Phoney war dispatches: wacky Wednesday edition

• I failed to mention it at the time, but followers of this site no doubt picked up on the poll of Sydney and Melbourne voters conducted by Nexus Research over the weekend. Well, bless their cotton socks, for they have published their data in a form that allows cross-tabulation of responses to the various questions asked, including age, occupational status and vote at the 2004 election.

• After a nudge from the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, the Australian Electoral Commission has ruled it will be business as usual this year for the National Tally Room in Canberra. This now performs a basically ceremonial role, and there have been frequent suggestions it might be scrapped. JSCEM argues that the tally room presents a “visible symbolism of transparency in the election process” (UPDATE: Seems I’m a bit slow here).

Greg Kelton of The Advertiser speaks of a 64-page report which translates last year’s South Australian state election results into federal outcomes, compiled by state parliamentary librarian Jenni Newton-Farrelly. I have not been able to locate the report, but it shows Labor gaining Sturt, Boothby, Makin, Wakefield and Kingston, with the Liberals dropping a Senate seat to “either the Democrats, Family First or the Greens”.

Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports “evidence of a groundswell of support for Maxine McKew” among voters in Bennelong‘s conspicuous Chinese community.

Andrew Fraser of The Australian reports that the much-touted plebiscites on Queensland council amalgamations will be conducted by postal ballot after the federal election, as the Australian Electoral Commission does not wish for confusion to arise over postal election votes.

• Speaking of which, the Sydney Morning Herald reports the number of postal, pre-poll and absentee votes is expected to top 20 per cent at this election, due to the active promotion of postal voting by the major parties. This increases the chance that the result will still be up in the air when counting closes on election night.

Greg Roberts of The Australian reports that registration of Pauline Hanson’s United Australia Party will not be cleared in time for the election if it is called in the next few days. This would result in her list again appearing under an anonymous group name, which was deemed to have cost her votes in 2004.

• Anyone speak Portuguese?

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.

762 comments on “Phoney war dispatches: wacky Wednesday edition”

Comments Page 2 of 16
1 2 3 16
  1. No matter what the polls, I have this gut feeling that Howard will manage to claw back into contention in the final week of campaigning. After some well-timed dirt on Rudd is released, of course. This scares me, as he’ll take a Coalition victory as a mandate to introduce WorkCoices II. Who knows, maybe he has plans to abolish the minimum wage or scrap medicare. I can’t get the image out of my head of a Victorious Howard drawing up plans to leave his mark on Australia for decades, his “last hurrah” if you will.

    If Australians are really silly enough to vote these guys in again, I hope that they lose senate control. It will be the only check and balance stopping the country becoming Howard’s ideological play-thing

  2. My memory of the Victorian election is that Labor had worked hard campaigning in the regional areas.

    Kennet’s style was like that of a mayor of Melbourne and largely ignored the regions – with the result that there was a lot of disaffection outside of the metropolitan area.

    Steve Bracks was an attractive candidate that people warmed to as they became more familiar with him. That made it easy for people to switch their voting intentions through the course of the campaign.

    I can’t see many parallels with the coming election. Mainly because at this stage of the cycle both leaders are well known to the public and their public images are now well delineated. Also the polls at this election have been overwhelmingly favourable for the opposition with the likeliest scenario that they will hold up through till the election.

  3. Sinic: I believe only half the senate is up for reelection, so it is extremely unlikely that the Coalition will lose control of the Senate if they win power in the HoR.

  4. Sinic, if the Libs win again they’ll definitely have Senate control. In fact, I’m hoping they do. If the
    Australian people vote them in again, then the Australian people will fully deserve whatever happens to them.

  5. I don’t buy the whole workchoices 2 thing.

    If the Libs fall over the line, Costello will soon be in government and he’ll know how difficult it will be for the government to win the next election. He’ll be going out of his way to not upset anyone and to bring in workchoices 2 would be political suicide.

    Costello has waited a long time to become PM… he’s not going to throw it away by risking another workchoices backlash.

  6. Labor can’t win control of the Senate but it’s also going to be difficult for the government to maintain control. Most likely the Greens or someone else will hold the balance of power.

  7. The issue in Vic in 1999 was that the swing that destroyed Jeff Kennett was in rural and regional Victoria – only Tullamarine, Oakleigh?, and Frankston East (after the by election as the Lib MP died on election day) were lost in Melbourne. It is possible that the swing wasn’t picked up because of insufficient opinion polling in non metropolitan areas. The decision by Jeff Kennett to ‘retire’ a few ministers in regional seats would not have helped either. All credit to John Brumby for identifying a particular geographic area of discontent and plugging away until the results were delivered – if I recall, Billy Snedden did a similar thing with Tasmania post 1972, it delivered no seats but big swings in 1974, and then delivered all 5 seats in 1975.

  8. On the Vic 1999 election, it was because Jeff was seen as arrogant and Melb-centric by the regions. That’s why Bracks was able to create a big protest vote. Morgan f2f was actually predicting a 50-50 result for several months before the election, but no-one believed it. The phone polls didn’t pick it until the final Newspoll on polling day.

  9. “Steve Bracks was an attractive candidate that people warmed to as they became more familiar with him. That made it easy for people to switch their voting intentions through the course of the campaign.”

    Wasn’t he also originally from Ballarat, tying in to the whole “regional” campaign theme?

  10. #48:

    Kennett, popular? Not this little ex-Victorian, and I don’t think you would find many nurses or teachers who had a good word to say about him either, though I could well imagine that people who believe the economy is the only thing that matters would worship him as a demi-god.
    My primary objections to Kennett and his claque are the same as for most other high Tories: that the most weak and vulnerable had to swallow the bitterest medicine, and the suppression and intimidation of dissent. In Kennett’s case, combine that latent spiv-like tendencies (e.g. Grand Prix).

    Most of the people I meet who think Kennett is great never actually had to live in the same state as him. The 1999 protest vote happened for a reason after all, and was probably stifled in previous elections because voters did not believe the ALP had been punished sufficiently for the latter part of the Cain-Kirner years.

    Having said all this however, his social attitudes (e.g. multiculturalism) were light years ahead of our Prime Miniature. Compare Kennett’s heading of a task force to combat depression with Howard’s observations on the subject a couple of years ago (something along the lines of “get over it”).

    I’m close to a couple of Hawks fans who are highly chagrinned about Chairman Jeff taking over the Hawks. If the Costello the Subprime Ministers ever assumes a similar mantle at Essendon I guess I’ll feel the same way …

  11. ABC journalists are suffering from the HAN virus, it causes otherwise intelligent people to develop sycophantic kiss up kick down ruthlessly examine the opposition softball the government behaviours. Anyone working there during Howard,Alston,Noonan years is likely to be suffering from it to some degree.
    If you put Alston in a blonde flip up wig and Princess Di eye makeup who do think he would look like?

  12. Bracks was very smart in that he refused to be sucked in by Kennett. Whatever was said, he just smiled graciously, kept on message and refused to attack Kennett. It worked a treat and is a method that Rudd should stick to.

  13. There was no doubt about it, it was an almighty commotion, for sure. She was sure that she heard cannon fire in the distance. The sun was beating down on her flame red hair and she was exhausted from paddling, what seemed to be an eternity.

    Pauline Hands-on was fed up. The world, literally,sucked. Gone was the beautiful yacht she owned years ago, where she used to sail past and crowds would cheer. It was damaged beyond repair in quite a vicious mutiny and she was unceremoniously thrown with a few loyal crew into the nearest lifeboat. That, too, was apparently not seaworthy, so she had jumped ship again and was now in this rather unflattering inflatable boat strictly under “Pauline Power”.

    Still, true to her motto, if you want a job done, do it yourself. Of course, if you want a GOOD job done, you need to have enough money left for a good PR person.

    What was troubling her lately though was that the boat seemed to be slowly deflating. No matter how fast she rowed, she feared that she might not even make it to shore. This made her even more determined and more convinced that the world was against her. “Get your definitions right” she muttered, “I’m paranoid NOT xenophobic!!”.

    She strained against the plastic oars that little bit harder…

  14. The trouncing of Jeff Kennett restored my faith in human nature – we as a community really do care about more than just economic growth at any cost. Which is the quality I am counting on to give Howard, Costello and the rest of the self-serving bastards that make up this government the whacking they deserve.

  15. Yeah, but that was in Victoria. Victoria leans to the ALP, the ALP has a majority of Victorian seats in the house of reps, and in 1996 when Keating was smashed he still managed a majority of seats and votes in Victoria.

  16. I know that several of us have been moaning over the Speaker of the House recently (Hawker). I just checked the margin in his VIC seat and it is 12.4%. Don’t think he will go but as the Libs are going anyways, there will be a new guy or lady in that seat next year …..

  17. 68
    ND Says:
    September 19th, 2007 at 1:18 pm
    Yeah, but that was in Victoria. Victoria leans to the ALP, the ALP has a majority of Victorian seats in the house of reps, and in 1996 when Keating was smashed he still managed a majority of seats and votes in Victoria.

    Not quite: in 1996 the ALP won only 16 out of 37 House of Representatives seats in Victoria (Batman, Bruce, Burke, Calwell, Corio, Gellibrand, Holt, Hotham, Isaacs, Jagajaga, Lalor, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Melbourne Ports, Scullin, and Wills).

  18. Economic growth at all costs. I think my thesis, which would require a labor win, comes back to econimic growth, of course other factors influence it.

    But we all want economic growth to be in our pockets, the greater the economic growth is, and the greater the share in our pockets needs to be. Costello’s numbers my be fantastically good, but they have to be in my pocket. So much of the growth has been debt funded consumer spending that I don’t think the highline figures count anymore.

    Just my little view on where Howard and the Commentariat are missing this election entirely.

  19. 71
    Julie Says:
    September 19th, 2007 at 1:25 pm
    From todays Age in Melbourne for those who haven’t read it yet –

    “Passion has replaced apathy about this year’s poll. The voters want to see blood.”

    my apologies ….comes from trying to do too much at once and having about 10 windows open ;-D ….

  20. Ashley @ 56

    workchoices II = comcare II

    There will be an attack on OH&S rights and workers compensation. The current state systems will be replaced with a national system.

  21. #51 TofK
    “Hugh Zochling is the Labor candidate for Warringah”
    This was in the NSW September Political Briefing sent to members of the ALP

  22. In regards to Kennett, there is an important lesson for the Liberals that they seem not to have learned.

    There are uncanny parallels between Kennett and Howard. When Kennett was leader of the opposition during the Cain Government he was derided and seen as a joke. Interestingly Howard was also derided in opposition (remember Mr. 16%?).

    They both had a go in opposition and then lost the ledership only to be re elected again. However their timing was perfect. The Kirner Labor Government was in freefall and the economy was (at least was perceived) to be a ‘basket case’. In John Howard case the electorate was tired of Keating and wanted a ‘relaxed and confortable’ government.

    The coin flipped once they both got elected. From being jokes they became all powerful, masters of the Universe politicians who had popularity to the stratosphere.

    I lived through the Kennett era. In fact I was one of the public servants he sacked. In the city, especially amongts the youngish outer suburban voters he was extremely popular. He was absolute mud in the inner suburbs, but they never voted Liberal anyway.

    The fact was that many youngish people in the outer suburbs were not big users of services such as hospitals and public transport.

    But they loved Casinos, the Grand Prix and Freeways which he provided.

    He also introduced draconian IR laws that were probably even more extreme than what Howard did.

    But here is the main difference.

    When Kennett introduced them many people felt that Victoria was in a bad economic state, and most were willing to forego some conditions to make the economy better.

    The mistake that Howard did was to introduce WorkChoices in a good economic environment (as the Government itself has told us at nauseaum) so people asked themselves, if the economy is so good why we have to accept less conditions?

    This is what happened to Kennett later. Steve Mayne (the creator of was a staffer for the treasurer Stockdale and a believer in the privatisation program that Stockdale introduced. But Maybe was appalled by the lack od transparency and disregard for the democratic process of that government. In his website (was it he wrote that Kennett was a great crisis manager but no very good at maintaining and keeping things going, as he tended to get bored.

    I think that when things went well, he did not give back much and kept the ‘crisis’ mentality and ultimately that was his undoing.

    For the record Bracks did not win convincigly during that election. He had to rely on three independents and two were fairly conservative, so if they decided to back Kennett it would have been a different story.

  23. Re the Kennett/Bracks campaign. I remember Rod Quontock announcing to the media that he was quitting political satire because with Premier Jeff so firmly entrenched, Rod claimed that his anti-Kennett shtick was utterly redundant. There was Statewide “hunh?!” at first, but by polling day many a Vic. contrarian had taken the message on board.

    Long may you fiddle with our boundaries, Captain Gerrymander.

  24. The Libs in Victoria are not so much lost as missing in action. Apparently, they don’t do elections any more because politics involves hard work and graft. They might rejuvenate themselves by morphing in to a bunting and fancy dress coffee shop franchise.

  25. Speaking of Brazil;

    Bush; Good night Condy.

    Rice; Good night Mr President.. oh, I almost forgot. Four Brazilian troops were killed today in Iraq. I thought you should know.

    Bush slumps down in his chair and slides to the floor. His hands come up to cover his face. He curls up and emits a long, soft high pitch keening wail of utter anguish. Several minutes pass..

    Slowly, he gets onto his knees and emerges from behind his desk into view of those in the Oval Office, just his head and hands poking above the Presidential desk…

    He looks at Rice, with a puzzled expression on his face..

    Bush; Condy, how many is a brazillion again?

  26. Ben C @#85
    heard the outburst on PM the other night. Basically Nairn’s C of Staff (Phelps?) quizzed Mike Kelly as to why he didn’t refuse to serve in Iraq. Kelly responded that he was a member of the defence forces and followed orders.
    C of S said that was the Nuremburg defence used by the Nazis to justify the holocaust.

    Didn’t sound good and i thought at the time it had the potential to do damage to Nairn. One of the reasons they selected Kelly as a candidate was to blunt these kinds of attacks.

    His C of S said he was there as a private citizen. i think it was a case of leading with your chin and dumb politics.

    And yes i will kick in again to the donations bucket William

  27. I like how the ALP come into Parliament and raise questions about the comments of Department heads instead of raising questions on health, defence, housing, immigration and then say the Liberals arent talking about the ‘important issues’…The ALP are a bunch of hypocrites they after saying the Government will go on a smear campaign have themselves opted to try and smear the good reputation of Gary Nairn and the Government…basically to cover up for their decision to elect a leader Rudd who,

    A – doesn’t know anything about productivity

    B – misleads props in media stunts about Labor’s housing policy

    C – doesnt even know what the rates of tax are in Australia

    and he wants to be PM??? LOL!

    How on earth do the Labor supporters have any confidence in Rudd’s ability to manage the economy when he doesn’t understand productivity or the tax rates…seriously this is soo funny….talk about a leap of faith i see a Latham a coming…

  28. Glen: It’d be nice to see a bit less smearing and a bit more policy.
    At least the ALP has released some more tidbits recently i.e. dental and tax.

    What have the Libs done?

    They can only look back at the past.

  29. Ref #84

    With Peter Andren (a very popular local member who now unfortunately is diagnosed with cancer) stepping down and with redistribution of the seat moving Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon into the seat of Macquarie, Calare is now notionally National Party with 7.9% margin.

    However, the new independant candidate is Gavin Priestley (former Telstra Countrywide Area Manager) who is giving the National’s John Cobb a tighter race than expected (based on polling)

    Priestly hasn’t determined preferences as yet but all in all I think it will be a National Party gain.

  30. I want more Captain Gerrymander. I want to know what happens to Pauline Hands-on and what’s the latest in the sea battle? The Captain is the highlight of this blog.

  31. Calare? The ALP haven’t a prayer and are likley to run dead. The best hope for Labor in Calare is if the Peter Andren backed independendent (don’t know his name) can knock of John Cobb of the Nationals on the basis of Labor preferences. Macquarie on the other hand (which includes half of the old Calare) is indeed a likley Labor pick up. Bathurst, Lithgow and the Blue Mountains all tend to lean towards the ALP, and it is, after all, Ben Chifley’s old seat. That, and Kerry Bartlett has all the charisma of a wet newspaper and Bob Debus is hardly a nobody.

  32. HA tidbits…tell me Asanque what is Labor’s tax policy because he hasnt released it yet lol…and his dental policy just takes money away from other dental initiatives of the Howard Government…

    Actually no Asanque the Libs today have announced a 40million dollar initiative to enhance safety on regional school buses…another State Labor failure….

    How about Labor’s backflip on Brisbane airport runways…and guess what Rudd’s first step is you guessed it set up a commission talk about a blow out in the civil service if Rudd gets in…Sir Humphrey Appleby will be very happy if Rudd wins…

    The ads against Rudd will be fantastic and all fact…all his footage about productivity about him not knowing anything about the tax system i dont know about you but if a Liberal wanted to be the leader of the party let alone the nation and didnt understand those basic premises id be worried lol.

    Another Rudd own goal…i see a tightening of the polls in the winds if Rudd keeps this up.

  33. Glen please… completely irrelevant. You’re preaching to the converted.

    Thanks everyone for the info on Calare. It’s definately interesting looking at seat-by-seats. Anyone know of any other seats where high profile Independents are running?

  34. Glen: Tell Howard to call the election, and Rudd will start releasing policies. Why release policies now when the Liberals just steal it (i.e. education) or act to counter it (i.e. broadband)?

    Glen: You call $40 million on regional school buses a policy?
    Who cares?

    If Howard actually went via commission instead of doing everything on the fly, i.e. the $10 billion water plan without treasury consultation, then maybe we wouldn’t be in such a mess.

    Great, more government propaganda out of taxpayers pockets to go with the $2.6 billion already flagrantly wasted by Howard.

    Call the election already!

  35. Glen on dental policy the PM can’t add up. His policy is for 4 years Labor’s is for three years. Both intend to spend $96 million per year.

    On buses, the SA Govt says it will cost them $70 million just for SA. I bet no private bus operators take up the “subsidy”. Plus the figures again don’t add up.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 2 of 16
1 2 3 16