Happy trails: episode two

Another look at where the campaign has taken the two leaders, and what that might tell us about the state of play.

Click on the image at the bottom of the post and you will see an updated account of the electorates visited by the leaders during the campaign, more or less (there is an element of subjectivity as to what constitutes a visit). One of the salient points to emerge is the rather intensive focus on Tasmania, which remarkably played host to both leaders yesterday. Scott Morrison has spent three days over two visits – exactly equal to his record for Victoria, where he has targeted the five Liberal-held seats on margins of up to 6.4%, but not wasted effort on Dunkley, which is Liberal-held but notionally Labor. Bill Shorten’s visit to the state was likewise his second, but so far he’s spent two days in the state to Morrison’s three.

Western Australia also logged up some points this week, but this is largely due to the debate having been held there on Monday, and the practicality of hanging around afterwards given the distance involved. Nonetheless, it is notable that Morrison spent fully three days campaigning their compared with Shorten’s two, and that Morrison felt it worth his while to conduct a street walk in the electorate of Canning, situated well up the pendulum at 6.8%.

Bill Shorten is overdue for a visit to New South Wales, where he hasn’t been since he spent the first three full days of the campaign in Sydney. Nonetheless, the prize for the most targeted seat of the campaign so far would appear to be the Sydney seat of Reid, which has been visited three times by Scott Morrison, most recently on Sunday, and was also visited by Shorten on each of his three days in Sydney.

And while you’re about, note also the other new post below this one: episode three of Seat du Jour, covering the Melbourne seat of La Trobe.

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.

1,298 comments on “Happy trails: episode two”

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  1. So it’s one week in and I still don’t know what Labor’s message is. Has it got one?

    Clive has a simple and positive message: “make Australia great”.

    Liberal has a simple and negative message “Labor will send us broke, again”

    ALP: … ?

  2. “Dr Phelp’s”, “Doctors in Parliament”, and “Dick -Head” in that Tony Hanley facebook post from October last year – and that’s all in the first line and a half.

    Can none of our politicians/aspiring politicians use apostrophes, capitalisation or spell correctly?

    There should be a literacy test.

  3. “Libs out to $3.75 from $3.50 just now on Sportsbet. ALP in to $1.27.”

    That’s the vibe I’m picking up too John.

  4. I predict Nostradamus and their predictions will be as spot on as the original Nostradamus’ prediction 😉

  5. Labor campaign launch in Brisbane on Sunday.

    Increase in the pension to be announced

    Modest increase in Newstart with commitment for more once review is completed.

    The above will be the final blocks in the labor pitch to look after middle and low income earners and those les able to provide for themselves over tax cuts to high income earners and continued tax loopholes for the lucky minority.

    Will also take a big bite out of the retiree tax bullshit.

    Labor to release costings next week and campaign on its progressive social agenda, its commitment to low and middle income Australia and its economic responsibility.

    I have no idea btw but just some thoughts.

  6. Henry

    Every now and again my cat walks over my keyboard and does things to my computer which I can’t do…

  7. Nostradamus @ #290 Friday, May 3rd, 2019 – 11:05 am

    “Libs out to $3.75 from $3.50 just now on Sportsbet. ALP in to $1.27.”

    Movement will be reversed when the 50-50 Newspoll is released on Sunday night.

    Perhaps, but will the 50-50 Newspoll be legitimate or just more election propaganda (much like the 51-49 Newspoll)?

  8. poroti,
    There was an article in The Daily Mail today that the tosser on the yacht interviewed by 7.30 was on to his eighth boat!

    Poor baby might not be able to get a bigger one next time if Labor take his Money for Nothing but owning a shedload of shares away!

  9. I suspect the Liberal Party Dirt Unit and their outlet, the SmearStralian have a trove of these vignettes.

    Time for Luke Creasey to fall on his sword, so to speak

    “The Australian has published a story with more of Luke Creasey’s 2012 Facebook posts:

    Embattled Labor candidate Luke Creasey joked online about watching his female friend have sex with multiple people and about her wanting someone to “roughly take her virginity”.

    In a post from 2012, Mr Creasey told friends on Facebook that one of his female friends wanted someone to have sex with her.

    “Can’t keep that girl away … or her clothes on. In fact she was just chilling on my couch on her towel just before. She was just saying how she wishes she had a bisexual education student to roughly take her virginity,” he wrote online.”

  10. Goll

    I think chaos in campaign will probably encourage even more prepoll voting. I have met people who are treating it like flu vaccination – they feel that having voted they can safely ignore everything and tell any spruikers that they are immune to their entreaties because their vote cannot change!

    Interestingly there are places in the USA I think where you CAN change a prepoll postal vote – you can vote on Election Day and cancel the previous one. It might only be in primaries – I can’t remember the details

  11. J341983 @ #246 Friday, May 3rd, 2019 – 10:23 am

    Good LORD there are a lot strings of pearls that have been destroyed this morning. It’s like a little bubble of darkness, thank God so few of you are actually active in campaigns – no one would bother.

    And if you think that a Minority Liberal Government will give ANY ground on climate or energy, you’re KIDDING YOURSELVES.

    Yes, close to peak stupidity if anyone actually said this!

  12. meher baba:

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that Labor’s suite of taxation changes is upsetting a lot of people who might otherwise vote Labor, and making them feel rather alienated from the whole process. I understand this, because I’m one of them.

    The revelation that shocked no-one.

  13. adrian,

    Are you posting under another name elsewhere?

    ABC News Journalisms

    @famousbluedress
    May 1
    More
    Listening to the inspirational Fran Kelly on #RNBreakfast has reminded me why I enrolled in Journalisms school last year! If anyone can get to the bottom of @billshortenmp’s central involvement in #Watergate scandal and exonerate Angus Taylor Fran will!

  14. I’m pretty disappointed in the attitude of Meher and Lovey re: Labor’s so called ‘tax changes’. Fundamentally because the changes still leave in place attractive concessional taxation benefits for those affected.

    To read the special pleading one would be forgiven for thinking that the government was proposing seizing SMSF nest eggs and sending pensioners to the poor house.

    Two pints about Labor’s proposed changes to superannuation and also the franking credits reforms.

    Point One, In reality pensions from SMFSs remain tax free up to $75,000 and are lightly taxed at 15% above that level: this in the retirement phase when earnings of the fund not drawn down as a pension are themselves tax free. It’s worth remembering that the super contributions themselves were very lightly taxed in the first instance as well.

    Point two. Self funded retirees with share portfolios get to keep their portfolio! The get to keep their franked dividend. They pay no tax themselves on that dividend. Moreover they can claim a franking credit to offset other earnings. They simply won’t get a cheque cut by the government and paid for by taxpayers to represent the tax the company paid before issuing said dividend. No tax refunds for tax they never paid is hardly a radical concept, one would have thought.

    FFS, for Meher to claim that this runs contrary to the spirit of the golden Hawke-Keating era of Laborism is to ignore the very fact that these changes take superannuation towards its original Keating focus – to provide a retirement income for Australians above the anti-destitution aged pension.

    The cash back racket alone costs the national accounts $6 billion, soon to rise to $8 billion a year. Closing this unaffordable concession is exactly in the spirit of Keating’s tac reforms of 1984-5. It is a nonesense to pretend otherwise via a selective remembrance of the Keating years viewed through sepia tinted glasses.

    More generally, winding back all of these sorts of rorts is the best way to avoid an otherwise inevitable choice: either massively increase headline rates of taxation (thereby punishing Australians who don’t indulge themselves in the tax rorting and minisation merry go rounds) or the cutting of government services: to parse Keating – a choice between private opulence and public destitution. That has never been the Labor way. Moreover, and again to parse the great man lifting headline rates, whilst leaving in all the tax minimisation mechanisms is to simple have a system where the headline rate reflects the rate of tax avoided, and not paid. Absurd banana republic stuff.

    If ScoMo wins we should probably give up on the dream of good government and public progress: All tax rorts will be untouchable and franking given the LNP DNA will be expanded to ever more fantastical proportions. Enough is enough. We have to make a stand and these reforms are as good as any to make that stand over.

    BTW – in other news I’ve covered from my early mid week melancholy. I think Scrott’s ScoMotion bubble has largely burst. The election could be tight. Labor may likely not win a seat in Queensland, thanks to Pepe Le Pew. It might even lose 2-3 seats it currently holds, but I can’t see the the LNP holding more than 10 of its 20 most vulnerable seats across the country. In fact if the ScoMo bubble truly bursts then we could likely be back in the landslide territory we were at the beginning of the campaign.

    Courage comrades, and pass the ammunition. Fire!

  15. Andrew_Earlwood @ #319 Friday, May 3rd, 2019 – 11:23 am

    I’m pretty disappointed in the attitude of Meher and Lovey re: Labor’s so called ‘tax changes’. Fundamentally because the changes still leave in place attractive concessional taxation benefits for those affected.

    To read the special pleading one would be forgiven for thinking that the government was proposing seizing SMSF nest eggs and sending pensioners to the poor house.

    Two pints about Labor’s proposed changes to superannuation and also the franking credits reforms.

    Point One, In reality pensions from SMFSs remain tax free up to $75,000 and are lightly taxed at 15% above that level: this in the retirement phase when earnings of the fund not drawn down as a pension are themselves tax free. It’s worth remembering that the super contributions themselves were very lightly taxed in the first instance as well.

    Point two. Self funded retirees with share portfolios get to keep their portfolio! The get to keep their franked dividend. They pay no tax themselves on that dividend. Moreover they can claim a franking credit to offset other earnings. They simply won’t get a cheque cut by the government and paid for by taxpayers to represent the tax the company paid before issuing said dividend. No tax refunds for tax they never paid is hardly a radical concept, one would have thought.

    FFS, for Meher to claim that this runs contrary to the spirit of the golden Hawke-Keating era of Laborism is to ignore the very fact that these changes take superannuation towards its original Keating focus – to provide a retirement income for Australians above the anti-destitution aged pension.

    The cash back racket alone costs the national accounts $6 billion, soon to rise to $8 billion a year. Closing this unaffordable concession is exactly in the spirit of Keating’s tac reforms of 1984-5. It is a nonesense to pretend otherwise via a selective remembrance of the Keating years viewed through sepia tinted glasses.

    More generally, winding back all of these sorts of rorts is the best way to avoid an otherwise inevitable choice: either massively increase headline rates of taxation (thereby punishing Australians who don’t indulge themselves in the tax rorting and minisation merry go rounds) or the cutting of government services: to parse Keating – a choice between private opulence and public destitution. That has never been the Labor way. Moreover, and again to parse the great man lifting headline rates, whilst leaving in all the tax minimisation mechanisms is to simple have a system where the headline rate reflects the rate of tax avoided, and not paid. Absurd banana republic stuff.

    If ScoMo wins we should probably give up on the dream of good government and public progress: All tax rorts will be untouchable and franking given the LNP DNA will be expanded to ever more fantastical proportions. Enough is enough. We have to make a stand and these reforms are as good as any to make that stand over.

    BTW – in other news I’ve covered from my early mid week melancholy. I think Scrott’s ScoMotion bubble has largely burst. The election could be tight. Labor may likely not win a seat in Queensland, thanks to Pepe Le Pew. It might even lose 2-3 seats it currently holds, but I can’t see the the LNP holding more than 10 of its 20 most vulnerable seats across the country. In fact if the ScoMo bubble truly bursts then we could likely be back in the landslide territory we were at the beginning of the campaign.

    Courage comrades, and pass the ammunition. Fire!

    Good to see the Mojo Rising again!

  16. Andrew_Earlwood,
    You still sound a bit down in the mouth for my liking. No seats to be picked up in Queensland!?! Still, you are on the road to recovery and that is a good thing. 🙂

  17. Ruh oh.

    The Liberal candidate for Reid, Fiona Martin, is willing to move back into the marginal seat in Sydney if elected on May 18 – despite finalising the purchase of a family home outside the electorate only six weeks ago.

    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/reid-candidate-lives-five-minutes-away-from-the-marginal-seat-but-is-happy-to-return-20190502-p51jj7.html

    Now, what was that about Labor’s candidate for Dickson again, Mr Dutton?

  18. Just been thinking. A good description for Scomo is: “Blowhard”.

    I wonder if its too late to get a poster drawn up a la “hopeless” or “Fizzer”.


  19. Tozzer says:
    Friday, May 3, 2019 at 11:08 am
    So it’s one week in and I still don’t know what Labor’s message is. Has it got one?

    Clive has a simple and positive message: “make Australia great”.

    Liberal has a simple and negative message “Labor will send us broke, again”

    ALP: … ?

    How about
    “Vote Labor if you want livable future”

  20. 1986 is a long time ago. But my general recollection is that full imputation was “affordable” because of modelling that assumed something like a 50% wastage rate of credits. It is for that reason that strenuous anti-avoidance measures have since been enacted to preserve built-in wastage eg, measures to stop franking credit tading. As far as superannuation goes, I well remember Keating discussing how franking credits in excess of the 15% fund tax rate could be offset against other tax liabilities of the fund – which of course assumed that funds would generate income from non-dividend sources. There was never any suggestion in the design phase that excess credits would be refundable. That change came about through the tax policy “genius” of Howard and Costello in 2000, who were experts at providing tax benefits targeted as core supporter groups eg, people wealthy retirees able to establish and operate SMSFs. The replacement of CGT indexation with the 50% discount, together with the introduction of a range of small business and retirement tax concessions, provides significant tax benefits to small business owners selling out – through proper tax planning and accessing all available concessions, effective tax rates can often be reduced to nil (or not much more), even on million dollar plus capital gains. Which rewarded another Howard core constituency: the sacred small business people. Who then double-dip through the super concessions. Its one rule for the rich. Quite another for the poor salary earner….

  21. C@tmomma @ #323 Friday, May 3rd, 2019 – 11:34 am

    Ruh oh.

    The Liberal candidate for Reid, Fiona Martin, is willing to move back into the marginal seat in Sydney if elected on May 18 – despite finalising the purchase of a family home outside the electorate only six weeks ago.

    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/reid-candidate-lives-five-minutes-away-from-the-marginal-seat-but-is-happy-to-return-20190502-p51jj7.html

    Now, what was that about Labor’s candidate for Dickson again, Mr Dutton?

    Oh Cat but he wasn’t talking about non disabled candidates was he…Just disabled ones who upset some of his constituents.Broad church the liberal party.


  22. C@tmomma says:
    Friday, May 3, 2019 at 11:30 am
    Andrew_Earlwood,
    You still sound a bit down in the mouth for my liking. No seats to be picked up in Queensland!?! Still, you are on the road to recovery and that is a good thing.

    After Andrew-Earlwood is shockingly led down by impeccable ALP sources during NSW State election, he might have thought he would rather stay pessimistic than get his hopes up. 🙂

  23. Had Assange fronted an Australian court it is highly doubtful that on a charge of failing to appear, he would’ve been sentenced to gaol, nearly the maximum penalty – more likely a fine, on the basis that he hasn’t (to the best of my knowledge) breached bail before. It all seems too neat that he will spend nearly a year in the slammer, awaiting the outcome of an extradition application by Uncle Sam. I wonder if Taylor, J received instructions from above(?). A bad day for British justice, and I’m no fan of Julian.

  24. newspolls will be back to 52/48 or better for ALP due to fall in LNP, UAP and PHON vote – they have all had a bad week.

    I expect the LNP and Murdoch media are going to go the nuclear option on shorten – his defending of old social media posts by the Melbourne candidate will be used as excuse to raise the old rape allegations.

    I can’t believe labor has gone into the campaign without some costings of their GHG reduction targets. I still can’t see this working in the COALitions favour very much – people want action on climate and this government cannot do this becuase half of their members are idelogical opposed to listening to science, let alone acting.

  25. If Strathfield and Burwood are anything to go by, Martin has little hope in Reid. Many Asian (Korean, Viet, Chinese) restaurants and shops have posters of Sam Crosby (probably 20 – 30). To date I have seen 1 (one) of Martin in a hairdresser’s – and I have specifically been looking.

  26. Meher Baba

    Big fan of your level-headed commentary so Ill respond.

    “Finally, I think Labor has unfortunately delivered a very mixed and confusing message on climate change, thanks to their unwillingness to do the right thing and totally renounce Adani.”

    Totally agree. Those two QLD seats arent worth watering the message down for. And you could focus renewable energy jobs retraining programs there, much as has occurred in the Latrobe Valley.

    “It’s becoming increasingly clear that Labor’s suite of taxation changes is upsetting a lot of people who might otherwise vote Labor, and making them feel rather alienated from the whole process. … It seems to me that, if you dig into these policies, you find quite a different political narrative to that which kept Labor going for many years: from Hawke through Keating and on to Rudd-Gillard-Rudd. An important part of that old narrative was about giving working people access to some of the investment opportunities available to the upper crust: eg, the opportunity to have a superannuation nest egg and the opportunity to buy shares in privatised government services. The idea being that this would give working people a chance to partially or wholly self-fund their retirements rather than depend wholly on the government.”

    OK, I get what you’re arguing, but is that what is really happening with franking credit changes? I mean, they’re still getting the franking credits. It’s just that the credits can only reduce taxable income to $0, not artificially beyond that point.

    Wasn’t that one best seen as a bit of a lurk? Well overdue to be gotten rid of?

    Its not that I disagree with your point in general, but I cant see how being treated like everyone else somehow unacceptably reduces incentives. The fact that no other country does this is actually a very powerful argument; and hardly some sign of retrograde socialists imposing some grey burden on an unsuspecting populace.

    More like spiv paradise finally being rumbled?


  27. C@tmomma says:
    Friday, May 3, 2019 at 11:34 am
    Ruh oh.

    The Liberal candidate for Reid, Fiona Martin, is willing to move back into the marginal seat in Sydney if elected on May 18 – despite finalising the purchase of a family home outside the electorate only six weeks ago.

    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/reid-candidate-lives-five-minutes-away-from-the-marginal-seat-but-is-happy-to-return-20190502-p51jj7.html

    Now, what was that about Labor’s candidate for Dickson again, Mr Dutton?

    I am not saying elected MP should live in the his/her electorate. As long they have their office in the electorate, that is fine with me. But to say they will move to live in their electorate only after winning the election especially after buying a property six weeks prior is not believable.

  28. J341983 says:
    Friday, May 3, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Whelan is running as an Independent in Lyons!

    Hopefully the media will refuse to give her oxygen and ignore her.

  29. Alpha Zero

    A slogan is all the LNP has to offer.

    Who needs a slogan if you have actual policies?

    How about “Policies not slogans” as their slogan ? 🙂

  30. Dunno how you can stand Strathfield/Burwood these days Jen.

    I was there for a week each time on three occasions over Xmas/New Year, and found the traffic bloody awful, the streets overcrowded, the architecture bleak and ugly, and the residents uncommunicative.

    Not like the old days at all, and for the worse.

  31. Regarding Adani.

    I am as you know with the Greens on that. My reasoning. Is shut it down.

    Labor should have said we will review the environmental approvals because of the precedence set by the NSW court decision denying new coal mine approval due to carbon emissions.

    We are facing an existential risk and that trumps business as usual.
    To reflect the true cost that means no compensation available. Its a bigger Sovereign risk to approve the mine than allow it.

    Then this decision on the black throated finch would have been the end.

    Adani wouldn’t have a legal leg to stand on. Approval was not granted so no compensation applicable.

  32. Yet again another day talking about oopsie candidates and not policy.
    Maybe this was the LNP plan all along as they don’t seem to have many if any policies.

  33. “After Andrew-Earlwood is shockingly led down by impeccable ALP sources during NSW State election, he might have thought he would rather stay pessimistic than get his hopes up. ”

    To be fair my sources didn’t let me down. They simply stayed stum about the fact that the tracking polls indicated a return to the high exhaust rates of 2011 and 2015 in that last week of white noise.

    I was doing my own cognitive dissonance between Tuesday and Thursday whilst this happened.

    I was pretty woke to the reality on Election Day, if you recall my posts and the view from the war room in HO really came down to whether or not the clear anti government protest vote would in fact exhaust or whether enough folk would say ‘fuck this government’ after voting one for the Greens, or KSO, or SFFF or any one of the other minors: regrettably the answer to that question (consistent with internal polling of the last week) was an emphatic NO.

    If there wasnt such a big exhaust vote then the overall election result would likely have largely mirrored the Queensland state election of January 2015: minority government with each side on 41-42 seats and Labor best placed to form minority government.

    Alas. the one that got away. That’s what happens when you the party allows 4 years of drift to be replaced by 3 months of frantic activity with an unseasoned leader.

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