From one red morgue to another

Today has brought a fascinating development in the battle for control of the Senate, with South Australian Legislative Council “No Pokies” member Nick Xenophon throwing his hat into the ring. Xenophon pulled off one of the most sensational achievements in Australia’s recent electoral history at the election last March, when his ticket polled 20.5 per cent of the statewide vote – only 5.5 per cent less than the Liberal Party. As well as getting himself re-elected (he first snuck in with 2.9 per cent at the 1997 election), this also secured election for running mate Ann Bressington, who believed she was only there for moral support, and came within a hair’s breadth of putting into parliament John Darley, the number three candidate who had assured his wife he had no chance of winning. Given the Greens’ historical weakness in South Australia and the probable demise of the Democrats, the most likely outcome in South Australia had been a three-all split between Labor and Liberal. The smart money would now be on the Liberals losing their third seat to Xenophon, meaning an end to the long and not terribly eventful parliamentary career of Grant Chapman. In other words, the Coalition now appears all but certain to lose its absolute majority. PortlandBet has smartly removed South Australia from its newly launched Senate betting market.

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.

595 comments on “From one red morgue to another”

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  1. “Parliament will sit”

    Surely he won’t risk p*ssing off every backbencher and political reporter? God he’d get crucified. Not another week of the attack dogs on Rudd – that totally backfired the last time they tried it.

    Today was the closest thing to atonement you’ll ever see him utter – his cleansing before the storm. It had the feel of a final act before the plunge.

    Abbott is just punching out in defiance – because a good part of the washup of this will be the folly of work choices.

  2. i see Howard is gonna announce a Gay Rights deal in the next few days.

    they are desperately trying to shore up Future leadership material Turnbull and Hockey.

    thats all the next 6 weeks is about now.

    firewalling the key seats and members.

  3. Perhaps that why Abbott never became a priest. No doubt one of his aunties or uncles had told him that entering the priesthood might do something to clear up his (even as a child) notoriously perverse logic.

    After a few years in the seminary had shown him that this was just a parochial myth, he decided to make the best of a bad job and become a Packer journalist, where his tenuous grip on reality could be used to earn a living, and thus allow him to buy a couple of overcoats.

  4. Blacklight said @ # 272-:

    “the traditional nat view is ’shoot the bastards’
    you know:
    wild pigs

    Struth, those Nats have mellowed over the last couple of years

  5. Scorpio 450

    Recollect Howard proposing exactly that after the superannuation backflip last election, about was it four years ago now?

  6. [Yeah, there’s just no more real men in the Nats anymore.]

    Yep, they now have Gay Big Brother Housemates 🙂

    I can’t think of his name atm – anyone remember ?

  7. Crikey Whitey,

    Yeah, he sure did. From memory it was to apply to dumped, first timers, and would also apply to those affected by the reduced super entitlements which I understand have now been reinstated.

    Time for bed, night all.

  8. Shreddergate wont amount to much the media have already decided which person they want as PM and it isnt Howard so regardless if Rudd was involved or not the media wont attack him because they are soft…

    I’m going to watch some of the 2004 Election Coverage ahhh the golden era…funny watching McKew actually…

  9. abbott attacs the church, actually a few of em.

    jackie Kelly on a parisian jolly

    Howard using Aboriginals to hold on to power

    very unsavoury

  10. Nafe said @ #355-

    “These pathetic Howard haters are becoming evermore crass and vile.
    Johnny has it in the bag now.”

    This begs the question as to what Johnny has in the bag. Dare I suggest that in view of recent events that maybe it is his head?

    I was tempted to suggest some other things but I am afraid that they would have not got past William’s moderating machine.

  11. Captain Gerrymander @

    we have an evolutionary and functionalist language, not prescriptive

    The first sensible thing anyone has said on the subject of linguistic pedantry on this site. If it’s a line-ball argument, get over it IMHO.

  12. TONY ABBOTT: The priesthood gives someone the power to consecrate bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, it doesn’t give someone the power to convert poor logic into good logic.

    So much for 2000 years of the magisterium of the Church. Catholics who try to escape from the consequences of their faith make such bad Protestants. You’re not entitled to judge whether priests are right or wrong, Tony, you’re supposed to submit to the superior wisdom of the Church, which is Christ’s representative on Earth. You shouldn’t need an atheist to tell you this – what do they taech in Catholic schools these days?

    That’s all for tonight…

  13. hmm, Nightline are repeating ACA’s “A Day in the life of a PM”

    And yes Howard did look uncomfortable and he was always brushing Ben Fordham aside.

  14. [hmm, Nightline are repeating ACA’s “A Day in the life of a PM”]

    Oh and I might add that it’s an edited version of the original which has removed the bits where Howard requests the cameras to leave so he can have a private chat with the Tassie Pollie.

  15. My wife controls the remote – so I only got a brief glance at Lateline. All the same, what I heard almost took me out of the chair.

    I’m pretty sure (because he repeated it) that Tony Jones referred to “Dorothy Lessing” winning the Nobel prize for literature. “Dorothy”??? Anyone else pick that up? As far as I know, she’s still known as “Doris”.

    On the Abbott overcoats analogy, perhaps I have a dirty mind. I keep having images of flashers. I trust that wasn’t going through Abbott’s mind at the time … but you never know.

  16. If I were Rudd, this would be my line:

    It took John Howard a decade to accept the reality of global warming (but he still isn’t ready to do anything about it).
    It took John Howard a decade to accept Asian immigration (and then he went to water once Pauline Hanson began her rise).
    It took John Howard a decade to accept Aboriginal reconciliation (but it still has to be on his terms).

    A leader doesn’t take a decade to know what’s right for our country. And John Howard has been getting it wrong for years – plainly wrong, stubbornly wrong, hopelessly wrong. But he’s right about one thing – an apology from him now would be too little, too late.

    John Howard: Too Little. Too Late.

  17. I thought I’d check out Abbott and Gillard on channel 9 for the first time this morning. Julia pointed out that Howard had had appropriate opportunity for Aboriginal reconciliation on a number of occasions in the past. So what was Abbotts response – be grateful for now!

    Channel 9 didn’t miss the opportunity to politicise the Bali attacks at 6.55am by claiming on four occasions in two minutes that it was labor party policy to abolish capital punishment for terrorists.

    Also, in a question to Gillard during the debate – in which Abbott got twice as much oxygen BTW – Karl Stifshit or whatever his name is referred to all of Howards policies as being good ideas.

    I reckon Channel 9 should be more concerned with boosting the bloke’s (Karl S) microphone, nobody can hear him.

  18. Kevin, we’re still waiting for this vision for Australia you supposedly have. It was time to release it about a week or two ago. Get going before its too late. A lot of us are depending on you.

    Ignore Howard, present yourself as a strong leader and get on with it.

  19. When the stories started flooding out of the rampant child abuse by the clergy my mum said

    “We all knew it was happening but ignored it”

    Howard defended Hollingsworth, Pell and the clergy saying we must remember all the good they did.

    Perhaps Howard may now call a Royal Commission as the Anglican Church and state governments have been caling on him to do?

    He said in regards to the aboriginals that his thinking was a product of his generation, any change on thinking on child abuse is better late than never.

  20. Adam’s post @ 470 is his funniest ever post and possibly the funniest post here ever.

    The serious point is that we had Abbott just before the last election being evasive about his visits to Cardinal Pell. Now he is banging on on in a very Marxist way about redistribution of wealth. Plus we now have his confession that he really believes in transubstantiation a belief not shared by most Christians.

    What can we expect during the election campaign? An encyclical about how many angels dance on the point of a needle.

    The sad part is that Rudd is of the same ilk or at least approaching it. He too believes in all this religious tosh.

    I suspect that after the election we will be standing outside in the cold, looking in through the window unable to tell the diners at the groaning table apart.

    There are third ways. The Greens and Nick X for a start.

  21. howard and his aborginal referendum will fail at the voter box, simply because howard will write the preamble and noone will support it and he will quickly blame everyone else for the loss,
    crosby/textor must think there is votes in aboriginal issues and persuading howard to go there, otherwise i can think of no reason why howard is being so cuddle with aborigines ( he has avoided them for the last 11 years )

  22. Maybe the Mad Monk’s bagging of the Catholic church will bring them back to Labor. If it gets votes for the ALP, then I say Abbott should keep talking and insulting the church.

  23. The Aboriginal reconciliation is about winning back the votes of the small-L Libs in the leafy suburbs; that’s according to Peter Brent at Mumble, and I agree. The Libs must be taking an absolute battering in these seats.

  24. Looks like the MSM is saying Howard isn’t going far enough, he has to say sorry. Aboriginal leaders are saying that there still needs to be a national apology from our nation’s leaders.

    This announcement may help keep some lower-l Liberals, but it still doesn’t go far enough.

    Gillard has said that if Howard was serious about this, he should of done it in 2000 when there were all the reconciliation marches going on around the country.

  25. I don’t believe for an instant that Howard has had some deep and genuine conversion on this issue. It is nakedly cynical, unprincipled, opportunistic and desperation driven political manoeuvring. Nothing more, nothing less.

  26. My personal reaction is Howard looks weak. A back-flip, achieved whilst saying nothing of substance.

    But the headlines this morning are remarkably positive for him. (C-Mail only exception: ‘PM shift on black policy’ – what policy?!)

    The polling this weekend will be critical, to the timing of the election, and to ‘momentum’.

    I smell a perfect storm for the government. Andrews calculatedly sinks the boot into a vulnerable (and black) immigrant group. Howard opines snake-oil about reconciliation with indigenous Australia. Howard hits headlines with a list of 70 Aussie moments in history. Message behind it all: assimilate with ‘us’. Fortuitously for the government, at the same time, a ‘digger’ dies at the ‘evil’ hands of l’etrangers. And McLelland drops a clanger.

    Howard’s pitch is simple, and as old as his govt, and indeed the Menzian Liberal party. ‘Only I can unite the nation, only I can protect you.’

    Will it work again? If nothing else, the timing is impeccable since in the long clayton’s campaign, neither party has constructed an over-arching agenda (aside perhaps from Labor’s ‘it’s time’ meme). Frankly I doubt Rudd Labor’s ability to substitute an agenda.

    I suspect we’re about to see how soft the Labor appeal to traditional conservative voters has been. And then, whether the government’s unpopularity is irresistible.

  27. Just Me I don’t believe for an second that Rudd and Labor have had some deep and genuine conversion on being fiscal conservatives. It is cynical, unprincipled, opportunistic and desperation driven, it just goes to show you that neither side is clean of opportunism.

  28. Howard the ultimate damascene-i dont think so

    this pure and simply is for the overiding of aboriginal rights and his mates in the nuke industry
    the nt intervention involved the army(WTF)
    each unit had a gps constantly update pos etc etlink it to landsat 2
    voila complete geophysical map of the top end

    case closed

  29. In 2004, Mr Howard announced there would be an election but did not seek the formal dissolution of parliament for several days.,25197,22573233-601,00.html

    Could Howard have it both ways perhaps? Announce the election date this weekend (Sunday) but not formally dissolve parliament for a few days – allowing him to pass the drought legislation etc and still have a few question times to put the boot into Rudd?

  30. 479
    oyster Says:
    October 12th, 2007 at 9:21 am
    howard and his aborginal referendum will fail at the voter box, simply because howard will write the preamble and noone will support it and he will quickly blame everyone else for the loss,
    crosby/textor must think there is votes in aboriginal issues and persuading howard to go there, otherwise i can think of no reason why howard is being so cuddle with aborigines ( he has avoided them for the last 11 years )

    McClelland opened the door putting Labor right on the back foot for couple of days, giving Howard the chance to really criticise Labor/Rudd and gave Howard the opportunity for the first time to make some purchase. He needed to come up with something attention grabbing to make the best use of the opportunity, doesn’t matter how good or bad.

    This will be Labor’s worst week vote wise – courtesy of some pretty incompetent political thinking on McClelland’s part. I still can’t believe he is that stupid. Without the negative momentum Howard’s stunt wouldn’t have much effect.

    It remains to be see how gullible some Australians are. Howard did promise something similar in his 1998 election campaign and promptly dumped it. The lack of a ‘sorry’ is the big lever that Labor can use to demonstrate Howard has not changed his stripes.

  31. Rudd should agree with the essence of it, and propose a public holiday to commorate the eventual passing of the referendum. We could call it Reconciliation Day.

    Positively supporting a good initiative, and possibly wedging Howard into rejecting a public holiday to me would seem like a good move. We all know Howard doesn’t support the idea of additional public holidays. He even considered rejecting the ACT’s move to make Melbourne Cup Day a public holiday.

    It could also act to shift the debate back to industrial relations in a way, Labor’s strong point for this election.

  32. The New Ltd website is running a poll on support for the referendum and it’s running 53% against at the moment. Interesting to see how it develops.

  33. Kevin, we’re still waiting for this vision for Australia you supposedly have. It was time to release it about a week or two ago. Get going before its too late. A lot of us are depending on you.

    I think they’re just waiting for the election to be called.

    This latest referendum proposal is a nice headline grabber, but at the core it lacks substance (which the opposition parties should point out) and this is hardly a major election issue. Headline today, gone tomorrow.

  34. I haven’t followed this whole thread, so I may be going over old ground, but ESJ if you’re around, and having stated an interest in the area, what is your take on Howard and reconcilliation (ethics and politics)?

  35. Howard’s thought process? (with apologies to the truly hopeful or enraged): ‘I see a wedge…I know I should do something with it…wedge…myself?’

  36. Anything that addresses the poverty and disadvantage of the Aboriginal population is to be supported by either side.

    I think the aboriginal population of this country has been badly let down by the 70’s left thinking which permeates aboriginal affairs. Clearly what has been done in the past hasnt worked. I would add some of the people who appear on the telly as “aboriginal leadership” present poorly. I think it means addressing some of the unmentionables – language, living in the middle of nowhere etc but also the symbolic recognition of past wrongs a la redfern park speech by PJK.

    Secondly its a low value area in politics – rarely does someone with heft take it up in Cabinet – Brough being in Cabinet is a good thing. I hope Labor does the same if it wins. Because it is has low status it gets elbowed aside by more pressing political issues.

    Thirdly I think Hugo was v.perceptive yesterday, it does appear either side only takes it up when the leader appears at deaths door. Guilt or something I suppose.

  37. Edward, I agree Brough has been good at bringing Indigenous issues to the forefront of politics where they belong. Here’s hoping Rudd lives up to his promise to establish a ‘war Cabinet’ to address Indigenous issues. Not likely, but we can hope.

  38. Misty 487 – Howard can call the election date but not issue the writs for a few days – this can happen, but it won’t. Howard has changed the electoral rules so that voters only have 24 hours after the writs are issued to register. This affects particularly young people who are mobile/ renters. He will visit the GG and immediately issue the writs. His intention is to disenfranchise as many potential Labor voters as possible. He is a most despicable person.

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