Highlights of week two

My federal election guide is at long last open for business – note the link on the sidebar below the Crikey Daily Mail ad. It could have done with another proof read, so apologies for any broken links, misplaced slabs of text or references to Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister that might remain. Entries will be progressively updated/corrected/tarted up in the weeks to come.

Miscellaneous recent happenings:

• Nominations have closed, and the ballot paper draw will be conducted tomorrow. The Australian Electoral Commission informs us there are 14,030,528 names on the electoral roll: click here for astoundingly detailed age and gender breakdowns by electorate.

• The Age reports the High Court will hear a constitutional challenge by GetUp! against the closure of the electoral rolls on the evening the writs are issued, as provided for by the Howard government’s 2005 electoral law changes.

• ABC TV’s The Gruen Nation and The Chaser’s Yes We Canberra! cleaned up in the ratings on Wednesday, recording 1.6 million and 1.5 million viewers respectively. This brings to mind a growing field of study in the United States on the impact of “soft news” (usual suspects: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert) as a bona fide campaign information source for those bored by or cynical of the established news media institutions.

• As in 2007, Google has put together an election site which will come into its own, at least for my purposes, when polling booth locations are added as promised “closer to election day”.

Horse race stuff:

• Andrew Probyn of The West Australian reports Labor internal polling has them at 50-50 in Hasluck and Swan, but trailing 53-47 in Canning. Labor are also said to be expecting a Greens preference split of about 65-35 compared with 76-24 in 2007. It is noted that a lower flow of Greens preferences is expected in Hasluck in particular as both the Greens and the Liberals have endorsed Aboriginal candidates.

• This is how Brisbane academic and blogger Mark Bahnisch sees his local turf:

Longman is looking good for the ALP, with 20 year old LNP candidate Wyatt Roy failing to swing voters. Petrie is showing more evidence of a swing towards the Coalition, though the LNP candidate Dean Teasdale is low profile and Labor holds it by a relatively solid margin compared to its two neighbours. (Teasdale initially expressed scepticism about the rail promise, only to have the Coalition leadership match the funding later in the afternoon.) Dickson is looking very bad for its incumbent MP Peter Dutton, with Labor’s Fiona McNamara able to capitalise on his failed attempt to defect to the safer seat of McPherson.

Electorate-level news nuggets:

Robertson (Labor 0.1%): Belinda Neal has opted not to run as an independent in her seat of Robertson, contrary to widespread earlier speculation. AAP refers to “reports Ms Neal was angling for a spot in the NSW parliament”, assuming there are any left for Labor after the voters are done with them.

Dawson (Labor 2.4%): Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission has dismissed 17 allegations of misconduct relating to corporate credit card use against Labor’s candidate for Dawson, Whitsunday mayor Mike Brunker. The allegations have been the subject of newspaper advertising by the Liberal National Party candidate, George Christensen. Brunker reacted to the news by complaining of “a serial pest out there in the Whitsundays who instigated all this”.

There’s always one. In fact, there’s often several. Certainly this campaign’s had a few:

Chifley (Labor 20.7%): With less than a week left before the closure of nominations, the Liberals were forced to disendorse a candidate whose preselection marked an embarrassing failure for its candidate-vetting procedures. David Barker is a conservative Christian of marked eccentricity, and according to Imre Salusinszky of The Australian was “never grilled by a full preselection panel and was interviewed only by phone before being chosen”. Astoundingly given the party’s form with Husic, Barker wrote on his Facebook page: “We ran a big risk running a guy who holds these views against a Muslim candidate.” He was promptly replaced by grocery store owner Venus Priest.

Flinders (Liberal 8.2%): Initial Labor candidate Adrian Schonfelder was a casualty of the first week, after he said Tony Abbott’s conservative social positions were “influencing people to take their own lives”. Schonfelder apologised and soon after withdrew as candidate, saying a car accident on the Friday had left him “shocked and incapacitated”.

Parramatta (Labor 9.5%): Liberal candidate Charles Camenzuli has received unwelcome publicity in the past week after Channel Nine revealed he had been criticised by a Supreme Court judge. The court ordered Camenzuli to stop publishing criticisms of building industry rival Beechwood Homes on his website, which the judge deemed “motivated by personal spite”.

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.

1,105 comments on “Highlights of week two”

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  1. Boerwar, the big problem with mental health, and I do mean big problem, is trying to disentangle how various parts of it are funded. When Australia moved to deinstitutionalisation, there was no hump funding to set up community based services. Part of the motivation for moving people out of institutions, apart from it being such a medieval practice was to shift the money to where it was needed and for what was needed. Now, acute bed based services such as inpatient units get Fed. funding similar to acute medical units, except you can’t use DRGs (diagnostic related groups) to determine what the Fed. funding should be. To illustrate, a laparascopic cholestectomy such as Kev is having will attract a given amount of money and the hospital will be ahead if they can do it in time, as a simple example. A psychiatric disorder, as contrast, ain’t so simple. For example, a diagnosis of schizophrenia, you might be reasonably lucky and respond well to an antipsychotic and have no associated illicit drug use, no psychosocial deficits, and live a full and fulfulling life. You might also have a treatment resistant condition, or be insightless and keep going off your meds, and wind up more and more unwell each time you relapse, and more and more debilitated. Shorter Harry, you can’t apply the same funding formula to the inpatient care.
    At both State and Fed. levels, there is a mix of funding to both clinical and NGO that is equally nightmarish.
    Shorter Harry, Abbott is doing short term populist appeal to mental health, but funding it by ripping it out of acute health, for which read some attack on the public health system. Labor knows mental health is a problem, but faced with the total muddle of funding and relative responsibility at Fed., State and local gov’t levels, are probably trying to buy some time.
    Pat McGorry will do a lovely line in promoting mental health as an issue, and it’s true the earlier we intervene, the more likely we can head off horrible outcomes, but as I’ve had occasion to say to Pat, yeah, but if you take money from our existing adult services, what happens to them?

  2. Psephos

    Yes it was pretty sneaky.

    I just looked at the candidate lists which include their occupation and contact details. Lots of them include their mobile phone number which would have to be pretty dumb.

  3. Boerwar

    [Rhiannon was fulsome in welcoming Kernot]

    Fulsome is one of those words of which I am very wary – the pedant that I am – although I reluctantly accept its modern usage as in “full of praise” – .

    From my dictionary:

    The earliest recorded use of fulsome, in the 13th century, had the meaning ‘abundant,’ but in modern use this is held by many to be incorrect. The correct current meaning is ‘disgusting because overdone, excessive.’ The word is still often used to mean ‘abundant, copious,’ but this use can give rise to ambiguity: for one speaker, fulsome praise may be a genuine compliment; for others, it will be interpreted as an insult. For this reason alone, it is best to avoid the word altogether if the context is likely to be sensitive.

  4. GG, done.

    The record lowest ever Senate vote is one vote, polled by Mark Hill and Paul Siebert in SA in 2007, breaking Theo Hetterscheid’s long-standing record of four. I doubt Kernot will be the first to achieve zero, but she won’t be far off.

  5. [Nielsen: LNP 52 – ALP 48]


    The media have made it a contest again, maybe they can be a bit more balanced now?

    (not holding breath – expect this result to be trumpeted loudest)

  6. oh sorry Wiliam I completely forgot the policy on using the f word. Delete the post
    Here’s what I wrote (minus the word)

    Yeah well after her climate change stuff up, the leaks and what not it’s not out of the realms of possiblity.

    The ALP seriously needs to get its act together. Rudd’s announcement tonight give her clean air. Time to run on the bloody economy.

    And how about putting out some adverts???

  7. remember Neilsen’s rogue 47/53 before Rudd was dumped (Newspoll was 52/48 at the time) and a poll with Abbott AHEAD will make the voters really look at him

  8. HSO

    Thanks. V informative post. Various of my friends, colleague and acquaintances have children, adult children, who suffer from schizophrenia and the system is totally inadequate. They live in hell, with suicide often coming at the end of a trail of misery.

    OTOH, listening to the stories, it seems to me that it would cost squillions to provide these families with the support they need… more squillions than the system would ever be able to afford.

  9. Michael @ 1051

    [I have been told that ALP head ACT Senate ticket, Lib (Humphreys) is last.]

    Well if it does help the Greens, good luck to them, although I’d rather it helped Labor.

    As a one-time resident of Canberra, at a time when Humphries was Chief Minister and later, Senator, I am racking my brains to recall anything positive he did to help the ACT.

    I’m willing to be corrected on this, however.

    Don’t like the Nielsen Poll!!!!

  10. [Bluey reckons that Labor should stop sacking its discards and just euthanaze them instead; for the greater good.]

    Any particular rock pool in mind?

  11. Fran Kelly said the polls for Labor would be terrible over the weekend. This was just before her regular discussion with Michelle Grattan.

  12. Shows that the polls are bouncing around at the moment. The Newspoll showed the % committed to either party about the same as in 2007. The undecideds must be shifting a bit

  13. [GhostWhoVotes has long shown an uncanny ability to be first with poll results, and they’re always accurate.]

    Yep, and Nielsen is pretty reliable too.

    We can pray it’s a rogue but the fact the government’s message has been shouted over by the Labor Judas’ leaks and continuing innuendo over Julia’s rise to the leadership and Abbott has been given a continual dream run in the media (his policy announcements have been praised – and the problems with them have been swept under the rug) not to mention around the clock coverage of him riding his bike, talking to children and laughing with old ladies…

  14. [Secular Party of Australia
    Australian Sex Party

    hmmm who to preference 2nd ????]

    The question is who to preference 3rd

  15. The Narrowing!

    Sorry it had to be said…even if in jest…

    Still long way till we get the full picture as Mr Green warns party faithful not to resort to self harm as the first results trickle in 🙂

  16. btw

    the fibs and their followers may have also thought labor were having their campaign launch this weekend.

    too bad they got the dates wrong


  17. [The media have made it a contest again, maybe they can be a bit more balanced now?]

    The media have been average and against the ALP, but that’s nothing new at all. I have once again been disappointed with Labor’s campaigning this week. They are sitting back, and waiting for good things to happen. You can’t just half-announce policies and expect to cut through in a policy-less election. They need to get out there and RIP THE LIBS TO SHREDS. They are sitting back. Let’s hope this wakes them up.

  18. However things are not as bad as they seem.

    It is just a bad week for us. If this gets very Laborite in the country to realise that it’s not going to be a walk in, then good.

    I expect if the polling is accurate, Labor will be changing its tactics and become a little more aggressive.

  19. 48:52

    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
    Or close the wall up with our Labor dead.
    In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
    As modest stillness and humility:
    But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
    Then imitate the action of the tiger;
    Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
    Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;

  20. The voters seem to be saying, in the immortal words of Barack Obama,

    [You can put lipstick on a pig; it’s still a pig.]

    Ducks and runs away 👿

  21. Oh dear, what will the Labor Right do now? If there wasn’t an election on then they would probably be getting rid of Gillard as we speak.

    But really, it seems the polls are going all over the place. Probably indicates a large number of undecided voters.

  22. Labor needs to defend its economic record. If they don’t they will be lucky to survive.

    As Bill Clinton said. IT’S THE ECONOMY.STUPID!!

  23. Again, people here try to defend the 48-52 as “not bad news”. This is nothing but pretty average news…

  24. Grog,

    I talk to a number of people across the country.

    Labor’s vote in Vic, Tas and SA is strong. WA and NSW are holding and the blood has been staunched in Qld.

    My info is that Labor is on target for a win in the 82-85 seat range.

  25. [What tactics should Labor adopt this week?]

    I think we just need to start being more active and assertive. Real Julia seems to get positive responses too. We should see a bit more of that.

    The “keeping our nose clean” strategy worked fine in the first week or so, because we were so far ahead it was ours to lose, but that leak really damaged Julia’s rep and our cred! (When Liberal zombies get free “The government can’t keep themselves in line, what hope do they have of running the country?” soundbites, something needs to be done.) We need to take the fight back to them.

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