Essential Research: 51-49 to Labor

The latest weekly Essential Research survey has Labor maintaining a slight 51-49 lead on the two-party vote, down from 52-48 last time, but finds their primary vote at a new low (for Essential) of 35 per cent. The Coalition is up one point to 41 per cent, and the Greens two to 14 per cent. I fancy that Essential has been less favourable to Labor lately than it used to be, so I’ve knocked up a chart showing the monthly deviation between the two.

Which certainly provides some support for the theory, although a tendency for fluctuations in the past means the jury is still out. For good measure, I’ve done the same for Morgan face-to-face polls, which seem to be continuing a long-term trend of favouring Labor by 2 to 3 per cent.

Essential also has some fascinating supplementary questions this week: one on attitudes to political parties on various measures, which finds the Liberals well ahead on immigration (41 per cent to 20 per cent) and Labor well ahead on “representing the interests of Australian working people” (42 per cent to 27 per cent), which should tell you a lot about what the coming campaign will look like. The Coalition has solid leads on handling the economy, foreign relations (a disappointing one for Rudd) and the vision thing, while Labor is in front on “standing up to the big multinational corporations” – though not by the margin you might expect under the circumstances. An interesting question on whether various groups have too much or too little influence finds concern about the media and the banks and, to a slightly less extent, big business, unions and religious groups. No such problem for environment groups, whose influence is reckoned to be about right. Respondents were found to be evenly divided on the the likely impact on the mining industry of the resources super profits tax.

Essential has also done something I love: ask for retrospective evaluations of past leaders. Absence has made the heart grow fonder in the case of Paul Keating, rated good by 40 per cent and poor by 26 per cent, but his ratings are lower than John Howard, who scores 51 per cent (impressive work for a recently defeated prime minister) and 26 per cent. Mark Latham is regarded with something close to revulsion, Brendan Nelson and Simon Crean seems to be best remembered as duds, while Kim Beazley and Malcolm Turnbull are on a more even keel.

Preselection news:

• The Liberal National Party could have another brush fire on its hands in Longman, where discontent continues to simmer about the party’s decision to nominate 20-year-old Wyatt Roy for a crucial marginal seat. Tony Abbott has reportedly criticised the LNP over the matter, and former Moreton MP Gary Hardgrave (whose old seat is being contested for the LNP by an even more contentious youngster in the shape of Michael Palmer, son of high-profile mining magnate Clive) has told the ABC’s PM program he has been “sounded out” as a replacement. However, Hardgrave stresses it is “now well past the possibility of it occurring”.

• Meanwhile, Hajnal Ban has announced she will not again contest the new preselection to be held after she was dumped as Liberal National Party candidate for the new Queensland seat of Wright. The Courier-Mail reports a new entrant to the contest could be former Nationals Senator Bill O’Chee, himself a former child prodigy who entered the Senate in 1990 at the age of 24, before losing his seat to One Nation in 1998. O’Chee later emerged as a Liberal to unsuccessfully contest preselection for Moncrieff. In between, as the Courier-Mail puts it, he “successfully sued the Queensland Police for wrongful arrest and was then sued himself for allegedly not paying legal bills”. Also thought to be likely starters are Gold Coast councillor Ted Shepherd and former Blair MP Cameron Thompson, an unsuccessful entrant the first time around.

• The Liberals have preselected Jassmine Wood, a “small business owner specialising in water systems” who contested the safe Labor seat of West Torrens at the March state election, to run against Labor’s Steve Georganas in the marginal Adelaide coastal seat of Hindmarsh. Georganas won the seat narrowly in 2004 on the retirement of sitting member Chris Gallus, but a relatively small swing at the 2007 election made it more marginal than the Labor gains of Makin and Wakefield. Another South Australian Liberal candidate who slipped through the net earlier is Liz Davies, chief executive of Storpac Smart Storage at Holden Hill, who was preselected a month ago for Makin.

Finally, I’m doing a weekly series for Crikey in which I survey the lie of the electoral land in different parts of the country. Subscribers can read today’s effort on South Australia here; for the rest of you, here’s last week’s entry on Western Australia.

Welcome to the first in a nine-part series examining the lie of the land ahead of the looming federal election, one geographic unit at a time. Grim news for the government being the flavour of the month, I thought I’d start in Labor’s obvious trouble spot of Western Australia.

The State of Excitement (as its licence plates once proclaimed it, to the condescending amusement of visitors) is home to exactly one-tenth of the House of Representatives’ 150 seats, a mere four of which are currently held by Labor. Remarkably, they managed to go backwards at the 2007 election in terms of seats, losing two (Cowan and Swan) and gaining one (Hasluck).

This was despite a 2.1% swing to Labor in two-party vote terms, which was actually slightly higher than in Tasmania (2.0%) and the Australian Capital Territory (1.9%).

However, it came off a low base of 44.6% of the two-party preferred vote in 2004, when the state led the nation in swinging to the Coalition (3.8% against a national result of 1.8%). That result was no doubt fuelled by the loss of local hero Kim Beazley, who had led the party to defeat at the two previous elections.

In theory, that should have given a resurgent Labor all the more opportunity to take up extra slack, as it did so spectacularly in Queensland. In practice, the resources boom took the sting out of the hostility the Howard government was encountering elsewhere.

Perth’s mortgage payers were probably no more pleased than any others that John Howard proved unable to fulfil his promise of keeping interest rates at record lows — and there was indeed a strong correlation between electorates’ shares of mortgage payers and swings to Labor (with one conspicuous exception, to be discussed shortly).

But while many Sydney mortgage payers had been dealt the double blow of higher monthly payments and capital loss, housing prices in Perth nearly doubled during the Howard government’s final term.

The other lightning rod for disaffection with Howard, industrial relations, also took on an unusual flavour in the land of the resources boom. Australian Workplace Agreements were actively popular among mining workers, who feared a more regimented industrial relations regime might threaten the astronomical pay packets they had been able to command in a seller’s labour market.

A related aspect of the industrial relations issue involved controversies surrounding local Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union heavyweights (in every sense of the word) Kevin Reynolds and Joe McDonald, whose star roles in anti-union Coalition advertisements prompted the Labor hierarchy to force them from the party during the course of the campaign.

So it was that the West provided the Liberals with their only two gains of the election — a curious echo of 1972, when Gough Whitlam’s triumph was tempered by the loss of Stirling and Forrest.

One of the two was the northern suburbs seat of Cowan, covering exactly the type of mortgage belt area that provided Labor with happy hunting grounds in other states.

But here the effect was more than cancelled out by the retirement of sitting Graham Edwards, a veteran state and federal member who had lost both of his legs to a landmine while serving in Vietnam. Edwards had done well to hold back the tide in 2004, and the loss of his personal vote was enough to deliver a narrow victory to Liberal candidate Luke Simpkins in his second run at the seat.

The other Liberal gain was in the established inner southern suburbs electorate of Swan, which essentially produced a status quo result by going down to the wire for the second election in a row. But whereas the electoral gods favoured Labor’s Kim Wilkie by 104 votes in 2004, the decision went 164 votes in favour of the Liberals’ Steve Irons in 2007.

For much of its first term, it seemed Western Australia would provide the Rudd government with abundant opportunities to fatten its majority, thanks to the departure of the locally popular John Howard, ongoing prosperity and perhaps also the defeat of the state Labor government in September 2008, upsetting though that may have been to the party at the time.

A mortgage belt seat like Cowan looked particularly promising, while the Liberal margin in Swan seemed too thin to defend in any case. A redistribution proved to Labor’s advantage in both cases, cutting the Liberal margin in the former by 0.5 per cent and turning the latter into a notional Labor seat.

Liberal front-bencher Michael Keenan’s 1.2 per cent margin of Stirling also looked tough to defend, although the seat’s established middle-suburban status and older demographic profile has generally made it resistant to big swings.

Most enticingly for Labor was a decision by perhaps the most capable and certainly the most charismatic minister in the Carpenter government, Alannah MacTiernan, to contest the southern urban fringe seat of Canning, where the redistribution had cut Liberal member Don Randall’s margin from 5.6 per cent to 4.3 per cent.

However, as the election year began, it seemed Western Australia’s traditional hostility to federal Labor was beginning to reassert itself. The initially cordial relationship between the Prime Minister and Liberal Premier Colin Barnett began to sour, first over the state’s share of GST payments, which a Commonwealth Grants Commission determination cut from 8.1% to 7.1% with further reductions to follow in future years, and then over the federal government’s health reforms, on which Barnett remains the only hold-out.

Whatever the merits in either case, a perception began to harden that the state was being milked for electoral objectives elsewhere. Even before the resource super profits tax was announced, talk was emerging of “disastrous” Labor internal polling in the most marginal of its four seats, the eastern suburbs electorate of Hasluck, which former LHMWU official Sharryn Jackson had won in 2001, lost in 2004 and recovered in 2007.

Once the planned new tax was unveiled, it was clear that all bets were off: writing off Western Australia was evidently part of the government’s electoral strategy, and it was now simply a question of defending the seats it already held. This point was recognised a fortnight ago by The West Australian when it chose the second most marginal of the four, Brand, as the subject for an opinion poll by Patterson Market Research, having identified that Hasluck was likely to fall in any case.

Brand had provided Kim Beazley with a home after 1996, when he jumped ship from his existing seat of Swan as the tide went out on the Keating government. Beazley suffered a scare on the first occasion, when Labor spent the week after its crushing defeat contemplating the nightmare of Gareth Evans as leader before Beazley ultimately pulled through by 387 votes.

In suggesting Labor’s position was comparable to the dog days of the Keating defeat, Westpoll’s headline figure of 50-50 in Brand powerfully illustrated the extent of its woes. However, the two-party result did not sit well with primary vote figures that had Labor one point in the clear, a more plausible reading of which would be a lead to Labor of about 51.5-48.5.

The Liberals’ attack has been extended deeper still into enemy territory, with even the Labor strongholds of Perth (held by Foreign Minister Stephen Smith on a margin of 8.1%) and Fremantle (where Melissa Parke replaced Carmen Lawrence in 2007, on a margin of 9.1%) currently being targeted by Liberal leaflet campaigns.

While such moves might achieve tactical benefit in diverting Labor resources, it seems likely the seats to watch in WA will be Brand and, if Labor are lucky, Hasluck. However, a new and unfamiliar dimension has been added to the state landscape by the local resurgence of the Nationals.

The WA Nationals have not held a seat in the House of Representatives since 1974, and last won a seat in the Senate at the 1975 double dissolution. The party has nonetheless remained a constant presence in state parliament, and achieved a breakthrough success at the 2008 state election on the back of its campaign to have 25 per cent of mining royalties set aside for regional projects — which it was able to realise when the indecisive election result left it holding the balance of power.

Significantly, the Nationals proved the option of first resort for country voters abandoning the ALP, scoring big in mining towns and regional cities where they had not had a presence in the past.

Six months after the election, the ever-entrepreneurial Clive Palmer announced at the party’s state conference that his financial muscle would be put to the service of the party’s ambitious campaign for a Senate seat.

The Nationals have since been able to fund an extended campaign of advertising on regional television similar in tone to that which powered their success at the state election, and in doing so have also boosted their prospects for the lower house.

The most obvious possibility is O’Connor, home to most of the party’s Wheatbelt heartland, where they have loomed as a vague threat to Wilson Tuckey in the past despite consistently unable to beat Labor to second place.

The redistribution has done the Nationals a disservice in this regard by hiving off the northern Wheatbelt to the new seat of Durack, the balance of which consists of the vast Kimberley and Pilbara areas, and compensating it with Kalgoorlie (the seat of that name having been abolished after a career going back to federation).

However, a glass-half-full Nationals observer might well view the changes as a chance to be competitive in two seats rather than one, particularly in light of their success in scoring 21.4 per cent of the vote in the Mining and Pastoral upper house region in 2008, where they had not even bothered to field candidates in 2005.

If state results were transposed on to the federal boundaries (which it must be said is an unreliable exercise, given the importance of incumbent members in state country seats), the primary votes for the Liberal, the Nationals and Labor would have been about equal, giving Liberal member Barry Haase almost as much to think about as Tuckey.

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.

2,144 comments on “Essential Research: 51-49 to Labor”

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  1. [As Rudd is worse than doing nothing it is even possible that Abbott would do better on climate change!]

    What breathless naivety. I’ve got an absolutely marvellous bridge here for sale and going cheaply too.

    Jump in while you can!

  2. scorpio – agree – if this comment reflects the general intelligence of our species, we don’t deserve to survive.

  3. Vera: Won’t that mean that they’ll again preselect the bloke who significantly cut Joanna Gash’s margin in 2007?
    My grandma lives in Gilmore(Lake Conjola) so I’m very familiar with the electorate. 🙂

  4. And, if you want a BER success story that the biased media won’t report…….visit the new trades training centre at Epping Boys High School in Sydney’s North. 🙂

  5. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH),

    I think it is well overdue for you to expand your world view a bit wider than the web pages of the Greens.

    There is a big wide world of blogs and media outlets that carry a heap of information and opinion that is much, much, wider than the fixed, narrow, world-view, that you seem to have locked yourself into.

    Your views are almost like those of the asylum inmate that believes that “I’m all right, it is just the rest of the world that is crazy”!

  6. I read somewhere that worldwide sales of speedos/budgie smugglers are up by 40% – can Abbott take credit for this? 😉

  7. scorpio – I shall self-censor my reply as personal attacks are not appropriate in this forum.

    But, and this is a real question as I don’t know where following this line of enquiry will go, what has Abbott proposed that is worse than the CPRS?

    I don’t remember the detail of what he proposed, but basically it was much cheaper than the CPRS and would achieve negligible reductions.

    But I don’t recall Abbott promising legislated certainty that the polluters could continue and would be compensated.

  8. On 10’s 7pm Report last night they spoke to the refugee who Get Up is giving the surfing lesson with Abbott to.
    At the end of the interview Hughes said that they might be able to swing it so he could join them for barefoot bowling with Kev and Swanny, and how would he like that. The smile that spread over his face said it all, he was stunned and said he would love it.

    I don’t think the media would like that, they’ll be talking up iron man Tone in his smugglers and how wonderful he is to be teaching a refugee a thing or 2 out of the goodness of his heart.
    What they won’t want is footage of Kev, Swanny, Hughesy and the same refugee having a ball mucking about barefoot bowling 😀

  9. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    [scorpio, What has Abbott proposed that is worse than the CPRS? ]

    Read my post @ 2056 and for goodness sakes go and read a bit about exactly “what” the Coalition proposal is. In all probability it is “none-core” anyway except for the free handouts to the Nats rural constituents to keep them on the inside of the tent.

    As far as lowering greenhouse gasses, the Libs won’t lower them by even an ounce but just watch the number of coal mines open up while the window of opportunity presents itself.

    The rural Nats affected won’t be at all happy watching their prime agricultural land being turned into a moonscape, but they do love the Coalition holding the key to the Treasury so that the barrels of pork can again flow like a river into their bank accounts.

  10. Won’t that mean that they’ll again preselect the bloke who significantly cut Joanna Gash’s margin in 2007?

    Evan
    It will either be him or a real estate agent from Cullburra

  11. [In my opinion neither Rudd nor Abbott deserve a prime vote.]
    Michael, who deserves to be preferenced first IYHO then?

  12. I can see it now, Bob Brown and Tone on a joint ticket,
    Brown saying 40%, 40% 40%
    Tone saying CC is crap, crap, crap 😉

  13. MWH

    [what has Abbott proposed that is worse than the CPRS?

    I don’t remember the detail of what he proposed, but basically it was much cheaper than the CPRS and would achieve negligible reductions.

    But I don’t recall Abbott promising legislated certainty that the polluters could continue and would be compensated.]

    No, but Abbott’s plan does nothing to stop them. It’s all based around the taxpayer paying for various environmental measures, many of which would happen anyway under a CPRS.

    All the analysis suggests that Abbott’s plan would have no impact at all on the behaviour of the polluters and would probably result in a rise in emissions.

    It wasn’t cheaper, either – and all the expense would be borne by the government.

    Rudd’s at least puts a price on carbon.

    You do your credibility great harm by suggesting that there is some equivalence.

    As I’ve previously noted, like many city based Greens, your understanding of environmental issues isn’t actually that good.

  14. I cannot understand why something proposed IYHO that is worse than nothing (whatever that means) is worse than something that will result in doing nothing as well. Doing nothing is doing nothing.

  15. [scorpio – I shall self-censor my reply as personal attacks are not appropriate in this forum. ]

    Don’t worry yourself about such a minor detail. Go your hardest, but I have to say that such total abject stupidity and ignorance of the “real world” that you have constantly displayed here, doesn’t warrant “me” making any effort to challenge that narrow world view.

    Carry on with your propaganda, but I won’t be responding to it any further. Bashing one’s head against a brick wall leads to a profound headache. Sorry mate. 😉

  16. scorpio – I don’t look at the Greens website, but I do read the free part of Crikey. About 4 times a week I read The Age. And if The Age is not available at a cafe I’ll sometimes scan The Herald-Sun instead. With TV I always watch the ABC 7pm News. I sometimes watch Q&A. And I read New Scientist each week.

    Of course when I was a candidate in 2007 my media consumption went up hugely, and back then I did keep informed about Green’s press releases, etc.

    So I think I have a fairly well informed world view.

    Now that I’ve raised the question I really think that it is possible that Abbott’s very little might be better than Rudd’s worse than nothing. Yep, Rudd really is that bad on climate change!

  17. Apology for this being off topic but it has implications. This is a link to a discussion of the BP oil well leak problem in the Gulf of Mexico. The bottom line is that the problem is worse than claimed. The well has structurally failed below the seabed surface, and there is no way to get at it. This could become the worst engineering (i.e. man-made environmental) disaster in history.
    http://www.theoildrum.com/
    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6611

    The implication is that if this thing isn’t fixed by the relief wells being drilled now in August, it may not be fixable until enough oil escapes from the reservoir for the pressures to equalise. We are talking many millions of barrells.

  18. Gary – doing nothing leaves open the possibility of taking significant action later on.

    The CPRS is bad because it “locks in failure”. That is, if the CPRS is passed then we would spend huge amounts of money but not reduce our emissions in the medium term, and a future government would find it incredibly expensive to get out of the legislated certainty provided to the polluters in the CPRS.

  19. [Now that I’ve raised the question I really think that it is possible that Abbott’s very little might be better than Rudd’s worse than nothing. Yep, Rudd really is that bad on climate change!]

    LOL 😉

  20. Abbott believes climate change is “absolute crap”. What do you think the Greens would get out of an abbott gove******, except calculated destruction by the Liberals?

  21. [The CPRS is bad because it “locks in failure”. That is, if the CPRS is passed then we would spend huge amounts of money but not reduce our emissions in the medium term, and a future government would find it incredibly expensive to get out of the legislated certainty provided to the polluters in the CPRS.]

    Blimey! Even Andrew Bolt wouldn’t have the hide to try and pass off something like that!

  22. [The CPRS is bad because it “locks in failure”. That is, if the CPRS is passed then we would spend huge amounts of money but not reduce our emissions in the medium term, and a future government would find it incredibly expensive to get out of the legislated certainty provided to the polluters in the CPRS.]

    MWH

    How do you recnocile this with the EU experience? It seems to me that followed a lot of the problems we had in ours – ignored significant emitters, allowed for governments to protect politically significant industries and provided subsidies (in the form of grandfathered EUAs) to existing industry. However, once the system was in place they managed to gradually make it much more stringent and successful.

    (Ps I’m not having a go…kind of sad I have to write that).

  23. Socrates – has anyone assessed the odds of the relief well missing? How many are they doing? Surely there is a back-up. And finally, how the hell do they hit the old well so accurately?

  24. Good one Truthy,

    So anything Rudd says off the cuff can be discarded too. Nice to know.

    P.S. I can’t be bothered going through everything – but I don’t think I’ve seen your resume full of “real” jobs yet.

  25. This is the mob that the Greens want to form a coalition with after the next election.
    I bet Crosby/Textor are even more active in Liberal affairs now than ever.

    [That day Faulkner said, in part: “For some time now the Labor Opposition has been highlighting the insidious and corrupting influence of Mark Textor on the Liberal Party, federal and state, and his growing influence on broad public policy in this country. We now have further evidence of his application of ‘wedge’ politics with the Liberal Party, of the tactic of division and betrayal to achieve personal and political ends, no matter what the cost …

    “First, we should recap what the public knows about the Prime Minister’s preferred pollster and those who knowingly consort with him. We know that Mark Textor has learnt research strategies from extreme right-wing Republican identities in the US, [such as] the Reagan pollster Richard Wirthlin.

    “We know Textor devised a scheme to improperly siphon off Northern Territory taxpayers’ money to fund Country-Liberal Party political research. We know he implemented this fraud on the taxpayers in the lead-up to the Northern Territory election in the early 1990s.

    “We know that leading CLP politicians, such as Shane Stone [later to become federal president of the Liberal Party, as Howard’s personal choice], encouraged Textor to uncover divisive community issues to exploit, like the ‘two sets of laws’ lie [one for whites, one for Aborigines]. We know that Textor plied focus group participants with alcohol, lied to them about his client [the CLP] and about the purpose of filming the group, and failed to inform these participants they were being observed from another another room by a number of political operatives.

    “We know that in conjunction with Shane Stone and DDB Needham [an advertising company], Textor devised and implemented a push-polling strategy in the 1994 NT election, deliberately telling lies about Labor Party candidates. We know Textor admitted his involvement in the push-polling strategy implemented by Andrew Robb [then the Liberals’ federal director] and the Liberal Party in the 1995 Canberra byelection ]
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/behind-the-curtain-a-view-to-the-wedge/2007/06/22/1182019369226.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

  26. Which is a better start to moving Australia to a zero carbon economy – Rudd’s CPRS or what Abbott has announced so far?

    Though the answer is highly politically significant, the question can be resolved without political bias.

    It is only today that I’ve realized the answer might be that Abbott is better, and that is a big surprise and a bit of a shock to me.

    Now that both Abbott and Rudd don’t want to talk about climate change, the media have gone so quiet on this issue that I’m sure that many Australians think that the problem has gone away.

    Whilst the USA oil spill may become much worse than anyone had feared, it is looking pretty certain to me that global climate change will become the greatest man-made environmental (and economic) disaster ever.

  27. This is the sort of climate change denier (ridiculer?) with whom the Greens Senators went and stood in solidarity against emissions trading …

    [A think tank founded and chaired by the Liberal senator Cory Bernardi has launched a campaign to promote an anti-Earth Hour event – urging people to turn their lights on.]

    Sydney Morning Herald, 25 March 2010
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/earth-hour/earth-hour-supporters-left-in-the-dark-20100324-qwtp.html

  28. scorpio says “This is the mob that the Greens want to form a coalition with after the next election”.

    What utter nonsense. The Greens have never said that they want Abbott to win. And all they have said is they will work with whoever wins government.

    Perhaps I should start saying that Labor want to form a coalition with Family First 🙂

  29. MWH

    [It is only today that I’ve realized the answer might be that Abbott is better, and that is a big surprise and a bit of a shock to me. ]

    Strangely enough, to those of us who have been expressing concern about your posts, it isn’t.

    Someone who can mistake anything written by David Barnett as coming from the pen of an old style leftie and who shows so little real understanding of environmental issues – let alone those to do with climate change, an area I’ve worked in – is very likely to see anything put forward by Tony Abbott as better than anything put forward by Rudd.

    You may have all the Green credentials in the world, but if you talk like a Liberal and think like a Liberal, we’re entitled to think you are one.

  30. All the Greens problems with Labor seems to have started just after Bob Brown passed his beggar bowl around looking for a lazy $250,000 to keep him from tha poor house.Could any other political leader get away with this kind of personal begging by Brown from the wealthy to save his sorry arse, His integrity is shot, he has been bought and paid for.

  31. Gaffhook
    😆 good cartoon, sad thing is it’s probably true! Tone might have Truthy in his tinny on standby to tow the refugee on his surfboard out to sea.

  32. [ The Chatham House Rule was supposed to be in force for last night’s event but given the political and economic stakes of the government’s stand-off with the mining industry and the fact that the room was full of journalists …..

    Rudd’s problem at the moment is something similar. The negative is sought in every casual remark and it becomes news, and the sense of crisis continues to build around his leadership.]

    Zoomster@1902 – just catching up and saw this. Isn’t this what the Libs and media did to Whitlam – they kept telling us the Govt. was in crisis and convinced the voters so that they screamed for relief.

  33. zoomster,

    Read Barnett’s post in The Drum on “A Return to wowserism ..” and you can see that my wrong assumption about Barnett is not as silly as you suggest. I don’t recall reading anything else by him, and I’ve already admitted that I got his overall politics wrong.

    Unlike most here, I have a very good understanding of the science behind climate change. Tackling this issue is like defending the country from an invasion – you have to respond appropriately or you get the consequences.

    It is not something like health where you can talk up a “health revolution” and the problem goes away.

    I would not be surprised if Abbott has promised something which makes his policy worse than Rudd’s. That is why I asked the question, has Abbott proposed anything worse than the CPRS?

    I support most Green’s policies, so calling me a Liberal just goes to show the Labor view that if your not for Rudd, then you must be for Abbott. This view in nonsense.

  34. MWH

    read a few of these

    http://www.gmagazine.com.au/news/1804/tony-abbotts-climate-plan-under-attack

    Or this —

    http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/43223

    [How to sum up the Liberal Party’s “direct action” scheme to tackle global warming? Well, how about: a fraud wrapped in demagogy inside a delusion?

    The delusion is that the measures outlined in the scheme would represent a meaningful contribution by Australia to saving nature and humanity from climate change.]

    [what would you call a policy that sets two quite different, incompatible targets, substantially ignores the country’s largest category of emissions, touts a short-term fix as a long-term solution, and never even mentions the scientific findings that supposedly compel the whole exercise?]

    [ranted a decade in power, the Liberals by 2020 would preside over an economy that still poured out roughly three-quarters of its present emissions, with no meaningful plan for reducing them further.

    Australian per capita emissions would still be roughly three times the current global average. And as the big pusher on the block, our country would continue peddling coal — that is, concentrated climate poison — to all comers.

    Abbott’s policy is thus stunningly hypocritical. It is also cruelly manipulative. The Liberal leader has struck a chord with many Australians anxious to be reassured that the climate situation is not as dire as the scientists maintain]

  35. Rosa 2076

    It doesn’t work that way. The failed well has hit a large oil reservoir under the sea bed. They woudl have a reasonable idea how far it extends. The relief wells will not “miss” it. They will hit it, but the question is whether they will be able to relieve the pressure of oil sufficiently to reduce the flow rate in the failed well. They will then either try to top-kill (cap with a mud mix and then cement) the failed well or the whole area. This is by no means certain. That is, after the relief wells are finished, if the pressure can’t be reduced enough, the failed well will just keep gushing. The more it undergoes structural failure, the harder it will be to cap.

  36. [blockquote]It is only today that I’ve realized the answer might be that Abbott is better, and that is a big surprise and a bit of a shock to me.[/blockquote]

    Sorry, but I am gobsmacked that a former Greens candidate would be pro-Abbott. Seriously, just what direction is your party headed in?

  37. Oh, but Socrates – wouldn’t it be smart then to hit it with as many relief wells as possible to draw off as much pressure as possible? Or doesn’t it work like that

  38. The CPRS is bad because it locks in failure.

    A policy which leads to greater emissions in the short term, but enables cost effective significant action later-on, may well be the best policy for eventually getting Australia to zero emissions.

    And remember I’m asking a question. I have not said that Abbott’s policy is better than Rudd’s.

  39. Frank, have you seen The West today? They are reporting

    The Government is conceding there are flaws in the design of the RSPT
    It is poised to axe the idea of underwriting losses in failed ventures
    The Government is planning to lift the threshold at which the 40% tax kicks in – that is, significantly above the bond rate
    The tax will be applied differently to different minerals

    Now that these modifications are going to become Government policy, you will doubtless become their strongest advocate. Never too late, I suppose.

    You might also take note that several prominent Labor figures, including the Premier of SA and our own Gary Gray, have basically supported the position for which I have argued here, and for which you hastened to rebuke me.

    Let’s hope that the changes to be put forward by the Government will help settle this issue and rebuild Labor’s chances at the election.

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