Winners and losers

Reading between the lines of the Liberal Party’s post-election reports for the federal and Victorian state elections.

In the wake of Craig Emerson and Jay Weatherill’s federal electoral post-mortem for Labor, two post-election reviews have emerged from the Liberal Party, with very different tales to tell – one from the May 2019 federal triumph, the other from the November 2018 Victorian state disaster.

The first of these was conducted by Arthur Sinodinos and Steven Joyce, the latter being a former cabinet minister and campaign director for the conservative National Party in New Zealand. It seems we only get to see the executive summary and recommendations, the general tenor of which is that, while all concerned are to be congratulated on a job well done, the party benefited from a “poor Labor Party campaign” and shouldn’t get too cocky. Points of interest:

• It would seem the notion of introducing optional preferential voting has caught the fancy of some in the party. The report recommends the party “undertake analytical work to determine the opportunities and risks” – presumably with respect to itself – “before making any decision to request such a change”.

• Perhaps relatedly, the report says the party should work closer with the Nationals to avoid three-cornered contests. These may have handicapped the party in Gilmore, the one seat it lost to Labor in New South Wales outside Victoria.

• The report comes out for voter identification at the polling booth, a dubious notion that nonetheless did no real harm when it briefly operated in Queensland in 2015, and electronic certified lists of voters, which make a lot more sense.

• It is further felt that the parliament might want to look at cutting the pre-poll voting period from three weeks to two, but should keep its hands off the parties’ practice of mailing out postal vote applications. Parliament should also do something about “boorish behaviour around polling booths”, like “limiting the presence of volunteers to those linked with a particular candidate”.

• Hints are offered that Liberals’ pollsters served up dud results from “inner city metropolitan seats”. This probably means Reid in Sydney and Chisholm in Melbourne, both of which went better than they expected, and perhaps reflects difficulties polling the Chinese community. It is further suggested that the party’s polling program should expand from 20 seats to 25.

• Ten to twelve months is about the right length of time out from the election to preselect marginal seat candidates, and safe Labor seats can wait until six months out. This is at odds with the Victorian party’s recent decision to get promptly down to business, even ahead of a looming redistribution, which has been a source of friction between the state and federal party.

• After six of the party’s candidates fell by the wayside during the campaign, largely on account of social media indiscretions (one of which may have cost the Liberals the Tasmanian seat of Lyons), it is suggested that more careful vetting processes might be in order.

The Victorian inquiry was conducted by former state and federal party director Tony Nutt, and is available in apparently unexpurgated form. Notably:

• The party’s tough-on-crime campaign theme, turbo-charged by media reportage of an African gangs crisis, failed to land. Too many saw it as “a political tactic rather than an authentic problem to be solved by initiatives that would help make their neighbourhoods safer”. As if to show that you can’t always believe Peter Dutton, post-election research found the issue influenced the vote of only 6% of respondents, “and then not necessarily to our advantage”.

• As it became evident during the campaign that they were in trouble, the party’s research found the main problem was “a complete lack of knowledge about Matthew Guy, his team and their plans for Victoria if elected”. To the extent that Guy was recognised at all, it was usually on account of “lobster with a mobster”.

• Guy’s poor name recognition made it all the worse that attention was focused on personalities in federal politics, two months after the demise of Malcolm Turnbull. Post-election research found “30% of voters in Victorian electorates that were lost to Labor on the 24th November stated that they could not vote for the Liberal Party because of the removal of Malcolm Turnbull”.

• Amid a flurry of jabs at the Andrews government, for indiscretions said to make the Liberal defeat all the more intolerable, it is occasionally acknowledged tacitly that the government had not made itself an easy target. Voters were said to have been less concerned about “the Red Shirts affair for instance” than “more relevant, personal and compelling factors like delivery of local infrastructure”.

• The report features an exhausting list of recommendations, updated from David Kemp’s similar report in 2015, the first of which is that the party needs to get to work early on a “proper market research-based core strategy”. This reflects the Emerson and Weatherill report, which identified the main problem with the Labor campaign as a “weak strategy”.

• A set of recommendations headed “booth management” complains electoral commissions don’t act when Labor and union campaigners bully their volunteers.

• Without naming names, the report weights in against factional operators and journalists who “see themselves more as players and influencers than as traditional reporters”.

• The report is cagey about i360, described in The Age as “a controversial American voter data machine the party used in recent state elections in Victoria and South Australia”. It was reported to have been abandoned in April “amid a botched rollout and fears sensitive voter information was at risk”, but the report says only that it is in suspension, and recommends a “thorough review”.

• Other recommendations are that the party should write more lists, hold more meetings and find better candidates, and that its shadow ministers should pull their fingers out.

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.

2,494 comments on “Winners and losers”

  1. Speaking to Labor’s Environmental Action Network on Saturday night, Mr Garrett took direct aim at former colleague Joel Fitzgibbon and “some in the CFMEU”, who he accused of deliberately undermining the party and “not committed to the challenge” of reducing emissions.

    “The natural world is under siege. The threat we face is literally existential,” Mr Garrett told the gathering of about 100 people at the Keg and Brew Hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills.

    “We are surrounded by fires, force-fed by a super hot spring. Our cities and towns are blanketed with smoke and the sun has gone out, it’s hard to breathe.”

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/peter-garrett-urges-labor-to-reconnect-with-environmental-movement-warns-true-believers-are-dying-20191206-p53hqe.html

    He speaks the truth.

    But Labor HQ are trapped by their union backers.

  2. Cud, Zoom

    “Albo is a great champion for HSR. The problem is that Albo continues to rely upon the deeply flawed 2013 Phase 2 HSR Study. And I’m happy to go into quite some detail as to why that Study was an abject failure.”

    By coincidence I know a few engineers and one economist who were involved in that study and Cud will be happy to know most would agree with that assessment. The study was run by PWC (Rail planning expertise = zero) with two major engineering firms sub-contracted to provide technical advice. But PWC ran the show. It was run with a very macro-economic view of the world and no doubt impressed the policy advisor types satirised in Utopia with such painful accuracy. Rail technical issues and opportunities were given surprisingly little attention. They just wanted the engineers to draw up some alignments and the PWC guys did all the strategising. Presto – a vague outcome that did not provide an effective road map to implementation. All of this was in the context of no real thought about a national rail strategy and what to do about regional rail links or the real inter-city road/rail transport issue: freight. Plus implementation was never funded thanks to Abbott. So by all means, criticise away.

  3. z

    I did not cherry pick…I posted the headline and the beginning of the article which I did in response to sprocket’s comment directed to nath about the political connections between Bill L, Andrew L and KK.

    Obvious to anyone except you who is desperately flailing about in your pathetic attempts for a gotcha.

  4. Pegasus says:
    Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 12:47 pm
    RI

    Perhaps you need to redirect your focus and work on getting Garrett booted from the ALP.

    That is absurd.

    Those who most ardently hope for a meaningful response to climate change continually say and do things that make it less likely such action can be taken. Your remarks are a perfect example of this.

  5. KayJay:

    [‘Mavis

    [‘Some little while back you commented about an old mate who wanted to reconnect.’]

    It turned out the old mate I contacted had converted to Pentecostalism and attempted to convert me. We have had no further contact, having been an atheist since being forced to attend a Billy Graham crusade in Sydney in the ’50s.

    [‘A week or so ago I received photos of members of my enlistment course (RAAF 1955) who attended a reunion.’]

    Wow, you got back a long way. I’m only in my 70s.

    [‘So I now have a couple of excellent photos of old codgers and wives who are holding up well for folk in their eighties. I have no idea who any of them are and will try to get one of my old mates who responds to email to identify them for me. Either that or continue with development of a time machine.’]

    Good luck with identifying and them. Failing that, I’m sure with your noted technical expertise, putting a time machine together will be a breeze. I wish I had some. Perhaps then I’d be able to stop my internet crashing, my Apple TV device, my landline. And believe me, the Telstra call centre is hopeless. Cheers.

  6. “They’re also not in far north Queensland, they’re in central Queensland.

    You and the Greens are so disconnected from these people, you don’t even know where they are. You can imagine then, how an Audi convoy of sneering Greens, spitting on the locals and pronouncing to all exactly what they would force a Labor goverment to do, might instead send these people running to the LNP. And they did.”

    ***

    If the Greens are “so disconnected” from rural Queensland, then why do 121,006 rural Queenslanders vote for the Greens? To put that number into context, that’s way more rural Queenslanders voting for the Greens than who voted for Palmer’s UAP (65,158) or Katter’s AP (69,736).

    121,006 Greens in rural Queensland. Not “woke” (none of us actually use that word by the way) inner-city Greens. 121,006 rural Queenslanders.

    By rural I’m referring to what the AEC calls “non-Metropolitan” voters: https://results.aec.gov.au/24310/Website/HouseDemographicFirstPrefsByParty-24310-QLD-NonMetropolitan.htm

    As for rural Australia overall? Remember that number I was talking about the other day? 472,400? That’s how many non-metro Greens voters there are! Almost half a million! Roughly a third of all Greens voters are from non-metro areas. That doesn’t include the cities, just in case you were wondering.

    So every time you hear a right winger banging on with their nonsense about the Greens all being from the inner city and having no connection with rural Australia etc, just remember the 472,400 of us who aren’t from the city at all, let alone the inner-city.

    I am proud to be one of the 472,400 rural/regional Aussies who voted Greens!

  7. Boerwar @ #2380 Sunday, December 8th, 2019 – 10:47 am

    Apparently farmers can hardly wait to have guytaur, peg, P1, Rex, and nath involved in community decision making for their farm decisions:

    1. Will be expected to work to a National Strategic Plan.
    2. Will be saddled with ‘community decision making’ about farming.
    3. Will be saddled with Indigenous involvement in farm decisions.
    4. Will be regulated to force them to provide ecosystem services.
    5. Will be regulated on a new set of animal welfare standards that will be enforced by a National Authority that will monitor and punish farmers as required.

    Good.

    About time some their destructive practices were regulated for the betterment of the planet.

  8. RI @ #2455 Sunday, December 8th, 2019 – 1:35 pm

    Those who most ardently hope for a meaningful response to climate change continually say and do things that make it less likely such action can be taken. Your remarks are a perfect example of this.

    And some of those who most ardently claim to “accept the science” continually say and do things that make it clear that they oppose actions that would actually have the effect of reducing both our emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels 🙁

  9. Rex Douglassays:
    Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Shattering allegations re Hawke and Landeryou. Just shattering.

    I’m sorry you’re so distressed.

    I didn’t realise you held them in such high regard.

  10. beguiledagain
    Sunday, December 8th, 2019 – 12:54 pm
    Comment #2445

    Most denizens of PB have probably never heard of 60’s singer Jack Jones, let alone his father Allan, a star of the first movie musicals in the 1930’s (and not to be confused with a certain Australian shock jock), who is seen here with the wonderful Kitty Carlisle.

    I don’t remember when I would have seen “A Night at the Opera.
    Probably sometime between 1945 and 1955. For a time my big sister was the ticket seller at the local Roxy Theatre. Free movies for a while.

    Regarding the picture – watching A Night at the Opera just last week – the skill of Kitty Carlisle was a wonder to me. The separation of notes into 8ths or more. Simply marvellous.

    For quality music I refer you to the Marx Bros “Room Service” where the boys hum Swing Low Sweet Chariot in tribute to the supposedly dead Harpo. 😇

  11. Focus News Channel
    @FocusNewsAus
    · 4h
    BREAKING: Focus News has confirmed @ScottMorrisonMP took a special flight from Canberra to Sydney thursday night to attend the Murdoch harbourside mansion party with A list celebs while NSW continued to burn. Mr Morrison returned to Canberra Friday for AFP terror presser #auspol

    Remember how Christine Nixon was shamed by the press and people during and after the Fires in Victoria because she popped out to a restaurant (and kept her mobile on) because she hadn’t brought a takeaway to work? She’s diabetic and needed to eat. What’s Scomo’s excuse?

    Edited for quote.

  12. Mavis
    Sunday, December 8th, 2019 – 1:36 pm
    Comment #2455

    It turned out the old mate I contacted had converted to Pentecostalism and attempted to convert me. We have had no further contact, having been an atheist since being forced to attend a Billy Graham crusade in Sydney in the ’50s.

    My wife unfortunately became caught up with some of the “Christian Life” people for a while. Best sidestepped where possible.

    Good luck with identifying them. Failing that, I’m sure with your noted technical expertise, putting a time machine together will be a breeze. I wish I had some. Perhaps then I’d be able to stop my internet crashing, my Apple TV device, my la

    I have had some fascinating times with Telstra via phone. Deafness and English as a second language (Telstra) made satisfactory results a matter of pure chance. However, Telstra provide a service whereby communication is via keyboard. This service I found to work extremely well and with happy results.

    Nearly time for my afternoon nap. 💤

  13. On the fires stuff. There will need to be an RC into this. An examination of why its happening and of where the prep and the response worked and where it didn’t. Its a HUGE event and I reckon an RC is actually in this case the proper vehicle to find what actually are the lessons to be learned.

    That said i think one of the issues is going to be on how sustainable the reliance on volunteers is. When the fire season is stretching out time-wise over such a widespread area of Australia i’m not sure that the mainly volunteer supported situation will provide the resources needed into the future.

    At the moment the Army doesn’t get involved in the frontline firefighting. They aren’t trained for it and do best as logistical support. That may change.

    Never having been involved in volunteer fire services, do they get paid at all. And…what of their day to day employers? This has got to be a problem for them?

    Needs to be an acceptance that one of the BIG underlying components (but not the only one) contributing to the current situation is Climate Change and this kind of event IS going to happen more often.

  14. It occurs to me that those who want effective action on climate change global heating are divided and squabbling. Those who oppose action or who don’t are united and keep winning.

  15. Steve

    When you’re trying to decide which one of several approaches to take, there’s division.

    When all you’re doing is opposing action, there’s unity.

  16. imacca @ #2469 Sunday, December 8th, 2019 – 2:04 pm

    On the fires stuff. There will need to be an RC into this. An examination of why its happening and of where the prep and the response worked and where it didn’t. Its a HUGE event and I reckon an RC is actually in this case the proper vehicle to find what actually are the lessons to be learned.

    That said i think one of the issues is going to be on how sustainable the reliance on volunteers is. When the fire season is stretching out time-wise over such a widespread area of Australia i’m not sure that the mainly volunteer supported situation will provide the resources needed into the future.

    At the moment the Army doesn’t get involved in the frontline firefighting. They aren’t trained for it and do best as logistical support. That may change.

    Never having been involved in volunteer fire services, do they get paid at all. And…what of their day to day employers? This has got to be a problem for them?

    Needs to be an acceptance that one of the BIG underlying components (but not the only one) contributing to the current situation is Climate Change and this kind of event IS going to happen more often.

    I’ve got an idea.

    Ditch the submarines for more water-bombing aircraft.

  17. “She’s diabetic and needed to eat. What’s Scomo’s excuse?”

    Same as always. He’s a nasty piece of crap who doesn’t give a shit, probably thinks its all doGs will anyway and has decided that “leadership” is smile, wave and being “positive”. Protecting us all from the Evils of Sick Reffo’s more important than from rampant bushfires crisping people and property.

    The creature that is PM now is self serving scum without a clue.

  18. B in

    And you reckon others have comprehension problems.

    KK was shorthand for K Kitching, obvious to anyone who was reading the toing and froing of posts on the matter under discussion.

  19. Never having been involved in volunteer fire services, do they get paid at all. And…what of their day to day employers? This has got to be a problem for them?

    Ours don’t, they’re all volunteers. They get their uniform and training paid but don’t draw a salary.

    As for time off work, our employer allows a certain number of days paid leave per year for staff who are CFS vollies as actual emergency services leave. But honestly, most employers are cool with their staff having time off to volunteer to fight fires, even if that means having time off to go help out interstate.

    Recently some of us staff who aren’t in the CFS were asked if we were willing to be on call during the weekend to be logistical support: doing lunch and dinner runs, restocking bottled water, carting tea and coffee and so on. Most if not all of us asked said yes, because even if we personally aren’t affected we know people who might be.

  20. Steve777 @ #2470 Sunday, December 8th, 2019 – 2:05 pm

    It occurs to me that those who want effective action on climate change global heating are divided and squabbling. Those who don’t want action are united and keep winning.

    The divide is between environmentalists and anti-environmentalists.

    Politically, Labor and the LibNats contain both, causing a stalemate… and disaster for our communities.

  21. Firefox trying to make Tree Tories/Teal Greens seem like some magnificent rural Greens diaspora. I wonder how many of those voters live in the shirty parts of the country?

  22. Pegasussays:
    Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    B in

    And you reckon others have comprehension problems.

    KK was shorthand for K Kitching, obvious to anyone who was reading the toing and froing of posts on the matter under discussion.

    😆
    Yes, so why only use initials for her, especially when KK is commonly used for Keneally.

  23. Who is better for Labor. Fitzgibbon or Garrett ?

    Good question. Depends whose votes in which electorates really matter?

    F is probably perceived as “authentic” by those Queensland voters Labor is pivoting more than ever towards, including ON voters who it believes can be persuaded to re-enter the Labor fold.

    Garrett, on the other hand, not so much. He would be perceived as one of those latte-sipping inner city elites who are not allowed to have an opinion on anything outside of their suburban range, including global heating and the need to cease thermal coal mining and the burning of fossil fuels.

    Kudos to Garrett who still believes working within the Labor tent will affect the change he would like to see in Labor policy around global heating and a zero non- carbon future in Australia.

    Wasn’t environmental grassroots activism once his focus? Does he participate in Extinction Rebellion and/or environmentals NGOs?

  24. Pegasussays:
    Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    B

    I understand your need for a tantrum.

    Nah, just highlighting your dishonesty.

  25. Hundreds of millions lost from vocational scheme

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/hundreds-of-millions-lost-from-vocational-scheme-20191206-p53hqk.html

    Federal authorities have spent almost $10 million chasing shonky training providers who conned taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars, but not a single person has been charged with fraud over the scheme.

    Private colleges that systematically rorted Australia’s vocational training system have also avoided repaying tens of millions of dollars in penalties by going into liquidation, while former students are saddled with massive debts, many having received no qualifications.
    :::
    As Prime Minister Scott Morrison tries to reform the vocational education and training sector, fresh evidence continues to emerge about the ongoing impact of the federal government’s former student loan scheme known as VET FEE HELP.

    Supported by Labor and Liberal governments, the scheme granted up to $100,000 in taxpayer-funded loans for every person enrolled in a course.

    This created a perverse incentive for some colleges and brokers to enroll as many “students” as they could, often offering free laptops and other incentives to vulnerable people to sign them up for courses they would likely never finish.
    :::
    The latest revelations are further evidence of the ongoing legacy of VET FEE HELP, which cost taxpayers $7.5 billion between 2009 to 2016 – most of which went to private colleges over public TAFE.

  26. lizzie says:
    Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Focus News Channel
    @FocusNewsAus
    · 4h
    BREAKING: Focus News has confirmed @ScottMorrisonMP took a special flight from Canberra to Sydney thursday night to attend the Murdoch harbourside mansion party with A list celebs while NSW continued to burn. Mr Morrison returned to Canberra Friday for AFP terror presser #auspol

    Remember how Christine Nixon was shamed by the press and people during and after the Fires in Victoria because she popped out to a restaurant (and kept her mobile on) because she hadn’t brought a takeaway to work? She’s diabetic and needed to eat. What’s Scomo’s excuse?

    Edited for quote.
    ———————————–
    Nixon went to the pub with girlfriends, it had nothing to do with being diabetic and if she was really hungry she could have picked something up earlier in the day or had a colleague pop out for her.

    Scomo just keeps adding to the ALP attack ads.

  27. ‘Bucephalus says:
    Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Lizzie,

    The Federal Government doesn’t do bushfire fighting – that is a State responsibility.’

    The Federal Government just adds CO2 emissions to the firefighting load.


  28. Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    The division has grown due to Labor falling in behind the Govts agenda.

    Essentially, it’s now the Lib-Lab establishment vs progressives.
    ..

    Clearly poor little Rex wants nothing done about climate change.

    I am not even sure Rex would argue vote 1 for the party that has destroyed the wilderness society and become nothing more than RDN’s little play thing ( because members can’t be trusted).

    I reckon socialist action trying to take over the Greens would be more his thing.

    https://thesocialist.org.au/

  29. In a shock announcement all Greens supporters have announced that they will be zero/2022. They will do this by junking their cars, reducing their living space by 90%, and by donating 50% of their salaries to tree planting schemes.
    Di Natale, in order to lead by example, has opened his million dollar house to ten asylum seekers. Half of his income will go to replanting his country recreational property somewhere in Victoria. Power to his house, which includes coal fired power, will be turned off for 50% of the time.
    All Greens MPs and Senators have announced that they are following Di Natale’s lead.
    ‘It is simply not ethical to expect coal miners to get the chop while we are living high off the hog,’ Di Natale asserted.’Hypocrisy is not the Greens New Deal!’

  30. Boerwar @ #2493 Sunday, December 8th, 2019 – 2:55 pm

    In a shock announcement all Greens supporters have announced that they will be zero/2022. They will do this by junking their cars, reducing their living space by 90%, and by donating 50% of their salaries to tree planting schemes.
    Di Natale, in order to lead by example, has opened his million dollar house to ten asylum seekers. Half of his income will go to replanting his country recreational property somewhere in Victoria. Power to his house, which includes coal fired power, will be turned off for 50% of the time.
    All Greens MPs and Senators have announced that they are following Di Natale’s lead.
    ‘It is simply not ethical to expect coal miners to get the chop while we are living high off the hog,’ Di Natale asserted.Hypocrisy is not the Greens New Deal!’

    Why should coal miners be afforded a working lifestyle that is so destructive to our environment ?

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