Educated guesswork

Statsmeister extraordinaire Geoff Lambert has sent through an exhaustive statistical analysis of recent polling trends, and concluded that the number of seats won by Labor will have a nine in front of it. Read all about it here. In other prediction news, I have contributed an assessment of the state of play in the Senate to Crikey. For those who can’t or won’t read this, a quick summary. I think it most likely that New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania will go three Labor, two Liberal and one Greens, Western Australia will reverse those numbers for Labor and Liberal, and South Australia will go two Labor, two Liberal, one Greens and one Nick Xenophon. Queensland is a tricky one, but if I had to put my money somewhere it would be on three Labor and three Coalition – though neither the Greens nor Family First can be written off. I will also go out on the same limb as Malcolm Mackerras and tip Kerrie Tucker of the Greens to defeat Liberals Senator Gary Humphries in the ACT. That points to a huge result of six Senate seats for the Greens. The Coalition will be down from 39 seats to 34, Labor will be up from 28 to 32, and the Greens will double their numbers from four seats to eight, with Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding joining them on the cross-benches. I must sadly concur with the consensus that this election will mark the end of the Australian Democrats.

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.

1,009 comments on “Educated guesswork”

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  1. [@ Shows on

    Howard was just on tv and looked and sounded very very tired.]

    Not surprised.

    The big misjudgment that Howard has made is believing his own hype. Believing the press that said ‘we are all John Howards now’.

    If he simply developed a sense of perspective he would’ve handed over to Costello.

  2. [I have a sneaking suspicion that when Howard gets home after his morning walk he collapses in a heap…….all show.]

    According to Tony Wright he is walking slower and slower edge morning.

    Maybe the Telegraph is right, that he needs a hip replacement.

  3. With everyone else running dead or pouting into their beer, Howard is the only asset the Libs have. At 68, maybe he is feeling the strain. Where’s he been this week? Sydney, Brisbane, FNQ and probably a swing back to Melbourne and Tassie for the weekend.

    To much ground to make up and no time to do it.

  4. For those who are interested, here is a transcript of Downer’s sentences in French, with a literal translation:


    (“It is true that I speak French, but alas, I am the foreign minister of Australia. It is necessary to speak English if you are Australian.”)

  5. I bet he will be blaming Costello for not taking on more responsibility in this election. I’m still awaiting to see them campaign as a team. I guess he should of went for the 5 weeks campaign and got it all over and done with.

  6. The missing text at #960:
    “C’est vrai que je parle français, mais alors je suis le ministre des affaires étrangères d’Australie. Il faut parler en anglais si vous êtes australien.”

  7. [I bet he will be blaming Costello for not taking on more responsibility in this election. I’m still awaiting to see them campaign as a team. I guess he should of went for the 5 weeks campaign and got it all over and done with.]

    Well they were a team for the tax policy launch and a few other things, but since then that has gone out the window.

  8. I truly doubt Downer’s capability to speech French at length and fluently.

    Sure, the guy may be “talent” enough to mutter a few broken short sentences to order a beer in a bar. For that, me-too 🙂 I can do that too 🙂
    But that all that is. He was right to not address/answer the press conference in French. He’d only embarrass himself as an Foreign Minister.

  9. [ 949
    Edward StJohn Says:
    November 15th, 2007 at 4:56 pm
    Paul K,

    Adam is way too earnest for me!]


    Isn’t Earnest a homophone? “Ernest” and “earnest”.

  10. ESJ,

    Much thanks for including me on your list. What happened to your blog?

    On another note, Downer should have tried to answer the question in French – it would have led to a great soundbite for the TV news bulletins (like Rudd’s statement in Mandarin at APEC).

    P.S. There’s a new thread up.

  11. A Melbourne green businessman, Bill McHarg, set to spent $200K to run a campaign against Howard in Bennelong. He is taking out full page ads in the SMH and DT.

    Apparently there will be a news conference outside Howard’s campaign office tomorrow. And there is supposed to be something on YouTube, to attract the younger generation.

    All I can say, that’s not going to do Johnnie any good at all.

    BTW, does the SMH or DT print a Chinese version and distribute it in Bennelong, as that could add to the punch too.

  12. My question to Caroline Overington on her blog:

    With your vast journalistic experience, have you ever made a pass at that frenchy Alexander Downer?

    Downer said today:
    “C’est vrai que je parle français, mais alors je suis le ministre des affaires étrangères d’Australie. Il faut parler en anglais si vous êtes australien.”

    “It is true that I despise Australian colour reporters who pretend to be journalists and have no appreciation of the finer things in life. They prefer to get down and dirty to get their seedy stories. As a Foreign Minister of Australia it is beyond me why I have to have any dealings with riff raff like that.”

  13. “…but alas, I am the Foreign Minister of Australia.”

    Alexander, you’re not ‘arf as sorry about it as we have been, mate!

  14. $250m for aged care. Ho hum. Geez, the rate we’re going, by 2010, unless the policy costs $10b it won’t even rate an announcement.

    We’re in a weird world.

  15. Downer’s remarks, reprinted with translation in one single post, because I am just super-pedantic and bored this afternoon:

    “C’est vrai que je parle français, mais alors je suis le ministre des affaires étrangères d’Australie. Il faut parler en anglais si vous êtes australiens.”

    (”It is true that I speak French, but alas, I am the foreign affairs minister of Australia. It is necessary to speak English if you [the audience] are Australian.”)

    In the above case, Downer was probably referring to the audience as the recipients of his obligation to speak in their language, so the “vous” referred to his listeners, in which case he would be correct in using “vous”.

    If Downer was thinking of “vous” as a direct translation of the English impersonal form “you” in reference to a category of persons like himself, placing the emphasis upon the common obligation of such persons to speak in the language of the audience, he should have used the French pronoun “on” instead: “Il faut parler en anglais si on est australien.”

    A better French rendering of the thought he wanted to express might have been: “Il me faut parler en anglais si vous êtes australiens” (“It is necessary for me to speak in English if you are Australian.”)

  16. #975, #978
    Mea culpa. “Alas” is too strong a translation of “alors”, more idiomatically it should be “It is true that I speak French, but then I am the foreign affairs minister of Australia, [so] it is necessary to speak English if you [the audience] are Australian.”

  17. To be fair to Downer, does anybody really know if Rudd’s accent is perfect or not? For all we know he could be echoing the famous words of JWH on his first trip to The Forbidden Palace in 1996:

    “Gee, this Chinese food is tasty!”

    I mean, c’mon guys, who’d know?

    (That ought to flush out our Chinese Lefty comrades)

  18. Glen / ESJ – would be interested to know who you would like to be the next leader of the Libs after Howard… and why you feel that way?

    Can Turnbull bring a moderate era to the party – that would be an exciting concept. Doubt Costello can.

    Do you have any doubts that, should the Libs lose, Costello will be Opp Leader?

  19. Downer said today:
    “C’est vrai que je parle français, mais alors je suis le ministre des affaires étrangères d’Australie. Il faut parler en anglais si vous êtes australien.”

    Actual Translation:
    “It is true that the Coalition could have had a chance of winning if that bastard Howard had been prepared to retire with grace and hand over to Costello, if not last year than at the latest after APEC. I still rue the day I decided to hand him the leadership of the party. After all “Things That Batter” may have killed off my chance at the top job but still today deep in my heart, I know I’m funny. A lot funnier in any case than the joke from from Garrett or Overington. So there. C’est la vie!”

  20. ABC, PM leads on Regional Partnerships Funding.
    “at the worst possible time for a govt trailing in the polls”

    When was a good time?

  21. Downer is the worst foreign minister ever.
    Many people are multi lingual, especially world leaders. It is simply good manners, courtesy and smart to speak in the language that your guests are most used to.

  22. 981

    I am a native speaker of Mandarin and Rudd does not have anywhere near a perfect accent. I think the media has really overhyped his ‘fluency’ of the language.

  23. Please excuse my ignorance. I know the polls are indicating a strong win for the ALP, but can anybody tell me, what were the polls showing at 9 days out ,from the 2004 election?
    It’s just that I do not want to get over-excited.

  24. Tip from with in the bunker

    Enemies Within -“your Lib Friend (bumping uglies type) must be stressed at the moment and casting a glance at the jobs guides.”

    Mr X “not happy at all and talking to their past depatment re new job. They thought they still had a chance last week, not any more”.

    Take this with a grain of salt if you like.

    Good site WB,

  25. The Seven News in Sydney led with the story on the Auditor-General’s report. Which means 1.3m people saw Mark Riley say the Government was guilty of rorting.

    Not a good look, when the arguement of the day is over fincancial responsibility

  26. I think the Auditor-Generals story is bigger than people are suggesting, this from the Oz

    “The damning suggestions of pork-barrelling are in an audit report released today that shows $110 million worth of projects approved for regional partnerships funding between 2003 and 2006 breached its own financial management rules.

    It shows the Government, including then regional services minister John Anderson and then parliamentary secretary DeAnne Kelly, regularly overruled departmental objections to funding proposals and, in some cases, did so without having received a grant application.”

    Two big things

    – breached own financial managment rules
    – overruled departmental objections (often without a grant application)

    Who’s criticising who for not being an economic conservative, something about pot and kettle springs to mind.

    Also Labor is way behind in The SMH’s Pork-o-Meter

  27. For anyone with a bit of skill in You Tube video production, there’s a big opportunity to do some work with some of Howards recent incoherent moments, combining them with some of George Bush’s classics.

    They’re becoming more & more similar.

  28. Glen @ 643 claimed:

    Downer is a clear performer and the best FM I think we’ve ever had

    You must have lead a very sheltered life, Glen.

    Go back to Oct 1998 Australian intelligence officers learn of the Indonesian military’s (TNI) murderous plans for East Timor should there be a vote on independence, including the arming of ET’s militias by the Indo FA.

    Feb 1999, Downer tackles Indo FM Alatas on this and Alatas, who hates Downer and regards him as a buffoon, confirms his dept is arming the militias and tells Downer to mind his own F$@#$ business.

    Jan 1999, The US, Portugal and Xanana Gusmao all call for peace keepers to be sent to ET immediately. Downer blocks this.

    Feb 1999 US Assistant Secretary of State Stanley Roth starts getting toey about what the TNI will do and wants a substantial armed peace keeping force to go into ET ahead of any vote. Downer blocks Roth. Two days later Portugese FM also calls for a substantial peace keeping force ahead of voting. Again Downer acts to stop this.

    March 1999. Our Defence Intelligence Organisation warns the government that the TNI are arming the militias and Indo special forces are involved. Downer disputes the militias are being armed despite Alatas having confirmed this back in Feb. Somehow Laurie Oaks gets wind of this and asks Downer if Indo Foreign Affairs is arming the militas. Downer says no.

    Again blames rogue elements because “If it’s happening at all [attacks on civilians], and there is concern it could be happening, it certainly isn’t official Indonesian government policy, it certainly isn’t something that’s being condoned by General Wiranto, the head of the armed forces,” knowing full well of the plans the TNI had for ET.

    6 April 1999, The first massacre takes place. Downer blames it on rogue elements within TNI.

    Mid June 1999, US Sec of State Madeline Albright wants to fly to Indonesia and personally kick Gen. Wiranto’s ass into the next week while keeping a firm grip on his nuts. Downer talks her out of it. Claims its Australia’s problem and he can deal with it.

    Late June 1999, Downer sends the Vice CDF, AM Doug Riding to confront the TNI. Riding only gets to see 2 of Wiranto’s deputies (one is Yudhoyono, the current Indo Pres.). Riding does his best and is as tough as his instructions from Downer allow, which isn’t anywhere as tough as he wants to be or the situation requires, and nowhere near as tough as Albright would have been!

    Less than a week later the Koupassis lead militias begin attacking UN compounds.

    July 1999, Downer pops into Djakarta, has a brief meeting with the Indo President, and Wiranto and then heads off to London for the cricket!

    September 1999, Downer returns from the Ashes series to growing public demands to do something as Koupassas and the militias are in full rampage, following independence vote. Dili is ablaze, hundreds of ET civilians are dead and over 200,000 are being forced across the border into West Timor.

    He whines that even his children won’t speak to him, but does nothing because we can’t impose ourselves on a sovereign country and anyway the trouble is only caused by a few rouge elements. I’m sure the Indonesians took that as a wink and a nod that we might huff and puff, but in the end do nothing.

    Finally, Howard buckles and takes over, orders our UN military attache and leading TNI expert Allan Behm to threaten Indonesia/the TNI with massive sanctions, war crimes charges against Wiranto and unspecified other actions. Not coincidently the threat is issued as Wiranto is flying to Dili. F-111Cs are moved from Amberley to Tindal.

    Fortunately, the Indonesians take the hint and ask for an internation force to be sent.

    Want to hazard a guess how many Timorese died because of your hero’s incompetence/prevarications, Glen?

    And lets not forget AWB.

    Fast forward to 2003: Australian SAS troops are among the first to illegally invade Iraq some days before the dead line issued to Hussein to leave Iraq. Downer has a prime role in our worst foreign policy debacle since Vietnam. It also makes him our only war criminal FM.

    And lets not forget AWB.

    2006. Israel invades Lebanon stranding hundreds of Australians in a war zone. DFAT officers in the region do their best but other countries offer more to shipping companies to take their citizens, and calls for intervention by Downer to get ships initially fall on deaf ears. Could it have been because almost all were Lebanese Australians? Only when public disquiet become palpable is there movement and I believe the PM was the one to take action. Again! It takes over a week to rescue them.

    And lets not forget AWB.

    Glen, while this pompous ass is the FM I strongly urge you not to travel overseas because if you got into serious trouble the chances of him lifting a finger to help is remote. He is a lazy, incompetent idiot with delusions of greatness, even grandeur.

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