Happy trails

As the election campaign enters a hiatus, a look at where the leaders have been and why.

As the Easter/Anzac Day suspension of hostilities begins, it may be instructive to look at where the leaders have travelled during the campaign’s preliminary phase. Featured over the fold is a display listing the electorates that have been targeted, as best as I can tell, and a very brief summary of what they were up to while they were there. Certain entries are in italics where it is seems clear that the area was not targeted for its electoral sensitivity, such as Bill Shorten’s visit to Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel project to get some good vision presenting him as a champion of infrastructure, which happened to place him in the unloseable Labor seat of Gellibrand. There are also a few entries that clearly targeted more than one electorate, in which case the margin for the secondary elected is listed on a second line.

What stands out is that Scott Morrison has hit a number of Labor-held seats, consistent with the optimistic impression the Liberals are presenting about their prospects – an assessment which, on this evidence, does not look to be fully shared by Labor. The only activity of Shorten’s that had Labor territory as its primary target was his visit to the Northern Territory on Thursday. Of equal interest to Shorten’s pattern of travel is the clarity of Labor’s early campaign theme of health policy, in contrast of the grab bag of messages promoted by Scott Morrison.

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.

720 comments on “Happy trails”

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  1. sprocket at 10.45pm
    “Their Last Supper” That is brilliant!

    Ophuph Hucksake
    The LNP is a collection of spivs and shysters, every one of them more concerned with their own position and wealth than the good of Australia, and prepared to forsake any pretence of morality. Barnaby and Taylor are just the latest examples.

  2. Yes. BK gazzumped again!

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Peter Hartcher says that it’s time for political day of reckoning over climate change.
    The Saturday Paper’s Jill Abramson also unload on the Murdoch empire’s influence.
    Katharine Murphy tells us how buying international permits is a cheap way to cut emissions.
    Fergus Hunter tells us why a fed-up Bill Shorten has turned on News Corp.
    Just have a look at the stories on today’s Australian to see the flavour.
    David Wroe reports that Labor has demanded Facebook investigate apparent “fake news” posts claiming the opposition is planning to introduce a “death tax” on inheritances, in the first major test of the social media giant’s promise to crack down on false election material.
    Mike Seccombe gets inside the GetUp! election machine.
    Paul Bongiorno says Labor is using Dutton as the Easter Bunny.
    I found this report from Jacqui Maley on Morrison’s Pentecostalism very difficult of handle.
    This is a thought provoking article on Anzac Day from a lady veteran.
    Karen Middleton reveals that a mailout from the federal government to age pensioners on the eve of the election campaign cost taxpayers $2.1 million and raised concerns about the timing of the correspondence.
    Dana McCauley describes the tit-for-tat action of the Morrison government being set to unveil a $100 million plan to help Australians with cancer and rare diseases access cutting-edge treatment no matter where they live.
    Christmas Island trauma counsellor Christine Cummins has written a book about her five years’ experience there.
    Eryk Bagshaw explains how competing tax plans at the heart of the federal election will fail to prevent new mothers from taking a massive hit for returning to work, with fresh figures showing a woman typically loses 90 per cent of her wage for every extra day she uses childcare and in many cases actually pays to work.
    The Saturday Paper says that there is limited evidence that more funding will encourage specialists to bulk-bill, and cynics within the medical community say it won’t have an impact. So, with private specialists free to set their own fees, Labor’s plan will hinge on expanding cancer services in public hospitals.
    Anson Cameron writes about the thirsty giants killing our rivers.
    Residents in the federal seat of Warringah are complaining about telephone push polling, unwanted copies of the Daily Telegraph arriving on their lawns and election posters being defaced.
    Tom Switzer is of the opinion that Australia is not a racist nation. That may be so but it does not mean racism does not exist here.
    Strong demand for high-quality distribution centres has led investors to re-weight their portfolios away from retail centres and into industrial property.
    According to the AFR shareholders of National Australia Bank have good reason to feel completely let down by the board and management of the bank over the past five years.
    And industry super funds are gunning for David Murray at AMP’s AGM.
    It seems that standover merchants are active in the Melbourne club scene.
    Trump has branded the Mueller report as “crazy” and the Democrats have issued a sub poena for the full, unredacted document.
    Bruce Wolpe unpacks the Mueller report and describes it as a tale of two insults to America’s democracy.
    Jonathan Freedland writes that the Mueller report shows that bad guys who play dirty, like Trump, always win.
    Richard Wolffe says that of course Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia but unfortunately that’s not a crime.
    New Zealand Food Safety has stung a New Zealand company that has pleaded guilty to charges of adding artificial chemicals to its premium manuka honey, media reported, in a flagship prosecution over a product that is a high-value export for the country.
    Why the European far right’s bid to weaponise Notre Dame won’t work.
    Clearly this lovely couple get today’s nomination for “Arseholes of the Week”.

    Cartoon Corner

    Alan Moir reflects.

    Matt Davison on climate change.

    An April holiday calendar from Andrew Dyson.

    From Matt Golding.

    Jim Pavlidis recognises Eddie Betts’ 300th game.

    And he thinks time is running out on climate change politics.

    Zanetti lines up Clive Palmer.

    Two Easter offerings from Sean Leahy.

    Jon Kudelka with another one on Falau.

    From the US

  3. William sets out a campaign strategy which looks like Scott is the Opposition Leader and Bill the Prime Minister.
    That is, Shorten presenting a narrative, vision and direction on a major public policy issue, while Morrison presents as a retail politician asking for your vote because of his hand outs to you.
    In the good old days the role were reversed.

  4. Thank you BK.
    There have been a number of references to a ‘Phony War’. I remind readers that the Germans swallowed up half of Poland during the so-called Phony War and that the war at sea was not a bit phony.

  5. Very good article, William!
    The pattern is obvious to blind Freddie:
    ScuMo visited 7 ALP seats and 6 Coalition seats
    Shorten visited 4 ALP seats and 10 Coalition seats

    Who is more self-confident about holding on his seats and gaining seats from the other side? Therefore, who is more confident of winning?…. 🙂

  6. Cat

    Clem has a point.

    Being progressive means you don’t argue against being progressive.

    This is clear when those arguments put you to the right of Tories.
    It’s a very important part about Labor values.

  7. Today Labor is doing penalty rates.

    This will hurt the LNP.
    This is the money taken out of your pocket.
    This is the money Labor will put back in.

  8. guytaur @ #11 Saturday, April 20th, 2019 – 7:56 am


    Clem has a point.

    Being progressive means you don’t argue against being progressive.

    This is clear when those arguments put you to the right of Tories.
    It’s a very important part about Labor values.

    Yeah, sure. That way any dingbat scheme can get through. In other words you can’t have an opinion unless it agrees with Guytaur and Clem. Top marks for this ‘progressive’ thinking…

  9. clem doesn’t have a point, he only has abuse directed at anyone who isn’t on the Lunar Left of the political spectrum like he is.

  10. There is a vast difference between saying “There is racism in Australia” or “Australia has a racist history” and “Australians are racist” or “Australia is a racist country.”

  11. Tom

    Its very simple. If you are arguing the Tories case then you are not being Labor progressive.

    Last night I posted in praise of Mr Shorten and Labor regarding Murdoch as posted in BK’s link.

    Briefly attacked me for it with his usual Greens Liblings crap. I did not even mention the Greens.

    That’s just one example.
    That’s why Clem has a point.

  12. Thanks BK for your (now our) Dawn Patrol.

    From the BK Files.

    I found this report from Jacqui Maley on Morrison’s Pentecostalism very difficult of handle.

    ☕ Coffee ☕ – I need ☕ coffee…☕

    A very interesting article. I found that reading it could be equated with stumbling, by the dark of the moon, shackled and hobbled, through a swamp inhabited with Federal MP Bob Katter’s crocodiles, enraged and starving, being goaded by demented handlers from the planet zog.

    Through the looking glass – Nurse Ratched* peering at her charges from the semi safety of a quiet room in a small house in the poorest postcode in Australia – one can feel superior – bemused – bewildered, befuddled and bamboozled — as Professor Julius Sumner Miller often asked, “Why is it so?” —- HELP ❗

    I have no idea what motivates the happy ones (I know and know full well (Mr. Fell) what prompts the organisers, managers and speech makers).

    My late wife got caught up with the born again crew but came (with a little help from a friend) to realise that the urgers and prompters were – in a word – nuts.

    In the spring of 1969 – recovering from addiction I would attend Salvation Army church services together with others in my situation – there would be a call “come to Jesus” and one or two would go forward prompted by FIIK – adrenaline – gratitude ❓ ❓ – and I knew these one or two would on the morrow turn up pissed, blotto, drunk and ashamed. Extremely sad.

    *Nurse Ratched (also known as “Big Nurse”) is a fictional character and the main antagonist of Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as well as the 1975 film of the same name. A cold, heartless, and passive-aggressive tyrant, Nurse Ratched became the stereotype of the nurse as a battleaxe. She has also become a popular metaphor for the corrupting influence of institutional power and authority in bureaucracies such as the psychiatric treatment center in which the novel is set.

    And now – dear friends and neighbours –

    Who said there was only crap in The Daily Telegraph. Get a load of those eye lashes.

  13. The polling that has been released from marginal Coalition and Labor seats is making me more confident that the election will be closer than the bookies are betting. Labor might win as few as 80 seats and I believe the cross-bench is going to be sizable after the election.

  14. I for one have never accused the Gs of purity. They are an institutional split in the traditional Labor plurality. They profit from stand-off with Labor rather than from compromise with Labor. If they compromise, they cease to have campaign acreage. They need to create and accentuate differences with Labor in order to have something to fight with. Consequently they cannot compromise even if they wish to. This is expedience. It is not purity.

    The institutionalised schism in Labor’s traditional plurality mKes it more difficult for Labor to win. This serves the LNP. The splitters are auxiliaries to the LNP, though they may not see it that way. In their profound determination to oppose and defeat Labor, the Greens are Lib-siblings. They are not proxies for Labor. They ride shotgun for the forces of reaction. This is very very clear.

  15. @zoomster

    When you have American friends who are genuinely shocked by the racism coming out of politicians and the media in this country.
    Then I argue at least at an institutional level we have a major problem with racism. I am not saying Australians are more racist than Americans, however Americans are much more open about the racism in their society than we are.

  16. ‘There is a vast difference between saying “There is racism in Australia” or “Australia has a racist history” and “Australians are racist” or “Australia is a racist country.”’

    All those statements are equally true, but the last one covers it all.

  17. Victoria, phoenixRed:

    A fantastic podcast with Rick Wilson. He makes a very compelling case for:

    – not impeaching Trump as this will light up his base and the MAGAs like nothing else.
    – the Dem controlled House has investigative powers that can instead ground Trump and his cabinet into the ground.
    – this in turn sets up the 2020 election as a referendum on Trump and his corruption.

    Incidentally he says that last point is what Democrats should be focusing on in 2020. Not policy.


  18. Confessions

    Rick Wilson is Republican.

    The fact Elizabeth Warren a Presidential Candidate has called for impeachment tells you what Democratic thinking is.

    The truth. Get those Democrats out to vote they outnumber the GOP no matter how enthusiastic the GOP Trump supporters are.

  19. I find it a little disturbing that with my back to the TV, Sinodinos and Chambers sound the same in tone and delivery. Not content, of course.

  20. GG
    “Can’t we just bag the ABC and their commentators for their bias to make the blog more interesting”, and sell it at the markets perhaps?

  21. C@tmomma
    Loved the Coalitions Last Supper cartoon. One of the best . Hasn’t this Government been responsible for some of the decades most telling cartoons?

  22. Jake TapperVerified account @jaketapper
    1h1 hour ago

    Romney: ‘Sickened’ by Trump lies, ‘appalled’ by Trump team dealings with Russia @ScottJenningsKY @amandacarpenter @RobbyMook @SymoneDSanders discuss @TheLeadCNN https://cnn.it/2IuzUny

    Incidentally Rick Wilson says this is how Democrat candidates should attack their opponents, by asking them do they agree with the president’s curtailing the rule of law, corruption etc. Trump has no shame and doesn’t care if he comes across as corrupt mafiosa type, but ordinary Republican candidates having to face voters in the real world do.

  23. guytaur says:
    Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 8:12 am


    Its very simple. If you are arguing the Tories case then you are not being Labor progressive.

    What bullshit.

    There are times, very occasionally, that they do something good and of course there are some policy areas where they are very similar in their positions.

  24. Goll says:
    Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 8:51 am

    A marvellous word that “fuckwittery” and somehow blunts the sharp nastiness of the ‘f’ word.

    If it’s a tweet, does that make it;

    Twittery fuckwittery? 🙂

  25. laughtong says:
    Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 8:52 am
    I got into the Geelong Advertiser article about a Coorangamite seat poll and can give some figures if anyone wants.

    Fire away Laughtong. You don’t have to get permission to post polling figures here. It is a psephology site after all.

  26. Barney

    The Tories do do some good sometimes.

    Like John Howard doing gun laws.

    However argue appeasing climate deniers is a good strategy in my view is bonkers.

  27. Barney in Mui Ne @ #41 Saturday, April 20th, 2019 – 8:56 am

    guytaur says:
    Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 8:12 am


    Its very simple. If you are arguing the Tories case then you are not being Labor progressive.

    What bullshit.

    There are times, very occasionally, that they do something good and of course there are some policy areas where they are very similar in their positions.

    If Guytaur has his way we will close parliament and just pass legislation without debating it. All of Turnbull’s stuff would have been passed this way as he said it was innovative and agile…

  28. Publish the Corrangamite seat poll results by all means… I think that the ALP campaigning on penalty rates over the next week is brilliant. What better time to focus the minds of all in the retail and hospitality sectors and all other workers that they will be next…

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