D-day minus 35

• Galaxy has released further findings from yesterday’s poll, which can be viewed through this nifty graphic.

• Writing in The Age, Rod Cameron notes a particular concentration of the part-time working mothers targeted by the Coalition’s tax policy in the important Victorian seats of Deakin, La Trobe, Corangamite, McEwen and McMillan. Cameron also includes Solomon on his list of marginal Coalition seats which Labor can’t take for granted, which I had only previously heard suggested by Matthew Franklin and Brad Norington of The Australian.

Greg Roberts of The Australian reports that both parties’ polling has Nationals incumbent Paul Neville holding a 55-45 lead over Labor candidate Garry Parr in the Bundaberg-based seat of Hinkler. Roberts’ article paints an unflattering picture of Parr’s campaign efforts which recalls the media-shy performance of Ed Husic, Labor’s disastrously unsuccessful candidate for Greenway at the 2004 election. Anecdotal evidence is also presented of strong local feeling over the council amalgamations issue.

• Shortly after dumped Labor member Gavan O’Connor announced he would attempt to hold his seat of Corio as an independent, Labor has promised to add $45 million to its existing funding plans for the Geelong Ring Road.

Joe Hildebrand of the Daily Telegraph notes that the need to respond to the Coalition tax package caused Kevin Rudd to scrap “early rough plans” for “a sweep across the country from Brisbane to Sydney to Adelaide and Perth”. The only Liberal marginal seat he has found time to visit so far has been the Adelaide electorate of Kingston, reckoned by most to be a certain Labor gain.

• The Sky News Election 07: Agenda program last night broadcast a debate between Joe Hockey and Mike Bailey, the Liberal and Labor candidates for North Sydney, which you can hear as a podcast.

• George Megalogenis of The Australian notes that the behaviour of the major parties indicates they believe “working women are fibbing when they tell opinion pollsters they prefer increased public spending over another round of tax cuts” (can’t find the article online but I’m sure it’s there somewhere).

• After some invaluable advice from readers last month on reducing bandwidth costs, this vehicle is running a good deal more efficiently than it used to. Nonetheless, the announcement of the election has brought a further surge in traffic, so I am again having to shell out extra for the privilege of staying online until the end of the month. Please click on the PayPal button on the sidebar if you would like to make a contribution (I should acknowledge that whenever I make this plea, the resulting influx is enough to cover my costs with a fair bit to spare). To clear up a common point of confusion: you do not need a PayPal account to donate, you simply have to click “continue” where it says “Don’t have a PayPal account?” at the bottom left.

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.

274 comments on “D-day minus 35”

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  1. What’s also interesting about the Hildebrandt piece is that he’s quite positive on Rudd’s tax policy and says that he’s back in the game, as it were. Is this to be expected of him. Can’t say I know of him, but my default position is to assume Murdoch hacks toe the party line…

  2. What a stream of boring predictable tripe this blog has become.

    Sums up the election campaign really. It’s all fluff. What is a Rudd government really going to be like is the next interesting question.

    If you step back and think about the Tax thingo. The Tax cuts are possible because of the GST and inflation (bracket creep). We get our bracket creep back and personal income tax reduction payed for by the GST. Like it all not the percentage of the gross domestic product generated/used by all recent government has increased. Like it or not progressive taxation is being wound back ( the GST is a flat tax).

    However the GST is board tax that catches services and imports. Sales tax punished goods, and income tax punishes local production. The GST is a good thing and the Liberals deserved several wins because they had the balls to bring it in.

    Clearly the GST has washed through political life. No one has been honest about what the tax cuts are about. Net result, a small swing to the liberals which will probable go the other way with Labor detailing how they will unwind the over taxation that is still occurring because of the introduction of the GST.

    I still think the Liberals are going to get creamed. The fundamentals have not changed, the Liberal party has been taken over by the right wing and they just can’t help themselves.

    Rudd is after the center and the right wing abandoned that turf years ago.

    30+ seats to labor.

  3. That Hinker result is interesting – still shows a really good swing to Labor in the provinces. And this is even factoring the so called doomsday predictions of what the council amalgamations would do.

    (Let’s face it the ‘public’ protests against the amalgamations were mainly Council employees and politicians – nobody else cares.)

    Bye Johnny.


  4. Hi Thommo –

    In Hinkler, the current margin is 58.8 to the Nationals. If they end up being 55, as the poll suggests, I believe thats a 3.8% swing to Labor.

  5. On the subject of Hinkler…I live in the neighbouring seat of Flynn and I have been seeing an aweful lot of Gary Parr ads on TV. The ALP must be a bit worried if they are throwing that kind of advertising dollars at a seat and getting so little traction.

  6. re Hinkler/ Flynn
    with the redistribution now Gladstone and Bundaberg are in differerent
    seats, I think Mr Neville had a personal vote in both cities
    I expect Hinkler on current boundaries would be a non labor seat
    but once Mr Neville retires this could be different
    Flynn is different seems to sit on a approx the swing needed for labor
    to get a 50% 2pp in QLD and is uneven in it’s voting pattern
    work choices would also have an impact for Labor in that seat
    given a swing this would be interesting on the night

  7. hi William, ive just put in my share, i know i dont add much to the blog but i lurk and read it through every day, thanks mate for your patience in running this blog, with Crikey i wouldnt miss it, it’s great seeing everyone’s opinion, much, much, better than the newspapers blogs.

  8. It has been a very poor week for Labor.

    Nothing from them all week until yesterday, and then they probably didn’t have too much choice but to match most of the government’s tax cuts.

    The last 2-3 weeks is the first time I’ve really seen Labor on the back foot since Rudd took over. Not a good start to a campaign, and it’s no surprise that the polls have dropped for them.

    They really got shafted on the tax package. The government basically nicked most of Labor’s tax package wishlist, called it their own, and wheeled it out on the first day of the campaign. Foolishly, I think, Labor didn’t respond and so now everyone thinks they’re the ones who have copied. So the government got a 34 billion free kick, and Labor gets no credit whatsoever. Labor has been done over badly on that one.

    The good news is, I guess, that the tax policy is the most difficult for an opposition and fraught with danger. At least they have come through it without screwing it up.

    The negative points for Labor at this point are many, I feel. They have lost momentum, and more importantly they have failed to counter (so far) the two biggest attacks that the government is using against them:

    – Rudd is a “me too” politician with no policy of his own
    – Labor is too heavily influenced by the unions

    These are going to be the main line of negative attack by the government, and it seems to me that Labor has allowed them to do so with very little retaliation.

    Perception is a very powerful thing, and once thoughts like “me too” and “union dominated” get into people’s minds they will be hard to counter. And if Labor do not fight back more strongly than they are now it will be taken by the public as an admission that the claims are partially true. We saw all this before in 2004 with the interest rate scare campaign. Labor needs to counter *now* before it gets out of hand.

    ps. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (in case anyone from Labor or union HQ is reading): where have the workchoices ads gone? I feel that opposition to workchoices has softened noticeably since the union ad campaign ended and the government advertising went into overdrive. Time to ramp it back up guys!

  9. Yes, a terrible first week for Labor. There are also reports that Krudd is trying to limit his public appearances because he feels awkward and uncomfortable in such situations. And doesn’t it ever show!

    About Hildebrandt – this guy ran a lot of anti-Workchoices pieces in the Tele throughout the year, so you’d expect him to try and spin things Labor’s way. But this idea that they’ve somehow neutralised the Coalition’s tax plan is garbage – they will NEVER be able to compete with the Government in this area and fell straight into the PM’s trap when they desperately tried to do so.

  10. Steven Kaye 17 – are there two Kevin Rudd’s? The one you’re seeing, I haven’t seen. He’s a media tart and comes over well on TV. The profile on ACA last night will pick up a few votes for him. Costello is the one looking uncomfortable – last night he was looking very deflated and rattled as he responded to Rudd’s tax plan. Costello accused Rudd of pinching his policy, yet only a day or so ago, Costello was advising Rudd to adopt the government’s tax policy. Rudd called his bluff and Costello was snookered. I agree with media comments that the small lift on the Libs polling was due to calling the election, not tax. Newspoll on Monday will be a good indicator of where we really are at.

  11. Steven, you’re gonna be one very sad boy in about a month. Also, analysis, not proselytisation (particularly so purile and behind enemy lines) is much more interesting.

    At this stage I’d say the Libs have the start on points, but the election still getting onto the front page of the likes of the Tele. Howard needs much much more to even become competitive.

  12. Ashley, no need to panic.
    Apart from the Economy (non-frightening tax plan now out of the way) and terrorism (nothing on the horizon, but who knows???) and the Union dominated front bench taunts (this will be stale as the weeks roll by), Labor owns all the other major issues.
    The Coalition will now have to do battle in Health, Education, IR, Climate Change, Nuclear etc etc. Labor seen as dominant in all these areas.
    Don’t forget Labor has been polling miles ahead all year – they see, and will continue to see, a Labor leader they like and trust.
    The Libs got a little traction out of the Tax policy (and had to!), but where to now?? It’s down to fighting on Labor’s patch.
    Labor were wrong-footed for sure by last Monday’s tax annoucement, but there’s a long way to go.

  13. William – have been enjoying this site and will continue to do so. Have just tossed a lobster into PayPal. Thanks for your work.

  14. Sorry, NOT even getting onto the front of the tele. The phoney campaign dragged on for too long, I’m not sure how focussed anything or anyone has been yet, and we’ve already had the major Liberal arsenal firing.

  15. The govt had to do something to gain momentum, and has fired its tax cuts gun. Yes, it’s been a good week for the govt, but there’s still 5 weeks to go. Labor will increasingly dominate the news agenda over that period, as the govt really doesn’t have too much left other than tax cuts. Labor’s done well with their tax response.

  16. I heard Costello yesterday replying to Rudd’s tax policy. He sounded very flat and deflated even with the school test analogy and the 91.5% gibe.

    Maybe he needs 89 guffawing members behind him to make him look witty.

  17. I used to visit the Yahoo messenger politics site before Bush’s last election and also for the Senate election. Fast furious and sometime viscous but no shortage of participants – which is what Australia needs, more people taking an interest.

  18. Some good coverage of Labor’s tax policy in the papers this morn. Another good article by George Mega in GG about the women’s vote – both parties should read carefully.

  19. Newspaper reporting on Labor’s tax plan has been surprisingly ambivalent. I expected the likes of the Australian to rip into it, but they didn’t. I guess that’s one of the attractions of matching government policy… the media can’t laud Costello and then turn round and attack Rudd for something similar (well, they can, but they can’t be as vicious).

  20. The big negative for the government is that now that tax is out of the way, the economy is likely to take a back seat in the election campaign. As others have pointed out, the government don’t have too many other things going for them.

  21. Will tomorrow night’s debate matter all that much? Of course we political junkies will watch it, but do the average punters care? I predict “Bingo Night” and “Aussie Idol” will win the ratings easily.
    One assumes if either Howard or Rudd perform badly, the media will make a lot out of it, otherwise will it change that many votes?
    Ashley, I don’t know about Labor having a disasterous first week, but yes, they were rather flat and uninspiring! I suspect Costello and Howard bringing out the tax policy on Monday was a masterstroke and upset Labor strategy, but do the Liberals have more surprises like this up their sleeves? If the best the Rodent can get out of a week of generally positive media coverage is narrowing the polls to 53:47, I think he’d be disappointed. Labor’s primary vote still looks strong.

  22. I don’t believe the ‘narrowing’ in the polls was caused by the tax cuts and, the AC Neilsen seems to support that – I think much of the move whatever it was – was due to the election being called, as I said yesterday. If this is true then LNP policy initiatives may not help them very much.

    AND what it might indicate is people lining up behind their respective choices – thus an increase in ALP primary as well.

    8% said they would change their vote because of the LNP tax cut – but strangely that was split evenly between Labor and LNP – a draw?

  23. Bryce @ 22,

    “The Coalition will now have to do battle in Health, Education, IR, Climate Change, Nuclear etc etc. Labor seen as dominant in all these areas.”

    According to Shanahan (whom I normally don’t read but his column was [for him] neutral today), Howard has a king hit policy on health care in the wings. Wonder what he is channeling ????

  24. Chris B,

    Can understand why the genealogy sites are so vicious.

    You can call someone a “bastard” and have the evidence to back it up!

  25. [Howard has a king hit policy on health care in the wings]

    Just as the ALP can’t win on the tax/economy front, the government can’t win on health or education, no matter what sort of ‘king hit’ Shamaham thinks they have coming. All it will do is bring the ALP ‘strong’ areas to the fore, and take the Lib ‘strong’ ones off the front pages.

  26. over 6 weeks …. who knows what will happen
    Labor was in the box seat going into the election as they had a 5-7%
    lead in the 2pp vote
    the dynamics of this election are people will elect a labor govt as long as they have a credible leader… which they have in Mr Rudd
    the l plate campaign & the anti union campaigns will not work for these
    reasons…. work choices are a big negative for the Liberals
    I do know if any one has noticed …. but have a look a the pendulum
    on this site….. noting that Calare is not a given for the National party
    with a reasonable swing they could have less than 6 seats after the election

  27. Howard’s one off wonder in Tasmania then their idea on hospitals just sounded illogical and it seems like they are softening their stance on that – Rudd should have ridiculed a bit more since there was lots of scope to do so.

  28. You are all forgetting who has the most leadership experience as an election campaigner and that is Howard not Rudd…Rudd will tire after 6 weeks while Howard will still be looking fresh he’s done this all before your 7 pound weakling has never managed an entire election campaign so the next 5 weeks wont be plain sailing for Krudd.

  29. Conroy on broadband today: “John Howard has let Australia slip into the digital Dark Age”.

    Nice line, but I think digital stone age sounds better. Conjures up images of PCs made of stone. Contrasts nicely with Rudd’s image yesterday, and ties in well with Howard being past it.

  30. #
    Glen Says:
    October 20th, 2007 at 10:51 am

    You are all forgetting who has the most leadership experience as an election campaigner and that is Howard not Rudd…Rudd will tire after 6 weeks while Howard will still be looking fresh he’s done this all before your 7 pound weakling has never managed an entire election campaign so the next 5 weeks wont be plain sailing for Krudd.

    Howard might be an experienced campaigner but he seems to lose most of the campaigns.

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