Happy anniversary

I have written a piece on the Rudd government’s first-year polling record relative to that of the Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke and Howard governments, which is freely available in Crikey. Elsewhere:

• For those with ready access to academic journals, the latest edition of the Australian Journal of Politics and History features a look at the role of the Senate in the Australian political system by Stanley Bach, lately of the Congressional Research Service of the US Library of Congress, and an examination of conscience voting in the federal parliament by John Warhurst of the Australian National University. The Australian Journal of Political Science has an overview of the introduction of proportional representation to the Victorian upper house at the 2006 election, by Nick Economou of Monash University.

• The Victorian Electoral Boundaries Commission has concluded there will be no state redistribution before the 2010 election, at least on the basis of “current information”. The present boundaries have been in place since the 2002 election. Hat tip to Tom the first and best. UPDATE: Further props to Tom for noting below that the determination rests on a definition of a “general election” that does not count the 2002 election, as it was conducted on the pre-reform regime when only half the Legislative Council faced election – perhaps contrary to the drafters’ intention.

• The Western Australian branch of the Australian Democrats has been deregistered after declining to challenge the electoral commissioner’s determination that it did not have 500 members.

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.

322 comments on “Happy anniversary”

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  1. Regarding ABC layoffs – I take it “success” in Victoria means it reduced costs. Never mind the quality. Forgive my cynicism but computer editting is know substitute for a reel humane who understands context. Why do we still stick ot this fiction that “good management” can squeeze “improvements in productivity” from tasks that are not mechanised via any means other than forcing people to work longer hours?

    Also in light of parallel events in the banking sector, will we see similar cost cutting in the salary packages of the ABC Board & executives?

  2. Once again Turnbull is extremely irritating in bringing up bipartisanship on the financial crisis. The Opposition is not the government. They were voted out. They were told by the voters that they were not wanted in running the country. I don’t know why Turnbull thinks he should be involved, or why he thinks that what he has to offer would be better than the advice given by the government’s usual advisers on these matters – Treasury and the Reserve Bank.

  3. Turnbull is desperate for the LNP to get some reflected credit off Rudd Labor’s handling of the GFC. So far he has talked bi-partisanship and then criticised. The best he has been able to do is use lower level Treasury leaks.

  4. In a post on a previous thread, someone referred to a post on a conservative website to the effect that Labor should, given the financial crisis, somehow suspend their right to govern and hand back responsibility to the Liberals to steer us through these times.

    Presumably, only the omniscient and divinely appointed rightful controllers of the public purse, the Liberal Party and the heroic Dear Leader, are competent to take charge, and Labor should not stand in the way of their fulfilling their God Given Duty.

    It is with this mindset, Triton, that Dear Leader demands to be consulted and included in all decisions fiscal. It is his right.

  5. [In a post on a previous thread, someone referred to a post on a conservative website to the effect that Labor should, given the financial crisis, somehow suspend their right to govern and hand back responsibility to the Liberals to steer us through these times.]

    With attitudes like that they will be in opposition for a very, very long time

  6. It is quite a joke really and simply shows the total ignorance of some people:

    [In a post on a previous thread, someone referred to a post on a conservative website to the effect that Labor should, given the financial crisis, somehow suspend their right to govern and hand back responsibility to the Liberals to steer us through these times.
    ]

    If these people truly understood how terrible Howard and Costello were as economic managers they would need to seek life long counselling. It was Howard and Costello who have robbed the present of more methods of dealing with the GFC by throwing away $390 billion in surpluses generated by the global boom.

  7. oh dear–did i miss much with Turnbull’s speech? i’m afraid i dozed off and missed his wise oration, i’ve just caught Rudd slapping him down about something over Goldman Sachs.

  8. Yep now watch that become the lead story on ABC tonight and probably other media outlets.

    Is it a big deal? No. Is it evidence of the government stuffing up? No.

    Will any of that matter for the media who are desperate to suck the so called “D-word” dry? No.

  9. Re Rudd and the “deficit” – about time he did so too, he was only creating a rod for his own back. It was poor politics to carry on for so long, but he’s got in early, and by the time it happens (probably May 2009) people will be well used to the idea…

    I have been comparing this in my mind to Keating’s “This is the recession that Australia had to have”, which was particularly damaging because he had spent months denying the obvious, that we were, or were about to be, in a recession. Keating of course relied on the technical definition of a “recession”.

    It wasn’t so much the fact of the recession that hurt Keating, but the build up of expectation as to how he was going to be forced to acknowledge the reality once the technical definition was met. And he then did it with typical bluster, the “I’m actually doing you a favour” or “it’s something we needed anyway” undertone. Which did rather beg the question that if that were the case, why couldn’t you level with us last week/month…

    And the Liberals used that footage in their 1996 election campaign ads…

  10. There seems to be general agreement in the MSM that JBishop is light beer, but the AGE editorial (ta for the link earlier Judith) and the SMH turn on Turnbull may be the beginning of a more general pricking of Malcolm’s image bubble. Surely they have to realise he hasn’t cut it out in the real world, and while it won’t stop their lack of acknowledgement of Rudd’s generally steady steering, we may have arrived at a crossroads for Malcolm Inc. If he does his usual grandstanding on the inevitable deficit, I wonder if he’ll get more of what the Age dealt out beyond the realm of Fairfax? I’d love to see the OO, Hun etc flip on him.

  11. Thomas Payne

    Would like to see where the $390 million come from, if it had to do with repaying Keating’s Debt, Rudd can borrowed again ……. giving them back to tax payers is hardly wasting the surplus….. to see how a government can throw away surpluses, please see the NSW Labor Government

  12. Dovif

    TP 109 referred to $390 BILLION in Howard government budget surpluses and spending sprees, not $390 million. I know maths isn’t a Liberal strength.

    As for where the number came from, I’d bet its straight from the budget papers Costello crowed over for 11 years. He was quite happy to boast about how much revenue had boomed, and how reasonable it was to hand it back in tax cuts. Hence GPs point. Of a huge financial windfall they were given, Howard and Costello invested about $50 billion out of $390 billion; the rest is gone.

  13. Socrate and TP

    I see, so maybe it is you and TP who does not understand finance

    Budget surplus are actually money that are not spend by the government, that is what is meant by Surplus – ie Income less expenditure = surplus

    These money goes into funds for the future, it goes into infrastructure funds, it goes to repay debt. For example, if a government run a $390 B surplus one year and then a $390 defacit in the next, then the government is budget even between the 2 years

    For TP to think that the Howard Government “wasted” a $390 surplus is nonsence, because to spend it, would means that the Howard budgets must have at some point went into a $390 million deficit, which has not happened

    In the next few years, we will be spending this surplus, ie when we go into deficit. So if someone will waste this, it will be Kevin Rudd. The start is not very good.

    Increasing the First home owner grant …. has Rudd learned the lesson of the sub prime crisis? He has been to the US ….. the crises arisen because people who do not have the deposits, were borrowing and buying houses, without the ability to repay …. ie subprime mortgages … this was encourage by the US government …. Is Rudd repeating the same mistake?

    Surely there are better ways to increae home affordability without artificially increasing the price of houses …. ie like the US …. The commonwealth and the States can release more land for example

    part of 6 billions to US Car makers … yes this will means more Union jobs in Australia’s non competative automotive plants, but this money is going straight to the US to pop up Ford and General Motors. Whose incompetative cars, and poor work practice had made the companies almost insolvant.

    Giving council money to do what they want …. is planning even require …. or will we get 100 more swimming pools in every subrubs

    The start is not good

  14. [The start is not good]

    Rubbish. The FHOG is to hopefully prevent a housing market dive, we do not have a subprime problem in Australia. Money to car makers continues what the previous government has done and keeps 200,000 jobs in time of possible recession. The council money is not to ‘do what they want’, they must submit proposals for the money and what it can be spent on is limited. Try again.

  15. Dovif

    I said they blew $390 billion on a combination of surpluses and spending sprees. They didn’t actually achieve $390 billion in surpluses, because they spent so much instead. But if I understand TPs point correctly their income would have exceeded forecasts by that order ($390 B over 11 years) so they SHOULD have had $390 billion in surpluses if they had budgetted responsibly. The $390 Billion was teh size of their windfall, not their surplus. The fact that the real surplus total was a lot smaller than $390 B is precisely the point Howard and Costello are being damned for now.

  16. [These money goes into funds for the future, it goes into infrastructure funds]

    And what nation building infrastructure projects did the Howard government embark upon?

    While the rest of the OECD was increasing investment in education, health, rail and broadband we were throwing money at swinging voters. Money that drove up the hidden tax known commonly as inflation.

  17. Socrate

    That is just rubbish, unless you can find $390 billions of money that was unwisely spend, it is just conjecture. And you are really talking about big budget items and not tax cut …. because who is to say taxpayers are better or worst at spending.

    I can go into every government in the world and find any figure I want and say that was spend irresponsibily for example the NSW state government’s payroll increased 100% in 7 years, I could just say all that was irresponsible

    For about 4 years now, people here has been arguing that the Lib did not spend on infrastructure, when most infrastructure project are done on a need basis or during recessions to limit inflation. Now they are arguing they spend too much.

    The only comparison you can do is Australian against other countries and past government, we have one of the largest surplus in the world and throughout the history of Australia, and it is largest by value and GDP terms, if you are complaining about this, it will almost be impossible to make you happy

  18. The privatisation of electricity is a bad idea because the income from the power utilities is higher than the cost of the debt incurred so is financially bad for the governments finances in the long term. The government can also borrow cheaper than the private sector to build more generating capacity. Another reason that power utilities should not be sold off is that if the government owns the major generators then they can just decide to build more environmentally friendly power generation and close the polluting generators instead of having to by them out.

  19. Oz

    “While the rest of the OECD was increasing investment in education, health, rail and broadband we were throwing money at swinging voters. Money that drove up the hidden tax known commonly as inflation.”

    Education, Health, Rail are all state issue

    Broadband, Australia already have one of the highest speed in the world, much better than the US, Australia is also the only country in the world, apart from countries who still own their telecommunication companies to pay for their own broadbrand

    If Australia did spend this money during full employment …. what do you think would have happened to inflation?

  20. [For about 4 years now, people here has been arguing that the Lib did not spend on infrastructure, when most infrastructure project are done on a need basis or during recessions to limit inflation. Now they are arguing they spend too much.]

    Who here is arguing they spent too much on infrastructure??? They did the very opposite for 12 years! The only thing I can think of them spending on was the north-south rail link which went broke!!!

  21. The “Age” in giving Rod Eddington a spray for his appointment as Chairman of the ANZ Board, gives an even bigger one to Uncle Rupert and News Ltd. Should be more of it.

    [There is something deeply wrong with boardroom Australia in general and the ANZ in particular if the bank goes ahead with making Sir Rod Eddington its chairman next year.

    That’s Rod Eddington who’s a director of the failed Allco Finance Group.

    That’s Rod Eddington who’s a director of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch’s plaything that routinely puts family and power ahead of shareholders and profits.

    That’s Rod Eddington who’s a director of Rio Tinto, the big miner that bought Alcan at the top of the market and is now digging a mountain of debt overburden. (And now without a BHP Billiton bid to prop up its share price.)

    That’s Rod Eddington who’s non-executive chairman of JP Morgan’s Australian office. JP Morgan is an investment bank – ’nuff said.]

    And this bit hits hard.

    [I don’t see ”News Corp director” as a positive on a CV as all the board has ever seemed to do is whatever Rupert wants it to do as the old manipulator pursues his dynastic ambitions through his corporate gerrymander. Pay too much to buy Dow Jones at the top of the market? Sure, Rupert, whatever you say.

    Never mind that News Corp is a dud stock, directors must share responsibility for the culture that pervades the organisation from the top right to the bottom. Yes, to the Daily Telegraph.

    (Quick example: Rupert’s Sunday Telegraph last weekend wanted to do a quick yarn on how much our most wealthy had lost in the market meltdown so they contacted corporate activist Stephen Mayne who provided them with the required data. The printed story had the usual suspects – Twiggy Forrest, Frank Lowy, James Packer – but guess who was missing? Mayne told the Terror the Murdoch family had dropped about $5 billion – more than Lowy or Packer – but there was no mention of it. Yes, it is that petty and pathetic a company.)]

    http://business.theage.com.au/business/anzs-eddington-error-20081125-6hjs.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

  22. Looks like the Poms are worried about an exodus of Aussies heading home.

    [A leading British newspaper has pleaded with Australians living in the UK not to head home amid concerns a looming recession and plummeting pound are fueling an exodus.]

    [According to the paper, Australian Immigration Department figures show an average of 2700 Australians are leaving the UK each month, up from 1750 a month in 2005.

    In the 12 months to June, 13,062 Australians applied for working holiday visas compared with more than 27,000 two years ago.]

    [“There was always a case that anyone leaving Circular Quay in Sydney for Southampton dock was going the wrong way,” said The Times, noting that 400,000 Australians live in Britain.

    “But now, with more than 20,000 Britons leaving for their country every year, we need all the Australians we can get. Would they please not go back where they came from?”]

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/11/26/1227491577546.html

  23. I recall the AFR last week made the observation that Howard Costello blew all but $2bn of their windfall in their later years which they state was $87bn pa.
    Whatever the exact quanitity we can say a humongous amount of money was wasted. This was also the opinion of the Chief Economist of the ANZ last year.

  24. Thomas Paine at number 132 wrote:

    [Whatever the exact quanitity we can say a humongous amount of money was wasted.]

    Kevin Rudd, as always, has his finger on the facts …

    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/reps/dailys/dr141008.pdf

    Question Time, House of Representatives, 14 October 2008:

    [Mr RUDD—The government is committed to responsible economic management. If the previous government was committed to responsible economic management,it would have done something to invest the $390 billion which it had in extra parameter growth in budget revenues coming off the back of the resources boom in this nation’s long-term infrastructure needs.

    That would have been setting Australia up for the future.]

    (my emphasis)

  25. The front page of the AFR a few days ago citing the IMF report should be compulsory reading for anyone who still believes the myth that the Liberals are better economic managers.

  26. Glen,
    How many Democrats did Bush appoint? Or is bipartisanship something only losers seek? I’d have given them nothing and taken them nowhere. Just like Bush Cheney – real he-men who only kicked a bloke in the head if he looked like getting up. Yes – those two had vision. Obama just needs the help that only a Tory can give. Not.

    By the way, did you know those two broke/ignored a law that said the POTUS/VP could not represent the same state? Even though one came from Connecticut and the other Wyoming, in politics they represented Texas. I guess conventions are just for losers. Just like bipartisanship.

    Speaking of bipartisanship, it will be interesting to see how Obama and Turnbull “work together”. Because that is what Turnbull said he is looking forward to. I’m just struggling to find a precedent whereby the Prez checks in with the Oz Opposition leader. Maybe if young Hussein needs to move some personal assets ahead of fund freezing, I guess there is still hope for Mal and that monstrous ego of his. POTUS seeking help on Oz didn’t happen with Bush and Latham and I can’t understand why!

  27. Oz, maybe you did not notice, Kevin Rudd is sitting on the following infrastructure war chest created by the Howard-Costello surpluses

    $5 billion endowment fund for university campuses
    $22 billion Road and Railway Fund
    $2 billion Future Fund

    in additional to the surpluses

    These fund could not be spend when there is 2% unemployment, because there is no people to work on these project, to adopt these during 2% unemployment will cause massive skills shortage and therefore massive inflation, that is why the funds were created to be spend now

    Howard had the highest surplus and we have “experts” in here who said he spend too much. Howard also through Keating and Hawke spend too much, he spend his first budget cutting a lot of the excesses.

    Since Thomas Paine, Socrate, Oz etc thinks that Howard are hugh spenders. Like Howard, a new government would have plenty of area to cut spending …… so what did Kevin Rudd cut …… apart from health, NOTHING!!!!!!!!!…. and he had a larger mandate than Howard had and is more popular

    So Kevin Rudd has Kept all of Howard’s “excessive” spending, – the tax cuts, the spending on federal roads, the spending on Public private school and defense Kevin Rudd agreed with them. Maybe the next time you talk about Howard, you will need to include Rudd in the same sentance.

  28. [Oz, maybe you did not notice, Kevin Rudd is sitting on the following infrastructure war chest created by the Howard-Costello surpluses]

    Oh hush.

    Neither Howard nor Rudd “created” any surplus’. The surplus’ are there because of our hard working miners. I keep asking Liberals to elaborate on what Howard did to “create” the surplus’ besides sell revenue generating public assets and ride taxes from the mining boom. No one has yet given me an answer.

  29. Anyone hear the Telsta guy say that the Govt has recieved $50 billion from the sale of Telstra and that it is now upto shareholders to decide what they do?

    Given that Costello “paid off” debt exclusively by asset sales, what economic miracle did he really perform? 😛

  30. [Since Thomas Paine, Socrate, Oz etc thinks that Howard are hugh spenders. ]

    The IMF said that.

    [so what did Kevin Rudd cut …… apart from health, NOTHING!!!!!!!!]

    What? Rudd hasn’t “cut” anything in health. What he has cut is fat out of government departments (See the very recent IT stuff, winding back on contractors) and he’s cut sad, vote-grabbing handouts. They’re just two off the top of my head.

  31. Oz,

    How about the $420 million to upgrade the Dept of Immigration IT system, trumpeted by the Hoard Govt, that is still performing worse than the original.

    Or the Half a billion to implement Workchoices at a departmental level (excluding advertising).

    A lazy billion for one company. 🙁

  32. Dear Mr BillBowe Baggins,

    I notice that at the same time you were allegedly “writ(ing) a piece on the Rudd government’s first-year polling record relative to that of the Blah, Blah, Blah and Blah-Blah governments”, you were also posting profanties of a most intimate nature and casting unfounded aspirations upon the fine per-mier of our nation’s most populous state, all on a certain bolg that shall remain nameless (but which has lots of mice involved). Is life so dreadfully boring in Kevin0Heavenland that even your good self is reduced to scrawling naughty words on the blackboard? I am hocked and shorified.

    Happy anniversary! Hic.

    Twain

  33. I wonder how long Turnbull can keep a lid on these fanatics, while the hard-right string-pullers stand behind him with knives poised …

    [ … A number of Coalition MPs and Senators argued vigorously to retain key principles of Work Choices, including Australian Workplace Agreements …]

    Sydney Morning Herald, 26 November 2008
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/opposition-to-back-demise-of-work-choices/2008/11/25/1227491548459.html

    Then there’s Julia Gillard, Questions Without Notice, House of Representatives, 25 November 2008:

    [And we know that across the Liberal Party support for this kind of extremism is strong. On 8 February this year a senior frontbench member of the Liberal Party was quoted in the West Australian newspaper as saying:

    We are prepared to die in the ditch over individual statutory workplace agreements.]

    http://www.openaustralia.org/debates/?id=2008-11-25.13.2

  34. MT, I direct you to Article 2 of comment moderation guidelines for an exposition on my highly nuanced attitude to rude words. Consider the incident to which you refer a mark of my respect for the curator of the site in question, who once found occasion to remark: “I found a way of banning those bastard smiley faces from the comments section. From now on we’ll have to express our emotions through the magic of swearing.” As the expression goes, or should go: “when in Rome, call Nathan Rees a useless ****”.

  35. Scorpio @ 131

    I wonder where one million Australian expats are going to live? I hope the Labor Government has not allowed our border defences to decay too much from the extraordinary standards of the erstwhile L*beral N*tional Coalition Government.
    I look forward to the photos in the OO of baby expats being flung overboard from self-sinking ships. I suppose there could finally be a good use for Howard’s Christmas Island White Eleph*nt or we could swap them for New Zealanders (say at two-for-one). Then again, Nauru and PBG would babysit quite a few, at a price.
    On the other hand, the Australian Government might say, ‘Hey, this is a fantastic human resource; full of skills, initiative and experience. Let’s develop a targetted strategy to welcome them back and get them entrepreneuring in Australia.’

  36. William, I suggest to you that your allegedly ‘highly nuanced’ attitude to rude words and smiley faces is negated by your bald statement that “we don’t do fun here”. If we can’t have fun with Nathan Rees, we should all pack up our buckets and spades.

    PS, I have yet to find an alternative Rees (or Reese) to which the amphibian might have been referring. Perhaps all Nathan Reesi are ****s as a result of some weird genetic mutation. I think this highly likely.

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