Burning questions

To keep things ticking over, some factless musings on the bushfire situation.

Time for a new thread. While I’m about it, two points about the bushfire crisis. To start with the obvious: it would be really interesting to see an opinion poll right now, but being what time of year it is, there are no polls to be had. Even if you remain skeptical-or-worse about the value of voting intention polling in the wake of last year’s debacle, some personal ratings on Scott Morrison would undoubtedly offer a helpful objective measure of how his image is bearing up after what has clearly been a tough couple of weeks. If you take your cues from social media, you may have concluded by now that Morrison’s career is as good as over. But if the last few years have taught us nothing else, it’s that that’s usually not a good idea. However, a News Corp pundit who generally doesn’t partake of the organisational kool-aid may have been on to something when he noted that this apprehension was “probably what tricked Morrison into thinking that all the outrage against him was confected and so he might as well go catch some rays”.

A second, less obvious point relates to an Eden-Monaro by-election that some readers of Canberra tea leaves assured us was on the cards, with one such ($) relating a view that Labor member Mike Kelly would be “gone by Christmas”. These reports asserted that the by-election would be used by state Nationals leader John Barilaro to enter federal politics with a view to deposing struggling party leader Michael McCormack. But if it’s the case that the government has suffered a bushfire-related hit to its standing, the thought of taking on a Labor-held seat at a by-election may have lost its appeal. The once-bellwether seat covers some of the worst affected areas, including the town of Cobargo, where Morrison met a hostile reception on Thursday from locals who — depending on your right-wing news source of choice — are either in no way representative of the town, or all too representative of it.

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.

3,738 comments on “Burning questions”

  1. phoenixRED @ #3394 Thursday, January 9th, 2020 – 3:15 pm

    C@tmomma says: Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    Bill Palmer – Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted in 24 hours.

    He’s sleeping it off. Whatever ‘it’ was

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

    Ex-Apprentice Staffer Noel Casler Speaks Out: ‘Trump’s A Raging Drug Addict’

    Noel Casler, a former Apprentice staffer, did a radio interview where he provided some truly terrifying insight into Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump

    Noel Casler, a celebrity and comedian who used to work on the Apprentice, did a radio interview on CJAD with radio host Dave Kaufman and to say the interview was terrifying would be an understatement. He talked quite a bit about Donald Trump’s alleged drug habit, something that many people have openly discussed over the years. There was lots of buzz about him snorting Adderall and abusing Sudafed

    It has become common knowledge that Trump can barely make it to meetings or read a speech for even 5 minutes. He is degenerating fast.

    And now…Ivanka. The plastic, fake-throaty voice, daughter wife.

    “If you are scared of Trump, you should be terrified of Ivanka. I think she’s the brains behind the operation. I’ve seen her manipulate him. It’s all an act. Down to that phony voice she uses. That’s a put on. That’s how he likes her to sound. Her real voice is a lot lower and she curses like a sailor…she’s engineering herself to take over. Ivanka wants to rule us all someday and I’m not being…it’s not just hyperbole….she wants her face on money….so people should be very worried about her.”

    https://crooksandliars.com/2020/01/ex-apprentice-staffer-noel-casler

    Wouldn’t that be the ultimate sign of the downfall of America? President Barbie and First Man Ken?

  2. “What I love about TPOF he comes across as so pure and sanctimonious when he whinges about the ‘tenor’ of PB discourse while at the same time he posts such a delightful post to Mundo.”

    William, tell me how this post helps; or makes this site a place one wants to visit.

    This type of cowardly sniggering is really a turn off.

    What would make me not want to visit this site is the presence of commenters stupid enough to single out this comment while ignoring the “fucking lying fraud” post to which it was responding.

  3. Okay, Not Sure. So tell me how many economic libertarians, such as you seem to me to be, as you keep pushing the line that you do not think that paying tax on earnings is a valid proposition, there are in the Labor Party? Then, compare that to how many there definitely are in the Liberal Party, and then tell me why I was wrong to assume you were a Liberal?

  4. billie

    It’s funny how the rubbish press are comparing this to the 1936 constitutional crisis.

    Harry is currently sixth in line for the throne and likely to fall further down the rankings unless William and his family are wiped out in a cataclysm.

    Edward was actually King (not just Prince of Wales) when he decided to marry Wallis Simpson.

    But facts never get in the way of a good headline.

  5. billie
    “No guarantee that Britain will retain the monarchy, ”

    The House of Windsor isn’t going anywhere. The upkeep is enormous, but then again, the royals attract huge numbers of tourists into the UK.

    I’m a Republican; but when in the UK, I couldn’t resist a visit to the Tower of London, or Buck Palace.

  6. billie:

    [‘No guarantee that Britain will retain the monarchy, republican sentiment waxes and wanes there too as the British tax payer pays for their upkeep, security and for their palaces in lovely locations’]

    I agree with your sentiments. From an earlier article I posted, Harry and Meghan have a 24/7 security detail comprising six. Their average wage is £100,000 pa each. Apparently Harry is a target due to his military service in Afghanistan so he’ll need the detail whether in Canada or England. I’m not sure whether the British public will be happy with this if he’s not performing royal duties of some sort. I guess this sort of detail will be worked out in due course.

  7. BW,

    The Greens policies are on agriculture and GMO’s are fundamentally the same as they were in 2005. It seems odd that after 15 years these are now the cause of Labor’s failure to cut through in rural seats.

  8. Media
    Likes
    Peter van Onselen’s Tweets
    Peter van Onselen
    @vanOnselenP
    ·
    1h
    Telephone hook up at 3pm today for all Coalition MPs and senators. To listen not speak. Only speakers are the PM, DPM and Littleproud. Maybe the Treasurer will talk too. I’m told it’s to calm nerves given recent weeks…oh, and update on bushfires. #auspol

  9. Mini report from Batemans Bay/South Durras.

    My second senior favourite daughter
    a registered nurse working in Aged Care provides some information –

    Today rostered to drive Fire Truck – rain intervened back to home cleanup.

    Power and phone back on at home. Power and phone back on at the Aged Care Residence where a backup generator has kept the facility functioning. How the food supply was managed I know not.

    Daughter sent a couple of supermarket photos for our edification.

    SFA on the shelves – and then – and then- white bread —

    The extra grouse good news is that a delivery of sausages arrived.

    Now for the really important “stuff”

  10. Mexicanbeemer:

    [‘Harry will likely continue receiving rent from his estates.’]

    I’m not sure he has any estates. He’s certainly paid from the estate of his father (The Duchy of Cornwall).

  11. William, it would be interesting to know what sort of a posting regime you would actually want here? Is Nath your favourite because his snarks and put-downs of everybody here he doesn’t like witty and erudite.

    I’ve just had enough of the rubbish you permit on this site.

    My view is that if you want to host other posters’ repetitive garbage I might as well put in my share from time to time. In toto over the last six months I’ve certainly posted more of substance than Mundo and have only rarely engaged in the sort of vicious snark and provocation of ‘nath’ and the nasty piece of work who has co-opted the name of a Danish film maker.

    And I’m no more hypocritical than you if you are going to get upset about my post while continuing to turn a blind eye to the nasty snarks and others on here who contribute nothing as long as they attack Labor-supporting people here, while flashing the whip at people who fall in the Labor supporting group and who react.

  12. Vogon Poet
    says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 3:43 pm
    It’s pretty obvious nath and LVT are one and the same
    ____________
    well we are not. LVT is clearly from Sydney and speaks German FFS. I am not nearly as cultured. Despite being from Melbourne.

  13. Rick Wilson on Trump sycophants :

    Rick Wilson‏Verified account @TheRickWilson

    1/ The assertion by Lindsay Graham that today’s bizarre performance by Sniffles The Clown was on par with “Tear Down This Wall” is part of the Saddamification of the GOP.

    What are the new rules?

    2/ – Never be the first guy to stop clapping when Trump speaks.

    – It is always the Year Zero; memory and consistency is the enemy of loyalty in the Trump world.

    – Your superlatives are insufficient. Praising Trump properly demands a new vocabulary of obsequiousness.

    3/ – Your humiliation in his service will asymptotically approach infinity, with the pain and shame mounting but never reaching the sweet release of death.

    – Never tell him the truth. He is the tallest, most handsome, brilliant, and richest man in the room.

    4/ – Even when he’s wrong (and he’s almost always wrong), race for the TV cameras to proclaim that you and everyone else was simply unable to grasp the sublime complexity of his 47-dimensional chess game.

    5/ – If he wants to mount your spouse, let him. You let him screw your reputation, honor, dignity, principles, and political priors. Why not your wife?

    – Always give the Trump Crime Family a cut of your consulting contracts for the campaign and the RNC.

    6/ – Never forget that if you don’t suck the chrome off the metaphorical trailer hitch, someone else in Washington will. It is a city without elected heroes.

    – He will let you die in prison. Prepare accordingly.

    7/ – Snitch off get snitched on. Trust no one. Lie constantly. Don’t sleep in the same place more than two nights. Moscow rules.

  14. ‘bakunin says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    BW,

    The Greens policies are on agriculture and GMO’s are fundamentally the same as they were in 2005. It seems odd that after 15 years these are now the cause of Labor’s failure to cut through in rural seats.’

    My view is that it not just one issue. It is the suite of issues: GMOs, coal, conservation management, additional regulations, live exports, feedlots, the MDB, social issues… Each of these reinforces the other. These join in a sort of cultural complex that results in the Greens being viewed as basically hostile to rural and regional Australia. The policy details no longer matter, if they ever did. This is probably reinforced to some extent by the rather careless and sometimes arrogant attitudes of contempt by some Greens towards rural and regional Australians.

    For Labor to be regarded as Greens Lite would be disastrous in this context.

    The Greens themselves have, from time-to-time, tried to reverse the overall picture by promoting joint activity with farmers on some issues. So the Greens tried to form alliances with farmers over fracking, for example. This helped reduce fracking in Australia. But, based on the electoral outcomes, the Greens attempts to lever rural and regional votes out of fracking has failed.

    As for time differences it is useful, IMO, not to think that nothing has changed but the passage of time. For example, in 1996 the Greens GMO policies would have prevented the introduction of GMO cotton. But that would not have destroyed the then cotton industry because it was not then based on GMO cotton. Practically the whole of Australia’s cotton industry is now GMO. It uses less water and less pesticides and is cheaper to grow. Knocking out GMO cotton would have massive implications for today’s cotton industry. Have the Greens reviewed their GMO policy since 1996?

  15. Haha

    Peter van Onselen
    @vanOnselenP
    ·
    4m
    Best part from the 3pm hook up of Coalition MPs and Senators: no need for anyone to do international media other than the Foreign Minister… #auspol

  16. Some years ago (it comes around regularly) there was a big argument in the House of Commons about the cost of the monarchy (this was after the Family had agreed to pay tax on earnings, I think). One of the MPs took on the job of doing a cost/benefit analysis, and concluded that overall they brought in a profit (not limited to tourist dollars). This did not take in account the political stability factor, either, or their service on committees and having a useful supply of volunteers to open things, present awards and generally keep things steady.

    But there is a consistent grumble that they cost too much, live off the taxpayer, etc etc. The best of the Family regard their job as a Job as well as a duty. And of course in every generation there are failures.

    Finally, how could New Idea, Woman’s Day and Murdoch’s paper survive without someone to gossip about?

  17. How does one get added to the official list of “Righties”?

    I feel that I have far more entitlement to be there than does “nath”

  18. *sigh*

    I am quietly confident that nobody outside of a few political tragics (of the Green, Labor, and Coalition extraction) have any idea what Greens policies actually are past a broad outline. Pretty much nobody believes that the Greens can actually implement their policies, only have influence on the policy debate. Pretty much any Coalition rusted in the wild banging on about Greens policies will in fact be banging on about some Facebook meme with probably as much validity as the one about death taxes.

    By implication I don’t think claims that Labor lost the election due to this, that or the other obscure Greens policy have any credibility, and wish they would move on to something more interesting.

  19. Socrates:

    See how, even when confronted with the facts, he refuses to apologise and say he misunderstood. He immediately shifts to another line, rather than admit his error. The lying is the instant response.

    Getting closer…

  20. George Conway‏ @gtconway3d

    Many people have said it before, and I’ll say it again. Imagine @realDonaldTrump in any serious job other than running a company he owned. He’d be sacked so fast it would make your head spin.

    Duty To Warn ‏ @duty2warn

    A must read. 5 distinguished doctors explain why Trump’s stark mental impairments are now unleashing global catastrophe

    Trump’s stark mental impairments are now unleashing global catastrophes: mental health professionals

    As predicted by leading mental health professionals several years ago, Donald Trump’s emotional and psychological collapse continues unabated. In his third year in office, the president has demonstrated through his public and private behavior that he is mentally unwell. The pressures of the impeachment process have only worsened Trump’s condition. There will be no bottom. Trump’s mental decompensation and associated downward spiral will only get worse. This is both a national and global crisis.

    MORE : https://www.alternet.org/2020/01/donald-trumps-mind-mental-health-professionals-from-harvard-the-air-force-and-more-reflect-on-the-meaning-of-the-soleimani-assassination/

  21. Socrates
    Loathe as I am to defend Scotty but he was specifically pleaded with by the KI tourism industry to ask people not to cancel their trips.

    Fulvio
    The two people who died on KI were helping fight the bushfire but they weren’t in anything official like the CFS. I’d still say they were firies but our PM disagrees. He doubled down on a shit comment.

  22. Simon @ #3423 Thursday, January 9th, 2020 – 4:05 pm

    *sigh*

    I am quietly confident that nobody outside of a few political tragics (of the Green, Labor, and Coalition extraction) have any idea what Greens policies actually are past a broad outline. Pretty much nobody believes that the Greens can actually implement their policies, only have influence on the policy debate. Pretty much any Coalition rusted in the wild banging on about Greens policies will in fact be banging on about some Facebook meme with probably as much validity as the one about death taxes.

    By implication I don’t think claims that Labor lost the election due to this, that or the other obscure Greens policy have any credibility, and wish they would move on to something more interesting.

    Labors ‘friends of coal’ might go some way to giving the Greens Party a chance at the balance of power in the senate.

  23. Dio

    Aa sign of the economic desperation.

    Construction won’t help the economy much. In Kangaroo Islands microeconomy this will be especially apparent

  24. The Royals are a funny kind of institution, they are central to British history and the monarch plays an important role in U.K politics but if you were creating a country from scratch you wouldn’t create a heredity monarchy because too often a strong leader is followed by a weak or horrid ruler.

    Looking at Harry’s actual message, he hasn’t actually quit but basically says he will be off doing his own thing.

  25. ‘Simon says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    *sigh*

    I am quietly confident that nobody outside of a few political tragics (of the Green, Labor, and Coalition extraction) have any idea what Greens policies actually are past a broad outline. Pretty much nobody believes that the Greens can actually implement their policies, only have influence on the policy debate. Pretty much any Coalition rusted in the wild banging on about Greens policies will in fact be banging on about some Facebook meme with probably as much validity as the one about death taxes.

    By implication I don’t think claims that Labor lost the election due to this, that or the other obscure Greens policy have any credibility, and wish they would move on to something more interesting.’

    1. Rural and regional voters are clear that Greens policies would have a large negative impact on them.
    2. Di Natale has publicly asserted that the Greens will form government.
    3. Di Natale has also public asserted that the Greens would use the BOP to force Labor to implement Greens policies.
    4. The discussion between b and myself has not been about Facebook memes. It has been about real Greens policies.
    5. The sum total of Greens policies, activities, announcements, pronouncements, calls for, demands and negative judgements have had the combined impact of delivering a very, very low Greens vote in rural and regional electorates.
    6. It is logical to assert that for Labor to be perceived as Greens Lite, or subject to Greens BOP blackmail, could only have a deleterious impact on Labor’s vote in rural and regional electorates. BOTH the Coalition and the Greens work together to convince rural and regional voters that Labor is Greens Lite AND that the Greens would blackmail Labor to enforce Greens policies using their BOP.

    Finally, since there are 34 regional seats, and since giving the Coalition a head start of 34 seats gives them a huge electoral advantage, this is a matter of major interest for the future of Australia.

    I can see why the generality of Greens would rather not talk about this at all. Because the consequences of their actions in this space are large and deleterious.

  26. a r says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 4:06 pm
    TPOF @ #3413 Thursday, January 9th, 2020 – 2:39 pm

    what sort of a posting regime [would you] actually want here?
    https://www.pollbludger.net/comment-moderation-guidelines/

    ______________________________

    Thanks AR. These are quite good. I note point 8:

    “I make no promise to apply judgements consistently. Comments that would escape censure in quiet moments will get chopped when I’m trying to put things back on track after a flame war, or when one seems about to begin. Vexatious commenters will be dealt with more severely than those who are generally well behaved.”

    The first sentence is applied consistently. The rest does not seem to be applied with any consistency at all.

  27. Loathe as I am to defend Scotty but he was specifically pleaded with by the KI tourism industry to ask people not to cancel their trips.

    Yes as reported a day ago.

    Kangaroo Island businesses urge tourists not to abandon them after fire catastrophe:
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-08/kangaroo-island-tourism-impacted-by-deadly-bushfire/11850712

    But Kangaroo Island Seaside Inn owner Chris Schumann fears the industry faces potential collapse if cancellations continue to hit the island.

    He said the initial impact following a bushfire was understandably the “devastation” it causes, but the “secondary impact” is on the businesses left standing.

    “The eastern half of the island is still open for business and we need the visitors to keep coming,” he said.
    :::
    “What we want to tell the rest of Australia, and the rest of the world because the coverage for the fires has been international, ‘don’t abandon us, don’t cancel, come to Kangaroo Island, it’s a great experience still’.

    “We understand the immediate cancellations, but it’s the ones going forward that are an issue for everybody on Kangaroo Island.

    “People have lost their farms, have lost their property but some of them have daughters, brothers, sisters who are working in the tourism industry.

    “If those businesses collapse and they lose their jobs, the impact is just double down.”

  28. From the PB rules.

    we ask that people ‘play the ball not the man’.

    I can’t see that William could write anything plainer than that. Perhaps some posters don’t understand what it means?

  29. Mexicanbeemer @ #3432 Thursday, January 9th, 2020 – 4:15 pm

    The Royals are a funny kind of institution, they are central to British history and the monarch plays an important role in U.K politics but if you were creating a country from scratch you wouldn’t create a heredity monarchy because too often a strong leader is followed by a weak or horrid ruler.

    Looking at Harry’s actual message, he hasn’t actually quit but basically says he will be off doing his own thing.

    …and I commend the Sussex’s on their modernity.

  30. ‘Rex Douglas says:

    Labors ‘friends of coal’ might go some way to giving the Greens Party a chance at the balance of power in the senate.’

    Rexie from Greens Marketing is back for another go at killing Labor. Look how that went the last time. How’s your BOP hanging?

  31. Has anyone heard from zoomster? I might have missed it, but things are getting a little hairier up there, even if it’s only smoke pollution as yet.

  32. TPOF @ #3434 Thursday, January 9th, 2020 – 4:16 pm

    a r says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 4:06 pm
    TPOF @ #3413 Thursday, January 9th, 2020 – 2:39 pm

    what sort of a posting regime [would you] actually want here?
    https://www.pollbludger.net/comment-moderation-guidelines/

    ______________________________

    Thanks AR. These are quite good. I note point 8:

    “I make no promise to apply judgements consistently. Comments that would escape censure in quiet moments will get chopped when I’m trying to put things back on track after a flame war, or when one seems about to begin. Vexatious commenters will be dealt with more severely than those who are generally well behaved.”

    The first sentence is applied consistently. The rest does not seem to be applied with any consistency at all.

    Well why don’t you just go away and start your own blog then.

  33. BW,

    All I can go by are the archived sites on archive.org.
    There was no specific GMO policy in 2000, there was a GMO policy in 2005. The GMO policy was introduced somewhere between those two dates.

    The policy as definitely been revised.
    The 2005 version is far more extreme than current policy. I’d describe the 2005 policy as “zero tolerance”, whereas the current policy essentially calls for safety testing and mandatory labelling.

  34. Kangaroo Island – 2 major fires and the one in centre is travelling rapidly east – cutting off Kingscote from the rest of the island and the ferry at Peneshaw.

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