Movement at the station: episode two

An uneasy calm has apparently settled over the Liberal leadership issue – at least until next week’s Newspoll which, as Adam Carr sagely observes, is just as likely to start the ball rolling all over again. An election announcement in the interim would seem to be the only escape, but the Prime Minister has ruled this out. Comments thread denizens are invited to keep the discussion ticking over on this all-new thread.

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.

438 comments on “Movement at the station: episode two”

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  1. Howard is a man of the past. He’s just not credible talking policy ideas for the future. His time’s up. He may be able to stall Labor’s win until the next election, but he can no longer keep them out indefinately.

    I think he’s attempting to do it with talk on “We want to keep going towards a full employment economy” but it’s a misfire. People don’t care about the ins and outs of the economy. They don’t care if other people have jobs, all they care about is having a job for themselves.

    To me, his only hope is continuing to seed doubt in the community of Rudd’s ability to lead. To do this he needs to have a completely smooth run with no slips at all.

    I also don’t think the “The ALP will increase the GST” scare is a good one. Mentioning the GST will just remind people that they introduced it.

  2. A headline is currently “I started leadership talk myself, PM says.”

    Isn’t this akin to saying “PM loses confidence in himself”?

  3. “Optimist Says:
    September 12th, 2007 at 4:53 pm
    All i heard in QT was a bunch of stuff about cementing prosperity, whetever that means.”

    I don’t think they should be saying anything with the word cement.

  4. In latest news, Howard is going to ban betting on elections and making opinion polls illegal. That way no one will know how anyone is going. hehe. Okay late in the day and I need some fun.

  5. Will, I heard the reason he wanted to have 2 more weeks of parliament was so he could put through some legislation cancelling the election, abolishing the High Court and replacing it with a “Fair Legislation Commission” chaired by Professor David Flint.

  6. Has anyone heard anything about Leichhardt?

    It’s apparently not looking good for the Libs and McKillop, but Crossland seems to be about as popular as a case of the clap (its a 3 cornered contest and Crossland is an old moneyed Nat).

    Has anyone heard anything from the ALP side of the fence?

  7. #71 Aristotle

    RE Eden Monaro Poll Leak

    Aristotle, am I mistaken in thinking Howard told his colleagues today that they would win Eden Monaro?

  8. Is Howard operating in a parallel universe here?

    Portlandbet has the following odds for Eden-Monaro:

    Coalition 2.95
    Australian Labor Party 1.33

  9. Luke Brand (Labor candidate for New England) describes himself as “a spare parts interpreter in Tamworth.” Does anyone know what that means? Is this some mysterious rural occupation I’ve never heard of?

  10. A spare parts interpreter is the official term for someone behind the counter in a spare parts section (usually vehicles). Stupid title but my husband was required to put it on his tax return!! Spare parts sales.

  11. Adam @ 166

    He is the guy who when you go to get a new bit for your car he finds it for you, In John Howard’s case “I have a ’69 Hillman Hunter and need a new engine”.

    Luke would look it up on his computer and say sorry its discontinued.

  12. #166

    Luke Brand (Labor candidate for New England) describes himself as “a spare parts interpreter in Tamworth.” Does anyone know what that means? Is this some mysterious rural occupation I’ve never heard of?

    It’s not rural as such, but maybe agricultural machinery spares??

  13. Possum,

    Just how sure are you of a Labor victory?

    Even with the Leadership debacle I still don’t trust Howard and I don’t trust the Australian people.

    I know that it is looking good but…..


  14. I don’t know if this is the place, but since we can all safely say that the Howard government is in for a pasting, since that’s really not the stuff of wild conjecture, since

    1. this is a political website, and those sort of things attract yesmen and yesladies from all sides of the political spectrum, but there are so few Liberal supporters here, for what I would hardly think to be a red kinda site. That says to me, when you can’t even get crackpot looneybin supporters off the ‘net to stand up for you, you’re a goner

    2. the list of reasons for rolling the government contains just one neologism: workchoices, workchoices, workchoices. That’s what people are mad about. And, I can’t see there being some sort of peaceful zen-like calm descend all over Australia as people suddenly decide it was a good idea. It’s like what it’s gonna be like to watch the All Blacks play Portugal this weekend.

    This is the tipping point, and my understanding is those usually don’t happen this side of a writ drop. Maybe it’s a turning point? Maybe it’s now time to start talking about what the win’s going to look like. Just an idea.

  15. Well Howard better visit the GG quick if he wants an Election as he won’t be home for a bit 🙂

    [The Governor-General will depart Australia on 29 September 2007 and return on 12 October 2007.]

  16. “I always thought of John Howard as a 1958 Morris Minor type of man.”

    Way too much class, everyone would want one, Hillman Hunter dud car to go with his persona. 😉

  17. Thanks all – the Pollbludge is better than Google or Wikipedia!

    There is an alarming number of candidates who don’t say what they do for a living at all, or use vague euphemisms that could mean anything.

  18. I had a Morris Minor 1000 ute as a Uni Student. Used it on the odd occasion as a people mover for Moratorium Marches. Don’t knock ’em.

  19. Oldtimer at 171

    About 95% confident.

    The next newspoll quarterly data release due at the end of Sepetember will turn that into either 100% or not all, and from the newspolls involved so far it looks like a solid Labor victory with voters hardening by the day.With the momentum behind them, the ALP will grab at least half, probably more of the undecideds because those flip floppers are always creatures of the herd.

    I just cant see that 30 000 odd people have uniformly been telling fibs to the pollsters over the last 6 months.And elections are won and lost in in the 6 months before the election, not in the campaign.You dont get a consistent, solid 56/57 tpp and a 47/48 primary vote for 10 months without it being ‘real’ or solid.

  20. CTEP @ 64, Adam and others re Tuckey and O’Connor. I have relatives in O’Connor, and in fact was staying there during the last fed election. The Libs win the seat despite Tuckey, and a decent candidate from the (very) conservative side could well unseat him.

    My relative is an official in the Libs there and he told me that he thought Tuckey was an unsuitable person to “waste a good seat like this on”.

    There is absolutely no possible chance of the ALP candidate doing any good, whatever his qualifications.

  21. SE

    OK but only the sedan not the sports.

    “The motor’s stated output was 12 kW, giving a performance reported as almost nil” (wikipedia)

    Very appropriate. 🙂

  22. the topic got so controversial, and so completely full of things that


    Adam, is that really your real hair? for real? It’s a pity that growing enormous hair isn’t an Olympic sport. You could have done your country so proud.

    What I wonder is if, over the next few weeks, a consensus develops about (a) the pre-election process stories (b) the outcomes on election night and (c) the after election news analysis. Other than the current “the coalition is in a lot of trouble”.

    I mean, seriously, Adam, you should have gotten David Attenborough to film your hair. It’s so…marsupian. I don’t know if that was a word before now, though.

  23. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Lightburn Zeta, some lowlights:

    * Lightburn industries had, until 1963, manufactured tools, cement mixers, washing machines and fiberglass boats – the latter would be significant in providing the fibreglass body for the Zeta.

    * Technically, the Zeta was an oddity. The gearbox setup meant that the car could go as fast in reverse as it could forward, at a death-defying 60 mph!

    * A total of 363 were sold

    More at:

  24. 180
    Possum Comitatus Says:
    September 12th, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Oldtimer at 171……….About 95% confident.


    I’d say you are spot on, possum. A really truly great result for the Liberals now would be a 53/47 split against them….a 5.0-5.5% swing against them and they just lose…small Labor majority.

    If things keep going badly for them, the swing will be 9 or 10% away from them, as already appears to be the case. In past elections, the party with the momentum and intiative six weeks or so from the election date has usually been able to hold it through till the bitter end. Campaigns tend to confirm trends, not alter them…Why will this election be different?

    Yes…9,10,11% against the Liberals: why not! They have mis-calculated their strength, underestimated Rudd and brought into focus the unresolved questions of leadership and succession – a series of fatal errors, i devoutly hope….

  25. Labor should be careful not to make too much out of Howard’s rapidly destabilising position. Much in the same way that the public have been prepared to give Rudd the benefit of the doubt on pretty much everything to date and see the Liberal attacks as dirty and grubby, sympathy for Howard’s plight might see a backlash against Labor for same and a small shift in Howard’s support.

    Labor is far better off hammering the “why haven’t you called it yet line” I think.

  26. “Maybe the leadership speculation was staged to enable Howard to demonstrate his strength in the face of adversity. But if it was a stunt -it certainly got out of hand.”

    I agree. I don’t think for a moment that everything we saw ultimately boiled down to an act. As someone already mentioned, Howard looked genuinely rattled, especially on the 7.30 Report. But what might have started as a prod here and there by Howard and a few of his supporters to portray Howard as the winner of another fight clearly blew up in his face and was another case of Howard miscalculating, as he has done all year.

    At any rate, all of this is pure speculation. What I find interesting is just how easy it is to imagine Howard pulling underhanded stunts for his own personal glory. It is a clear indication of just how our illustrious PM is viewed with deep suspicion by people. (The suggestions just now by some bloggers here that Howard might do something illegal in order to win the election is just further evidence).

  27. We are all worse off if this bullshit about the leadership goes on any longer…instead of meaningfully scrutinising each others policies we are talking about a load of crap is this how what our democracy has come to?? Its been the media who have driven this story since last year and they wont back off….they have a lot to answer for…Howard was never going to go he’s no coward and he is the best show at a 5th Coalition victory…

    I would have thought the Labor party would have asked more questions on the economy, interest rates, health, or education in Question time today instead they send up the Rooster who himself did not want Rudd to be the leader of the ALP to ask juvenile questions about the leadership which were entirely out of order as they were not part of the ministers’ portfolios…the ALP are just a bunch of political opportunists nuff said…

  28. “Ah the Moratorium marches – you’re showing your age Fulvio

    So Adam that would be Paddy McGuiness next to you, with Keith Windshuttle obscured to your left…

  29. 166
    Adam Says:
    September 12th, 2007 at 5:24 pm
    Luke Brand (Labor candidate for New England) describes himself as “a spare parts interpreter in Tamworth.” Does anyone know what that means? Is this some mysterious rural occupation I’ve never heard of?

    All car/truck/machinery manufacturers train people specifically to be able to interpret a customers needs when asking for parts.I am a qualified interpretor for Toyota & Mercedes Benz.Took four years traing and is a certified trade.Plus the Aust Makers themselves conduct courses for their own products.

    I know it doesn’t sound much but when you think of a car manufacturer and how many models,and how many variants of a model there are,and how many parts there are to a car,you do need some skill.

    In my early days with Toyota I had a person who came in and wanted engine parts for a yellow Corolla,couldn’t tell me the year,or the size of the engine or model & was quite indignat when I said I couldn’t help them until he gave me the information.

  30. Thought the Bulletin article was pretty poor, they don’t seem as on the ground as the dailies are at the moment. Over-assesses the Costello threat, underestimates how much this was Howard fault and still gives the coalition a chance.

    Not as bad as this one though with its Fisher/Hughes blooper. What is it with Australian political commentators and political history?

  31. 190
    blindoptimist Says:

    “Yes…9,10,11% against the Liberals: why not! They have mis-calculated their strength, underestimated Rudd and brought into focus the unresolved questions of leadership and succession – a series of fatal errors, i devoutly hope….”

    yes, yes, yes, yes ……. I too pray for numbers that large. With present polling, it seems obvious to Blind Freddie that Howard and Turnbull are history. with numbers this large, costello will go as well and dare we hope abbott and downer (in the 10’s and 11’s respectively as far as margin goes if memory serves). as many of the pins falling as possible will be very nice thank you :).

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