Phoney war dispatches: finals weekend edition

Glenn Milne identifies three election date options for the Prime Minister: “go to Yarralumla next weekend for a six-week campaign and a November 17 poll”, “wait another week after that and run to November 24”, or “let Parliament resume its scheduled sittings from October 15 to 25 then go to a December 1 poll”.

Dennis Shanahan of The Australian summarises recent reports of internal party polling thus:

There have been reports ALP polling shows Labor can win 10 seats in NSW, including the seat of Eden-Monaro, which has changed hands with government since 1972. Equally ostensibly secret polling names unlikely seats in Melbourne, such as Goldstein, falling to Labor and seats in Adelaide such as Boothby and Sturt being added to the three more marginal seats of Makin, Wakefield and Kingston, in South Australia. In the Northern Territory Solomon is assumed to be gone, as are Bass and Braddon in Tasmania … Recently the Sydney Daily Telegraph reported on its front page: “Labor is set to secure such a massive swing in NSW that the Liberals have formally surrendered all hope of winning a single new seat anywhere in this state at the federal election. As Kevin Rudd arrived in Sydney last night to base himself locally for the next three days, Labor polling shows 10 NSW seats could fall its way.” The Australian reported on its front page: “Labor is headed for a landslide victory in the crucial federal bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro, according to leaked ALP research. The polling, obtained by The Australian, found the count would not even go to preferences, with Labor candidate Mike Kelly attracting 51 per cent of the primary vote over Special Minister of State Gary Nairn on 39 per cent”. The Melbourne Herald-Sun reported ALP polling showing that Labor “has dramatically expanded the number of target seats it hopes to win, with ALP elders declaring even previously rock-solid Coalition fortresses now in play”, including Goldstein, which is held by more than 10per cent.

• Friday’s West Australian (no link available) reports “growing concern within the Liberal Party that it may lose the blue-ribbon WA seat of Forrest at the coming election – not to Labor but to an Independent with a high profile”:

Noel Brunning, a former newsreader with Prime TVs Golden West News, is believed to be picking up strong interest among the voters despite his stop-start campaign. Internal Liberal Party polling is believed to have shown that Mr Brunning, 40, has a higher recognition in southern WA than either the Liberal candidate Nola Marino or Labor’s Peter MacFarlane. Forrest is being vacated by former minister Geoff Prosser at the next election and although the margin is a comfortable 10.5 per cent, the retirement of Mr Prosser after 20 years means the contest will be much closer. Not helping the Liberals campaign is the fact that the preselectors preferred candidate, Busselton Shire councillor Philippa Reid, withdrew from the contest late last year citing concern her involvement in Corruption and Crime Commission hearings into the $330 million Canal Rocks development would damage the party. Cr Reid’s relationship with divisive former Liberal powerbroker Noel Crichton-Browne was also causing concern within the party.

• After last week’s bad Boothby opinion poll and excruciating radio interview, John Wiseman of The Australian reports that Labor “closed ranks behind its South Australian glamour candidate Nicole Cornes yesterday, scotching suggestions that she might have booted an own goal with her latest media gaffe”. It now seems I might have been too quick to dismiss the poll’s finding that Cornes was doing particularly badly among women voters. While I don’t imagine he has too many fans among this site’s readership, Andrew Bolt of the Herald Sun might have been on to something here:

I suspect it’s because they’ve never liked women who just get by on looks. It seems an insult to clever women and a threat not just to the plain. Cornes’ status as a second wife only speaks to that distrust and contempt.

• A $5 billion federal government roads package to be unveiled this week will reportedly include plans for a $2 billion upgrade of the Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Cairns, and a $1 billion upgrade of the Pacific Highway from Sydney to Brisbane. The latter is of significance to the sensitive north coast seats of Page, Cowper and Paterson, while the Bruce Highway funding targets Hinkler, Flynn, Herbert and Leichhardt. As noted this morning by Barrie Cassidy on Insiders, this has prompted newspapers in Melbourne and Adelaide to complain the southern states have been “snubbed”.

• The Griffith University’s regular VAMPIRE (“vulnerability assessment for mortgage, petrol and inflation risks and expenditure”) study has identified what the Financial Review describes as “11 marginal and fairly safe Liberal seats in which more than half of all households are facing petrol and mortgage stress”: Moreton, Bonner, Lindsay, Macquarie, Deakin, La Trobe, Wakefield, Makin, Kingston, Hasluck and Stirling.

• The last Brisbane Liberal remaining under the cloud of the “printgate” affair, Bowman MP Andrew Laming, has been cleared by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

• The High Court has published the ruling that struck down legislation removing the right to vote from all prisoners in full-time custody.

• Having noted similar long-term trends, I thought it might be interesting to compare aggregated polling figures from Australia and New Zealand since the end of last year. New Zealand figures are a rough average of Roy Morgan and DigiPoll, Australia’s are from Reuters Poll Trend plus a September figure from Bryan Palmer.

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.

262 comments on “Phoney war dispatches: finals weekend edition”

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  1. Dr Good @215.
    Tactical voting is irrelevant in Australia because we have preferential voting. It is relevant in the UK because of first past the post voting. When you vote in the UK, you have a strategic choice. Will you vote for your most preferred candidate who may finish third and result in the election of a candidate you really don’t want, or should you vote for the candidate most likely to beat your least preferred candidate.

    So LibDem and Labour voters often switch party to vote for the candidate most likely to defeat the conservative. From having worked on UK election, I know the first and second running candidates in a seat will target the supporters of the third party to encourage strategic voting.

    This tactic is irrelevant in Australia because you can still vote for your preferred candidate and then give your second preferences to another candidate without helping to elect your least preferred candidate. So in the UK example, you could vote 1 Labour, 2 LibDem without splitting the anti-conservative vote.

    In theory, you could manipulate preferences by arranging for a candidate to finish third rather than second. That’s why Labor runs unheard of 20 year-old candidate in seats where Independents could beat a Liberal or National candidate, ensuring Labor finishes third. You can also engage in strategic preference swaps, such as the one Labor did with Family First in the Senate in 2004. But as the Labor Family First deal also showed, such strategic swaps are much harder to organise.

  2. Julie, Rudd has already stipulated that if elected he’ll live in the Lodge, Howard’s excuses for Kirribilli were spurious, supposedly his kids education, Kirribilli had far more to do with Jeanette’s preference for Sydney and the harbour views than anything else, Kirribilli should be handed over to a national trust, god alone knows how much damage has been done to that beautiful old stately building by Mrs Howard’s middle class taste in renovations, i know she had a lot of the lovely antique furniture put in storage and replaced with green leather lounges etc, sigh, Kirribilli should be given back to the people and used for the benefit of everyone as part of our heritige.

  3. Was interesting reading earlier posts regarding seats such as O’Connor and Barker switching from Liberal to National. Whilst plausable in theory, especially considering the nature of the sitting Liberals, such a scenario falls face over apex in reality ….. namely the state of the National Party in both states.

    With O’Connor, the Nats do hold state seats inside the boundaries of this seat but these are all situated in the southern half and this seat ranges as far north as Geraldton. Does the WA National party actually have the resources to mount the campaign necessary to win a seat of this size; man the booths across the seat ??

    Similarly with Barker. The Nats hold Chaffey in the Riverland (albeit in coalition with state Lab govt) and do poll quite well federally in this area but what is their presence down south ?? What is their presence in Mt Gambier (the fuedal possession of Allan Scott) and again, where are their resources to campaign across this seat ??

  4. Rudd has no sporting history that we know of…

    Clearly unfit for public office. He should be drummed out of the party.

    Does he even deserve to be a citizen?

  5. I like the Australian for its more political stories,comments etc. Would be good if it was unbiased and gave parties like the Greens more publicity but the Advertiser here is useless and wishy washy. I thought political junkies would like reading anything political be it Right, Left or in between

  6. Thanks Crikey Whitey (post 188) – yeh I agree with you on that – I don’t think Nicole Cornes will sway those voters who may have changed from Liberal to Labor – I know some Lib voters who may possibly have voted Labor this time but I don’t think they will now….which is a pity ’cause I would love Boothby to be out of the grips of Andrew Southcott – seen him in action and what a wet ineffectual rag he is. As I said earlier though, I am looking at the bigger picture of voting out Howard so I am going to vote for her and I am sure there are other Labor supporters in Boothby who will do the same. I also know other Labor voters who have said they will vote for the Greens candidate instead – I am not sure who the Greens will give their preferences to in Boothby…usually it is Labor isn’t it? Anyway looks like we will be waiting a while to vote with the latest Newspoll out today – Howard is going to drag this out for ages!!!!

  7. Oh well, hopefully after the Coalitions electoral defeat Downer will retire

    Nah, I doubt he’d retire.

    Costello yes. Lucrative boardroom positions beckon and he doesn’t have what it takes to rebuild the party, or endure at least 2, possibly 3, defeats before the coalitian are back in the hunt.

    But who would employ Lexy?

    At the moment I think parliament will sit next October, and the government will pull out all the stunts they can think of to try to attack Rudd.

    Plus if he believes that defeat is inevitable he might just be tempted to sneak some of the “lot of things I want to do” through knowing that it will take Labor at least 6 or 7 months to undo, if they can. Beware the bloke who has nothing to loose!

  8. But who would employ Lexy?

    Barrie Humphries, and employment in the Dame Edna Everage show, as Sir Leslie Patterson’s twin brother Sir Lexy Patterson, in drag at diplomatic parties.

    (Otherwise, like Barrie, making detergent ads: “I was at this diplomatic do…Yuuuuk”)

  9. That’s interesting, I thought Dolly Downer would find gainful employment helping out Barrie (in his Dame Edna role) by pinning name badges onto unsuspecting celebrities … whilst wearing his fishnets of course.

  10. Just saw this. I am on Andrew Bolt’s side. That is wrong. I feel horrible and yucky. You bois who hate Ms Cornes must be right if Andrew if with me.

  11. ShowsOn @ 236 – Mark Kenny is PRO-Rudd? Jeez! You wouldn’t think so by reading anything he’s written lately. Much of it has been shameless Howard arse-licking.

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