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”

  1. The Watergate issue has the potential to taint the whole government. We shall see

    However, at a micro level what is much more potent is the effect the story will have on voters in the regional seats on the Murray / Darling. They already feel forgotten by the government eg Menindee and this will only burn even deeper. National seats going independent a huge possibility.

    Cheers.

  2. I have a suspicion that the frenzy over the #watergate is reminiscent of the Parakeelia ‘scandal’ in the 2016 election lead up. Too much inside the beltway.

    Lots of outrage met with plausible deniability – meanwhile the main themes which will firm up the low information voters may get lost

  3. The Coalition will try to brazen their way through Watergate 2.0 with all of their well-worn shop-soiled methodologies. The media and Labor shouldn’t let them get away with it.

  4. Ven, Confessions
    Bluey is in purdah for another 17 days.
    I can’t speak for him but I assume that Labor would have been a plus one and the Coalition minus two for the day.

  5. sprocket_ @ #557 Saturday, April 20th, 2019 – 7:16 pm

    I have a suspicion that the frenzy over the #watergate is reminiscent of the Parakeelia ‘scandal’ in the 2016 election lead up. Too much inside the beltway.

    Lots of outrage met with plausible deniability – meanwhile the main themes which will firm up the low information voters may get lost

    It’s the Conservative way. Deny until you can formulate a semi plausible lie…

  6. Confessions says:
    Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 7:15 pm
    briefly:

    With any luck there might even be MORE to the story come Tuesday.

    I hope so, fess. I suppose anything that keeps the LNP off their stride is helpful.

  7. sprocket,

    At a National level that may well be the case. No downside to labor.

    But, in those electorates along the Murray / Darling already pissed off at the government there may be a significant impact. Seats possibly going independent and money and resources being needed to defend them.

  8. doyley
    Agree. This will send the people whose livelihoods were being screwed by all this stuff absolutely batshit crazy. They already knew they were being screwed. They had some information about how they were being screwed. And they now know by whom.

    Apart from that this is merely the latest in a huge list of Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison government MPs and Senators and their various friends who got hugely lucky. There will be a bias confirmation effect.

    Finally, Turnbull reminding everyone that the entire Cabinet AND the Party Room supported the NEG will confirm that the Coalition is still hopelessly divided and hopelessly confused on energy and emissions policies.

  9. doyley@7:16pm
    ‘Menindee’ should have been a huge story during NSW State elections. But LNP with the help of Murdoch press and other MSM were able to quarantine from Metropolitan Sydney. Hence, LNP won the election.

  10. briefly:

    Burke has said he will have more to say about this next week, and in a media statement the other day has linked in those highly unorthodox half a billion dollar grants to little-known entities in SA and Qld with watergate. If Labor can tie this into a broader narrative around coalition crony capitalism, together with the tax cuts for the rich and penalty rate cuts for the working poor, there could be something bigger there for the media to grab hold of.

  11. Ven,

    Consider the micro.

    Even in the NSW election those National seats on the Murray / Darling had huge swings. Compare the difference to northern NSW National seats. No so much of a swing.

    This issue may not resonate nationally but consider the tight rope the coalition is trying to manage. They cannot afford any seat lose. A few national party seats in NSW under threat is a big issue.

    Cheers.

  12. doyley:

    Yes, that’s true. In addition to Labor and coalition marginals, the coalition has to campaign in seats it could otherwise leave to fend for themselves: Higgins, Warringah, Wentworth etc, and now apparently Farrer, sitting on a 20+% margin. This takes resources the parties simply don’t have.

  13. AE, neo-liberalism, you know all this ‘good stuff’ such as:

    Privatization.

    Cuts to public spending, public health, public education, cuts to welfare.

    Removal of worker’s rights and cuts to wages and conditions.

    Removal of environmental laws.

    Cuts to corporate rates of tax and to those high income earner’s rates of tax.

    Introduction of regressive tax regimes.

    Removal of protection for domestic industries.

    So AE, that’s neo- liberalism. Clear about what we mean now? What parts of it do you support?

  14. Boerwar,

    Exactly.

    There will be some pissed off voters along the 4iver system.

    Re Turnbull.

    Every time the MSM or Morrison attaches labor re cost of labor policy labor can simply hit back with the Turnbull tweets.

    The cost of doing nothing is huge power bills. And consider the attr@ction of Turnbull still in Victoria.

    All labor has to do is rinse and repeat the Turnbull lines. The more the MSM questions Shorten the more the Turnbull effect will be used by him.

    At the end of the day good policy is good politics. Turnbull has just helped it along.

    Cheers

  15. Confessions says:
    Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 7:28 pm
    briefly:

    Burke has said he will have more to say about this next week, and in a media statement the other day has linked in those highly unorthodox half a billion dollar grants to little-known entities in SA and Qld with watergate. If Labor can tie this into a broader narrative around coalition crony capitalism, together with the tax cuts for the rich and penalty rate cuts for the working poor, there could be something bigger there for the media to grab hold of.

    Fess, the sense that the LNP regime is a racket run for the benefit of the very few and very well-connected has certainly been conveyed by voters during doorknocking. One of the voters I met this morning was quite bitter about it. He’s looking for work and worried about his kids, and highly cynical about the Libs.

    Senator Lines also commented about this when I saw her recently, saying she’d had similar responses during phone-banking.

  16. Chris Bowen
    ‏Verified account @Bowenchris
    12h12 hours ago

    Chris Bowen Retweeted rob harris

    If you see a text message or post suggesting Labor will introduce a death or inheritance tax, call it out for the lie that it is. Based on a dishonest @JoshFrydenberg press release and a compete fabrication.

  17. With brains like Borewar, Greensborugh Growler, and Briefly in charge, and Billy Bunters like Catmomma and Zoomster in the infantry I’m getting a bad feeling that Labor is about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  18. briefly says:
    Senator Lines also commented about this when I saw her recently, saying she’d had similar responses during phone-banking.
    ________________________
    Any other ALP stooges want to name drop and play the fantasy game that they are integral to the campaign?

  19. “With brains like Borewar, Greensborugh Growler, and Briefly in charge, and Billy Bunters like Catmomma and Zoomster in the infantry I’m getting a bad feeling that Labor is about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”
    I’m glad not all Labor people are like that lot.

  20. Lovey says:
    Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    With brains like Borewar, Greensborugh Growler, and Briefly in charge, and Billy Bunters like Catmomma and Zoomster in the infantry I’m getting a bad feeling that Labor is about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
    ________________________________
    My bet is that they drive away more votes than they attract. The Libs should be paying them.

  21. Seriously, this comment section is a bacterium on a flea on an elephant’s arse. All the growling and partisan drumbeating and armchair election strategising is purely for entertainment. It has almost zero effect on the world outside or the outcome of elections.

    (Just to clarify: this is about the comment section. Not William’s work.)

  22. “Any other ALP stooges want to name drop and play the fantasy game that they are integral to the campaign?”

    nath:

    Piss off you obnoxious twerp.

    Its actually pretty normal for people who are willing to make the time to actually step up and be involved in campaigning to meet and discuss with some quite senior and well known people on occasion. If they have feedback from those people that they can share. great.

    You jumping in with immediate disparagement just underlines what a humorless sad little puppy you are. Very little to contribute in your posts apart from mainly unfunny comment on other posters that distinctly lower the tone.

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