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. “still negging…”

    And he’s still trolling too. Poor old Boerwar has gotten himself into quite a mess today. The guy is just so blinded by his hate of the Greens and the left that he will say anything to attack them. Typical RWNJ troll. Now he’s desperately trying to change the subject because the NT Labor governments’ deals with the Coalition have been exposed. So transparent. I honestly didn’t think someone claiming to be from Labor would stoop so low as to try and use First Australians as pawns to attack the Greens. Absolutely shameful.

  2. News ltd and the Oz wanting to fight the election on AGW is so 2009. The country has moved on from then. Even Tony Abbott these days says it is prudent to look after the planet seeing as it’s the only one we have.

  3. One thing I am seeing with this water buyback issue is that regardless of the outcome of any investigation, it is damaging to the govt during the election campaign.

    The more Morrison tries to shut it down with the usual “nothing to see here” the more the media will pursue it (and it is now in the mainstream and not just twitter etc.)

    Election campaigns magnify issues. And for once, it’s an issue that effects the Libs.

    Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving political party.

  4. AE

    Here you what Wayne Swan Neo Liberalism gets you under a
    Wayne Swan Neo Liberalism
    Oh dear.
    Public comments saying the opposite to you.

    Wayne Swan Neo Liberalism

    Damn. The link is not working. Anyone interested can do it themselves.

  5. Labor have learned from the 2010-13 era. Never again. Never.

    Very soon the country will elect a Labor government that will govern strongly and well, the government the country very badly needs.

    All of Labor’s detractors and obstructions – the Nat-Libs, the Lib-Libs, the ON-Libs, the Crazy-Libs, the G-Libs….all the Lib-kin….will rend their hair and bent their sorrows. But Labor will govern in spite of them. The people hope for this.

  6. Boerwar

    The Canberra LRT was projected to cost $783 million in the 2014 business case. That number was beaten by the $707 million contract and has not altered. Hence the price was as promised and under the planned budget. Opening date has moved around with the time taken for the safety regulators to sign off (not the constructors fault) but was always “early 2019”. Track construction was completed in late 2018. Hence I think it could be described as being completed on time. The only delay was getting the rail regulators used to a new mode. The delivery was finished on time.
    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6080230/with-the-beginning-of-light-rail-canberra-is-forever-changed/?cs=14225

    Between Gold Coast LRT, Canberra LRT and the Melbourne rail level crossing removal projects we have now seen several major rail projects completed well in Australia in recent years.

  7. Firefox

    I came across a few persons of your ilk in my decade in the Territory backblocks.

    Some were missionaries for Christ.
    Some were missionaries for the Almighty Dollar.
    Some were missionaries for their particular political religion.

    All these fakers had one thing in common: the bwana act. They were there for the good of the Indigenous peoples. They faked support for Indigenous people while their intention was to do them over in some way, shape or form. Most of the death threats I received in the Territory came from these sources. It was quite dangerous. Having a puny Greens throw a few nasty words in my direction is, by comparison, chicken shit stuff.

    My suggestion to you is that you contact whoever put that video together and get them to pull it until it has been put to the traditional owners. They might end up supporting it. I don’t know. They might want some of the Uluru footage cut. I don’t know. But, based on my years at Uluru, and things have certainly changed since then, the tjilpies of thirty years ago would most likely have chucked that video in the bin. IMO, it would, literally, have upset them.

  8. ‘jenauthor says:
    Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    One thing I am seeing with this water buyback issue is that regardless of the outcome of any investigation, it is damaging to the govt during the election campaign.

    The more Morrison tries to shut it down with the usual “nothing to see here” the more the media will pursue it (and it is now in the mainstream and not just twitter etc.)

    Election campaigns magnify issues. And for once, it’s an issue that effects the Libs.

    Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving political party.’

    Spot on, IMO.

  9. Not at all remarkably, in the suburbs of the northern front, not a single voter has ever asked me what I think about Wayne Swan and neo-Lib economics. Nary a one. I suspect that fewer than 1/10 voters would have the first clue what would be meant by this ideological golf ball. Not a single one has ever raised this as an ‘issue of concern’ for them.

  10. Jenauthor:

    Morrison is certainly sounding more erratic about it. Fancy blaming the Qld govt for Barnaby signing off on the buybacks!

  11. Just parking this here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/14/the-hawke-keating-agenda-was-laborism-not-neoliberalism-and-is-still-a-guiding-light

    Those seeking to verbal Keating about “neoliberalism” should note that the great man never uses that shitful tag: largely because of its post facto meaninglessness. I concur.

    Swanny can use whatever word he wants. He’s earned that right and while I don’t agree with him about that word, but I do agree with his analysis.

  12. There is no deal between the NT Government and the Federal Coalition. Any suggestion along those lines is false.

    The past two years have seen record cuts in GST funding to the NT by this Federal Government.

    NT Labor kept its promise. It went to the 2016 election promising a scientific report in to hydraulic fracturing. The report was extensive and wide ranging. It’s final finding was that hydraulic fracturing could safely occur with a number of contingencies outlined in the recommendations.

    The NT Government is now in the process of implementing those recommendations.

  13. “Labor have learned from the 2010-13 era. Never again. Never.”

    Someone obviously forgot to tell the ACT Labor party this. They’ve done it twice since!

    Don’t bother replying, I’ll do it for you…

  14. Stage 1
    Ignore
    Stage 2
    Suppress with defamation action
    Stage 3
    Deflect the blame.
    Stage 4
    Defame someone else.
    Stage 5
    Delay until after the election.
    If this keeps up Morrison will announce an inquiry.
    This inquiry will deliver its results after the election.

  15. Boer, my take on the G-Libs and the Statement from the Heart is that, essentially, the white fella elite are trying to do what they always do – steal the property of indigenous peoples. They are ‘making off with’ the political expression over which my friends long-laboured. They are guilty of political larceny. This is not the story of the Lib-kin. They should return it to its rightful owners.

  16. Andrew_Earlwood @ #414 Saturday, April 20th, 2019 – 4:55 pm

    Just parking this here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/14/the-hawke-keating-agenda-was-laborism-not-neoliberalism-and-is-still-a-guiding-light

    Those seeking to verbal Keating about “neoliberalism” should note that the great man never uses that shitful tag: largely because of its post facto meaninglessness. I concur.

    Swanny can use whatever word he wants. He’s earned that right and while I don’t agree with him about that word, but I do agree with his analysis.

    It’s a bit ‘self-loathing’ to try and defensively re-define your economic ideology. 😆

  17. Barnaby gets a lawyer who can’t write English, and may be drunk, to threaten legal action. But he doesn’t front the cameras. This is a great look.

  18. AE

    I was specific. I quoted Neo Liberalism. Trickle Down Voodoo economics from the thatcher and Reagan era on.

    Swan uses this because it’s the common usage today.
    Robert Reich also uses it.
    Bernie Sanders uses it and I suspect on Wednesday US time Biden will use it in his campaign launch speech

  19. One of the problems here is the perception problems Joyce stoked with his various pub boasts.
    They are coming home to roost.
    There is, moreover, one particular on the record set of inconsistencies that ought to be pursued by hitherto somnolent journalists.
    At some stage BEFORE he became the minister for killing the Darling River Joyce had made various very loud statements that he was AGAINST water buy backs.
    The questions are these:
    1. Why did he change his mind?
    2. When did he change his mind?
    3. How did these changes dovetail with the activities of certain water speculators?

  20. The Lib-kin cannot help themselves. They exploit everything they touch. The sooner the reckoning comes for them the better for the country.

  21. Yes high farce indeed.

    Taylor threatens to sue journos for asking about those companies he was associated with.
    Morrison blames Shorten for bringing up #watergate.
    Morrison then blames the Qld govt for Barnaby signing off on the water buybacks.
    Barnaby blames Penny Wong for his signing off on the water buybacks.
    Barnaby quickly realises there’s more taxpayer largesse to be had by suing people and gets right on that.
    Christensen slugs taxpayers for his reverse mail order bride travails.
    Christensen’s CoS blocks journalists who ask about Christensen’s revers mail order bride travails.

    All care, no responsibility.

  22. Rex Douglas says:
    Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    You just can’t trust neo-libs with the economy or the environment. They’ll ruin you every time.

    As a G-Lib, you should know.

  23. Bob Hawke and Paul Keating were up to their necks in weakening the rights of workers. See the notes about pages 10 and 11 of this paper:

    Stanford, Jim. 2019. ‘A Turning Point For Labour Market Policy In Australia.’ The Economic and Labour Relations Review 1 – 23.

    Australia has insufficient quantity and quality of paid work to meet the needs of Australians (4)

    underemployment has averaged 8.4 percent during the past 5 years (5)

    the ABS Feb 2018 survey of workforce participation and job search found that there were 900,000 hidden unemployed i.e. people who wanted work and were available to work but weren’t actively looking (6)

    if you include unemployment, underemployment, and non-participation (hidden unemployment), well over 3 million Australians are unemployed or under-employed or hidden unemployed – which is over 15 percent of the potential total labour force (6)

    Australia is far from full employment (6)

    NAIRU full employment is not genuine full employment (6)

    quality of jobs has fallen markedly – employers want “just in time” workers who are only paid on the basis of precisely when and where they are needed . Employers want to shed the costs, risks, and obligations of employing someone permanently. In traditional permanent employment, the employer bears the costs and risks of the normal ups and downs of consumer demand and economic conditions. (6)

    there has been a rapid spread of insecure and precarious employment (6)

    casual work now accounts for 1 in 4 waged jobs in Australia (6)

    in 2017, non-standard employment (casual, part-time, and self-employment) accounted for more than half of employed people for the first time in Australian history (7)

    part-time now accounts for 1 in 3 jobs in Australia (7)

    the number of small-scale part-time self-employed workers has grown markedly – these people are much more vulnerable and earn less in total and on an hourly basis than full-time self-employed people and full-time employed people (7)

    since 2015 nominal wage growth has been only 2 percent per year – the lowest sustained rate since the 1930s (8)

    average prices have also increased by about 2 percent per year – so wage growth since 2015 has barely kept up with inflation (8)

    average real value added per hour of work in Australia continues to increase by over 1 percent per year (9)

    real wages have lagged behind productivity growth for decades (9)

    the wages share of national income has fallen from a peak of 58 percent in the mid 1970s to only 47 percent in 2018 (9)

    redistribution of income from labour to capital automatically increases inequality of personal income because the ownership of business wealth is highly concentrated in the hands of the highest income earners – they own business wealth in the forms of direct firm ownership, share ownership, and ownership of other securities. (9)

    income inequality among wage earners has also increased – some wage earners have particular skills and circumstances that give them a lot of bargaining power; most wage incomes have stagnated (9-10)

    it is not true to claim that wage stagnation is due to advances in automation – Australia’s economy has actually become less capital intensive and more labour intensive in recent years. (10)

    productivity growth has not accelerated in recent years, which contradicts the narrative about labour-displacing automation

    globalization does not explain wage stagnation either – it is true that some highly exposed tradeable sectors (certain manufacturing industries) experienced reductions in employment and compensation, especially between 2002 and 2014 when high commodity prices and capital inflows pushed up the value of the AUD. However, other tradeable sectors have benefited from globalization e.g. tourism, higher education, finance. In recent years, Australia has had a trade surplus and net inflows of direct investment, therefore can’t really argue that global factors have undercut Australia’s labour market at the macroeconomic level (10)

    the real causes of wage stagnation and declining job quality are changes to industrial relations and labour market policies since the 1980s (10)

    In the 1980s the Prices and Incomes Accord moderated wage demands in return for increases in the social wage (Medicare and superannuation) – this led to real wages declining for several years (11)

    in the 1990s the system of industry-wide negotiation and arbitration was replaced with enterprise-level bargaining. Union membership and power fell rapidly after this change (11)

    after 1996, Coalition Governments imposed restrictions on unions: rights of entry to workplaces, rights to strike, union dues-collection systems were all undermined (11)

    minimum wages were reduced as a percentage of median wages (11)

    protections against dismissal were weakened (11)

    government spending was reduced (11)

    income security policies were weakened (11)

    the result of all these changes is that wages and working conditions are much more likely to be determined unilaterally by employers than determined by collective bargaining or by direct government regulation (11)

    in 1980, top 1 percent of households received 4.6 percent of income; in 2018 received 9.1 percent (12)

    in 1980, the national minimum wage was 60 percent of the average wage; in 2018 it was 46 percent (12)

    union membership has fallen from 47.2 of employed people in 1980 to 14.6 percent of employed people in 2018 (12)

    Australia’s labour policy regime is strongly pro-employer (13-14)

    we need coordinated, sustained changes to macroecononomic policy to bring about genuine full employment, instead of NAIRU full employment (14)

    we need to shift fiscal policy from austerity to expansion (15)

    we need new jobs in the public and caring services – this will enhance the quantity and quality of work for Australians (15)

    we need a historic, sustained expansion of public infrastructure, including utilities, transportation, health care, education, affordable housing, environmental projects, cultural facilities (15)

    we need an economy-wide full employment strategy – with a special focus on high technology, high productivity, export oriented sectors – these would be anchor industries that increase productivity, boost net exports, and relax balance of payments constraints on growth – these anchor industries also need to be environmentally sustainable and have strong domestic supply chains (15)

    we need more government spending on research and development (15)

    we need a national agency to coordinate the government’s measures to nurture high value, high technology, high productivity anchor industries (16)

    we need major government investments in renewable energy, public transit, and energy conservation (16)

    we need to lift the national minimum wage so that a full time year-round worker does not experience poverty (16)

    we need to legislate limits on the casualization of the workforce (16)

    we need to legislate expanded rights for casual workers to convert to permanent employee status (16)

    we need to legislate a broader definition of employee so that it includes all workers whose work arrangements and pay are clearly dependent on the decisions of a major firm (16)

    we need to regulate labour hire firms more tightly – we should legislate compulsory licensing of labour hire firms; we should legislate joint liability of the labour hire firm and the ultimate employer for employment and safety standards(16-17)

    we need to allocate more resources to enforcing existing statutory protections for vulnerable workers such as migrant workers and international students (17)

    we need to change industrial relations laws to allow for multi-employer or industry-level bargaining in order to reduce the lopsided power that employers currently enjoy – this is especially important in the private sector and in small workplaces (where collective bargaining is almost non-existent) (17)

    we need to relax restrictions on unions so that unions can be well-resourced and represent workers effectively (17)

    we need to limit the ability of employers to terminate Enterprise Agreements during the re-negotiations of these agreements – employers shouldn’t be permitted to threaten the drastic reductions in pay and conditions that can flow from pushing workers off an EA and onto the minimum standards of the relevant award (17)

    we need to establish a timely and effective umpire that has the resources to enforce collective agreements (17)

    we need to enact proactive measures to help systematically disadvantaged people (17) – including people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, migrant workers, young workers, women, and the long-term unemployed – this proactive assistance needs to address all aspects of people’s experiences of work, including training, lifelong learning, job search, recruitment, job retention (17)

    enacting all of these reforms would require several terms of government (17-18)

  24. “There is no deal between the NT Government and the Federal Coalition. Any suggestion along those lines is false.”

    Ok, you listen to the PM (then treasurer). Such a trustworthy guy is SlowMo. NT Labor sold out for Coalition cash.

    Just recently there’s been protests at the NT parliament over this very issue. The Coalition has just announced an $8m plan to extend fracking in the NT as part of their election promises. They can do it now because the NT Labor government lifted the ban for them.

    As for what the Traditional Owners think of these latest plans? It’s pretty clear…

    Quote:

    Elliott-region Indigenous Traditional Owner Raymond Dixon said “our people have not given proper consent to these activities, yet fracking companies are out on country now, land-clearing, taking water and preparing sites for fracking.”

    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/coalition-promises-8-4m-for-nt-fracking

  25. ‘briefly says:
    Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Boer, my take on the G-Libs and the Statement from the Heart is that, essentially, the white fella elite are trying to do what they always do – steal the property of indigenous peoples. They are ‘making off with’ the political expression over which my friends long-laboured. They are guilty of political larceny. This is not the story of the Lib-kin. They should return it to its rightful owners.’

    In general the Greens are probably more supportive of Indigenous aspirations than the Coalition. But, either way, it is irrelevant for so long as the Greens choose to represent extreme rather than mainstream views. I don’t particularly mind the Greens engaging with Indigenous peoples as long as they are upfront about being powerless to do anything real on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. That would require integrity.

  26. I’ve been campaigning today with people looking for work, people in casual work, people from unions, young people hoping for a better future, with older voters who are newly-stirred. I met voters who, in spite of everything dealt to them by the system, still hold on to hope; people who will favour hope above fear. I met working people who want a Labor Government – a Government that will work for them instead of against them.

    I’m with these people. They are the reason that Labor lives.

  27. Rex Douglas says:
    Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 5:09 pm
    briefly @ #432 Saturday, April 20th, 2019 – 5:07 pm

    Rex Douglas says:
    Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    You just can’t trust neo-libs with the economy or the environment. They’ll ruin you every time.

    As a G-Lib, you should know.
    You’re so defensive….

    Whereas you’re simply…glib…

  28. “Someone obviously forgot to tell the ACT Labor party this. They’ve done it twice since!”

    Dear Firefly – were I a good burgher of Canberra I’d support a Labor-Greens coalition. The combination of the electoral system and the position of the Overton window in the ACT makes that the logical thing to do.

    Meanwhile, outside our bush capital the political environment is … somewhat different.

  29. Firefox
    I do hope you don’t think that quoting just one Indigenous person means that all Indigenous people think the same way?
    It would be like quoting Mundine!

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