The second morning after

A second thread for discussion of the post-election aftermath, as the Coalition waits to see if it will make it to a parliamentary majority, and Labor licks it wounds and prepared to choose a new leader.

I had a paywalled piece in Crikey yesterday giving my immediate post-result impressions, which offered observations such as the following:

Unexpected as all this was, the underlying dynamic is not new, and should be especially familiar to those whose memories extend to Mark Latham’s defeat at the hands of John Howard in 2004. Then as now, the northern Tasmanian seats of Bass and Braddon flipped from Labor to Liberal, with forestry policy providing the catalyst on that occasion, and Labor performed poorly in the outer suburbs, reflected in yesterday’s defeat in Lindsay and its failure to win crucial seats on the fringes of the four largest cities. There were also swings to Labor against the trend in wealthy city seats, attributed in 2004 to the non-economic issues of the Iraq war and asylum seekers, and touted at the time as the “doctors’ wives” effect.

So far as this blog is concerned though, other engagements have prevented me giving the post-election aftermath the full attention it deserves. I will endeavour to rectify that later today, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here is a thread for discussion of the situation. Note also the post below this one, dedicated to updates and discussion on progress in the late count.

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.

1,403 comments on “The second morning after”

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  1. One last missive to my current audience of spiders and cobwebs. (I must really try to find more time to post at peak hour on this forum).

    It is important to realise that a very strong influence on Labor’s tax package (and also on Turnbull’s thinking when he was PM) are the ideas of Grattan Institute, which has some fiercely iconoclastic policy positions which I’m not sure even most Labor voters would agree with. Paul Keating has certainly made it clear that he doesn’t like them at all.

    As far as I can work out, the Grattan Institute considers it to be fiscally inefficient for anybody other than the “big end of town” to be engaged in investment. Quite reasonably, they would like the big end of town to receive no tax subsidies for their investment activities. But they’d also like to withdraw such subsidies from everyone: ie, no more tax breaks for superannuation, no more negative gearing or CGT discounts and, of course, no more dividend imputation credits. Ordinary working people would be no longer be given any encouragement to save for their retirement: the official policy is that they should be content to go onto an age pension at the appropriate time.

    All these changes would significantly increase the tax revenue available to the government, which would be used to boost the age pension and other welfare and also to give significant tax cuts to ordinary people.

    It’s a strange sort of mixture of right and left views: right wing as it is partly driven by an interest in significantly lowering and flattening tax rates for wages and salary earners, and left wing in that it seems to favour a sort of old-style Scandinavian cradle to grave welfare system. The full picture is rarely given in public debate: the only time I can remember is when Turnbull, in introducing his changes to the super system in 2017, made the peculiar statement that “the point of superannuation is not to provide people with a retirement income, but to supplement their income from the age pension.” This statement represented a radical change to government thinking on retirement incomes, but our press gallery is too distracted by silly gossip to pay much attention to it, and quickly moved on to other exciting stuff like the colour of Julie Bishop’s latest dress.

    Now I’ve had a lot of negative things to say about the Grattan Institute over the years, but I have to confess that, if I was ever to be allowed to redesign the tax and welfare systems from scratch, I might want to build something that looks a fair bit like their vision. But you don’t ever get to redesign these things from scratch, and transitioning from one tax/welfare paradigm to another is really difficult. Hawke-Keating showed how to do it: that is, carefully and paying a great deal of attention to the concerns of ordinary people who would be potential losers. But even they sometimes got it wrong: eg, their attempt to remove negative gearing in the mid-1980s ended up being a shemozzle.

    What worried me greatly when I heard Shorten and Bowen spruiking some of the Grattan Institute’s ideas on taxation and retirement incomes is that I got absolutely no sense whatsoever that they understood the underlying paradigm that informed those ideas. I think they just saw some proposals that would raise a lot of revenue and would only adversely effect people at the top of the socio-economic pyramid who were all Liberal voters anyway.

    Big mistake: as I said, a bad case of biting the hand that fed them.

  2. William: do you get a kick out of Nath’s incessant obsession with Bill Shorten?

    I’m sorry if I’m transgressing conventions about commenting on the behaviour of other posters. You can moderate this if you think it appropriate.

    The election is over.

    But the man, Nath, can’t help himself and is carrying on with this pathological vendetta. Have you ever cautioned him about it. His behaviour plays right into the Coalition’s decade-long campaign to demonize Bill Shorten and I suppose he recognizes that. And at least from my perspective it has worked a treat.

    Isn’t it about time that he was told the shut up on that subject and move on. That is if he has any other thoughts that go beyond one-liners about Shorten’s untrustworthiness and the shortcomings of the Labor Party.

    Nath’s a great example of a sore winner. And someone pushing the envelope of free speech. I’m sure like trolls. he is enjoying my discomfort and is oblivious to criticism and self-awareness.

    But I forget, he makes donations to help African children, his only claim for what he has achieved in life. He suggests that that makes him qualified to make judgements about the character of people like Shorten who actually go out there and try to help their fellow citizens.

    I’d like to know what Nath’s been doing for the last six years while Shorten has devoted his energies to unifying his Party and trying to make Australia a better place. That is, besides just sitting in front of a computer all day making snide observations. He also seems to enjoy belittling other posters who also go out there and work for change.

    I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. And in saying this I hope I am not descending to his level. I try to make posts that are interesting and relevant. I’m sorry I can’t boil everything down to a couple of lines like Nath.

    I’m wondering how many subscribers you’ve lost because of single issue posters like him. I’m almost out the door.


    nath says:
    Monday, May 20, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Monday, May 20, 2019 at 7:31 pm
    I don’t believe Albanese is going to get the same sort of treatment as Shorten did. Albanese just is not going to be much of a threat to their interests as Shorten was.
    People may have disliked Abbott but he was not considered ‘untrustworthy’. It’s the most important category in leader attributes. Not being liked is one thing, not being liked and not trusted is another thing completely.

  3. antonbruckner11 says:
    Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 8:09 pm
    So, for the next three years everyone on this blog is going to minutely scrutinise every blow the parties throw at each other, as if it matters a damn. All that will matter is the last few weeks of the next election campaign when the ignorant start to switch on. Then it will be about who tells the most lies and how people are doing financially. Voters won’t give a stuff if Labor is obstructive for the next three years or not. They won’t even notice. That’s why Labor should oppose everything that is not progressive, full stop. Otherwise they will have no revenue to play with if they do, miraculously, get back into office.


    Brilliantly put Anton (although like Keating I’m a Mahler man myself).

    The bogans who we have to persuade have no respect for weakness. Like their political masters, they have no problem not playing by the rules and taking advantage of any rort they see or receive from the Coalition.

    The Coalition have brought politics down to a dirty level as exemplified by Tony Abbott in Opposition, and I’m afraid we’ll get nowhere unless we respond in kind. You only have to look at that front page of Murdoch’s Tory mouthpiece Sunshine Coast Daily to appreciate what scum we are dealing with.

    We can be Mr. Nice Guy again when we get rid of that ugly Coalition gang of ex-cops, used car salespersons, real estate agents and developers, snake oil peddlers and small town operators.

    Think about what the Labor Party and Bill Shorten achieved in Opposition for the last six years. And then to realize that voters would prefer that smirking thug and Trump clone Morrison and his cohort. Let’s not let it happen again.

    And I suppose you’re going to ask me what I REALLY think of the Morrison government.

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