Gippsland by-election post-mortem

This entry will shortly be expanded with a considered analysis of the result, the general thrust of which will be that the surprisingly large swing to the Nationals indeed sounds warning bells for the Rudd government, however keen Labor partisans might be to mark it down to local factors. Below is a localised breakdown of the two-party preferred result, grouped into the three municipalities covered by the electorate.

NAT ALP Swing to NAT
# % # % 2008 2007
Latrobe City 12,470 56.4 9,634 43.6 10.3 -2.7
Traralgon 7,025 61.3 4,442 38.7 11.0 -3.4
Morwell 2,073 45.9 2,444 54.1 8.4 -2.7
Churchill 836 44.0 1,063 56.0 8.5 -0.6
Rural 2,536 60.1 1,685 39.9 8.1 -1.7
Wellington Shire 12,554 67.7 5,987 32.3 5.3 -2.6
Sale 3,588 65.0 1,929 35.0 3.6 -3.8
Maffra 1,545 67.6 741 32.4 8.0 -3.7
Rural 7,411 69.1 3,317 30.9 5.4 -1.7
East Gippsland Shire 12,796 66.6 6,429 33.4 4.4 -0.8
Bairnsdale 4,230 66.0 2,175 34.0 2.3 0.6
Lakes Entrance 2,399 69.2 1,068 30.8 9.6 -1.3
Paynesville 1,125 67.6 539 32.4 5.8 -1
Orbost 1,042 69.1 467 30.9 2.3 -2.4
Rural 4,000 64.7 2,180 35.3 3.6 -1.4
TOTAL 71,630 63.2 41,920 36.8 6.6 -1.8

Episode one: Perspective. Labor has suffered a sobering 9.3 per cent slump on the primary vote and a two-party swing comparable to that of the September 1973 Parramatta by-election, which rebuffed the Whitlam government and brought Philip Ruddock to parliament. What’s more, Antony Green notes that Labor entered that campaign burdened by the Whitlam government’s proposed second airport at Galston. The Hawke government faced six by-elections in its truncated first term, picking up a 0.5 per cent swing in Richmond and suffering swings ranging from 1.2 per cent to 5.0 per cent in the other five. There are also state precedents such as Labor’s wins in Burwood and Benalla in the wake of the Kennett government’s defeat which suggest governments should be able to convert honeymoon opinion poll leads into votes at by-elections. As the above table demonstrates, most of the damage to Labor was done in the Latrobe Valley – hypotheses to follow shortly.

Episode two: Nationals versus Liberal. The by-election was the first time the Liberals contested the seat since 1987, so yardsticks for the Coalition parties’ relative performance are hard to come by. The best one available is the state upper house election in 2006, the only recent race involving the three parties competing separately without significant sitting member factors in play. In the equivalent booths, the Nationals and Liberals were evenly matched, with 25.4 per cent and 25.3 per cent respectively. The by-election by contrast has seen the Nationals almost double the Liberal vote, 40.4 per cent to 20.7 per cent. The combined Coalition vote is up a remarkable 12.2 per cent, giving merger opponents in the Victorian Nationals still more to work with. Labor scored 33.7 per cent for the 2006 state upper house, against 27.0 per cent at the by-election.

Episode three: West versus east. The corollary of Labor doing especially badly in the western part of the electorate is that they did less badly in the east, outside of localised outbreaks at Lakes Entrance (Chester’s home town) and Maffra. This is easy to explain: East Gippsland has a high concentration of older voters (21.0 per cent over 65 compared with a national 13.3 per cent), a sure predictor of low electoral volatility. By contrast, Latrobe’s age profile is almost perfectly consistent with the national average. It might nonetheless have been expected that discontent over the failure of the budget to increase the base level of the pension would have generated a backlash here, which may indeed have occurred to some degree.

Episode four: Climate change. In opposition, climate change worked for Labor as a symbol of Rudd’s modernity and Howard’s obsolescence. In government, it is becoming increasingly evident that Labor faces a stern political challenge in matching deeds to words against the backdrop of an eerily familiar oil shock. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Latrobe Valley, whose brown coal power stations provide Victoria with 85 per cent of its electricity. The 10 per cent swing here is a reminder that voters in low-income areas do not take kindly to bearing the sharp end of visionary government reform programs, as the Pauline Hanson phenomenon demonstrated last decade. Interestingly, the Liberals hit Labor hard on the issue in their television advertising, but the Nationals don’t seem to have mentioned it. It is likely the Liberals succeeded in driving Latrobe Valley voters away from Labor with this attack on Darren McCubbin, who had mused that local droughts might have been linked to coal-fired power, but that Darren Chester was as much the beneficiary as Rohan Fitzgerald.

Episode five: State factors. Talk of a sharp anti-Labor swing in the Latrobe Valley should sound a familiar note for election watchers. This is because the area proved the sting in the tail of Labor’s state election night triumph in November 2006, which was marred by the surprise loss of Morwell to the Nationals and Narracan (mostly in the neighbouring federal seat of McMillan, which significantly failed to swing at last November’s election) to the Liberals after respective swings of 7.0 per cent and 9.5 per cent. Local discontent over water issues was seen to be to blame: defeated Narracan MP Ian Maxfield complained that “the Liberal and National parties ran an incredibly effective scare campaign by claiming that we were sending sewage to Gippsland and taking fresh water into Melbourne”. Sure enough, the Liberals returned to the theme during the by-election campaign with television ads that prominently featured an image of John Brumby.

Episode six: Labor versus Labor. Another reason given for Labor’s poor state election performance in Morwell was dissent in the local party, leading many prominent members to quit in protest against an MP said by one to have surrounded himself with a “Left clique”. There was further talk of disunity ahead of the by-election, with 2007 Gippsland candidate Jane Rowe seen to have been elbowed aside in favour of Darren McCubbin. Given that neither appeared a match-winner in their own right, Labor would have done better to have stuck with Rowe who could at least have built upon her existing work in last year’s election campaign.

Episode seven: Night of the living Nationals. The big winners are unquestionably the state Nationals and especially their leader Peter Ryan, who holds the seat of Gippsland South and until recently employed Darren Chester as his chief-of-staff. So far on Ryan’s watch, the Nationals have held their own at the 2002 state election (while the Liberals lost 22 seats and 8.3 per cent of the primary vote), and defied predictions to retain party status in 2006 after winning two extra seats in the lower house (cancelling out losses caused by electoral reform in the upper house). Ryan was the only party leader at state or federal level who was anywhere to be seen in the parties’ television ads (UPDATE: Okay, not quite – there was one Kevin Rudd read-to-camera), where he presented a local face unencumbered by association with unpopular actions of current or recently deposed governments. The Liberals by contrast had Peter Costello campaigning in the electorate, which might not have been such a good idea.

Episode eight: Night of the dying Coalition merger. There was talk going into the by-election of the Nationals and Liberals running a joint candidate to push the Victorian parties down the same merger road being followed in Queensland. The result has surely vindicated the state party’s decision to follow its own course. There are now a number of reasons to suppose that what’s good for the Queensland goose might be less good for the Victorian gander. Firstly, the by-election result gives force to the idea that competing Nationals and Liberal candidates can maximise the total Coalition vote where there is compulsory preferential voting and thus little preference leakage – which is crucially the case at Victorian state level, but not in Queensland. Secondly, the near-parity of strength among the two Coalition parties in Queensland has rendered them unmarketable at state elections due to confusion as to who their candidate for premier is. As this doesn’t apply in Victoria, the Nationals can serve the broader Coalition cause by absorbing protest votes in rural and regional areas.

Episode nine: Local factors. Those of us watching at a safe distance were bemused by the focus on the parish pump issue of Traralgon’s post offices, but that town indeed swung savagely against Labor even by Latrobe Valley standards.

UPDATE: Reading back, I note that apart from one “oil shock” reference, I have spent little time here discussing the decisive issue of petrol prices – mostly because I can only offer statements of the obvious. It should also be noted that Peter McGauran might not have taken much of a personal vote into retirement, with complaints heard he was spending too much time in Melbourne. Meanwhile, Andrew Landeryou hears the Coalition ran an unsustainably expensive campaign, as suggested by the remarkable number of Nationals and Liberal television ads floating around.

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.

229 comments on “Gippsland by-election post-mortem”

Comments Page 2 of 5
1 2 3 5
  1. BBill, if Rudd and Labor refuse to give out more information and set the record straight, then the Milnes of the journo world will fill that gap and give Nelson his cues for spin aka Gippsland test for Labor. Groupthink by the media is alive and well.

    To be frank I don’t understand why Labor aren’t out there setting the record straight or owning the agenda instead of replying to Nelson/Milnes. It seems that in relation to the petrol/emissions debate they aren’t going to include petrol. Which fits into the coalition’s argument perfectly. Labor are reacting instead of leading. What good would it do to not include petrol in the emissions scheme?

    To me Labor has been incredibly weak in regards to countering articles and spin from Nelson and if they need to get a better media chief then they should straight away otherwise the coalition own the what the public are hearing.

  2. The ALP will run in Mayo. They won’t win it and might get a small swing against them too (Not the 9% of Gippsland unless they impose another candidate of equal worthlessness). So it won’t do them any good but also won’t do much harm.

    Not running however, gives a minor chance of either a third party (Green or FF) or a strong independent getting up. (The problem with FF trying to get up is the Greens will preference them last and vice versa with the Greens).

  3. Too much is being made of this. It is not a good result for Labor but Labor wasn’t expected to win. I believe people are over reacting on both sides. They had a poor candidate and were out campaigned in a CONSERVATIVE electorate. No surprise really. This area turned on state Labor last election. The surprise was that Labor did so well last time.

  4. Good analysis from William as always but disagree about the ALP candidate. From all I hear, he performed very well and will be favourably considered if he wants to run again.

    Petrol and the implications of many of the policy prescriptions for petrol was clearly the killer for Labor, with petrol prices soaring 30 cents a litre in Gippsland in the past month. Unfortunate timing for them.

    The solution is clear. Ease the burden of rising energy costs, show you’re on the motorists’ side not the tree-huggers. Cut petrol taxes, even if just temporarily, while the price remains at these distress-causing levels. And call off plans to slug energy users even more.

    It is true the price of petrol in this country is not as high as many other places, with the US as the notable exception. And it’s also true that the ideal outcome for all of us is that we all stop using fuel which we must obtain from occasionally terror supporting Arab dictatorships. High prices will do that, they are doing that right now. Public transport use is soaring, people are voting with their feet.

    But Rudd and his merry band of comrades with their taxpayer funded fuel cards need to show a lot more sympathy for the distress people – particularly those in the country and outer burbs who need to drive long distances frequently – are feeling right now.

    Currently the government is embarked on a policy course which could see considerable increases in the cost of energy for working families in what amounts to a massive regressive tax increase, that disproportionately hits people who don’t live in the inner-city.

    If they don’t make the policy changes now, there’ll be a change of government. There’s only a ten seat margin. All you comrades can’t say you weren’t warned.

    Kevin Rudd has much to think about.

  5. This morning, Opposition Leader Dr Nelson did not rule out a bipartisan policy but said it was unlikely – even though he was not actually aware of what the Government policy would be.

    “We may end up in a situation where both the Government and the Opposition actually do take the same approach,” Dr Nelson said on Channel 10.

    However, he added: “I suspect that there’s a high probability that we will not support whatever the government may actually choose to do”.

    The Fiberal policy statement on everything until the next election. 🙂

  6. [If they don’t make the policy changes now, there’ll be a change of government. There’s only a ten seat margin. All you comrades can’t say you weren’t warned.]

    What utter dribble

  7. I’ll put the Landeryou file right beside my Bolt file, locked, never to be opened. Anyone who comes out with crap like that needs to be ignored.

  8. Rann’s no dill.
    “If Brendan Nelson thinks it’s an endorsement of his leadership … he spent a fortune on this campaign, five times more than Labor on this campaign, and he came third.
    “They wouldn’t even put Brendan Nelson’s picture on the how to vote cards.”
    Mr Rann admitted there was a message for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in the result.
    “The message is that you’ve got to keep governing for the long term – which is exactly what Kevin Rudd is doing.”

  9. A lot of battlers drive Mercedes-Benz. 🙂

    Actually, Nelson’s “family with the Wheelchair in the back” might, as Benz does produce some nice mobility vans.

    Whatever happened to the Steam Car concept as opposed to the petrol electric that Benz was building?

  10. The way the Nelson and the MSM are carrying on you would have thought labor was booted out of Blaxland or another safe labor seat.

    a good result for them, but it is hardly a big tick for nelsons leadership, more a reassuring night for the Nats.

  11. I just bumped into a Federal Lib pollie. He seemed genuinely surprised and very pleased at the size of the swing in Gippsland. They don’t seem to have an explanation apart from unhappiness with the first 7 months from Rudd.

  12. Yes, but where is all this unhappiness with Rudd in the national polls? Answer… it isn’t. All we’ve seen over the past 7 months is the gilted MSM and heart-broken Liberal voters whinging about any issue they can find. I mean, pass me a tissue…

  13. Dario

    I suppose that’s why the Coalition are so surprised with the result. What’s more important; numerous national polls showing that Labor is cruising or a single by-election showing a huge swing away from Labor? The national polls have to be the most important but I bet labor tries very hard to find why the swing went against the run of play.

  14. The 7 per cent swing against Labor in Gippsland is good news. If Alexander Downer does retire and cause an election with another anti-Labor swing in Mayo, this would also be good news. Partisans can write off the meaning of Gippsland if they wish, but Labor hardheads will not, and a swing in Mayo would give them some more ammunition. I don’t expect Kevin Rudd to be defeated in the next federal election, but if he wants a long-term Labor Government, he needs to reduce the frenetic activity and focus on a few core messages, which will require repetition and reasoning so that they sink in.

  15. Gary, if you don’t think petrol is going to hurt the government, you’re ignoring history and also current distress out in the burbs and the bush.

    But fear not, Rudd won’t be ignoring the issue at all. As William identified, their challenge in matching rhetoric with policy while not seriously shafting their own supporters with highly regressive tax increases on energy use is as big a problem as the government is likely to face.

    I’m not sure how you’ll go ignoring that issue and trying to understand politics in this country for the next year or two.

    And BS, the point about Mercedes is that at these prices, making the investments we need to make to avoid using Saudi and Russian oil becomes very worthwhile for all involved in the transport caper. My point is the market is perfectly capable of making these changes without the state crunching people with Greens party flat earth flat taxes. It is already.

  16. AL one thing that Queensland Labor is very good at is regaining seats and learning from lost byelections when they have to do so. Every time the Queensland tories take any ground off Labor they get hit straight back twice as hard.

  17. I am very confident that any embarrassment felt by Rudd and Swan over the Gippsland byelection will be countered by far more embarrassment for Nelson and Turnbull over the next month or so.

  18. Simpleton politics 1A (to quote Albenese) or 101 if you prefer.

    Petrol prices are high and I don’t like it – its all their (insert favourite conspiracy theory) fault. Why won’t the Govt. do something?

    Govt. does nothing because it can’t do anything, Coalition also knows it can’t do anything but promises a 5c tax cut in 2 and a half years. Meaningless and possibly non-core but simpleton says yes. Score one to Brenda.

    Carbon trading – oops thats a bit tricky what does it mean? Brenda says “Your petrol and electricity bills are going to rise. We won’t let it happen even though it was our policy last year”. Score two to Brenda.

    In the Gippsland context add that the lefties want to close the coal mines and power stations AND make you pay more for your cans of Bundy. Score three to Brenda.

    Does Rudd care? At this stage of the electoral cycle? NO.

    Garnaut – Green Paper – White Paper later Rudd has a warchest of an extra $21 billion, combined with another $70-80 billion in various funds. He will have close to $100 billion to play with.

    Interest rates have fallen as we approach the 2010 election (due to global recession) – Rudd is the great economic guru and the mother of all Pork is dished out.

    Rudd 101 – Brenda 3. 🙂

  19. CJ I would be surprised if the Labor TPP vote is not lower on Monday night seeing half of this weekends survey will be reflecting the Gippsland result according to Milne which is why he wrote all that nonsense in the Sunday paper today.

  20. Oil prices are not going to stay high, this is a speculative bubble. However we should use any lull in order to move away from oil as a transport energy source. This will require real leadership from the Feds. We have absolutely enormous reserves of CNG, a viable alternative. Did anyone see “Inside Business” this morning with the head of British Gas, the crowd looking to take over Origin. There is so much NG out there if someone drops a match the whole bloody country will blow into space. CNG is already used here fuelling Brisbane buses, and is widely used overseas in cars and trucks. Why oh why are we selling it at bargain basement prices to the Chinese and the Malaysians etc, and then importing expensive refined petrol from Singapore.

  21. In the fuel prices game, Nelson is all flash and no bang so far. The truth is that we have to face some hard facts about energy costs, and the coalition have so far put up ZERO long term strategy for doing so. Something the general population is aware of, hence the lack of bite in the polls for Nelson’s 5c/litre tax reduction stunt.

    We do not have a ‘right’ to permanently cheap fuel, that is a entitlement fantasy that has to be killed off for once and for all, and the sooner we do it and start genuinely adapting to more expensive energy, the better off we will be. Not only that, but
    we are actually spending less on fuel than ten years ago.

    The typical family is spending substantially less on petrol today, when unleaded is nudging $1.70 a litre, than it was a decade ago, when pump prices were $1 per litre cheaper.

    For every $100 in real household expenditure in 1999, petrol accounted for about $3.70. The share was as high as $4.50 in the early 1990s, in the aftermath of the last recession.

    The latest figures crunched by CommSec economist Craig James place the bowser’s bite on the household budget at about $2.90.

    Incomes have risen faster than petrol prices. Why else would the graph start pointing south from the mid-1990s, when the nation began its longest run of prosperity?

    Furthermore, fuel prices are minor compared to mortgage interest payments.

    The cost to families of servicing their mortgages now happens to take about four times as much of their budget as fuel.,25197,23898033-2702,00.html

    Let’s see what the situation is in a year, after both the government and the opposition have had a decent chance to respond to the Garnaut report, and fuel prices will almost certainly have risen even further.

  22. Plus it is not as if oil prices will continue to rise. There are many deposits which are not currently tapped as it cost $50 or $60 a barrel to extract. These deposits will now be tapped as there very little risk that cost of production will be greater than the prices they can get.

  23. Can I use a sporting analogy for a second here?

    If Brendan Nelson has been opening the batting for the Libs, he’d be like Geoffrey Boycott

    He isn’t scoring too may runs, but he’s still there isn’t he?

    Just two boundaries from the whole morning session, (5c of Petrol, Gippsland) but not much else

    He’s certainly knocking the shine of the new ball though, making it easier for next man in

  24. BSF, the boss of British Gas said that they are still actively reviewing fields viable at $30 per barrel, they are apparently confident that the price will not stay high. The current hysteria over oil is just that, hysteria. That is not to say that we shouldn’t look for better alternatives, that is a must!

  25. Basil Fawlty. Didn’t see “Inside Business”, but “Background Briefing” covered gas quite extensively a couple of weekends ago. It’s not just in W.A., but there’s also mega amounts in Q’l’d, N.S.W. and Vic.. La Trobe Valley, in fact.

  26. I don’t buy Murdoch’s rags, but had a chance to read yesterday’s at a mate’s place and a letter to the editor caught my eye. Paraphrasing:
    According to a recent survey 88% of Australians don’t want to pay to protect the environment so their kids can have a better future. Then why are so many forking out big money on private school fees supposedly to give the same kids a better future?


    Basil Fawlty @ 79 –

    All so true. But NG does have one almost as big a disadvantage, and one huge disadvantage over petrol.

    In terms of greenhouse it is better than petrol, but still a problem, and because about 70-80% of households have NG literally on their doorsteps it could result in the government loosing about $10-12bill. in revenue unless they can figure out a way of taxing it without getting everyone offside by upping heating costs.

    Mind you, from an environmental standpoint the latter wouldn’t be a bad thing. Most Australian homes are about as energy efficient as tents. California has had legislation for decades mandating efficiency standards for new buildings and rebates to encourage older ones to be bought up to date. Yet, here we’re still building homes without even the most basic insulation!

  27. I agree with those who think that too much is been made of this by election.
    And no, Labor does not need to forgo its long term plans. You see, despite “everyone” saying that Rudd only worries about the short term media cycle he has his eye firmly fixed on the future. If it was short term, how come Nelson is getting all the cheap shots in first in the Media? In a few days time the rises for pensioners, tax cuts etc will go into people’s bank accounts.

    BB 49 – I have seen some wild stuff come from the anonymous “staff writers” on No one has to put their name to it. As usual it is full of BS.
    Rudd would be wrong to buy this spin about this being a “microcosm of key national issues” and then change all his long term policies to suit.

    Voters in the end have to make up their minds if they want a future in the long term for themselves or their kids or blow it all in the short term. But Labor has to stick to the path they have set out as it is best for the nation. I am not saying they shouldn’t compromise on some issues in order to make big gains, but they need to keep the essentials intact.

    Too much should not be made of Gippsland. It is an individualist electorate with a mind of its own. Labor run a a half hearted campaign with a suspect candidate. Nations and Libs were full on. Further more it goes against every opinion poll taken since the last election.

    In fact it would be damaging to make too much of Gippsland as it would put in jeopardy our long term interests and this would not help the nation. This would please the sh%t reprters of the MSM and the LNP. In the end Labor would have nothing as it would be seen to(with encouragement from media) to have caved in on the important issues.

    But I agree with BB that Labor needs to take control of the media agenda.

  28. Mr. S. Emo Man as Boycott? You must be joking. Boycott did his homework. Would take 3 sets of batting gear back to his hotel room and practice strokes every night for hours on end, when on tour. The only thing Emo Man is practising is his acting, because it surely isn’t policy development.

  29. BB and Doug, if that is the article I read it had from ‘staff writers’ at the head but at the end it said from GLEN MILNE and AAP, so is it any wonder it was crap.

  30. Mayo I would not think that you can just run the NG hose into your car from the home heating supply, would have thought it need compression first, so not that simple. As far as the tax goes, perhaps we need to rethink the old approach of using every fuel outlet as a tax collector, and while we are at it, every poker machine as well. These tax forms are regressive and unfairly impact those who can least afford it. Collect revenue sufficient to cover transport infrastructure and whatever carbon levies they deem reasonable, if we need more revenue, tax wealth and income!! The only reason we got the GST was to finance Ratties gift to his rich mates, lower CGT and income taxes on the rich.

  31. Basil Fawlty @ 91 –

    Yes, you need a compressor, but these are not much more sophisticated than the ones sold for home spray painting, etc. It apparently, does take a few hours and the power used needs to be factored into cost calculations, but there’s no reason you couldn’t fill up at night on the off-peak tariff. However, people may opt to continue filling up at service stations and paying a small premium for the convenience of a rapid fill.

  32. I don’t know what the current situation is but while ago there were problems with the range got from a tank of Natural gas. Even LPG gives a significantly better range than NG.

  33. Steve you may be right, but that is surely a technical problem that is easily overcome with tank design etc. LPG is of course another option and I am actively considering it at the moment, however they don’t go out of the way to offer it on new cars. That may be about to change however if this article about Hyundai is any guide, this could shake up our lazy car makers:
    Hyundai is “seriously considering” selling a hybrid LPG vehicle in Australia.

    The car, which is due on sale in Korea in the middle of 2009, would have easily the lowest operating costs of any car in Australia, costing roughly $10 a week. Hyundai won’t confirm the cost of the car, but it is likely to be priced around the $30,000 mark.

    Its fuel consumption is expected to be slightly higher than Toyota’s hybrid petrol-electric Prius, but with LPG selling for up to 90c a litre less than petrol, the small Hyundai’s annual fuel costs would be less than half those of a Prius and five times lower than Australia’s top-selling car, the Holden Commodore. The Hyundai could travel close to 300km on $10 worth of fuel.

  34. I found the post from Andrew Landeryou immensely helpful, as it means I know I won’t have to waste time reading anything from him, ever again, on anything with any more seriousness than I would read something from, say, Janet Albrechtsen.

    Thankfully the Federal parliamentary ALP – left, right, centre, whatever – seems to know its duty to the people rather better than this at this moment amongst the complexities of the economic and political decisions required.

    “Markets work” – wow, thanks for that insight Einstein, I’m sure that has not occurred to Ross Garnaut or Ken Henry – or Rudd, Swan, Tanner, or for that matter Albanese – the point however is to define the market in question.

    Not hoping for any such from the Murdoch press but on this forum at least it would be nice to have a more economically literate and responsible approach than tagging along with the crap that emissions trading is precisely equivalent to carbon tax (um, it isn’t) and that any offset on petrol excise to take into account upfront costs of carbon permits would be either a sellout or a visionary scheme designed by Turnbull (if that were the case what have the Greens been doing all this time supporting offsets).

  35. MF @ 87

    The ACT Govt. brought in energy ratings about a decade ago. A whole new industry emerged – people carrying out the audits. Then the builders, insulators, sparkies, gas fitters etc found they had more work.

    From memory it cost me a couple of hundred bucks when I sold my Canberra property.

    Now I live in a house with NO heating at all. I have not turned the aircon on for over 18 months. I am sitting here in tshirt and shorts in the middle of winter.

    Not all Australian houses are tents. 🙂

  36. The 7.00pm News on ABC (Brisbane) had the headline comment that Rudd had “lost” Gippsland. Yet another example of “balanced” reporting from aunty.

    Call me naive but how can you lose something that you never had in the first place? It was a National seat and was always going to be a National win. For all of Nelson’s irritating glee and fantasies that the Government is obviously finished and Rudd should be tarred and feathered as the worst PM since …….? (Howard perhaps?), he is still in opposition and likely to be for a while yet.

    OK so it was a bigger swing than possibly expected but like many other more learned commentators above, I’m not ready to start quaking in my boots just yet!

  37. The government may lose 10-12 billion in petrol excise if people are able to run their cars on natural gas, but they will more than make that up in the carbon taxes on everything else. It will also be a lot easier to subside low income earners on the bi-monthly and quarterly energy bills they receive, than it will be to compensate low income earners each time they need to put petrol in their car. Allowing people to cut their energy bills by running their cars on CNG (and subsidising the conversions), will be a good way to sell the whole emissions trading scheme to the public.

  38. The media can harp on and say this was a bad result for Labor, but to me it was an okay result. Nothing much to worry about.

  39. 83 – Basil. Completely agree. The thing is many of fields at $30 range are held by companies that already are supplying enough oil.

    Peak Oil fans are a little bit like those awaiting the rapture.

Comments Page 2 of 5
1 2 3 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *