrators to halt their protests – this morning its the Stop The War Coalition, but there will also be a hearing against a small set-piece demonstration (21 people plus 4 MP’s) from the Greens that is street-theatre driven but with no actual rally etc.

  5. Have a look at Shanahan’s lucid reaction to yesterday’s poll.

    Now, it seems, polls are completely useless AND biased towrads the ALP. How many times can he quote the government saying people will vote differently come the election? He has moved into a new delusional period – I wonder if he will accept the election result or will be writing the next day that elections themselves are not a real indication of the people’s wish and that JH should stay put.

  6. While my original post awaits moderation…I think November 3 is back on as a likely date, if not in October. Howard wont wait until December or later as it really would appear to be postponing the inevitable, and anyway the real campaign is where any poll shifts will occur if they are going to occur.

  7. Laming and Hardgrave have a right to be angry at the time that the AFP investigation is taking. It’s getting ridiculously close to the election.

  8. Interesting that George has identified single mothers as an important voting group.
    Long overdue recognition.
    Particularly in the light of impending legislation whose impact on a large chunk of Australian voters has been virtually ignored by all and sundry.
    I refer to the changes to child support laws.
    Along with other issues that relate to many, particularly women and children, such as the decrease in income for women as a result of workNOchoices.
    The child support legislation that is in the pipeline, due to be enacted next year, will have a huge impact on the incomes of supporting parents, most of whom are mothers.

    It will decrease considerably the income of such.

    Yet has received little publicity.
    So their experience of the real impact of cuts in incomes to those rearing our future will come too late to be translated into political awareness.
    Fortunately many are slowly becoming aware of the increased suffering that will be their lot in the near future as they become informed as to the implications of the legislation.
    And they vote!

  9. Charlie… the AFP shouldn’t be considering the election when handling the investigation.

    Just because they’re MPs doesn’t mean they should be given special treatment before the eyes of the law.

  10. Single mothers are in poorer seats. Poorer seats are usually “old Labor” (= conservative) and a number of them–especially those where they combine old Labor areas with Liberals ones–have swung coalition in the past ten years. They are likely to see the same pro-Labor swing as everywhere else.

    I doubt it (single mums) will have any effect on the results, other than these seats recording a high FF vote. High FF votes are usually the not-so-disadvantaged in the disadvantaged areas, voting ‘against’ their rowdier and more dysfunctional cousins.

  11. Vasta and Hardgrave are finished, regardless of the results of the police investigation. Lamming has a safer seat, but any adverse finding against him will put Bowman in serious danger of going to Labor.
    Dennis Shanahan: has the bloke got his head wedged so firmly up Howard’s butt that he can’t see reality?

  12. Good morning all, it has been a long time since I’ve commented here – in fact I don’t actually recognise any of you anymore – but I thought I might drop in and say a few words. The last couple of threads have really intrigued me with their analysis.

    First and foremost, I consider myself a liberal supporter. At the up-coming election, I will most probably vote for the Liberals, although my seat is all but certain to go to Labor (Kingston – currently the most marginal Liberal seat in the country. Enough said.) But, I don’t really want Howard to win. Like many people, I am bored of national politics and the fact both parties are drifting further towards one another, and that Rudd is going to win by ensuring he is not overly different to Howard. Nonetheless, the alternative to Howard isn’t much better, and I have reservations about much of the current Labor shadow cabinet, not to mention the number of union officials which are sitting in the upcoming election. And so forth and so on.

    My question is whether, contrary to popular opinion, the liberals would really lose much from installing Costello as PM? Thinking logically, the 40% or so primary vote who have yet to switch their vote to Rudd by now are not going to do so simply because of a new leader, unless that leader is Downer. The liberals won’t lose votes by installing Costello, not like they would have had they installed him this time last year. And he would add a spark to the political arena, and get people listening – albeit reluctantly – to the coalition again. Yes he is arrogant, but frankly I think Rudd is more up himself then Costello – he just does a better job at hiding it. And let’s not forget Paul Keating’s ego (he was at it again today – had to laugh at his assesment of Rudd today: He looks like a leader and a future prime minister, and in this climate that is going to be enough. Don’t be too enthusiastic Paul…

    By putting Costello in the leaders chair, the liberals can still trump the ‘economic management’ card (it wouldn’t take long for them to dismiss Howard as having anything to do with it at all once he’s gone) and immediately negate months of Labor campaigning, which has focussed almost solely on the ‘mean and tricky Howard’ tag. This move would not be what Labor wanted, and if you want proof of that, how many times have you heard “a vote for Howard is a vote for Costello” related mantras this year? I’ve yet to hear one; in 2004 they couldn’t get enough of it. I don’t think this move would be as disastrous as people are making out. But then again, I’m one of those strange people who think Costello would make a good PM, so I’m obviously somewhat biased.

  13. Has anyone read (or made sense of) Shanahan’s piece in the Oz today?
    One minute he’s saying things like the “Do Not Call list and mobile phone households are changing the nature of polling and the next minute he points out that pollsters are exempt from Do not Call and that only 3% of households are mobile only – has this guy finally lost it or what?
    To be a fly on the wall at therapy eh?

  14. …and just as I submit that comment, I go and read that Andrew Bolt has said essentially the same thing.

    Not quite sure what to think about that…

  15. Max, I think almost anyone would agree Costello would’ve walked this election easy.

    In fact, I think it’s not too late for them to change now and it’d probably do them a world of good.

    However, I’m quite happy to let them trundle on with Howard and lose.

  16. Max, that is a good post, and its rare to see a well constructed post these days from a Liberal supporter.

    Might I suggest that if neither the Liberals nor ALP are worthy of your vote, that you consider a protest vote for a minor party or the informal party?

    I personally agree with your view that I am not happy with Kevin Rudd’s me-tooism. Yet he is the only real alternative to John Howard.

    If you don’t want Howard to win, is there any reason you would vote Liberal? Is it because you don’t want Rudd to win either?

  17. Add to my first line in #18… Costello would’ve walked this election easy… had he taken the leadership late last year or early this year.

  18. oops,
    apologies to Kit and others – should’ve read the thread thoroughly before starting – I’m very keen to get people’s thoughts on Shanahan though. I’ve had some comments posted and others not – can’t make sense of it. I understand if I’m offensive or off topic, but these were very straightforward remarks. I posted recently, asking what Dennis’ feeling was about the two articles he wrote in the aftermath of the 2004 poll – in one article he stated that Howard had secured a “two term majority” and in the other (written after the senate was finalised) that “Howard wuill not make changes that fly in the face of the electorate.” Is it not legitimate for me to question his view on these matters now, given that he appears to have been utterly wrong? I’ve made remarks at the Oz before that were understandably not posted, but this one and many other examples have left me baffled and frustrated. After witnessing the debacle in which Chris Mitchell said he was going to “go” Peter Brent, am i wrong to think that there are some massive News Ltd egos at play here?

  19. Asanque: right you are. No question that the Oz is unashamedly biased, but I’m interested in getting a bit more insight into how the personalities involved make their decisions. There doesn’t seem to be a clear and consistent reason for the editing they do on blogs – have a look and you’ll see that there are plenty of generally hostile remarks posted about the Oz and News Ltd generally on the Oz site. I’m curious to know if the censorship they employ there is more about individual egos than it is about defending News Ltd – the way i see it is, you can bag Murdoch all you like, but if you point out the imperfections of a columnist, forget about having it posted.
    I really think that Shanahan and Mitcghell are a bit borderline something.

  20. Just read the previous thread’s ‘debate’ from last night, and I have to say it all got a bit feral – good call William, diverting us all to a new thread.

    I’m coming around to thinking that JWH will go with his original plan and call the election soon after APEC, probably late next week. This would suggest an election on 27 October or 3 November. The media (not to mention Labor) are already on to the three year anniversary thing, and this will only get louder once the APEC circus is over.

    On APEC – the main reason that there will be no bounce for the government out of it, is that there has been no attempt made to include the city. Most people don’t even know what APEC is, and yet Sydney-siders (myself included) have been expected to just put up with it. It would have been more than possible to attach some sort of APEC festival to the Heads-of-Government meeting – Sydney has significant communities from all the countries represented at APEC, and this might have been a good way to include actual citizens this week. What’s more, this APEC festival could have been held around the suburbs, which might have alleviated the stress on the CBD.

    But instead we get a private party (including a private cracker night!) for leaders we don’t know much about. No wonder everyone’s grumbling.

  21. I am looking forward to the APEC protest this week.

    What I like the most is that marching side by side will be the guy dressed in the Koala outfit, supported by the anti nukes guy dressed as the Grim Reaper.

    They will be joined by the anti Tasmanian pulp mill supporters, anti globalisation, anti Bush, anti war, anti whaling, anti World Bank, anti G8, anti uranium exports, anti Christian Right, anti Christian Left, anti WorkChoices, anti Coal powered electricity etc…

    So many causes, so, little time.

    Let’s pray the blood doesn’t rush to head of those on either side

  22. Any OP-ed writers are so irrelevant to political debate anyhow. The only people who ever read them already have strong opinions and are most likely to have made their minds up.

    Furthermore, it’s quite obvious when you read the comments that people who ‘disagree’ with the opinion piece haven’t read it at all and are opposed immediately based on who wrote it.

    The news media itself is a completely ineffective medium to influence the most important votes.

  23. Wow, Dennis Shanahan is really a laugh. First he says it’s the prefered PM numbers that are important, not primary voting intention or 2PP. Now that Rudd’s PPM numbers are the highest Newspoll has ever had them (iirc) he’s claiming that polling is meaningless. He’s run out of straws to grab at, so now he ditches the bail entirely. I don’t know how anyone who pays attention to what he has to say can continue to take him seriously. At least Phillip Adams is upfront about his biases. The really ironic thing is that the mobile-only households are largely inner-city 18-29 year olds – I wonder who they will overwhelmingly vote for *raised eyebrows*.

    I can’t wait for them to just call this election. I don’t see how things can possibly improve for The Government as this drags on longer. Any trend back towards the government appears to be finished now. As soon as it’s called I’ll have to put in to get that weekend off to make sure I can have a nice big election-night party and really savior it. Sadly for me, the earliest election night I can remember was 1996, when I was 12.

  24. I particularly like this bit:

    “In fact, the worst time to try to predict an election result is during the sound and fury of a campaign. The television debate, so comprehensively “won” by Mark Latham? Irrelevant. This or that chance remark or gesture, or a particularly “telling blow” delivered in a policy speech? Irrelevant. A Labor backbencher questioning the fairness of the ALP’s tax proposals? Irrelevant. The millions of dollars squandered on raucous, negative TV commercials? Irrelevant. (If you doubt that, ask any commercial advertiser who understands the role of advertising.)”

    I recall people talking the other day about some roadside interview with Rudd and how that might damage him. Irrelevant! I’m somewhat politically interested and I didn’t see it. Even if I did… I wouldn’t care.

  25. Here’s something a bit off-track but raises local political issues.

    Swiss air traffic control *management* were tried, found guilty, fined and given suspended sentences for under-staffing that led to the 2002 air crash where many Russian children died. The comments about Switzerland being a rich country are telling.

    In this country we won’t have a bar of “industrial manslaughter”, and yet execs can go to jail for price-fixing.

    And the moral of all this is ?????

  26. Max wonders if it will be better for Costello to take over. I would say no way because although Howeard is on the nose for WorkChoices it is alsothe economy that is smelling bad. There is a growing realisation out there that the economy has been run reasonably well but run well for someone else not the Australian public.

    I have given this analogy before but Costello used it yesterday – the economy, as run by the Coalition, is built like a high-performance racing car – with an incredibly fast, highly tuned engine; light-weight body; super-responsive steering, racing suspension and low-profile tyres. The performance numbers are great (200 Bhp, 300 km/h) and it is one of the fastest racing cars on the planet. It has a driving seat for business with a little roll cage for safety.

    However, the average Australian looks at it and says ‘that’s great but where is the seats for us, the kids and grandma?’ Where’s the boot? Where are the drink holders and the tow bar? How much is the petrol? We don’t mind a driving seat for business but we also need a spot for a co-driver that can just dab the brakes and adjust the steering wheel when we are doing 130km/h into a sharp bend.

    The economy has the fast numbers but the coalition has failed to provide an economy that Australian’s want. So when the commentators, Costello and other Coalition MPs look at the economy and then the polls with confusion it is because they don’t get it – the are racing car fans looking at performance indicators when they should be just the average Australian looking for a vehicle to take their family, friends and neighbours on a safe and pleasurable trip.

  27. Asanque @ 19 –

    Other minor Parties? None really that take my fancy – not a Greens supporter, and certainly not a Family First one. Ah for the old days of the Democrats, a nice, sensible, middle-of-the-road party (I’m talking old, old days.) Nope, I’m currently just genuinely disheartened by the whole system and ‘choice’ of policies and parties. I don’t think I’m the only one either, in fact I’m positive that I am not, there are a lot of people thoroughly unhappy with the current comparisons between the two major parties.

    Then again, a lot of my dissatisfaction comes from Howard and his Senate majority. While I support the general basis of workchoices (and please, nobody try to debate this with me, I simply haven’t the energy after two years of going around in circles with it) I was disgusted at the electoral changes, and perhaps even more pissed off at the fact the media pretty much ignored them, and then the public let the media get away with it…gah.

    But probably my main gripe is that Howard has had 11 years and 4 election mandates to do what he wants to do. The world has changed, and I think for the most part he has done well to adapt (and I think history will judge him that way as well), but there comes a point when you simply need to change leaders, and currently the only choice of leader is Howard or Rudd. Hence I would love to see Costello have a crack, because then the election would suddenly shift from being about being “young and inexperienced” and “too old and too tricky” to debating whatever difference is left in policies and parties. Labor would have to actually start working to win government, rather then throw ‘mean and tricky’ phrases at Howard. The liberals would have to fight on the future, rather then simply defend or refer to past records. And all the Howard haters – which I see have started to infiltrate this fine website in force as they did Palmers – would either wander off satisfied that their enemy was gone, or stay and have to actually substantiate why they think Rudd and co should win power. I think the country would benefit from a leader change, if nothing more then the level of negative loathing of leaders would drop, albeit temporarily.

  28. Kit,
    thank you, I couldn’t agree more. All those commentators who can’t believe the anti-Government sentiment during such “good economic times” have completely missed the point. It’s not about the nation’s wealth, it’s about who enjoys the benefits of that wealth – Work Choices has told people who’s gonna enjoy those benefits and they’re rightly peeved.

  29. Max: I also voted Democrats in the 1998 election, but not since that GST debacle.

    I know how you feel in terms of the parties, and I voted informal last election.

    I also prefer Costello to be the leader of the Liberal party.

    However, given the divisive policies from Howard I can not bring myself to vote Liberal whilst Howard is the Prime Minister.

    Howard has had his time and has no vision for the future. The Liberals need to be taught a lesson and a change in government will give them ample time to consider their future path.

  30. Call the election please (7),

    Says: September 5th, 2007 at 10:11 am

    “The election will be late November at the earliest. I have a sinking feeling that this will drag on for a long time yet.”

    If he calls the election at the end of next week (first week of the parliamentary sitting) as seems to be hinted at by the Daily Telegraph story [I mean, the Senate leader (in order to get all of the business processed in time) would have to have some kind of heads up from the powers in charge], the latest possible Saturday (if he takes the longest allowable campaign period would be November 17th. Don’t know if that constitutes “well before Christmas” as JH hinted at earlier this week but I do think that the Daily Telegraph is onto something as while we don’t know yet when the election will be I think it is now clear that it will be *called* within days of APEC ending.

  31. Call the election please @12,

    Certainly not. However six months is excessive for an investigation in any case, and the AFP, whilst not giving the MPs any favours, should be mindful that their investigation is, whether they like it or not, a political issue. It isn’t unreasonable to expect that in an election year any investigation that will impact on that election be decided, one way or another, in the quickest possible time.

  32. Max… please drop the “Howard Haters” thing… I think most of us here disagree with the Coalition’s policies and record in Government. I have no personal feelings on Howard as a person, but yes I despise what he’s done in the past 11 years in almost every area.

    Also evident in your posts is a complete bias against Labor. You say Labor would have to “actually start working to win government”? From my viewpoint, the ALP have been working hard at this for the whole year. The Coalition, on the other hand, is yet to present any idea of vision for the future, and have resorted to a negative campaign against Labor.

    I doubt somehow, that Howard will be judged well by history. I don’t think he’ll be the huge hate figure some people have painted him out to be… I just think it’ll be indifferent. In the end he’s not really done much of substance with his 11 years of Government.

  33. Charlie #38

    On the contrary I believe in correct process in all matters of law enforcement. The system isn’t served well if the process is rushed due to the nature of the people involved.

    Justice should be blind.

  34. I don’t really see what should have taken six months. I believe in correct process, too, but clearly this case isn’t a priority and it should be.

  35. I’m not going to enter into a debate on how long the investigation should take. That’s a matter for the AFP to decide independently.

    There’s absolutely no reason this case should have priority over any other. Incidentally, how long do investigations of similar matters usually take do you know?

  36. Re (36),

    Asanque Says:

    “I know how you feel in terms of the parties, and I voted informal last election.

    I also prefer Costello to be the leader of the Liberal party.

    However, given the divisive policies from Howard I can not bring myself to vote Liberal whilst Howard is the Prime Minister.

    Howard has had his time and has no vision for the future. The Liberals need to be taught a lesson and a change in government will give them ample time to consider their future path.”

    You wouldn’t catch me voting for the Libs even in another lifetime, BUT for those Libs who are out there agonizing over “do I like Howard or do I like Costello as the leader of my party” I toss this out to you and it might help you make up your mind.

    Costello is a Republican. Howard is a Monarchist. If the debate over the Republic is something you want to hang your hat on, that might help you to tip the scales towards one or the other. Now, while I wouldn’t ever vote for either, I would NOT be unhappy to see the Libs win IF Costello were the leader based upon this one issue alone.

  37. Max… please drop the “Howard Haters” thing… I think most of us here disagree with the Coalition’s policies and record in Government. I have no personal feelings on Howard as a person, but yes I despise what he’s done in the past 11 years in almost every area.

    Speak for yourself. I loathe Howard.

  38. Dinsdale… yes you loathe Howard but why? I’m sure it’s based mostly on his actions, which it’s quite normal to expect people to judge the man on.

  39. My question is whether, contrary to popular opinion, the liberals would really lose much from installing Costello as PM?

    I think that 12 months ago or even 6 months ago the Libs could have got a bounce by installing Costello. However such a move now would be rightly seen by the entire electorate as running up the white flag and that would just lock in all of that allegedly soft support for Rudd. What incentive is their to vote for losers?

    If it were a hopeless opposition that was about to lose to an unpopular government then it would be possible to try to harness a ‘send a message vote’ but it’s pretty hard for the government to harness that effect (the Qld state coalition notwithstanding).

    The Libs will probably be decimated with Howard in charge, but if they dump him this late they will look like a desperate rabble and ensure that they are decimated.

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