D-day minus 8

• Newspoll’s latest cumulative results from the last fortnight with state-by-state breakdowns can be viewed at The Australian. Roy Morgan has performed the same exercise with its data from October, providing both Senate polling and state-by-state lower house figures. Of note are ACT Senate figures suggesting Greens candidate Kerrie Tucker should easily win a seat at the expense of Liberal incumbent Gary Humphries.

• Malcolm Turnbull has been thrown a lifeline in Wentworth with the emergence of doubts about the validity of Labor candidate George Newhouse’s nomination. Newhouse’s resignation from the New South Wales Consumer Trader and Tenancy Disputes Tribunal – an “office of profit under the Crown” – was not received until the day of the formal declaration of nominations, when it appeared to be required by noon the day before. However, Imre Salusinszky of The Australian today reports on legal advice Newhouse has received from John McCarthy QC that the date of his resignation is irrelevant, because “NSW legislation stipulates that the office of any member of the tribunal becomes automatically vacant if he or she nominates for a federal seat”. Emma Alberici of the ABC says that “if history is any guide, Mr Newhouse won’t have too much to worry about” if his election is declared void, citing the electorate’s confirmation of Jackie Kelly in Lindsay and Phil Cleary in Wills. However, these episodes involved oversights that came to light after they were elected, with the voters in Lindsay taking revenge on a sore-loser opposition that had dragged them back to the polls. The Liberals would surely have the sense to take caution from this precedent, although they are currently talking tough to keep the threat of a by-election in the air. Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett sees the controversy as “a reminder of the need to reform outdated provisions in our constitution”.

• Kevin Rudd’s campaigning this week has provided a clear pointer to very strong Labor polling in Queensland. Yesterday he campaigned in the Brisbane seat of Bowman and will today head north to Dawson, respectively held by the Liberals and Nationals on margins of 8.9 per cent and 10.2 per cent. The Dawson venture should give Kevin Rudd the opportunity to take advantage of member De-Anne Kelly’s discomfort over the Auditor-General’s damning report into the Regional Partnerships program.

• Former Labor member for Hinkler, Brian Courtice, has appeared in Coalition television commercials attacking Labor’s union influence. Quoth Courtice: “Kevin Rudd couldn’t go three rounds with Winnie the Pooh, so there’s no way he can stand up to the union bosses. They’ve thrown $30 million at this campaign to buy the election. This is about a brutal grab for power. It’s too big a risk to risk Rudd.” Courtice first made his displeasure felt a fortnight ago when he appeared at a press conference with Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey,

John Wiseman of The Australian points to a $20,000 press advertising campaign as evidence that Labor is still hopeful of winning Boothby, in spite of everything. Nicole Cornes is “the only Labor candidate to have expensive press advertisements running in Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser”.

• Labor’s candidate for Eden-Monaro, Mike Kelly, received unwelcome late-campaign publicity on Wednesday after he described as “ridiculous” the private school funding formula which Labor decided to retain when it ditched Mark Latham’s “private schools hit list”.

• In an overview of the campaign for Bass, Sue Neales of The Mercury reports that “Liberal Party strategists concede that Labor candidate and former Launceston deputy mayor Jodie Campbell has already got Bass ‘in the bag’”.

Ewin Hannan of The Australian writes that Labor’s candidate in Deakin, Mike Symon, has “failed to persuade his party to commit to fixing a contentious local road project”. This refers to the “loathed” bottleneck at Springvale and Whitehorse roads in Nunawading, to which the Coalition has promised to commit $80 million. In other Coalition road promise news, Mark Vaile has announced that funding for completion of the dual carriageway upgrade to the Hume Highway, variously costed at $752 million and $992 million.

• I am once again approaching my monthly bandwidth limit. Donations to the cause are as always more than welcome, and can be made through the PayPal link on the sidebar. I should note that I invariably get more than I need whenever I make this appeal, but you might feel I deserve some pocket money for my efforts.

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.

641 comments on “D-day minus 8”

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  1. What a stinking rotten rat Brian Courtice is.

    Labor’s buying the election with $30 million? I’d love to hear the figure for the Libs’ campaign spend, which according to observations here, has been overshadowing Labor on television by a measure of 3 to 1, if not much more. (And that’s not even counting all the BarfChoices tvcs).

  2. William,
    The ACNielson is out in the SMH with two-party preferred of 54 labor to 46 Liberal. the Australian points out that 90% was completed before the Labor launch though so it appears to be fairly fluid. primaries are 47 labor, 32 Liberal.

    On Wentworth, Newhouse will be safe.My understanding is the resignation was posted and received at the office on the 2nd. That would mean the famous postal rule would apply and in law he would have resigned on the 1st even if the actual date is questioned. beyond that his intention was made clear in the letter to have resigned in October. Turnbull’s pulling out all stops.

  3. Rowan,
    that’s the postal acceptance rule from Dunlop v Higgins. There may be different rules (statutory or common law) applying in the case of the termination of a contract …

  4. The Age have an article this morning on their election page about fake HTV cards in Wentworth. Well it isn’t really an article but it is a video link. You need to click on that to view it. In the end, they summarize several ways you can tell if your Wentworth HTV card is real or a fake. One of the ways is to turn it over and look at the sponsors. They will be printed on old paper and the sponsors are companies that don’t currently have ads with any one. One that they showed had a Sydney Oympics 2000 logo on it. Another way is that the “authorized by” words will be hard to find and if there at all, won’t be the standard authorizations. One or two mouse click buttons down after the page loads and it is on the center of the page. Possibly the EB at work here?


  5. Hey William have just kicked into your tin, hope you get enough to keep up your sterling work.
    What a f###### dog that Courtice is, a useless local member when he was there and now in a fit of pique decides to spew his bile over the campaign. May he rot in hell!

  6. 5 & 6 – yeah I don’t think the rule is the same – there are various rules about presumed date of delivery, all of which (I think) are refutable by evidence of the actual date – in this case the letter is date stamped.

    I am really really annoyed at this – I live in the seat and had been looking forward to the possibility of Labor taking the seat. Labor volunteers have no doubt been working hard – and there are very many people not just Labor members) who had invested a lot of time the campaign and (in my case) emotional energy into hoping for a change of government. The seat probably won’t change things, but it is very disappointing.

    Now we know that Newhouse could not even turn up for a candidates’ debate last night for “personal reasons” – they’d better be good reasons is all I can say.

  7. Nomination for beat-up of the campaign.
    Front page of the Daily Telegraph, Combet represents Charlton but lives in Newcastle!!!
    It should be noted that the reporter interviewed Combet while he was drinking a flat white and not a latte.

  8. I was talking to the Deakin campaign yesterday and they have received the funding promise to neutralise the Springvale bottleneck problem. (ithink several million)
    I have pledged to help out Sunday in Deakin with a big letterboxing push. I urge all Melnournite ALP’s to do the same if you have spare time this weekend. It is definately a very big chance. Let me know and I’ll give you the details

  9. Re 10,

    Midnorthcoast Says:

    November 16th, 2007 at 7:20 am
    Nomination for beat-up of the campaign.
    Front page of the Daily Telegraph, Combet represents Charlton but lives in Newcastle!!!
    It should be noted that the reporter interviewed Combet while he was drinking a flat white and not a latte.

    Howard’s “home” isn’t in Bennelong any more, it was moved into North Sydney SOME number of years ago. DT is hypocrital with that article.

  10. The Mad Monk strikes again, admits that SerfChoices takes away worker protection, has he just realised that, in a Eureka moment perchance?
    Oh the joy.

  11. Anyone who is unsure about this election shouldn’t be now.

    From the SMH article this morning – “Mr Howard will go to the election most likely never having bested Mr Rudd as the nation’s preferred prime minister. Mr Rudd has led in this field in every poll since he became leader last December, and was ahead in the latest poll by 49 to 43 per cent.”

    Labor supporters, take heart πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Supporters of the other side, put your seat belts on so you aren’t injured when your plane crash lands in 8 days πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  12. LOL the Monk totally lost it on the Today show this morning, absolutely terrible performance. Methinks Tony has given up, and like Downer last night, is venting his spleen at his perceived injustice by the Oz electorate. Nuts!

  13. The grainy footage of Abbott fessing up to the dog that is Workchoices will be a funny reprise to “WE’RE COMING BACK!!!”


  14. Libs Ad campaign is rubbish but we already knew that πŸ˜‰ ……

    “Coalition’s prime targets are just not getting the message”

    Roy Morgan Research has used its online Reactor – in which voters use a device similar to the one which creates Channel Nine’s worm – to indicate if election ads make them more inclined towards Labor or the Coalition.


  15. Morning ‘Bludgers &Etc…

    I don’t wish to dampen enthusiasm for the coming electoral tidal wave, but I havebeen in the habit of not taking anything the pundits say on face value, and I’m not about to change that habit.

    When they say Labor’s doomed, I say “Why?”.

    When they say Howard’s doomed, I say “Where’s your proof?”.

    The latest “proof” seems to be an ACN poll showing Labor at 54/46 2PP. Apparently 90% of the interviews were taken before Rudd’s speech. Therefore (the common pundit wisdom says) this poll is just about as good as it gets for Howard because it doesn’t factor in positive reaction to Rudd’s speech a couple of days later.

    “Positive reaction?” I hear youse say.

    “Yes, positive reaction.”

    “How do we know there’s a positive reaction?” you all drone on.

    Which brings me back to my own personal Trust-O-Meter when it comes to the pundits. We only “know” there’ll be a positive reaction to Rudd’s speech because the pundits reckon there will be. Considering the pundits’ abysmal record in predicting outcomes so far in this election and the nine months of the phoney campaign, what they reckon isn’t good enough for me.

    They’re trying to get us to swallow the idea that the Battlers, aspirationals and other slow-thinkers out there in the Howard Marginals have suddenly abandoned the habits of their miserable lifetimes and will pooh-pooh the latest Porkathon offered by the Father Of The Nation.

    These people have calculators.

    And they vote.

    They have been brought up on the premiss that the purpose of elections is for politicians to stuff as much money into their bottomless pockets as is humanly possible, and bugger concepts like “responsibility” or “fiscal probity”. They add up one side’s promises and then tick them off against the other side’s promises. It’s a supermarket mentality, and it’s not even cynical. These people believe that not only is bribery what politics is all about, but that bribery is what politics should be all about. This is the only time in the political spin cycle that they get a chance to express themselves. It’s only now they have any importance at all, to anybody.

    The Battlers are centre stage this week, they know it, and don’t take the word of the bloody pundits (who’ve been wrong all year) that suddenly Howard’s huddled masses have gone all holy and pious on government pork barrelling. It’s quite possible that Rudd’s speech, full of fiscal modesty as it was (but low on moolah for the aspos in the Western suburbs), will increase Howard’s polling figures when it’s factored in at the next round of telephone interviews.

    Just because Peter Hartcher or Michelle Grattan can take or leave a tax cut or a child care freebie doesn’t mean the Hungry Ones in the mortgage belt aren’t out for the usual kickbacks from The Great Helmsman.

    I feel a narrowing coming on. Suddenly I’m nervous. Just sayin’…

  16. BrissyRod,

    Narrowing my foot πŸ˜‰ …… If he hasn’t bested Rudd on the preferred PM rating since Rudd became leader, any narrowing he gets in 8 days won’t be enough πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  17. wow the numbers in the Australian are interesting

    According to the age based breakdown of Preferred PM, it is now ONLY the 18-34s who are holding up Kevin Rudds lead.

    Both 35-49 and 50+ are now at evens..

  18. William Bowe

    How much should I kick into the tin?

    I believe it is important to support free thinking sites like this to maintain our independence.

  19. Why will Rudd’s launch be well-received? Because they tell us it will be. Bill, I agree with your scepticism, as previous posts demonstrate. But I’m really getting the feeling that something’s in the air. There is a broad “vibe” that Howard is a dead man walking. He’s still kicking, but he’s got nothing left, his campaign’s been a shocker, he is continually pulled off message and is still looking for traction. I remember hoping against hope that the ALP would pull it out of the fire in 2004 but against the strong, simple message of the coalition, aand with that handshake, they had no chance.

    It might just happen, this time.

  20. “A bad boss is better than no boss”

    Was what Abbott said when Work Choices was first brought in.

    It summarises his and the Howards government whole lazy attitude to Australia, no inclination to try and make things better, accept what you have.

    It can be seen in their approach to health, a bad public health system is better than no public health system, training, education, technology and the environment.

  21. #23

    What’s even more interesting is that Howard is not in front in any count at all, not in any state or any age group. Also Rudd’s satisfaction rating is much higher in every demographic than Howard’s.

    But I do agree Mr Squiggle, a mere 26 seat ALP majority is a little disappointing at this stage. πŸ™‚

  22. Link to Morgan reactor here:


    Clearly shows that Coalition ads are just reinforcing their own supporters, and turning away Labor supporters, while Labor ads are gaining some traction with Coalition supporters. As to Bushfire Bill, I think people are sick of the pork-barrelling; promises are forgotten about very quickly.

  23. The other thing I reckon is that people are over the idea of tax cuts. The last decent cut was in 2000 ahead of the GST. Those people with calculators in the burbs know that 15-20 per week, which becomes five dollars less after tax, awon’t make a difference to their lives. They are also p*ssed off that any dealing with Centrelink for Family Tax Benefit often results in a staggering bill in the ubiquitious two windowed envelope because they undersetimated their annual income a year ago. Don’t the lived experience doesn’t match the much vaunted largesse of the Government. People might not be able to articulate the concepts of taxation churn but they sure know how it hits them and they’re jaded by it.

    It’s on.

  24. Govt’s $328m mega pork-barrel is the big headline on news.com.au,

    Beneath that it’s ‘Gaffe: Abbott admits Work Choices protections ‘gone’

    Beneath that it’s: Newspoll: ALP lead as race heads into home straight

    And Koshi on Sunrise is going on about the ‘political bombshell’ re: the grants.

    Got them on the ropes! Now let’s punch em for a week:P

  25. Morgan shows Bartlett still in with a chance in QLD, but the 6th seat is really up for grabs with the prefernce deals.

    However the Nats have written of Boswells chances of getting re-elected and Family First can still get in with a very low vote on the back of Pauline Hanson and One Nation prefernces.

  26. Does it appear to anyone else that the link to The Australian in the first point goes to a story about Mike Kelly’s private school ‘gaffe’? It could just be me.

  27. @ 10 Midnorthcoast Says:

    Nomination for beat-up of the campaign.
    Front page of the Daily Telegraph, Combet represents Charlton but lives in Newcastle!!!
    It should be noted that the reporter interviewed Combet while he was drinking a flat white and not a latte.

    Shock Horror: Jess Diaz, brother of the lovely, pouting Miss Universe 1969, seeking to represent Chifley in the Liberal interest at the forthcoming election actually lives within the boundaries of the Electoral Division of Parramatta.

  28. The most significant figure in the Newspoll breakdown for me was 50-50 in WA. That’s a 7% swing. Can someone tell me *why* we’re talking about Swan, Cowan and Stirling rather than Canning and Kalgoorlie?

  29. Mr Squiggle@23 – that is not quite true. If you look at the agegroup breakdown now as opposed to the 2004 election you have (all ALP/Coalition):

    2004 – 18-34: 42/40, 35-49 – 40/42, 50+ – 37/52
    now – 18-34: 54/34, 35-49 – 45/43, 50+ – 44/46.

    While these numbers in the upper agegroups are down from their highs a few months ago, each one still represents a huge turnaround from the last election, and must represent a large number of voters changing sides in each case.

  30. How ironic the auditor-general is Ian McPhee. Howard & the dries drove another Ian McPhee, a liberal “wet”, out of the party years ago.

    The ghosts of Xmas past are surrounding Scrooge McDuck.

  31. The real tipping point is not Abott’s “gaffe” but the Auditor General’s report on the Grants Scandal. Or it should be. One third of a billion dollars tipped down the drain in order to shore up the Coalition’s vote in the run up to 2004. And the same again this time with ridiculous promises like a V8 race track for Townsville.

  32. Bushfire Bill at #20

    Are the battlers out there in Greedlands really going to be tuned in to the parties’ spending commitments as announced at their election launches? I tend to think, that like most minutiae political, they would not have (or care) a clue who has said what.

  33. CaptainJackSparrow @ 30 – could you believe Reilly and McCabe not calling this week for Labor after today’s headlines?

    – 400m in pork
    – Abbott admits flaws with SerfChoices; AND
    – $10bn buys you a 1% statistical bounce..

    and McCabe thought this week was a win for the LNP???

    Go figure. Although it’s obvious who Sunrise would like to see winning…

  34. All the candidates are useless.

    They should be forced by the party heirarchies to publicly hand in their resignations to any public sector bodies they work for, followed by a public trip to whichever embassy they need to go to to denounce their foreign citizenships.

    Taking their word for it seems to be not good enough.

  35. Abbott = GOLD.

    That footage is damning. Couldn’t believe it when I saw it last night. And he continued to put his foot in it this morning by saying that people who lose their jobs can just get another one.

    He’s making Garrett look like a seasoned diplomat.

    That, combined with the rorts expose, is going to sink them badly.

    Labor to win around 30 seats I reckon.

  36. Regarding the Senate figures, am I missing something or are the nationals looking down the barrel of several losses? Even assuming the polling system works against them, their vote is very low.

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