Newspoll: 54-46 to Labor in Victoria

The latest bi-monthly Newspoll survey of Victorian state voting intention shows Labor’s two-party lead on 54-46, down from 55-45 at the previous survey. Both leaders’ approval ratings are down sharply: John Brumby’s from 48 per cent to 41 per cent, Ted Baillieu’s from 42 per cent to 36 per cent. Labor’s primary vote is steady on 41 per cent, the Liberals are down one point to 34 per cent and the Nationals up one to 4 per cent, and the Greens are down two points to 12 per cent.

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.

100 comments on “Newspoll: 54-46 to Labor in Victoria”

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  1. Boerwar


    Your whole post against a desal plant to provide 3 million people with water , was based on a flawed Greens Party type policy of putting ill judged environment reasons , before 3 million people being able to drink That argument may look feel good on a theoretical policy paper , but defies reality

    Fortunately th overwhelming majority understand people actualy do come first They also understand droughts unavoidable , which CC has made worse

    John Brumby deserves congratulations for acting on future water needs well beyond his forseeable term of office both on desal plant and N-S line , rather than being worried about short term unrest by either a minority or losing seat of Seymour

  2. marky @ 49

    There are several myths about water consumption – that business is the major consumer is one of them.

    In Melbourne, domestic use far exceeds business use. However, in Victoria, by far the major user is agriculture.

  3. Ron their may be unrest if water prices start going up significantly to allow for the economic success of a desal plant.
    Ken Davidson in Mondays age ( Business part ) made an interesting comment,
    “Last year was a drought year. As a result water used matched water into the catchments. So why are we building the worlds biggest yes biggest desalination plan, which would add 40 per cent to our capacity with a 30 year take or pay public-private partnership contract? ”
    Is privatisation or revenue raising the prime reason? People do not understand economics and economic rationalism and this to me is the prime reason. Giving money or water to a multinational to make as much money as possible and who cares about the consequences.
    I bit like financial deregulation and the deregulaiton of banks. In 1983 Australia had very little private debt after deregulaiton it shot up and continues to rise as a result. Madness. And look what happened Tricontinental, State Bank of SA and Victoria collapses.. Entrpeneurers and their faliled ventures… Banks who seem to raise rates even when the Reserve Bank does not, and at the same time earn massive profits… Madness

  4. Yes Winston you are correct. But it is still a part of the equation.
    Agriculture use perhaps should be about recycling and reductions in use.

  5. Marky, how can you know something about me I don’t? I’m not – and never have been – a government bureaucrat, so don’t make assumptions about people and thus about the worth of their arguments. I’m a very active member of the ALP, yes, I’ve never pretended otherwise.

    As for logging catchments, please define your terms. The catchments around all of Melbourne’s reservoirs have been preserved from all kinds of incursions (including human entry) for at least seventy years. There is currently a plan to introduced control burning into these areas, but that’ll happen over my charred body.

    Stormwater harvesting and tanks are not easy options – both are expensive and involve health risks. (The easiest way to ‘stormwater harvest’ is to take water directly from the Yarra. Interestingly, I’ve NEVER heard that suggested – there must be a reason why, and I would hazard a guess that it’s so contaminated there’s no feasible way of purifying it. If so, stormwater in Melb would have the same problems).

    What ‘water association’ are you referring to? (for interest’s sake).

    Boer, I’m not against recycled water and haven’t said that. I’ve said that I’m sure it was an option considered by the Government. I don’t know why it was rejected and would be speculating (and will speculate it’s because of potential political backlash). I would be happy to drink recycled myself but (as you can tell from these posts) I’m not only incredibly attractive and intelligent but remarkably well informed. The bulk of the great unwashed are not as lucky as I am and thus are harder to convince that drinking prior pee is good for them.

    Yep, domestic water is a relatively tiny amount of consumption. Industry uses more water but relatively efficiently given the economic outcomes. Agriculture uses huge amounts of water for relatively low returns, in both economic and human terms (e.g. one factory will use the same water at ten farms but will employ ten times the amount of people than those farms combined and products worth twenty times more). Thus taking water from the north for human consumption is relatively low impact (70 g out of a currently 3000 g system, with an extra 210 g of savings added in).

    As for the Murray lakes…(i) the 70 g proposed to be ‘taken’ from the M-D system won’t be for some years yet; the lakes needed water a year or so ago. It isn’t there at the moment, either for the n-s pipeline or the lakes; the infrastructure which will result in the savings hasn’t been built yet; (ii) even if the 70 g was allocated to the lakes, it would make very little difference for a very short period of time. 70 g is a lot of water but it isn’t enough.

  6. Ron @ 51

    I don’t really care who wins the seat Seymour and I don’t really care about minorities, provided they are not being bastardized by the Government of the day, which I don’t think is the case here. As I have said elsewhere, I think that Brumby is competent and honest, so I don’t have an axe to grind there either. Also, my view is that the Victorian Opposition needs fundamental reform, an infusion of talent, and a lot of hard policy work before it can tout itself as a credible alternative government.

    While I can guess most times what the Greens’ policy will be on any particular issue, I quite often don’t follow their policy prescriptions because they are impractical.

    So, this issue is not party/political for me.

    I also agree with you that people will want water and that governments that don’t supply it in sufficient quantities are likely to be goners.

    I am not against ‘putting people first’. It would be silly to do so, because people vote and, being people, they will put themselves first. So, up to here, I think we are probably mostly in agreement, or in a reasonable position to agree to differ and leave it at that.

    But taking it a step further, the real question is: ‘What does ‘putting people first’ really mean in this case?’

    Some considerations are:

    1. Which people? If water is taken from north of divide does this mean that the people who get put first are people south of the divide?

    2. If desal costs are more per gig compared with recycled sewerage, how can giving people more expensive water be about putting people first? Having long term rise in fuel costs (eg oil @ $200 a barrel) been factored in?

    3. If desal costs a lot more energy and emits a lot of carbon dioxide than recycling sewerage, particularly if many cities around the world get around to desalinating, how can you put people first by accelerating global warming more by going to desal?

    4. Water use has an opportunity cost. If Melbourne people are using the water to clean cars, maintain McMansions, keep lawns going and maintain water-thirsty european flower and shrub gardens, then they are the people who are being put first. The irrigation farmer in SA who will go out of business next season because the water is going into lawns is not being put first.

    Having said all that, I would appreciate your views on the following:

    1. How would you rate the pluses and minuses (price per gigalitre, energy cost per gigalitre, environmental cost) of desal v recycling sewerage?

    2. Do you think enough has been done to reduce demand, and, if not, what initiatives do you think the Victorian Government should promote to reduce it?

    3. Do you think that desalination plants are the sound answer to an endlessly expanding population in Melbourne? Or are there limits?

    4. Do you expect an increased rate of extinctions in the lower Murray as a result of the N/S pipeline?

    BTW, the N/S pipeline only fusses me in a small way, not so much because of the quantum of the substance, but because it is symbolic of the big smoke draining the country-side. By way of comparison, the Thompson Dam is way more destructive of the Gippsland Lakes than the N/S pipeline will be of the people in the Murray/Darling.

    The N/S pipeline appears to have been necessitated by previous policy failures. Big droughts have always been with us and preparing for a droughts when it is a decade or so old is clearly a failure by governments.

  7. blackburnpseph (32),

    I do remember that the Green Wedges came into being under the Bolte Government, strange though that seems, that they have been whittled away and are always under threat, particularly here in Nillumbik in which there have been wild swings between conservation-minded councils and pro-development councils.

  8. Boerwar “I am not particularly either a supporter or non-supporter of Brumby”
    No one on a political site is neutral politcl Boerwar
    Irrespective , whenever whichever Party you “generaly” support can make it rain , or make CC diappear , then Melbourne has insuficent water we ar left with N-S pipeline and desal plant to drink
    Your arguments against a N-S pipeline hav been varied …started with a flawed Greens Party type envirionmental reasons in preference to 3 million peple’s water needs …then talking about Lake Eildon fish for heaven sake over 3 million humans drinking needs… then proceed to N-S quantum well check figures its not huge…then proceeded to MD Basin downstream needs (which is not supported by MD Commission actual audit that shows “stored capacity” is only 20% of MD capacity & so there is insufficient for downstream)…then proceeded to mandating people hav to drink recycled water , well they do not hav to at all when reel water is available, tell me after a year of your family drinking it , I would not hav it…then a pety ‘Big Smoke’ argument taking water from “country” Well all of this country belongs to all of Australians
    Frankly for an “a” political type , I would not wish you to be actually anti Labor

    Mark Marky
    Summissions for tender only closed my firend 3.5 weeks ago , and it will be a joint John Brumby Government Private Equity partnership , normaly resulting in govt ending up with ownership over time As for cost , unlike us our kids will learn water will be an expensive commodity & perhaps that will defer over usage

  9. Zoom @ 56

    Me bad. No intention to verbal you on on your position on recycled water.

    Concerning your point on the Murray Lakes, unless we get Noah’s flood like, tomorrow, they are goners as fresh water ecological systems and we should probably now move to the least worst option, which is flood them with seawater.

  10. markymarky @ 49

    *wry grin*

    Well, bad policies and bad governing does get us into situations where we are buggered if we do and buggered if we don’t.

  11. Ron @ 59

    Well, I suppose it is not really so important who I am or who I support. But, to be perfectly honest, if I lived in Victoria, it would probably be Brumby. What is really important is the choices that are being made and whether those choices make sense.

    Leaving aside the N/S pipeline, about which I think we are going to have to agree to differ, you have sort of dodged answering my three main questions, which are:

    1. Is desal cheaper than recycling sewerage per unit of water?
    2. Does desal generate less carbon dioxide than recycling sewerage?
    3. Are the environmental costs of desal less than recycling sewerage?

    If the answers to 1, 2, and 3 are a clear ‘yes’, then I would support desal. If the answers are a bit mixed I would have to make an on-balance consideration.

  12. Boerwar

    You’ve changed th goal posts again to try to push your flawed recyled water argument , N-S pipeline is superior to all 3 of your questons , and provides a medium term provision of water needs Water will be already there for N-S to simply onforward

    Longer term John Brumby has planned water needs , partly via desal , on basis of being independent of rainfall Your notion relies on four faultey basis’s , availablility of future water from th sky when CC full potentialy impacts hit ‘oz’ , that there will in future suficent rain in suficent violumes to allow such curent usage let alone its recycling and that you simply do not know 9hence Brumby’s guaranteed alternitive , infrastructure cost relative I understand is higher to supply equivalent 150 billion litres of water a year desal will provide , and in our country people do not hav to drink purple water red water or recycled water anyway , if they chose not to meaning in a democracy Govt’s do what majority of people want not what a minority of environmentelist’s want much , as such environmentalists wish otherwise

    As soon as you came up in prior post of complaining of “Big Smoke” taking water away from “country’ (to drink with) , rationale of your varied other arguments can be taken in context , this is a National not a ‘country’ problem , and this is only begining of ‘oz’ water woes , so making water is th sensible long term solution , and whereever th cost lands we will hav to pay for it

  13. Boer @ 57

    1. ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’ – and noone in the north would go without water for domestic or stock use in this situation. The water in Eildon is for irrigation – very little of it is for basic human needs.
    2 & 3 Desal is if it doesn’t rain, so whilst these are concerns, they are not as important as ensuring a secure water supply.
    4. Melbourne people are expected to let their lawns die, not wash their cars etc. (and the ‘no water’ scenarios I painted before are not necessarily the result of LACK of water). The 70g referred to might save that one farmer but it’s not going to go just to him. Spread over all the other farms in the region, it will not be of significant benefit to anyone.

    As for your other points, yes the government has done a lot of work to reduce consumption, but credit must also be given to the people of Melbourne and surrounds – their awareness of the need to save water has been admirable (on the downside, there was actually a murder caused by this, when a passerby remonstrated with someone who was watering on the wrong day).
    The desal plant is not intended to allow for more population but to ensure a basic water supply if there are long periods of below average rainfall. Brumby has already raised the need to curb population growth but (as he says) difficult to deal with – you can’t just say “Don’t come here”.
    As for the n/s pipeline causing downriver extinctions, no it won’t. Firstly, because it is associated with infrastructure upgrades which will see MORE water going down the Murray; secondly because it’s not enough water to make a difference.
    Easy to blame policy failure, but noone was complaining about this in 2000 – because noone predicted the extent of the drought. Melbourne’s water was always seen as totally secure, because there was storage of two years’ worth of water (which, with restrictions, could be teased out for longer). This had always been more than adequate in the past. Also in 2000, Melbourne and Vic were experiencing a long term population contraction, which was predicted to continue.
    What happened also was a change in policy emphasis, from reliance on water storages alone to the provision of ‘back up’ systems.

    Boer, thanks for your apology – be interesting to see if Marky is also willing to admit an error!

  14. Ron @ 63

    Ran out of puff last night so off to the land of Z.

    I am happy to agree to continue to differ on the N/S pipeline. I am not sure if that means that I have shifted the goal posts. If you think so, I would be happy to revisit the points that you think I am avoiding, but I am not sure what they are.

    I agree that water is a national issue. As you say, it is bigger than Big Smoke v the Bush, but I would take it a step further and say that it is also bigger than Vic v the Feds. The federal system of governance has cocked up big time for over 50 years on this, and cannot be trusted to fix it. Today’s antiGG’s news on Queensland’s take of the MD water confirms my views on this.

    *wry grin* for your sally about country people having the right to choose to drink purple water or red water or recycled water. Japes aside, usually bad water goes blackish, yellowy-brown or greenish and it does not taste as good as Melbourne water either; and, yes, all those country folk on the Murray west of Albury/Wodonga, and anyone on the Murrumbidgee west of Canberra and west of Wagga Wagga is basically drinking recycled sewerage water as well as somewhat diluted cattle and sheep exudates already. Strangely enough, apart from boiling it, a bit of cordial in it is the cheapest way of treating it for drinking water

    I note your view that it is important to guarantee water to people south of the divide, even if it is at the expense of the people north of the divide.

    I have already accepted your proposition that in democracies, governments generally do what the majority of voters want them to. Another way of putting it in your terms, is that it means that governments generally put most of the people first. Fair enough. Governments also then have to put up with criticism from the people who have been put last. Fair enough, too. However, while the majority has the power, it does not always mean the majority is right. For example, huge majorities were in favour of WW1 until the first Christmas passed and the silly buggers finally understood fully what they were in for.

    In relation to my three questions, I note:

    1. your acknowledgment that the desal plant will be more expensive than recycling in terms of infrastructure cost but you have not addressed running costs;
    2. that you have not addressed the carbon costs of desal relative to recycling sewerage
    3. that you have not addressed the environmental costs of desal relative to recycling sewerage.

  15. Zoom @ 64

    Thank you.

    Agree with point 1, with the minor qualification that for irrigators, water is a basic human need. No water=no livelihood.

    I note points 2&3.

    cf point 4, 70gig will keep a lot of farmers going, not just one. My fault for using the figure of 1 in an earlier post. If 70gig is spread evenly over a lot of farms, then a very large number of farmers are going to lose at the margins. 70gig is actually a lot of water.

    I am glad to note that the Melbourne lawns are dead. Does this mean that there is no watering of home gardens in Melbourne?

    I am pleased that Brumby has identified population as an issue. Perhaps he could take it up with his Fed counterpart with a view to reducing the flow of immigrants into Australia? As I understand it, they mostly go to Melbourne and Sydney, with both cities being run on an unsustainable basis already.

    On downriver extinctions, we might have to differ. The appropriate solution is the infrastructure upgrades, with some hived off into environmental flows, but leave the 70Gig North of the divide. The problem with assessing any one action is that it alone is unlikely to have a drastic impact. But taking 70 gig out of the system is 70 gig on top of a system that is already overstretched with extinctions highly likely. The 70 gig will therefore contribute to extinctions, and is another input to water management is environmentally unsustainable.

    If you unpick ‘no-one was expecting the extent of the drought’ it doesn’t really stand up very well. Australia has always had droughts and some terrible droughts too, when literally millions of stock died. The current drought is about the equivalent of the Federation drought, perhaps worse by a half a year or so.

    City people tend to forget these things because they have largely been insulated from physical reality. All sorts of supplies that arrive somewhat mysteriously at their doorsteps or in the shops. They live in air con houses, drive in air con cars, work in air con buildings. The roads are all bitumen. When it rains the water goes away by itself. We are still getting urban newsreaders saying that a rainless weekend is good weather. They just don’t get it.

    But policy makers should have been factoring big droughts in. The real problem is that water policies and water consumption patterns were built on the assumption that there would not be bad droughts. The last minute jittery panic desal reactions are therefore a response to past poor policies. There is a related rural policy failure which encourages farmers not to manage for drought either. It is called drought assistance. It encourages poor farm management.

    I accept your point about predictions about population trends in Victoria and would accept that difficulty as being a fair reason for getting some of the consumption projections wrong.

    I also accept that there is a demonstrated need for a change in policy emphasis from total storage to an improved mix of storage, consumption management, and backup supply. What I don’t understand is why there is not a much bigger emphasis on the role of sewerage recycling in the mix.

  16. Over the last 30 years a third of Melbourne’s water catchments – once sacrosanct – have been logged. According to Melbourne Water and CSIRO studies, we lose at least 30 gigalitres each year from these catchments because of logging – equivalent to the water used by 150,000 Melbourne households. Instead of buying out all the timber licences for a mere $3.9 million, the State government has committed – not to water conservation – but to spending over $3 billion on an energy intensive and environmentally destructive desalination plant. Water policy by the Brumby government has been ill-directed and at times daft. We deserve much better than we are seeing.

  17. This is a good result for Labor – but if you dig deeper into this Newspoll (it is not normally published, but can be found if you talk to the Newspoll people – there is a swing in non-metro seats against Labor of about 6%, and that was from I think the last poll or the poll before when labor had 57-43 or something, which was better than the last election.

    This shows how lazy Baillieu is. The Coalition would do better if Peter Ryan was leader. I mean seriously – it suggests Baillieu would GO BACKWARDS in melbourne!

  18. Does anybody know where current enrolment statistics for each electorate live on the VEC website? Blowed if I can find them!

  19. Boewar


    I do not mind you having a differing point of view , but your insertion in your post (#65) and earlier of statements I did not make or th reverse of statements I made does not advance your views

    First issue was 3 million Melbourne people will hav insufficent water , despite water restrictions They ar entitled to get it from MD via N-S pipeline in preference to irrigators , Lake Eildon fish or MD environment or fauna , whether Country people like it or not Think it is arrogant for anyone to directly suggest otherwise or imply it by ‘skirting’ around this acknowledgement

    Second issue was Brumby Government needed to secure longer term water supplies for Melbourne , Geelong and elsewhere , with projections of lower rain in future through drought and CC your suggestion relies in recycled water that is not accepted by voters , and fundamentally relies on rain falling in future in suficent volumes for even current levels of ‘discharge’ , let alone population & industry growth In an age of CC , such reliance on future rain volumes is iresponsible As such your recycling is immaterial in broader view notwithstanding your lack of costs

    A Governments prime responsibility is to ensure fututre water supplies to its 3 million citizens and chose (correctly) not to rely on a CC future of rain at all , but instead ”make it” to guarantee its people water & fulfill its priority obligations

    As to method of powering desal plant , unfortunately urgency of timing has diminished role opportunity or solar geothermal etc , however water needs can not wait , notwithstanding cost or enegy

  20. 70 gigs is not actually alot when we start talking irrigation water, there are many small lucerne growers in the north of the state that have 5 gigs on one farm.
    The self interest and shameless bull of some of these irrigators is breathtaking. Many of the dry land farmers are just furious that some of these multi-millionaire water farmers are getting support from the Libs.
    The water wheels that have been ‘measuring’ the water (Public Water) has been shown to be on average 18% out. Always over allocation. The Brumby govt’ move to fix this was innitially attacked by the irrigators. They actually ran the line that the ‘overallocation’ was an historic fact and as such they should always get it. This line was quickly removed from their rantings when someone told them that the average city slicker is charged with theft if they pinch water from the water authority.
    One of the more bizarre elements of rural politics is the inability for the Nats/Lib coalition to grasp the fact that getting a few rich cockies to stand next to their utes and shout “Down with Brumby/ Plug the Pipe” just doesn’t cut with your average voter in Brunswick.
    One of the broader ironies in the north of the State is that the very people who support the Andrew Bolt view of the world are the ones whos decision making needs to be scientific but they, in many cases, continue to be misled/ make bad decisions. Many will lose everything and you guessed it, it will be the fault of the greenies and the lefties.

  21. Ron @ 74

    I appreciate your post.

    I am not sure what your first para means, but it may not be important to our discussion, although we obviously have had a few failures to communicate effectively with each other.

    I note your points in relation to the N/S pipeline and still believe we probably haven’t got anywhere to go but to agree to differ. You have a perspective based around the majority of people, who are concentrated in the city. I have a bit more of a perspective of country people, who are in a minority, and probably am a bit closer personally to the terrible economic, social and environmental tragedy that is unfolding in the MDB. Again, you might also have this concern, I wouldn’t want to verbal you by saying that you don’t have it.

    Apart from that, I suspect that the main cause of our disagreements is that we have different values and perspectives on environmental sustainability. To me, there is no long term social and economic sustainability without environmental sustainability. The three can’t really be separated in good policy development. You may have a similar view, I am not sure.

    I also note your emphasis on the importance of a water guarantee for the population of Melbourne, and, as I have said before, no government would survive by not delivering water (and food, and shelter) to the people.

    So, leaving aside the bits were we are either in furious agreement or furious disagreement, what I am trying to do now is focus on why sewerage recycling was dismissed from the policy mix of responding to Melbourne’s water issues. As part of the various posts, I was also becoming increasingly interested in why there wasn’t a mix of: reduction in consumption, a sewerage recycling component and a desal component, again noting that there have already been initiatives in demand reduction, with probably more such initiatives in the pipeline.

    If you have the answers to hand, I would still appreciate your replying to the second and third questions, and also to the running cost element of the first question.

  22. Tiptoe came up for discussion at Q&A tonight.

    Albanese made the useful point that Cossie might find it a bit more difficult to ask questions than to have endless opportunities for prepared five minute tirades.

    Q&A disappointing apart from Blange’s asides on her murderous proclivities.

  23. For those of you who are convinced that all is well with water governance in Australia, consider Cubby Station:

    1. In 2007-08 it diverted a quarter of all Queensland’s diversion from the Murray Darling.
    2. The Cubby Group is headed by a former Queensland State Treasurer – deLacey.
    3. It is getting a licence to trade its water. Cost per meg of getting the licence? Good one. Price for selling the licence per meg? Probably in the order of $1,000 or so.
    4. On the front of actually producing a product and selling it for a profit, the Cubby group has apparently been losing money.

    Source for the above: The AntiGG.

    Bring on the Senate enquiry. It should be a Royal Commission, but in any case I hope it addresses how, when and who is accountable for over-allocation.

  24. Follow the Preferences @ 75

    Spot on on about the water cheats. It has been going on for years right across the MDB. I didn’t know the 18% figure but that does not surprise me at all. As you also point out there are ‘cultural’ problems here with how water theft is regarded by the thieves. It is criminal behaviour which is somehow regarded as not being criminal behaviour. We need to get a few water thieves in jail along with a few of the big tax thieves.

    Do you know the figures for the number of water thieves who have been charged and convicted? I can’t recall one. Is it that the state authorities across the MDB have somehow or other dropped the ball on policing?

    Good to see that Brumby is doing something about it.

    It would be good if the Senate enquiry looks at water thieves. But as with over-allocation, there have been governments of all stripes contributing to the current situation, too many political skeletons in too many closets, so I anticipate the enquiry will avoid some important issues.

  25. Ego time “May 1999 I wrote the Kennett Government off”

    The current situation in Victoria is Interesting for Victoria is looking Increasingly like it did dueing the Kennett years with North of the Divide turning off the Brumby Government.

    I would expect both Seymour and Ripon to fall and while Bob Cameron and Jacinta Allan are said to be popular in Bendigo I would not be surprised if one or both fell, Ballarat is also Interesting for the Bracks factor is gone.

    The thing that is sometimes lost on city voters is in the country news travels further so the issues in Mansfield would be known in Shepparton while something might happen in St Kilda but not be known in Frankston

    The issues in the country I note have been covered above but there are several historic factors at play notibley country people tend to dislike Melbourne gaining something at their expense also Brumby is a Bendigo boy but is increasly seen as a sell out.

    Issues range from
    North-South pipeline
    FMIT being forced to merge with LMW
    Mildura lacking a Train service (broken promise)
    Desalisanation Plant (Too be built near the ALP’s only booth in that part of Gippsland)

    Under pinning this has been the very strong performance of Peter Ryan as Nationals leader

    Are we facing a 99 type election or a 96 election one, I’m inclinde to think it will be more like the 1996 when several country seats swung by large numbers.

    The Interesting thing about the city seats is while the Inner city is unhappy with

    The 2am lockout
    Failing public transport system
    Take over of Local council planning decision making
    East-West tunnel

    I can’t see any big issues in the outer suburbs unless the Liberals can find a way to bring down the cost of Petrol

    The decriminalisation of abortion and the new Physician Assisted Dying bill will create much debate as will the Feed-in solar Tariff but over all I think the Government will be returned for they have to lose 12 seats and while I can see four to eight that are lost or could be losts I can’t see the extra few.

  26. Mexican Beemer @ 81

    I may be wrong but I have some vague sort of race memory that in the olden days, governments were somewhat more prone to change during droughts than during not droughts. Not sure if Possum has the means to test the proposition.

    There are several meteorologists who blog here who will state that it always rains more when labour gets in but that is just good management after the event, rather than a possible predictive factor.

  27. As I said previously, Beemer, I expect Brumby to start consciously trying to claw back the country vote.

    Kennett dismissed complaints from the country with his ‘if the heart’s going OK, the toenails will benefit’ comment – Brumby values the country more than this.

    He’s got two years to do this and I think there are signs that he’s starting that process.

  28. zoom @ 83

    I think it needs doing and it is do-able. Some of my bush rellies would be open to overtures. They would require a bit more TLC from the Brumby govt than they have been getting, but not much in it, really. In more normal times, they would go for the Ryan/Bailieu side but they don’t think the latter is worth a pinch of the proverbial.

  29. Boerwar 82, I’m not sure but some reckon it rains more when the federal ALP is in Government

    I don’t think it has any bearing for Victoria has had several very long lasting Governments.

    Cain won at the start of the 82-83 drought, but the Liberals were tired and were lucky to have survived in 1979 maybe back during the pre war years when there were more Counrty seats that might have been a different story but I can’t think of too many other changes in recent times connected to the climate

    Zoom 83 makes a good point for Kennett had several years of warnings and didn’t react, also something in Brumby’s favor is the local MPs appear to be more popular than the previous Liberal MPs were this may save a few seats.

    The Liberals seem to be waiting for the ALP to fall over and I don’t think that will happen, hindsight is a great thing for Brumby got smashed in the 1996 Election and I think that has made him a better Premier.

    Also I have too ask is the protest real or the Liberal and National Party rank and file, in a way its easier to tell to spot the ALP rank and file for they normally speak with a Union banner while Libs and Nats tend to keep their politics less obervious

  30. The protest wasn’t reflected in the Federal vote regionally – all the seats affected by the pipeline swung at least 5% to Labor, well above the rural/regional average.

    All the local Coalition MPs ran very strongly on State issues and particularly the pipeline.

    So either (i) the electorate was able to distinguish it was a State issue and the pipeline was totally irrelevant – in which case the sitting members completely misread their electorate and wasted a lot of time, money and campaign cred -; or (ii) it had an impact and the sitting members would otherwise have lost by an even bigger margin than they did.

    In my own electorate, I KNOW that it did have an impact, but that it was mainly contained to a couple of booths (a total voting population of 5000 people). I would judge that it may have taken 2% max. off the total possible Labor vote.

    This judgement is made on the basis that:
    i. those fervently against the pipeline seem to be either extreme Greens (who argue that the catchment is being robbed of water; I find this group to be very visceral, they don’t understand the issues behind the decision and don’t want to) – who are unlikely NOT to preference Labor before the Libs; OR the rusted on groups who distrust anything a Labor government does on principle….either way no real loss to Labor;
    ii. as a general rule, non farmers don’t seem too concerned about it (or not enough to change votes) and this group is growing (even electorates deemed ‘rural’ by the electoral commission only consist of 5% farmers);
    iii. although they’re very vocal – and I’ve talked endlessly with their representatives – the actual number of P the Ps turning up to demonstrations etc are quite small (one demonstration in our electorate, during a well advertised visit by the Premier, consisted of a dozen people, most of whom had come in two cars from another electorate entirely).
    iv. the swing across the electorates referred to was in excess of 5%; the booths directly affected either did not swing at all or registered low swings. I don’t think any of them swung AGAINST Labor.

  31. zoom,

    The NS pipeline group are being run by the Libs. It is just a bunch of ferals united by the ambition of the ex Lib candidate. They get publicity but have little support.

    Peter Ryan (The Nats Leader) has been heard to express that he supports both the NS pipeline and the de sal plant. However, because of political considerations, will not say so publicly.

    So at the end of the day, it is opportunists stirring trouble without much substance.

    Once these projects are completed the political problems for Labor disappear.

  32. Certainly my impression GG. I think a lot of locals (and I’m pretty close to the action here) judge it wise to ‘go with the flow’ so to speak when it comes to expressing opinions on the issue.

    I had one meeting with two of the most prominent PTP reps locally, which went for well over an hour. I went there willing to be convinced but they simply couldn’t build a compelling case (if anything, they swung me more the other way!). As I got up to leave, an onlooker who had been sitting quietly in the corner came up to me and said that he thought the pipeline was a good idea, but couldn’t say so with the PTP people present, as he worked with some of them.

    It’s obviously more easily to be passionately against something like this that passionately for, so therefore you only hear the passion. The ‘I don’t know if it’s a good idea but it doesn’t worry me’ mob – probably the majority – are not going to bother saying anything.

    In my own case, I understand the need for the pipeline but it wouldn’t be any skin off my nose if it was cancelled tomorrow.

  33. Zoom @ 86 and GG @ 87

    Zoom, I hope you have been nice to my bush rellies, and vice versa; some of them are a bit rough and ready.

    If it is the same person, I think I may have been at a dinner hosted by some mutual acquaintances with the ex Lib candidate once a long, long time ago. The ambition was palpable and barely contained. You are quite right about the opportunism. I seem to recall he was fairly skint at the time and had nowhere much else to go but parliament, if he could get there.

    In terms of significance, I think the N/S pipeline is one of those things that in itself is unlikely to change rural votes. If it becomes part of a perceived pattern of urban indifference, bullying or preferential treatment to the city mob, it will definitely change rural votes. That is what killed Kennett in the country.

    Also, while it is true that actual farmers are only a small proportion of the votes, water is a sensitive issue in regional towns that rely significantly on providing services to farmers, so it is unwise to write farmers off on numbers alone.

  34. N-S pipeline is a classic case of small minority groups getting publicity , despite there illogical case against

    A small selfish irrigation sector who hav econoic considerations and may hav been part of cause of MDB problems A small farming sector who see issue as symbolic of nearby ‘water’ being th ‘country peoples property’ And extreme Greens who foolishly put any environmetel issue no matter how ill judgee before people being able to drink

    Most sensible Country people understand water for City is a not negotiable issue and so is N-S pipeline , and would privately think & expect same principal would apply to them in reverse (should such a situation arise)

  35. Ron, could I join Anthony from a different thread and ask you to complete your words and check your posts, I find your entries mind bendingly difficult to understand.
    The parts I understood in the last post I agreed with.

  36. Re water stealing, there are a number of points lost in this debate which has not been picked up/ or ignored by the media.

    Most of the owners of water recieved it from their Dad who’s grandfather put a pump into the river and pumped until the grass grew. The size of many allocations is simply a reflection of the size of grand daddys pump. They paid nothing, or next to nothing, for many of these allocations and when you consider that the price of water ‘rights’ has gone from about $200 per mg to over $1000 in the last 4-5 years they are really pushing the envelope.
    There are water boards in the north of the state who as long ago as 2002, (Yes that was 2002) allocated to their own board member over 12 gigs of high quality ground water for about $120 per meg, Thats the “right” not one years price. One of these then famously offered to sell his 4 gig water right to a near by town for about 5 million. Huge profit huge hypocracy, some of the Nat pollies know these people and get all huffy when they are called liars, which in many cases they clearly are.
    I firmly believe that the Governments should call for a royal commision into the running of these water boards, but I suppose you don’t ask the question unless you know the answer, and people who are aware of the above facts will say things like, “well yes that is all true, but they didn’t actually break any laws.”
    One last rant about some of these millionaire irrigators, they in many cases grow lucerne for race horses ,for rich mens recreation yet scorn pensioners in the city who want a bit of water to grow thier tomatoes. This is why they are spectacularily unsuccessful in thier protests. Yesterday their rally outside the office of Jacinta Allen in Bendigo attracted 150 people, all wearing acubras. Country people know they are complete hypocrites and regional people understand it as well.

  37. Follow the Preferences @ 92 and Ron @ 90

    Good detail concerning the water management boards and what can only be described as corrupt behaviour, even if ‘legal’. Mind you, in practice, they needn’t have worried about the latter too much. As I pointed out in another post in relation to some skulduggery in northern NSW and southern Qld – I am unaware of prosecutions of water thieves. The local bureaucracies appear to be too close to the perps.

    I wholeheartedly support your call for a Royal Commission into water management in Australia. It is a national disgrace, and the closer you look at any part of it, the worse it gets. However, since both labour and libnat governments have contributed to the current mess, I think that a Royal Commission would be very unlikely. Too many skeletons in too many closets. Even just the Senate enquiry TOR will already be difficult for the libnat senators to control – they have so much that they would prefer being kept in dark corners.

    However, I would caution you against a view that somehow or other irrigators are generally more isolated from their country neighbours than so-called ‘reasonable’ country people are from city people. Many country towns float or sink on irrigators’ economic activity. Although not very visible to outsiders, there will be long-term extended family relationships, sometimes going back five or six generations. Anyway, this supposed separation is not generally so in my experience; intuitively, it is not likely either. And we all know where complacency and guessing about what rural folk were really thinking got Kennett.

  38. Boerwar, you are correct, however, there are fault lines in the bush. One point that people make about the ALP win in 99 against Kennett was that is was won in the bush. With the minority government, every seat was cruicial, however since then they have won in the major centres and anything north of the divide has been irrelevant.
    The thing about the bush vote is that in these irrigation areas they poll 70-80 % in some areas, and some of the safest seats in Aus both state and federal are in these areas. The point that they seem to miss, or maybe they don’t, is that it doesn’t matter if there is a 100% vote for the Nats they won’t win any more seats in Melb.
    Interestingly they did well in Gippsland but I think the reasons for that have been discussed, but could I share with you a comment made by a member of the Nats upperhouse team. Re Gippsland he said, “It really shows that Money equals votes.” Amazing analysis really, had this not occured to them before. Did they not notice the other factors at play. Just between you and I the Nats are an absolute disgrace, their stance on climate change is the worst example of complete lack of leadership I have every seen. It their own constituents who are suffering the most and are in most need for real scientific decision making and risk management but the Nats still trot out the old deniers lines. They just hate the fact that the Greens/environmentalist have been right all along.

  39. Zoom you mention some of the characters and you are quite right., one was involved a few years ago arguing that they should have been able to sell water out of irrigation areas then turns around and argues the opposite when it suits him.(He own 000’s if megs and is well known) he also was reported in the Weekly times of having phone repeatedly someone who was intending to run for a NFF water committee position, he abused and threatened this person etc. Bully and thug, rural people are not stupid, they basically ignore this lot and if the numbers at their protest are anything to go by they are of no worry at all to the Brumby Government.
    Try arguing in Melbourne that securing the water supply is a bad thing,

  40. Follow the Preferences @ 94

    Yep, I think we are in fairly furious agreement. I hope you don’t think I am a nat supporter *sound of dry reaching*

    It is true that the numbers generally mean that south of the divide wins every time. But in the interests of good governance, governments should govern for all, which means that they should be listening even to the folk who mostly vote against them and who sometimes don’t like what they are doing. My attempted contribution to this was to give some insights into what I believe folk north of the divide are thinking.

    There is a sad irony that it is somewhat likely that the world’s first global warming refugees (irrigators who have gone broke this year for lack of water and have been forced off their farms) are internal refugees and that they are fleeing Nat electorates.

  41. It is an irony, they however are far from the first climate change refugees, look at the Darfur region over a 20 period and the future is written large for all to see. Darfur also highlights that religion is usually used as a tool of powerful men to push their own interests in war are not generally the cause of war.
    On a slightly divergent tangent, I believe that there is a good argument that the gov’t s should get out of the water game(Purchasing) all together, sadly wait until the whole system fails and then start again. The effect of the current purchasing is just to make some of these bastards even richer than they are now.

  42. Follow the Preferences @ 97

    Well, as a potential seller of a water licence, I find the last sentence interesting, but I will content myself by observing (as I have elsewhere) that I have a bit of a conflict of interest here. I should also state that they were married at the time of my birth. *grin* But, it is all a bit academic this year. There is no water to allocate to the my licence *fatalistic shrug*

    Your general proposition of letting the system break down completely is an interesting one that I had not considered. It is an unfortunate side-effect of social/political/economic systems breaking down that one of the last acts on the way out is to completely stuff the environment. Basically, the participants have no real choices left. Haiti is a classic example. It is also why fishing communities will fish a species out of existence.

    I suspect the MDB would be another complete environmental disaster if left to its own devices. It is well on the way now. So, I would support an orderly transition supported by government.

  43. The plug the pipe people are a classic example, they have no interest in the environment and I have even heard them say that we should just make the ‘Hard’ decidions now and leave the evnironment ‘GO’ . The hard decisions are things like driving the Murray Hardy Head into extinction., sacrificing the lower lakes etc.

    Its stuffed anyway so why prop it up? You are however right. there goes one of the worlds great river systems, on our watch, gone, kaput, finito, dead. Its is dead sir, your parrot is stuffed. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. These idiots and their mates in the National party should be taken out the back and flogged.

  44. Bob Santamaria @ 99

    Spooky blogname! Brings back my childhood political memories!

    Agree on the hardyhead and local and regional irrigator reaction to allocating water to save it. The South Australian Labour Government simply tossed its hand in the air and said the hardyhead is buggered in South Oz. Congrats to Brumby Government for sticking to its guns on this one. Now, if you had to lose your job, your business and your home for a tiny fish that almost no-one sees: really what would you do?

    Taking it from the top:

    1. A federal system of governance which is dysfunctional when it comes to addressing cross-border issues.
    2. A first past the post voting system which gives nats a disproportionate lower house outcome compared with, for example, the greens.
    3. State governments of all colours which have basically lacked the courage and competence to: (a) recognise that all was not well (b) do something effective about it.
    4. Because of history of trade agreements that exclude farm produce, Australian farmers who have to compete against internal and external tariff barriers, other trade barriers as well as external subsidies. There is a direct connection between what farmers need to do to make a living and subsidies and tariff barriers for vehicle manufacturers.

    There might be an argument that the nats have been the worst perps. But there is no escaping accountability by state labour governments. They have mostly been asleep at the wheel on this one until far too late.

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