D-day minus 31

Hinkler (Qld, Nationals 8.8%): Greg Roberts of The Australian reports that Labor’s candidate for this Bundaberg-based seat, Garry Parr, is suffering a campaigning boycott from members of the Left and Unity (“Old Guard”) factions. Parr is backed by the Labor Forum (AWU) faction, whose chieftain Bill Ludwig has evidently put a few noses out of joint. Former Labor Forum members Brian Courtice, who held the seat from 1987 to 1996, and Greg McMahon, a one-time branch secretary and candidate at the 1998 state election, have said they will not vote for Parr in protest at Ludwig’s “bully boy” approach. Courtice was expelled from the party in 2005 for leaking party documents to state Nationals MP Rob Messenger, which purportedly exposed the “siphoning” of $7,000 in branch funds. At around this time, Courtice’s wife Marcia was sacked from her job with state Bundaberg MP Nita Cunningham, which she claimed to be in revenge for her husband’s actions. Marcia Courtice reportedly had the backing of local branches for the Bundaberg preselection going into the 2006 election, but the party’s union-appointed electoral college instead imposed former nurse Sonja Cleary. McMahon ran against Cleary as an independent, and the seat fell by a narrow margin to Nationals candidate Jack Dempsey, who was assisted by the fallout over the Bundaberg Hospital “Dr Death” scandal.

Blair (Liberal 5.7%): The Courier-Mail reports that the largesse being heaped on this crucial electorate, which covers most of Ipswich and rural areas beyond, is “starting to cause angst in Coalition ranks”. Specifically, Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce has criticised the decision to spend $2.3 billion on the Goodna bypass as the government’s solution to congestion on the Ipswich Motorway. Blair was also the target of yesterday’s announcement by Mark Vaile of $700 million in Auslink funding for a second crossing of the Toowoomba Range, located in neighbouring Groom.

McEwen (Vic, Liberal 6.4%): The Age reports of yet more marginal seat road funding, this time in Fran Bailey’s traditionally precarious electorate beyond Melbourne’s north-eastern outskirts. Peter Costello appeared in the electorate yesterday announcing $80 million in AusLink funding for road bridges on a yet-to-be-built extension of the Epping rail line to South Morang.

Charlton (NSW, Labor 8.4%): Sitting member Kelly Hoare, who was first dumped by Labor in favour of former ACTU secretary Greg Combet and then humiliated with sexual harrassment claims, is “considering” following Gavan O’Connor’s footsteps and attempting to hold her Hunter Valley seat as an independent. She has until the closure of nominations next Thursday to make up her mind.

Wentworth (NSW, Liberal 2.6%): Danielle Ecuyer, investment banker and environmental activist, has confirmed she will run for Malcolm Turnbull’s seat as an independent. This prospect has attracted considerable attention as she is a former partner of the Labor candidate, George Newhouse.

Maranoa (Qld, Nationals 21.0%): Labor has dumped its candidate for this unwinnable rural Queensland seat, Shane Guley, after his reputation for robust behaviour as a union official emerged as a political liability. This didn’t seem to bother anybody when he ran at the 2004 election, at which time his colourful history was noted on this website.

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.

591 comments on “D-day minus 31”

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  1. 546 Derek
    LOL, I was more thinking along the lines he will simply unravel and they will reduce his role as the campaign progresses.

    Actually I was thinking Costello would gradually take over fronting the campaign but honestly, after some of that crazy talk of his today, I doubt there is an economist tonight that doesn’t think he’s unravelled already.

  2. LTEP

    When you switch your brain off you also think that Howard will win. He cannot.

    TAS, Vic and NSW will give Rud victory, then SA, then QLD. WA is irrelevant.

  3. I just enjoyed hearing a soundbit of rattus telling us that our greatest mistake was getting rid of tech high schools. He was launching something to give kids ‘military technical skills’ to help the many who wish to pursue a career in the military. I think it costs a couple of hundred mill. Having enjoyed a brief and inglorious military career myself, i wonder how many kids actually want to learn how to jumpstart an Abrams tank. OK, I guess a few. I also guess it fits in with his back to the future ‘vision’ for the education revolution. Can the chaser guys get the de lorean back out tonight?

  4. 549

    LTEP, well I said I was being conservative so to end all confusion I’ll up it to 85/63 with 2 independents to arrive at 20 clear majority, how’s that.

    In any case it is still far from the 95 you quoted me as saying. From info I have I am very confident of 85 but don’t even dream of 95.

  5. FWIW, can I put it on the record that the ALP will win 89 seats, the independents will get back and the coalition will have 59. Rattus will get the big A.

  6. I’ve got Labor with 81 seats. I say that very hesitantly, as I do not want to tempt fate. But with these sorts of polls, you can’t go past some form of Labor victory.

    Btw, I think it will be NSW, Vic and SA leading the way, with the rest being filler. WA will be irrelevant (as usual…)

  7. Don’t know whether you guys caught this, but some classic quotes from Hawke:

    John Howard “buggered up” Australia’s economy when he was treasurer and Labor had to fix it, former prime minister Bob Hawke said.

    Mr Hawke branded the current prime minister the worst economic manager in Australian history, pointing to Mr Howard’s time as treasurer in the Fraser government.

    “The day after I got elected on March 5 (1983) I had John Stone, the secretary of the Treasury in, and he gave me a written report in which he said the budget deficit which I was inheriting … was the worst performance of any developed economy in the post-war period.

    “That absolutely buggered the Australian economy. And we had to fix it, and we did.

    “This man he’s had so many conversions on the road to Damascus – climate change, reconciliation – if he’s going round the marginal electorates handing out money for roads, he ought to make a contribution to the government of Syria to repave the road to Damascus because he’s worn it out,” Mr Hawke said.”


  8. 537 Julie – “Just out of curiousity, has the fall out for the Libs been reflected in Bennelong?”
    No Julie not according to Spotsbet anyway. McKew is at $2.70. Howard $1.38

  9. #548 Let It End

    Yes, I noticed that Senior Moment. It was during the announcement of some Defence initiative where he promised the benefits would flow through to 1916.

    So he’s brought defence into the 20th century. If only he could bring IR out of the 19th century.

    Had a look at those Morgan state-wide voting intentions for September. Wow! all the eastern states and SA are showing over 50% Labor primary! SA country is showing a higher Labor support than SA metro – maybe Grey is on the table after all. I suspect water is the big issue there.

    What’s wrong with those pikers in the West? Only about 36 there.

  10. Gotta have a whinge. Why when both Rudd and Swan (tho’ I do wish he’d stop rushing what he’s saying and deliver it in a more measured way), then Rudd comes out to slap down the NT Minister saying the NT intervention is bad. It just s***s me, as it so clearly was/is an ill thought out, hamfisted and totally stupid thing to do – not to mention unbelievable expensive and costs blowing out already. Surely Rudd has access to people who could advise him how to handle this differently without getting wedged? I can certainly think of any number of ways and I’m no political advisor. Glad I got that off my chest and thanks for listening if you did.

  11. Harry, personally I found the NT minister’s comments silly. The fact is, at long last we have some real action going on. There are lots of negatives involved (and probably more than the positives) but, if followed up on postively, I think the NT intervention could have good results.

    Note that although children have been given medical checks, funding has not been committed to ensure the problems found in the medical consultations can be dealt with. Housing still remains a huge problem.

    Cost is not an option, in my opinion. It’s criminal the situation our Indigenous people find themselves in. The government has failed to act for 11 years and I hope any future ALP government is a lot faster.

    The NT Minister may whine about the intervention, but they’ve failed the Indigenous people too. Put their money where their mouths are and prove they’re up to the task of sorting out the problem.

  12. Thank you LTEP, you’re a bonzer person for bothering to respond and yes some of your response is exactly what I was on about. Agree cost is not an option, but that it needs to be targetted. There’s no point in spending huge amounts of cash on basic medical screening if people are living 10 to 20 to a dwelling, and there’s no follow up effective intervention or treatment for people with identified problems. I’ll stop now, because I just get so cross about this political system, and still can’t help myself from wanting the most resounding, humiliating defeat for (goodness, had to pause, wanting to invoke nasty invective!) – them.

  13. Note that although children have been given medical checks,…

    Local doctors and researchers with decades of experience are saying the med checks are woefully inadequate.

    The NT Minister may whine about the intervention, but they’ve failed the Indigenous people too. Put their money where their mouths are and prove they’re up to the task of sorting out the problem.

    Get real, and get informed. The NT’s total budget is about the same as the (latest) predicted cost for the federal NT intervention (bit over a billion dollars), and the NT already spends disproportionally more on indigenous affairs then they are funded for. The NT government have been asking the Howard government for help for years, precisely because they know what the problem is and don’t have the basic resources to solve it, and Howard always blew them off, and wouldn’t even accept the problem was as bad as it is, despite numerous reports across his desk providing stark evidence of the problems. Suddenly now, when he is in serious electoral trouble it is a major emergency that only he can solve, (and magically by ignoring virtually all the advice he has been presented with in these numerous reports), and which is everyone else’s fault.

    With respect, you are being taken for a ride. Howard is relying on the basic decency of most Australians to cover his indecency on this issue.

    Excuse me if I and others who actually know a bit about this problem are a little cynical and angry about it.

    Here’s my prediction, this expensive self-serving political charade will deliver minimal improvements, and some substantial failures. And Howard et al will blame everyone else for it.

  14. From the latest YR@W email.

    Desperate Hockey cyber-stalks supporters in latest round of fear and smear

    Dear Frank,

    There is an astonishing article in The Australian newspaper today. Joe Hockey and his staff have reportedly cyber-stalked hundreds of citizens concerned about the Howard Government’s IR laws.

    Using taxpayers’ time and money, Joe Hockey and his staff are reported to have compiled a dossier about people who oppose WorkChoices.

    They have trawled through newspapers over recent months, Googling the names of people who exercised their democratic right to write letters to the editor. The article says Mr Hockey has then shopped this 20-page dossier to national newspapers.

    Read the article exposing Hockey’s smear campaign and watch our newest ad.

    This is just the latest in a long line of Howard Government fear and smear campaigns. We in no way apologise for encouraging people to democratically express their opinion in their own words.

    Mr Hockey wasted $121 million dollars of our money promoting these extreme IR changes. No amount of stalking, smear campaigns, and demonising of unions and rights at work supporters will change the fact that these laws are hugely unpopular and hurt working people.

    We have a new ad talking about all the good work unions do. It highlights the breadth of our community campaign. Watch the ad and donate to keep it on air here:

    Since this campaign began two years ago, generous Rights at Work supporters like you have donated tens of thousands of dollars to the campaign. Thousands of individual donations ranging from $5 to $500 have made a huge difference to our campaign to get rid of WorkChoices and put fair work laws in its place.

    We have to put an end to Mr Hockey’s relentless fear campaign. We can’t afford to be out-shouted during this election. We have to stop the Liberals from going further.

    If you can afford to donate we would greatly appreciate your contribution.

    Jeff Lawrence, Sharan Burrow, and the Rights at Work campaign team

  15. Harry

    I thought it was all about winding back land rights under the guise of compassion. You see, I do not trust Howard or anything he does.

  16. Just Me, Your reponse pretty much encapsulates my complaint/whinge. I don’t understand why Rudd would support the intervention without having done some consultation with people who know what they’re talking about, and specifically, your point about the funding differentials between the different levels of government for different services. It can’t be all that difficult to understand the blame and cost shifting that goes on between the Fed. and State in relation to health is the same that goes on in relation to “Indigenous Affairs”.

  17. Yes, well forgive me if I don’t think of things as negatively as some other people do. Whilst I have not much time for this government I don’t think they’re as evil as some people would suggest.

    I believe some of them have the right intentions, it’s just misplaced and will probably not amount to much. Still, at least Indigenous Affairs got some attention for once. It’s usually the portfolio noone wants, and it’s extremely unpopular to do anything at all in relation to the area.

  18. Lose the election please

    You might be right. Name the “some” who have the right intentions and define what is “misplaced” in this context.

  19. I know this is slightly off topic, but I am so absolutely appalled and disgusted by Joe Hockeys behaviour re letters in newspapers.

    People write into newspapers with their views for the same reasons they write on sites like pollbludger:

    1. This is still a democracy, and (despite the best efforts of the fascist howard government, read: the worm) we still have freedom of speech and opinion.

    2. People have always felt comfortable that they can freely post their opinions without being personally scrutinized for them by the govt.

    This act from the govt, in and of itself is so disgusting, and somewhat Thatcherist, and I hope that even those Liberal supporting letter writers have lost trust in their personal safety and security under this govt.

    In the words of one of the most famous election campaigns in this country’s history: “It’s Time!”

  20. 550
    Derek Corbett Says:
    October 24th, 2007 at 6:19 pm
    Silly Old Coot launching his odd skills training thingy for the ADF: “That looks like a fancy bit of equipment …”

    That reminds of the Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life” – and this is the machine that goes “ping”.

  21. 571
    LOL, no he definitely said 1916 and never realised his mistake. Prognosis? The campaign will take it’s toll on him and he will fade towards the end.

    The fool took a gamble on rates not going up and a 6 week campaign and both will bite him on the arse.

  22. Let it End

    Let’s give him the benefit of doubt. However, “1916” might well prove the final nail. This is delicate, but the question must be asked: Is he fit for government?

  23. Derek

    I think he is struggling with “senior moments” and the more he is in public, the more he is under pressure, the more noticeable it will become.

  24. Mr Howard and Treasurer Peter Costello attempted to play down the CPI figures, pointing instead to the headline inflation figure of 1.9 per cent


    LOL, that may have worked for the dill if he hadn’t forgotten directing everyone to use underlying rate of inflation and not the headline rate in all of his last 4 qrt press conferences on CPI.

    As for his statement; “underlying inflation is expected as demand pressures ease”, I am totally speechless.

    At least the media seem to have finally woken up to him now. Honestly, how anyone can attribute any credibility to Costello is beyond me.

  25. I have been saying for a while that water is a key issue in the electorate, particlarly in regional areas, and I couldn’t understand why t wasn’t mentioned in the debate (except by Rudd, once, in passing). But the signs are building, as Possum suggests, that Rudd has got something planned.

    I think Rudd should come out with a water plan very soon, something that’s better than Howard’s $10b Murray Darling Basin exercise, something that ensures the future of water supplies to country towns and capital cities alike, not just to irrigators. That might force Howard to do some me-tooism. The coalition’s idea of “infrastructure” is more pork for roads, but it should go beyond that, to health, education and training, ports, power and water.

    Lack of water/drought is affecting house prices in parts of regional Victoria, and preventing urban expansion in some other areas. South-East Queensland is badly affected, and I wonder whether the mysterious huge swing (according to Morgan, anyway) to Labor in Hume is due to Goulburn’s severe water problems and the drought.

  26. Rudd had no choice but to support the NT intervention, otherwise the Government would have painted him as being soft on child abuse.

    I think Labor, if elected, will continue the intervention, but more in co-operation with the NT Government, and with a bit more sensitivity than the coalition.

    However, it’s clear that there is general public support for the Government to do something drastic about the appalling conditions in some aboriginal settlement. Every Government – Federal, state and territorial – has let it get worse.

  27. Frank Calabrese at 451

    No, I’m not that Don Wiggan. I only have single ‘g’ – almost the reverse of Greeensborough who gains a lot of distinction with that extra ‘e’.

    Not even familiar with that project. Which Santo was that: the Working Dog one (‘Frontline’, ‘The Castle’), or that other one loved by the Friends of The ABC who was involved in some dodgy deeds which even by Queensland Liberal murky standards were too much, even for Howard.

    I’m sorry I wasn’t now; it might provide some excellent material for a retro study today.

    Keep up the good work with some of your WA posts, which I greatly enjoy.


  28. 584 Let it End

    [LOL, that may have worked for the dill if he hadn’t forgotten directing everyone to use underlying rate of inflation and not the headline rate in all of his last 4 qrt press conferences on CPI.]

    Let it, for an old timer like me that brings back lots of memories, especially from the decline and fall of the McMahon Government (which this one is starting to resemble).

    In those days the CES used to prepare labour market figures quarterly. Their release was eagerly looked forward to, because any increase in unemployment was feared to spell doom for the presiding government.

    Two sets of figures were released: the actual registered unemployed, and the ‘Seasonally Adjusted’ figures which took into account seasonal employment, casual and part-time. Naturally, seeing they were measuring somewhat different things, the figures were often quite different from each other.

    Billy McMahon’s approach was to focus on ‘whatever numbers were lower’. So in one quarter he might trumpet the Seasonally Adjusted figures; in the next it might be the actual.

    Good to see that the old tricks don’t die out.

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