Week two flotsam and jetsam

Another review of the late counting situation, plus the Labor leadership vote, jockeying to succeed Bob Carr in the Senate, and prospects for electronic voting.

Yet another review of late counting, together with a few other things:

• With McEwen continuing to slip from the Liberals’ grasp, the only remaining lower house seat in doubt is Fairfax, where Clive Palmer received a very handy fillip yesterday when provisional votes pushed his lead out from three to 98. Follow the action here.

• Then there are the Senate races in Western Australia and Tasmania, which are unlikely to become clear until the below-the-line data entry is completed and the button pushed to calculate the outcome (there’s a dedicated thread for Senate counting here, although it’s not doing much business). In the former case, there are probably two seats which hinge on absurdly trivial combinations of micro-party votes and whether they work to the advantage of Australian Sports Party candidate Wayne Dropulich – the fates of Labor and Greens incumbents Louise Pratt and Scott Ludlam as much involved as those of Dropulich and the other potential micro-party winner, Zhenya Wang of the Palmer United Party. The early test for Dropulich is whether he stays ahead of the Rise Up Australia party (0.29%) after his own votes (0.22%) are supplemented by preferences from Australian Voice (0.09%), which has been touch-and-go but has improved for Dropulich on today’s counting. As TruthSeeker observes, Dropulich then needs for the current 183-vote lead of Australian Christians over Shooters & Fishers at Count 21 to hold, which it may not do when below-the-line votes are taken into account. Failing that, Dropulich could be saved if, at Count 19, Help End Marijuana Prohibition failed to hold its present 117-vote lead over the Animal Justice Party, for reasons which would do your head in. On any scenario in which Dropulich wins, the other seat looks set to go to Scott Ludlam of the Greens. If he fails, Zhenya Wang will be joined by Louise Pratt rather than Ludlam, as the Palmer United Party’s direction of preferences to the Greens ahead of Labor would no longer be a factor.

• For Tasmania, Kevin Bonham has the various scenarios neatly laid out in a flow chart, two of which (the final seat going to third Liberal Sally Chandler or Jacqui Lambie of the Palmer United Party) are rated more likely than the others (the win for Robbie Swan of the Sex Party currently projected by Antony Green’s calculator and, with a particularly small chance, a win for Family First). So far as the projection of Antony Green’s calculator is concerned, the trend of counting is towards Robbie Swan of the Sex Party in his fight to stay ahead of the third Labor candidate at Count 21. He took the lead on Tuesday, and it has since gradually opened to 382. However, Bonham’s rough calculation is that it will need to be more like 800 to save him from below-the-line vote leakage. Of the many absurdities in this state of affairs, I have two favourites. One is that the Liberals need the Labor vote to be as high as possible to help ensure Swan’s exclusion, which presumably means Liberal scrutineers are fighting with Labor ones to ensure potential Labor votes are included in the count. The second, noted by Kevin Bonham, is that voters confusing the Liberal Democrats with the Liberals is actually to the Liberals’ advantage, as they have various paths to victory which involve the Liberal Democrats staying ahead of the Palmer United Party or Family First, while their own vote total is essentially academic at this stage.

• Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes was thought by many to have jumped the gun yesterday when he refuted media speculation he might replace Bob Carr in the Senate, given Carr is yet to announce any intention on that front. However, the universal expectation that it will be so is indicated by jockeying to fill the spot. Troy Bramston of The Australian reports that Carr wishes to be succeeded by Graeme Wedderburn, who has been his chief-of-staff both as Premier and Foreign Minister. However, it is today reported that state secretary Jamie Clements has called for the position to go to Deborah O’Neil, who lost her seat of Robertson at the September 7 election, pleading affirmative action. Graeme Wedderburn held senior positions with Westpac and Origin Energy following Carr’s retirement as Premier in 2005, before being lured back to the job by Nathan Rees in 2009 in part by the promise of a Senate seat down the track. However, he was denied a vacancy at the 2010 election due to an arrangement in which Matt Thistlethwaite, who is now entering the lower house as Peter Garrett’s successor in Kingsford-Smith, was given a Senate seat to ease him out of the state secretary position.

• At the beginning of what promises to be a bumper season of electoral reform debate, the Electoral Council of Australia and New Zealand offers a paper on Internet voting in Australian electoral systems. A trailblazer on this score has been Estonia, which has provided for voting over the internet at national elections since 2007, and allowed for voting over mobile phones at the 2011 election, at which the overall take-up rate was nearly a quarter of all votes cast. However, simplifying matters somewhat in Estonia’s case is its national identity card. The paper observes that survey research by the Western Australian Electoral Commission found satisfaction that internet voting would be secured had increased from a third of all respondents in 2005 to a half in 2013. Electronic voting more broadly, including “kiosk” voting conducted within polling stations, is spruiked as offering lower costs, improved formality, more accurate capture of preferences (trials with overseas personnel in 2007 found a higher take-up rate for below-the-line voting), and opportunities for assisting vision-impaired or non-English speaking voters.

• I’ve had too little to say on the Labor leadership election process, of which I’m all in favour, but there’s a useful review of the New Zealand and British precendents from David Donaldson in Crikey.

• Six months out from the state election, there was an EMRS opinion poll from Tasmania out yesterday, which you can read all about in the post below.

• Another new post directly below deals with the state by-election for Miranda in New South Wales, to be held on October 19.

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.

1,310 comments on “Week two flotsam and jetsam”

Comments Page 2 of 27
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  1. Didn’t Julie Bishop kick and scream last time a suggestion was made for Foreign Aid to be lowered?

    Sort of suggests that she had more influence on policy in Opposition than she has in government.

  2. Personally I am not opposed to a rise in the GST rate, with the caveat that any increase in the rate should include compensation measures for the lowest income earners in our society ie, through a combination of pension/benefit increases and low income tax rebates.

    The reason is quite simple. Australia has a structural Budget deficit problem, which can’t be fixed by spending cuts. Indeed, the broader economic impact of spending cuts of the scale necessary to eliminate the deficit problem would offset, I suspect, any other benefits. Significant cut backs in Government services and overall spending impact on GDP, with all the flow on impacts through lower business profits, lower company tax collections, and higher unemployment. It’s not a magic pudding theory to support increased spending – the only time in living memory that the Treasury voluntarily took off the hand brake on spending restraint was during the GFC, because of its view that urgent stimulus was required to prevent the country falling into recession. It’s decisive action in doing so prevented the recession that would have otherwise occurred – in other words, the stimulus money spent was far less than the cost to the country as a whole of a recession – both in social and fiscal terms.

    A GST increase is quite an efficient mechanism for addressing these budgetary issues, because the impact is ultimately borne by households, not business. Yes, it will impact on GDP, but not by enough to tip the country into recession. I’m not an economist though – others here may be able to offer a more reasoned insight into this issue.

    Of course, for Abbott to do so will involve breaking a core election promise. It will give Labor an opportunity to hammer him mercilessly for his broken promises. Such is life in modern Australian politics.

    I feel a great sense of depression, that the evolution of our Federal political construct has meant that issues that lie at the fundamental core of government, such as overcoming

  3. To continue: such as overcoming the structural Budget deficit problem, have become a virtual impossibility. It’s a depressing state of affairs.

  4. victoria:

    The remaining few paragraphs of that editorial are especially damning. Thinking back to the campaign, why did Abbott resort to those remarks about Fiona Scott, and particularly those comments about his daughters to the Big Brother show?

    They knew they were going to win the election, and very comfortably, so why risk alienating women even further with stupid comments? It makes no sense, esp given the extremely tight leash he’s been on for 2 years.

  5. Schnappi
    Posted Friday, September 20, 2013 at 6:09 am | Permalink
    Al Dente

    GST Increase can work either way, as buyer resistance could make any increase rebound by people only buying exactly what they need ,instead of what they can buy.


    I was in business last big recession, strange because it showed quality items didn’t lose out and reapairs
    like cars smashes, medicine
    hair dressers childrens clothing, it was take away and eating areas and up market food
    ,and believe it or not my sales went up

    people bought quality sewing machines sold well also
    come on learn to sew your children will be to busy working
    and the grow your own that has now seemed to have stalled will come back so that industry does ok

    so shall I do my saving tips again

    if we didn laugh at the liberals and their lies we would
    get depressed so try to see the funny side
    of the babbling fools

  6. Outsider:

    Wayne Swan made it quite clear consistently throughout his time as Treasurer that a Labor government would not countenance a GST increase because it would disproportionatly hit low income households.


    I DONT THINK 20 million people will agree with you

    it the lies they tell

    it also mean business people have to re tool their
    computers re counter sale ect

    talking to some I know that’s a big expense

    I will not agree to anything they do

    wish you would nt either

    on here the libs will love you

  8. confessions

    Posted Friday, September 20, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Mr Abbott had resisted the temptation to spring surprises in his new lineup and deserved credit for making appointments on merit.

    It would be interesting to see the reasoning that Dutton or Pyne deserved their positions based on merit.

    Dutton as Shadow Health didn’t ask a question for over 1,000 days.

    Pyne as Shadow Education managed 3 questions in 3 years.

    What depths of experience Cormann has in Finance. Lawyer who worked or WA Premier Court and as a political advisor for Chris Ellison.

    What experience has McFarlane got of industry? A farmer who has been in Parliament since 1998.

    Or what experience Billson has of small business having never been in business. Basically all his career he has been working for the Liberal Party

  9. Many thought that Abbott would spin out of control as LOTO, but he was kept on a tight chain and he won the PMship.

    He has now been well rehearsed in Three Wise Monkeys techniques and will keep a low profile, with the spin that he’s going to ignore the media cycle.

    If information becomes as tightly controlled as it seems, the pressure must burst out somewhere, either in leaks or rebellion.

    The media might even start to do their job!

  10. Fess. The Libs would have known they were well in front. But stuff that happens at the last minute can have unexpected impact. I’m not sure anyone has ever properly analysed the impact of the “Latham hand shake” in 2004, but at the time there was much speculation that it triggered a very late surge to Howard. Remember that many voters remain undecided about how to vote until the very last minute, so events very late in a campaign can have an impact. The Libs were not cruising in the last few days of the campaign. what they did know was that they could afford no last minute blow ups, real or otherwise. It’s why the costings were never revealed properly, for example, it was just too risky for them, and Labor couldn’t land a blow based on what they couldn’t prove.

  11. December 2012

    The decision to divert $375 million from this year’s foreign aid budget to help meet the rising cost of caring for asylum seekers

    Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop fought against the policy proposal to cut the aid budget

  12. lizzie

    Ballieu adopted the same strategy. Wasn’t long before the media started calling him a ‘do nothing’ and accused him of avoiding scrutiny.

    Abbott’s ability to generate easy to write articles – complete with pictures – meant journalists were favourably disposed towards him.

    He burns that, and he loses one of his biggest assets.

    Won’t matter if things are going well, but, as Ballieu found, if things go badly and the media aren’t on side, the problem is doubled.

  13. soc and outsider

    we have to stick together here

    if u agree with anything they do say

    pls keep it to your self

    mr swan also mentioned re tooling for business
    was counter productive and he had other ides

    YOU SEE THe LIBS HAVE NO IDEAS OUT SIDE THE SQUARE OR IN THEIR TINY MINDS THEY JUST PUT UP THINGS that hurt people then take away like the school kids bonus
    worth 840 dollars a year that would of stimulated the economy did abbott take that away because labor gave it?

    so in fact you two are agreeing to hurt labor voters

    Howard gave 10 dollars to pensioners when he bought in the gst

    do you think they would do compensation like labor does

    no a few crumbs while they drink their champagne
    and sail on Sydney harbour in their boats with the best food
    and laugh at us

    and the low paid that voted for them to
    who where their tools to gov, only
    they don’t give a second thought to them now,
    bet tony never goes to western syndey ever again
    or to the northwest coast of Tasmania
    where labor offered much more than the libs to get the area re going,

  14. Outsider:

    If the Liberals thought they could still lose the election in the last week of the campaign (which I seriously doubt they did), then Abbott’s comments make even less sense.

  15. [Wayne Swan made it quite clear consistently throughout his time as Treasurer that a Labor government would not countenance a GST increase because it would disproportionatly hit low income households.]
    We have become a low income household. Increasing the GST would impact us greatly.

    We went from a two income household to the disability pension.

    I managed to drop to casual so I could care for my OH but had to give that up because I’m now also on a rotating shift looking after my terminally ill mother.

    You really don’t fully appreciate the impact of the GST until you find yourself walking in the shoes of others.

    I know we didn’t!

  16. Adam Carr… No it does not.

    The AEC’s letter is a false interpretation of claimed limits to their authority. It is not an exhaustive provision that prevents the publication of this information.

    In fact this information is readily available and is published “after the election” the issue of concern is access to the information as part of the scrutiny of the ballot.

    The AEC have stated that information is available but not necessarily in electronic format.

    This issue has been discussed not only with the Victorian Branch but is also being pursued by other states all who are of the view that this data should be readily available in the same way that polling place results are published on line.

    There is no justification or legal limitation that prevents the publication and provision of this information. Without access to this data it is impossible to verify the integrity of the count or the data file itself.

  17. Interesting article from Waleed Aly.

    He explains that Abbott’s cabinet choices is ‘bigger’ than just sexism, but points to a flaw at the heart of liberalism – that giving people choice entrenches disadvantage.

    The problem the Liberal party has in recruiting good women candidates (let alone promoting them) demonstrates this.

    Labor’s quota for women, though it’s been decried as encouraging non merit based selections, arguably has the opposite effect – it encourages women of merit to put their names forward, because there’s a chance they’ll be successful.

    ‘Women of merit’ know their own worth. By definition, they’re likely to be earning more in the private sector than they will as an MP. They’re not going to risk that on the off chance that they might get preselected.

    So give them a reasonable chance of success and they’ll put their names forward.

    In the Liberal’s ‘select on merit’ environment (which, ironically, even Mirabella labelled as sexist, whilst defending it…) what actually happens is that members ‘select someone like themselves’ — which, given the make up of the Liberal party, means a middle aged white male.


  18. ajm

    Posted Friday, September 20, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink


    So Sean, when do you actually run this small business of yours?

    It must be a VERY small business

    it was a big business until he took it over

  19. lizzie

    I think it will be the people who will spin out of control

    howard never said much either never saw him as much

    but howard did things in a measured way tony is full on

    in my humble opinion they are not keeping tight control he likes power
    sacked people before he was even signed in,
    now sacked 1200 people by chrismas in the call centre center link
    now the gst, personally I don’t think that is tight control
    I thought he would wait till the new year to do stuff
    now I wouldn’t be surprised if parliament is not re called till jan/feb

    no cannot wait to make us suffer I think he enjoys it
    I truly do
    to make him self in charge of woman was a statement

    of I will show you lot
    well we will show him I hope the woman here are making an effort to sign the petition

    to have him remove himself from that ministry,
    he want of course
    some liberal woman on face book and twitter where trying to convince people not to sign it , on twitter a few woman picked up on that and said,

    why do you agree with it,

    it was suggested also we do vigils like the good old fashioned way of being seen I am all for that will there for sure

    him having that postion make me and thousand of other woman on the two face book number so far 70 th and then on twitter

    feel dirty and cheap and put down , after the petition got going it helped
    some woman on the face book went further in their thought than I have and you can use your imagination to what they said

    yes they did say that

  20. Confessions
    Pity that you didn’t show the comments under the piece of unsigned NZ doggerel that you pointed to, so I’ve shown them below for your edification:
    [jackbris35 minutes ago
    well said!
    Peter North2 hours ago
    What a load of crap. If Aussie were politics were deliberately gender biased there’s no way Gillard ever would have got near the top job. And if you think she got a hard time and the dumped because she was a woman rather than the unpopular political decisions and economic decline then you’re dreaming mate.
    Reply 0
    HappyCamper3 hours ago
    Cabinet ministers appointed on merit, rather than gender – disgusting!
    Reply +2
    rudy4 hours ago
    What a piece of mindless left-wing drivel. No surprise it is unsigned.
    Reply 1 reply0
    tegget3 hours ago
    “left-wing”… in what way ?]

  21. There are many potential sources of revenue for all levels of Australian governments. Focusing on the GST is lazy, but then that’s what we’ve come to expect from LNP governments.

    “We need to fund this PPL scheme and scrapping carbon pricing” “Ok, well, let’s fiddle around with random shit that doesn’t amount to anything and then cut the foreign aid budget to fund most of the shortfall”

    And, of course, the LNP hammered the “cost of living” issue as a major theme (as Rudd did in 2007, of course, equally dishonestly) … increasing the GST is so clearly hypocritical in that context. “Oh we have to remove the carbon price so it saves households $500 a year”

    If the LNP go down this road they really deserve to be crucified over their pre-election lies about not touching the GST, crocodile tears over “cost of living pressures”, and biggest of all, of course, the incredible over-statement of the effects of carbon pricing on the economy. Not to mention “no surprises; no excuses”.

    But the media will probably congratulate the LNP on sensible and pragmatic reform.

  22. Dee. My comments about a GST increase were conditional on proper compensation being given to low income households, so that the full impact of the tax increase would only be felt by higher income households. The guys in Treasury are experts at modeling how best to do this effectively, and to take account of different household circumstances.

    Off the top of my head, I would have thought a 2 person household with combined after tax income of $60k would be an appropriate point at which full compensation should be provided,me ith tapering off to around $80k, and the full impact borne by households above that level.

    There’s one Big problem we haven’t addressed as a nation: we don’t pay enough tax to support what we want our government to spend on providing services. The only solution is higher tax.

    Another solution, for example, might be to increase personal income tax rates for income above, say, $70k, by an across the board 2% amount. Arguably this would be simpler and less regressive.

    The states want a GST increase because under current arrangements they get the extra revenue.

  23. .
    so zoomster

    these abbott likes and helpers before the election well up them
    now want us to read what they say

    a lot of junos may now wonder if labor will be back sooner than later and want to save their necks
    we have long memories I hope a lot of careers go by the way side in a few yeasr and good riddance to them all

  24. Psephos
    [If you want to see Mike Kelly in the Senate, please join my new facebook group, Put Mike Kelly in the Senate, and ask your friends to do the same.]
    I’d never join facebook but I’d like to see Mike Kelly in either Parliament as a Liberal. Does your facebook group restrict itself to his being a Labor rep?

  25. Peter North2 hours ago
    What a load of crap. If Aussie were politics were deliberately gender biased there’s no way Gillard ever would have got near the top job. And if you think she got a hard time and the dumped because she was a woman rather than the unpopular political decisions and economic decline then you’re dreaming mate

    I’m baffled as how Gillard getting the top job as a Labor PM has anything to do with Abbott’s so-called merit based selection in the Coalition-of-Four

  26. Dee:

    The GST component of my electricity bill is more than the carbon ‘tax’ component. Another 5% increase on GST would be a quite significant impost for most households I would imagine.

  27. your campaign to have Senator Furner unseated and his seat given to the Greens?

    Adam Carr

    You keep making false statements, You should join the Liberal Party as it is clear that you are not supportive of having an accurate and correct Senate counting system. Maybe you aee not aware of the serious flaws in the way the vote is counted that can and does effect the outcome of the elections. You might support the flaws in the way the vote is counted I most certainly do not. These flaws can work equally for and against a party. You you might not be aware of is that ALP Senator David came close to being defeated in 2007 as a result of the flaw in the way the Senate vote is counted.

    I will continue to champion electoral reform to make it more accurate and reflective of the voters intentions irrespective of your efforts to maintain what is clearly a flawed electoral process.

    PS the system is likely to deliver a similar outcome in SA and WA senate elections.

  28. I don’t mind a rise in the GST rate so long as for every percentage point increase in the GST rate there is a 2 percentage point increase in the company tax rate and a 1% increase in every step in the personal income tax scale.

  29. Further regarding the NZ utopia vs the “ugly” side of Oz, I expect that the “vote with your feet” exodus from NZ to Oz will increase under a Lib government, women/Maori reps or not. However we should have a test on Kiwis’ ability to speak English PROPERLY before we let them in.

  30. dee

    sigh yes

    there is no way you can cut your spending I would say you have now

    apologist for gst have no idea

    sorry to hear about your mum,, understand in a way went through that with dad,
    mum , ran a business had the three still at home oh worked on the mainland,,, crashed got automune problem s

    it just words, when people say now you look after your self

    its almost impossible to do so.. warmly thinking of you

    also business people will be fuming the cost of re tooling I hear is thousands

  31. There is a string sense of loss and betrayal and injustice when the Members of the Labor Party have been denied the opportunity to celebrate and recognise the extraordinary achievements of the Gillard Government.

    The actions of those in the Rudd camp need to be subject to review and party discipline.]

    You have got to be joking..hypocrites everywhere.

    Well applying the exact same rationale Gillard and her faceless men backers planned and backstabbed a first term PM for No reason other than internal party power politics… and planned this at least 12 months

    And the continuous negative memes on Rudd and character slagging never ends when it is required to vent bile in support of Gillard. What a joke it is — when the real problem of Labor is glossed over for fanboy-ism.

    Just have to lol at some of the Rudd slagging. Somehow this guy was able to foresee devise and implement a stimulus plan in time to keep Aust. out of recession.—but .– but… that doesn’t fit the need to justify Gillard co. backstabbing of Rudd, Labor and Australias.

  32. ‘Fess
    [The comments attached to articles are meaningless as they are mostly from anonymous, abusive blowhards.]
    As was the article itself.

  33. So an editorial in a respected publication is “NZ doggerel” while a comment like “What a piece of mindless left-wing drivel” is somehow a thought out response?

    The day we have to by provided with “edification” by a conservative hack will be the day.

    What is it about the red necks here that all they are looking for is confirmation of their own narrow view of the world?

    And then, not in sentences of more than ten words or no more than one syllable.

    All they watch in the US is Foxtel so that says it all I suppose.

    Here they think the Murdoch press is “journalism”.

    What a hoot.

  34. I prefer NZ to aust

    if Tasmania was not such a beautiful place to be

    that’s if the heritage lifting doesn gut every thing and turn us in a mine

    abbott is a creep

  35. “We have immediately moved to start the expansion of capacity on Nauru by 2000, we have immediately moved to expand the capacity on Manus by 1200,” Mr Morrison said.

    If the boats are going to be stopped why the need to expand. Surely if the Coalition-of-Four policy is so marvellous and boats will be stopped there should be a reduction not an increase.

    Just more lies from this lot.

    Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national-news/federal-election/abbottled-government-says-people-smugglers-should-be-afraid/story-fnho52ip-1226723045654#ixzz2fNsBEXAI

  36. we have been to NZ 5 times and I find their accent rather nice

    so get over it

    three times was for a volunteer postion my oh held
    we paid our own way of course

  37. I think the actions of Gillard and those that played internal power Politics at the expense of Democracy, and Labor should be publicly disciplined and Gilland and others make a public apology to Rudd, Labor and the Australian people.

  38. Thanks My Say!

    We fully appreciate the safety net afforded to us after exhausting our savings.

    However, some people just don’t understand the impact the GST has on those of us who reside on the bottom of the financial pile.

  39. Morrisons increase the capacity at Manus and Nauru because the boats are going to be stopped is on the same moronic level as Hockeys cuts to the company tax rate because we have a budget “emergency” and out of control debt.

  40. This is on twitter. Dont know the context, but it does not sound good

    [Wow! Denis Napthine just equated Geoff Shaw’s #frankstonflu to Labor members with cancer. #newlow #springst @774melbourne]

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