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. First one. For those who don’t know one of the locals at Rooty Hill RSL was in fact Joel Scalzi who for those who aren’t aware is the son of Joe Scalzi State Liberal politician between 1993 and 2006, representing the electorate of Hartely. Joel comes from Adelaide. Joel said this on his Facebook
    “Well what a hilarious night at the Rooty Hill RSL with my mate Billy! Doing work there for Jonesy and Amanda, i think i invited Tony Abbott over my place to watch The Notebook lol!!!”
    Don’t know what that means

  2. [Well what a hilarious night at the Rooty Hill RSL with my mate Billy!]

    Hilarious alright because now I’m not the only one in Australia concerned that Galaxy and the Murdoch press are contributing to the corruption of the Australian political process with their pro Tory agenda. Polite applause for the PM wild whooping from the Galaxy/Murdoch ring-ins for the Rabbott.

    Part of the reason Queensland is so difficult for Labor is a myriad of Galaxy/Courier mail polls slow dripped to the public in a manner most likely to be damaging to Labor. It would all be very hilarious as Joel says, if we didn’t see a variation of the stage managed Rooty Hill dynamics each time a Galaxy poll is released in Queensland.

  3. The good thing is that during an election campaign their is enough scrutiny to catch them out and correct the damage Galaxy and Limited News intend to inflict. The rest of the year all their poison on asset sales or what ever in Queensland goes unchallenged and mainly uncorrected.

  4. I just got on (2GB) Alan Jones & mentioned that. Nothing to do with the Libs he said. Hopefully listeners (not likely) may question the so called win

  5. I imagine that’s a weird lapse for a market research company, i.e. allowing the son of a man involved in the ‘product’ to act as an impartial consumer providing feedback. But what do I know, I don’t drive a Porsche nor do I take three hour lunches at the Flower Drum…

    If Maxine loses Bennelong this means John Howard wasn’t the victim of pro-ALP demographic change in his old seat, right? This means the swinging voters in his own backyard rejected him. Makes sense.

  6. [If Maxine loses Bennelong this means John Howard wasn’t the victim of pro-ALP demographic change in his old seat, right? This means the swinging voters in his own backyard rejected him. Makes sense.]

    Or just that both members were defeated by general swings against their governments.

  7. Herbert Report: Another day, another front page from News Limited. http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/article/2010/08/12/162431_news.html

    My post yesterday at 738

    “I feel privilaged. Herbert has both Rudd in town campaigning and Swan in town making a big announcement today. Whats the odds on the Townsville Bulletin conducting polling tomorrow and publishing it on Saturday or Monday.
    Anyone wanna bet”

    KRudd, the man who said sorry, on Palm Island and the Treasurer announcing a major project. I had a quick look and could not find a mention of the LNP candidate anywhere.
    I still think we are odds on for a nice bit of polling to be published in the Bully on Saturday followed by tumbling odds with the bookies on Monday.

    A nice letter today from George Christensen’s Mum (LNP Dawson) in the letters to editor saying he is really a nice boy not a homophobic, racist, sexist tool. He is just misunderstood. And she should know cose he still lives at home and doesn’t have a girlfriend

  8. Geez, you’ve got to burn the candle at both ends to keep up with this media of ours. After watching the ‘outing’ of Young Lib questioner Joel last night, I wake up to hear Fran Kelly on ABC Radio National Breakfast playing the clip between ‘Joel’ and Mr Abbott, with it all sounding very palsy, talking about cds and how Joel can trust Tony to do a great job.

    Intend to post a protest to ABC’s Breakfast program that they clarify their previous story, with the truth about ‘Joel’s’ background as the son of former SA Liberal Joe Scalzi.

  9. [The Opposition pledged to scrap the Federal Government’s program, which promised every senior secondary school student in years nine to 12 access to a computer. “We will not be having no ICT in schools; ]

    First no broadband, now no computers. We will not be having no ICT??? WTF does that mean??????????

  10. chinda63 (#8) just go to http://www.tinyurl.com.au and it is self-explanatory.

    On the Rooty Hill fiasco, I don’t know about Galaxy, but I do know enough about the Daily Tele and News Corp. Absolutely anything goes in the Murdoch media’s attempt to get rid of Labor.

  11. The only person I heard mention that there was a plant(Joel the name wasn’t mentioned) was by Chris U on ABC 24 last night, Havn’t heard anything else, is there anyway this can be brough to the attention of the public?

  12. [We will not be having no ICT??? WTF does that mean??????????]

    Two negatives make a positive. So it means they will be having ICT.

  13. Article in the smh today, the equipment being installed for the NBN is rated for 1000mbps, rather than 100mbps.
    Enabling the faster speed is a billing,marketing,regulatory issue rather than a technical one.

  14. Queensland will be the state that decides, if labor can keep net losses there to five they may be ok.

    Bright point for labor is Howard campaigning there, will keep Workchoices fesh and upfront.

    Workchoices was imposed on us without any consultation or warning by Howard, Mr core promises, now his protege Abbott is avoiding any mention of a return to Workchoices.

  15. Re castle at 14, my OH heard this and didn’t know what ict was, I think it would go over most peoples heads, not realizing it was computers

  16. Posted the following message on Radio National’s Breakfast ‘contact us’ page…

    I was on the internet last night to discover that “One audience member, Joel Scalzi, who quizzed Mr Abbott , is the son of a former South Australian Liberal MP, Joe Scalzi.”

    See http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/jobs-julia-grilled-as-tony-tiptoes-through-20100811-11zq7.html

    See also http://www.news.com.au/joel/story-e6frf9ho-1111113384703

    Joel later wrote on his facebook page that he was ‘doing work for Jonesy and Amanda’.

    What a shock to wake up this morning to hear Fran Kelly playing a clip on the exchange between Joel Scalzi and Mr Abbott, which comes across favourably for Mr Abbott.

    The view on the net last night was that the forum was too questionable on a fairness level to be given much credence.

  17. I have sent an emauil to Radio National through the ABC asking that a clarification about the “undecided” voter Joel Scalzi be aired this morning, I am not holding my breath but feel a bit better now.

  18. Itep @ 11: Or just that both members were defeated by general swings against their governments.

    Which is basically to restate what I wrote.

    Yet a lot of rusted-on Libs in 2007 were adament the Rt. Hon. J.W. Howard was defeated in his seat because population change had tranformed it into a Labor seat, and not that the `silent majority’ or whatever in rejecting his government across the nation had been replicated in Bennelong.

    I think those people will be breathing a sigh of relief if Maxine is reelected, particularly so if she increases her margin. Makes the narrative of the end of the Howards years easier to handle.

  19. The Age front page:
    Libs shun cost scrutiny

    And in an accompanying front-page opinion piece Tim Colebatch savages the coalition:

    Some choice extracts:
    On the Coalition’s own costings, the net impact of its plans would be to reduce spending by just $796 million, and raise taxes by $469 million.

    If Labor has been ”spending like a drunken sailor”, the Coalition plans to join the party.

    In fiscal terms, the two parties will go to the election with identical policies.

    This is probably true even if, as many suspect, the real reason the Coalition is now threatening to refuse to send its policies for costing is that it knows that some were too optimistic – big time.

    The Coalition is now doing a dummy spit and threatening to boycott the costings process because Labor leaked that to the media. Well, guys, if you want us to elect you to be our government, you need to be made of tougher stuff.

    The reality is, the Coalition has come up with excuse after excuse to delay submitting its proposals

  20. [Fran: Gillard’s packing a lot into her schedule is a “sign of desperation.”]

    Did she honestly say that? Is this the first election campaign she has witnessed or what?

  21. Another good post from William showing that the ALP does not government to make Australia better, they only have policies that keeps them in power, if it can be shown that killing people on live tv would get the ALP re-elected, Julia Gillard would be on live tv. Actually she had already knifed Kevin in Public, after white-anting Kevin for 3 weeks

    I would also like to know, how many time have Bitar’s government anounce a rail link at election time …. this must be the 7th or 8th time, the same rail link had been promise at election time ….. that must be some kind of a record…. since funding won’t come until 2014, it will be re-announced at the next election

  22. if it can be shown that killing people on live tv would get the ALP re-elected, Julia Gillard would be on live tv.

    Ah yes, we move from industrial manslaughter to outright murder.

    Is there no limit to what Labor politicians will do to get elected?

  23. BB

    Dovif fails to mention the rigged forum at Rooty Hill. Poor little Abbott was too scared to debate Julia on the same stage. He had to wait for her to leave so he could get a receptive audience to back slap him.

    Gee he is leadership material after all??!!

  24. “And while a post-forum secret ballot of the 200 swinging voters gave Mr Abbott a narrow victory by 35.5 per cent to 30 per cent, it did not give him the knockout blow he was looking for, with 34.5 per cent still undecided.”

    I’m not sure how the audience could be called stacked.

  25. Tone announcing he will establish an Office of Due Diligence (yes, I’m serious) in PM&C which will scrutinise all government spending.

    Remember last night he said as PM he’d never be overridden by his cabinet.

  26. James J –

    It was the behaviour of the audience which seemed to indicate this, rather than the way they voted in the exit poll.

  27. Stephen D

    Exactly. The perception they wished to create in the forum was that Abbott was more popular. He had the rub of the green.

  28. [I’m not sure how the audience could be called stacked.]
    Because at least one of the people asking questions of Abbott is confirmed to be a Young Lib?

  29. [BK,
    Move down from the hills, come to Makin]
    muckaround (from previous thread)
    Thanks for the invitation, muck, but I think I’ll stay here and fight the good fight.

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