D-day minus 13

Glenn Milne reports in the Sunday News Limited papers that “definitive” Labor polling “shows voter reaction to Mr Howard’s retirement plans has become a ‘blocker’ to the Coalition’s other campaign messages, devaluing the Government’s promises and policies in all key areas”.

• In the wake of Wednesday’s interest rate rise, much was said of marginal seats suffering high levels of mortgage stress. Nassim Khadem of The Age pointed to a concentration of such seats in the 5 per cent to 10 per cent range in Victoria, including La Trobe, McMillan, Corangamite, Deakin and McEwen. The Sydney Morning Herald noted that affected seats in and around Sydney included Lindsay and Parramatta, now all but written off for the Liberals, along with Dobell, Robertson and Macarthur.

Michelle Cazzulino of the Daily Telegraph wrote on Wednesday that “confident Labor strategists are predicting an upset victory in Danna Vale’s electorate” of Hughes, held with a margin of 8.5 per cent. Joe Hildebrand of the Daily Telegraph named it with Macarthur and Paterson among seats Labor was targeting “in a strategy to spook the Government and draw precious resources away from a handful of must-win seats” – namely Lindsay, Dobell, Macquarie and Eden-Monaro.

Dennis Shanahan of The Australian is always good for a dose of cold water. On Wednesday he related suggestions from state front-bencher John Aquilina that “NSW Labor Party polling in marginal seats is not as strong as published polling”. Aquilina would only say that Labor “would win the western suburbs seat of Lindsay and had a chance in Macarthur, Dobell and Eden-Monaro, but he doubted they could pick up more”. Labor’s chances in Bennelong and Wentworth were not rated, and talk of Robertson was dismissed as “a lot of hype”.

• The Coalition has nonetheless targeted Robertson with a promise to repair a section of the Old Pacific Highway at Somersby, which has been closed since a family of five was killed following a road collapse in June. The Newcastle Herald reports that “no dollar figure has been attached to the promise”, but it is expected to be around $10 million.

• In Eden-Monaro, Labor has promised to spend $23 million from Defence Department funds upgrading the road from Queanbeyan to the Joint Operations Command headquarters, which the government stationed in Bungendore in an especially shameless act of marginal seat pork-barrelling. Andrew Fraser of the Canberra Times notes Labor has failed to provide funding for the more dangerous section of the road from Braidwood to Batemans Bay, the business end of which has been redistributed to the almost-safe Liberal seat of Gilmore.

Tim Colebatch of The Age detects good news for Labor in an enrolment boom in McEwen, La Trobe, Corangamite and McMillan. This is because the increases have been concentrated in the urban areas of these mixed electorates, which are the stronger for Labor. Even bigger increases have been recorded in Bennelong and Wentworth, though the impact here is harder to read. Jenna Price of the Canberra Times also notes a sharp increase in enrolment in the Australian Capital Territory, suggesting this increases the chances of a Greens Senate win at the expense of Liberal incumbent Gary Humphries.

• Andrew Burrell of the Australian Financial Review reports that “the Labor Party has launched a prime-time television advertising blitz aimed at saving the highly marginal Western Australian seat of Cowan, amid mounting fears that the retirement of popular MP Graham Edwards could deliver it to the Coalition”. With further Labor advertising focusing on Stirling, Burrell discerns “a sign that Labor is behind in those seats”, and is conversely confident of gaining Hasluck and retaining Swan and Brand (the latter of which has been the subject of some slightly surprising recent chatter). The report also says “ALP figures privately doubt the veracity” of the recent Westpoll survey showing them trailing in Cowan, Stirling and Hasluck. Those three electorates plus Swan have been the targets of the Perth variations on Liberal marginal seat television ads.

Michael Bachelard of The Age reports that the Greens decided on Friday to direct preferences to Labor in every Victorian seat, which it has never done before. The decision was apparently made after Lindsay Tanner succeeded in embarrassing the Greens over split-ticket how-to-vote cards being distributed at a pre-poll booth in Menzies, held by bete-noir of the left Kevin Andrews.

• Sam Strutt of the Courier-Mail reports of “polling indicating a huge swing” in the Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher, which Peter Slipper holds for the Liberals on a margin of 11.4 per cent.

• The verdict from the wind chimes merchants of Dobell is in: “Everyone knows when Labor is in unions run the country&#148. Ken Ticehurst remains remarkably media-shy.

Samantha Maiden of The Australian peruses a Poll Bludger comments thread. All good fun in my view, but the folk at Club Bloggery are not taking it lying down.

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.

1,127 comments on “D-day minus 13”

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  1. If that’s the latest Newspoll, then the Rodent is toast.

    A drop in Coalition primary? However would have thought it? The rate rise will focus the electorate on the economy and be good for Howard? The narrowing?

    Shibboleths falling like nine pins!

  2. ESJ: I believe she was disbarred and had her practising certificate revoked. I don’t recall what happened with her appeal, but I don’t recall her being successful.

    The Age I have no issue with, generally a balanced newspaper.

    The journalists on my list are Ackerman, Bolt, Shanahan, Albrechtsen.

  3. Well the lighting in Higgins leaves a lot to be desired. I had to return earlier than expected. And look a suprise, a newspoll and for me shucks Johnny you shouldn’t have. The picture tells it all really

  4. Hi EsJ @ 954: An interesting issue and interesting points you raise.

    Most of my counterpoints have already been mentioned by asanque and others (fast-moving world out here). I’ll just contribute something on your 3rd point.

    Client privilege (confidentiality) is de facto (in fact, for all the non-law-talkin’ people out there) waived if the privileged information is already in the public domain (including by being put forward in a court case). From one of the articles: “A series of court orders against Wilson and others between 1995 and 1996 nominated missing money totalling more than $1.25 million,” not to mention further documents being leaked all over the place recently. ‘Twould be absurd if it were otherwise. Remembering that client privilege, if it does exist, prevails over absolutely anything; including restraining responses to ethical investigations by Law Institutes and the like. “So, Ms Gillard, what do you have to say about your role in setting up accounts which were used to defraud, as is evident from the findings of a number of Court cases and other documents on the public record?”; “I’m sorry, to respond would be a breach of my duty of confidentiality to my former client”. That’d be a bit silly.

  5. Dennis Shanahan writes in tomorrow’s Australian…

    ‘Howard weathers rate rise storm’

    “John Howard is now in a great position to win the Nov 24 Federal election, with today’s Newspoll showing only a slight deviation towards Labor. The Coalition still retains it’s highly important lead as preferred economic manager, paving the way for voters to embrace Howard when the real campaign gets underway at the party launch tomorrow.”

    What do you guys think…will the Oz pay me Shanahan’s wage?

  6. Centaur_007

    I used to live in Higgins and was there for over 20 years. I can’t see Costello losing his seat despite the potential ALP landslide.

    The polls don’t appear to show as large a swing in Victoria as other states, and even Deakin and La Trobe appear to be 50/50 propositions. Higgins is a blue chip Liberal seat long held by Costello and generally full of the richest suburbs in Victoria.

    It would astound me if Costello lost but I will still be following this seat very closely come the election 🙂

  7. ESJ 1080 – in the particular political smear case you started with supposedly involving JG, the interest of both parties was identical – the union issue at hand – therefore no ethical dilemma. That’s a relief isn’t it?

  8. Matt @ 1106 – Freekin hell, that ShamaHam has really lost the plot. How anyone could write this stuff (even with a gun pointed to their head) is absolutely amazing.

  9. Matt 1106

    Are you Shana’s ghost writer?

    Wonderful numbers again for the ALP.

    The only question is: how far will the ALP win by? And, which of the high profile libs will go?

    My answers:
    90 ALP seats.
    Howard, Turnbull, Pyne.

  10. [Maybe this will answer

    Sure, this is just foundation for justifying their endorsement of Howard.

    I mean the Australian endorsed Howard in 2001, even though to their credit they opposed what Howard did on Tampa and the Pacific (non) Solution. So I can’t see why they won’t endorse him this time around.

    They’ll package it up by saying they are actually endorsing Costello over Rudd.

    I still think The Advertiser and The Telegraph will endorse Rudd. For The Advertiser, at least three, maybe up to five seats are going to Labor. So the editors will like to sail in on that wave. The Telegraph is just sick of Howard.

  11. just think, Shanahans on the type writer now…..

    ” in a tactically brilliant move revealed in the latest Newspoll results and the Orangotang tape, the coalition has side swiped labor and focused all attention in the last two weeks on John howard’s strong suit, the sympathy vote…

    yea, like I feel real sorry for a turd who saw terrified kids in the water and thought here’s an electoral oportunity to exploit in my interests

  12. I actually thought Labor would do better than 55 in this one. No reason for any Labor loss of sleep, though.
    What will Howard promise tomorrow? My betting is a cut in (or abolition of) petrol excise. Or maybe a cut in the rate of GST. Something he thinks Rudd won’t/can’t copy.

  13. Yes we have been suprised too asanque at the response. Barbara has seriously knocked on over 90% of the doors and the response has been so bizarre. Noone has really turned her away, everyone wanted to talk and the comments were firstlly hate Howard if Costello was leader we would firm our support, but in the last few weeks it’s hate them both, hate work choices for their kids, concerned about environment and don’t believe Labour will stuff the economy. Many will be voting Alp or green first time.

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