D-day minus 20

• In the midst of the Friday morning poll flurry, I somehow failed to take note of the Advertiser poll of 778 voters from Wakefield. Labor’s Nick Champion led Liberal MP David Fawcett 58-42 on two-party preferred, from 47 per cent to 33 per cent on the primary vote. Yesterday the Advertiser ran a front-page item complaining that South Australia was being overlooked because its three Liberal marginals all looked like foregone conclusions for Labor. One might protest that Sturt and Boothby are in play, but the article informs us that “neither is expected to change hands unless the political stocks of the Government deteriorate even further in SA”.

• Speaking on Lateline on Friday night, Michael Kroger claimed “people in the Liberal Party and around the traps generally” were “more and more confident that the two high profile seats in NSW of Bennelong and Malcolm Turnbull’s seat in Wentworth will be won by the Government” – although Rod Cameron wasn’t so sure. Kroger also rejected talk Labor might have its eyes on Casey and Aston in Melbourne, as their campaign focus was entirely on more marginal seats.

• The Age economics reporter Josh Gordon on the targeting of recent election promises:

In the past week alone, the Coalition has announced a $15 million south coast sustainable regions program (for the NSW electorate of Eden-Monaro), $300,000 for a Beaconsfield Heritage Museum (for the Tasmanian seat of Lyons), $400,000 for palliative care in Geelong and Colac (for the Victorian seats Corio and Corangamite) and $16 million to extend the Tasmanian freight equalisation scheme to include King Island (for the Tasmanian seat of Braddon). Those states with more marginal electorates have generally faired best. Queensland has been the overwhelming winner. It has been promised $878.7 million by the Coalition, including hundreds of millions of dollars worth of road funding announcements. Western Australia has also been the next major beneficiary, with a $405 million plan announced to extensively upgrade Perth’s roads. Victoria, where there are no Coalition seats held by a margin of less than 4.9 per cent, has been promised $238 million by the Coalition, despite its 25 per cent share of Australia’s population and economy. Labor has been just as expedient with its spending plans. Its policy promises tally to about $47.6 billion. As with the Coalition, the vast bulk would be soaked delivering tax cuts. A significant chunk of the remaining cash – about $4.3 billion – would be used to fund spending decisions targeting specific states. Again, Queensland has been the major winner, with more than $2.6 billion on offer. Victoria, where there are eight Labor seats held by margins of less than 5 per cent, would fare relatively better under a Labor government, with about $724 million promised.

• I don’t get too excited about ballot paper placement, but it’s nonetheless interesting to note that Maxine McKew is last out of 13 in Bennelong. Notable candidates elsewhere: long-standing Liberal preselection aspirant Michael Darby running for the CDP in Dobell; former Greens MPs Michael Organ in Cunningham and Robin Chapple in Kalgoorlie; former state Noosa MP Cate Molloy, running as an independent in Wide Bay; and perennial trouble-maker Stephen Mayne in Higgins. No sign of Kelly Hoare in Shortland. In the Senate, former Labor member for Kalgoorlie Graeme Campbell is on a ticket in Western Australia along with former state One Nation MP John Fischer. The fourth Labor New South Wales candidate I was wondering about the other day turns out to be Pierre Esber, a Right faction Parramatta councillor who had long coveted the Bennelong preselection. The all-important Senate preference tickets will be revealed this afternoon.

• Sue Neales of The Mercury reports that “internally, Labor remains confident about winning Bass back from the Liberals … but gloating about a Labor clean-sweep of all five Tasmanian electorates is gone”. This is roundabout way of saying that Braddon is still in play, although the Liberals suffered a blow there this week when the government was forced to delay its much-touted Mersey Hospital takeover.

• There has been a spike in chatter lately about the possibility of the Liberals losing their ACT Senate seat, following recent Morgan results showing the party’s vote at a parlous 24 per cent. With 33 per cent needed to secure a seat, that would turn the second seat into a contest between Labor and the Greens. As territory Senators’ terms are tied to the House, this would mean the Coalition would lose its Senate majority immediately, and not with the changeover of state Senators in the middle of next year.

• Shame on me for not yet having linked to Peter Tucker’s self-explanatory Tasmanian Politics website. Go look.

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.

328 comments on “D-day minus 20”

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  1. Glen,

    wow, it’s like reading a commercial.
    Posted by: linda of melbourne

    Since when did 760 dead civilians in a month indicate the war is over? Oh I know, because they were Iraqi civilians, which as we all know don’t count as much as say, Australian civilians. Mike Carlton is right. Bolt you truly are Melbourne’s village idiot.
    Posted by: Warren Andrews of Sydney

    Don’t you just love it.

  2. Glen at 6:51 pm

    Glen, if you privatise Medibank private while you are running a 30% health insurance rebate, the only weapon the government has left to control costs in the health insurance market is the price rise veto. Yet with health inflation running about 2 and a bit times general inflation (because of technology costs), there will always be constant pressure on health insurance premiums to rise.

    If those premium rises are vetoed, the health insurance players wont simply take a hit to their bottom line, they’ll reduce converage while maintaining price levels.

    With Medibank Private in government hands, pressure can be exerted on them to run as efficiently as possible, and increase cost competition within the broader health insurance market, thereby preventing inefficient health insurance companies from cutting coverage under the threat of Medibank taking their market share.

    If you are running a highly bastardised health insurance system that Howard has created, the last economically rational thing you would do would be to privatise your greatest vehicle for competitive cost control. Health insurance is a quite complicated industry with the way it’s regulated and unfortunately a lot of people, unfortunately including most of those in the government, don’t seem to understand a great lot about it.

    I’ve always thought Nick Minchin was a complete and utter economic ignoramus. For some reason he manages to fool an awful lot of people that should know better, but privatising Medibank Private, considering the current regulatory and subsidy arrangement, is incompetence of the highest order – unless of course you *want* the taxpayer to provide the profit levels of the health insurance industry and you *want* lower service and coverage levels for higher costs.

  3. Possum
    I have heard it said from senior libs mouth
    “if they aint got the money its their fault and we are not here to act as a crutch'”
    this attitude is not uncommon among the Masterclass/born to rule set

  4. re my previous post, 49%, that’s right 49% of marriages end in divorce.

    Capital Gains Tax severely disadvantages low to middle income earners who may make sound investing decisions to try to get ahead. Sure the rich also benefit but they should be got at in other ways such as tightening loop holes in the tax laws.

  5. Centre, halving CGT has resulted in an almost tripling in the percentage of housing owned by investors as opposed to owner-occupiers. Is it any wonder house prices have gone through the roof?

  6. When Howard said this on Insiders:

    “Policy is more important than people.”

    I think he became the first PM to admit he was redundant.

  7. “Housing prices are affected by supply and demand. ”

    Wow I never knew that?

    Tried getting a brickie lately? It is also affected by availability of the guys who build stuff.

    Howard fudges figures on apprenticeships – Cert 1 in creative basket weaving is an apprentice.

    Thats why Rudd is banging on about a Skills crisis.

  8. I remember a poster on Tim Dunlop’s site a while back skiting about how he had bought 4 houses using Howard’s “first home owners grant”.

    When challenged about it he said he had bought houses under the grant for his children.

    A day or two later, on a thread about workchoices, he stated that his income was around $40k per year.

    If there was a lot of this going on, especially as we saw on current affairs programs, of people with 14 and 18 properties, negatively geared, no wonder the housing market soared.

    A Government cannot allow this amount of money into a market in such a short period without negative ramifications showing up just as quickly. Now the genie is out of the bottle, it will be a slow, painful process that will put it back where it belongs.

    The average home owner will be all the poorer for it and will come to hold the Howard Government in contempt in coming years when the crash in home values comes.

  9. Also abolishing CGT would be great for business, investment and more jobs. But no, Glen, what does this government dish out? Work2choices. Coco wants you to work longer and for less! That’s really great for productivity, isn’t it Glen. And you blokes call yourselves good economic managers, hah!

  10. Evening all. Lovely day of panic on the Tory’s side of the fence. Seems our poor Glen has misplaced his pills. No matter, his postings make Howard look sober and controlled, perhaps this is his intention? The old comparison trick eh.
    No mention of tomorrow’s Galaxy in the media yet, was it out at midnight last time? Or do us poll nuts get an early mark?

  11. Centre, one of the biggest causes of the increase price of housing, was the halving of the CGT and the other was the additional 1st home owners bonus of $7,000 offered to all and sundry.

  12. Bob Baldwin – Paterson has finally pulled the cheque book out.
    TV ads in high rotation – disturbing Kath and Kim. & Thank god your here.
    3 different ads.
    Margin 6.3%.

  13. Muskiemp, I believe that the increase of housing prices was due to economic growth, the GST, and poor decision making on the part of the investor.

    Some will agree with you and some will agree with me.

  14. Hmm, someone put some big money down on LNP to force Centrebet to quickly shorten their price from 3.70 into 3.50 in the last half hour. Makes me wonder about tomorrow’s Galaxy.

  15. Yer, Hopefully it was just a correction due to previous bets made after the garrett incident. but yer, their are going to be inevitable worries in the final 3 weeks. REgardless, there is gong to be a massive injection of talent in the ALP after the election

  16. And the Coalition is back down to $3.50 on Centrebet (absolutely no movement on Sportingbet).

    There must be a fairly high volume being wagered on Centrebet tonight. Guess we’ll see what’s happening when the next poll comes out…

  17. sportingbet has coalition at 3.30, portland at 3.50.

    suppose if there was some inside knowledge, then centrebet was by far the best value at $3.70 before this little plunge.

  18. Let it end,

    $3.50 is still formidably high odds to overcome in only three weeks, especially in a two-horse race. Remember that in 2004, Latham was never outright favourite with the punters, even though the polls seemed to indicate otherwise. Big money doesn’t lie.

  19. Centrebet were offering the best odds therefore would have been attracting the largest bets on the coalition. If the odds fall below the next best price group, which appears to be 3.50 at the moment, the alarm bells can start ringing.

    Galaxy poll of 54/46 2PP would be a good result.

  20. Kina – that’s good news if it hasn’t moved in for the libs.

    If there is some sort of insiders plunge on Galaxy, look for Sportsbet to firm for the govt over the next copuple of hours. Now Centrebet is in, Sportsbet is the value.

  21. I predict Galaxy 53-47 TPP. To those worrying about what the betting market movements mean, remember that they adjust odds to make sure that they will be covered no matter what. All the money on Labor probably forced them to try and attract punters on the Coalition. You’ve got to admit: 3.70 is a nice price for those tempted to back Howard. Obviously the price was right for them to take the plunge. Of course, I could be wrong and Galaxy could be 52-48 (possibly push-polled after “asking” about the effect of the Garrett statement).

  22. I’d venture to say that if the Poll were in any way favourable to the Coalition, it would have been leaked on agenda. David Speers wouldn’t be able to help himself.

  23. Don’t know if this has been put up yet or not. Various people have wondered about the Labor campaign ads. Apparently, the first of them hit the airwaves today. This article from the SMH explains some more about what is coming in the next 3 weeks.

    “LABOR’S final election campaign assault will be aimed at young mums, with the unleashing today of TV ads depicting Prime Minister John Howard as being “out of touch ….. Labor has identified the Coalition’s 11 years in office, coupled with ballooning household and mortgage costs, as vulnerabilities for the 68-year-old Prime Minister, father to three adults.

    Labor campaign insiders said the series of ads, which will underpin Labor’s final tactical assault against Mr Howard and his Government, would run until the end of the campaign. The launch signals Labor is preparing to make its final pitch to battling family voters in the volatile 25- to 40-year-old age group on the bread-and-butter issues traditionally claimed by the Coalition.

    Labor’s national secretary and campaign director, Tim Gartrell, said the ads clearly demonstrated how much Mr Howard and his 11-year-old Government had lost touch with working families.”


  24. On most recent glance, the betting markets are moving slightly 2 to Labor 1 to Coalition, IAS has 1.37v3.25 (+1c-5c), Sportbet is 1.28v3.70 (+0c+10c), SportsAcumen 1.32v3.35 (-2c+10c). I dont think we can conclude anything from these developments.

  25. Of course there was no word of Galaxy on Agenda tonight. The 9:30pm edition was a replay of this afternoon’s show. It even had the word ‘replay’ displayed on the top left hand corner of the screen.

  26. Ross Gittens wrote a while back a very succinct article in the SMH about housing affordability and the role of immigration in pushing up house prices.The Howard Government is allowing a record number of immigrants to enter Australia. The main affect of record immigration has been to limit wage growth by increasing competition for jobs and lowering skill shortages.
    There is a downside to this particular tactic. There is far greater demand for housing and rentals. Australia is not building enough houses and this demand has forced prices up.
    The environmental cost of building houses on fertile land that once provided food to local markets is another downside to this “Go for Growth” stupidity.
    I would like to see a Government that limits severely immigration. At least Rudd is on the right track with training locals rather than relying on imported skills.

  27. For the moment the other agencies seem to be pretty quite but Centrebet is jumping around a bit. Maybe as suggested they are just adjusting their odds and there is nothing to it.

    Kina, your right about Galaxy being a bit odd of late, they have the happy knack of coming up with a “narrowing” whenever the Libs really need a boost. Saw Briggs actually complaining on Sky that Newspoll ruined the week for the coalition with their bad result.

  28. [Looks like Howard will be flat out on the hustings in Bennalong, Tuesday.]

    Or attending the RBA Meeting as an observer 🙂

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