Rockin’ all over the world

Hypothesis one, from Peter Brent at Mumble: “Canada’s one-term government going for re-election (after only 18 months), amidst world economic turmoil, should provide some clue as to how Rudd & co might fare at the next election.”

Hypothesis two, from Adam in Canberra at this place: “It’s curious that the financial crisis seems to be working in favour of the incumbents in NZ (on the basis of one Morgan poll) and (I think so far) Australia, but against the incumbents in the US and Canada. That would suggest that conservatives are being blamed, not incumbents.”

Let’s do a very quick whiz round to see how things seem to be travelling in various comparable democracies.

United States: Barack Obama opens up 11-point lead over John McCain. “BARACK Obama has opened up an 11-point lead over John McCain in the latest Gallup Poll – his biggest margin of the campaign.”

Germany: Merkel party slumps in poll as financial crisis hits Germany. “The CDU and her sister party, the Christian Social Democrats (CSU), fell four points to 33 percent which is the lowest level since early 2007, according to a survey released jointly by the Hamburg-based Stern news magazine and the commercial RTL broadcasting network.”

New Zealand: New Zealand Election Tightens. “In early October 2008 the New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows National Party support at 40.5% (down 7%), a tight lead over the Labour Party 37.5% (up 1%). If the Election were this weekend there would be a hung Parliament in New Zealand with either major party capable of forming a governing coalition.”

United Kingdom: Labour halves Tory lead in opinion poll: “The opposition was ahead of the ruling party by a record 20-points last week. Today, a YouGov poll, commissioned by The Sun, showed the Labour party stood at 31 points – a 10 point gain on the previous gap.”

Canada: Harper keeps sinking in polls. “With Stephen Harper and his Conservatives losing popularity throughout most of the country, the poll-takers yesterday offered the party a gloomy diagnosis: They see few signs of improvement before voting day on Tuesday.”

Though admittedly …

Italy: Berlusconi honeymoon with the Italians. “They call it ‘honeymoon’. This is no romantic movie, though, it’s the nickname that Italian newspapers gave to a new political phenomenon: Berlusconi’s personal degree of favor among the Italians, his popularity has now reached 60%.”.

Italy always was different, I guess. I’m calling it a win for hypothesis two.

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.

233 comments on “Rockin’ all over the world”

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  1. “Get people with real money to invest in real businesses that make real profits.”

    Which is, ironically, a strong argument for introducing an ETS considering the whole point is too stimulate investment and create jobs in new areas.

  2. HAH, Janet’s seen the writing the wall.

    Now watch as the mass of conservative journalists in Australia shift to Rudd and the Liberals die a cold, lonely death.

    One can dream.

  3. GP, a few years ago a senior cop and myself spent the whole hour on 60 mins, it was a highly professional show then, they were careful to be factual and while the reporting was warts and all they were respectful, i think those standards have long gone down the gurgler, we’ve never been frightened of the truth, it’s the sensationalised dont ruin a good story with the truth mentality that scares me sick, aka Today Tonight or ACA. when you protest and say it’s all lies, all you get is “of course you’d say that”, unfortunately most reporting nowadays is exactly like that, i believe maybe 5% of what i read.we’re going to get an Adelaide version of ACA next week, Chris Kenny is one of the main reporters, hmmm wonder which way the political bias will go, it certainly doesnt tempt me to change my viewing habits.

  4. No 153

    Adam, the nature of opposition is pointless populism until people are in election mode. Fact of life. The ALP was just as guilty when it was in opposition.

    No, I don’t agree with everything Turnbull has said. But he has been advocating for government intervention into the banks, which is exactly what Rudd has done. He’s not provoking any “run” on the banks.

  5. 156 GP – she still will ask the question – she has asked it or versions of it most days since she became shadow treasurer.

    Swan and Rudd will promptly slap it to the boundary.

  6. rolling out of the infrastructure progects will replace some of those jobs, climate change industries will also be providing new jobs as they go along, i dont think the jobless will get out of hand.

  7. J.B. had better go carefully she’s already been caught out putting her foot in it misquoting the P.M. a couple of days ago, that on top of her other boo boos is making her seem very shakey, another put down or two in QT will only stress how inept she is..

  8. No 160

    Yes, her performances have been terrible. First thing she should do is sack her advisers. They couldn’t even make sure she knew the official interest rate!

  9. I hardly think someone aspiring to the position of Shadow Treasurer should need advisers to tell her the official cash rate. Coming to the job that ignorant of an elementary economic figure there wouldn’t seem much hope for her. She should go back to IR; she at least has a passion for that portfolio.

  10. Well I must agree with GP 145. Our banks are not in danger of collapse and we do not face the risks US banks do. The danger is that our banks wind up with no money to lend, which leads to recession due to a slow down in economic activity. (No business lending = no new investment = stagnation). But that does not mean a complete collapse here. The fear mongering element in Turnbull’s comments was highly inappropriate though, as pessimism in itself reduces economic activity, which will cost jobs. His reputation will suffer for that. He is not coming across very impressively at present.

  11. No 163

    What I meant is that any good adviser would ensure that their principal is fully drilled on key economic facts. Journalists like to play these games all the time.

  12. What I mean is that, if she had any potential as a Treasurer she would have known that basic fact without needing to be “advised” by staff on it. It’s a bit like, um, a meteorologist coming to the job and needing advisers to tell that rain is wet stuff that falls out of the sky.

  13. Julie Bishop might know her political career is stuffed, she’s just signed up with the West Coast Eagles. lol on the board of directors that is.

  14. No 166

    Cuppa, Swan had trouble defining the NAIRU, Howard made a mistake on the official interest rate, Rudd forgot the tax thresholds. And so on.

    Your hypocrisy is astounding.

  15. Generic Person, “hypocrisy” is a hollow charge to make against others when in 165 you have reverted to Liberal Party type by blaming both her advisers and journalists for her not knowing this key economic fact. She herself escapes your blame for this.

    That’s the way the Liberal Party always seems to do it: take the credit for everything good, sheet home blame to others for anything bad.

    We see it with the economy. When the economy was booming it was (according to the Liberals and their tedious interminable spin) all down to their wondrous economic “management”. Nary an acknowledgement from them that the prosperity was brought to Australia courtesy of 1) Hawke-Keating’s earlier major economic reforms; 2) the global boom during which the Liberals happened to govern; 3) a domestic mining boom.

    When things started to go pear-shaped with the economy, for example interest rates rising again and again (after the Liberals had earlier promised to own the issue by saying they could and would “keep them at record lows”), they avoided responsibility themselves, and blamed the States instead!

    PS: Now you’re invoking Swan’s name for not knowing the definition of “NAIRU” in his early days as Treasurer. Compare apples with apples will ya, “NAIRU” is a relatively obscure term googled by Andrew Robb: as you put it, “playing games” to catch him up. It’s certainly a much arcane factoid than something like the official cash rate.

  16. 98 Oz,

    that was before my time, while aware of events, I wasn’t resident in Australia until December 2004. Anything he did before then, I wouldn’t have known about it unless I happened to catch it online and that is often a hit or miss proposition ….

  17. Cuppa, NAIRU is not that obscure and particularly shouldn’t be for the country’s Treasurer/

    I would argue Swan did know what it was but didn’t want to answer the question, which couldn’t be answered in a way that wouldn’t result in him being attacked.

  18. At last some sensible (non-ideological) solutions to the financial crisis – guarantees on bank deposits and also (importantly) foreign bank loans. This should allow credit to start flowing again. Some of the economists earlier expressing concern are now happy:

    Probably a good day to buy shares in Commonwealth Bank, Westpac or any of the takeover targets (Bendigo, BOQ?). They are too low on current profitability with teh guarantee.

    At the same time, the three year sunset clause on the guarantee is sensible to protect taxpayers. The real cost of the guarantee should be zero.

  19. There is finally a (sensible again) European deal on sorting out bank debt and credit. It sees governments taking an equity stake, not just a bailout, so that taxpayers get the chance to recover teh money when things improve. This is precisely the Swedish solution to the problem that everyone should have agreed to a month ago, putting aside stupid ideology. Sarkozy deserves credit for leadership here, a right wing man taking a pragmatic centrist solution.

    Upon reflection, some world leaders have come out of this much better than others in this crisis. Here is my view:

    Gordon Brown – credit
    Sarkozy – honours
    Merkel – conceded pass (dragged her feet)
    rest of Europe – fail (squabbled like children)
    George Bush – pass on second attempt (failed first time due to ideology)
    Paulson – fail (bailout attempt was neither equitable nor effective)
    Rudd & Swan – credit (acted calmly)
    Turnbull – pass on sup (early alarmist statements nearly enough to fail him)
    Henry & Stevens – honours (our banks never got in this mess in the first place)
    Moodies and S&P – gross failure (should be suspended from course!)

  20. Geez, I take a day off and find that the Lib-supporting desperates are still going on about NAIRU, and Swan’s alleged lack of knowledge of it.

    Stephen O’Dogherty on ABC radio this morning was prattling about “one term governments” (as a comment on Rudd’s speech to the nation last night, of all things!). Nevertheless, he condescended to admit that this time Labor might score some points on The Economy, for not sending us to the wall over the past few weeks, although they were somewhat tardy in not following Rainmaker Turnbull’s instructions on how to respond to the meltdown over the past few weeks. Anyway, it was a shame that Peter Costello (remember him?), “the best Prime Minister we never had” (he used the actual words) wasn’t there to show both Rudd and Turnbull how to manage the levers and which switches to flick, and when.

    To which John Brown’s response was, “Awwww…. gimme a break, Stephen!”

    About the right response, I would have thought.

  21. cuppa @ 169

    That’s the way the Liberal Party always seems to do it: take the credit for everything good, sheet home blame to others for anything bad.

    In all fairness mate, I don’t think the Lib’s are Robinson Crusoe there

  22. The Piping Shrike doesn’t seem to get it. Sometimes I think his analysis is too convoluted for its own good.

    [Rudd’s actions have now made a run and collapse of Australia’s banks a possibility that needs to be dealt with.

    If Australia’s banks are so strong, why the need for this exceptional assistance? The media parrots the answer given to them by the government that this drastic action is needed to prevent savings going to other countries that have offered some guarantees. But by leap-frogging the assistance given by other countries, Rudd has raised the bar even further still. ]

    I’m not considering the surge in bank stocks this morning as evidence to the contrary of PS’s theory that in protecting banks with a 100% guarantee Rudd might be doing them harm, confidence-wize. Sometimes even parrots speak the truth.

    The larger issue here, to my mind is that which PS gives short shrift: unless we did something, overseas investors might be asking “What’s wrong with Aussie banks?”. In going for the 100% guarantee, Rudd is signalling that, in the Australian government’s opinion, Aussie banks are so strong that a 100% guarantee is a formality, a sure bet. Let’s see some of the bigger players top that. This is no off-the-cuff guarantee, unless you believe that the past week has been spent more with spin doctors than it has – on the record – with banks, economics gurus and senior public service advisors behind closed doors (as well as the odd phone call to other world leaders).

    Still, we need an alternative opinion, if only to consider and then dismiss it.

    On the subject of “other world leaders”, something just came to me: wasn’t it only three weeks ago that the likes of Bolt, Akerman and all the rest of them were saying Rudd, the “Prime Tourist” should have been at home, here in OZ to attend QT and service the bizarre and changing whimsies of the likes of Fielding?

    “Hasn’t Rudd ever heard of the electric telephone, or email?” they shrieked.

    Well, now that he’s on the phone to world leaders, this is still too much for Bolt. On Insiders on Sunday he was dismissing in those paticularly plonking tones he reserves for Ruddslaughts even phoning world leaders. Apparently even picking up the phone is evidence he is a “celebrity junkie”.

    What exactly do these guys want Rudd to do? Travelling to the epicentre is a stunt, doing what they suggest and using the phone is an exercise in self-aggrandizement. What do they want him to use, carrier pigeons? Tom-toms? Smoke signals? Or would they be too uppity as media as well?

  23. Hi Spam Box #176

    Perhaps. Though there’s got to be some reason Rudd was able to first identify, then exploit, the raw nerve in the community regarding the previous government’s “playing the blame game”. After so long in office, and with copious application, they’d honed the skill finely.

  24. Just heard Abbott on The World Today say (and I paraphrase, except for the last two words):

    [Well, Rudd’s followed Malcolm Turnbull’s advice. That’s smart.]

    Definitely on another planet.

  25. Politically, all of this “Malcolm said this and the government did it” stuff (whilst demonstrably dumb on any level) is stupid.

    Surely the voters then say,”Well, if Malcolm’s advising the government and they’re listening to him, there’s no real benefit in voting for the Liberals.”

    If Malcolm’s advice wasn’t being followed, yes; if Malcolm refused to give advice, on the basis of not being in government, but did the ‘wink wink I could actually handle this’, maybe.

  26. The cheek of the buggers. The Libs are demanding a bi-partisan seat on any economic forum the government convenes, under the “They’re doing what we instruct them to do anyway, so we may as well make it official” banner.

    Elsewhere, Milne is still flogging the “oncer” wagon:

    [blather… blather… blather… Gillard is going to bring back class warfare into Education… blather… blather… and the Libs are onto her… blather

    That constitutes a message and it is this. Memo to Kevin Rudd: these guys think they can win. And they will now do whatever it takes to do so.]

    There’s no substitute for blather built on delusion hinged off wishful thinking at Lib HQ nowadays.

  27. It wasn’t Malcom (the non-economist) Turnbull’s “advice” that they followed! Lots of good economists commented on the need to extend the guarantee above $20000 in the light of Friday’s market meltdown. Here is a link to a discussion of the issue started at Quiggan’s blog well before Turnbull opened his mouth:

    There were five separate threads discussing this issue within three days!!! Turnbull can’t claim the credit for other people’s ideas. Meanwhile he was talking the economy down and the panic up, as the Australian Bankers Association said.

    One poster pointed out that Treasury had been working on the guarantee for months, making sure funding and legislation etc were OK. As a result fo a lot of skilled people working all weekend it was able to be extnded quickly after Friday’s market fall. The credit for Australia’s effective (and world leading) moves on both interest rates and credit guarantees belongs to Glen Stevens, Dr Ken Henry and a while section of people at the Australian Treasury.

  28. Seems to me that Rudd’s “$20,000” guarantee figure was predicated on trying not to scare the horses, i.e. start a run on Australian banks or a panic (particularly among the oldies who have been egged on by the Turnbulls and the shock-jocks of their small worlds). Once the rest of the world’s governments got on the “guarantee” bandwagon, we could up the ante on our own to conform… or maybe even lead. In a world where governments are giving limited guarantees on savings accounts, the government which gives an unlimited guarantee stands out from the pack.

    Meanwhile over a Bolt’s blog (no link), they’re still rabbiting on about the temerity of Rudd actually talking to other world leaders on the phone (which is exactly what they said he should have been doing instead of being in New York), and telling us about it. Like their criticisms of Rudd being “Prime Tourist” and his “taxpayer funded junkets”, the idea of talking direct with the great and powerful overwhelms their tiny minds. The only reason they could think of doing either would be to scam the public purse (a “free trip”… everyone’s fantasy… until you have to do it), or hob-nob with the Rich And Famous (probably the richest and most famous they’ve ever hob-nobbed with has been to shake hands with their local member two elections ago). Even more amazingly, the consensus of opinion appears to be that the Boltas believe this is part of Rudd’s master-plan… to get elected Secretary General Of the UN!

    WTF? They hang onto these crazy theories like starving dogs with very big bones. They’re more revealing of their own closeted limitations than Rudd’s, methinks.

  29. Well, Rudd’s followed Malcolm Turnbull’s advice.

    To the extent that today’s more positive economic news is due to local actions rather than what is being, finally, done internationally, the more significant of the Government’s actions was guaranteeing our bank’s wholesale borrowings, not retail deposits.

    Lets face it, where where those spooked by Turnbull’s nudge, nudge, wink, wink, insinuations that deposits were at risk going to put their cash? Overseas banks teetering on the abyss? Into shares? Under beds?

    However, guaranteeing inter bank borrowings makes it easier for the banks to access the money needed to keep the economy functioning. I may have missed it, but I don’t recall Turnbull calling for this. Though no doubt he’ll find an obscure reference sometime in the dim dark past if pressed.

  30. Not that I would go there to look, but the way BB describes it, everyone’s a critic over at the RWDBs’ blogs, and the more strongly partisan the contributors the more vehement their criticism for whatever are the government’s decisions in these uncharted waters. You just know that if it was their mob in office right now the naysaying would be minimal indeed. It’s real easy to sit in the spectator stands throwing small-minded conservative insults at those in the arena engaged in the history-making turmoil. Empty vessels, lots of noise, etc. At a time when the country surely needs positivity we’ve got unhelpful wingnuts working against public good simply out of partisan motivation.

  31. At this mornings press conference with Vietnam PM, Kev accepted an invite for him and Therese to visit there next year as the Viet PM’s guests so I guess The Bolt dolts will all switch back to their “Prime tourist” line again now.
    Noticed the Vietnam PM said how diplomatic relations with Australia were getting better every day. Also clemancy has been granted to 2 Vietnamese Australians convicted as drug trafficing on death row as a result of better relations since Kev came to power.

  32. Gary @ 188,

    Can you or anyone else do the maths for me? Is Fielding’s vote in and of itself enough? I just turned off QT in favor of the cricket 😉 but several of the QT questions brought up the fact that the Libs are still blocking things in the Senate. Thanks 🙂

  33. Unfortunately Fielding’s vote is still not enough Juliem but it is a good start and a good stick to belt the opposition with as Tanner just did, particularly given Fielding’s stated reasons for now passing these measures.

  34. “KEVIN Rudd’s claim of pursuing a bipartisan approach over the global financial crisis has been undermined by his failure to offer a promised briefing to Malcolm Turnbull on his $1.2 trillion bank guarantee.”,25197,24488270-2702,00.html

    Can anyone remember Rudd offering a bi-partisan approach on the GFC? I think it was Turnbull who offered it and was rebuked by “Pass the Budget” type responses.

    Giving someone a briefing, or not, is very different to Malcolm sitting at the cabinet table as he seems to want.

  35. Rudd did say he would give Turnbull some kind of briefing or document on something.

    Good job on The Australian for spinning that into “bending a promise on a bipartisan approach”.

    MediaWatch should be a 24 hour channel, not a 15 minute weekly program.

  36. [just who does the “National Resurrection Party” claim to represent? Zombies?]

    Never underestimate the voting power of the recently departed – some whisper in dark corners that it’s been holding up National Party membership for donkeys years.

  37. So Rudd says its time to spend the surplus. Any guesses on how he will do this?

    Lump sum payment for pensioners, especially self funded retirees?
    Tax cuts?

    How else do you get money into the economy fast and ensure it is spent?

  38. Holistic approach is the way to go.

    Quick injection of money into the economy – tax cuts and increase the pension.

    Back that up with medium-long term measures – infrastructure investment.

    BAM, problem solved.

  39. Rua went:
    [How else do you get money into the economy fast and ensure it is spent?]

    The most effective way is a direct cash tax rebate running in conjunction with some insta-stimulus to the construction industry. The former get’s people shopping, the consequences of the latter run through the whole economy for the next 12-18 months and drag the effect out.

    Can’t do the latter without nasty consequences though, because Howard played that card already with the GST then refused to wind it down when it was no longer needed.

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