D-day minus 9

If the campaign pattern to date is anything to go by, the present opinion poll drought should be broken tonight by Morgan, albeit in the form of a fairly small sample phone poll. For something meatier we will presumably have to wait until Nielsen tomorrow evening. Talk from the Labor camp is of “momentum” shifting their way, but confidence is placed no higher than that. Lyndal Curtis on PM says Labor insiders are “beginning to feel a little bit more optimistic”, while Matthew Franklin of The Australian says his sources agree “the result would be close and Queensland remained the key”.

“Sandbagging” has emerged as the buzzword of the late campaign, with Lenore Taylor of the Sydney Morning Herald finding Labor has targeted “ultra-marginal seats” with $1.56 billion in grants drawn from funding set aside in the federal budget. Yesterday brought the campaign’s biggest item of targeted largesse so far:

Bennelong (Labor 1.4%) and Parramatta (Labor 9.5%): Julia Gillard yesterday promised a $2.1 billion contribution to the 14 kilometre rail link between Parramatta and Epping, which currently constitutes a missing link between Sydney’s west and north. However, federal funding will not appear until 2014-15, lest it prevent the budget getting back in surplus in 2012-13. The present state government, which promised the project a decade a go but put it on the back-burner when it announced its transport strategy in February, promises to provide the remaining $520 million upfront, allowing work to start next year with completion scheduled for 2017. However, Barry O’Farrell says a state Coalition government would prefer to prioritise a north-west link from Epping to Rouse Hill and a south-west line from Glenfield to Leppington, which Labor has chosen to overlook. It is perhaps notable that they cover the less electorally interesting terrain of Mitchell and Werriwa. Beyond the more obvious beneficiaries of Bennelong and Parramatta, Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald notes a Parramatta-Epping link would further “alleviate pressure on the city-bound western line which services commuters in other key marginal seats further west such as Lindsay, Greenway and Macquarie”.

Flynn (Labor 2.3%): Flynn has been the target of frenzied efforts from Labor in recent days, the town of Emerald alone (population 19,000) being targeted with a GP super clinic announcement from Nicola Roxon on Tuesday (Anna Caldwell of the Courier-Mail notes a trend of fortuitous placement for most of the state’s 13 such facilities) and a promise of $6 million to improve local sports facilities from Wayne Swan yesterday. The electorate’s dominant city, Gladstone, was targeted by Swan with $95 million for upgrading Calliope Crossroads on top of $55 million previously promised by both parties, and $50 million for the final stages of the Gladstone Port Access Road.

Dawson (Labor 2.4%): Wayne Swan was in Mackay yesterday promising $120 million to an upgrade of the Peak Downs Highway. The electorate has also been in the news due to an embarrassing student publication which Liberal National Party candidate George Christensen edited in 1998, which has come to light courtesy of (who else?) VexNews. The “official newsletter of the Conservative Students’ Alliance” featured the observation that “women are stupid” (apropos their enthusiasm for Will Smith) and a charming joke about gays and Aids. The publication has generated much discussion about the extent to which one’s “adolescent silliness”, as Tony Abbott would have it, should be visited upon the adult. Labor at least seems confident the electorate won’t be as kind to Christensen as Abbott, with The 7:30 Report offering that Labor was “convinced George Christensen can’t win”.

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.

1,066 comments on “D-day minus 9”

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  1. Did Robb say they’d refuse to submit their costings to Treasury until the leak is found BEFORE or AFTER Tone made his veterans pension promise?

  2. [ itsn’t a “shock poll omgz game changer bombshell”?]
    They are always shock, horror, bombshell polls even when they are favourable for the ALP.

  3. Dee@1052

    itsn’t a “shock poll omgz game changer bombshell”?

    They are always shock, horror, bombshell polls even when they are favourable for the ALP.

    Nah, Morgan has just got the Rooty Hill Guest List from Sky/Galaxy and he’s phone polling tonight 🙂

  4. Pebbles.

    Thanks for that – I’ve just had a look out the window facing west. There is a crescent moon (lying on its back, if you get my drift) and higher in the sky as if the right “horn” of the crescent points to it, is a really bright object. Would I be right in thinking this could be Venus?

    Sorry to turn this into an astronomy blog when we’ve had all the excitement of $8b black holes etc (that could be another astronomy subject – opposition and/or Govt black holes!).

  5. confessions, it appears AFTER. The veterans promise was earlier this week, and Swan confirmed his initial response $8 b black hole today

    I guess Gillard should just be answering “Tony Abbott’s $8b budget black hole” to every question until the MSM take notice

  6. There should be enough detail in the Libs’ policy announcement and the ABS for any worthwhile financial planning outfit to make the necessary calculations of liability change.
    A decent media outlet would commision such a study. That’s why it won’t happen.
    It behoves Swan to come out with some detailed calculations that will be difficult to ignore.

  7. I suppose it doesn’t matter in the end: they knew their policy costings were out, and have simply latched onto the leak as a convenient way of avoiding scrutiny. Gillard should definately keep referring to it, that’s what Howard would do.

  8. [THE Coalition’s wireless broadband proposal has been savaged by captains of industry, including Bank of Queensland CEO David Liddy.
    Mr Liddy said broadband was essential for the nation’s competitiveness, and a half-way solution was unacceptable.

    “I don’t think we can afford to compromise on this,” he said.

    “If Australia wants to establish itself as a leading financial centre in this part of the world, we can’t be backward in our technology.”]

    Poor Tony, you have to feel sorry for Mr Political Roadkill? 🙂

  9. Results of another scorecard – Eva Cox’s analysis of the social welfare policies on offer from the two major parties:
    [Will this election create a fairer more egalitarian society? Not so far, according to an assessment of the social policy options being touted by the major parties.
    In fact, on current indications a Coalition victory may make it worse and the ALP just maintain the status quo. After a careful assessment of what was on offer, and scoring the various policies, the results are quite scary. Of the 90-odd social policy areas of need identified, at least 50 are yet to rate any mentions, 15 are negative divisive proposals and only about 30 of the actual policies on offer are possible contributors to social well being.]
    She highlights the similarities between the two major parties:
    [I have omitted to score the Greens?—?while they’ll certainly have influence, the comparisons would not have worked. The Greens have fairness/equity built into every policy; no scapegoats except maybe the odd polluters. Their influence will also be limited to those areas where the major parties disagree and the policies below suggest this is not going to occur often.]

    Income management coming to a home near you or to your very doorstep.

  10. We were just having a discussion here about Turnballs. We thought that if the Rabbott won the election it would cement his authority & the Turnballs chance would never come. But, but after seeing the financial finesse of this group of nitwits we’re not so sure now.

  11. Itep 1017 – I used to think the markets followed the polls but, in fact, what happens is that those with inside information (knowledge of polls either from pollsters or parties) put on their money and affect the market before the information becomes public. Once the poll is public the extra money will be in the direction of the poll but the original change comes before the polls are released.

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