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. Some people might agree with Bolt, but I’m not sure his comments will resonate with females. Columnists like him are looking increasingly flailing as the good ship Howard goes down. Even he has abandoned ship, and has taken to consoling himself with petty snipes and Rudd and co.

    The VAMPIRE report would make for an interesting read, particularly as it flies in the face of reports that economic prosperity is apparently falling out of everybody’s pockets.

    Finally, to return to this morning’s Insiders, the independents had plenty of interesting things to say. Does anybody with local knowledge believe that traditional Coalition seats in the country could actually swing to Labor in any serious way?

  2. #
    890 last thread
    marky marky says Says:

    “Dams i am sorry is the wrong option, they can be counter productive as they can threaten river systems and wetlands… (thus the Yangtze in China and the Euphrates in the Middle East are in the process of doing such) and if doesn’t rain how can you use hydro power…”

    All true; but look at the options, that is what I am trying to point out.

    Man has got to where he is by changing the environment, that is what we do. I like birds on our farm so I plant trees. I like money so I plant pastures.

    Yes the Yangtze in Chine is going to change the environment in that area greatly, it is also going to feed a lot of people in a country that has tried to do something about it’s population growth and it’s also going to generate a lot of power.

    What I can’t understand is people banging on about what is lost and completely ignoring what is being created. The dam itself is a large body of water that will create new and interesting ecological systems.

    Nuclear power would be a disaster, clean coal is a joke, but from the noise we receive from the Greens they are no worse than dams, windmills or the deepening of a shipping channel.

    It’s a case of crying wolf so often that when it matters most people have stopped listening.

    If is so frustrating, we are facing serious challenges and the Greens aren’t capable of picking their fights.

  3. Point 1: Labor would have a better chance of changing candidates in Boothby right now rather then stick with Cornes, and that is saying something. I live in SA, and whenever Nicole is mentioned in general conversation with people I talk to, it is with mocking & laughing tones. As I have said in a previous post, this includes hard-left Labor supporters. People just do not think she is a worthy candidate, and are insulted such a choice is being presented. The fact she is being referred to as a ‘glamour candidate’ says it all really – what’s the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear that?

    Once a politican becomes an inside joke, they are generally finished. Combine this with Cornes’ past (ie social writer for the Sunday paper) and her appalling interviews, as well as the fact the ‘Tiser has a jab every few weeks…etc etc. Of course, a 10% swing to Rudd nationally might overcome that barrier, but considering

    Point 2: I can’t see Howard calling the election in a fortnight (around the 14th) for two reasons. First, it would be just before MP’s are expected to be in Canberra for a sitting – would create a lot of inconvenience I imagine. And second, this is after the 8th of November, which is widely considered to be the ‘end of the governments three year term’ – a guaranteed bad press day, if not week.

    Finally, thanks for the HC link PB, it is interesting stuff. Even more so that Kirby actually features in the majority judgement regarding a constitutional matter. Court must be going soft 🙂

  4. Paul k for once i agree with you…

    New Zealand is in our Constitution they should just accept the fact that they should be a State in the Commonwealth of Australia…

    Noel Brunning wont win Forrest after all the Libs hold that seat with 41422 primary votes the worst Brunning can do is split the ALP vote and or One Nations vote…while he may take votes of the Libs he’d have to take an awful lot to beat the Libs there this is just a media beat up…he may have name recognition but what can an independent really offer his constituents in terms of funding/grants ect…

  5. i still think everone is being too harsh on Nicole Cornes, the incumbent Southcott is rarely seen apparently, Nicole has been constantly door knocking and those who have met her personally seem impressed, honestly just how much effect do lowly backbenchers have? most labor voters ive spoken to have no idea who their candidate is, they’re voting for Rudd or against Howard.

  6. Judy, I’d say the general principal is that most candidates should try and stand back a little and let themselves get elected on the back of the party vote or the leaders’ popularity.

    However, in the case of Cornes, she was selected as a ‘celebrity candidate’ and to stand out from other candidates. Celebrity candidates should only be chosen if they’re going to have an immediately positive impact. As soon as they announced Cornes I knew it was a mistake.

    At this stage I think the damage has been done and it’s too late to switch candidates. She just needs to get out there and door knock as many houses as she can and hope she can scrape through.

    As to the comments about New Zealand on this thread, I find them too offensive to even know where to start…

  7. [ As to the comments about New Zealand on this thread, I find them too offensive to even know where to start… ]

    Perhaps “annex” was a little too harsh but we should merge our economies. A little Common Market of the South Pacific. There would be benefits for both countries and with something like 10% of New Zealanders having moved to Australia it would make a lot of sense.

  8. Andrew Bolt and Max (5) are right about Nicole Cornes. As I’ve said in previous posts, I can confirm as a resident of Boothby that women who would normally vote Labor simply don’t respect her and cringe at the thought of voting for her. Not very fair, perhaps, but it’s true. If a goodish alternative candidate can be found (preferably female) and if Nicole Cornes can be persuaded to take a face-saving way out such as concerns about family, it’s not too late. The only alternative is for Cornes to go on the attack against a weak Liberal opponent who is having it all too easy at the moment and generate some respect, but she shows no sign of being capable of that.

  9. PB – thank you for fixing my formatting, damn italic tags…

    Judy, I agree with you the presidential nature of our democracy is obvious (and depressing, but that’s for another topic.) I also agree the media has been very harsh on her – had they have focussed on her past as a small business owner etc, things might have gone differently.

    However, the fact is that she has brought a lot of it on herself. Or perhaps, the ALP has brought in on her by not proving enough preparation. She was ill-prepared for the candidacy, from memory she accepted the gig a mere couple of days before announcing it, and a week before actually joining the ALP. This is Adelaide, we are a bloody country town, you know as well as I do that the media here focuses on minor issues. The tone was set at her first interview, when she asked for “no hard questions please.” The population are generally pretty forgiving, but that was pretty bad.

    Unfortunately, she was stereotyped from the start – a blonde social writer. She was given a fresh slate, and a glowing endorsement by the Sunday Mail… and blew it wither her performance a day later. I recall she wrote an article in the paper a week later, and it was a good one, but by then it was too late. I agree it’s a shame, as I think parliament should be made up of more diverse types rather then a bunch of 40-70 year old male lawyers, but I still think she has no chance of winning that seat.

    And if you select a candidate based on their high profile (which the ALP did) then you should know that the success rides on the high profile performances which she was guaranteed to get.

    Regarding New Zealand – I say we buy them out and put our nuclear waste there. At least it would serve a purpose then. Off topic much? I’ll digress.

  10. CTEP, your right all she can do is doorknock and do the shopping centre runs, the fact that she’s stuck it out after all the sht thrown at her shows a bit of toughness, she should avoid interviews like the plague, smelling blood they’ll be out to trip her up in any way they can, the Advertiser will have digs because though their in the same stable as the Sunday Mail there’s fierce rivalry between them and Nicole was a Sunday Mail employee {info courtesy of my journo pal}.
    i dont think Milne knows any more than what we do about the election dates– he’s stabbing in the dark like the rest of us, Costello with Howards ok has been playing games with the dates he’s been dropping and the media has taken the bait both times.

  11. #
    bill weller Says:
    September 30th, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Like what? Are you going down the same line as the ALP member for Reynell that the community or government is not ready to tackle child obesity by removing junk food from tuck shops then having to change that view when the community showed it was more than ready?

    As the government is responsible for a large part of the health budget this is clearly a government responsibility. Same can as smoking; reduce smoking, reduce the health budget.

    No, I will pick a nice controversial one, Gay marriages. You can argue it is a government issue, (stable relationships are good for the health of those in the relationship) however it is an issue that people have strong views on, taking a stand one way or the other reduces your vote.

    I know what the Liberal policy is and it is in the can marked things the Liberals should butt out of, I have no idea what the APL policy is ( Keating made it clear he didn’t consider two blokes and a poodle a family) and I don’t care because no one is pushing it one way or the other.

    The Green’s policy on the issue was used against the Greens in the last election. It should not be like that, the Greens should be maximizing the Green vote.

  12. Surely if people do not like Cornes and cannot vote for her they will vote for Jodi Kirkby or Craig Bossie. If the Libs are on the nose, people will not vote for Southcott.

    The rusted on Labor voters will vote for the party anyway. Then preferences will go back to Cornes.

    Get over it, if the swing is on as it seems, then as I have stated before Humphrey B Bear will win Boothby for the ALP. (Yes Glen he has been on TV too 😉 )

  13. paul k Says:
    September 30th, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    “Perhaps “annex” was a little too harsh but we should merge our economies. A little Common Market of the South Pacific. There would be benefits for both countries and with something like 10% of New Zealanders having moved to Australia it would make a lot of sense.

    New Zealand gets a mention in our constitution. They way I read it they can become a state of Australia if the so desire and there is no timeout clause.

  14. Well, I’m female, Happy Revolutionary, and I think Bolt might be on to something. And I’m a leftie.

    I didn’t know Nicole Cornes from a bar of soap before she became an ALP candidate, but frankly, she seems a bit of a nong. A pretty nong, but a nong nonetheless. If she is indeed some sportsman’s not too bright handbag and was pre-selected as result of this fame, I am not at all surprised that women aren’t too impressed by her candidature.

    (Every now and then, Bolt stumbles on a truth. Like this morning, when he said that the Howard government has the feel of End of Empire.)

  15. [ They way I read it they can become a state of Australia if the so desire and there is no timeout clause. ]

    Let the invasion begin. Maybe that can be Howard’s rabbit out of the hat. The conquest of New Zealand. Maybe there’s too many Muslims there and we need to attack before they do?

  16. Max i take your points — she never had a chance, she was thrown in at the deep end, apparently they were going to groom her over a couple of weeks but the news was leaked out a day after she agreed to stand.
    dont anyone underestimate the the effect having cameras and mikes thrust in your face suddenly, it takes a long time to get used to that, as for journo’s, most are a bloody lot who’d sell their families for a story and are quite capable of making a saga up when needed, i wouldnt give two cents for most of them, just look at the ethics of Today Tonight or A Current Affair.

  17. Last night i got too drunk with a mate and we got on the subject of politics. We discussed Climate Change, he said “it is the biggest issue we face”. we discusssed the Pulp Mill, “bad idea” he said. we discussed economic sustainability, he went on a drunken tyraid about its importants. He also said that Labor was too alike to the Liberals on too many issues and too conservative.
    Therefore I pressumed he was a fellow Green but when i mentioned the party he said “oh No, i don’t like them, they’re extremists! I’ll vote Labor”.

    This is why the Greens won’t go that well. Lots of people are more Green than Labor but stick with Labor due to ‘branding’. Labor under Rudd has a good brand, the label is whats important not the policies.

  18. Excuse me William, but I don’t post here very often and feel that my comments are on topic and add to the general flow of a thread, but for some reason, my better posts which often take some effort and a bit of research, get binned.

    If you don’t want me to contribute to the blog and read all the posts I would be thankful to be told as it is a bit upsetting. I may be being a bit precious but have been an avid supporter and am disappointed.

  19. Max @12

    Ta for that info. Seems deed is done and the party will have to live with it. Was it Mal Somebody – a sports person – who pulled out seconds into his first interview as a candidate. Malinga?

    I doubt she is the only sus candidate to run in this election. Probably duds everywhere.

  20. Lomandra, here is what i know about Cornes, she grew up in the area part of a family reared by a single mum, she had to leave school at fifteen to go to work and help with the family finances, she was working at radio 5AA as a receptionist when she met Graham her husband {a divorced football celebrity} they have two children as well as his two adult sons from his first marriage, she started a small business that she eventually sold and then went back to school to finish her high schooling and then onto uni and recently passed her law degree, with distinctions ive been told, whatever else i dont think she could be described as anyone’s handbag, if she sinks or swims will depend on how she handles the pressure she’s under now– i’m not sticking up for her but those are the facts.

  21. However i am a revolutionary optimist and not a pessimistic apocolyptian. There is a spectre haunting the industrialised world, the spectre og Greenism. Climate Change and finite resources will cause much political disterbance throughout the world. Some countries will be Faschist and give up on curtailling CO2 simply going down fighting but others will turn Green. The Greens will eventually form government. First Germany, then Tasmania, then New Zealand, then (much of) the World! The communists could not create world revolution because their support base was in impoverished nations like russia, china, vietnam, etc. whilst its the western imperialist powers which contol world affairs. However this is preciselly why the Greens will succeed where the communists failed, they are at home in the OECD nations. Earth can be saved from climate change, another world is possible. It would have been alot easier if it wasn’t for Florida 2000 (sigh, what could have been?) but so long as the planets align and do so quickly then we shall overcome!

    Revolutionary Optimist (and full of $hItt) enough for you?

  22. Possum,

    That’s why I’ve been prattling on about Victoria for the last 6 weeks when I first realised what was happening down there.Swings are on, we just cant exactly pinpoint where, but we know that some government safe seats in Victoria have to be swinging by large margins greater than 12%, other less so with margins maybe only 7 or 8%, perhaps a handful with less.

    Please please please let one of them be Higgins 😉 ……. B1 and B2 gone in one fell swoop ….. please pretty please 🙂

  23. I think at the same time as you put your last comment on the previous thread.

    It was in response to Adam’s comment about Dawson etc.

  24. Scorpio,

    There are times when posts disappear due to ‘technical problems’. It’s happened several times to me. William is pretty lenient when it comes to censorship.

  25. It’s probably too late to change candidates, and perhaps Boothby was always a long shot for Labor anyway.
    I’d be interested to read some reports about Sturt. How is the Labor candidate doing against Christopher Pyne?

  26. Ruawake @ 19

    Boothby is still held by 5.4%. Yes a big enough swing might see her through, but from reports the ‘Cornes factor’ has seen a few labor supporters move to the libs, and a few wavering lib supporters hold fast. I wouldn’t dare put a number figure on that, but a lot of seats will fall before Boothby does. People don’t necessarily vote ALP because it looks like they will win, otherwise our Democracy is kinda rooted.

    Judy @ 23

    Ah a media leak… that does make sense. The week following the announcement was like watching a train crash in slow motion. Having said that, I could have sworn I read somewhere that the announcement was timed to coincide with Rudd being in Adelaide – did you have an ‘inside source’ so as to speak?

    Derek @ 26

    Dunno how many ‘dud’ candidates there are out there, but I expect the national swing will get some candidates over the line anyway. Cornes is a different story simply because she was launched as a celebrity and as such had to deal with the media. Which in some cases (ie Maxine Mckew) can be an advantage but in this case was not.

  27. there are now reports of danger to the libs in Forrest & Grey which
    would be assured of lib victories most times. also in there are serious discussions of the outcomes in seats such as Deakin and Boothby
    which have been reliable lib seats.This suggests to me a change of Govt is
    very likely.

  28. Scorpio might I make a suggestion? Before ever posting something, highlight all your text in the post and copy it (Ctrl + C). Often there can be a ‘server fart’ or William might close a thread etc, and if that happens you lose everything. If you’ve saved a copy, then it is easy to just try again.

    A lesson I’ve learnt from countless frustrations over the years (along with saving Word documents every two minutes.)

  29. NZ is better of separate. One of the many great reason for visiting New Zealand over the past few years has been the relief of not hearing John Howard’s voice every day on TV. It’s like a severe case of tinnitus being suddenly cured. Helen Clarke sounds so much more manly than Howard as well.

  30. Julie i’m praying just as hard for Downer to be cast into the pit, i’m not in his seat but the thought of never having to see his smug face on telly or listen to his egotistical smarmy put downs ever again sounds like heaven, everyone knows he comes from Adelaide — what an embarrasment that he’s too thick to see everyone laughing at his born to rule attitude.

  31. 37
    Mick Quinlivan Says:

    Yeah, thanks for that Mick. I’m not exactly a computer wiz and when I get onto a good issue and put a lot of effort including links etc, it is a real bother to have it disappear into the ether.

    I can never remember how exactly I put together a good post as they seem to come together in a form of inspiration which vanished after I hit the button.

  32. Max yes i did have an inside leak, apparently it was intended to give her time to join the labor party and a couple of intensive weeks training ready for Rudd’s following trip over here, unfortunately after it was leaked there was no point — she was dished up the next day, they probably thought writing a column she may have done better, BUT theres a big diff writing a column and facing a barrage of cameras and questions you have no idea of what the answers are supposed to be.
    the fact that she’s taken it on the chin and stuck it out shows charactor, i’d have run like a scalded cat to be honest, i lurked here for a long time before i summoned the courage to take part.

  33. Lomandra @ 21

    (Every now and then, Bolt stumbles on a truth. Like this morning, when he said that the Howard government has the feel of End of Empire.)

    The Blot is loathed in my household, but you are right – he’s like a political weather vane. Subdued on Insiders, I’d say, like Akkers last week. Or was it Henderson? If operatives like these express their doubts in public, what are they being told in private?

    For the record: I think Nicole will pull through.

  34. Judy, I live in Brisbane but like you can’t stand Downer. I think there is a real chance that he will be forced to preferences – not for the first time. It will be a seat to watch at least.

  35. Costello is well liked in Higgins, he does things in the seat, appears often in the local media and the ALP appear to have picked a person with a poor understanding of the seat therefore Costello to hold with maybe a swing against for rent stress is a major issue in that seat, and with a large number of people on $30,000 – $60,000 looking at increasing rents and house affordability issues are ticked off with workchoices.

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