Phoney war dispatches: anti-climax edition

• The Prime Minister tells us we can “rest assured” the current sitting of parliament will proceed to its conclusion, which means no election announcement until at least September 20.

• On Tuesday, Canberra’s WIN Television News reported of an internal poll – apparently from the Liberal Party – which pointed to a Labor win in the renowned bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro. Yesterday, we heard that the Prime Minister had used polling from that very same seat to sell the party room the idea that the election could still be won.

• Labor has been making hay from the Liberals’ apparent lack of preparedness, with candidates still to be chosen in 14 seats including marginal Labor Banks. And can anyone out there solve the mystery of the Liberals’ number three Senate position in Western Australia? This has been a winning prospect at every election since parliament was enlarged in 1984, yet the candidate’s identity is either yet to be decided or a closely guarded secret (UPDATE – It now emerges the candidate is Michaelia Cash, industrial relations lawyer and daughter of state upper house MP George Cash).

• Further Labor pot-stirring in the west, where an ad placed in yesterday’s West Australian raised questions over the political future of Julie Bishop, Education Minister and member for Curtin. The ad referred to “speculation” Bishop would be drafted into state politics to replace floundering Opposition Leader Paul Omodei. This idea was first mooted in the immediate aftermath of the Court government’s defeat in 2001, when Bishop was party to an ill-considered scheme to swap seats with an uncooperative Colin Barnett.

The Mercury reports of a Galaxy poll gauging opinion on the West Tamar pulp mill, conducted on behalf of mill opponents Investors for the Future of Tasmania. It finds 41 per cent opposition from a national sample of 1004, and 21 per cent support. An implausible 64 per cent of the former group said it would affect the way they would vote. The Mercury also speaks of a Wilderness Society poll which found 53 per cent opposition in Bass and 35 per cent support.

• Melbourne election buffs with $66 to spare might like to make note of a seminar being held this evening, Election 2007: Polls, Damned Polls and Democracy!, starting from 6.15pm at the Westgate Room on Level 41 of the Rialto South Tower. Speakers include Nick Economou from Monash University, Gary Morgan of Roy Morgan Research, Tony Douglas of Essential Media Communications and Charles Richardson of Crikey, all brought to you by the Australian Market and Social Research Society,

• Lest anyone think this site’s readership is a representative sample, Sally Jackson of The Australian reports that radio listeners have “turned from news talk to music during the past two months”. Station bosses blame “a heavy news cycle dominated by stories on interest rate rises, the APEC summit and the ‘phony’ federal election campaign”.

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.

440 comments on “Phoney war dispatches: anti-climax edition”

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  1. #345, ah that`s the one Frank. Last election coincided with my wedding day/night. Hopefully this year will provide a slightly more appropriate setting for the singalong.

  2. #
    Glen Says:Chris B if 5 people all jumped off a bridge would you just follow them over?? I doubt it…

    If two government ministers, and one prime-minister, told you that some scared desperate people were throwing their children into the water to appeal to your morals, would you believe them?

    I didn’t.

  3. Crispy @ 324. I am afraid I would not shake Howard’s hand. I was with a small band of protestors when the Liberal Party launched their campaign in Penrith in 2004. I did behave badly. Shouted Shame, Howard, shame quite a few times. Am generally a very polite person but when physically in the presence of JWH I am overcome with rage.

  4. Jen (338) – There are many, many Americans who are ashamed in a similar way about their President. I lived there for 9 years and met a lot of them. Fortunately most Australians know this and resent the man, not the country.

  5. [ Electoral loss will mean death of Liberal Party ]


    I remember them saying the same thing when Hawke was in power. I wouldn’t worry too much. Many commentators have preached doom and gloom before but there’ll always be a Conservative base. You just need to rediscover the middle ground and get away from the far right stuff. I still reckon that Turnbull, if he survives the election, could slowly turn things around again.

  6. Interesting article in the Age from January, yet it sounds like the ALP fantasy stories after the 1993 Hewson loss, about the Liberal Party being finished, and doomed to becoming a Party only concerned with States rights.

    John Howard said at the time that all the problems of the Federal Liberal Party could be solved by a time in Government, and so it was.

  7. [The Carnival is over? Apparently JWH loves that song…..]

    Rather ironic that Athol Guy ws in the 70’s & 80’s a Liberal Member of the Victorian Parliament.

    Oh and I wonder if Howard has the hots for Judith Durham ? 🙂

  8. Julie. You will have a chance to vote for the first female president.
    The polls are very similar to here. They are about to have the most important polls since WW2. They will change America.

    Oops time for the AFL footy show. Gotta go.

  9. Oh and I wonder if Howard has the hots for Judith Durham ?

    He may not, but I sure used to, and Judy Jacques as well, oh, and Goldie Hawn.. the list goes on, but I’m sure they’d all make damn fine Prime ministers ( and speaking of frank Burns, lets not forget Hot Lips)

  10. Does Costello think he will win the leadership after the election? That he will contest the next election? If Labor do win and win big I doubt that Turnbull would bother to hang around either.

    Listening to HOR today seems like Unions are going to be a major attack theme again. Boring – there is only so many times you can say union bosses when all around is quiet.

    Maybe they intend to focus on teams but here too it is a failure. How many of the general public even know let alone think impressive people like Andrews, Nelson, Ruddock, Coonan, Minchin? Abbott they know but he is not inspiring in any way. Hockey seems ok but has been stuck with saying Union Bosses and sledging his mate Rudd. J Bishop – hard to know, maybe an old pretty face for some. Costello – some hate, some like and the same for Howard. Hard to know what people think of Downer except that he is neither here nor there.

    Without the old Howard Costello team there is nothing that impressive about the Govt team and they only look good because they have been there so long.

  11. Glen,

    Hopefully, the Libs will re group under the “Right Wing Death Eater” Party Banner .

    Very accurate reflection af what they are about.

    You got to admit that liberal was always a bit of a stretch.

  12. Chris,

    You gotta love the parliamentary system though. With the Aussie way, you can get so many more minor parties in which you can register protest votes, find something you like somewhere. With the American system though, it almost forces the smaller parties out of action. You are left with the 2 mainstream parties. So, while we will hopefully [odds yesterday were 1.40 Dems/2.30 Rep a year and a bit more out from the election] get the Dems back in, the Rep. won’t be left a shambles, unlike here. That is why I like your system here so much more. You can really punish the parties here and make it hurt 😉

  13. Glen – great link (and good on you for posting it). I’ve sometimes wondered the same. However, I don’t think they’ll be out of power everywhere for long. Some of those State Labor governments are getting a little long in the tooth, and the “time for a change” thing that’s working for Rudd at the moment will start to work against them. I think the next election is in the ACT next year (couldn’t tell you the prospects, but I’m sure someone here will know), followed by WA and Qld in 09, SA, Tas, NT & Vic in 2010 and NSW in 2011. Surely WA, Tas &/or NSW are do-able for the Coalition? Even Qld must be a shot , depending on how Bligh goes (though good to see a woman get a go when it’s not a complete hospital pass a la Kirner & Lawrence).

  14. Your right Julie,

    Under the US non compulsory voting system you end up with unrepresentative swill who simply exploit the system for their own personal aggrandisment.

    On the other hand, under the Australian compulory voting system, you end with someone who truly reppresents the values of the community they purport to represent.

    My head hurts!

  15. Yes, Julie thanks. But I also love following the US elections as well. And to see the Democrats making in roads into the deep south and then holding becoming very popular is very heart warming.

    Gotta go ads are over.

  16. I agree with your assessment GG that the word liberal is a little out of place…but that was put in because of the Libs support of free market economic liberalism…

    But if the Conservative Party can be elected albeit to a minority government but elected in Canada surely the Liberals could change their name and not suffer a backlash, lets not beat around the bush i mean the Libs are a centre-right party ….there has been precedent about the downfall of conservative political parties in politics 1929 the Nationalists folded up and in 1943 the UAP existed all but in name…but since 1950 the Libs have been in for about 40 odd years to about 16 for the ALP so while they’d like to right us off we’ve been more successful over the years than the Labor Party…

  17. [I agree with your assessment GG that the word liberal is a little out of place…but that was put in because of the Libs support of free market economic liberalism…]

    This isn’t completely true. The Liberals have always had a very strong protectionist wing, as well as a free market wing. The name “Liberal” was chosen because at the time communistm and facism were strong political movements. The Liberal party meant liberty in the negative sense, the right not to be interfered with by the government.

  18. 371

    Glen Says: But if the Conservative Party can be elected albeit to a minority government but elected in Canada …….

    The electorate in Canada is bi-polar I swear it. They are scared to vote either party in at the moment. The last few governments in Canada have been elected with less than a majority and had to form minority governments with deals with minor parties, etc. etc. For either of the two major parties there to get more than 50% of the vote straight up would be amazing to see. I was in Canada on holidays during one of their recent elections before I moved to Australia. Read a lot of the papers and so on. Over there the hard core supporters of both major parties are about the same amount in each case. That is why they have so much trouble forming government these days as the swingers carry the day each time and they can’t decide what the f*** they want to do at each election. Oh, btw, while the same system as Australia have, parliamentary, they do not have the compulsory vote.

  19. Lindsay Voter: “I did behave badly.” Well I’m shocked LV.

    Though I think he’s fair game for a protest during a policy launch. I’m just uneasy about that very up close, snub the PM to his face, chuck a browneye (Julie that’s the verb ‘to moon’ in Yankee), interpersonal rudeness. But maybe I’m just a wimp.

  20. Canada has first past the post and the NDP and Liberals and the Greens split the Left vote whereas the Conservatives can sneak up to win ridings (electorates) that really shouldnt be theres…first past the post rules for right wing parties all the lefties split their vote and the Conservatives come from the outside…Minority Government in Australia would be a joke…we should just have another election if thats the case…

  21. Mmmmm (dribble, dribble) … Doc Neeson in a white shirt and tight black trousers, singing da anfem of me yoof. Slurp. He’d even make Julie Bishop blink.

    Speaking of whom, I know this is a nasty thing to say about one of the sisterhood, but whenever I’ve seen her speak she leaves people shivering with cold so I fail to see why she is even being contemplated. The academics that I speak to (mainly scientists) have no time for her whatsoever – they even preferred Nelson and his psychotic plans for revolutionising the ivory towers. At least he was interesting, in a wild, wind-swept sort of way. She’s just a do-nothing, know-nothing functionary. Couldn’t sell a policy if it was dressed in white shirt and tight black trousers.

    I can’t see Conservative Kev going for an Angels’ song – scare the pensioners! – but when will the dopes pick an old Midnight Oil song and go for some of the youth vote? Did anyone say “US Forces”?

  22. Re: why the Conservatives call themselves the Liberal Party:

    From Robert Menzies Autobiography:
    ” We took the name Liberal because we were determined to be a progressive party, willing to make experiments, in no sense reactionary but believing in the individual, his rights, and his enterprise, and rejecting the Socialist panacea. ”

    Some would say that Howard has betrayed Menzies by turning it into a reactionary party. And personally I would agree with them.

  23. Actually the Howard Government has been a progressive party, willing to make experiments and believing in the individual…

    for example…

    Gun Reform
    Waterfront Reform
    10b Water Plan
    Tax/Super Reform

  24. Glen,

    He has also experimented with promises.

    He’s pushed them, expressed them, changed them, discarded them and mostly repudiated them.

    A jolly good time had by all.

  25. Experiment??? GG dont you mean ‘Core and non-Core’ if that is the legacy of Howard he’s done his job because from now on any politician who doesnt stick by a promise they have made a non-core promise lol.

  26. “You ever met Julie Bishop in person? I have several times now and it is really like CSIRO’s Skunk Works were black funded to create a Stepford Minister. I am not kidding. In conversation, there is a three to five second pause before everything she says, when you can hear the valves and relays switching on and clicking over, and then her response is spooled out word perfect, without an um or an ar, and completely free of any original content.

    It’s not just me who feels this way. Everyone from journos to pollies and their fixers and minders across party lines say she gives them the creeps too. Or as an old mate of mine who’s now a Liberal Party press sec once told me “she makes Tracy Flick look like Denise Drysdale.””

    Nabakov, from:

  27. Had a look a while back on the Poll being run by the GG and was astounded to see that in my electorate that 65% either are fixed Labor voters or are definately shifting from Liberal to Labor (6.3%).

    The figure that really took my eye was that 75% in my post code were definate Labor voters.

    Just wondering if others have checked their own electorates and post code figures.,25197,22073824-5013404,00.html

  28. A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the freeway. Nothing is moving.

    Suddenly a man knocks on the window. The driver rolls down his window and asks, “What’s going on?”

    “Terrorists have kidnapped John Howard and Peter Costello. They’re asking for a $300 million ransom, otherwise they’re going to douse them with petrol and set them on fire. We’re going from car to car taking up a collection.”

    The driver asks, “How much is everyone giving, on average?”

    “About a litre.”

  29. I did that GG poll as well, Scorpio, and put in my work rather than my electorate post code. It was a bit closer than yours but you can’t take those sort of polls seriously. I work with a Lib voter from Mitchell who was telling me about some sort of poll he saw on a website that asked something similar and he was crowing about how it showed everyone was going to vote Liberal (I think the question was similar but it didn’t allow anyone who was not going to vote Lib-Nat any option). I pointed this out to him and tried to get him to do the GG poll – the graphics for which were pretty spectacular – and for some reason he declined. Suspicious of my motives, I suspect.

  30. Adam (to answer a question from a few days ago – it is just as relevant as what has been passing for witty comment in the last hour)
    What is a Hooker? To explain it on the basis of most Mexicans understanding of Rugby, the hooker is the player whose b*m the other players are trying to sniff.
    He is in the centre of the scrum and it is his job to hook the ball out to the backs. In Rugby Union this requires a great deal of cunning and trickery – I suspect John Howard was a hooker. In Rugby League the sctums became vestigial about 10 years ago and the Hookers have lost much of their skill.

  31. Yes Scorpio, Lyne has 57% rusted on Labor voters. Of course in NSW the Australian has a smaller readership than the Newcastle Herald.

  32. Oh Rupert,

    So obsessed where people come from. The most important thing is where you go and what you experience and achieve on the road of life.

    Make sure you are proud of what you do and can explain how good you really are to your children.


  33. Bonwyn Bishop wants to take Joey Johns young son away from him permanently and adopt him out to another family.

    “Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop, who chaired the inquiry, said the “powerful” recommendations would benefit families of addicts and help win the war on drugs.

    The committee called for adoption to be the “default care option” for children aged under five who come to the attention of child protection agents through their parents’ drug addiction. ”,23599,22414154-29277,00.html

    Johns recently admitted to a 14 year addiction to drugs and alcohol.,23739,22335536-5013756,00.html

  34. Glenn Milne mentioned that there’s a Galaxy poll coming out on Monday. However, it will have only been three weeks since their last poll on August 27. Maybe he made an error???

  35. Marktwain Says:
    September 13th, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    Yeah, thanks for replying. The thing that surprised me was that the national figures in the GG poll are closely matching the last Newspoll figures except for the undecided figure which in the GG poll seems to have split between Liberal and shifting to Labor.

    The figures for my electorate would be pretty much spot on, which is why I was interested in what the others had discovered about their own electorate and postcode figures.

    Cheers, Scorpio

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