D-day minus 37

Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports that Liberal polling conducted last month has the Prime Minister “staring at defeat in his marginal northern Sydney seat of Bennelong”, with two-party support for Labor’s Maxine McKew said to be in “the low 50s”.

Ewin Hannan and Rick Wallace of The Australian talk of Labor hopes of winning five seats in Victoria, where hostility to WorkChoices is said to be driven by the state’s “egalitarian nature, strong unions and left-wing political roots”. The five seats are Deakin, La Trobe, Corangamite, McMillan and McEwen.

• Labor yesterday made an announcement on Queensland roads funding that focused on Brisbane, committing $500 million to the Northern Link tunnel joining the Western Freeway at Toowong in Ryan to a bypass at Kelvin Grove in Brisbane, and $70 million to connecting the Gateway Motorway to the Pacific Motorway in Bonner and Moreton. The former commitment has won applause from Brisbane’s Liberal lord mayor, Campbell Newman.

• Roads are also looming as a key battleground elsewhere: Ben Packham of the Herald-Sun reports that Labor will “today unveil a $600 million plan to upgrade the Western Highway in the first election pledge aimed squarely at Victoria”. The promise does not seem too finely targeted as far as marginal seats are concerned, although a big ticket upgrade between Melton and Bacchus Marsh is not far north of Corangamite.

• Local news site the Geographe Gazette reports that “former Liberal candidate for the state seat of Collie-Wellington, Craig Carbone, has informed Nola Marino that she is within ‘inches’ of being dropped as the candidate for Forrest”. There has been much talk that Marino might be threatened by independent candidate Noel Brunning, much of it coming from disgruntled Liberals.

• Rogue candidate corner. In Leichhardt, Ian Crossland of the Nationals has been rapped on the knuckles by party leader Mark Vaile for saying the Cape York Peninsula seat was “not an electorate for a woman”, referring to Liberal candidate Charlie McKillop. In Mallee, Labor’s perennial candidate John Zigouras has told local paper the Wimmera Mail-Times that the area is “redneck country surrounded by neo-Nazis”. In Corio, Liberal candidate Angelo Kakouros has told the Geelong Advertiser that “union bosses dictate similar to the way Hitler did during the world war about how we should live our life” (though he claims he was misquoted).

• Speaking of Leichhardt, a Cairns Post poll of 310 respondents from September 22 had previously escaped my attention. It had Labor candidate Jim Turnour on 44 per cent of the primary vote, with Charlie McKillop on 37 per cent and Ian Crossland on 5 per cent. With the Greens on 10 per cent, this would suggest a comfortable win for Labor.

• Bob Brown has told the National Press Club the Greens will run fewer open tickets at this election than in 2004, meaning more preference recommendations to Labor.

• The always unmissable George Megalogenis unpacks the electoral significance of the oft-mentioned “working families” in The Australian.

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.

664 comments on “D-day minus 37”

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  1. All this news looks a little more promising for the ALP, particularly the stuff about Leichardt. Anyone with more local knowledge have any indication of the chances of a Labor win?

    On the subject of Forrest, my parents live in the next lowest SES suburb to Withers in Bunbury (Usher) and have not seen a peep of Nola Marino. However, they’ve been showered with letters from her, which they just throw in the bin without opening. You’d assume that for a safe-ish seat like Forrest she’d be able to just cruise on in.

    I’m guessing Brunning will direct preferences back to the Libs so it looks like they’ll probably just scrape back in. Do people think it would be better for Marino or Brunning to get in?

    Received my postal/pre-polls yesterday from Libs/Lab. The Liberal Party one was a smiling picutre of Gary Nairn, accompanied by shrill warnings about the 70% union official front bench, plus a few things they plan to do in the local area. The ALP’s was just their usual nonsense about a ‘plan for the future’ and a pic of Mike Kelly with Kevin Rudd. It did not talk about local issues at all.

    Election Prediction: Coalition by 5 seats.

  2. I’m in Corangamite,
    received a letter from Stewart McArthur (Government Whip) on government stationary (no Liberal badge) slamming the ALP and praising the Howard-Costello team.

    Is this legal?

  3. LTEP, that is the most positive bit I have read from you. I hope you don’t lose it again from the dead cat bounce that they will get in the next poll

  4. 4 centaur_007 Says:

    the dead cat bounce that they will get in the next poll

    I bet the result will come down to random noise. I am hoping for one right on the edge of the margin for error against the Liberals, it will be more entertaining.

  5. centaur, I will be positively amazed if the Coalition gains ANY ground as a result of the “tax cuts”. If there is any move in the polls towards the government, people will probably assume that it’s the tax cuts, but it could be something else. However, it will be a major surprise if next weeks polls show anything south of 55 2PP for the ALP.

  6. John Howard looked like a spoilt schoolboy yesterday in responding to questions about the liberal party scare campaign. In American politics (which is where he and rudd are getting a lot of there ideas from these days) it is considered a sign of weakness to be the first to “go negative”. It means the opponent can wait a few days then launch their own neg adds with the comfort of the moral high ground.

    Howard also said something pretty stupid yesterday. He claimed that the ads were ok because they were the truth.

    This now opens the door for the alp to tell the truth about how many times local lib members voted for workchoices, how many rate rises we have had and how much Howard and Costello are ripping off the states and public services.

    Not clever not clever at all.

    I can see no benefit in rudd coming to Canberra on Sunday. Let Howard debate himself. Howard needs the momentum of a debate win more than rudd.

  7. Leichhardt even if Labor loses the election will be a close contest, Entsch’s popular vote has inflated the margin there. Labor wins the election, they will win Leichhardt. Along with maybe Flynn, Moreton, Blair and Bonner. Petrie, Bowman, Dickson and Longman are more long shots.

  8. Yeah, if Mr. Howard is there debating himself with his 200 supporters… only Sky will cover it… as if ABC or Nine would! It would ensure Channel 10 and Australian Idol would get the greatest ratings ever. Nine would never allow this to happen! Hang tough, Big Kev!

  9. In its recently released global outlook, the International Monetary Fund warned the Oz govt. about “fiscal restraint” after their proposed $34 Billion worth of Pork Futures. The IMF reckon the US subprime mortgage market shake-up ain’t done yet.
    Perhaps Team Ruddster’s perception managers can use the IMF’s angst about Team Rodent’s “massive fiscal irrectitude” (ie force feeding the Inflation Dragon and thus the interest rates that they swore would remain lower under them) as a way high-lighting their desperation.

    Who needs to “grow up” now?

  10. Firemaker, it is legal although very deceptive. I received the same from David Hawker mailing to all in Wannon. It comes in a Commonwealth of Australia logo envelope with a bold print on the envelope saying, “Important Election Information”.

    I opened immediately on the assumption that it might be something from the AEC checking my enrolment. It does include an application for Postal Vote prepaid envelope, but other than that is propaganda urging a return of the Libs.

    I noticed on earlier threads that voters in Mitchell and Cook received that mailout stuff. If it came in those Commonwealth of Australia envelopes it may well be illegal. Mailout perks was one of the things Howard extended for sitting members, which might help explain the Libs holding on so well in the marginals in recent elections.

    However, it only applies to sitting members. New Liberal nominees, even for Liberal-held seats, cannot access it as far as I am aware. Adam and some of the psephs might have a more definitive position on this.

  11. #5 Charles, I think it would be more entertaining if the Libs ended up at the top end of the margin of error. It might convince J-HO that insane comments like the boom will last forever under his government are actually finding traction in the electorate.

  12. Don

    I received same stuff, important electoral information, contained postal vote application, lib leaflet and envelope to send application back to the libs.

    Lot of calls on talk back about how deceptive it was, some rang in and said it wasn’t deceptive, but the only markings on the envelope were commonwealth of Australia, no lib markings.

    And why does the application have to be mailed back to the liberal party office?, why not to the electoral office?

  13. I received in the mail a postal vote application form from my local MP Mr Ruddock: it went straight in the recycling bin.
    Yeah, Leichardt could be one seat to watch, indeed it seems a number of seats with no incumbant MPs could be in play this time.
    And the Liberal polling on Bennelong would seem to be at odds with the lengthening odds in the betting markets for Maxine McKew.

  14. It’s interesting how closely the negative ads followed on the election winning tax cuts. Did the tax cuts really tank in the Liberals private polling, so a new strategy was needed straight away in the desperate attempt to gain the initiative?

  15. No AlexM, its the double punch – give a sweetner with the right and smack your opponent with the left. Its one of Howards favourite tactics.

  16. “from the dead cat bounce that they will get in the next poll”

    Secret Agent centaur, have there been authoritative (peer-reviewed) university controlled tests done on which bounceth higher, rattus mortis or felix cactus?
    But seriously centaur, I suggest the next few polls will not break MOE restraints, obviating any bounce speculation.

    As alexm at 17 says: “ Did the tax cuts really tank in the Liberals private polling, so a new strategy was needed straight away in the desperate attempt to gain the initiative?”

    Rrrrreckon! Seems shooting one’s load so early in a campaign is politically jejune. Boyish and bullish: totally teenage. Clearly, these people need to grow up more.

    Grooski, King Kirribilli Coconut’s old one-two has lost its sting. He’s being rope-a-doped.

  17. Well, the one good thing you can say about the Liberals this time around is that they’re not going to die wondering. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to die…

  18. I wouldn’t interpret any ‘bounce’ in the next poll as a ‘dead cat bounce’. I would interpret it in much the same way as any poll, to look at the overall trend.

    I remain to be convinced a tax cut alone can produce a bounce, but a combination of that and negative ads, plus Rudd’s generally poor performance so far could give the Libs the kick start they need.

  19. perhaps the impact of the EB on the Lib vote is going to be the sleeper issue of this election

    beside the papl nunciate i understand the general synod (anglican) is also investigating this shadowy sect

    perhaps howard should do the right thing and reveal all the links that EB has with the Lib party-rather than rumour and innuendo ruling the public mindset

    but of course that would take courage

  20. 23 Lose the election please Rudd is pacing himself nicely. Liberals are throwing everything including the kitchen sink. When the next poll shows no change, imagine the demoralising effect it will have on the party.

  21. Acxtually Why @ 6, half of the libs front bench are former lawyers, and less if you don’t include Turnbull in that list as he has more qulifications than just being a lawyer. Either way, I think there are more solicitors out there than trade union bosses……

  22. A dead cat bounce is used to describe something that falls fast and suddenly, usually in the share market. When a share price crashes it usually recovers a bit. The term comes from “if you drop it from high enough even a dead cat will bounce”.

    If the polls have been flat for the past months and the Coalition improves it seems unreasonable to call it a dead cat bounce.

    My prediction is Morgan with Labor on 57% (Nats on 2.5%)
    Newspoll Labor on 54%
    When Newspoll comes out the talk will be “calling election and tax has given Gov the boost it needed” “Well behind but making up ground” etc and Coalition is then the news item for the next day or two with “mounting pressure for Rudd to reveal his tax policy” etc

  23. LTEP: you are the pessimist!
    Howard/Costello are looking far more desperate, angry, irritable, snarky.
    And the danger for them is that the tax policy will be forgotten in 2 weeks time.

  24. syd abc radio is going berko over Lib form letters-lots of p@ssed of people mostly thought it was from electoral commission

    another low act Howard

    at least he keeps in character 🙂

  25. Be interesting to see if KR steps into the Nurses Dispute in Victoria in any way?? Wonder if this would play well if he can broker some kind deal quickly?

    I would think that the Libs will immediately start accusations of a setup if that happened, but when they campaign negatively, they lose votes so maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

  26. “Rudd’s generally poor performance so far could give the Libs the kick start they need”

    Howard’s performances on ACA and Lateline were below acceptable considering he is supposed to be selling himself to the public. Most unprofessional which, tells me that he is sometimes having trouble holding it together.

    I reckon if Kev taunts a few more times with his anti-ad ads Howard will explode. Howard’s ‘grow-up’ response indicated that he is starting to take things very personally – not a good sign and leaves him vulnerable for ‘mind games’.

    For some reason Rudd is able to get under skin of all of them.

    Rudd has had a tactical win here – all the focus sucked away from LNP Tax Cut and initiatives and bought to focus on ‘are the govt ads negative or not?’

  27. The hype from the commentariat has spooked the punters again:


    ALP: $1.53
    Coalition $2.50

    Do the punters suspect that next week’s Newspoll is going to be a 52-48 affair? Or are they simply reacting to News Ltd’s anti-ALP reporting?

  28. I agree Kina. I think the tax cuts have not received much attention from the voters. My partner, for example, is reasonably switched on about politics but leads a busy life and is not an avid poll watcher. She was asking me yesterday how much the tax cuts were actually worth to her, and I have to admit I couldn’t give her a proper answer… because they kick in over several years and at different levels. She said “well they’re not too much different from all the other tax cuts we’ve had in the past few years are they?”. I think this is a pretty common response. Another tax cut — thanks, but we get one pretty much every year anyway.

    I also think that Rudd and Gillard are coming across on TV in a much better manner than Howard and Costello. I would disagree with LTEP that Rudd’s performance so far has been poor.

  29. I got the same government letterhead promotion and postal ballot mailout from local member Chris Pyne in Sturt, Adelaide yesterday.

    As a question, what are the rules on the caretaker period? Can they mail these with electoral allowance after the election is called?

  30. The Governments negative campaing is not helping them, they have tried this all year and it has only aided the Labour party.

    They said they have a plan for the future, all I have seen since the campaing started is a tax cut that will soon evaporate with a rise in interest rates and increasing costs of living due to Howard overheating the economy.

    The $34Billion tax cuts that could have been better spent on Health Education and infrastructure instead of further overheating the economy.

    It seems to me that Howard doesn’t even know basic economics and how the economy works, the RBA and Economists have been warning him about his spending, but Howard is just not listening to anyone.

    Basically Howard has dug a hole for himself with the elecorate and its getting to the stage it where it will be impossible to climb out of, if it isn’t allready.

  31. Sinic — the punters are just reacting to the big tax cut package. Whenever one side or the other makes any big announcement you can be sure that the odds will move temporarily in their favour. Apparently there are enough mugs that think “that’s brilliant” and put their money down. Or perhaps it’s just punters who think there are enough mugs out their whose vote is so easily bought. Anyway, there’s always a myopic response in the betting to the latest poll or headline.

  32. I’d suggest that anyone who is thinking about putting some money on Labor do so in the next day or two. It’s going to be all downhill from here I think and you might not get odds of $1.53 again.

    I’m looking forward to the next newspoll or galaxy poll… the sh*t is going to hit the fan when the numbers haven’t moved.

  33. I think both parties are entitled to send out postal voting forms. In the last 2 days I’ve had one from both Steve Georganas and Rita Bouras here in Hindmarsh.

  34. Kina – Howard’s performance at the moment has got to be worth at least one percentage point for Labor: he’s like an odd cross between a spoilt, petulant child and an angry, senile old man.

    Not a good look in an incumbent Prime Minister, and by contrast Kevvie looks cool, casual and statesman-like.

    I too have received the “yellow” envelope (from the lovely Dolly) and I considered throwing it away – assuming (correctly, it turns out) that it WAS from Dolly – then I noticed the Commonwealth logo. Like others I was very very pissed off to discover that it was full of Liberal Party propaganda. Sitting member or not, once an election is called they should not be allowed to use the parliamentary logo. After all, once parliament has been prorogued, they are no longer MPs, but rather are candidates for their political parties.

    Labor could do well to promise to look into this after the next election.

  35. the AEC has a role to investigate discrepancies etc after any election

    i understand the EB is still under investigation following the 2004 election

    i suppose its how much resources the AEC has 🙁

  36. Hockey on AM this morning was disgusting, saying the role of unions in Australia is coming to an end. Tell that to the asbestosis victims or those affected at Beaconsfield. Tell that also to the families of those on the wall of remembrance in Cessnock for those killed in the mines of the Hunter Valley over the last 150 years.

    The use of Combet and Shorten on those smear ads could backfire on the government.

  37. The Libs have really run out of ideas and puff. They’ve shot their bolt with the tax cuts and have now been pushed off the front pages by Ben Cousins. They have been negative since day 1 and have persisited in going the hack on Rudd whilst he talks about policy. The Libs are rattled and expect it to get worse. They know they have run out of ideas and now its just about power for powers sake. Howard is acting like a ratty old man-petulant and grumpy. And those anti- Union ads crikey striaght out of the DLP ‘reds under the beds’ play book.

    Frist they tell us Unions are irrelevant becuase nobody belongs to them and now they tell us they are going to run the country through the puppets in the ALP. Shock , horror , a Labor party having some trade unionists in its ranks. The Lib campaign thus far looks like its being directed by some rank liberal student politicians.

  38. Ashley,

    Back of envelope analysis says $10 per worker (give or take) per week assuming around 15 million workers for 4 years. Not much when you look at it that way.

    Your partner is right, it is hard to get excited about tax cuts when you know an interest rate rise is just around the corner to take it back before you even get it.

  39. The Liberals have been exposed – pinching Ronald Reagan’s slogans, word-for word.
    On November 4, 1984 RR told Americans: “We want a strong, prosperous and secure America”. This line was repeated through his campaign. That same campaign his other mantra was ” Lets go for growth”. RR August 22, 1984.
    The Liberals economic package delivered the identical slogans. “We want a strong, prosperous and secure Australia” and “Go for Growth”.
    Its exposed on the Howard Facts website. Where is the MSM questioning of Howard?

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