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 thoughts on “D-day minus 13”

  1. ESJ
    Maybe not in your eyes but believe me the proposition I offered would be seen by most readers here to be true. Howard’s cronies did not rule this land even handedly. They will be fish and chip shop paper soon & historians will view this Government as most people here do.

  2. [Shows on (1042) be nice when talking about Pi]

    I was referring to you silly.

    You’ve quoted Freud twice! The second time I had to remove a great deal of Diet Vanilla Coke from my monitor due to a certain physiological response that occurs whenever people invoke Freud into what is intended as a reasoned argument.

    No doubt you – ESJ – think this is all Freudian. 😐

  3. Diogenes:

    I am not advocating it by any means, nor saying that it is morally or justifiably right.

    I am merely saying it is not against the regulations.

    Lawyers are human too (believe it or not :)). The Legal Profession Act (Vic) is one of the longest parliamentary acts and governs the actions of legal practitioners in Victoria.

    I do not believe sleeping with a client is an abuse of a position of power per se. Unless of course one was using sex in payment for legal fees.

    Conflict of interest is another issue entirely. It my view it is highly likely that there will be conflict of interest which is why it is so highly discouraged. However, in saying that many lawyers act for their spouses and there are few recorded cases of lawyers in Victoria being done for conflict of interest after sleeping with a client.

  4. Adam, as I think you’ve commented from time to time, no-one does actually buy the Australian. Well, statistically speaking anyway (0.76% of the population being much closer to nothing than something). I agree. Can we not mention it any more, even when DS and his pals try to turn black into white yet again?

    Newspoll excepted, of course.

  5. asanque- imagine a scenario where a (male) lawyer accepts a (female) murder suspect as a client. Her guilt or otherwise is immaterial. She is incredibly vulnerable due to the possibility of spending 30 years in jail. She would develop a strong emotional attachment to him. If he let it get to the stage where he slept with her, I think he has abused his position.

  6. HH @ 945: I agree. While it will probably do little or no harm (as long as there’s no vision: TV footage of Janette saying the words attributed to her would look bloody awful), if Miranda Devine is doing a favour for the Libs by soft-pedalling some Janette into the campaign, and this is the best she can do/what she’s been told to write, then they’re in deep trouble.

    ‘I’ve been through lots of campaigns, and in this one there’s just no mood against us, lots of people have said they’ll vote for us but are the sort of people who never get spoken to by the pollsters, and have you noticed that Kevin Rudd is a bad campaigner who knows nothing about economics?’ is amateur-hour, rallying-the-faithful kind of stuff. It’ll encourage dyed-in-the-wool Libs, who had been going through crises of confidence and misery, to staff the booths on polling day. It won’t actually encourage anyone to vote Liberal who wasn’t already going to do so.

  7. [ShowsOn, two weeks of sweating over the election should see you make your goal no worries.]

    I wish it was that easy – I find I have to walk up and down hills to actually lose anything.

  8. The latest Newspoll survey shows last week’s interest rate rise has affected the Coalition’s stance in the polls. However, Prime Minister John Howard still remains preferred economic manager over Kevin Rudd.

    On a two party preferred basis, Labor’s support is up two per cent to 55 and the Coalition’s is down from 47 to 45 per cent.

    The survey, published in The Australian, shows the Coalition has lost two points in the primary vote down to 40 per cent, while Labor remains steady at 48.

    During the 2004 election, Mr Howard promised to keep interest rates low, however last week saw interest rates rise another quarter of a per cent – marking the first time rates have gone up during an election campaign.

    Both leaders are preparing to announce their final party policies this week.

  9. 1049 Adam Says: November 11th, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    The “mainstream media” does NOT equate with four or five columnists on The Australian, as a casual reader of this blog might assume. We happen to have a very good broadsheet daily here in Melbourne.

    I agree. The Age is a good paper, and the one I buy most days. I never buy the Australian anymore, in spite of their international business section.

    The Age has Michelle Grattan, who I believe has been the best commentator in all media forms this year.

  10. [http://www2.skynews.com.au/election07/article.aspx?id=200017]

    Fark – the Labor primary vote on 48% just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

    I can’t see how the coalition can win without getting the Labor primary down to 45.

  11. ESJ – look at it this way. The union members have a case being taken to court by their union officer who instructs the advocate. The relationship between the union official and the advocate is the same in principle (and ethics) as that between an instructing solicitor and a barrister. Why would a client complain if their solicitor sleeps with this barrister? ie both on the same side? How can there be a conflict of interest? It happens all the time in the legal world and why not? It’s just an opportunity to match their briefs.

  12. ESJ: I believe this is a political forum 🙂

    Suffice to say, many lawyers act for relatives, spouses and close friends.

    As to whether many lawyers develop relationships with clients after knowing them via their general practice, I cannot speak for how prevalent this is.

  13. Stephen, I agree. That’s how this betting market debate actually started and I advised commenters to keep an eye on the bookies after that sort of movement on Betfair.

    I suppose bookies must be cautious as well and may REACT to a smaller bet before the release of a major poll, than a larger bet after the release of a major poll.

    I think most bloggers are confused with the TAB system and believe odds are linked exclusively to the total amount bet.


  14. I love how they have to mention this with every poll::

    “However, Prime Minister John Howard still remains preferred economic manager over Kevin Rudd.”

    Of course more importantly:

    “The survey, published in The Australian, shows the Coalition has lost two points in the primary vote down to 40 per cent, while Labor remains steady at 48.”

    Adios el rodento!

  15. Thanks Pi. That is very nice indeed. It’s good to see the narrowing remains as elusive as the yeti, (even though it’s more abominable).

    Get on to Max while you can!

  16. Rgee 1057

    Oh I thought that was what you meant (slept with your sister) when you bragged about going off to have s.x with your girlfriend on Friday night or was it just a blow up doll?

  17. Diogenes: Agreed. Unfortunately it is rarely a black and white issue and although interesting is venturing into the boundaries of off-topic for this particular discussion. 🙂

  18. [The Age has Michelle Grattan, who I believe has been the best commentator in all media forms this year.]

    And it should be pointed out that Grattan was:

    a) One of the first to say Howard should hand over to Costello
    b) That the government was doomed whether a hand over too place or not.

    It seems to me that she is 2 weeks away from being proven correct.

  19. So much for the interest rises are good for the coalition theory, the narrowing theory, the buget bounce theory, …

    The sooner this lying government is turfed the saner this country will be.

  20. [Oh I thought that was what you meant (slept with your sister) when you bragged about going off to have s.x with your girlfriend on Friday night or was it just a blow up doll?]

    Stop being Freudian.

  21. A conflict of interest can be actual, ie I own BHP shares and my solicitor has shares in RIO and is advising me on BHP issues or it can be the potential, ie sleeping with the person giving you instructions on behalf of your client.

  22. I’d be very interested to know who put that big bet on Betfair that changed the odds in light of this poll! There’s gotta be some insider trading here!

  23. Yeah, why do they have to tell us that rattus is the preferred economic manager? I guess it’s the only thing he wins. Anyway, it apears not to amount to more than a hill of beans (and very small ones, at that). Primary at 48. Woo-hoo.

  24. Excellent Newspoll there. That ought to get the rats really fleeing down the gangplank this week.

    Whats all this guff about Gillard? Actually, hang on, I dont care.

    Ive totally switched off the loser tory dirt unit – just like most Australians, Im not even interested in their in the low rent ambo chasing rubbish.

    You losers are toast, by the way. Thats the deputy PM you’re talking about, so show some f’n respect is my advice, deadbeats.

  25. Adam, I agree with that. My feelings towards The Australian and its lack of credible reporting started with anger, then shifted to amusement, but now I actually feel sorry for them. It’s all a bit sad. And I just can’t be bothered with it anymore. The Australian is irrelevant.

    I’m also in Melbourne, and yes, The Age is a fine paper. Sure, it leans ever so slightly to the left, but that’s not the point. Regardless of the editorial stance, they have a number of writers who offer some genuinely thoughtful and insightful analysis. It’s like the Daily Telegraph in the UK. It leans to the right, but at least they have some good writers with some decent analysis.

  26. I keep thinking back to the headline in the first week of the campaign – “Lazarus stirs” – it should have been “Lazarus stirs, farts, rolls over and goes back to sleep”

  27. ESJ – The point I was making was relevance… Your question had none what-so-ever.

    And yes, it was a blow up doll; Inflatable Tabitha!

    Now back to the pseph stuff… 55/45, you’re boy is toast.

  28. So the Libs are still preferred economic managers but there has been a drop in their PV due to the interest rate rise? What does that tell us?

  29. [Yeah, why do they have to tell us that rattus is the preferred economic manager? I guess it’s the only thing he wins. Anyway, it apears not to amount to more than a hill of beans (and very small ones, at that). Primary at 48. Woo-hoo.]

    The economic management question on Newspoll has been bouncing around a lot. 2 weeks ago it was up 5 points for Rudd, then last week it was up 5 points for Howard.

    I don’t know if it even means anything anymore. If Rudd’s satisfaction is still 60%, and he is even just even on preferred PM, then he will win the election.

  30. # 1091 Jon Says: November 11th, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    That 48 primary seems rock solid, doesn’t it.

    This election was decided six months ago.

  31. That’s a very good Newspoll for this stage of the campaign. The primaries are basically where they have been for most of the year.

    If we are to see any weakening of the extent to which the MSM campaign for Howard, this is probably the week, and a Newspoll like this sets the scene perfectly.

  32. Who gives a rat’s backside about preferred economic manager (apart from the rat)? It sure as hell don’t translate into primary votes!

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