Limbo dancing

While you wait:

• The media has finally awoken to the possibility the Steve Fielding might yet win the race for the final Victorian Senate seat, which is the only result of the election still in doubt. The ABC projection has John Madigan of the Democratic Labor Party winning the seat after narrowly escaping exclusion at “count 21”, where he keeps ahead of Fielding with 3.29 per cent of the vote against 3.14 per cent. If Fielding gets ahead – and there is reason to think name recognition will boost him on below-the-line preferences – it will be he rather than Madigan that snowballs to victory with the help of the other preferences. However, Antony Green reckons it more likely whoever gets ahead will ultimately land short of the third Coalition candidate, Julian McGauran, who will benefit from the Coalition’s traditional strength on late counting. More from Andrew Crook at Crikey. Those wishing to discuss the Senate count are asked to do so in the dedicated post below.

• Government formation negotiations have turned up a number of agreements on campaign finance and electoral reform. The Labor-Greens alliance proposes that the two parties will “work together” to enact reforms that were blocked in the Senate last year by the Coalition and silly Steve Fielding: lowering the threshold for public disclosure of donations from $11,500 to $1000, closing the loophole that allows separate donations below the threshold to be made to multiple state party branches, shortening the gap between receipt of donations and disclosure, tying public funding to genuine campaign expenditure, banning foreign donations and banning anonymous donations over $50. Julia Gillard has said the deal she has offered to the independents, which has not been made available to the public, is along the same lines. According to The Age, “Tony Abbott has signalled he is prepared to consider significant reform but is yet to reveal the specific options he is putting to the three rural independents”.

• Also in the Labor-Greens agreement is a promise to “consider” a long-standing Greens private members bill which proposes to abolish the “just vote one” above-the-line Senate option that commits the voter to the party’s registered Senate ticket, to be replaced with preferential ordering of at least four party boxes above the line (seven at double dissolutions). This would result in votes exhausting where no further preference is indicated, rather than locking every vote in behind the sometimes highly obscure candidates who survive to the final stages of the count.

• Labor and the Greens also promise to “work together” to enforce “truth in advertising”, which the Greens have been very keen on since Labor targeted them with a smear campaign before the March state election in Tasmania. Establishing the terms of such a measure would be highly fraught, as noted recently by Robert Merkel at Larvatus Prodeo.

• Labor has agreed only to “investigate” the possibility of legislated fixed terms; the rural independents are calling for the length of the current term to be set by “enabling legislation or other means”.

Tim Colebatch of The Age fancies Senate figures suggest Labor should ultimately win the two-party arm wrestle, the results of which won’t be known to us for at least a month.

• Tasmanian firm EMRS has published one of its regular polls of state voting intention, which has the Liberals down from 39.0 per cent at the election to 35 per cent, Labor down from 36.9 per cent to 34 per cent, the Greens up from 21.6 per cent to 26 per cent – overstatement of the Greens being a feature of EMRS polls. The firm suffered a further dent during the federal election campaign when its poll failed to detect the strength of support for Andrew Wilkie.

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.

4,048 comments on “Limbo dancing”

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  1. Bushfire Bill

    ‘The death of the lucky country’ by Donald Horne which I have just re-read seems to apply to this campaign. Chapter headings such as ‘Vendetta journalism’, ‘the divine right of the liberals’ and ‘the myth of the economic crisis’ appear to me the present and the past writ large. Am I wrong in thinking this is the same old shit, different day.
    You know your arse from your elbow so tell me. I drive a fork-lift.

  2. The discussion about Askin brings back memories for me. I was a teenager in ’66 when LBJ visited and the ‘all the way with LBJ’ placards were about. ’66-’69 were big news (and big music) years – the assassinations, the Arab-Israeli wars beginning in earnest, man on the moon, Long Tan, war protests, and the rise of Nixon (and in Australia the decline of the Liberals in power). Apart from that it was ‘blue sky days’ for Aussies, by and large.

    Funny, I only discovered this week that the words of Neil Young’s song ‘Ohio’ weren’t ‘forgetting Ohio’, but ‘four dead in Ohio’. If I’d got the words right I might have made a more direct connection with the Kent State (Ohio) student killings in ’70, the last year of high school for me.

    Still keen on piecing 20th century history together. One tragic irony that I discovered years later was that that Ho Chi Min had cited the American Declaration of Independence, as well as the 1791 French Declaration of the Rights of Man in his call for Vietnamese independence in 1945, after Japanese occupation. But the French wanted their little piece of the pie restored to them, the Vietnamese resisted, and so it began. Of course people cited the lesssons not learnt from Vietnam as part of the follies of Bush, Blair, and Howard in the 2000s.


  3. [We were lucky that the Libs had a leader with zero credibility while we had our, um, little spot of difficulty.]

    Geez Psephos – how can we help but no luv ya! but just listen to us in the next 3 years. We’ll give you better advice than any of the mob youse all have got down there in the Big House.

  4. ‘Have a listen to Nicholas Gruen on Counterpoint (RN) – fantastic insight into Labor’s inability to sell itself. He’s given a lot of food for thought’.

    Nick Gruen hardly construed it as a Labor Party thing, you silly fool.

    Listen Again!! And Again, if necessary.

    Now I really am going to watch the Lateline tapes.

  5. [Julia G seems firmer with them and this morning Stephen Loosley told Kerry Chika… to belt up when she raved on about the costings being correct. There are subtle hints and I think what has happened to Labor over the last few months may have taught them to handle things differently.]

    They need to go and view some of the old footage of Keating he had the passion to sell his acheivement and claim the victories and ram home the message.

  6. Psephos you say that Labor’s troubles have all been of their own making. But would you not also agree that

    1. The media has been instrumental in instilling mass fear, uncertainty and doubt

    2. Labor doesn’t just need good policies (it has them) or a good leader (it had one under Rudd, it still does under Julia) but it also needs good communicators.

    3. Labor needs to hammer home its message and sell its achievements every single day

    and most importantly – and I’ve never seen you mention this.

    4. Labor needs to actually win hearts and minds on and lead the public debate on issues like refugees by actively entering the public debate.

    5. Labor also needs to directly change ideas that have been implanted deeply by successions of conservative media. “the liberals are better with money” and “deficit oh no! bad!”

    Im not trying to give you a hard time, but it would be nice to know if people who are inside Labor actually are sitting up and thinking about these things.

  7. [Oooops……Fred Nile may have got it wRONg.

    “I have not accessed or viewed any of those sites but my researcher has, particularly the Sex Party, Eros Foundation and others, and those sites do have links to hardcore pornographic material which (those websites) support.”]

    PY, I remember an interview of Fred Nile by Michael Schilberger on a Current Affair when the film Deep Throat had just come out. Fred said that he knew how shocking a film it was because he had seen it twice…

  8. Yeah, I think the insiders have had the philosophy of: if you ignore the bad stuff, no one will notice (after all, it works for the Libs). BUT unfortunately, it has led to them being unable to defend the good because they want to keep Mum about whatever is a negative.

    Silly really. If they had defended, it might have shown strength despite the mistakes.

    I also think they naively thought that the good would sell itself. I am sure most of the ‘working families’ out there haven’t realised they are on average $3000 better off a year since ALP came into power. As are pensioners (not sure by how much there).

    If they’d been told religiously (like the liberals do) things might have been vastly different.

    If the ALP do get back, I think this shakeup might be a good thing all round. For the parliament and for the party. I might even join.

  9. [We were lucky that the Libs had a leader with zero credibility while we had our, um, little spot of difficulty.]

    Geez Psephos – how can we help but not luv ya! but just listen to us in the next 3 years. We’ll give you better advice than any of the mob youse all have got down there in the Big House.

  10. [1. The media has been instrumental in instilling mass fear, uncertainty and doubt]

    The propaganda from the OO on the schools building program picked up by the rest of the media and the ABC and repeated ad nauseum has been devastating for the stop the waste theme. The ALP should of countered this deliberate lie for what is was with the 2.7% compliant rate.

  11. I agree with Psephos that if Tone can’t form govt he’ll likely be deposed. The currnent circumstances of a hung parliament and cobbled together minority govt don’t suit the temperament of a bovver bully boy like Tone. I’ve seen nothing in the way he’s interacted with the indies and the Labor-Green alliance to convince me he has the interpersonal skills needed to marshall the cross-benches and shepherd legislation through this new and incoming parliament.

    Having said that, I doubt he’d last as leader even if he forms minority govt, for the same reasons.

  12. the spectator, the first real disaster came with Rudd being advised to go “mea culpa”.. after the huge beat up over pink batts. That was the first point where I felt “oh no.. thats bad”. To this day i don’t know if that had happened out of Rudd naturally apologetic persona, or if his advisors were going “say sorry, it will go away”.

    If the latter, the advisors had no clue about the media and should be shot.

  13. confessions @4013, this brings us full circle back to 2007, when there was a game here on PB of predicting who the Liberals would pick for leader and again not much later.

    The main issue there was “well who could they pick?”.. no talent, unlectable were some of the things said. Even Abbott was dismissed as unelectable – even though some of us knew his capability for sheer bastardry.

  14. [the spectator, the first real disaster came with Rudd being advised to go “mea culpa”.. after the huge beat up over pink batts. That was the first point where I felt “oh no.. thats bad”.]

    cud chewer, I agree. It then set the stage for the attacks on the BER.

  15. Something else I picked up on. When the pink batts and school halls were being beaten up it became clear even back then that this wasn’t just random negativity. There was a pre-determined strategy to systematically call into doubt Labor’s competence and I also believe this was worked out in detail between Liberal HQ and Murdoch HQ. Its scary when you look back at some of the interviews where certain Liberal types went “you watch.. Rudd will crash.. he will be exposed”.. They knew exactly what they were doing and they had every confidence Murdoch would follow through.

  16. I don’t want to overstate this, but I reckon one factor that might well play on the minds of three independents (along with many other more weighty matters, no doubt) is that they would not want to go down in history as having cutting short the first female prime minister in Australian history. Is it just possible that wives, daughters, nieces etc are placing at least some pressure in that regard, politics aside? It might just be one more factor in Labor’s favour.

    The gender issue had faded from view completely but these guys have to consider this, at least to some extent, I would have thought.

  17. the big problem for Labor (and the left worldwide) is the lack of an effective narrative. The right use either: foreigners are coming to get you an only we can protect you or your lack of progress financially is cause by the unequal support of the poor (eg the unemployed or asylum seekers). Winning this election is one small battle – we need to come up with a new narrative for the next 50 years to win the war.

    The alternative is to repeat the last 25 years of Labor saying they are as right wing as the Liberals but shinier. We nee to win the policy argument an with the GFC and Global warming – now is the time

  18. [detail between Liberal HQ and Murdoch HQ.]

    Yes, an then the ‘bad govt.’ slogan was an obvious follow-on. It might have been wrong, but people believed it because the ground had been fertilised by the Coal and their bulldust.

  19. cud chewer @ 4015:

    [this brings us full circle back to 2007]

    Probably because, once again, the Liberals haven’t accepted the voters’ verdict. I’ve been watching how they’ve played this, and while Campaign Tony has been extended into this negotiating period, coalition MPs have reverted to the same tactics they deployed in 2007, leading into, and during the election campaign, where they tried to bully and intimidate Labor frontbenchers. Howard has even been rolled out for heaven’s sake! They haven’t learnt a thing.

    They really don’t deserve to govern, and I sincerely hope the indies do some serious reflection over the weekend and come to the realisation that the only hope of ‘grown up government’ is the incumbent team.

  20. alias, the leaks were there to deliberately knock the edge off Julia’s support from women. And they remain so unfair that I would be disappointed if she doesn’t turn around in the coming months and grind the facts back into the media. She shouldn’t ever let a hint of that lie to remain.

  21. If the indies wish for JG to remain PM yet not side with Labor anymore than is necessary to achieve that result what position do they need to adopt? Do they say “We are independents and will remain so. We will not support a no confidence motion against the government and we will judge each piece of legislation on its merits.”

    Would this be sufficient for JG to claim control of the house?

  22. Nite all, hope the weekend is quiet for our side … and then the sun shines come Monday.

    Sleep well and for the Dads, enjoy your day!

  23. Tom @4024, one solution is for the 3 rural indies to agree to abstain in votes over supply and no confidence. Net result is Labor wins 74 to 73 (its actually a tie but the speaker will settle it in Labor’s favour).

    This would arguably suit the indies as not having sided with anyone. However for some especially Oakeshotte it may look like a cop out.

    Another result that gives Julia control (barely) is one for, one against and one abstain. Somehow though I think it might look like Oakeshotte for, Windsor for, Katter abstain.

  24. Not as much rain as I thought there would be at MCG – nice and cosy 3 rows from back of top deck.

    Had clear view of Dawson’s “own goal” (paid as such to Mooney) – at the same end where Hawkins kicked his crucial “hit the post” goal last year.

    So I think the AFL dodged a bullet – there would have been a massive outcry if yet another simple goal umpire error had cost us the game.

    Will scan back – when Geelong kicked that “goal” after the umpire had already blown his whistle for a free kick to us my only thought was “Please Labor must win this”

  25. Why has the ALP been so quiet?
    Because they know the squeaky wheel gets the most oil.
    Arbibs no show ho ho was the smart guys overriding the populists.
    Lampe is cluey.

  26. If Oakeshotte and/or Windsor support Abbott after all that has eventuated this last week then they will be cowards in my book. If the Liberal costings and billion dollar bribes aren’t enough for them to shun Abbott, Robb and Hockey then they are without principle.

  27. I agree the ALP needs to emphasise its economic credentials further, but note that during the course of the campaign -with all its faults- the party’s message eventually dragged it ahead of the LNP on the Newspoll question of Which party would best handle the economy. This is where the ALP belongs.

    It’s been a strong pattern in Australian politics since Gough’s time that the conservatives, on regaining power, have been careful to trash the achievements of the previous government, whilst riding the wave of the positive changes Labor had introduced. They have devoted considerable time and effort to branding Labor as fiscally irresponsible, and a generally right-leaning media has been compliant, complaiscent and often complicit in promoting these furphies.

    Eventually, though, the accepted wisdom of the incompetent profligacy of ALP governments is overturned, and credit is given where it is due. Howard and Co made careers of painting Labor as the party of deficit after the supposed $96 billion “Beasley Black Hole” under Keating. It took until this election for the MSM to accept that the Hawke and Keating governments were the true godfathers of the modern Australian economy.

    It may take a while to percolate down to the marginal masses, but eventually the full value of the Rudd government’s GFC response will become an uncontestable issue, even for the OO and the Libs. Labor should be well ahead on the Newspoll economic managment issue for years to come, even without $10.6 billion dollar own-goals by Abbott’s laughable economic team.

  28. [the big problem for Labor (and the left worldwide) is the lack of an effective narrative. ]

    Labor has a narrative around productivity. It’s just that it’s probably been lost through all the other stuff that’s happened in the last few years.

  29. Does anyone have any info on the national grid links Katter would be talking about and the siting of any other renewables that might connect.

    I’m wondering how this might work in with a couple of other plans. One was a major connection to asia. The other was a relatively modest HVDC link from Brisbane to Adelaide via Inamincka (geothermal) and Broken Hill (major wind farm)

  30. The narrative of productivity hasn’t been fully expanded into a full blown narrative about education and infrastructure.

    Also the narratives about the tories being better with money and the narrative that deficit is bad, haven’t been seriously tackled either.

  31. [ Labor has a narrative around productivity ]

    -agreed, confessions. This was an economic concept virtually unknown to the MSM until Keating improved it by so much. The only argument the Libs have run for over a decade is the anti-Keynesian budget deficit line, and Labor let itself become seduced by its simplicity. The Current Account Deficit was another economic measure promoted by Keating.

    Alas, PFK succumbed to a media gotcha by denying the early 90s recession, and then confessing that yes, the country was in recession… but we had to be there. It opened the door to Howard’s “five minutes of economic sunshine” comment, which the MSM loved.

    The one word I’d like to hear the government utter more than any other in the next three years (presuming JG gets the nod eventually) is “infrastructure”.

  32. I thought on Landline Pyne handled himself okay when he got asked about the coalition budget black hole. I got the impression he knew it is a lemon but unlike Hockey or Robb or even Abbott he didnt fall to bits when answering the question.

  33. [a Newspoll survey taken at the beginning of the week suggests more voters want them to back Labor.]

    With the costings debacle there should be an even stronger sentiment for supporting Labor.

  34. That’s exactly right Tom Hawkins. I would also assume that given the costings debacle the Coalition would, in fact, be much less enthusiastic about a fresh early poll.

  35. I would like to pay humble tribute to the GhostWhoVotes’ extraordinary efforts in bringing us polling results way before the wider public saw them throughout the election campaign.

  36. Alias
    [I would like to pay humble tribute to the GhostWhoVotes’ extraordinary efforts in bringing us polling results way before the wider public saw them throughout the election campaign.]
    I second that motion.

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