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”

Comments Page 11 of 12
1 10 11 12
  1. Sadly the News Ltd poll does not provide an option for “Yes but after a change of government.”

    Albert 478: “Plus we now have his confession that he really believes in transubstantiation a belief not shared by most Christians.” All Catholics are supposed to believe in transubstantiation, and I believe the Orthodox are too. Even High Anglicans believe in it although they’re not supposed to. I would think that amounts to a majority of Christians worldwide.

    The point is that Abbott and Andrews are “cafeteria Catholics” just like the liberal Catholics they despise. They pick and choose which bits of the Church’s teachings they will accept. On abortion or same-sex marriage, Cardinal Pell is a great world leader whom the secular swill would do well to heed. But when Pell criticises them on WorkChoices or refugees, he is a muddled-headed pinko and who cares what priests say anyway?

    More generally, Abbott is a desperate man who at this point will say just about anything. He is also a total humbug. I doubt he really believes anything.

    Howard is also a desperate man, and last nights speech will be seen in that light. It won’t help him a bit in the key marginals, where only his resignation and the repeal of WorkChoices would make any difference. It *might* help a bit in the Kooyongs and North Sydneys, but not much. Deathbed conversions are seldom sincere, as Cardinal Pell know doubt knows.

    Priest: Will you now renounce Satan and all his works?
    Dying man: Bless you, Father, this is no time to be making enemies.

  2. Paul

    Danny is a funny one, can reveal what the Lord said to him but not what Howard and Costello said to him.

    “A few weeks ago while I was seeking the Lord in prayer, He told me that I must meet personally with the Honorable Prime Minister John Howard and the Honorable Federal Treasurer Peter Costello. ”

    “Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to share the details of these private encounters,”

    Is Danny running as a Family First candidate again?

  3. Well Alex it is not as though 18 year olds haven’t known there is an election coming. They’ve been campaigning for ten long tedious months.
    I agree is is despicable though to attempt to disenfranchise first time voters.
    I think the reason that the majority are opposed to the referendum thus far is more to do with people’s suspicion of John Howard’s motives than anything else. We all know it’s a desperate last minute attempt to grab back a few small l liberal votes.
    The more John Howard peforms these cynical exercises the more he puts the electorate off.
    The billion dollar Pacific Highway promise in the shaky seat of Page the other day was regarded as just another cynical vote-grabbing exercise.
    John Howard would be better off if he just called the election this week and just ran on his record.
    Frankly though he is staring down the barrel of another possible, even likely, interest rate rise in a few weeks and this won’t help his economic credentials, even though we know he has had little effect on it.
    Labor can say that the giant surpluses piled up by Peter Costello should have been spent on health, global warming initiatives, education, child care and the like. Those surpluses may well prove to be an albatross around Peter Costello’s neck.
    If John Howard doesn’t announce the election by Monday, things are going to get a whole lot worse for him.

  4. Labor is not only desperate to win this election they are desperate to win it by the most emphatic margin possible. Such a victory would be an undisputable mandate regardless and make a hostile Senate think twice.

    They need to be going from strength to strength without the own goals. Rudd ‘the positive’ is a good look, Rudd ‘the serious’ really needs some presentation work. I suggest he asks Beattie how it is done.

  5. I’ll tell you what I really think of religion, as a non practicing catholic… I’d better not, I’ve still got one comment in moderation at 8.25am and don’t want to make it two.

  6. I am almost in agreement with you ESJ (except for you pseudo culture war bit about the 70s left), and agree that this is an area that demands leadership for reasons of the people, but also for the national pride which Howard seems sporadically interested in. I also agree that it requires bipartisanship, which is why I would like to flay Howard for bringing it up at the time when the two sides of politics are obout to go at each others throats.

    While I would love to believe that Howard has been struck off his horse, I unfortunately believe that you it’s very hard to teach such a cynical old dog new tricks. This is the same man who furiously railed against the most disadvantaged Australians in 1997, promised reconciliation in 98, then played dumb ever since.

    Howard has spent his political capital on this issue, and Richard Jones take above [‘I think the reason that the majority are opposed to the referendum thus far is more to do with people’s suspicion of John Howard’s motives than anything else.’] I think is the sentiment that will win the day if Howard tries to lead this.

    Finally, I think he is admitting that his midas touch has left him, and is taking up a Brough idea in the hope it will be better received. At the end of it all remains Howard, a man so compromised that this will be what people notice, not a policy area that he has shamefully ignored for a decade.

  7. Pancho,

    Try to be honest here. There is a whole group of people who make a living off supposedly working for Aboriginal interests – what has been disparagingly called the Aboriginal industry.

    I recall one Sydney silk who got fat off cases involving a NT Aboriginal group because he was regularly flown up to Darwin at full fees for the 5 hour flight there and a 5 hour flight back.

    Many of these people are interested in administrative sinecures. They have no capacity to address the real issues affecting these people. I think Howard has probably realised that until he addresses the symbolism he wont be able to reduce these lefty sinecures and start address the causes of disadvantage. I think someone like Pearson (reading between the lines) has recognised that.

    Before Brough the last glimmer of light was Richo and again that was a death bed conversion. It needs to become a mainstream area and the parasites feeding off it now need to be fumigated out.

  8. Misty Says:
    October 12th, 2007 at 11:29 am

    Ouch that’s a bit of a drop.

    Still a 14 point lead.
    In line with polls all year.You can’t expect 60-40 all the time.I would rather lead by 57-43.
    No comfort for the Coalition.

  9. Yeah, I”m cool with with 57/43… no worries about that at all. I fear the next newspoll. My bet – 53/47, don’t ask me why – don’t ask me to justify it… just a gut feeling.

  10. “I think Howard has probably realised that until he addresses the symbolism he wont be able to reduce these lefty sinecures and start address the causes of disadvantage.”

    Sorry mate, you’re playing with marginalia here. I appreciate that we are moving in the right direction

  11. [sorry]…and something (hopefully beyond just politicking) will happen after this election, but it is far too late for Howard to be claiming a pure conversion in the shadow of an election.

  12. Edward:

    “I think Howard has probably realised that until he addresses the symbolism he wont be able to reduce these lefty sinecures and start address the causes of disadvantage.”

    Some of us have been trying to tell Howard that for years and years in vain. Howard’s problem is that he has done nothing. He hasn’t done anything symbolic or practical until this year, and then only because of the polls. It’s going in the right direction, but in my opinion he’s done a lot of damage and needs to work hard just to reverse some of that damage.

    Is he interested in doing that? Time will tell, and I’m not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Newspoll will be down next week, although probably only marginally. Expect to get lots of spin from the News Ltd media, and it’ll probably do Labor a world of good to look in doubt for once.

  13. Dodson is a man much bigger than Howard who knows what is at stake here (and it aint just an election). If I was so inclined I could dredge up a few articles with the opposite oppinions (just have a look through that Herald list – you don’t have to go far).

  14. See, this is what annoys me so much about the ‘MSM’
    This is from paragraph 2 of the article Edward linked to (see above)
    (I can’t do those fancy blockquotes… so use you’re imagination!)

    “Prime Minister John Howard last night told the Sydney Institute, that if re-elected, he would hold a referendum within 18 months on whether to formally recognise indigenous Australians in the preamble to the constitution.”

    NO, NO, NO! Mr. Howard ‘aims’ to start a process within 100 days of re-election that would result in a referendum within 18 months. It’s very clear. If Mr. Howard is re-elected he will not have to do anything about reconciliation. I’ll never understand why the ‘MSM’ always fall for Howard’s ‘sleight of tongue’.

  15. I think that whatever Howard was trying to achieve is starting to unravel already.

    He tried to have two bob each way in too many directions with this issue and underestimated the varying conflicting views held in the community.

    [MILLIONS of Australians will never entertain saying sorry to Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders because they think there is nothing to apologise for, Prime Minister John Howard says.]

    [Indigenous groups view the promise as a step in the right direction but say reconciliation will not be achieved unless Mr Howard apologises on behalf of non-indigenous Australians for past treatment.

    But the Prime Minister today ruled out an apology, saying millions of non-indigenous people would never entertain such a thing. ]

    [Mr Howard said people now realised any notion of a treaty or trying to separate indigenous people from mainstream Australia was wrong. ]

    The last statement is interesting. How in the blazes does Howard know that. Has anyone been asked, where are the figures to support this. A TV initiated phone poll, News Ltd on-line poll, what?

  16. I expect Newspoll 54-46 after a confusing week of weird issues arising; some populist, some small-l, and a less than tight performance from the ALP.

    No cause for concern – When the dust settles from all this flip-flopping and populist ya-ya of this week, one thing will be clear: Rodent is desperate, and all over the shop like a mad woman’s poo.

    Once the campaign proper starts Rudd will thrash this increasingly rambling, believe-in-nothing incarnation of Howard from pillar to post till poll day.

    Bring it on.

  17. Can someone supply Edward and myself with the figures of the last election that had Labor on 52% TPP and the Libs got up and won.

  18. Scorpio, he’s not saying a majority of Australians don’t want an apology (which is disputable at least). What he’s saying is ‘millions’ don’t want one. This could mean 2 million or above. I doubt he’s incorrect on that.

  19. Howard only gets “energetic” and “caring” at election time, as he is spruiking his energy now.

    But as in the past he wears himself out during the election and he and his government then sit back doing little for the next 3 years.

    The farmers are the latest group to point out Howards lacking of planning, saying he should have planned for the drought.

    Likewise the states have been calling for a hosuing affordability summit for the past 5 years and for the Federal Government to do a land audit and release more land since 2004.

    Beattie and Bracks have been asking Howard to take over the health system since 2003 or provide more funding.

    And with the hundreds of thousands of 457 workers, students and immigrants coming in each year surely they could have planned for thsi massive increase with funding to infrastructure, housing and health?

    Keating got it right, when he said they have been lying in their hammocks watching the money walk in the door.

  20. GB – Admit it, that is the great unspoken fear on this blog – for a bunch of fervent atheists, the amount of hope and faith is overwhelming.

    All panting and waiting for the latest poll to reconfirm the hope or belief that KR will win. Yet fear that at the last moment the Great Satan, JWH will somehow sneak out of a hole in the drainpipe.

    I think the bookie markets mark that fear with a 1 in 3 probability of it happening. Compared to NSW election the odds at this stage had blown out to 7 to 1.

  21. Scorpio Says:
    October 12th, 2007 at 11:50 am

    The last statement is interesting. How in the blazes does Howard know that.

    I think he’s absolutely relying on it. This is a racist wedge, not about the preamble, that was just the way into it, but about saying “sorry”. He knows his meaningless speech will push Rudd into acknowledging Labor policy to say “sorry” and he’s counting on the red neck Qld backlash, amongst other racists, to turn away from Rudd and back to him. He wins both ways with the symbolism for the “doctors wives” and wedging Rudd on the “sorry” for the rednecks. Howard is just doing what Howard always does and now the debate will shift to saying “sorry” which is where he always wanted it.

  22. CTEP, I wasn’t trying to say that Howard was incorrect in that statement, what I was trying to say, was that OK, millions might not accept that, but by the same token, millions of others have conflicting views to that and other opinions.

    Which in Howard’s case, is only an “opinion” maybe. It depends on what C/T feel is worth the most value in the current polling climate.

    I think it is a wasted exercise and if the intention is to have Howard as portraying a forward vision on reconciliation and wishing to bring the disparate factions within the community together on this ie the “visionary leader” thing, it is bound to fail and ultimately make Howard only look foolish for trying on something that he himself admits that he has never believed in.

    Why should he suddenly demonstrate belief in it now, especially with so many escape clauses built in to it.

  23. ESJ, I think everyone is just getting a little bored waiting for the election to be called, and there is a tendency to over-analyse the polls on this blog, but its still good fun all the same 🙂

  24. Yep, I certainly live in fear of another three years of Mr. Howard and yes, I’m always happy to see those opinion polls on the north side of 55.

    Howard is increasingly desperate, he has been power mad for a long time – it shows now. Watching him, I understand how democracies occasionally slip into dictatorship. If he thought he could get away with it – he’d be slapping on the blackface and dancing the dance of Mr. Mugabe… “for the good of the nation”.

    I won’t be really calm about politics in this country until election night and Howard’s concession speech (fingers crossed). Until that happens – yep, I’m going to be nervous.

  25. I’m with Let it End. Hit the nail on the head. Its like the forests plan of 04 in that respect – urge your opponent to go too far for the rednecks, and try to claim the centre ground.

    My guess is Rudd will wisely let it go through to the keeper.

  26. Scorpio

    Howards aboriginal thing is also of course just another Bart Simpson look at me, look at me, cry for attention.

    Brings focus back on him and keeps Work Choices out of the headlines.

  27. Edward I have no fear at all. I’m convinced Howard is gone. People in the past have used political history to show why he can still win. This close to the election I think history now tells us he is gone, barring some incredible circumstance. I really think you Edward are closing the eyes and praying for a miracle. I would too if I was in your position.

  28. 57.5/42.5 is within MOE of the last 61/39 [29th Sept]. So no discernable change.

    This poll was conducted when? At the same time as the phone poll [4/6th Oct] 59/41? No reason to look for any changes then.

    The Newspoll is the one that will pick up any effect from McClelland and Howard’s current backflip.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 11 of 12
1 10 11 12