The night before Christmas

There is no polling to report, and I have my head buried too deep in my forthcoming federal election to report anything of substance on my own account. But with the announcement of the election universally anticipated on the weekend for either May 11 or May 18, a new open thread is very much in order, so here it is.

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.

801 comments on “The night before Christmas”

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  1. “‘Garry, this is for you’: PM chokes up announcing disability royal commission”

    Has his brother-in-law been abused? or is the fraud just trying to humanise himself because he knows someone with MS. Why the fuck is it “For Garry”?? Garry appears to have lived a full life before getting MS – hardly the profile of the pour souls whose stories will not be heard.

    charlatan prick. Wheeling out you sick brother-in-law to prove that you know a disabled/sick person and aren’t even afraid to touch them.

    couldn’t the just get some of him happy clappy mates to lay hands on Garry and cure him?

  2. We should retire the word bludger as a generalisation. Depression and Chronic Fatigue syndrome are just two areas of mental health that the bludger label creates stigma around.

  3. Late Riser @ #5312 Friday, April 5th, 2019 – 4:07 pm

    Guardian Australia revealed last year that the ABC was dismantling its historic sound and reference libraries across the country and making 10 specialist librarians redundant.
    ..The ABC said in a statement the library had been converted to a digital one that offers access to e-books and digital publications and supplies digitised music on demand.

    I’m not a librarian, but surely librarians do more than just stack shelves? A digital library is like a warehouse with no index and only the one narrow beam torch. To find anything you have to rely on an algorithm created with an unknown built-in context and bias. Those 10 librarians weren’t so much redundant as expendable. (It wouldn’t surprise me if they also had the job of creating the digital library that allowed them to be “let go”.)

    Where’s Pratchett’s Librarian when you need him?

  4. LR,

    The problem with popularity is that it is ephemeral.

    People in politics that tend to be popular tend to lose it once they make a decision that may affect the voters. Julie Bishop was popular because she never made a decision that directly affected voters on a daily basis. I’m sure if she’d taken a domestic portfolio then a bit of paint might have been scraped off.

    Shorten has spent his time as Opposition Leader developing good Policy based on extensive research, empowering his team of Shadow Ministers and basically out thinking the Government. It seems that popularity is one thing. But credibility is what politicians and Governments really need to be successful.

  5. The L/NP has been completely derailed by Bill Shortens budget reply. I watched their backbench with that look of fear realising its all over. Five years of Abbott ( you’ve got me so thats gotta be better than them), Turnbull ( promised so much, delivered so little) and the dumb salesman who thinks you can bluff your way through anything.

    No big achievements except our MASSIVE DEBT, no plans for the future and bulls#%t about being good money managers.

    Adani will see the NP thrown under the blue bus with the hope that Pauline will stop a Labor whitewash.

    The Libs will come back with a few missing from its ranks but, unfortunately for them, the RW religious sabatours will still be amongst them. The likes of Rex and Nath stand by this rabble and have Scummo as their pin up boy.

    Anyone on an income of less than $250,000 has been shafted by this Govt. An after thought to give Newstarters $75, cut penalty rates, screw all welfare recipients, promise middle income earners a tax cut in a few years time. Murdoch will be dirty at how well this group has done in the last 5 years.

  6. “I’m sure if she’d taken a domestic portfolio then a bit of paint might have been scraped off”

    Yeah…but there was a very thick layer of paint on that one. 🙁

  7. ACOSS

    ACOSS maintains the view that now is not the time for tax cuts whilst gaps exist in our essential services. For people on modest incomes, providing universal access to health, education and early childhood education is a higher priority.

    “People on the lowest incomes do not benefit from tax cuts. One third of households don’t benefit from tax cuts at all because their incomes are too low to pay income tax.

    People on Newstart are again being left behind. While Labor has committed to a review of Newstart should it win government, we do not need a review to know that Newstart is not working.

    “We urgently need to increase Newstart by $75 per week. We must provide immediate relief to people to get through tough times and into suitable employment. An immediate increase to Newstart would also provide the most effective boost to consumer spending at a time when local economies need it, including in regional areas.

    “The most effective way to tackle the worst poverty is to increase Newstart so people can cover the basics while they look for paid work,” Dr Goldie said.

  8. sustainable future @ #500 Friday, April 5th, 2019 – 3:11 pm

    “Garry, this is for you”: PM chokes up announcing disability royal commission

    Morrison hides behind others to promote himself. I have no wish to see or listen to any “for Garry” stuff, so just maybe it is different this time, but I doubt it. Whenever I’ve seen Morrison drag someone onto the stage with himself (actually or a metaphorically) he was hiding behind them or borrowing their cred. Hiding behind someone who suffered MS is the act of coward.

  9. lizzie @ #509 Friday, April 5th, 2019 – 4:19 pm

    Player 1

    This ‘blame one generation for all our woes’ game is a simplistic stupidity.

    A fairly typical “baby boomer” response!

    Oh come on, I know you’re more intelligent than that.

    It’s true that you can’t blame the baby boomers for everything … but they sure do have an awful lot to answer for. Australia used to be an egalitarian, progressive, compassionate, innovative and productive society – one that could truly claim to lead the world in many fields.

    But that was then … and this is now 🙁

  10. Are the Millenials feeling sorry for themselves again?
    This is what most Boomers inherited from their parents:
    1. A world around a third of which was physically shattered by war.
    2. A world in which many economies were shattered by war.
    3. A world in which around 300 million people were dead, injured or displaced by war and in which hundreds of millions more struggled to cope with PTSD.
    4. A mess of disintegrating global empires which created a hundred of so state of which the populations, economies, infrastructures, education levels and civil societies were more or less totally unprepared for self-government.
    5. A world in which something like a third of the world’s population was run by dictatorships.
    6. A world in which life expectancy was around a third less than it is today.
    7. A world in which tens of millions routinely died because of infectious diseases, in which women died in childbirth and in which children died like flies.
    8. A world in which sewage globally entered the environment untreated.
    9. A world in which a tiny elite only had access to tertiary education.
    10. A world which was still almost universally priest-ridden.
    11. A world in which most women did not have the vote, did not have separate property rights, were systematically excluded from higher or further education.
    etc, etc, etc.

  11. So much obsession and pathological hate of PM Morrison.

    I agree that majority of this site are pretty blindly partisan and a bit over the top in their praise of Shorten and Labor, and their condemnations of Morrison and the Coalition. And I also think it’s good when people here are challenging that. However, I do note that they’re not the ones who’ve recently resorted to Beaconsfield truther conspiracies and weird rants about whether or not Shorten is a Bonapartist to justify their views.

  12. Late Riser @ #496 Friday, April 5th, 2019 – 4:07 pm

    Guardian Australia revealed last year that the ABC was dismantling its historic sound and reference libraries across the country and making 10 specialist librarians redundant.
    ..The ABC said in a statement the library had been converted to a digital one that offers access to e-books and digital publications and supplies digitised music on demand.

    I’m not a librarian, but surely librarians do more than just stack shelves? A digital library is like a warehouse with no index and only the one narrow beam torch. To find anything you have to rely on an algorithm created with an unknown built-in context and bias. Those 10 librarians weren’t so much redundant as expendable. (It wouldn’t surprise me if they also had the job of creating the digital library that allowed them to be “let go”.)

    LR There is a lot of truth in your comment about being expendable. I am a retired librarian and my last job was licencing and organizing the online resources our academic library relied on. Certainly much more complex than stacking shelves and used many of the skills from a Masters degree.
    I was previously a cataloguer and if (big if) the digital library has been put together well it may work effectively. Much depends on the search criteria/access points that were set up initially. My guess would be that this may have been a quick and dirty job to justify what they were doing. I did a quick bit of checking and it seems much of the collection was donated to other suitable institutions including the Film and Sound Archive.

  13. Peg,

    You may want Labor to pull a number out of their arse, but they have announced a review of welfare payments if they become the next Government, so it’s unlikely to happen before then.

  14. It looks like Shorten’s circle are more than a little enamoured of the little Corsican:

    …. attacked a “powerful group of factional leaders” in Victoria for refusing to open up the process for preselecting senators to party members.
    (Kimberley) Kitching opposes giving rank-and-file members a say on the grounds it could drive the party too far to the left and make it unelectable. She offers a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte: “Lofty principles butter no bread and grease no wheels.”

  15. I mean, now is NOT the time to drive the final nail into the coffin of the Muppets. They can take their time and do the bastards slowly in tribute to the great PJK. 🙂


    This week was a beautiful illustration of how expert Labor has become at timing their shots.

    We come back for the last week of Parliament, the Budget, the BIG WIN for the Coalition. The big set piece where Stunt and Fraudenboy beat up Labor and win the election (in their dreams). It’s all going to be about them this week.

    So Bill cuts them off at the knees by releasing the ALP’s climate policies on Monday.

    He knows if there’s one thing a dumbfuck Lib PM can’t resist it’s a mindless reactionary Pavlovian response to a Labor policy on Climate. The government should have and would have wanted to be selling their message all week long, but instead they are talking about climate. That’s the political equivalent of them getting Labor talking about BOATS! in the Howard years.

    Josh has his moment of not much glory on Tuesday. Within half an hour of him sitting down Labor has the Lib’s ‘Brain’s Trust’ (sic) in emergency meetings to try and fix their budget. They do this simply by noting they’ll move an amendment to make sure the Newstart recipients get the $75 bribe one off energy supplement. Wednesday is the government talking about and backtracking on Labor’s turf.

    Thursday was always going to be about Bill. A few little (obvious to anyone with a brain) hints about how he was going to gazump Josh on tax cuts to get the good headlines in the papers, but unlike the rabble he kept his trump card for the actual event.

    So Friday is all talk about Cancer treatment and Medicare.

    Tuesday was never going to be anything other than about the actual Budget, but pretty much the rest of the entire week the narrative was set by and on the grounds preferred by Bill and Labor.

    He isn’t nearly foolish enough to have shot off all his ammo before the formal declaration of war (unlike his desperate opponents). There will be more announcements that will build on what Labor has set out so far. They will be timed to ensure Labor continues to set the terms of engagement as much as possible. Some will be used preemptively to keep Stunt reacting instead of running his own race, and some will be held back as rapid response counter attacks when/if the government actually gets some traction somehow.

    The strategy has been set for several years now. It has played out near perfectly so far (with a nod of course to the Libs and Nats own contributions). The fact that Labor has been setting the terms for three years now is not accidental. And it isn’t going to change in the next few weeks. Labor will simply continue to build on their domination with new announcements that support their campaign over the coming weeks. They can and will do so because they made hard decisions previously which has given them space to manoeuvre which the Coalition don’t have because they have chosen reactionary nonsense and policies that appeal to no one outside their base and so boxed themselves in.

  16. Greensborough Growler

    credibility is what politicians and Governments really need to be successful.

    It seems we share a similar view of credibility-less Morrison and the long-term ineffectiveness of popularity.

  17. LR,

    Shorten used imagery of his mother and her Cancer fight to rationalise and humanise Labor’s decision to extend Medicare to assist all Cancer sufferers. However, I’m sure there has been extensive costings and disccussions with interested parties about the details.

    Morrison was actually brought kicking and screaming to the Disability Royal Commission. His use of his brother in law as a foil to Shorten’s pitch is all about reducing the differences on key issues between him and Labor.

    I have no doubt that Morrison is now sincere about the RC. However, he’s coming over as his normal blustering showman used car salesman which seems to be the perception that people have of him. That seems to lead bias confirmation by voters that he lacks sincerity and real empathy.

  18. Pegasus@4:09pm
    All that rant on Newstart is to make 20% of progressive voters think that ALP is not progressive enough and make them vote for Greens although the Greens party is compleletely dysfunctional. BTW, why did Field leave NSW Greens.

  19. Shorten will have the real things
    1. huge political capital based on five years of hard yards.
    2. a comprehensive set of costed policies all with a clear mandate.
    3. a very, very competent team that has worked well together for years in the most difficult of all circumstances: political opposition.
    Shorten will have to deal with two sorts of unreal expectations.
    The first is from the Greens and assorted Left Neggers.
    The second is from true believers who are going to find that Senate Obstruction, Global Headwinds and drag-the-chain individuals who will try to obstruct Labor’s remit.

  20. Here’s another Napoleon quote for you Nath.
    The fool has one great advantage over a man of sense; he is always satisfied with himself.

  21. “So much obsession and pathological hate of PM Morrison.”

    it ain’t “pathological” it is a 100% natural and healthy reaction to having such a c@#t as PM


  22. Was Kitching paying for twitter ‘sock puppets’ to bolster her twitter profile?

    Victorian Labor senator and close Bill Shorten ally Kimberley Kitching has lost 14,000 Twitter followers after the social media group purged “fake user” accounts.
    Twitter’s decision to delete more than half of Senator Kitching’s 26,000 followers in one hit..
    It raises doubts about Senator Kitching’s firm denial in May — when her extraordinary tally of Twitter followers for a back­bencher was first subjected to scrutiny — that her account had been infiltrated by thousands of Russian-linked “bots” or “sock puppets”.

  23. Boerwar, for what it’s worth, I always stumble over your word “neggers”. Living in the US for 18 years sensitised me.

  24. Abul Rizvi
    1h1 hour ago

    With an hour to go, Home Affairs have cancelled the meeting with me that Pezzullo directed his staff to arrange 2 weeks ago. No explanation given. I will next week publish the list of unanswered questions i sent to them earlier this week. #auspol

  25. We’re still getting taxpayer funded advertisements designed to favour the LNP. Presumably they will continue up until the exact time that Morrison visits the GG. Morrison would want to get the maximum political mileage out of advertising that is paid for out of our pockets.

  26. Ven

    Are you John Wren.?Calling Acoss a Greens organisation is very similar to calling Twitter a Greens Socialist Alliance platform.

  27. The dust storms across South Australia are so bad, traffic has stopped on some country roads due to lack of visibility.
    Adelaide is covered in dust. And it is on my keyboard because I left the door open for the dogs when I went out at lunchtime. arrrrghhhh. #weatheronPB

  28. I’m a Labor voter, and I want Newstart raised. It is a disgrace that the poorest members of our society are expected to subsist on such a pittance.

    I also want our government to do all the other things that Bill Shorten has promised he will do. And I want our government to stop doing many of the things it has been doing under the Abbott, Turnbull & Morrison Coalition. So I don’t see Bill Shorten’s failure to commit to raise Newstart as a reason not to vote Labor.

    However, it is a mistake to assume I’m satisfied with merely a promise of a review of this from Labor. I will be watching out for real action in this space. If there’s none, Labor risks losing my vote to the Greens at the next election, certainly in the Senate, and maybe also in the House.

    Rex, does the idea of giving Labor more of the benefit of the doubt than the Coalition on matter of socioeconomic justice really not make sense to you?

  29. Image from the ABC website.
    Dust storm Brighton Beach
    Posted about 2 hours ago

    The dust storm has blanketed parts of Adelaide, including Brighton Beach.

    Supplied: Majella Photo Art

  30. Boerwar
    Friday, April 5, 2019 at 4:51 pm
    A rather pathetic attempt at concern trolling there, Michael.
    Do lift your game!
    Yes Michael. Unqualified obedience to the leader is required on here if you want to be a real Labor stooge. 🙂

  31. Puffy

    That looks bad.

    Most of South Australia has a group of related phenomena which come together and which can be summarized thus: the rate of soil formation is less than the rate of soil loss.

    This translates into a sort of inevitable outcome: sooner or later the soils will be totally depleted and you will be down to bedrock.

  32. Been working all day so just catching up on PB responses to the budget-in-reply.

    First – and with particular regard to 7:30 – the conversation about Labor proposing much higher taxes and spending is ridiculous, and ignores the hard fact that Coalition governments ALWAYS tax more than the ALP. They also spend more but for a large part they waste it on useless shit for people who don’t need or deserve it.

    Second – Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes (and his immediate successors) wreaked devastation across Asia and a large part of Eastern Europe. They were appalling: for example it’s estimated that 90% of the population of Persia was disappeared by the Mongols. One estimate I’ve seen is 20-30 million people killed by them in total; another is 5% of the world’s population.

    I don’t know how many they killed in Europe, but I can suppose that they far outdid any comparable period in Roman history, or Napoleon.

  33. Boerwar

    Actually it was the Boomers parents who inherited that, . They spruced the place up a bit for the Boomers to take over.Boomers in nappies and shorts could not do much at the time.

    What’s with all the constant Boomer and Millennials ? WTF happened to Gen X ? Boomers given up on their kids and taking it out on the grand kids ? 🙂

    Way back when Howard was roaming about as PM it was the same age group (65+) but different ‘generation’ that were over represented among his supporters. That ‘problem’ with ‘oldies’ was to be sorted when the Boomers got ‘old’…………………apparently.

  34. Bernie Sanders’ current support in the polls is solid, and will only go up because he is the second choice of several other candidates who are likely to drop out of the race after the first couple of primary / caucus contests early next year.

    Joe Biden’s current support in the polls is very soft because unlike Bernie Sanders’ support it isn’t based on recently stated policy positions and values – it’s just residual feel good sentiment for an avuncular former Vice-President. The groping stories and Joe Biden’s very conservative record on many issues that matter a lot to Democratic voters will see his support sink like a stone if he chooses to run. Joe Biden has contributed to every bad policy decision of the past forty years – deregulating the financial sector, making the US the biggest incarceration nation on the planet, supporting crappy trade deals that redistributed income upwards, helping a credibly accused sexual harasser become a Supreme Court judge – the series of bad calls by Biden just goes on and on like Greensborough Growler defending the parasitic mortgage broking industry. Biden’s record is a big liability in a contest for the Democratic nomination for president. So is his affinity for groping.

  35. autocrat
    About the Mongols, all very true, I am afraid.
    But self-loathing doctrinaire Lefties reckon it was the decadent West that created capitalism by doing what the Mongols did.

  36. guytaur@4:48pm
    I am not John Wren
    But I am certainly stunned by the distintegration of Greens in NSW, VIC and SA. For example, Field has resigned has from NSW Greens and sitting as a independent. Birmingham resignation before NSW state. election.

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