Election minus eight days

A tight race in Cowper, mixed messages from Reid, and an intriguing surge of Labor enthusiasm about Leichhardt.

A sense has taken hold in the news media in the past week that the wind has swung in Labor’s favour (and also in the betting markets). Beyond that though, seat-level intelligence on the parties’ reading of the situation has been rather thin on the ground. The exceptions that prove the rule:

Andrew Clennell of The Australian reports the Nationals’ tracking polling has it at 50-50 in Cowper, where sitting Nationals member Luke Hartsuyker is retiring and independent Rob Oakeshott looks competitive or better. However, the Nationals expect to hold out in Page, where their margin over Labor is 2.3%.

• The above report also related that the Liberals are not optimistic about Reid and Gilmore, suggesting by omission that they feel better about Robertson and Banks. However, a profile of Reid in The Australian yesterday by Greg Brown cited Liberal sources saying their polling had them 51-49 ahead.

• According to Aimos Aikman in The Australian, phone polling conducted by “estranged Country Liberal Party operative James Lantry” had Labor leading 53-47 in Solomon.

• No link available, but Brisbane’s Sunday Mail reported Labor was “increasingly confident” about Leichhardt, “where it is winning support over its environmental plans and long-term MP Warren Entsch is being targeted as past his use-by date”. The impression was reinforced by Bill Shorten’s visit to the electorate yesterday to launch a “renewable energy zone” for far north Queensland, despite the seat not having featured much in earlier commentary on potential Labor gains.

Also today: another instalment of Seat du jour, today looking at the Sydney seat of Banks.

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.

961 comments on “Election minus eight days”

  1. Didn’t realise that A-League semi was tonight. And Perth beat Adelaide 2-2 and 5-4 on Penalties.

    Seems strange that the other semi is on Sunday night rather than Saturday, especially with all the NRL being in Brisbane this weekend.

  2. Patrick Bateman
    Friday, May 10, 2019 at 11:56 pm
    Nah nath, people like me are going to pull people like you through with us to a different, but liveable planet. We’re a tough, adaptable species.
    Also water won’t be lacking in many places. More heat means more evaporation and more rain in some places.
    It’s not me that’s the problem. I wanted 5% of the world’s GDP to be spent on renewable tech in the 90s!

  3. Or rather…

    Scribo ergo sum…

    Or when doorknocking….loqueris ergo sum ego….

    nath…you have your rhetoric going well too… 🙂

  4. briefly
    nath…you have your rhetoric going well too…
    I should have conducted my anti-Shorten campaign on here back in 2013 during the leadership contest when I could have moved some votes.

  5. Actually just watched some highlights – Adelaide drew level 2-2 with about 5 seconds of normal time left, then both teams scored in extra time to make it 3-3 before the penalties.

    And it was on free to air – annoyed that I missed seeing the end which would have been after the Swans-Essendon AFL game.

  6. nath says:
    Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 12:03 am
    It’s the oceans that depresses me most. That whale with 40 kilos of plastic in him. just horrific.
    Stop eating Flake

  7. Managed to google into the headline article in The Australian on the two “big flaws” in Labor’s plans.

    Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says there are two major flaws in Labor’s official policy costings — the impact its taxes will have on the economy and its failure to account for increases to Newstart, foreign aid and research funding.

    Pretty weak – is that all they’ve got?

    I think they’ll be going through that dirt file on Shorten’s dad!

  8. Upnorth
    Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 12:09 am
    nath says:
    Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 12:03 am
    It’s the oceans that depresses me most. That whale with 40 kilos of plastic in him. just horrific.
    Stop eating Flake

  9. I seem to remember reading a piece years ago by Andrew Leigh saying how getting rid of various multi-billion dollar tax loopholes would enable a Labor government to do a lot, and to avoid the tag of big spenders because their bottom line would be better than the Coalition.

    It seems he was right.

  10. Cud Chewer says:
    Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 12:09 am
    That whale must taste awful
    I was served whale in Japan at Christmas time. It was crumbed in Panko and deep fried. Very very average meat. Would not recommend it troops.

  11. Well, anti-Shorten rhetoric is too easy. And too little. In any case, voters discount leaders these days. Who could blame them? Leaders come. Leaders go. Parties endure. The road is endless. Voters know this and choose their paths accordingly.

    The important thing is not who leads but who follows. We have the followers. They come every day to help. Of course, we all know that what matters most is not any one of us, but rather it is the people who matter. We hope to serve them. This is our privilege.

  12. Rocket, yes, what I saw was great theatre.

    I flicked channels to see the score just before full time, and was hooked into watching the extra time and the penalty shoot out.

    The commentators however were the equivalent of a pro Adelaide Daily Telegraph with added bias.

  13. Upnorth

    Wasn’t the whole ‘bring back eating whale’ thing due to the difficulties of post-war Japan, and the occupying American forces deciding that whale would be the simplest solution to providing lots of food to the population in a fairly devastated economy?

  14. Upnorth – the Thai election went out of the news here after about one day. Just catching up on the recently decided/announced/derived results from Wikipedia.

    The Pheu Thai and Future Forward parties contested the calculation formula adopted by the ECT, as it resulted in Future Forward receiving seven less seats than expected from their alternative interpretation of the law, and their alliance securing 245 instead of 255 seats, just short of a majority. As such, they appeared unlikely to be able to form a government. The results also favoured several small parties which one seat each, who were expected to join a Palang Pracharath-led coalition.

    Is that likely – a Coalition of PP and many minnows? Seems pretty strange from here, though i can’t say I have ever tried to understand the Thai political or electoral systems.

  15. Correct Rocket Rocket. Quick protein fix for the population after the war.

    Now unfortunately it’s a sign of Nationalism. Keeping old customs alive. The Japanese do work hard at – being Japanese.

    Many a dead whale sits frozen in Japanese cold storage waiting consumption to keep that custom alive.

    Japan is a beautiful and fascinating place. I love it. And when the craziness of Thailand gets too much the Upnorth family heads to the Land of Rising Sun for some R&R.

    But deep down we know are Gaijjn. Outsiders. Who will never truly understand what it is to be Japanese.

  16. Rocket Rocket says:
    Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 12:09 am
    Managed to google into the headline article in The Australian on the two “big flaws” in Labor’s plans.

    Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says there are two major flaws in Labor’s official policy costings — the impact its taxes will have on the economy and its failure to account for increases to Newstart, foreign aid and research funding.

    Pretty weak – is that all they’ve got


    Labor’s policy is to redistribute tax revenue from concessions and refunds for net savers to social welfare payments and tax cuts to net spenders. Economically it makes so much sense that only an economist (who is a creature of the wealthy net savers) could cavil.

    If there is a risk that the economy is going to start getting soft Labor, not Coalition, policies are exactly what is needed.

  17. Upnorth – I have been there once and loved it. Would love to spend longer there. I know someone who has lived there around thirty years, fluent, married Japanese wife, kids etc – but yes still Gaijin!

  18. Rocket Rocket. The Electoral Commission finally announced the winning candidates weeks after the election.

    The lower house is made up of single member constituency candidates and party list candidates. I still can’t work out the mathematics but the opposition Pheu Thai got no party list candidates up even though they had the biggest vote and most constituencies returned.

    The pro military PPP who came second got some list MPs as did smaller parties with no constituent MPs These will favor the military Government

    Also there 250 “appointed” Senators (appointed by a committee chaired the the military appointed Deputy PM) who join with the 500 Lower house MPs to elect the PM and Government. If you could ld lay a bet in Thailand on the result the Military backed Parties would be $1.00 to form the next Government.

    Opposition $15.00 or in jail.

  19. Upnorth

    Yes I did remember reading about the “appointed” Senators – did they get that from the John Howard “How to stack the Republic Constitutional Covention with 50% cronies to achieve your desired outcome” book?

  20. I have been flying around to some remote indigenous communities out of Kununara in the Kimberlies following the AEC as they enable them to vote, for the last 3 days. We have been doing how to vote for labor at the poll places. I would say 90% vote Labor, They have a highly respected indigenous state politician and are looking forward to Pat Dodson being Minister for Aboriginal affairs if Labor gets in. Of course it’s a liberal held seat with all the mining. The fourth largest land wise in the world ,I think. A very interesting time.

  21. If I muse on anything political other than winning the election, it is the defeat of Tony Abbott. I can think of no result more delicious, more to be savoured. The worst PM this country has ever had is about to be treated to the end they’ve done so much to deserve.

  22. Rocket Rocket

    Queensland Labor did a very important thing on 23 March 1922 when they abolished Queensland’s Upper House.

    Those members had their life time appointments cancelled at the stroke of a pen. Unrepresentative swill.

  23. Mogotrone

    A friend did some of this when we were living in Darwin. Including for the Republic Referendum which they found amusing, trying to get some remote aboriginal voters to understand what all the fuss was about concerning which white person was going to be the big boss.

    In the end they often boiled it down to a simple question – “Queen or No Queen?”.

    Not sure that too many saw that it was a life-changing issue for their communities!

  24. The only reason Labor lost power in the first place to Abbott had everything to do with RGR and the flow on from that..the carbon price policy..etc..which turns out now to be the correct one anyway. The downside is the damage done bythe conservatives is going to take a while to turn back.
    They ( ALP ) have mostly been good on policy. They have good policies now.
    They have learnt a hard lesson and hopefully get rewarded on the 18th with govt. If they do win I expect them to be competent and actually increase their margin/seats at the following election. The difference between the current govt and them will be stark and I suspect a lot of crap to be exposed about the Libs.

  25. briefly

    Seconded. And there would be no coming back. The Liberal preselectors of Warringah would not make the mistake that their colleagues did in Indi after Sophie Mirabella lost to an Independent.

    Of course the most bizarre situation (I am not wishing for it) would be Morrison winning with Dutton and Abbott both losing their seats!

  26. sonar

    The interesting thing historically will be that it will be very clear that despite all the infighting in the RGR years Labor actually achieved a lot, saved Australia from recession, and did lots of legislation.

    Whereas the ATM years will in comparison look like a barren plain – as the factions within the Liberals spent most of it tearing each other apart, and the biggest policy changes (the 2014 budget) ended up never happening, destroying several PMs and their entire majority in the process.

  27. Can’t pull it up but Australian is running a story that says Abott and Steggel are 50/50 in Warringah.

    It’s Liberal lolling though. So take it with a grain of salt. Lots of leaked Liberal Polling this election it seems. Not much from Labor. Guess the Libs are trying to make themselves look for competitive.

  28. briefly

    I hope and believe that in eight days time we will have a new Labor government. The hard yards of policy have clearly been done (the contrast with the government who have been in office and have no ideas is stark). With a less than six year gap since losing office there are many Labor members who have run ministries and had senior cabinet positions, much more so than in 2007 or 1983.

    I believe Labor will hit the ground running, and all these supposedly contentious changes to eliminate tax loopholes will get through and that once that is done no Coalition politician who wants higher office will ever support them again.

    I am looking forward to a stable government. Even if circumstances change and it is only three years Labor can achieve a lot.

    Good night all. Eight more sleeps. Seems I am the nightwatchman – did it occasionally in cricket (but with no Tony Mann or Jason Gillespie outcomes!)

  29. @ Rocket Rocket…..yep. As I said they had good policies….and they saved the country’s arse during the GFC.
    The RGR period is a lesson of them learning to be a team not a one man band. Shorten & co have learned and they reflect that in how they are today.
    In a bizzare way it also helped expose the Libs and a lot of the members as extreme, really extreme and that thier only policies were for those who are donators to them or prosperous already, leaving ordinary folks behind.

  30. @nath

    The Deadly Serious Party! I was a “junior jurno” in 6PR radio in ’83 and my report was on the DSP. I recall that their policies included a special fund for one-legged seagulls and the replacement of the Defense force with white flags.

    Although nowhere near as good as Lord Buckethead…

  31. Briefly
    Have been following you on pollbludger and all the dedicated work you and other bludgers have been doing. The indigenous volunteer we travelled with also sees Durak as a possibility . I will be at Pickering brook in Andrew Hastings Cannimg electorate on Election Day. A remote possibility for Labor.

  32. Motrone

    Good luck in Canning. George Gear was a great Labor MP from yesteryear. May Canning come home to Mother Labor.

  33. “Barney in Saigon says:
    Friday, May 10, 2019 at 10:33 pm
    Simon² Katich® says:
    Friday, May 10, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    Then your vote will probably expire when the allocation of preferences is still going on. If you can’t choose between a Fraser Anning and a moderate centrist it’s a shame.
    Is that right? Wouldnt it be highly likely the vote will still be in the mix at last call.
    Yep, if you just voted Labor and Green, your vote would normally remain in the count until the last spot.

    One of these is usually in contention for the last spot, so if your vote ultimately expired it would be very late in the count.”

    In many cases where Lab and LNP get 2 seats each (but don’t have a competitive remainder for a third) the Greens get the fifth Senate seat, often on the back of the redistribution of the last remaining Labor candidate. The redistribution of the excess Greens vote can determine which minor party gets the sixth spot. If you don’t give preferences beyond Labor and the Greens then you don’t have a say in the number 6 selection.

  34. Is there any state where the libs/nats primary can get over 38%, it seems unlikely hence why Labor look like getting 94 or more seats.Unless the libs/nats combined primary vote can get to 40% nationwide , I am still predicting
    Labor will be announced as the new government around 7.30
    Next Saturday night

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *