Happy new year: week two

In the continuing absence of new polling, enjoy the following news snippets:

• Amid lingering rumours of a late February state election in Queensland, Lawrence Springborg has floated the possibility of Mal Brough entering state politics by contesting a Labor-held seat. Such would be the only option available to him given the Liberal National Party merger arrangement which guaranteed all sitting members uncontested preselections. Party sources quoted by Mark Bahnisch in Crikey “rule out any possibility that the Borg has seriously approached Brough. It would appear instead that the LNP’s polling suggests continued weakness and scepticism among urban and outer suburban Liberal voters – whose support the opposition desperately needs to be within even a mile of toppling Bligh.”

• The new Electoral Commissioner, Ed Killesteyn, began his five-year term on Monday. Killesteyn has almost swapped roles with his predecessor Ian Campbell, who is now secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs – of which Killesteyn was previously a deputy secretary.

UMR Research has published one of its occasional surveys on attitudes to republicanism, which shows both support and opposition losing ground to “don’t know” over the past six months. Other findings are that “men and younger Australians (are) more in favour of a republic”, and that support for an elected president remains overwhelming.

• Only one week to go until South Australia’s Frome by-election, which you can read about and comment on here. Despite a preference swap between independent Port Pirie mayor Geoff Brock and Nationals candidate Neville Watson, there seems little reason not to think Terry Boylan will easily retain the seat for the Liberals.

• Dig Wikipedia’s animation showing the evolution of Australia’s state and territory borders (hat tip to VexNews).

NOTE: No further discussion on the situation in the Middle East, please. There are plenty of more appropriate places for it elsewhere.

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.

204 comments on “Happy new year: week two”

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  1. [NOTE: No further discussion on the situation in the Middle East, please. There are plenty of more appropriate places where it can be discussed elsewhere.]

    That will reduce the amount of posts 🙂

    But seriously, Who saw those poor self-funded retirees being “Forced” to rey on the age pension because of the Financial Crisis, and the meeja trying to blame Rudd for it.

    Isn’t this a case of having too many eggs in one basket ?

  2. One by one they do go. It used to be the BIG 5 accounting and auditing firms: Arthur Andersen, PriceWC, Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche and KPMG. AA was Enron’s auditor and now is kaput. PWC took over a lot of AA business when it went bust. Now PWC is Satyam auditor, will it go the way of AA and the Wall St Investment Banks? Yes, it is Global Fraud and Financial Crisis.

    [In the wake of Satyam fiasco, stockbrokers are panic selling the shares of the companies where PWC has been an auditor. The 102 companies where PWC is the auditor has seen a steep fall in the price since Ramlingam Raju informed the SEBI about the fraud. Since the Satyam accounting scam broke out, most companies audited by PWC are trading lower in the range of 5 and 15% on an average daily. ]


  3. This here gives a good indication that the GFC may just turn out to be the most diabolical financial crisis ever faced.

    [The Bank of England on Thursday cut its key lending rate by half a percentage point to 1.5 percent, the lowest level in its 315-year history, to ward off any threat of deflation in a sharp economic downturn.

    The decision left British borrowing costs at their lowest since formation of the Bank of England in 1694, reflecting the seriousness of a slowdown which has left the country on the brink of recession.

    “The (monetary policy) committee judged that, looking through the volatility in inflation … there remained a significant risk of undershooting the 2.0 CPI (consumer prices index) inflation target in the medium term at the existing level,” the Bank of England (BoE) said in a statement.

    The move reflected concern that inflation could fall toward zero while some economists fear Britain may even experience deflation — a prolonged period of falling prices — which on top of a looming recession, could strangle the economy.]


    1694 is sure a long time ago and the forecast is for the UK to reach a zero interest rate early this year. This has got to compound KR’s headache somewhat.

  4. Scorpio @ 4

    Looking messier and messier in the poundzone und der eurozone… euromanufacturing has the staggers.

    However, ill winds and all that… It is not all doom and gloom. Apparently, in an effort to gain market share, some mortgage lenders in the UK (pre-Crisis, natch) offered interest rates at 1% less than the official base rate. So, if the UK interest rate falls just another one per cent, which is very likely, borrowers may be receiving a monthly cheque from the lenders *very broad grin*.

    As usual, those appropriately-valued contributors to the welfare of the human race, viz: legal persons, smelling other people’s blood, are beginning to line up.

  5. The Courier Mail continues its push for an early election. Dennis Atkins weighs in with the News Ltd tub thump with stories of planets in alignment with the West Australian result being a good one for Queensland Labor.

    Bligh needs to hold her nerve against these urgers and go at a time more suited to her own agenda than those of the Courier Mail and the Liberal National Party for which the Courier Mail is their major mouthpiece.

    Once the Labor Primary vote has been confirmed by Newspoll at 50% would be a saner option.


  6. Frank @ 2

    And that is not all. I am still waiting for the Rudd Government to ensure that when I fish for trout, I catch them. Far too many uncertainties remain in the angling sport for my liking. Neither Howard nor Rudd did anything about it. Yet another example of the dreaded HowRudd Convergence. But, I digress.

    You raise the interesting issue of risk. Apparently we are all to live in a risk-free world. This will be excellent for everybody from self-funded retirees, readers of The Australian, pensioners of every sort, middle class welfare rorters, the mad, the bad and the sad, rent-seeking company CEOs, enterpreneurs, capitalists, the workers, social parasites, criminals and all those who want neither to experience climate change nor the consequences of actually doing anything about it.

    It will be the Rudd Government’s proudest boast:
    ‘We came, we saw and we saved everybody from everything.’

    Once the Irish Government was first to guarantee bank deposits, the risk rot simply went global. Ireland used to contribute literary excellence and pathos to the world. It has now has had a pernicious seminal role in global risk rot.

    Anyway, now that governments are going to protect everybody from every risk, I am relishing the thought of the arrival of the first Australian Five Year GOSPlan.

    No child will live with risk by 2020.

    Ave magic pudding.

  7. Steve @ 9

    Imagine the CM if she ‘goes early’. She will get hammered for forcing voters to the polls when it is not necessary. The Conservatives are just barely holding it together now. Another few months will merely increase the pressures – particularly if they get to the point of realizing that they co-inhabit a turkey *grin*.

  8. Boerwar, I can’t see that there would be any great loss to Bligh in waiting for the March Newspoll to come out. I also thought it was very unfair of the Australian to hang onto Malcolm MacKerras’ article about his predictions for so long when they were clearly based on the September Newspoll. Things have changed so significantly since then. I think he should have been given the option to update his predictions based on later information since he actually wrote is article before the change had become obvious.

  9. Steve

    I also hope she stitches up the Green preferences on broad scale clearing early. She should get the trade-offs in place early, and get some Green assurances a decent percentage split on the preferences. The Greens need to get rid of all this grass-roots democracy stuff, and deliver some power through party discipline.

    In any case, I hope she wins it, whenever it happens. Springborg is what you would call a genuine worry, and he is by far not the worst of his crowd.

  10. Perhaps William could get an update from Mackerras on what his current thinking is.

    Boerwar, I’m not convinced about secret internal polling alone. Unless it is confirmed by public polling, I don’t think it is worth a cupful of cold water.

    When Ronan Lee defected to the Greens my initial thoughts were that Indooroopilly would be won by the Liberal National Party. Given the collapse of their vote since and with Lee obviously snapping at their heels over tree clearing, it might end up being a decent bunfight.

  11. Nor would I be surprised if the Courier Mail is carrying out a Galaxy Poll this weekend. Take no notice of Galaxy until after an election is called is the lesson from the last Queensland election.

  12. As we’ve said before, the most important measure of Rudd’s success or otherwise in 2009 will probably be unemployment. The US job figures are out, as those who watched Wall St tank again will know, and they’re not good. Unemployment is up to 7.2% (it’s 4.3% here)

    [A staggering 2.6 million jobs disappeared in 2008, the most since World War II, and the pain is only getting worse with 11 million Americans out of work and searching. Unemployment hit a 16-year high of 7.2 percent in December and could be headed for 10 percent or even higher by year’s end.]

    And those with jobs are being made casual or are working less hours so the figures are even worse than they appear.

    [Employers also are cutting workers’ hours and forcing some to go part-time. The average work week in December fell to 33.3 hours, the lowest in records dating to 1964 _ and a sign of more job reductions in the months ahead since businesses tend to cut hours before eliminating positions entirely.]


  13. If Anna Bligh has any sense at all she will take absolutely NO notice whatsoever of the prognostications of the Courier Mail and especially Atkins who is a longtime Coalition mouthpiece.

    The LNP received a modest boost after amalgamation but nowhere near what the Galaxy and Newspoll figures soon after tried to show. I never believed those figures for a minute because there was nothing whatsoever happening here to produce such a dramatic lift in their support.

    Anna Bligh should just ignore the CM’s LNP cheer squad and carry on with providing Queenslanders with good government and go later in the year as she has said she would on numerous occasions. Further divisions in the LNP rabble during the year will only ensure a comfortable return of an experienced, competent Labor Government.

  14. It looks as though John Howard, not content to leave the liberal party in disarray after the last election, is trying to destablise Turnbull’s effort now.

    [The move would set Senator Joyce up to take over the leadership of the Nationals and a senior frontbench portfolio.

    The change would allow the high-profile senator to play a key role in a strategy to win back the “Howard battlers” who deserted the Coalition at the last election.

    Speaking to The Weekend Australian in his home town of St George, Senator Joyce called on former treasurer Peter Costello to either quit parliament or join the Opposition front bench.

    Senator Joyce expressed his opposition to a federal merger of the Liberals and Nationals, and he broke ranks with Malcolm Turnbull over Iraq, the Murray-Darling, industrial relations and the Rudd Government’s $10 billion economic stimulus package.

    The former prime minister is understood to have urged Senator Joyce to switch to the Lower House to help woo Labor supporters who returned to the fold at the 2007 poll after a lengthy spell of voting for the Coalition.

    Demonstrating a keen interest in Coalition affairs 14 months after his electoral defeat, Mr Howard has told Senator Joyce he would appeal to conservative, working-class voters, and that his presence would boost the Coalition’s electoral prospects. ]


    This should only result in tears all round and should be a lot of fun. Look forward to a concerted media campaign to see this eventuate. Destablisation such as is likely to be a product of a switch and leadership challenge by Joice, will be endless fodder to fill countless pages of newsprint.

  15. I ommitted the first bit.

    [NATIONALS Senate Leader Barnaby Joyce is considering a switch to the House of Representatives after being urged to do so by John Howard.]

  16. This has to be one of the most hypocritical story ever:

    [THE Rudd Government denied a request from the Bush administration to resettle 17 Chinese locked up in Guantanamo Bay military prison after a number of warnings from Beijing not to take the former terror suspects.

    Beijing heavily lobbied the federal Government against resettling the group of Muslims from northwestern China, known as Uyghurs, whom the US has cleared but refuses to send home for fear of their torture and possible execution. ]


    OMG, what have they been doing at Gitmo? Enjoying the sunshine and the hospitality of the US Govt. No, they were tortured and mis-treated by the same Govt that is now worrying that they might be “tortured and possible execution” and try to pin the blame on the Chinese and Australian Govts.

  17. I’m suffering poll withdrawals so went looking for some. All I came up with was Roy Morgan saying Consumer confidence is up for the 6th week in a row to 104.1 and he’s also got one saying Real unemployment is 6.4%.
    Also found one saying Gordon Brown is falling behind (that’ll make Glen happy) Tories have a 7 pt lead.

    here’s an oldie about polls from Yes Minister (sorry if it’s already been posted here )

  18. Finns

    Get with the program. In Gitmo, they were only subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” and there were a few “unfortunate losses of life”. I don’t know where you got the idea that they were tortured or faced possible execution. 😉

  19. Scorpio @ 12 – Joh for Canberra all over again. And this bunch want us to forget 12 years of Howardism and trust them with running the country again 🙂


  20. Scorpio @21
    that article brings back memories of the Joh for PM push.

    Joyce has as much appeal to “battlers” as my little finger. A first class buffoon who hasn’t even figured out his political allegiance.

    Bring it on for the entertainment value.

    ps wonder if brough was part of the blancmange

  21. First Home buyers are queuing up to get the grants announced in the economic stimulus package according to the Queensland Treasurer.

    [Mr Fraser said the state’s incentives, along with the federal government’s boost to the first-home buyer grant and the Reserve Bank’s decision to cut 300 basis points off the official cash rate since September had prompted the huge spike in applications.

    “It’s an encouraging outcome considering the economic climate and the usual slowdown over the Christmas period,” Mr Fraser said.

    “No-one is suggesting we’re out of the woods yet, but this is definitely an indication that the stimulus measures put in place by the state and federal governments are working as intended.”]


  22. It’s a bit of a slap in the face to Springborg by Howard. Springborg has always had one eye on the Federal seat of Maranoa should he never win a Queensland election as perpetual Opposition Leader and now the turf is being cut out from under him. No wonder he has been reduced to staring at trail blkes as he contemplates retirement.

  23. I just wish that Howard continues to interfere in the Coalitions business. After all he was lauded numerious times last year with the reward by Bushjuniour as icing on the cake. Why, Howard could forever be ruler of the Libs and guide them to further defeats.

  24. William

    ar you suggesting there be no more posts about non domestic oz politics maters , or only no more posts about one georapgical part of th world th M/E , why is USA able to be discussed or th EU but not th M/E ….fairer to ban th lot , th non oz World

    But allowing discusion on th US does by definition include th M/E…its th US’s biggest FA problam and domonates ALL US Media

    Even restricitng discussion to oz politcs means oz FA still includes th M/E , unles we allow oz politcs FA but exclkluding oz FA M/E subjects

    Also M/E icludes Iraq , well alot of people here (rightly) wish to continue to critisise US FA presence there in M/E Iraq and its motives , and that wuld be banned

    Now if we were to ban talking about just one little secton of th M/E , th Israeli Palestinien area of M/E only , that happens to be critical part of australian politcal discussion , also of US FA discussion , also of affect on oil proces , and lastly leaves Israeli Palestinien area of M/E only to JUST th MSN….an organ that has not been even handed

    As “events’ world wide ocur th posts spike on that subject …curent news IS Israel and Palestiniens invasion and it is world wide news front pages so curse its dominates posts,…..and as an other world evennt ocurs like then probably spikeof posts drop abit … when Georgia got invaded th posts spiked …and then later get posted on less frequentley…ditto hapenings with Pakistan threat recently to US ..ditto CC …ditto right now with India th Satyam IT fraud spiked in posts ..but will dimiish as event dies in news but later may get less frequent referenses

    Now for moment cann’t think of mor arguments for thought except even a twinkling of unintended “restraint of discussion of a subject” especialy of especialy israel of all countrys & subjects is not what one wants unintended , it potentialy gives inocently wrong impressions because blog sites intend to discuss what th MSN dare not to discuss , and blog sites intend alos discuss what th MSN choose to discuss in only uneven handd way…or telingly th MSN discuss what they in there sole discretions of opinion control want to discuss and on;ly selectively to what depth or selectave data published

    So blog Sites should be a brood Church allowing a ron to go against traditional views in western society criticising israel on my principals & I don’t apologise one bit for thems Balanse counts , someting th MSN does not hav , and a view not to over blog a subject should apply WHEN th ‘event” is not front page news

    and also now i think about it another reeson to throws up here , people reely do not hav to read my well ritten stuff anywat as there’s a skip button on a keyboard if people do not like a subject blogged on , so perhaps restraint is word , rather than a nice please thats sort of a reely ban

  25. Finns

    I think I’m going to change to a new gravatar of one of my heroes who is less cynical than Diogenes but keep the old name. Let’s call it a New Year’s resolution.

  26. Jeez Ron. I don’t come here to see oz politics threads get hijacked by middle-east discussion. There are MANY other places to discuss it. And don’t worry, with your spelling, I tend to skip your posts anyway.

    /angry mini-rant

  27. [As we’ve said before, the most important measure of Rudd’s success or otherwise in 2009 will probably be unemployment.]
    Only to this extent IMHO – We all know unemployment will go up around the world and it will go up here. No government will prevent that. I believe most Australians are resigned to that and understand that it is a world problem, not a Rudd Labor government problem caused by the Rudd Labor government.
    Rudd will be judged on what he TRIES to do rather than whether he succeeds or not. If he is seen to be doing nothing, he will pay. If he is seen to be doing everything he can, he won’t. I bet the latter is firmly in Rudd’s sights.

  28. I think William has been more than generous letting the ME issue run for as long as it has. It really is time to move on and deal with political matters. You can argue that war is all about politics etc. but I think we all know what this site is all about and war doesn’t really ‘fit the bill’ (so to speak).

  29. Gary

    [Rudd will be judged on what he TRIES to do rather than whether he succeeds or not. If he is seen to be doing nothing, he will pay. If he is seen to be doing everything he can, he won’t.]

    I think that’s only partly true. If he tries and his policies don’t work, he will still suffer although not as badly as if he said that market forces should purge jobs. The public is smart enough to know that unemployment will get worse no matter what. The bar won’t be set very high on him succeeding and he’ll be compared with the US, UK etc.

    If unemployment goes up less than in the US, UK etc (which will probably be the case looking at the shocking figures from the US), he will be judged to have tried and succeeded and be rewarded with the title “responsible economic manager” and walk into another term, especially as there doesn’t seem to be an Opposition ATM.

  30. So Gary Bruce

    there will be no further blogs on th Iraq war or Iraq

    so Bob 1234
    You say you do not read my posts….then how th hell do you know what i say in them

  31. Yes, but Diogenes you forget about the opposition. What would they have done differently? Nothing? Everything? Who knows?

    People tend to shirk that off for a decisive government.

  32. Just wondering how the industry funds got in Cbus ect in the fallout from the GFC,I tend to think a lot of the self funded retires may have been in private funds, or insurance co funds the ones it takes 5 yrs to pay the fees and you still pay for them till you retire.
    Is this correct or not anyone have an idea thanks

  33. bob1234

    “Ron, your english is poor so i’ll forgive you for not reading that I say i “tend” to skip your posts.”

    so i’ll forgive you ?
    well that makes me feel alot lot beter……like almost redeemed to …..

    I actualy do not mind if you skip ALL my posts , that way if M/E is mentioned in my posts by chanse you’ll never know and you will never ever be anoyed again at all

    Which was my point to William ..freedom to critisise th normative MSN’s uncritisisable , and freedom for peoples to skip my criticising posts My principals proivise for all , not selective peoples selectively deciding subjects for me

    I just want you to be happy bob1234 , so skip me and be happy , and why not bob 123456789

  34. bob1234

    As I said in my post, there doesn’t seem to be an Opposition. There’s a few lazy gits sitting opposite the Government but they certainly aren’t an Opposition.

    I honestly think that the Liberal pollies in SA PREFER being in Opposition. If you’re lazy and incompetent, there’s no better job. You just turn up in the office for a few hours, get a staffer to read you the highlights of the paper, whinge a bit about something trivial to the media so the voters know you’re still alive and go home early. I’m beginning to think the Federal Libs have discovered the new relaxed pace of a few terms in Opposition.

  35. [there will be no further blogs on th Iraq war or Iraq]
    That’s up to William to decide Ron but if he is consistent he will allow a bit of discussion and then put a stop to it. I wouldn’t be surprised if this hasn’t happened in the past by the way.

  36. William asked for no further comments on “the situation in the Middle East”. He was clearly referring to the latest hostilities between Israel and Palestine, not the Iraq War etc.

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