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 Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett sees the controversy as “a reminder of the need to reform outdated provisions in our constitution”.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. [Why do people keep referring to what Kroger has been saying? The guy is full of hot air, even worse than Howard. Guys like that who try to argue black when everyone can see it’s white just end up looking like idiots.]

    For Laughs, ShowsOn..

  2. Those of you who enjoy ranting about The Australian but are not Crikey subscribers might enjoy this:

    Wentworthgate just the latest chapter in the trashing of The Oz

    Guy Rundle writes:

    Did Rupert Murdoch just sack Chris Mitchell? Though the man who once took a bust of Lenin to college at Oxford was under the pressure of a rare moment of public account, it is pretty rare for him not to back up a working editor or at least stonewall creatively.

    He would have good cause of course. Over the past couple of years, Mitchell’s leadership has wrecked the reputation of The Australian, and for little benefit. Whatever gains the news section has made in matters like the AWB scandal have been undercut by its fast-and-loose attitude to the responsibility of its op-ed writers, and – resulting from that – its demeaning and near-psychotic wars with Media Watch and Robert Manne.

    There’s so many lowlights and hilarious moments in The Oz’s conduct of the culture wars, it’s hard to know which to pick as a favourite:

    Janet Albrechtsen reversing a quote from a French academic about youth rape to make it sound like it was about rape by Muslim youths – the exact opposite of the author’s findings.

    Keith Windschuttle’s denunciation of Antonio Negri, the Italian academic invited by Sydney Uni to a conference. Windschuttle got most of his entirely inaccurate take on Negri from an American journal – the only detail he missed was that Negri had cancelled his visit. Nevertheless, op-ed editor Tom Switzer ran the story for days.

    Christopher Pearson’s denunciation of the radical left publishing agenda of ABC Books, as judged by the books on its website. Only trouble was none of them were published by ABC Books – they were simply books mentioned on ABC shows and stocked in ABC shops.

    The relentless denunciation of cultural studies, deconstruction etc from the editorial pulpit, despite the fact that one of its (sometime) leader writers – Imre Salusinszky – had been a prime mover in converting Australian university English Departments into cultural studies departments.

    Walkley Dwarf-rage

    Shanahan et al’s Comical Ali impersonation

    And now Bondigate. You can’t pull this sort of crap for ever without damaging the brand. Even the rusted on readers are getting exasperated, as can be judged from the 400+ comments on one of Overington’s blog stories “Interest rate rise will be good news for Howard”.

    Whether Mitchell will be dumped remains to be seen. He can’t be shuffled sideways like Paul Kelly, who owns some books and can write long pieces (that often feel very long). He may be kicked upstairs to goose up the US part of the empire. He may be warehoused — as former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie was for a decade — in failed multimedia projects. Switzer will have to go back to the valleys and lederhosen of his cheese-making youth.

    It’s all a bit of a shame. Switzer’s op-ed pages were interesting at the start – though always a fixed fight – and as far as the paper goes, parts of it are excellent, madam. Undoubtably some of the Slurry Hills gang’s energy gave the paper a transfusion it needed. But its leadership are obsessives, tipping – to judge from the Overington email oeuvre – into the hypomanic, with its characteristic delusion of invulnerability.

    Whatever the cause, the Oz as it now is in a Rudd era would be utterly out of place, like an ex- at the wedding. The culture wars are over, simply because most Australians never cared much about them, once Keating was gone.

    It took about 30 Luke Slattery — a good writer fallen among nutjobs — articles on deconstruction in high schools to get a single rise from one state premier (Queensland) on the issue, and then everything carried on as before. The Oz’s culture wars were a puppet show on the beach, washed away by the climate change of Workchoices, Iraq, pathological lying, climate change and even David Hicks. Should – should – Labor get up, the paper will have to reinvent itself, lest it sound like the magazine of the LaRouchites. Whoever’s best placed to do that, it ain’t the current mob.

  3. I get the feeling that Peter Hendy, Freehills, the HR Nicholls Society and the Business Council of Australia will be removed from the Howard Family’s Christmas card list this year.

    In one term the Libs go from a landslide victory and Senate win to self confessed likely annihilation.

    The main reason – WorkChoices – so good for you that we changed its name.

  4. Yes, Paul K you are right. Loved the musical BTW.
    Some people, such as GP are best ignored, especially when it’s clear that they only come here to get a reaction.

  5. The thunder box-led revival. Love it.

    This could well enter the language.

    Along with expressions like “To Shanahan” (meaning to distort the facts); “To go the Abbott” (meaning to rubbish the efforts of some well-meaning individual); We could get “The Howard”, as in “I’ve gotta take a Howard, mate” (meaning I need a dump).

  6. Has anyone read any of the details of the regional program audit report yet? Never mind the nepotism, get a load of the inefficiency. Here are a few gems pulled out of the summary report, chapters 5.4 and 5.5:

    – DOTARS did not implement the site visit process established in September 2003
    – 37% of audited projects never provided any report on the outcome
    – “at no stage have effectiveness targets for the Regional Partnerships Programme been set or reported by DOTARS”
    – where progress was reported, only 21% of projects had achieved their objectives

    In other words, they gave out some of the money without any conditions, didn’t check what it was used for in any cases, and in the minority of cases where they got a report on whether it did any good, only 21% met their objectives. $400 million pretty much wasted, with no measurable output at all.

  7. Hi all – long time lurker, first time blogger. I often wonder when I hear statements like GP at 328 whether they are serious, or just stirring the pot. Unfortunately, I have met people who hold similar views, and it never ceases to astound me. How do people like you become so uncaring and self-centred? Do you really think that everyone has 100% control over everything that happens to them? We are all the products of our influences and other people’s actions. Statements like yours just highlight how out of touch the extreme right is with the idea of a fair go for all.

  8. Here’s my question:

    Come 24.11.07 who is going to lose their credibility: the 4 major polling outfits in Australia or the News Ltd Howard cheer squad?

    Only one team can survive!!!!

  9. Rates Analyst, I rang to offer Mike help a few weeks back and have been snaffled for booth duty and scrutineering. I thought if we were both at the party it would be good to compare Bludger notes… particularly as I’ll know no one there.

    Also I am a Booth Virgin, so if you have any killer tips I’d be grateful. Cheers

  10. Crispy – I will be at the 11 o’clock scrutineering school on Sunday – might see you there. I’m on a booth at North Sydney Girls.

    Or just yell “Nanyucket” at the top of your voice at the party afterwards and I’ll come say hello!

    (Though it’s my first campaign too… I’ve been involved for a while so I know a few of the guys though)

  11. Crispy – I will be at the 11 o’clock scrutineering school on Sunday – might see you there. I’m on a booth at North Sydney Girls.

    Or just yell “Nantucket” at the top of your voice at the party afterwards and I’ll come say hello!

    (Though it’s my first campaign too… I’ve been involved for a while so I know a few of the guys though)

  12. Completely off thread I know, but what “rabbit” could the Coalition pull out to save it’s neck now?

    I’m thinking that a big anti-terrorism operation may be on the cards. There must be a few nutters that ASIO and Inspector Mick have keeping their eye on. Maybe a few pre-dawn raids, say next Tuesday. They can keep them in custody right through the advertising blackout and the election…

  13. I like downers analogy of the cricket team. “It’s like saying change the whole australian cricket team when they are winning. you wouldn’t do that” he pleads.

    No Dolly it’s like occupying the crease for the entire innings (11 years) and making 3 runs!

  14. I’m laughing so hard about Howard’s immortal thrones dotted around the country I can hardly type!

    This is truly bizarre! Can we also get a plaque in each one, with John’s face on it, preferably on the urinal wall?

    OMG, a descent into the sewers of politics. ‘Tis wonderous to behold the rat disappearing into a drainpipe.

  15. Why would JWH want to have anything to do with crappers when he’s so far in the poo? It’s as if he has no sense of Australian humour, we’ve seen it here already – ‘crapper led recovery’ etc, and more polite versions will be headlining later today and tomorrow in the MSM (what would Clark and Dawe do with this, the mind boggles). What pack of turdonauts are steering this stinking Tory hulk?

  16. Watch the Doctor’s Union oppose this 🙂

    [The federal Labor Party has unveiled details of proposed health checks for children before they start school.

    Kevin Rudd says a Labor Government would introduce a $45 Medicare rebate for four-year-olds.

    Mr Rudd says about 255,000 children across the country would be eligible for the health check.

    “The whole point of it is to identify whether there are basic problems with hearing, speech or anything like that before they begin their formal education,” he said.

    “It’s really important to be able to act on that early, to intervene early to produce the best results.”]


  17. Ahh yes, but the Austarlian cricket team have had the balls to force underperforming captains from the team….

    And there’s the difference Mr Downer.

  18. Observer Says:

    Albert Ross@57

    Albert, do you have a link/reference for ‘The Mad Monk’ claiming the tape is doctored. I was there, and he said it, amongst other things. Plenty of other people there as well, maybe about 100 or more.

    Lead on http://www.abc.net.au as you will have seen by now.

    If you can you should do a quick Stat Dec and send it to Kev07 or the ABC, If you need the format for a stat dec let me know and I will put it up as a Google shared document or something like that

  19. Rates Analyst and Crispy

    There is a free party at Surry Hills Bat and Ball Hotel hosted by LavarteusProdeo website , 2SER and New Matilda website. Lavar P is a centre/left leaning website. It sounds a big party..I am thinking about going to this one..are you interested? It sounds like a big party.

    Anybody else interested?

  20. 571 centaur_007, the theory is that Ian Botham was initially promoted to the English test team with the sole task of running out Boycott (the crease-hoggers crease-hogger). Looks like there is any amount of dolts lining up to run JWH out (mad monk, dolly, vale vaile, the list is endless).

  21. The prefrances from many will help a lot this time. No split ticket Greens, independents like S.Mayne most lower house candidates except pornography first. (oh and the raving looney monster party CEC, but they don’t get many votes)

  22. All who have volunteered would have received the email already Mr Bird…..

    It’s at a cafe near the Electorate Office on Pacific Highway – very convenient!!

  23. 554 Adam

    I reckon Grant Holloway should get the boot, as he has been running roughshod on the censorship thing on the blogs and if he is gone, at least the objectors are assured of getting their message across.

    I was blocked at the Oz for a month until I used my connections to get it sorted out!

    Shamaham just hates me now…. a badge of honour I reckon.

  24. Sure, be all negative, gloom-mongering and cautious LTEP, its your call (and Landeryou).

    But let it be known you dont get to join to roll up to the joy brigade woohoo squad thread Saturday next – when you’re proven wrong – without at least a big “woah! guess you guys and all the polls were right after all, how about that”.

    Dont roll up here as if none of yer endless grim caution had happened.

    The reality is Howard has slightly less chance than Buckley’s.

    People tend to forget William Buckley made it in the end.

    Howard’s only one in five to survive.

  25. [Sure, be all negative, gloom-mongering and cautious LTEP, its your call (and Landeryou).

    But let it be known you dont get to join to roll up to the joy brigade woohoo squad thread Saturday next – when you’re proven wrong – without at least a big “woah! guess you guys and all the polls were right after all, how about that”. ]

    I thought a pre-requisite for wanting Labor to win is that you have to be an eternal pessimist.

    LTEP isn’t exactly alone in expressing his negativity. 11.5 years of Howard does that to a lot of people.

  26. And here is Shrek, right on cue 🙂

    [Liberal Party advertising throughout the election campaign has featured Mr MacDonald and Mr Kevin Reynolds and their behaviour on building sites.

    Mr Hockey says the resignations will not change the basis of the ad campaign.

    “You can expect that not long after the election, Saturday week, Kevin Reynolds, Shelly Archer and Joe McDonald will all be back in the Labor Party,” he said.]


  27. I know, ShowsOn. But the imperviousness to repeated contrary evidence goes beyond “Ive been burnt before” (which I understand) – to a bizarre kind of Ostrich pose, which I dont get at all.

  28. Yes, Howard’s longevity can play havoc with your mental health. I always fall back on my statistics when I get negative – I read and believe the polls.

    Cardioliogists have a lot to answer for!!! 😉

  29. SO #592,

    I am and was an ALP-supporting pessimist. However, you can take pessimism only so far. I am now (cautionsly) optimistic. Howard may just fall across the line, but the ALP will make large gains at the very least. It would take a miracle for Labor to not get the TPP majority.

    My earlier predictions were for a tight Coalition win, on 77-odd seats (look up Possum’s site).

    However, I’m not prepared to back it anymore. I can’t predict an outcome, largely because I am emotionally finding it hard to believe that Howard doesn’t have any more rabbits in his hat. My mind says that an ALP victory is near-certain, but my emotions remember 1998, 2001 and 2004, where an initially promising ALP campaign failed to deliver.

  30. Socrates
    [‘In other words, they gave out some of the money without any conditions, didn’t check what it was used for in any cases, and in the minority of cases where they got a report on whether it did any good, only 21% met their objectives. $400 million pretty much wasted, with no measurable output at all.’]

    This pretty much sums up Howard’s time in government.
    Corruption, incompetence and absolute lack of accountability.

    Good riddance.

  31. Centaur_007: I will be at the Laird that night. All my big fat hairy, not so butch, mates will be getting drunk. I think only my partner will be the one crying because of a loss, everyone else will be celebrating.

  32. Rates Analyst, Crispy,

    Same electorate – different booth. I’m at the Uniting Church on the corner of Shirley and Nicholson from 12 noon on the 24th. And word is Mike is not the worst bet going around.


  33. Crispy and Rates Analyst:

    Do you think Mike will go close in Nth Sydney? Joe HOckey is really a disgrace – they are all misguided re the IR stuff. I used to work at the ABC – I have met Mike – he is really nice..lovely guy actually, apparently he has a mensa level IQ..

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