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.

2,754 comments on “Winners and losers”

  1. lizzie @ #3228 Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 – 7:54 am

    Kronomex

    The question of out-of-date is an interesting one. Does a medicine suddenly lose its potency immediately, or is there a slow decline? Are the dates chosen with a wide buffer to prevent legal action in the case of suspected failure?

    It is advising parents to use the EpiPen in an emergency, and then to use an expired one if a second dose is needed.

    There is no doubt parents will be scared.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-04/australians-with-allergies-resort-to-using-out-of-date-drugs/11763304

    Like most pharmacology, both dose-response to, and ED50 (effective dose for 50% of population) for adrenalin (or epinephrine to use the Septic conceit) are empirical analog (sigmoid) curves, not digital drop off. These curves are short and steep, but so is the potential effect of adrenalin in vivo (ie in the body).

    IgE-mediated anaphylaxis, which is the basis of most life-threatening allergies, can be terminated by supraphysiological doses of adrenalin, but the actual dose reaching the affected trigger areas (airway, lungs, gut, skin etc.) varies with the situation. The synthetic adrenalins we use is buffered to retain activity of at least 3 sigma (one tailed) of a theoretical ED50 in a general population (not people in anaphylaxis) at 6 months of storage in ideal condition (temperature, light exposure), but will retain some effect for months (possibly years) after the official expiry date. It’s a theoretical exercise of no legal significance, since, in practice, it is only used in emergency situations where there is not other choice. There is no real upper dose limit: if it doesn’t work, give some more.

    That said, there are economic and profit-driven issues in the supply chain that could be addressed – but won’t be under the current regimes.

  2. “It’s interesting to note that the Green on this forum this morning is all about denigrating Labor politicians, having a sly go at the Queensland Labor state government over delays in payments, and regurgitating a piece of news from the USA that had already been discussed, but not ONE comment about the environment issue the Labor supporters are discussing here this morning.

    Typical. They only care about the environment in so far as they can use it as a stick to beat Labor with.”

    ***

    Umm…

    Firefox says:
    Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 8:22 am

    The Nats are an absolute disgrace. Seems a lot of people who’ve only ever voted Nats their entire lives are headed down the road to Damascus, so to speak.

  3. I still have various, carefully vetted by me, medicines in my medicine cabinet, that I continue to use long after their expiry date. You just have to know which ones are essentially inert and don’t degrade appreciably if kept in the right conditions. It’s also why first world countries send certain medicines to third world countries after their expiry date. I wouldn’t recommend a layman does this though.

  4. Why have so many other countries got better than us in teaching their kids, especially in maths?
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/dec/03/australian-students-maths-performance-falls-to-oecd-average-in-worst-result-since-2000
    The article reports lots of understandable blame shifting.
    Ignored are the following points:
    1. It takes years to make a difference (good or bad)
    2. Teacher training moved from state run colleges to universities in the ’70s, and this corresponded with a big change in pedagogy theories.
    3. With the funding starvation of universities, which started in the Howard years, there has been pressure to
    a) enroll almost every student who applies for an education degree course
    b) assist every student to successfully graduate (dropouts represent funding loss)

    The changed pedagogy would not have been such a problem for exceptional teachers; but for academically poorer teachers, it’s a disaster. A perfect storm.

    To put it bluntly, our teacher-training institutions (aka universities) need to lift their game.
    Are the teaching methods ( typically based on constructivism) actually the best way for teaching below and well -below average students? Having been trained in the ’70s to use ‘discovery learning’ techniques in science teaching, I say, emphatically, NO.
    And Dan Tehan needs to fund universities so they don’t have to rely on education students to prop them up.

  5. That said, there are economic and profit-driven issues in the supply chain that could be addressed – but won’t be under the current regimes.

    It’s been happening repeatedly for years.

    The twist I’ve seen is for parents of young kids with potential IgE anaphylaxis, who can’t get childcare or after-school care without providing an in-date EpiPen. This is impossible when there are literally none available in the country.

    Why the hell the Govt can’t arrange guaranteed availability of sufficient EpiPens is beyond me.

  6. BW – on evaporation.

    I recall a conversation with J Quiggin about 16 years ago regarding the off river storages being built by certain cotton farms on the MacIntyre River. His RSMG team at UQ had done back-of-the-envelope calculations on evaporative losses, and they were immense.

    But floating plastic disks – what a good, simple idea! I particularly like this bit:

    “Hexa-Covers can be installed by tipping a truck load into the water storage area or emptying a bag into the water.”

    KISS

  7. BW,
    It’s not just money.
    The increased bureaucratic workload over the past 20+ years is intolerable for many very good teachers.
    So they leave.

  8. Expect the performance of Australia’s students in those international rankings to rise sharply from 2024 on. That’s when the 15 year olds being tested will have been born in the era of compulsory iodised salt in bread, which began in 2009.

  9. And Public School teachers, because of their strong union, have become a convenient whipping boy for Conservatives. Parents have become emboldened too.

  10. Good Morning

    Cat.

    Agreed. Degrading the profession is all part of the LNP attack on education. It has to ensure it has dumb voters to con. They must be very pleased a whole new generation.

    Of course the solution is simple. Look at what works best. Finland. A country with no private schools. Teachers are held in the same regard as nurses doctors and firefighters and are paid the professional money that doctors are.

    The result is the students have continually been at or near the top of the education rankings.
    That by itself shows the hollowness of the love of privatisation in this country. I don’t expect Australia to abolish public schools. We can copy as much as Finland as we can. No more following the US and its bad education outcomes.

  11. Breaking. ABC announcing the Medieval Bill has been brought forward.

    From Porter’s speech my guess is that its going to fail. Porter very busy attacking Labor.
    Nothing about how successful the defeat the bill is.

    Of course its only a guess. The LNP could be confident and just attacking Labor for the hell of it. My perception of desperation could be mistaken.

  12. It’s now not just about whipping the teachers.

    Neil Angus has been on a bit of a tour of “The schools I would never send my kids too” and getting his photo taken with all of the outdated and terrible facilities in the local rag.

    The message is plain and obvious to anybody who thinks about it. Don’t send your kids here because the buildings are substandard. He doesn’t really give a damn about improving anything, otherwise you would have seen action when his party were in government…

  13. KayJay

    The quality of the “Arsehole of the Week” contenders seems to be declining.

    That is because the arsehole community are demoralised and have lost their motivation, the poor souls have just given up trying. Six months of watching the Morrison government in action has left the whole arsehole demographic feeling an overwhelming sense of no longer being able to compete against such competition. It’s very sad.

  14. guytaur

    “No more following the US and its bad education outcomes.”
    ————

    I seem to remember Gillard was in love with the New York education system. Comments were made at the time about why we are following the US and not learning from Finland.

  15. frednk:

    [‘Did she allege force? From my skimming, she was asked to, she did, he can’t dance and he sweats.

    It was in 2001,2002 and the legislation came in 2003.]

    Q1. Not that I’m aware of. But she is claiming she was coerced into having sex with Andrew. Put another way, where the age of consent is 16 years (as it is in Australia save for Tassie and SA where it’s 17), it would be the exception for a prosecuting authority to charge a male aged, say, 17 for having consensual sex with, say, his 15-year-old girlfriend. What matters is the age difference and the power imbalance.

    At the time Andrew allegedly had sex with Virginia, he was 40/41; she, 17. Thus the age difference was great as was the power imbalance. That alone would not have given rise to a charge if it was consensual sex as the age of consent in England is 16 years. But sex-trafficking comes under a different regime, the criteria being that sex was induced by fraud, force or coercion “or”, as in Virginia’s case, that she was under 18 years. It’s fairly established that Epstein and Maxwell engaged in sex-trafficking. Where that leaves Andrew is unclear though he could face charges of conspiracy to sex-traffic, but it’s unlikely.

    Q.2 The British legislation, as you say, was enacted in 2003; but any charges laid will be caught by the US statute enacted in 2000 – The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act.

  16. Chris Uhlmann explains how a perfect storm is brewing for a Coalition that lacks coherent policy.

    Chris Uhlmann is normally good at turning a blind eye to storms. 7 tornadoes and Uhlmann tells you to ‘look over there – ALP! Renewables!’.

  17. Bluebottle

    Freudian slip on my part. Good reply 🙂

    The peasants are indeed going to be revolting. Its started already with the farmers splitting from the Nationals as we have seen McCormack being attacked by actual farmers at Parliament House.

    They can say breakaway all they like. Its not often you see farmers protesting the National Party.

  18. poroti @ #525 Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 – 10:03 am

    KayJay

    The quality of the “Arsehole of the Week” contenders seems to be declining.

    That is because the arsehole community are demoralised and have lost their motivation, the poor souls have just given up trying. Six months of watching the Morrison government in action has left the whole arsehole demographic feeling an overwhelming sense of no longer being able to compete against such competition. It’s very sad.

    But wait ❗ Help is at hand.

    The entire privatised education system will be deployed to correct this grievous anomaly in the weight for age (Arsehole to * decent) bastardry stakes. Results will show up at the next Federal Election with the quality of tossers standing for election.

    *angel, darling, dear, nice person, peach, sweetheart, sweety, beauty, honey, humdinger, dilly, jim-dandy .

    P.S. Lavender’s blue –

  19. lefty e @ #522 Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 – 9:59 am

    Sure, the public interest is plainly served by transparency. But eat this bullshit instead.

    ‘The government has claimed “public interest immunity” in refusing to release further details of a phone call between Scott Morrison and NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller.’

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/politics/australian-politics/2019/12/03/scott-morrison-phone-nsw-police/

    They’re shameless. Start from there and the rest becomes clear.

  20. Maude
    “To put it bluntly, our teacher-training institutions (aka universities) need to lift their game.
    Are the teaching methods ( typically based on constructivism) actually the best way for teaching below and well -below average students? Having been trained in the ’70s to use ‘discovery learning’ techniques in science teaching, I say, emphatically, NO.”

    Couldn’t agree more!
    In my own personal experience from year 1-12 i only had one teacher (who i am sure would have retired soon after teaching me ) who actually “taught mathematics, i.e.how to read mathematics, the rest just rely on repetitive learning . It has got no better with my kids, i have had to teach them to actually understand how basic equations and mathematics fundamentals work. I can’t help but agree with some bludgers above that this could be intentional as i just cant see any other reason for it.
    On a side note, it used to be a bit of a Pommy (i can say that being a POM) calling to go to countries such as India to teach the kids to read math (knowledge is power and all that). I find it a strange co-incidence that India is so good relation to things such as IT and app development etc.

  21. C@tmomma @ #533 Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 – 10:19 am

    lefty e @ #522 Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 – 9:59 am

    Sure, the public interest is plainly served by transparency. But eat this bullshit instead.

    ‘The government has claimed “public interest immunity” in refusing to release further details of a phone call between Scott Morrison and NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller.’

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/politics/australian-politics/2019/12/03/scott-morrison-phone-nsw-police/

    They’re shameless. Start from there and the rest becomes clear.

    Morrison double speak – it’s public scrutiny immunity.

  22. The government uses national security all the time for secrecy.

    With the Medevac Bill I still don’t get why New Zealand is such a threat to Australia’s National Security if thats the solution Lambie is going for.

  23. C@tmomma:

    I still have various, carefully vetted by me, medicines in my medicine cabinet, that I continue to use long after their expiry date. You just have to know which ones are essentially inert and don’t degrade appreciably if kept in the right conditions. It’s also why first world countries send certain medicines to third world countries after their expiry date. I wouldn’t recommend a layman does this though.

    The US DoD found themselves the owners of a large stockpile of expired medicines, so they ran a fairly comprehensive study of them. You can find the study online, but I believe the precis is that none of the studied medicines became actively harmful, and all but a few retained most of their efficacy well after the expiry date.

  24. lefty esays:
    Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Sure, the public interest is plainly served by transparency. But try this this delicious bullshit instead.

    ‘The government has claimed “public interest immunity” in refusing to release further details of a phone call between Scott Morrison and NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller.’

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/politics/australian-politics/2019/12/03/scott-morrison-phone-nsw-police/

    Of course there is no public interest in a conversation between a democratic Prime Minister and a State Police Commissioner regarding an investigation into a Cabinet Minister¿

  25. Guytaur, you were of the opinion yesterday that a “Wealth Tax” would be popular thing to campaign on.

    I think I have a better idea. Campaign on a single word. Corruption.

  26. Australia has a population of around 25 million. At any one time tens of thousands of Australians will be on waiting lists. Depending on their condition they will be in chronic pain or will have some form of debilitating condition.
    Most of these people, their families, their friends would be bemused that people living on Manus and Nauru should get first chop at Australia’s inadequate medical provision at an astronomical cost.
    If the Medevac Legislation changes a single vote it would be in rural and regional areas where voters are much more likely to be in some form of medical queue and living hours from the nearest medical provision. And they will vote for the Parties that tried to destroy the Medevac Bill.

    Meanwhile, the Inner Urbs with all sorts of public provision of hospitals and specialists within walking distance will be OK Jack.

  27. rhwombat:

    [‘IgE-mediated anaphylaxis, which is the basis of most life-threatening allergies, can be terminated by supraphysiological doses of adrenalin, but the actual dose reaching the affected trigger areas (airway, lungs, gut, skin etc.) varies with the situation.’]

    I regularly suffer idiopathic angioedema. As matter of fact, I suffered a bout of it early this morning, the manifestation of which is a grossly swollen tongue, which, if I don’t attend to it early, can land me in A & E. Due to my age, I’m not administered adrenalin. My way of dealing with it to take 6 to 8 x 180 mg of antihistamine, and 25 to 50 mg of prednisone. When I got my first attack some 40 years ago, it was a frightening experience; now, however, I just take it in my stride. An allergy specialist thinks my exposure to Agent Orange in the early ’70s is the most likely cause, though he can’t be sure.

  28. Alpha

    A Wealth Tax can fit into a corruption narrative.

    Yes that is more stark. Structural corruption. Federal ICAC now. Political Donation reform now. As Labor has said. Real time reporting. Ban Foreign donations. Public Funding and restricting lobby groups special access to politicians.

    No more fundraisers to get corporate dollars.

  29. guytaursays:
    Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 10:36 am

    @andrewwhite tweets

    Why is it so important to you that the care of sick people be decided by a Queensland cop? #medevac

    So they can avoid caring! 🙁

  30. Mavis says: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 10:33 am

    I regularly suffer idiopathic angioedema.

    An allergy specialist thinks my exposure to Agent Orange in the early ’70s is the most likely cause, though he can’t be sure.

    *********************************************************

    Yikes Mavis that sounds terrible – hope its many a long time between bouts !!!!

    The poor people in Vietnam must have suffered badly if reports are accurate that they got showered with 18.2 million gallons of Agent Orange ( along with Eight million tons of bombs ( 4 times the amount the US dropped in WW2 ) and 400,000 tons of napalm )

  31. Why not just say the number 1 spot on the NSW ALP ticket is reserved for a Catholic. I believe the same applies in Victoria and elsewhere:

    Labor’s NSW Senate preselection ahead of the 2022 is likely to spark major internal divisions within the Right, with Senator Keneally and Deb O’Neill fighting between the top spot on the ticket and the most likely unwinnable third position. The second place on the ticket is reserved for the Left faction, with incumbent Jenny McAlister likely to be re-endorsed.

    Senator O’Neill is aligned to the powerful Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association which believed it is entitled to number one spot on the Senate ticket.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/kristina-keneally-was-headed-to-washington-under-secret-plan-with-bill-shorten-20191203-p53giz.html

  32. If people who are good at maths and understand mathematical processes aren’t going into teaching, then maths standards will decline.

    That’s the problem that needs to be addressed, not how teachers are trained.

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