What is to be done

What I don’t know about the Liberal Party could fill a warehouse, but most of the prescriptions outlined by Michael Kroger on Sky News on Tuesday accord with my prejudices:

The organisational wings around the country need to be reformed immediately, particularly in relation to the branch structure and preselections. There’s a lot of things that can be done, very quickly. The party is in a terrible electoral position, but it can very quickly put itself into a fantastic position. This is not a five or ten year repair job. You could actually fix all the organisational and structural problems in the Liberal Party within 12 months if you had the will to do it, and make whoever the incoming leader is in a fantastic position to fight the next federal election in three years’ time. But what tends to happens is people retreat to their corners, they want to protect their own power bases and nothing happens. It requires some strong decision-making from the senior people to fix this thing, they can fix it in 12 months … The branch structure is 60 years old and even though the branch members still do a fantastic job, it’s the structure, not the branch members, it’s the structure which is drowning us. We’ve got probably 500 people in the Victorian Liberal Party whose job is as honorary auditor … There need to be branch amalgamations, we need to base the party around state or federal electorates, you need to broaden the base of people voting in preselections, you need to have perhaps a senior committee of senior party people who have the final say over preselections to rubber stamp the selections, you’ve got to stop the petty branch stacking, we should amalgamate with the National Party, we should give the federal party some more power a little like the ALP does, we should make it a federalist party and not just individual states, we need to totally revamp the fundraising within the organisation and we need to give the federal executive some power … you just can’t have situations where five or 10 or 20 people can stack a few branches and take over a safe Liberal Party seat and preselect a C-grade candidate and be happy with that. I pay credit to the Labor Party for some of the candidates they preselected, I don’t like their politics, but the fact is in various places they strong-armed some tired old members out, put some new people in who may or may not succeed but on the face of it some of them have got very good credentials for parliament. That’s the way you have to operate in politics. To leave these things to the branch-stackers is a recipe for disaster.

Malcolm Turnbull – wealthy, assertive, independently powerful – struck me as being just the man for the job outlined by Kroger. Perhaps the party room knows better. Or perhaps, to use Kroger’s formulation, they have signalled an intention to retreat to their corners and protect their own power bases, and nothing will happen.

Recommended reading: Alister Drysdale of the Business Spectator reports that both parties’ internal polling showed a late Coalition recovery that was stopped dead in its tracks by the Lindsay pamphlet disgrace. It’s also argued that the fake Jeff Kennett letter regarding proposed funding cuts to the states had the same impact during the last week of the 1996 campaign. I personally do not imagine that either incident was single-handedly decisive, but this is not the first report to emerge of a sharp shift in party tracking polling following Jackie Kelly’s infamous “Chaser-style prank” interview of last Wednesday. There’s also a very intriguing article on the Liberal Party’s late-term leadership ructions from Pamela Williams in today’s Financial Review (subscriber only unfortunately).

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.

1,042 comments on “What is to be done”

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  1. No, William, the party doesn’t know better than you do. The Liberal party is filled with a bunch of #(*$(#*$(*#$() [won’t put in the words that will send this comment into moderation, therefore the reader can substitute words of their own choice].

    Exhibit A – ” Mr Minchin and those who switched could not abide Mr Turnbull’s declaration early this week that John Howard should have said sorry to indigenous Australia.”

    Exhibit B – “Another factor that played against Mr Turnbull, according to some sources, was the fact that although he was considered clever, articulate and confident, he was identified as a rich Sydneysider — “a bit too glitzy and slick, nd a small ‘l’ liberal”. Dr Nelson, on the other hand, was a “small ‘c’ conservative”, whose roots were humble and far from Sydney.”

    Exhibit C – “Questions about his character arose when he later told interviewers and a Liberal pre-selection panel that he, in fact, voted Liberal during the years he belonged to the Labor Party. Now, at his crowning moment of redemption, the waters around him are poisoned once again. So much for party renewal.”

    Exhibit D – “Mr Turnbull had presented himself in media interviews as new, energetic and open-minded, prepared to say “sorry” to indigenous Australians and to offer a socially inclusive face to the electorate.

    According to a number of Liberal MPs who spoke to The Age yesterday, Mr Turnbull’s very public willingness to spruik his strengths was his greatest weakness when it came to the vote.

    “He was seen to believe vociferously in things like the republic and he made this unilateral comment about saying sorry — things that a lot of us had opposed over the years,” one Liberal said. “And he made these sort of policy statements through the media. We felt that if this was the way he would operate, we weren’t ready for him.” Others said that some backbenchers, wearied of toeing the Howard line for years, felt they could not abide another powerful and prescriptive personality.”

    Exhibit E – The willingness of those who did vote for Nelson to hang onto a proven failed policy, Work Choices.

    {all quotes from the following article – http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/backroom-deal-takes-nelson-to-the-top/2007/11/29/1196037074766.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 }

    “Your Honor, after submitting 5 exhibits to prove prosecution’s point that the defendents are a complete and utter waste of space, I rest my case”

  2. [ the defendents are a complete and utter waste of space ]

    It seems some people have very short memories. It wasn’t that long ago, after Latham was defeated, that people were saying the same about Labor. Despite the wishful thinking of many the Libs aren’t going to go disappear quietly into the night. They’ll eventually reform but it may possibly take one more election loss to force them to swallow some harsh medicine. It’s not a case of if they’ll reform but rather when and how. Regardless of anything the Libs do, Labor will probably have at least two terms in government. That’s more than enough time to reform and reshape the party.

  3. Problem with Latham et. al (Beazely, Crean) was a leadership issue. Those in the party never felt 100% comfortable with any of them. Thus they couldn’t be effectively sold to the electorate. Had they had an effective leader at any of the 4 elections Howard won, he wouldn’t have been in power for so long..

  4. McArthur still in the race for Corangamite

    Jeff Whalley
    Geelong Advertiser


    Stewart McArthur could still hold the seat of Corangamite as votes continue to be counted.
    STEWART McArthur could still hold the seat of Corangamite after a remarkable 11th hour turnaround in the vote count.
    Postal, absentee and pre-poll votes continue to be counted and yesterday swung heavily in favour of the MP of 23 years.

    Mr McArthur was 2600 votes behind Labor’s Corangamite candidate Darren Cheeseman on election night but, as of last night, the Liberal stalwart was only trailing by 764 votes with 10,500 still to count.

    The seat is on a knife edge with Mr Cheeseman at 50.47 per cent and Mr McArthur at 49.53 per cent.

    The phenomenal comeback has turned the victory cakewalk of Mr Cheeseman into a tension-racked final countdown with a result expected by tonight.

    Last Saturday night, Mr Cheeseman claimed victory as the first Labor MP to take the seat since 1931 _ a move that now appears hasty with the Australian Electoral Commission saying the seat is too close to call.

    Mr McArthur conceded defeat on Sunday saying politics was a tough business.

    “It is quite a harrowing experience to lose the honour of representing the people of Corangamite,” he said.

    But, while Mr McArthur could now have the last laugh, he was not talking up his chances yesterday.

    “They tell me that it’s close but I’ve packed my stuff. I’ve said I have conceded,” Mr McArthur said.

    The veteran Liberal took time from cleaning out his former deputy whip office in Canberra to talk to the Geelong Advertiser yesterday.

    “It’s a bit of fun for people and the trend is going our way it would be a big story if it turned around but it hasn’t happened yet.”

    “As of now the party is electing a new leader without me.”

    Mr Cheeseman, who was also in Canberra yesterday, went to ground, not returning the Advertiser’s calls.

    Labor Geelong state MP Ian Trezise, who won his first campaign after a drawn-out two-week count by 16 votes, last night said he empathised with both candidates.

    “It’s not even a day-to-day rollercoaster, it’s a minute-by-minute rollercoaster. You’re up one minute and down the next,” Mr Trezise said.

    He said it was difficult as the situation was so fluid, with no exact figure of how many votes were to be counted.

    “If my memory is correct (when I ran) they found a box of postal votes from the Swiss Alps with a couple of hundred ALP votes,” he said.

    Mr McArthur is one of the great survivors of Geelong politics pushing tariff reductions during the 1980s despite objections from the local auto industry and advocating dairy deregulation despite opposition from his Colac heartland.

  5. I think it was in Peter Fitzsimmons’s biography of Kim Beazley that Keating stated that he believed that, had it not been for the “forged letters” affair and the controversy over Rupert Murdoch’s “SuperLeague” or whatever it was that dominated the news during the final weeks of the 1996 campaign, he could have won that election

    As much as I admire and respect Keating, I think his capacity for deluding himself is quite evident through this statement. The size and magnitude of Howard’s victory in 1996 was such that I think that a Liberal victory was a foregone conclusion

    This election was much closer and it’s possible that the party lost traction because of the whole Lindsay saga and I believe it will be much easier for Liberal strategists to put forward this case. I actually am inclined to believe that the whole affair cost Howard some support among ethnic communities in his seat of Bennelong which he may have needed in order to prevail. And it certainly cost Karen Chijoff any chance of winning her seat. But I think Lindsay was probably leaning Labor in any event in the absence of Kelly’s personal vote

    Having said that, I thnk the Liberals would probably have narrowly lost the election anyway. I think the surge to Labor in Queensland, the party’s gain of seats in South Australia and in regional New South Wales and the recovery of seats in Tasmania would probably have happened regardless of the whole Lindsay saga. There is a case to argue that Howard’s agenda would have gained more attention during the final days of the campaign had it not been for the Lindsay affair because it wouldn’t have overshadowed his National Press Club Address but I still think that Labor would have had the edge regardless

  6. Kroger is right of course and yes if the liberal party is to restore relevancy then they will need to adopt many of the recommendations suggested by Kroger. The Liberal Party is a 50’s come 70’s structure. The fact that it is a state based party outside government is one issue BUT if it is to succeed in the future it will have to learn the lessons Labor learnt and that is it needs constant generational change.

    If your not a Minister and you have been in for three terms then you really need to justify your position and relevance to any party organisation. (Some will argue this test needs to apply on an ongoing basis).

    Labor has rightly embraced a policy of continual renewal.

    Had John handed over the leadership and introduced new blood the slaughter would not have had to be so drastic. People want stable yet dynamic governments. Change in members is the only way to bring about renewal and fresh ideas.

    Problem is that those who remain on the opposition benches lack vitality and enthusiasm. It will take one more term just to weed out the existing dead wood in the house and then the fresh faces will soon become entrenched and they will want to protect their patch also.

    The AEC results data is showing little movement.

    I have switched to Andrew Landeryou’s Election Map as it now pans through the tally board showing seats that have changed hands and those within 1% margin. Whilst the ABC map has some good detail its navigation is not the best.

    A party that has faith and lends support to its senior leadership can manage and ensure generational change so that if and when they lose power they have the experience and freshness to revive quickly.

    All parties to need to review the term-of-office issue and support should be given to fixed four year terms. Then parties can manage and plan their campaign strategies better.

  7. What I find interesting in viewing the results is the wide variance in the swings as high as 9% and in NP seats the swing was the highest. With such a variance in the percentage of the swings you have to think more then twice about the National average and the practice of comparing the movement from one election to the next. It just does not apply. Western Australia clearly dd not follow the national trend.

  8. I think Kroger’s prescription is bizarre. It is based on the Liberals’ problem being an organisational one and it is clearly not, it is a political one. There is just no need for the Liberals political program, as most clearly shown by the fact that they were toying with Turnbull. Is Kroger saying that people did not vote for them because they didn’t like the party structure?

    They can fiddle with the structure all they like what they can’t solve is the fact that the platform on which the party was founded (anti-union, anti-socialist, ant-left) is redundant.

  9. I wonder if Labor will be in a position to act and implement governmental reform now that it holds power in every state and Federal jurisdictions.

    Will it adopt meaningful change (Education to the states and health to the Feds. for example. Somehow I think not (Sadly) as too many self interest get in the way of reform that is obviously in the best long term interests. But like pollys Unions and business organisations have built their empires around this patch and they more often then not do not want to see change. Then there is the big sightly irreverent to day to day living but never the less important (The republic and a new flag for example). Will Rudd take on some of these inspirational and necessary changes… Or will the flounder in the sea of no change.

  10. Interesting point from the ABC website
    Rebuilding Liberals’ shattered remnants

    The (Liberal) party is designed for government, not opposition. The primacy of the parliamentary party has always meant that policy is made by the frontbench. When in government, the issues of implementation have always been left to the public service. Without the perks of office and the support of the bureaucracy, the Liberals are very thinly resourced.

    The party has none of the extra-parliamentary machinery that the ALP has, such as national conference and executive and also the ACTU, which provide not only policy support but also organisational continuity, especially in opposition.


  11. William, an excellent lead in.

    “You could actually fix all the organisational and structural problems in the Liberal Party within 12 months if you had the will to do it”
    That is the crux: “if the will to do it”. It seems clear that most don’t.

    At present the Liberal Party is a contradiction. It calls itself Liberal, but people like me who regard their principles as “small-l liberal” wouldn’t dream of voting for it. They really are a Conservative Party in practice. On some religious issues they are almost reactionary. But Liberalism is NOT always conservative as a doctrine. Nor has it been in practice. In the 1960s the Liberals embraced the referendum for granting the vote to Aboriginals. Would Menzies or Holt even get pre-selectd in the Liberal Party today?

    That leaves them with two options:

    – change their name to Conservative Party and stick with that demographic/ voting block (they will find it is not enough to get them elected to government and gertting smaller with time as cohort age)
    – recover their Liberal principles and aim to recapture the middle ground. This will need more than a few words from Brendan Nelson. It will require policy change, taking disciplinary action against people who pander to extreme right wingers, and pre-selecting a lot of new candidates.

    If they are serious, trogalodytes like Bill Heffernan should go. One of the worst aspects of Howard’s government was that people like him could smear someone like Justice Kirby, with false information as it turned out, and not even get disciplined by Howard (let alone charged with any offense). Then there was children overboard (nobody charged), Seiv X (no inquiry), Hicks (evidence now that Ruddock interferred), and perhaps worst of all Haneef (a clearly innocent man ruined by Andrews; still no Visa). As long as that sort of behaviour continues, and is not even aologised for (let alone acted against) then any claims of recovering liberal values into the Liberal Party are unbelievable.

  12. Get the feeling they are running with Nelson now, expecting to have to ‘sacrifice’ him sometime within the next year or two. Leaving the way open then for their preferred leader, Turnbull, to contest 2011.

    Doing that will represent a cleanish break from the Howardistas and the divisive policies of the Howard era, putting forward the fresh new face necessary to take on a new Labor government.

    They would probably like to put Turnbull forward right now as the new face and the break from the past, but are anticipating leadership stumbles as the shattered party finds its feet, so Nelson goes in right away as the fall guy.

  13. Piping Shrike I agree; you said what I meant with far fewer words. It is not just organisational. The attitudes that poison the liberal party are carried within the minds of the people in it. Some of them need to lose their job before it will reform.

  14. [ 10
    The Piping Shrike Says:
    November 30th, 2007 at 7:41 am
    I think Kroger’s prescription is bizarre. It is based on the Liberals’ problem being an organisational one and it is clearly not, it is a political one. ]

    I believe Kroger would argue, if he was completely honest, that if they can fix their organisational problems the party will get back in touch with the electorate and then be able to fix the politics accordingly. However as long as they remain out of touch with the electorate partly due to their organizational problems, the political problems will remain.

  15. The Piping Shrike Says:
    November 30th, 2007 at 7:41 am

    I think Kroger’s prescription is bizarre. It is based on the Liberals’ problem being an organisational one and it is clearly not, it is a political one. There is just no need for the Liberals political program, as most clearly shown by the fact that they were toying with Turnbull. Is Kroger saying that people did not vote for them because they didn’t like the party structure?

    They can fiddle with the structure all they like what they can’t solve is the fact that the platform on which the party was founded (anti-union, anti-socialist, ant-left) is redundant.

    Your right about the politics, it’s redundant, more than redundant, the crap Nelson is carrying on with makes the Liberals unelectable, however Kroger prescription is not bizarre. The role of an opposition is to provide an alternate government, the organization needs to be structured to put forward people that can form a government. The current structure is a wank.

  16. …you just can’t have situations where five or 10 or 20 people can stack a few branches and take over a safe Liberal Party seat and preselect a C-grade candidate and be happy with that…

    Is this an allusion to Alex Hawke?

    In fairness, as unpalatable as the likes of Hawke must be to many parts of the electorate, it’s doubtful that such matters made much difference to the overall election result.

  17. Paul K I tend to see it the other way round. When a party fulfils a need for a segment in society, they organise its structure accordingly (unions, factions for the ALP and the disparate state-based organisation of the Liberals appropriate for business and small business constituency). The problem m for the Liberals is that they don’t fulfil a need, not even for business, as seen by Workchoices which business had little interest in.

    As a result they have no basis on which to reorganise themselves – other than to act like some big focus group (and Rudd seems to be sending his lot out to schools etc. to do that).

    charles, I couldn’t even work out what Nelson was about. Did you hear him answer O’Brien’s question on why he switched from Labor to Liberal? It seemed to be about his mortgage payments.

    HR, I think there is a lot of internal agenda in what Kroger is saying.

  18. While you are here Shrike check the end of the second paragraph of your blog today. I think you meant to put supported instead of supposed.

  19. First time (and last time) poster, long time lurker.

    I am a rank and file Liberal that follows this site sometimes for the excellent polling information (many thanks William), but I find the comment threads very heavy-going to wade through, and unnecessarily turgid.

    Here’s my take.

    1. Turnbull’s “symbolic” agenda does not win Liberal votes, and is completely unrepresentative of the Liberal Party, let alone swinging voters in modern Australia. It is an agenda that has passionate advocates, but (a) they don’t decide elections, and (b) why push them in a Liberal partyroom vote when they are demonstrably unpopular with that electorate? Even if the justification was “to grab the Party by the scruff of the neck” and challenge its attitudes, is a partyroom ballot the right time to do it, when you’re trying to get them to vote for you?

    2. Is a “symbolic” agenda coming from an investment banker in Point Piper really going to turn around blue-collar, largely “patriotic” voters in Queensland and western Sydney? The party room, in my view, rightly said no. After all, that’s the task of the Coalition in order to rebuild its position.

    3. The media narrative of “splits” and “knives” on Nelson’s majority in the vote is wrong – the Liberal Party is only just STARTING to adjust to the end of the Howard era and the end of old certainties, factional certainties among them. This partyroom vote looks like it cut across old factional certainties and was based on individuals as opposed to past loyalties. The party room looks like it is finding its way and is very fluid. There is nothing like a Howard-Peacock ossified divide in either the party room or the parliamentary organisation these days. Asserting that there is one there is relying on an ancient dichotomy by lazy journalists.

    This is all less about Nelson’s positives than why Turnbull was the wrong choice, and that may mean that down the track if Nelson does slip it will be harder to defend his leadership if it comes under internal attack, but it is a summary of how things seem now.

    And with that I depart! Again, thanks William for the site.

  20. Annabel Crabbe has another brilliant peice in the SMH today, referrign to Nelson’s election as “the resurrection of Dr Strangelove”. I particularly liked one of her lines on how things stand for Neson given Abbott and Turnbull’s reaction: “Just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean everyone isn’t out to get you”.

  21. Kroger is babbling, it can all be summed down to this.

    They are an unpleasant party. A mean spirited party. Most people do not like that. Simple as that.

    If you restructure a bunch of bloodhounds, it’s still a bunch of bloodhounds.

    Malcolm was the best of a bad lot, but well he got rolled.

    They needed to reinvent themselves, but instead its much the same muchness.

    In any case, at the end of the day all of them were willing participants to the darkness that was the Howard years, so all of them are good for nothing.

    Hope they walk in the wilderness for a long time, they have earned it throughly.

  22. I agree about some posts being unnecessarily turgid.

    So, I have just for words for Howard and the party he reshaped in his own image into a bunch of ideological thugs

    Broad church my arse.

  23. Malcolm needs to show his parliamentary colleagues that he can be a team player – looks to me like he’s been sending all the wrong signals. The time for making policy on the run is AFTER he’s been elected leader, not before. It will be interesting to see how Nelson handles things, I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, although I reckon the party shenanigans will make his life incredibly difficult.

  24. A fish rots from the head, as we’ve just had so perfectly demonstrated over the last decade, and it looks like they are back to do it all again. One wit in the letters of today’s SMH:

    Can the man who wanted to bring “intelligent design” into the classroom really bring intelligent leadership to the Liberal Party? It’s a big ask.

  25. someone here said the other day that the next liberal party PM was probably up on the gold coast at schoolies’ week. i think that’s probably correct. ain’t even in the parliament yet.
    they have a long way to go, and it sure as f$%k isn’t kroger’s way of structural change. look at what they’ve given themselves yesterday: a believer in intelligent design.
    nelson and bishop certainly make an unattractive couple. noooooo charisma! and nelson already saying, no apology to indigenous australians and strong suggestion of blocking (while they can) abolition of serfchoices. they’re t^ts on a bull.

  26. Have the mystery 3000 Scullin votes actually materialised in McEwan?

    The gain to Mitchell (ALP) in last night’s figures seems to have come entirely from the absentees which are running 61% in Labor’s favor.

    The original story was that the 3000 were cast within the “working-class urban end of the electorate”, which suggests that they weren’t absentee votes at all, just mishandled. (Possibly cast at a shared booth?)

  27. Rob @33 – On my reading, the ALP gain in MCEwan has come from ordinary votes. The gain on absentees is only a gain of 400 votes.

  28. Something that has been overlooked is Brendan Nelson as Minister for Defence ordered the Super Hornets against the advice of many defence staff. I expect a lot of issues about these aircraft will be raised over the next three years; cost, uselessness, lack of support etc. Add the shortage of equipment and its poor quality for the soldiers sent to Iraq and Nelson is not going to be happy. Remember the issues raised by the Howard government over the submarines Kim Beasley signed for.

  29. Neil@35, you’re on the money i think. It’s an obvious point of attack. We could almost rename Greg Combet ‘Parliamentary Secretary for the Opposition Leader’.

  30. Now everyone here this:

    Australia is not a different country to what it was 36 months ago.

    The Coalition lost because they had been in government for 11 years, were seen as old and stale compared to the opposition, had lost the trust of the people on interest rates, and imposed an unpopular policy agenda on the people.

    They didn’t lose because the country woke up from a slumber, or they grew, or they shifted their world view, or because they wanted something fundamentally different from government. Keating tried to change the country and failed; Howard didn’t try.

    The Coalition will still appeal to a broad number of voters because of what they represent.

    A lot of what passes for “analysis” here is actually barracking. Try to articulate reasons for the eventual demise of the Coalition that are based in reality, rather than listing what you would like to see happen.

  31. Howard C, the Coalition lost because of Workchoices. If they hadn’t tried to implement that nasty farce of a policy they would have won. Unfortunately for the Liberals Workchoices also went some way to waking a lot of people up to what a nasty, divisive, cynical pack of sh*ts the Liberals actually are.

  32. Howard C, you act on the same presumptions in a way. You could just as easily say that Keating lost because they’d been in government for 14 years, were seen as old and stale compared to the opposition, had lost the trust of people on interest rates etc. rather than because Keating tried to change the country.

    On the contrary I think Howard did try and change the country, this can be seen by his ‘culture wars’, for instance trying to prescribe which version of Australian history will be the recognised one. Furthermore, he initiated a ‘citizenship test’ which was meant to prescribe ‘Australian values’. To me, I feel Howard most definately tried to change the country.

    You say that the Coalition appeal to a broad number of voters because of what they represent… what do they represent? Why are they not in government anywhere around the country? Could you not say Labor appeal to a broad number of voters because of what they represent?

    How much knowledge do you think the average Australian has of what each political party ‘represents’?

  33. To the Libs claiming that they need to hold the conservative line (though I think it is a stretch to call some of what they are holding ‘conservative’), from opposition the ALP was able to set the agenda against the denial and negativity on social policy, the environment and IR that the Liberals in government could not sell.

    As the ALPs messages become the mainstream narrative, not realising and adapting will put the Liberals further towards the margins.

    Also, anyone else notice Nelson on the 730 report unable to differentiate between ‘liberalism’ and the Liberal Party? Who is he trying to win over with that gaff? Or is he just trying to convince himself that he isn’t a complete turncoat?

  34. And how far advanced do you think Turnbull’s dvd montage, starting with ‘I HAVE NEVER VOTED FOR THE LIBERAL PARTY IN MY LIFE!’ is?

  35. Nico @34 – I didn’t take a snapshot of the McEwan totals before last night’s update, so I only have William Bowe’s McEwan figures (not yet updated) on the McEwan page to go by.

    Nonetheless, Bowe lists a 2PP @ 41,241/42,103 (83,344 total) without absentees; the AEC now has the 2PP @ 42,509/42,905 (85,414 total) with absentees. 85,414 – 83,344 = 2070, which also happens to be the exact number of absentees added last night.

  36. The MSM is finding the adjustment from Howard Cheerleaders to Rudd objective and fearless analysts is not easy. Check the Yank or Aussie spelling issue which this Yahoo7 headline and intro paragraph reveals:

    Defence MP questions
    jet fighter purchase
    New Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon will raise questions about the $7 billion purchase of F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters.

    Could it be that this dysfunction is caused by 11 years of buying whatever military junk the Yanks want to dump upon us as well as slavishing following in American foreign policies from Iraq to Kyoto?

  37. Has anyone else noticed that in electing Nelson and Bishop to head the Liberal party, we have seen a continuation of the “me tooism” of the campaign, except in reverse.

  38. PS @ #10

    Sir, I found your remarks to be astute as to the evolution of the Liberal party. It has not evolved at all let alone allow itself to become ‘progressive’. Ihe party is heading for irrelevance in foreseeable future. The Libs need to know we live in a society not a economy.
    The same way communism went so will ‘TREX’ Australian Liberalism go too!

  39. Will, well Boswell has already said he won’t serve the full 6 years so I don’t understand why they wouldn’t give Joyce the leadership. Boswell really is a waste of space.

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