Random notes

• I’ve variously heard it said that this election was Labor’s biggest ever win, and their biggest ever swing. I presume this is because nobody can be bothered looking past 1949, a benchmark year due to the expansion of parliament, the election of the Menzies government and the fact that the AEC’s historical two-party preferred figures don’t go back any further than this. However, John Curtin’s wartime victory of 1943 had it all over Rudd’s performance. Curtin won 66 per cent of the seats from a primary vote of 49.94 per cent, up 9.78 per cent from 1940. Rudd has won probably 58 per cent of the seats from a two-party swing currently at 6.5 per cent. I personally am not willing to call this a “slide”, be it of the land- or Rudd- variety, given the score on the primary vote is 43.95 per cent to 42.68 per cent (UPDATE: Coalition vote now 41.54 per cent). I was actually expecting the Labor vote to be slightly higher, hence my exaggerated expectations for the Greens in the Senate.

• It is a remarkable fact that there are two seats which the Liberals might gain from Labor, given that there were only four seats in the land which swung to them. The potential gains are the Perth seats of Cowan and Swan, the former of which has definitely been won while the latter is once again going down to the wire. The 2.2 per cent swing in Cowan can be readily explained by the popularity of retiring sitting member Graham Edwards, but rapid suburban expansion in the seat would also have been a factor. The swing in Swan, while only 0.2 per cent at this point of the count, is coming off a disastrous campaign from an accident-prone candidate in 2004. Other seats in Perth swung slightly to Labor. The 3.1 per cent swing that won them Hasluck was at the upper end of the range.

• Interestingly weak swings to Labor in McMillan and Gippsland, which were also areas of weakeness for Labor at last November’s state election.

• A little further to the west, swings were in the exact 5 per cent to 6 per cent range Labor was shooting at. Deakin has been won for only the second time in its history, while McEwen and La Trobe are still in doubt.

• Not hard to spot the odd seat out in South Australia: with swings elsewhere of between 4.3 per cent and 11.0 per cent, Nicole Cornes could manage only 2.0 per cent in Boothby. Makin and Wakefield swung heavily enough that they’re outside the Labor marginal zone, but not so Kingston, which produced the state’s second smallest swing at 4.3 per cent.

• The Liberal vote proved curiously resilient in the Australian Capital Territory: they were down only 3.7 per cent in the Senate, enough that Gary Humphries retains his seat, with swings of below 2 per cent in the two lower house seats.

• This election produced even less support for the “doctors’ wives” thesis than 2004. There was very little movement in inner Sydney and Melbourne, either in safe Labor or safe Liberal seats. The most notable beneficiary was Joe Hockey in North Sydney, where a harmless 4.3 per cent swing was nonetheless a relatively poor result by inner urban standards. Sophomore surges for Julie Owens in Parramatta (7.7 per cent) and Chris Bowen in Prospect (7.3 per cent).

• Outer Sydney swung as heavily this time as it famously did in 1996: Chifley (8.3 per cent), Greenway (8.4 per cent), Lindsay (9.8 per cent), Macarthur (11.0 per cent), Mitchell (9.6 per cent) and Werriwa (7.9 per cent).

• A diverse range of Queensland seats produced double digit swings: Dawson and Leichhardt in the north, Longman in northern Brisbane and the neighbouring Brisbane hinterland seats of Groom, Blair and Forde. Groom was the only survivor. Retiring sitting members were a factor in Forde and especially Leichhardt. Ryan failed to live up to the hype, with a 6.8 per cent swing that was very modest by Brisbane standards. I’d be interested to know why Longman swung so heavily.

• Labor’s two party share of the remote mobile votes from Lingiari was up from 78.7 per cent to 88.4 per cent.

• While enough to bag two seats, swings in Tasmania were relatively mild. Franklin was one of the four seats to swing to the Liberals, a testament to Harry Quick’s personal vote.

• A noteworthy outcome in Melbourne, where Greens candidate Adam Bandt will likely overcome the Liberal candidate to take second place, a first for the party at a general election. Lindsay Tanner made it academic by winning more than 50 per cent of the primary vote, but the seat will be marginal after preferences.

• Links for the “photo finishes” series of posts have been added to the sidebar. The most notable development of the past few days has been very strong performances for the Liberals on postal votes in the neighbouring seats of La Trobe and McEwen.

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.

802 comments on “Random notes”

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  1. True but either way we should be open to idea of a woman as PM, but Gillard i don’t think would wash well with the electorate and who knows about Julie Bishop.

  2. Rudd on 7.30 Report said he would take ‘advice’ whether to persue AWB bribe scandal

    Bet Dolly Downer is sweating now…Dolly may end up in remand
    ..maybe with gays is OK

  3. 752
    Glen Says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 12:55 am

    True but either way we should be open to idea of a woman as PM, but Gillard i don’t think

    Well seeing the Liberals are going to be out of power for min 2 terms ,
    you need to back your statement with a suggested LABOR MP

  4. Oh, my God. The kids are on the loose, again.

    This is mine to Possum, today. Just a reminder. Glen and Co. World as it is.

    Unsurprised to find tears streaming down.

    As I read. As I listen.

    Possum Comitatus, The Pollbludger, the bloggers, the MSM commentators and opinionists of regard, the talkback callers and letter writers, expressing their exit poll emotions.

    Of recognition, acknowledgement, sadness, betrayal, anger, bitterness, shared and long held surfacing pain.

    Of relief, joy, humble pride, hope, a tempered optimism.

    Thank you. There must be a God, as Tony Abbott and others may yet conclude.

    Advance Australia.


  5. red wombat Says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 1:01 am

    Julie Bishop is just another airhead like her mum Bronwyn Bishop

    Now I have to defend Glen’s ‘Julie fantasy
    …she is not as bad as ‘points of order Mr Speaker’ Bromwyn Bishop surely

  6. One thing is for sure B. Bishop will be making lots of points of orders in the next Parliament, she’ll probably be thrown out for making so many lol.

  7. Did anyone read that Turnbull is one of many defendants in the NSW Supreme Court case re the collapse of HIH…he was an adviser TO Rodney Adler of FAI !!

    talk about poor judgement with Adler who was sent to jail

    not a good look for a new opposition leader

  8. #
    Glen Says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 1:08 am

    One thing is for sure B. Bishop will be making lots of points of orders in the next Parliament, she’ll probably be thrown out for making so many lol.

    She is not even as talented as Jenny Macklin

  9. Yeah, there’s a pong about postals.

    First, the Libs sent out official looking packages about postals (could have passed for Oz governemnt)

    Then, when a voter indicated they wanted one, the Libs were able to coordinate sending a packet of Lib info at the time the postal vote arrived from the AEC.

    Im not saying this is overly dodgy – Im more thinking the ALP should get as organised next time.

  10. 764
    Lefty E Says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 1:12 am

    Yeah, there’s a pong about postals.

    This warrants investigation surely
    you expect this type of voting corruption in the USA

  11. What about Turnbull’s conflict of interest in giving ten million dollars to one of the chief financiers of his Wentworth campaign for the “rainmaker”? do you think this baggage might hold him up if he gets the leadership?

  12. 764
    Lefty E Says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 1:12 am

    Yeah, there’s a pong about postals.

    First, the Libs sent out official looking packages about postals (could have passed for Oz governemnt)

    If you send details of your info to at least TWO Labor MP’s it might get checked out
    Clearly this is an abuse by ANY incumbent government labor or liberal

  13. No 765

    It hardly got any coverage gaz, and will have no effect on Turnbull’s prospects, just like the Heiner affair did not damage Rudd’s ability to win office.

  14. If I was Turnbull, I would run dead in this ballot. Let Nelson take the heat for the next loss and then come in as the white knight rescuer of the party.

  15. http://www.theage.com.au/news/federal-election-2007-news/cashedup-wa-key-to-bishops-bid/2007/11/27/1196036892882.html
    Cashed-up WA key to Bishop’s bid

    Michelle Grattan

    “Ms Bishop said the Liberals had to consolidate their traditional base and build support among young people, women and disaffected Liberals.

    People would feel “quite liberated” to express their views about the direction in which the party should go, she said. While the public acknowledged what the last government had done on the economic side, the party needed to look at areas of social policy where it had lost support, including environment, health and welfare.”

  16. [757
    red wombat Says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 1:01 am
    Julie Bishop is just another airhead like her mum Bronwyn Bishop]

    Umm, they are not related – Bronwyn’s offspring is the equally vacuous Angela of Network Ten infamy.

  17. On the topic of Bronnie. Why does she bother, its not as if she still has delusions of leadership or anything is it? She is taking up space in Mackeller one of the safest seats in the country and not really making any sort of useful contribution to the Liberals. The womans a lawyer, so why doesnt she get out and make a quid?

  18. Lefty E Says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 1:20 am

    As told to me by an ALP senator’s staffer, Ron.

    So I guess at least one knows.

    Fair dinkum Left I would let another know BECAUSE as I blogged earlier

    there has been 248,745 2PP votes counted since Sat mid night
    with the LCP getting 55.89%

    and as there are a further 3.2 million votes to count

  19. my point was you expect the 248,745 votes counted to be
    reasonably spread ALL OVER the 150 seats ,
    so the 2PP 55.89% defies the previous 10 million votes counted over the same 150 seats ?

  20. Okay… Who is impressed with Rudd so far???

    This bloke just won an election and he is out there visiting schools and setting policy timelines.

    How the hell does this guy have this much drive?!?! He’s just had the political fight of his life for a campaign that ran for 12 months(forget the “6 week campaign” BS) and he’s out there the next day visiting schools and holding press conferences, and laying out what policies will be put through and in what order, as well as setting benchmarks.

    I have to say I’m a little jealous of how much drive this bloke has… it’s incredible.

  21. Righto, bones, arse.

    From Tony Wright’s associated article.

    ‘Mr Howard will be given an office, a staff member, a driver and a gold card allowing him and his wife free travel for life, plus an annual pension of about $330,000’.

    Bob Brown wants $30 a week for pensioners.

    Any quick math mind out there?

  22. No 780

    Actually, given that John Howard suffered such a disappointing defeat on Saturday, I was surprised that he could still get out of bed the next morning to go for a walk.

  23. 783
    Crikey Whitey Says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 1:38 am

    Righto, bones, arse.

    From Tony Wright’s associated article.

    Crikey ,
    the ALP believes in ‘equity’ both in opportunity and for those on hard times
    the LCP believes in every man for himself
    (camoflaged as the rights of the individual” and ‘freedom of choice”

  24. 780 LaborVoter

    A thing of beauty.

    Should you read back, LaborVoter, you will find satisfaction on the topic of Kevin the Keen 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14….

    Good lad, that Kev!

  25. Glen 784

    ‘Tream Team’?

    Actually, there are some interesting anagrams for Turnbull/Bishop;

    Hubris Bunt Poll, Blot Blur Punish, Troll Bub Push In, Stubborn Uphill,
    Rubbish Null Top, Blob Hurls Input…

    F**k me, I haven’t stopped laughing or three days!!!!

  26. [The Libs are going to change alot, we’ve won the battle of ideas with Labor but we’re out on our asses because Unca Howie by all accounts outstayed his welcome. It’s going to be tough because not alot separates the major parties now, Unfair dismissals and the War in Iraq is about it as far as i can see and a few things in health and education by they are minor.]

    I certainly don’t think you have won the battle of ideas Glen – at the very least that is a contestable proposition. And your defeat had a bit more than Howard just outstaying his welcome.

    I think it’s interesting to revisit the observations of Koutsoukis a couple of months ago on where the Liberals find themselves:

    “Just weeks away from a federal election they seem destined to lose, these are dark days indeed for the Liberal Party.

    “Out of government in every state and territory, losing power in Canberra will leave the Liberals very nearly bankrupt. And not just financially.

    “After 11 years of being run by a policy contortionist, it’s difficult to see why the Liberals want to be in government.

    “They don’t stand for paying less tax, not for less regulation, not for smaller government, not for protecting civil liberties, not for investing in universities, not for the arts or sciences, not for a fair go in the workplace, not for states rights, not for an open economy, not for less welfare, not for caring for the planet and not for respecting international law.

    “About the only thing it does stand for is John Howard. A man who in nearly 13 years never had the courtesy to invite his own deputy over for a meal — an act of selfishness almost unparalleled in Australian politics.”

    The Liberals’ only major reform of the last three years, Workchoices, was totally rejected. More to the point, Workchoices was held up as an article of faith by the party – Howard said so himself, in exactly those words. What does that suggest about the Libs’ future ideological underpinnings?

    The overriding impression given off over the last three years (I’m being generous by restricting it to that) has been of a government which, having accomplished most of its ideological agenda, was intellectually bankrupt.

    I am reluctant to say at this stage that the population has seen the ugly face of neoliberalism which the Liberals espouse, and rejected it comprehensively. I think it’s too early to make a determination on whether this election was anti-Howard, or pro-Rudd (I suspect a bit of both, but mainly the former). But to borrow a phrase, you guys got whacked. This simply wasn’t an election which Labor should have been in with a chance of winning, but they did, comfortably.

    Certainly, Labor has shifted to the right, out of political necessity – experience tells us how ruthless Howard has been at playing the wedge on anything he could. I’m not too happy about it, but I accept it because it’s reality. Fact is, ideals don’t count for jack when you’re in opposition. But now that Howard has gone, I like to think that Rudd can concentrate on doing his thing, rather than worrying about the possibilities for wedge. It’s underplayed in the mass media, but this is (IMHO) one of Howard’s most damaging long-term legacies – that he has forced convergence between both major parties on so many policies. And as you say Glen, it has now also made it very difficult for you guys.

    Having said that, if one accepts the argument that JWH was the driving force behind the Liberals’ electoral success over the last decade, as I think is the case, it is also possible to make the case that his overwhelming rejection is a rejection of the ideas platform that he stood for. Howard’s policies have always been anti-worker – what Workchoices did was come to exemplify the totem of Liberal Party ideology in all its ‘glory’, and finally drive home to “Howard’s battlers” that the guy was not, in fact, on their side. If Labor can find a way to make that message resonate, that will be immensely damaging to perceptions of the Liberals as competent governors in the interests of all Australians. It will take a long time to wear off, too.

  27. From the Oz.

    Teaser for you.

    Howard went too far, say employers

    Brad Norington and Ewin Hannan | November 28, 2007

    FLAWS in the ousted Howard government’s workplace laws and its failure to woo public support for them attracted strong criticism from employers yesterday.

  28. What a surprise they somehow didn’t find the opportunity to do that before the election.

    I hope Rudd gives them the reception they deserve (wishful thinking I know).

  29. marky marky Says:
    November 27th, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    Where are these Libs meeting in a telephone booth?

    This is actually a silly comment. The Liberal party actually came out of it quite well, I truly thought it was the end of the party and quite angry about the damage done by the right wing nutters and liberals like me who didn’t get involved in politics and face them. The position is a little worse than the low point of the labor party but not much. You may have noticed the labor party came back with centralist policies and took government in every state and federally. If Turnbell gets the leadership, moderate liberals rejoin the party and good candidate material comes forward there is some hope of the liberals once again taking control of the party and government.

    At the moment the Federal Labor party has one big strength and weakness, Rudd. If anything happens to Rudd politically then I think Labor will be in trouble. As a deputy Gillard is to be admired (very capable and astute women), but I doubt she could run the show ( but I wouldn’t put money on it).

    On the other hand, if Rudd survives ( as I believe he will) he will probable be crowned the best liberal prime minister Australia has had ( I believe the crown is currently held by Keating, I know some would argue Hawk). Howard was a right wing reactionary prime minister who had very little respect for our institutions, if your into that sort of thing I am sure he is the best of the set, but as I know very little of Australian politics pre war I am not in a position to judge.

    The problem for the Liberal party is Rudd may end up being the longest serving prime minster. However I can’t see labor surviving in all states if the Liberal party put up viable alternatives. The NSW labor government is a mess ( unfortunately the Liberal party is a bigger mess) and the Victorian Labor government carries a lot of baggage ( Brumby however may hold it together), the Liberal party in Victoria is in a OK state.

    Nothing is certain in politics.

  30. Yeah, there’s a pong about postals.

    I think its about time the lack of anonymity was looked at. The RAA (SA auto club) provides two envelopes with its postal ballots. You place the ballot paper in the unmarkd one which then goes into the outer addressed one which has your name, membership number etc. Once these are checked the inner envelope is removed and tossed into a pile with the others before being opened so maintaining anonymity. OTOH, the AEC person opening postal ballots knows who you are and can check who you voted for. Not good enough, IMHO.

    Given Margaret Fulton’s recent revelation that she used to be in the Communist Party

    OMG! Better get mum to shred her stack of old Women’s Weeklys and MF cookbooks before ASIO start taking an interest! 😉

  31. #734 Robert Bollard

    […I’m not at all surprised that Maggie Beer is on the side of the angels.]

    If memory serves me correct, Robert, Maggie was actually one of many that was inspired by Don Dunstan.

    What a dill that Foley was/is. If he wanted a celeb candidate and she was willing to run, she’d ave won it in a canter.

  32. [True but either way we should be open to idea of a woman as PM, but Gillard i don’t think would wash well with the electorate and who knows about Julie Bishop.]

    Glen, during the campaign she washed pretty well with the voters. That is why the ALP used her so much. Get used to it. She’s not a liability. Nor is Swan for that matter.

  33. Running late, but the ACT issue caught my eye.

    The public-service axeing announcement lost some votes, among younger age-groups unfortunately.

    These younger people, and lower-level public servants are/were terrified and have been for months. They are also more likely to have been cushioned or protected from the real politicisation by their mid-level managers, and also more likely to be in that nervous mortgage-belter demographic.

    Also, as in any heirarchical organisation, there are more people at the bottom of the organisation, than at the top.

    Labor did make a mistake in that announcement, mostly because it alienated the younger age-group vote and mortgage-belt demographic. It was these young voters, and ANU student voters, (many of which would be looking for careers post-graduation in the PS) who were supposed to help elect Kerrie Tucker by turning to the Greens, and also running on the back of Rudd’s popularity with the “youth vote” nationally. Labor?? Don’t scare the children! LOL

    Middle-level older ones (and some SES) who went through the before and after the tsunami of 96, and especially those who remember working under previous Labor too, have been praying for a Labor victory for 4 freaking looooong elections, in order to get on with the job of developing sensible national policies, programs and service-planning, and know that its the old-guard SES that gets most culled.

    Some of the small and medium business sector alienated as well, because they are dependent on local clients. If you sack too many public servants, as Howard did in 96, it causes a “ripple effect” onto the local city micro-economy.

    Restaurants, entertainment, shopping centres, clothing stores, garden supplies – you-name-it etc… everybody sees a downturn in business, as they sure did in 96, and it *hurt*. Many businesses went to the wall and fell like dominoes within weeks. Took several years for the city’s business community to recover, and Rudd’s announcement might have sent a shock-wave through some of these sectors.

    I certainly remember how the real-estate market plummeted so suddenly and my house was suddenly worth 20% less than the insured replacement value!

    Labor also did not campaign much in the ACT at all, being ‘safe’ it was left alone as it usually is, but Liberals did more than they usually do, and they targeted both the “grey vote”, as well as the younger nervous mortgage-belters on housing affordability, in our own outer suburban housing developments. (Yes, Canberra does have them too!)


    LCP gains 54.09% of 2PP counted votes since Sat midnight till Today 5.30PM
    (of the 2PP 440,313 2PP counted votes)

    William , is there any reason for this trend ?

  35. Corangamite, which was given to labor on the AEC website, is now listed as doubtful. Macarthur seems to be making a late come back, only 800 odd votes behind on TCP (85.1% counted):

    CHEESEMAN, Darren; ALP; 40,305 votes; 50.48%
    McARTHUR, Stewart; Liberal; 39,538 votes; 49.52%

    anyone willing to comment on the likelihood of Macarthur making a late comeback?

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