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.

2,453 comments on “Winners and losers”

  1. Hi C@t

    Unfortunately more painful than ever. But I’ve just had a lovely sight to cheer me. A pair of Eastern Whipbirds have been heard near the house for several days, and then a few minutes ago I saw them both catching insects on the lounge window sills, then flying to the nearby birdbath to drink and call. The last time I saw one was in Gippsland, where I spent about an hour peering futilely into undergrowth.

  2. Nicholas.

    Spot on. It’s no coincidence Hanson is for a People’s Bank and went in person to the Banking Royal Commission. As well as mentioning banks misbehaving as part of the reason for voting down the Union Busting Bill.

  3. Not Sure

    I love Coopers ! Especially the Sparkling Ale, a bit of the Torrens in the bottom of every bottle :). But is was all the free Pale Ale in exchange for cane toads in Darwin (2006) wot won me over to what I still think of as “Toad Beer” 😀

  4. Barrie Cassidy @barriecassidy
    3h
    One rule for the pollies…

    Geoff Pearson @GCobber99

    Today the Morrison Government brought legislation into the House of Representatives that will cut the pension to pensioners after 6 weeks overseas.

    At the same time the LNP’s George Christensen is allowed to spend 42 weeks overseas at full pay.

    https://smh.com.au/politics/federal/george-christensen-a-regular-at-philippines-adult-entertainment-bar-manager-20191202-p53g57.html?fbclid=IwAR2-bu-B-HifblR-kv2EHHiXI9YCC0IyxGu9Y4R6da8KRJDIyb-K_TehWis

  5. Briefly:

    The Greens are an anti-Labor outfit. This needs to be stated as often as possible.

    Well – get to it then!

    More interestingly both the “conservatives” and the Greens are anti-capital as well as anti-labour.

  6. I love Coopers ! Especially the Sparkling Ale, a bit of the Torrens in the bottom of every bottle :). But is was all the free Pale Ale in exchange for cane toads in Darwin (2006) wot won me over to what I still think of as “Toad Beer”
    +++++++
    poroti

    Coopers is one of those cases where the product spoke for itself in growing a company.

  7. Greens Rachel Siewert and Robodebt – The Guardian

    Down in the Senate, a motion has been passed that calls on the government to include changes in the robodebt processes in the government’s midyear economic update.

    You’ll remember the government recently announced changes that would stop over-reliance on income averaging, a fundamentally flawed and frequently erroneous way of calculating welfare debts.

    The Greens senator Rachel Siewert said including the changes in Myefo would help Australians understand what was truly changing with the robodebt system.

    “There are so many unanswered questions and it’s absolutely outrageous that the government is once again leaving people worried and in the dark about what is happening,” Siewert said.

    “After all that people have been through the government owes them an explanation at the very least.”

  8. Paddy Manning

    Shades of denial: Neither government nor Opposition is facing up to the climate emergency

    https://outline.com/cTXrPG

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese held their final party room meetings for the year, but there is not much to cheer about heading into Christmas. Morrison told his MPs that if they hold their unity, and do not allow themselves to be distracted, this “can and will be one of the great terms of Coalition government”, reflecting that during its third term, from 2001 to 2004, the Howard government was able to deliver on the groundwork laid in its previous six years, “and that is what we seek to do through this term”. Nothing about climate change.

    In his wide-ranging, televised speech to caucus Albanese tore into the government’s management of the economy, called for a royal commission on veterans’ suicides, and joked about the Coalition’s “Angus Horribilis”. He did mention climate change, once.
    :::
    A smug, scandal-prone government contemplating an unexpected third term without much of an agenda. An Opposition embarking on a painstaking renovation. Is the country in good hands, as we roll from one worsening disaster to another? Hardly.

  9. SK
    The “sledge” beer is the Sparkling Ale (5.8% V/V alcohol). The sludge results from the final fermentation which takes place within the bottle as I understand.
    PS
    Have you had a chance to look at the green seed production area yet?

  10. lizzie @ #302 Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 – 5:38 pm

    Hi C@t

    Unfortunately more painful than ever. But I’ve just had a lovely sight to cheer me. A pair of Eastern Whipbirds have been heard near the house for several days, and then a few minutes ago I saw them both catching insects on the lounge window sills, then flying to the nearby birdbath to drink and call. The last time I saw one was in Gippsland, where I spent about an hour peering futilely into undergrowth.

    They must have known you needed cheering up, lizzie. 🙂

  11. BK, I must have been drinking dodgy Pale. I remember it cloudy and with sludge and left me feeling bloated.

    Sparkling was the first Coopers to get to Sydney (iirc) and I liked it. Best Extra Stout is still my favourite of the bunch. Uraidla beer and Mismatch has taken my fancy these days.

    I am in Charleston tomorrow. Will try to make the extra distance to have a gander.

  12. I have much more faith in the ordinary people and even businesses in this country. Then in our political class, which has displayed a lack of real leadership, especially on the issues of Global Heating and the ecological crisis this continent is experiencing.

    The ordinary people and many businesses are doing as much as they can, in order to tackle these issues. You need to look at the sheer amount of renewable energy projects that have gone up in this country, including the amazing number of solar panels that have been put on the roofs in homes and businesses all across this nation.

    Anyway, I believe that if we had real leadership from our politicians, then Australia would become a renewable energy superpower, along with our economy and society being utterly transformed.

    In finishing, I do believe Australia’s future from the later part of the 2020s, into the 2030s and 2040s will be a bright and glorious one. However how we are going to reach to this bright and glorious future, I am not sure.

  13. I once did a job at coopers brewery. The VIP car parks all had nameplates on them referring to which person could park there. Seemed half of them had the surname Cooper. Quite comforting to know the family still proudly ran the place through so many generations.

  14. The purpose of a wealth tax would be to reduce inequality.

    No – the purpose of a “wealth tax” should be to channel investment into productive assets and away from unproductive assets (that nevertheless build “wealth” on paper, at least temporarily). The reason we once had “wealth taxes” to the very limited extent we once did is because (genuine) capitalists supported them. That’s because capitalism is about investment in productive assets (and isn’t at all about investment in unproductive assets, no matter what “conservatives” or spreadsheet wielding innumerates might claim)

    “Wealth taxes” can also have a side effect of reducing inequality however the sustainable effect is mostly indirect and due to the effect described previously as it applies to the disadvantaged. Specifically the preference shown to investment in productive assets also benefits the disadvantaged as it boosts their productivity and (assuming a fair distribution of the rewards to that productivity) thus boosting their real incomes and reducing inequality. This is (inter alia) why capitalists and labour both supported (and benefitted from) from the repeal of the corn laws (which were a “wealth protection racket” that protected investment in unviable “corn” production by enforcing above market prices) and consequent reduction in the cost of living and hence boost to the real incomes of labour. Someone will presumably assert that wealth taxes reduce inequality directly, however this effect is not sustainable as in practice such effects can always be avoided, and people go to great efforts to do so.

    Aside from the capture of productivity gains by rentiers disguised as capitalists there is now also the problems soon to be introduced by advanced automation, and no-one knows whether wealth taxes would now (and in the automated future) actually reduce inequality through the indirect route. There is no reason to believe that favouring productive assets over unproductive assets would cease to be effective, and indeed such a preference is highly pro advanced automation (which is an extremely productive investment).

    In short the only viable (effective and sustainable) “wealth taxes” are those on idle wealth (i.e. unproductive assets), rather than wealth generally, and people would be wise to focus in this.


  15. Pegasus says:
    Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    Paddy Manning

    Shades of denial: Neither government nor Opposition is facing up to the climate emergency

    Give it a rest Pegasus, yesterday the Greens voted to do nothing about it.

  16. SK
    Not many drink Coopers now. The Pale has a bit of sludge but not nearly as much as the Sparkling.
    Opinions about the Coopers family are a bit mixed. Mainly staunch Liberals.

  17. Hate to agree with the RSL- but we don’t need a RC into veteran suicides- we know the problem, we know the causes, we just need to fund the solutions.
    A RC will waste a year and over 50 million dollars (going straight to over paid lawyers). Then the Govt will get recommendations, and it will dither over them because it costs money.

  18. I do not understand this Virginia Giuffre – Prince Andrew thing, she was 17, is that below the age of consent in the location in question? Was she forced to have sex? Was it a case of prostitution? If it was prostitution is the issue it is illegal in location in question? Is there a minimum age for prostitution?

    I believe that in Victoria paying for sex is legal, the age of consent is 16. I assume the age for prostitution is the same.

    Is his offense one of not being honest?

  19. I do not understand this Virginia Giuffre – Prince Andrew thing, she was 17, is that below the age of consent in the location in question? Was she forced to have sex? Was it a case of prostitution? If it was prostitution is the issue it is illegal in location in question? Is there a minimum age for prostitution?

    I believe that in Victoria paying for sex is legal, the age of consent is 16. I assume the age for prostitution is the same.

    Is his offense one of not being honest?

    Worked it out, age of consent in the USA is 18, underage.

  20. I’ve been a fan of sparkling ale for a long time. Sludge and all.
    I discovered they make a dark ale while at Birdsville back in July. Mmmm.

  21. frednk

    As I understand it her accusation is that she was coerced by Epstein into having sex with people she otherwise wouldn’t have.

    Hardly seems consensual.


  22. Steve777 says:
    Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Been away for a while. Did anyone win the Great Debate (Labor vs Green)?

    Your kidding right; don’t even think any of the green posters got to reflecting on what the Greens have done.

  23. frednk

    As I understand it her accusation is that she was coerced by Epstein into having sex with people she otherwise wouldn’t have.

    Hardly seems consensual.

    I reckon it’s age of consent. If it was just “I was coerced”, what was she doing there, is the first question.

  24. Torchbearer @ #323 Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 – 6:39 pm

    Hate to agree with the RSL- but we don’t need a RC into veteran suicides- we know the problem, we know the causes, we just need to fund the solutions.
    A RC will waste a year and over 50 million dollars (going straight to over paid lawyers). Then the Govt will get recommendations, and it will dither over them because it costs money.

    Exactly. Royal Commissions, if they are ever agreed to by the Coalition, have become jobs for the judicial mates to produce the findings the Coalition wants and to also enable the issue to be kicked into the long grass.

  25. I’ll never drink Coopers again. They happily aided and abetted Tony Abbott’s ‘Carbon Tax’ campaign. ‘Oh what will it cost us to pay the Carbon Tax! What will it cost the Hoteliers to keep our beer cold in their refrigerators! Liberals, through and through.

  26. The image is said to have been captured in Belgravia, the UK.
    The age of consent is 16 in the UK.
    Prostitution is legal in the UK.
    Pandering and pimping is not legal in the UK.
    The charge in this case would seem to be that through grooming and such like pressures, the woman concerned was forced to have sex against her will.
    That is to say, Andrew raped her.

  27. C@tmomma on the news Morrison said he would consider a RC over the holiday break. It will conveniently slip off the radar until the next distraction is required.

  28. It is high time we have a Royal Commission into Veteran’s Affairs more broadly.

    TOR to include:

    1. some proper statistics for a change. These statistics would include the true cost of vets on society.
    2. suicide
    3. re-integration into society of vets
    4. treatment of PTSD
    5. impacts on family members of vets.

    At the moment interested players are motivated to obfuscate about some or all of 1-5.

  29. Simon Katich says:
    Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    …”Isn’t the sludge beer the pale ale? And isn’t most of Coopers water treated bore?”…

    Don’t know about the water, but pale ale and the red bottle stuff both have sediment.
    You just need to know how to treat it properly.

    Pale ale keg has to be de-gased every night and the keg flipped upside down otherwise you end up tipping the last 10 litres down the drain.
    At home I like to wedge tallies mouth end downwards in the freezer for half an hour before drinking.
    That way you get two slightly cloudy glasses of the good stuff, rather than one which tastes like an insipid facsimile of 4x gold and the other which is more akin to soup.

    Cheers.

  30. Enough inquiries that go nowhere – it’s time for a royal commission into veteran suicide

    August 2019: https://theconversation.com/enough-inquiries-that-go-nowhere-its-time-for-a-royal-commission-into-veteran-suicide-119599

    Given these grim statistics and calls for reform, more examination is clearly needed to understand the root causes of why veterans continue to kill themselves. Despite recent efforts by the government to address the issue, no inquiries have had the scope to bring all the pieces together.

    As a result, there is mounting pressure among veterans and their families for a royal commission into veteran suicide. We believe this is necessary to bring attention to the links between veteran suicide and the institutional failures and bureaucratic barriers to helping military personnel after they leave the service.

  31. No – the purpose of a “wealth tax” should be to channel investment into productive assets and away from unproductive assets

    No. A wealth tax doesn’t do that. If there are profitable productive investment opportunities available, people will invest in them now, regardless of whether or not there is a wealth tax.

    There is currently a lack of profitable productive investment opportunities because of stagnating wages, stagnating consumer spending, and high levels of household debt. The government needs to pursue a fiscal expansion to address those problems. Then the productive investment opportunities for the private sector will come.

    There is also a need to use legislation to simply ban a whole lot of speculative investments that serve no productive purpose.

  32. S777

    Why?

    Cos all the public reporting on and perhaps more dangerously, RFS warnings for the Currawong fire, skirted Cockwhy, that’s why.

  33. I’d put in another two TOR:

    6. Dispute resolution between vets and DVA.
    7. Impact on VETs of Defence inquiries.

    The reason I would pop the latter in is twofold. Both need to see some light of day, IMO. (1) There are inordinate delays in some Defence inquiries. These delays amount to justice delayed. (2) Possible systemic officer class patterns of blame shifting in Defence inquiries.

  34. poroti says:
    Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Not Sure

    …”I love Coopers ! Especially the Sparkling Ale, a bit of the Torrens in the bottom of every bottle :). But is was all the free Pale Ale in exchange for cane toads in Darwin (2006) wot won me over to what I still think of as “Toad Beer”…

    I wasn’t planning on drinking tonight because I have two overdue tax returns and a BAS to complete.
    Instead, I’m off to the bottle-o.

    So cheers to you too. 🙂

  35. A so-called friend inveigled me into drinking a Coopers some 5 decades ago.

    They say that time softens all memories but, IMO, that is not always true.

  36. C@tmomma says:
    Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    …”I’ll never drink Coopers again. They happily aided and abetted Tony Abbott’s ‘Carbon Tax’ campaign”…

    Some things are sacred and beyond politics.

  37. Climate change displacing one person every two seconds, Oxfam report says

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-03/climate-change-displacing-one-person-every-two-seconds-oxfam-say/11756070

    Mr Saukitoga is one of the 20 million people internally displaced each year by climate change, according to a new Oxfam briefing paper.

    People are now three times more likely to be forced from their homes by climate-fuelled disasters than by conflict, according to the charity’s analysis, which found a person was internally displaced due to climate change every two seconds.
    :::
    The Forced from Home briefing paper — Oxfam’s analysis of Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre data — was released as the United Nations climate summit COP25 kicked off in Spain on Monday.

    Eighty per cent of those displaced by climate change live in Asia, and the Pacific is particularly at risk, according to the paper.
    :::
    “It is the world’s poorest countries and communities, which bear little responsibility for global carbon pollution, that face the highest risk of climate-fuelled displacement,” the Oxfam report says.

    It says extreme weather is the single biggest driver of internal displacement worldwide, but the number of refugees from conflict is also rising, and there is “increasing evidence that the climate crisis is exacerbating instability in many regions … and increasing the risk of conflict in the future”.

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