Who’s the least unfairest of them all

No proper Roy Morgan poll this week, but they do provide results on preferred Labor and Liberal leaders. Kevin Rudd scores a surprisingly modest 51 per cent as Labor leader, weighed down by contrary Liberals and a telling preference for Julia Gillard among the small sample of Greens supporters. Among Labor supporters, his rating is 70 per cent. Joe Hockey leads a crowded Liberal field with 30 per cent (up five since July), while Malcolm Turnbull is second on 21 per cent. Possum weighs in with a post on the various Liberal leadership polls conducted since the 2007 election. A separate Morgan release puts Rudd and Turnbull head to head, finding little change since July.


• Liberal MP Fran Bailey has announced she will not contest her Victorian federal seat of McEwen at the next election. Bailey retained the seat in 2007 by a court-determined margin of just 27 votes, but the Liberals would have hoped her local popularity in the wake of the February bushfires might help her hold on at the next election. As it stands, the Liberal preselection is unlikely to be keenly sought. Labor’s candidate from 2007, former state upper house MP Rob Mitchell, was said by Rick Wallace of The Australian to maintain “strong local numbers”. However, the Labor national executive’s suspension of the preselection process a fortnight ago has prompted talk its newly acquired powers might be used to install a candidate of its own choice. Rick Wallace subsequently reported that Andrew MacLeod, a “former soldier and UN disaster expert”, had also emerged as a contestant (UPDATE: Greensborough Growler informs me he was also Labor’s candidate in 2001).

Linda Silmaris of the Daily Telegraph reports senior Labor sources say it is now unlikely Belinda Neal will be forced out of Robertson, an outcome so very recently seen as a foregone conclusion.

Alex Easton of The Northern Star reports local Nationals are hoping Stuart George, Richmond Valley councillor and son of state Lismore MP Thomas George, will be the party’s candidate for the federal seat of Page. Labor’s Janelle Saffin won the seat in 2007 on the retirement of Nationals incumbent Ian Causley with a margin of 2.4 per cent, picking up a 7.8 per cent swing. The redistribution proposal shaves 0.2 per cent off the Labor margin.

• Robert Ellicott, architect of the Coalition’s constitutional strategy in 1975, has written an article for The Australian in which he muses on the prospect of a Governor-General refusing a Prime Minister’s request for a double dissolution. This has prompted a most informative discussion in comments.

• The Australian Electoral Commission has released approximate figures on the age breakdown of the 1.2 million Australians not on the electoral roll, which progressively falls from 30 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 to 4 per cent of those aged over 65.

• The New South Wales Greens have listed nominees for state upper preselection and the vacancy to be created by Lee Rhiannon’s bid for the Senate. Both incumbents due for re-election, Ian Cohen and Sylvia Hale, are retiring. High-profile Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham is reportedly well-placed for a spot, being an ally of the locally based Cohen.

• The Australian Democrats have lost their last remaining parliamentary member after South Australian upper house MP David Winderlich quit to sit as an independent. The party is now registered only in South Australia and New South Wales.

• Keep following the by-election action on the regularly updated threads for Bradfield, Higgins and Willagee.

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.

240 comments on “Who’s the least unfairest of them all”

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  1. Turnbull last night on the news was saying how menzies was thumped in 1946 (also ’42 or ’43) but bolted home in 1949.

    Point he was trying to make was that “things” can turn around very quickly.

    His problems include ;
    – his own side may well dump him – real sooon…
    – he is not a menzies
    – he is up against St Kevin not Ben Chifley/ bank nationalisation
    – the rabble of a coalition in general against capable labor government who are
    kicking goals all over the paddock.

  2. So do the ALPers here think Australia should maintain its 4% or 24% below 1990 levels targets all the way up till 2020 or do they want to improve the plan with amendments in a few years? If so, why mess with business confidence and produce uncertainty? Why not just do the right thing now?

  3. Was funny seeing Mesmeralda when asked about the ETS amendments on Insiders. Deer in the headlights. It appears they want MORE compensation for polluters which will cost people MORE, or reduce the target below 5% which i thought they had committed to. So i wait with baited breath for them to sell HIGHER costs to the public. Sounds like a real vote winner to me…

  4. The same idea applies to other issues:
    We all know peak oil is coming, all that those that wish to stick their head in the sand can do is debate the exact date but peak oil is inevitable and no one disputes this. It is therefore inevitable that we will have to change our economy to get away from oil *at some point*. We can do it now or do it later. But doing it later will cause massive economic and environmental damage so why put off the inevitable?

    Ditto old growth forest wilderness. We know we’ll have to stop cutting down trees faster than they grow at some stage but why put off the inevitable? Why not just shift to plantations now, rather than later after unique environs are lost?

    Ditto Climate Change. We know tiny cuts won’t suffice. Why aim low and then do the hard work later (or not at all if we cross the thresh-hold into irreversible climate change) when we’ve all heard a thousand times from a thousand economists that the longer we wait the more it will cost to make a low carbon economy?

  5. [autarchy is a variant spelling, now rare, of autarky.]

    It’s rare because it’s incorrect. As I said before, arkein, to depend upon, and archein (or arkhein), to lead, are two different verbs. Arkein is spelled with a kappa and archein is spelled with a chi (khi). “Autarchy” could well be a word meaning “self-rule,” but it isn’t. We have “autonomy” instead (from auto + nomos, law).

  6. [Why not just do the right thing now?]

    We are doing the right thing now, or at least we’re trying to. We’re putting in place a mechanism that will enable us to force industry, business and consumers to shift from carbon fuels to other fuels, by increasing the price of carbon through the application of market forces. It’s the mechanism that’s important, not the immediate targets. We’ve already said we’ll commit to 25% if there’s an international agreement. (If there isn’t it doesn’t matter much what we do.) That will be hard enough to achieve. If public opinion, both in Australia and internationally, continues to shift, then higher targets will become politically feasable. At the moment they’re not.

  7. I dont see why we should pass any ETS before Copenhagen?

    I can see Turnbull’s position of putting forward amendments but we should just present them and fillabuster 😀 😀 😀 😀 then no DD 😀

  8. Molotov

    In the end we will all pay for carbon – and in the end we will all pay the market value (ie the true cost of production of all goods and services including the cost of stopping carbon from being released into the atmosphere or removing it one it’s there – whichever turns out to be cheapest at the time).

    The argument at the moment is really about whether we pay up front with taxpayer money via handout to polluters, or pay afterwards when increased costs are passed on by polluters to consumers.

    Who cares?

    Also, the particular targets – and therefore the price on carbon – will move around according to science, public perseption, market fluctuation and direct government intervention bepending on the social, environmental and politic facters at play from year to year, month to month and day to day.

    It doesn’t matter!

    All that matters is that we (globally and as individual nations) create a system – ANY system – wherein carbon emissions CAN be given a dollar value. That we find a way – ANY way – to represent the environmental impact of carbon emissions as a definate, trackable and PAYABLE cost of production.

    The rest can and will change – constantly.

    Just put that system in place for Cs sake. Then any party or government can intervene to price carbon (or set targets which amouts to the same thing) at whatever level is needed to achieve what we need to do.

  9. [I dont see why we should pass any ETS before Copenhagen?]

    I’m sure you don’t. That’s why you’re in opposition, and why it’s so important that you stay there.

  10. I can see the point to passing one after Adam but not before.

    Why should we do anything before the bigger emitters work how how they’ll structure theres.

    You need to be able to explain why we absolutely need to pass it before Copenhagen??

    You cant because it is a political decision not one in the national interest.

  11. HM, in my heart of hearts I’m an anarchist – I’d like to rip up our present way of life and start it all over again (hopefully getting it right this time!)

    However, several years of practical governance has made me a pragmatist. I mightn’t agree with the way certain things are done, but I understand that most ‘things’ have evolved over time, and that dramatic change is not only upsetting emotionally but can have all sorts of unintended consequences, some of which are worse than the original problem.

    I also understand that the bulk of people don’t like change, let alone dramatic change. Ignore the bulk of the people and – as a government – any change you make will last less than three years (given a few months of your term to get it up and a few days of the new government for it to be thrown out).

    Keating was the agent of change par excellence, and I loved him for it. The changes he introduced in the Hawke days remain. The ones he made as PM largely vanished when he was defeated.

    So, in answer to:

    [If so, why mess with business confidence and produce uncertainty? Why not just do the right thing now?]

    Firstly, we don’t have the science in many areas to work out what the ‘right thing’ is. Agriculture, for example, is a biggie – we simply don’t know how to measure its impact at present, and not knowing that, we don’t know what changes need to be made in this area. ‘The right thing’ would mean the inclusure of agriculture, but without the science to tell us what needs to be done, what can be done, and the impacts of such actions, we’d be more than foolish to include it at present.

    Secondly, the science may be in on climate change on the broadscale but it’s not on the nitty gritty. I recently asked one of Australia’s top scientists in the field (on the IPCC) whether our present drought is: normal drought; part of the natural cycle but accentuated by climate change; the way it’s going to be from now on; the start of further cataclysmic changes.

    Couldn’t give me an answer, because as yet there isn’t one. Yet before we can plan for the future in any meaningful sense, that’s a fairly basic question to answer.

    And finally (on this point) – incremental change is always more acceptable. It’s also easier economically. For example, if I said that as a result of our action on cc, you have to go out and buy a new car, new refrigerator, rewire your whole house, install solar panels and a water tank tomorrow, you wouldn’t be able to afford it. If I ask you to do it over the next five years, it would be relatively easy.

    Now apply that to businesses – say a small factory. Again, replacing everything at once is probably prohibitively expensive (especially if everyone else is doing it). Easing them into it over a few years is far easier.

    [It is therefore inevitable that we will have to change our economy to get away from oil *at some point*. We can do it now or do it later.]

    Again, major changes to all of our economy. Easier to implement over a number of years, rather than all at once. Doing it later does not imply never.

    [Why not just shift to plantations now, rather than later after unique environs are lost?]

    Because we don’t have enough timber in plantations to meet our present needs. Timber takes a while to grow, you know. And plantations are opposed by environmentalists. We had them chaining themselves to machinery up here to prevent the planting of more evil pine trees; they have been against the MIS plantings (the business case may have fallen over, but surely planting the trees wasn’t bad?) and complain that native forest plantations take too much water.

    And timber is a renewable resource. A regrowth forest is a much richer habitat (not as good as what was there before, in some cases, I admit) than a pine plantation or a monoculture of eucalypts.

    But let’s not worry about any of that. We can just stop logging now and import all our timber from rainforests in Asia.

  12. The cap bit of the CPRS is set by regulation. So it cannot be altered too much by the Libs, it may be later by the Greens.

    The Libs want to exempt agriculture, but that is not in the legislation yet.

    They seem to be saying their amendments will be in the compensation area, but Libs, please explain, how will you fund these amendments?

  13. [cutting waste and deficit]

    Tanner beat your guys to it Glen.

    Anyone want to buy a few billion bucks worth of dud helicopters? 😉

  14. Glen

    Did you just serously imply that the Libs should commit themselves to billions of dollars of extra government expenditure and fund it by ‘cutting deficit’ ?????

  15. Do tell Glen, which programs will you cut?? Every time it looks like you are (finally) seeing the light about your party’s predictament, you come back with slogans and parrotted talking points

  16. Andrew think of the billions already wasted on government programs and handouts.

    We could have saved that cash and used it on other means.

    Also we could cut all foreign aid to countries not in our immediate region that would save a bit too.

  17. How to spin an AAP wire story.

    [The Federal Government has announced it will invest up to an extra $8 billion in residential new mortgage-backed securities to support competition in the home-lending market. ]

    [THE Federal Government will invest a further $8 billion of taxpayers’ money in new residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) to support the home lending market, Treasurer Wayne Swan said today.]

    Where did the “taxpayers’ money” bit come from? Not AAP.

  18. “Andrew think of the billions already wasted on government programs and handouts.”


    Are you talking about the unprecendented Jonny Howard middle class welfare cash splash that occurred in the last few years of the previous government?

  19. But Glen, yours was the party of HANDOUTS, Labor pales in comparison. The “oppose everything” strategy has your side screwed. If you want an ETS with more compensation AND you want less debt and deficit, you are going to have to find MASSIVE cuts (and foreign aid wont get you there) or MASSIVE tax increases. Your side has nicely boxed itself into a corner.

    And, why do you and your side continue with the same FAILED economic arguments?? Have you not noticed the MASSIVE turnaround in economic management in Newspoll??

  20. Eratosthanes we could afford it easily back then.

    Did I say oppose everything???????????????

    By the way it is unparliamentary to yell in capital letters on PB Andrew.

  21. Whenever an opposition talks about “cutting government waste” as a means of funding money for something else, you know they either actually have no clue where the money’s going to come from, or else they don’t want to say what they’re really going to cut. Anyway, if there’s “waste” in federal government spending, who put it there, during their eleven years in office? Why didn’t they “cut government waste” then?

  22. Obviously not Glen. The handouts and subsidies were not one offs. Most were set up as ongoing proghrams and locked in to future spending. Howard reduced the income and company tax base at the same time as incresing ongoing expenditure to the point where he was effectively funding ongoing government expenditure from mineing royalties and other highly volitile and unsustainable govenment receipts.

    So that when the economy turned – as it was always going to at some point – there was a massive structural deficite.

    Economic conservative – my assets!

  23. [Andrew think of the billions already wasted on government programs and handouts.]
    You mean that handout you grabbed with both hands gleefully Glen?

  24. GB i wasnt referring to the handouts themselves but the fact Rudd gave away millions to people outside the country, dead people and animals.

    Explain how they’d stimulate our economy???? lol

  25. I have a suggestion for Pyne re parliamentary reform. Chris old boy when your side eventually gets back into power why don’t you introduce the reforms which will make it better for the opposition?
    My guess is Chris would drop the idea like a hot scone.

  26. Oh Glen, so now you are very happy with the cash handout in general, you just have concerns about the small amount, by comparison, of money that made its way overseas. You are so transparent my friend.

  27. What like the ALP? GB

    Hypocrisy on both sides of this issue is such a disgrace.

    The Libs for wanting it now when they’re in Opposition and the ALP for promising reforms and then being silent on the issue.

  28. [Rudd gave away millions to people outside the country, dead people and animals.]

    So it’s Liberal policy to revoke our reciprocal international pension agreements, from which we make a large profit, is it Glen?

  29. Glen

    Millions? A moment ago you were talking about billions of extra govenment expenditure. You’re out by a factor of 1000 mate. So which 1000 programs like the releif for tsunami and earthquake victims will you cut?

  30. [Hypocrisy on both sides of this issue is such a disgrace.]
    I agree with you Glen, that is why this will go nowhere. A shame really.

  31. QT is becoming a waste of time.

    It is sad IMHO Gary but neither side has the gumption to do anything about it when they’re in government yet compain like buggery whenever they go into opposition.

  32. [i wasnt referring to the handouts themselves but the fact Rudd gave away millions to people outside the country, dead people and animals.]

    Glen, You’ve forgotten to take your pills.

  33. QT is what it always has been. Nothing new.

    The Lib’s problem is failing to ask sensible questions, having no QT strategy, in fact being a rabble.

  34. Glen went:

    [QT is becoming a waste of time.]

    As a platform for serious political inquisition, QT has been a complete waste of time the moment TV cameras were allowed in – on that, Keating was spot on.

    But as a piece of political theatre – where there remains a large potential to deploy a stinging political strategy that can be inserted into the nightly news cycle, it’s better than it’s ever been.

  35. [i wasnt referring to the handouts themselves but the fact Rudd gave away millions to people outside the country, dead people and animals.]

    We received much more in reciprocal payments of like kind than we paid out.

  36. Tom if you cant play the ball dont bother posting here.

    BB I dont have the figures on that but it is possible.

    Poss the moment you allow Dorothy Dixers and a watering down of relevance QT has become pointless except for the 20second clip on the news each night.

  37. [… except for the 20second clip on the news each night.]

    That is exactly the point, the Libs continue to waste their opportunity week after week. (except when a certain email was thought to be legit).

  38. [the moment you allow Dorothy Dixers and a watering down of relevance QT has become pointless except for the 20second clip on the news each night.]

    So why the sudden interest in ‘improving’ QT? Your mod abused QT for over 10 years. I bet that if nothing is done to change the rules around QT while Labor is in office then the Libs will do nothing in this area when they are back in office.

    QT is the best sport on TV now that the footy is finished.

  39. Glen, I suppose it’s what you do with it these days that counts. Rudd managed to use it in Opposition well and has continued to do so into government – so it can be utilised by both sides of the House. Howard up until about 2004 did pretty much the same.

    But regardless of the rules and regulations that one might impose, QT will never again be anything other than ‘mostly political’ – simply because of it’s ability to insert grabs into the news cycle.

    The real action these days at the pointy end is in the Senate committees.

    I quite liked the original ALP idea of a backbencher Friday. I reckon that would be an absolute hoot! 😀

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