Late mail

There are no fewer than seven seats which are still too close to call a week after polling day, with less than 0.3 per cent separating the two parties. The AEC’s official Close Seats list further includes Flynn and La Trobe, but these are all but certain to respectively go with Labor and Liberal. Corangamite briefly popped on to the list a few days ago, but it’s gone now. Two other seats that could be of at least theoretical interest come the preference count are O’Connor and Calare. In O’Connor, Nationals candidate Philip Gardiner (18.37 per cent) has a vague hope of getting ahead of Labor (20.42 per cent) on preferences from, among others, the Greens (6.68 per cent), and then overcoming Liberal member Wilson Tuckey (45.25 per cent) on Labor preferences. Similarly, in Calare the independent candidate Gavin Priestley (23.73 per cent) might be able to overcome Labor (24.84 per cent) with preferences from the Greens (2.60 per cent) and the Citizens Electoral Council (0.94 per cent, which was boosted by a donkey vote that will flow on to Labor) and then, just maybe, within spitting distance of John Cobb of the Nationals (47.89 per cent). For some reason only ordinary votes have been counted to this point in O’Connor.

Bowman. Labor’s Jason Young narrowly led Liberal incumbent Andrew Laming from election night until Tuesday when Laming got his nose in front on pre-polls, but this has proved to be the only close electorate where postals have favoured Labor. Young recovered the tiniest of leads and has inched slowly ahead to his current lead of 116 votes.

Herbert. Liberal incumbent Peter Lindsay leads by just 60 votes, and I have unconfirmed reports that only provisional votes remain to be counted. Last time provisionals favoured Lindsay 279-257: if there’s the same number this time and they swing the same way as the rest, Colbran will close the gap by 45 votes and lose by 15.

McEwen. Another seat where Labor was ahead on election night, but postals put Liberal incumbent Fran Bailey a very handy 502 votes up on Monday. That looked like it might be enough, but a remarkably good partial count of absent votes pulled it into 111 yesterday. Further counting of pre-polls then pushed her lead out to 150.

Solomon. Labor’s Damian Hale was a full 1.0 per cent ahead on election night, but late factors such as overseas Defence Force votes have steadily whittled it down to 262 votes, or 0.3 per cent. That leaves some hope for CLP incumbent Dave Tollner, though Hale should probably get up.

Swan. Labor incumbent Kim Wilkie had a 134-vote lead on election night, but has since had to watch as each new batch of votes has delivered a few dozen votes to Liberal candidate Steve Irons, who currently leads by 239 and is looking increasingly likely to emerge as the only Liberal candidate to topple a sitting Labor MP.

Dickson. Labor’s Fiona McNamara had reason to feel confident about her 425-vote lead on election night, but a strong performance on postals by Liberal member Peter Dutton pushed him 268 votes ahead on Wednesday. The seat has since provided Labor with some rare late count good news, absents and pre-polls reeling in the lead in to just 106.

Robertson. This one hadn’t been on my watch list, with Labor candidate Belinda Neal holding a formidable 1094 vote lead on election night. However, Liberal member Jim Lloyd has kept whittling away Neal’s lead, once again being boosted by postals which have gone 58-42 in his favour. Neal’s lead is now just 273 – too close to comfort, but probably just enough.

To illustrate the recurring theme of Liberal comebacks, here is a table comparing party support by type of vote cast for 2004 and 2007, bearing in mind that the 2007 figures are still incomplete. While there was a slightly better performance by the Coalition in declaration votes across the board, it does seem they have managed to produce their best results on postals where it has mattered most.

2007 2004 2007 2004 2007 2004 2007 2004
44.0 38.3 5.8 39.3 34.0 5.4 41.1 34.9 6.2 40.2 34.4 5.9
41.7 46.5 -4.8 40.8 44.2 -3.4 45.3 48.3 -3.0 49.2 52.9 -3.7
7.6 7.0 0.6 12.1 10.9 1.2 6.7 7.9 -1.2 5.0 4.9 0.1

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.

683 comments on “Late mail”

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  1. Costello was no reformer, and regarding Swan you are right yet i have heard very little regarding what he aims to do, mind you he did make Costello bring forth tax cuts which were centred more towards the middle and lower classes in the campaign.
    And Swan has written a book, Costello will let Howard write it for him.

  2. Growler….I should write a similar missive to Pastor Dan. What’s tragic is these frauds have thousands of followers in Australia (who dig deep to financially support the nonsense they’re fed)…and Howard was giving them succour. Thank God the good Lord decided to wear a Kevin07 teeshirt on 24 Nov.

  3. The arch neocon cheerleader Mark Steyn has a piece in the GG today, that laments Howard’s end.

    Titled “A loss for Civilisation”, it makes Albrechtsen et al look like undergraduates from some third rate uni, and is nothing if not audaciously pompous in its miscomprehensions and ignorance of Australian politics and history.

    Worth the read, and it deserves a good slap down:,25197,22857673-5013480,00.html

  4. Get over it Glen. He’s the Treasurer with as much experience as your man Costello had in 1996. You seem to have an obsession with experience and a hatred of Swan matched only by your infatuation with Julie Bishop. Swan will do exactly what your hero Costello did and accept the advice of the Treasury Dept.

  5. Yeah but at least Costello had some talent, Swan has never been talented, he’ll probably last a couple of years in he job.

    Enjaybee even Julie Bishop has talent and not only that ministerial experience to boot something Rooster could only dream of.

    Pity Tanner will give him to boot.

  6. Glen,

    No one in Parliament today has as much experience being Prime Minister as Kevin Rudd.

    I think you will also find that Swan has a Phd in Economics.

  7. I can tell you that policy went down very well in the suburbs where I was campaigning, Glen.

    I heard Mark Steyn speak when he was here last year and I usually enjoy reading his stuff. He sticks it to the jihadis and the Pilger-Fisk-Chomsky school of appeasement very effectively. That piece is way below his usual standard. Obviously he knows nothing much about Australian politics, and when you write without proper research that’s the sort of tripe you write. Good enough for a crap provincial imitation-Times like The Australian, he probably thought. And it probably was good enough for Chris Mitchell, who can’t tell good writing from garbage anymore.

  8. Hey Glen, do you have a picture of Julie Bishop in your bedroom that you w..k to every night, and does she call you a naughty boy too?

  9. Enjaybee you should see when i rant in German, that is about the limit to my rants lol 😉

    Of course not he’s been PM for 1 day but does he have as much leadership experience? No as Costello and Mark Vaile both had leadership positions in Parliament Deputy Liberal Leader 13 years and Mark Vaile Deputy PM they have far more experience than KR who’s been a leader for what a little over 1 year lol give me a break.

  10. Glen, “experience” is not much use when you’re as dumb as Mark Vaile, or as shifty and gutless as Costello. The Australian people gave their verdict on the “experienced” Howard regime on 24/11. Get used to it.

  11. No but somewhere in my QT tapes i think ive got when she said that and no i do not do that to her saying that. But if i did it wouldn’t be as bad as if you were do to the same thing with a picture of Julia Gillard BF.

    Adam – ah but you see that’s the thing, Labor had ‘slogans’ just things that sounded good but nothing concrete, nothing with any substance and BTW you didn’t win because of your policies IMHO. Adam even you should know that more often than not Governments lose elections, Oppositions don’t win them.

  12. Well i taped question time this year when i could. I made sure i had something of the good ol years to watch when i get sick of Rudd answering his own questions. Well i think i have it i dunno i haven’t gone through them all recently.

  13. Ms Bishop, an immaculately presented blonde, taunted Mr Rudd for “stealing” his Education Revolution policy in a scene reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday Mr President to John F. Kennedy.

    “Naughty boy,” Ms Bishop taunted across the dispatch box in a sulky, hip swinging, head tossing rebuke which all but suggested the Opposition Leader was in for a damned good spanking. “You stole that idea, didn’t you?”

    Neural alarm registered on Mr Rudd’s face as he struggled to counter perhaps the only avenue of Government attack he hadn’t prepared a contingency plan for.

    “You’ll have to go to the naughty corner, won’t you?” continued Parliament’s own version of Lauren Bacall, shooting Rudd another sultry stare as he looked desperately back at Opposition benches for assistance.

    Bishop, clearly enjoying her role as disciplinarian, opened a booklet and began reading the history of Labor’s Education Revolution.

    It was, she informed the House, first mooted by discredited former Labor leader Mark Latham several years ago.

    “So the new policy adviser on education is Mark Latham?” she asked with an eyebrow arch, before gliding back to her seat followed by the glassy eyes of most of the men on the Opposition benches.,23739,21305523-953,00.html

    For your enjoyment Basil.

  14. Labor won this election – make no mistake about it. Rudd was on the receiving end of a nasty series of lies and slurs and he stood tall, maintained his dignity and beat the bastards. He is already a Labor hero in my book. Your comments this evening Glen make me think you’ve finally decided to drown your sorrows – you’d be too young to drink though wouldn’t you? I hope your mummy doesn’t notice the sherry decanter missing.

  15. Progressive @ 530
    The ABC doesn’t “think” anything about Swan. The prediction is an automatic formula that has been running since the Sunday after polling day. It is a probability based formula that gets rounded to a whole number of seats. As results in each seat have bobbed between 49.8 and 50.2, the rounding results in the prediction varying between 84 and 85. The process is running entirely on autopilot, though I have tightened the variance parameters today.

  16. Glen,

    What a life you lead!

    I can see it now, you and the grand kids around the old wireless talking about how the Liberals were the dominant party in Australian politics 50 years ago.

    Unfortunately, they will have no idea what a Liberal is and will become most uncomfortable when you offer them boiled lollies.

  17. For all the talk by howard apologists regarding economic management, it is well known that Treasury and Costello were opposed to the pork-barrelling that howard indulged in to get re-elected. He was totally poll driven, to the detriment of good economic management. What I sense from the statements to date by Rudd and Swan is a determination to return to prudence and planning. As has been pointed out elsewhere, in the current globalised economy national governments are largely powerless to control international events, such as the US sub-prime crisis.

  18. #
    Glen Says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    Well i taped question time this year when i could. I made sure i had something of the good ol years to watch when i get sick of Rudd answering his own questions. Well i think i have it i dunno i haven’t gone through them all recently.

    Glen : you are using ” Howard – speak “

  19. 574
    Greeensborough Growler – Id think by the time i had grandkids we’d have better technologies than a wireless. Oh and they’ll all be tory voters mark my words about that GG, unless they want to be a beatnik. Im sure ill have better things than boiled lollies to give them aswell.

    Adam, must you persist with calling Costello yellow, how is it yellow not to challenge when you dont have the numbers?

    Steve K – i don’t care for sherry.

  20. #
    Antony Green Says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    Progressive @ 530
    The ABC doesn’t “think” anything about Swan. The prediction is an automatic formula that has been running since the Sunday after polling day. It is a probability based formula that gets rounded to a whole number of seats. As results in each seat have bobbed between 49.8 and 50.2, the rounding results in the prediction varying between 84 and 85. The process is running entirely on autopilot, though I have tightened the variance parameters today.

    Anthony , does the program use the todate 2PP % per voter type as a calulation on the respective UNCOUNTED votes per voter type net of informals per voter
    type ??

  21. Glen, from my pre-election commentary:

    Costello has no-one to blame for this gloomy scenario but himself. As Deputy Liberal Party leader and heir apparent, it was incumbent on him to tell Howard last year that it was now in the interests of the Liberal Party that he, Howard, retire. He failed to do so, leaving the task to lesser lights, who didn’t have the clout to get Howard to go gracefully. Next, when it became apparent that Howard would not budge, Costello did not have the nerve to challenge him in the party room, or to resign, or indeed do anything except continue to project his image of smug self- satisfaction to an increasingly unimpressed electorate. This was not just a failure of nerve, it was a failure of leadership.

    It’s true that Costello did not have the numbers to roll Howard. But leadership is not about accepting the short-sighted inertia of the potplants of the party room. It’s about being willing to lead, and to run some risks in doing so. Paul Keating didn’t have the numbers to roll Bob Hawke, either. He created the numbers by resigning and threatening to destabilise the government until the Caucus accepted the necessity for a leadership transition from a leader who was probably going to lose the 1993 election to a leader who, as it turned out, knew how to win. That was the standard of leadership set for Costello, and it was a standard he failed to meet.

  22. Actually Adam, he did but Howard didn’t want to go.

    What good would a challenge have done, pushed us further behind in the polls and not done anything for Costello’s numbers.

    How does not having the numbers, mean someone has no nerve and a failure of leadership?

    Well didn’t Keatings spat help to almost cost the ALP the 1993 election?

  23. Read what I wrote, dummy. Keating didn’t have the numbers, but he CREATED the numbers by resigning and forcing Caucus to act. Keating saved the 1993 election for Labor by rolling Hawke.

  24. Yeah but read what i wrote, Keating’s spat with Hawke allowed Hewson to become an appealing alternative and had it not been for that interview Keating wouldn’t have won anyway. Hewson was our Rudd only he didn’t win.

    Adam, i think its safe to say Keating had more numbers than Deputy Dawg when they wanted the Leadership.

  25. Adam the fact is history WILL record Costello desired to be PM but did not have the ticker to challenge.

    Worse still , when the Liberal Party leadership was offered on a plate , he did a
    ‘dummy spit’

    Cotello himself destroyed his own reputation (Keating did forcast Costello’s ticker)

  26. Glen,

    In Australian politics, nothing comes easy. If you think now is the time to change, as Costello allegedly believed last year, then go for it. As a nation, we are very unsentimental about political figures that are perceived to have passed their use by date.

    Costello’s prevarication, lack of fortitude and insistence that the leadership be presented to him on a plate shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the real political culture of Australia. Ultimately it is what did him, Howard and the Liberal Party in.

    Suffer in your jocks.

  27. 586
    Greeensborough Growler Says:

    agree with you re Costello

    Keating said 10 years ago : Costello was like the school bully..all puff & no ticker

  28. Adam,
    What makes you think Costello could have created the numbers the way Keating did?
    Keating started from a base of 40% of Caucus (44 out of 110) and Hawke was unable to choose a credible-looking replacement Treasurer. Costello would have had 25% of the Party and, if he’d done a Keating, Howard would probably have put in Turnbull as Treasurer, who would have looked the part a lot more than John Kerin did.
    Costello made the right call not to challenge in my view.

  29. [Showson – the CLP sit with the Libs in the HoR and with the Nats in the Senate. They are a separate organisation to both so it is indicative of the Nats lack of depth that they have chosen someone from outside their own party to be their deputy leader (and leader in the Senate) under Truss.]

    Can a Country Liberal Party Senator CHOOSE to attend Liberal Party room meetings? Or do they have some sort of a coalition agreement to meet with the National Party?

  30. Keating went down fighting for a cause

    Howard went down selfishly fighting for himself

    Costello would not even enter the ring to fight for himself

    History will therefore be kinder to Keating than the other 2

  31. GG – You’re dreaming mate, it came easy for Rudd didn’t it???

    Your logic in attacking Costello over not challenging and not standing as Opposition Leader is weak.

    First, by saying he should of destabilised the party and gone to the backbench is like cutting off the nose to spite the face, its lose lose, Costello would of lost numbers and firmed the numbers supporting Howard because Cossie would of damaged the party’s standing.

    Second why on earth would you want to be in Opposition after being 13 years as deputy leader and 11 years as Treasurer, he’s already been in Opposition before why not let the next generation have a go.

  32. The idea that Costello should have stayed on as Opposition Leader doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
    Firstly, he wouldn’t be electable as PM.
    Secondly, his presence would ensure the internal Liberal politics continued to be defined by pro vs anti Howard, just as it has been since Fraser’s tears dried on 5 March 1983. This is something the Libs definitely need to move on from, Costello being there would have made it much harder.

  33. look at facts

    McMahon , Whitlam , Snedden , Fraser , Hawke & Keating rolled their Leader
    yet started with a minority of votes

    Costello has already been labelled by the media as lacking ticker to challenge

    You may blog to your hearts content but Costello’s legacy is he had no ticker
    and history will record this fact

  34. Ron Brown, Gorton never was rolled by McMahon, remember he lost the ballot with his own vote, he could of stayed on if he wanted to. Holt never rolled his leader BTW.

  35. Glen,
    1, Rudd elbowed his way to the top of the ALP pile and “snatched” it! Pure and simple.
    2. Lose/Lose. Opposed to the glorious victory of 24/11 and the 1000 year Liberal Reich. You are smoking and inhaling if you think things have bottomed for the Libs yet.
    3. I don’t think Costello planned on being Opposition Leader. He wanted to be PM. His love of the next generation of Liberal Leaders is legendary. It is the only thing people ever say about Costello.

  36. Ron,
    I suspect Costello’s main legacy (rightly or wrongly) will be that he was Treasurer for 11+ years during Australia’s longest-ever unbroken economic boom.
    That’s fact, and that’s one reason why his decision not to contest the leadership will probably be treated ok by history.

  37. Costello in 2006 had a Liberal defence minister as a witness to Howard making a ‘Kirribilli’ deal who then showed the written evidence !

    The door was opened by McLachlan for Costello to challenge Howard

    Costello destroyed his reputation by letting Howard intimidate him

    Fraser , McMahon , Hawke & Keating never would have backed down
    which is why ALL 4 WERE PM’s

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