Sources for courses

Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald informs us that Labor internal polling conducted a fortnight ago points to an unlikely sounding 13 per cent swing in North Sydney, enough to tip Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey out of his blue-ribbon seat. This might easily be dismissed as a Labor diversionary tactic, but the report also refers to “suggestions in the Liberal Party in recent weeks” that Hockey might be in trouble. I was about to protest that such talk is familiar from the 2004 election, but Coorey’s source again pre-empts me: Hockey really had been struggling going into that campaign, but “Mark Latham’s attack on private schools helped revive his fortunes”.

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.

776 comments on “Sources for courses”

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  1. Poor old Joe, he has no idea. He is like some boofy guy, completely ineffectual and basically useless.

    His recent performance is wonderful for the ALP.

  2. Hockey hadn’t been saddled with JWH’s Workchoices in 2004 either. I tend to think he’s a good bloke who’s been stuck with selling an unfair and overly complicated policy that he personally doesn’t completely believe in.

  3. Just watched Hockey’s Lateline video… He is plain bad, almost foolish and all I can say as a North Sydney voter is I can’t believe we are paying this guy.

    Bring on the election and say goodnight Joe.

  4. Hockey is an idiot and he and the rest of us will be better off when he is out of politics. Politics is no place for a fool or an idiot. If he doesn’t like Work Choices then he should say so, or is it maybe the Non-Union Boss whom is standing over him? He probably should be emptying bins for a council somewhere. What is he going to do if there is a defamation case pending against himself?

  5. I agree with haiku – well the bit about being stuck with an unfair policy. He was only given it because of his ‘on air’ “Sunrise” persona. I think he will keep his seat, but it will be interesting to see the state wide swing vis a vis the swing in his own seat (being ‘Workchoices’ minister).

  6. His slandering of the Sydney University academics behind the Australians@Work survey came across VERY badly – he sounded as bitter as Downer does and it rang of playing the man not the ball. Not a good look on the blazer-wearing, boater-doffing North Shore…

  7. Mike Bailey is a great candidate too. I’ve volunteered to help get him elected as I live near North Sydney. I’d love nothing more than to see him pull it off. As a long time Victorian, I get the impression North Sydney is very much like Kooyong. Blue ribbon Liberal to the core. A Labour victory here would be hugely significant, much more so than in Bennelong or even Wentworth. Thanks for the update, William.

    The last two comments (4 & 5) are spot on – they will make things that much harder for Hockey to get re-elected.

  8. The swing is on & I have privately put North Sydney on the precipice on election night that Joe Hockey will either stand or fall either way. Its not far fetched.
    If Joe pulls thru & that he is still young (41 I think) I’d say he a given for Liberal Party leadership in the next 10 years. If he is defeated well, what a ‘coup de grace’

  9. Anybody think there is an attempt at a Tampa style ‘immigrants are bad’ thing going on with Andrew’s recent comments about Sudanese immigrants.

    Seems odd its been quiet for so long, and they pick now to start beating the xenophobe drum.

  10. S Says:
    October 4th, 2007 at 7:15 am

    Seems odd its been quiet for so long, and they pick now to start beating the xenophobe drum.

    They are out to make history, how big can we get this swing is the question the front bench is trying to answer, all in the name of research.

    They had to remind the “doctors wife’s” why they were angry.

  11. Hockey on Sunrise this morning has confirmed at least a part of the story, saying that he’s “been behind before”, which may be an oblique confirmation of the 2004 polling.

  12. I was probably being unfair the other day saying Hockey’s performance on 7.30 report was 0/10 and he was a liar! I have just got so tired of the same old lines.

    The man has a tough gig selling workchoices and appears to be doing his darndest to continue like a bull terrier to hammer home his message. His style though is getting him into trouble with the likes of the academics.

    If Hockey loses his seat will it be the message or the messenger or both?

  13. if the polling is true hich I doubt the MOE is 4.9% ie a worthless poll but one J Howard was getting such daily polls in 96.

    I have always thought North Sydney was ripe for plucking. Bailey is a very good candidate and workchoices is doing joe no favours hence his potentially libellous comments

  14. Joe SerfChoice is the sort of bloke who is equally adept at shooting:
    – the breeze on daytime telly
    – himself in the foot
    – the messenger
    – his mouth off.
    He’s the complete all-rounder.
    In the current climate, Joey’s more than capable of blowing a 10% margin then laughing it off with a Shrek shrug. Real foreman material. Complete all-rounder.

    Reporter to Hockey: “Who do you feel is more responsible for this lawsuit, minister, Union Bosses or their stooges the Uni Bosses?”

  15. From 2002 Maxine McHugh piece on Joe Hockey

    Hockey’s own father, a Palestinian, arrived in Sydney as a penniless youth in the late-1940s having decided there was no future in a world of warring Arab and Jew. His is the classic story of rags to middle-class prosperity in one generation. From a small deli in Bondi to a newsagency in Narremburn. But, as Hockey says ruefully: “Dad wouldn’t get in today. He wouldn’t qualify.”

    And as someone from the Middle East, he’d be demonised for even trying, I suggest. Hockey pauses before answering, then says: “Yes, he would.”

    But who does Hockey blame for this state of affairs? Well, certainly not John Howard and Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock. He says he has no trouble in backing both the government’s stance on border protection and mandatory detention of illegal migrants

    end quote

    Must be the small business family upbringing which aligns Joe to the non Labor side of politics but I wouldn’t really have thought that the 21st century Liberal Party of the demagogic John Howard would be where you’d gravitate.

    But at the moment he looks right at home. Very strange.

    Joe Hockey as leader of the Libs? Not a chance – ever.

  16. Apparently the Sydney University Researchers slandered by Hockey earlier in the week are going to sue: even more problems for the Windbag.
    I doubt very much the Liberals will lose North Sydney, but I suspect they are vulnerable at least to large swings against them in a number of supposedly safe seats, maybe even my own area of Berowra in Sydney’s North.

  17. Curse being one suburb away from the electorate of North Sydney!

    Being a native North Shorian, I still shake my head in amazement when I see seats like North Sydney being defended like a front line marginal, but it’s a good thing to see. Hopefully, I’ll see a bit more of my local MP, Brendan Nelson, at least TRYING to make an effort. Curse you rusted on middle and upper North Shore Liberal voters.

  18. I can’t believe the free ride that Sunrise gave him this morning, was sickening. Just a big soapbox for him to spruik, no balance whatsoever..

  19. It’s a small poll, these taken shortly before elections and during campaigns unfortunately seem to tend to swing around a fair bit. At this stage, I’d be tipping Hockey to be returned with a smaller margin.

    There’s probably a good reason this seat hasn’t been won by Labor since it was created.

  20. One and half Mickey Mouse ears from Mr Brent for this poll. I wonder too why parties pay for such high-MoE samples. Wouldn’t the marginal cost of doubling sample size be worth the more meaningful results?

    Spent an hour with a Palestinian refugee recently: been in Australia 10 years. Has 4 mining engineering qualifications. Can’t land a job in the industry. Moved up from Melbourne, but finding it even tougher in Brisbane socially speaking. Cops abuse on the street just for his looks. (Beard, non-practising muslim).

    Same with the father of a friend of my daughter at prep. Sudanese. Christian. Biochemist. Getting by on min. wage jobs for more than a year now.

    Yes, their english isn’t perfect, but these are science/technology positions. Both can land interviews but get passed over.

    The ‘wets’ in this government should’ve pulled Howard, Andrews et al into line years ago. Too late now, for everyone.

  21. Hockey’s seat should be safe Liberal but having been given the hospital pass of WorknoChoices, he could be in trouble. Hockey seems like a pleasant, geniune bloke more suited to the Labor side of politics instead of the Howard carpetbaggers.

  22. Bryce (17)
    Thou Hockey may not be a WASP by ancestry & yes his dad is a Palestinian by birth I believe his surname was Hokeidonian of Armenian heritage. As Armenian people are scattered in that part of the world thanks to the Turkish genocide in the early 20th century.
    As for the Liberals they have now evolved into a right-wing party and I guess once thy are out of office they will have no choice but to moderate & evolve back to the center. I still reckon he make a leadership roll (ethnic friendly) Liberals.

  23. I do not expect Mr Hockey to lose his seat…. I remember handing out how to votes for Labor in the early 1980s ….. I think it was when Ted Mack won the state seat…. I remember even thinking there is no way this seat will vote Labor…. this situation still stands
    but if there is an 8% swing then swings can occur above or below that
    due to local issues…… Do the small L liberals like work choices?

  24. I don’t know why so many ALP supporters are willing to cut Hockey slack and suggest he would be more suited to Labor.

    What makes people think this? If he really did not support WorkChoices he would resign from Cabinet and the Liberal Party, he would’ve rejected the position as Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations.

    Not only this, but he has shown himself willing to get right down there with the dirty politics by slandering academics, slinging mud at the union movement etc.

    The whole Cabinet in my mind is dirtied by its association with WorkChoices. They knew it would disadvantage working Australians, yet they went ahead with it anyhow without a safety net to protect workers. They were warned what would happen but thought they knew best. The fact that they are still not recognising that they got it wrong is a sign of complete arrogance.

    So no, Hockey does not deserve to win his seat no matter what a nice guy he is. Having said that I’ll still reiterate my earlier comments that I don’t see this seat going Labor at this election.

  25. It said in the article the poll asked people whether they preferred Lib or Labor, not which local candidate. I can’t see Hockey losing his seat. If he does, it won’t matter as the libs would be facing a massive wipe-out all around. He’s a high-profile and likeable personality, and like others have said, he doesn’t seem suited to the hard right wing party the libs have become under howard.

  26. Hockey will most likely retain North Sydney – no matter how good Mike Bailey is as a candidate.

    North Sydney will (on current trends) eventually fall to Labor in about 10 years – think of it as Bennelong in 1996 and watch the trends. As other commentators have noticed, its typical of the slow swing to Labor in the North Shore, as its socially liberal, but economically conservative voters become attracted to Labor’s social progressiveness (and disillusioned by the NSW Liberals’ move to the right on social issues).

    That said, expect a chunk of Hockey’s margin to go on election night – my guess is he’ll prob end up with about 54% of the TPP – comfortable, but not safe.

    As to whether its the message or the messenger, in my opinion, its the message. Hockey seems like a good guy and a decent parliamentary performer who seems to embody the “traditional” Liberal member – socially progressive but economically conservative. I just hope he doesn’t turn into another Ruddock – a moderate who was forced to turn to the dark side just so to get a nice job in cabinet.

  27. Joe Hockey will retain the seat of North Sydney which contains many traditional Liberal voting areas on Sydney’s lower North Shore. He might be in trouble, however, if an independent with a high profile stands against him and the Australian Labor Party directs preferences to the independent. Also in Joe Hockey’s favour is the continuing ineptitude of Morrie and co. at State level and I am not just talking about Reba Meagher and Royal North Shore Hospital. I see in this morning’s SMH the headline in respect of the proposed rise in bus fares (which will be the second increase in less than 12 months): “Higher fares still good value, Watkins”…yeah, sure, John, you know best. There are plenty of bus routes in the North Sydney electorate.

  28. Re 30,

    Also in Joe Hockey’s favour is the continuing ineptitude of Morrie and co. at State level and I am not just talking about Reba Meagher and Royal North Shore Hospital.

    David, I live in SW Sydney so don’t know the landscape really well over on the North Shore. Is the RNS Hospital in Hockey’s electorate?

  29. If Joe pulls thru & that he is still young (41 I think) I’d say he a given for Liberal Party leadership in the next 10 years.
    Aussieguru01 (9)

    Joe Hockey as leader of the Libs? Not a chance – ever.
    bryce (17)

    I agree with bryce, not the slightest chance of Hockey ever becoming leader. He falls a long way of short of being genuine leadership material, and the Liberal machine now know that.

  30. Did Possum/Adam’s “discussion” the other day canvass a huge swing against Hockey as an explanation as to where all those Labor votes could go?
    Ahhh, Hockey loses his seat in a 30% swing to labor.
    There you go – problem solved.

  31. The posts of this thread remind me of historical reports of Politbureau meetings in the 30’s under Stalin, everyone trying to outdo themselves in zeal.

    Yes of course N Sydney, Higgings, Kooyong etc etc are going to fall. All politics in this country will end and we will all be content under the gaze of the benevolent leader.

    Give me a break.

  32. As a resident of the of North Sydney let me first say that this is a fantastic poll! However, there is a 0% chance of Hockey losing. Up here it’s near as blue ribbon Liberal as you can get. There’ll be some jitters but it’s not going anywhere.

  33. I’d be suprised if Hockey didn’t retain North Sydney. I think we’re getting carried away with all these poll numbers. When Kevin from Heaven says the election will be tight, regardless of the 2PP numbers now, he is sure to be right. What proportion of poll respondents are undecided? The election will be decided seat by seat and while Labor might make some gains in the western suburbs of Sydney, it’s possible the Libs will pick up a seat ot two in WA and also that Queensland won’t swing hard enough to bring in the 16 seats required – and that’s without a single coalition gain due to local issues or the odd charismatic candidate. It’s a big ask. There’s reason for hope but this race has some distance to run and the coalition is not simply going to lie back and think of England while Kev and the team steal what they consider to be their birthright. Bear in mind that the confidence demonstrated by contributors to this site is mirrored on the other side of politics through an equivalent range of forums, email loops and blogs. There is, I’m sure a counter weight of confidence on the other side of politics. It just depends on with whom you chat.

  34. Edward St John I think the majority of posts on this thread are talking about how North Sydney is not going to fall. Go back and reread.

  35. 34
    David Charles Says:
    October 4th, 2007 at 10:03 am
    Hi Julie (31) , yes RNSH is in Hockey’s electorate.

    Ok, thanks David :). Do you think that Hockey escapes being tainted by the health care issues? Or will they exacerbate the already severe problems he has as the public face of Work Choices? I am thinking that the anger people have over health issues there at the RNSH will be partially taken out on Hockey as being the sitting member and a Lib, he is a natural target. I think he is in over his head on multiple issues 😉

  36. Hockey’s candidacy will not help him, as he’s the IR minister and has to defend Workchoices. Newspoll has Labor almost level with the Libs in the Libs safe seats, and leading the Libs in NSW 58-42. If these numbers hold up, there will no doubt be some seats that have never gone Labor before that go Labor this time. Nth Sydney could certainly fall, as could some of the blue-ribbon Melb seats, where Labor has a 60-40 lead in Vic. The 2002 Brackslide captured much Lib heartland territory for Labor.

  37. Why would Hockey be blamed at all for the hospital? Most people see it quite rightly as primarily a state responsibility.

    I don’t imagine the hospital or public transport will have a huge impact on the election. Unless they are made an issue.

  38. There’s no chance of Hockey losing his seat, but it’s good in principle to see Labor having a crack at it.
    I have to agree with another commenter above – I don’t really understand why Hockey gets a ‘pass’, when his colleagues are routinely villified. He cultivates an image of being an ‘avuncular’, jolly fat man, but far from being a ‘good guy’, he comes off more like an unctuous, used-car salesman, who knows he’s flogging a lemon, but who would die in a ditch for his anti-union laws anyway (to mix metaphors).

  39. i’ve been struck, watching joe in action on a few occasions lately, by just how incompetent and inept he is at being a politician. any moron would have known that slagging off the Australia@Work researchers (my god, how ineptly he did it – it must have made a good many coalition supporters cringe) was foolish. the thing is, it looked to me like his heart wasn’t in it – he looked embarrassed as he was doing it.
    leadership material? ye gads, it’ll definitely be time to leave the country if that ever happens.

  40. I still don’t understand why everyone’s so pessimistic about Hockey’s seat, when the numbers from Newspoll’s qtr breakdowns are telling us that Lib safe seats in Vic and NSW ARE in serious danger.

  41. Edward Sin Gin 35 – The comments on this blog are an attempt to counter the right wing edicts put out by the Murdoch media particularly the GG (or Oz). I’m a ‘soft’ leftie who just wants to see the end of Howard. In 1999, after the dodgy republican referendum, Malcolm Turnbull described Howard as the person ‘who broke Australia’s heart’. Turnbull was wrong – Howard has turned out be a person who has destroyed our previously good reputation as nation of fairness and tolerance.

  42. Blue ribbon Liberal to the core.

    I dunno they threw out the useless born-to-ruler, Mr Carla Zampatti, (the only man in recorded history to make both Bill McMahon and Alex Downer look effectual) for the quite radical Ted Mack.

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