Of plagues and houses

Results finalised on Queensland’s two status quo state by-election results, and COVID-19 question marks over looming elections in New Zealand, the Northern Territory and for two Tasmanian upper house seats.

Counting has concluded for the Currumbin and Bundamba by-elections of a fortnight ago, with Laura Gerber retaining Currumbin for the Liberal National Party by a 1.5% margin against a 1.8% swing to Labor, and Lance McCallum retaining Bundamba for Labor by a 9.6% margin ahead of second-placed One Nation (UPDATE: Make that a 1.2% margin in Currumbin and 9.8% in Bundamba). As noted previously, the flow of Greens preferences to Labor in Currumbin was relatively weak, though not quite decisively so. Deep within the innards of the ECQ’s media feed, it says that Greens preferences were going 1738 to Labor (72.8%) and 651 (27.2%), though this can’t be based on the final figures since the Greens received 2527 rather than 2389 votes. Had Labor received 79.17% of Greens preferences, as they did in the corresponding federal seat of McPherson last May, the margin would have been pared back from 567 (1.5%) to 215 (0.5%).

I have three tables to illustrate the results in light of the highly unusual circumstances of the election, the first of which updates one that appeared in an early post, recording the extent to which voters in the two seats changed their behaviour with respect to how they voted. Election day voting obviously fell dramatically, as voters switched to pre-poll voting and, to only a slightly lesser extent, outright abstention. What was not seen was a dramatic increase in postal voting, which will require investigation given the considerable anecdotal evidence that many who applied for postal votes did not receive their ballots on time — an even more contentious matter in relation to the mess that unfolded in Wisconsin on Tuesday, on which I may have more to say at a later time.

The next two tables divide the votes into four types, polling places, early voting, postal and others, and record the parties’ vote shares and swings compared with 2017, the latter shown in italics. In both Currumbin and Bundamba, Labor achieved their weakest results in swing terms on polling day votes, suggesting Labor voters made the move from election day to pre-poll voting in particularly large numbers, cancelling out what had previously been an advantage to the LNP in pre-poll voting. This is matched by a particularly strong swing against the LNP on pre-polls in Currumbin, but the effect is not discernible in Bundamba, probably because the picture was confused by the party running third and a chunk of its vote being lost to One Nation, who did not contest last time.

In other COVID-19 disruption news:

• The Northern Territory government has rejected calls from what is now the territory’s official opposition, Terry Mills’ Territory Alliance party (UPDATE: Turns out I misheard here – the Country Liberal Party remains the opposition, as Bird of Paradox notes in comments), to postpone the August 22 election. Of the practicalities involved in holding the election under a regime of social distancing rules, which the government insists will be in place for at least six months, Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison offers only that “the Electoral Commission is looking at the very important questions of how we make sure that in the environment of COVID-19 that we do this safely”.

• After an initial postponement from May 2 to May 30, the Tasmanian government has further deferred the periodic elections for the Legislative Council seats of Huon and Rosevear, promising only that they will be held by the time the chamber sits on August 25. Three MLCs have written to the Premier requesting that the elections either be held by post or for the terms of the existing members, which will otherwise expire, to be extended through to revised polling date.

• The junior partner in New Zealand’s ruling coalition, Winston Peters of New Zealand First, is calling for the country’s September 19 election to be postponed to November 21, which has also elicited positive noises from the opposition National Party. It might well be thought an element of self-interest is at work here, with Peters wishing to put distance between the election and a donations scandal that has bedeviled his party, and National anticipating a short-term surge in government support amid the coronavirus crisis. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern may be softening in her opposition to the notion, saying earlier this week it would “depend on what alert level we are at”. There has regrettably been no polling of voting intention in New Zealand in two months, although the government recorded enormously encouraging results in a Colmar Brunton poll on handling of the pandemic in New Zealand and eight other countries, conducted last week.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,986 comments on “Of plagues and houses”

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  1. Short version of Socrates
    There is no possible situation where saying “four legs good, two legs bad” is inappropriate

  2. Pegasus
    “Coronavirus has sped up changes to global order and sovereignty is making a comeback”

    Quite right. What is the point of having a “free trade” deal with another country if they treat you like the USA does now when life is difficult? After this experience does anyone still believe a USA led by Trump would rescue Australia from Chinese aggression?

    On the plus side, perhaps this sobering experience will cause us to rethink our international financial arrangements from a more reciprocal viewpoint. People ask how will e pay back the Covid 19 response debt? For starters, why not tax all businesses in Australia equally whether multi-national or not? Tens of billions in extra revenue would be generated. Not new taxes -just an insistence on paying existing taxes on their Australian turnover. That should include all tax havens, whether Google “in” Ireland or Carnival lines in Bermuda.

  3. lizzie @ #1445 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 11:43 am

    ItzaDream and Diogenes

    So is the “thanks for saving my life. I was on the brink” just a bit of PR?

    No I wouldn’t say that. He was clearly struggling and it sounds like he felt every breath might be his last. But an sedated / paralysed patient doesn’t rattle off the names of the nurses who were bedside for 48 hours.

  4. phoenixRED, by and large the newspapers that i have read from the first world war are full of stories about the smashing victories of all the allied forces and the brave fighting men overcoming the dreaded hun. However the sobering part was the page after page of casualties often accompanied by a photo of the soldier.

  5. OC
    “A s**tload of money has been pumped into the system and currently I can see a lot of people getting antsy waiting for the crisis.”
    The models were waaaay out. It is literally the quietest time any of the public or private hospitals have had in decades.

  6. Q
    What is the evidence of a causal link (as opposed to selected correlations) between habitat destruction and an increase in new zoonotic diseases?

    Did they control for:

    (a) increased human population
    (b) increased density of human population
    (c) increased volume and speed of human travel
    (d) increased human consumption of wildlife.

  7. Desert Qlder
    ”When the AFL nominated a return date upon stopping their play, no one batted an eyelid, but heaven forbid the NRL do the same. The meltdown that Nine and its newspapers are having has been embarrassing on their part.”

    The AFL never nominated a return date, they advised a period of suspension and said they would continue to review medical advice.
    I guess you are suffering the same bias in reporting that you are accusing the SMH of perpetrating

  8. I don’t think the initial models were inappropriate given what had happened o/s
    Australia’s many advantages and the national response has been hugely successful so far

  9. Diogenes @ #1455 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 11:50 am

    OC
    “A s**tload of money has been pumped into the system and currently I can see a lot of people getting antsy waiting for the crisis.”
    The models were waaaay out. It is literally the quietest time any of the public or private hospitals have had in decades.

    And a lot of private medical and surgical incomes taking a tumble.

  10. Apparently Peter Jackson had planned a remake, or re-treatment of the Dambusters story, but didn’t.

    One of the reasons was that Guy Gibson’s black Labrador (reportedly run over and killed on the afternoon of the raid) was called “Nigger” and modern audience sensibilities couldn’t cope with such a word.

    Which is a pity, seeing as the story deals with the death of thousands of Germans drowned, and dozens of air crew blown and ripped apart during the raid. That doesn’t offend modern sensibilities, it seems.

    Jackson would have made sure the SFX was convincing in a modern film version. SFX in the original were disappointment to this viewer’s modern sensibilities.

  11. martini henry says: Monday, April 13, 2020 at 11:49 am

    phoenixRED, by and large the newspapers that i have read from the first world war are full of stories about the smashing victories of all the allied forces and the brave fighting men overcoming the dreaded hun. However the sobering part was the page after page of casualties often accompanied by a photo of the soldier.

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

    Thanks Poroti, Lizzie and martini henry – I think it was the casualty pages I was eluding to – it must have been just as hearbreaking back then as it is now for relatives who have lost someone. Another things during those WW1/2 years was the “shortages” that happened – my grandparents had many colourful stories of catching rabbits, kangaroo etc just to have food on the table and living out of a Ration Book ….getting stuff on the blackmarket …..

  12. ItzaDream

    There were only 2 “48 hr nurses” so not too many to remember. i wonder why there was only 2. Seems a hell of a strain on 2 people.

  13. Bushfire Bill @ #1464 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 11:56 am

    Apparently Peter Jackson had planned a remake, or re-treatment of the Dambusters story, but didn’t.

    One of the reasons was that Guy Gibson’s black Labrador (reportedly run over and killed on the afternoon of the raid) was called “Nigger” and modern audience sensibilities couldn’t cope with such a word.

    Which is a pity, seeing as the story deals with the death of thousands of Germans drowned, and dozens of air crew blown and ripped apart during the raid. That doesn’t offend modern sensibilities, it seems.

    Jackson would have made sure the SFX was convincing in a modern film version. SFX in the original were disappointment to this viewer’s modern sensibilities.

    Interesting you mention Nigger, who got a lot of camera time. The opening credits included notice that the film included terminology that today would be considered unacceptable, but that in the interests of historical accuracy, would not be altered.

  14. Kristina Keneally
    @KKeneally
    ·
    48s
    “Coronavirus: border farce at porous ports” in the @australian⁦
    @AusBorderForce⁩ Commissioner Michael Outram seems to be openly criticising the Federal Government’s management of the borders as too complex, and with too many gaps to be effective Down pointing backhand index

  15. Soc
    As well as describing the pandemonium in the ED he had become a conspiracist believer of the Mafia school.
    Heroic measures were being undertaken on a dead body including a urologist attempting to open a chest. This was until the senior anaesthetist arrived, who was the first person to examine Mr President’s head and his exact words were “Guys, you better come up and have a look at this”
    The 4 or 5 surgeons then noticed that half of the president’s head was missing

  16. poroti says: Monday, April 13, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    phoenixRED

    There would have been a lot of dread each time the mailman came around.

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

    Yes – to get a letter/telegram – and wondering if it was a loved one missing……. dead …..or prisoner ….

  17. lizzie @ #1471 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 10:03 am

    Kristina Keneally
    @KKeneally
    ·
    48s
    “Coronavirus: border farce at porous ports” in the @australian⁦
    @AusBorderForce⁩ Commissioner Michael Outram seems to be openly criticising the Federal Government’s management of the borders as too complex, and with too many gaps to be effective Down pointing backhand index

    Porous airports, porous ports, it seems the Potato’s Farce can not walk and chew gum at the same time!

  18. This is indeed a mystery.

    Christopher KingFire
    @1chris_king
    ·
    2m
    Why does the IPA have charity status? Could anyone at all please identify a recipient of their so called charity?

  19. poroti @ #1467 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 12:00 pm

    ItzaDream

    There were only 2 “48 hr nurses” so not too many to remember. i wonder why there was only 2. Seems a hell of a strain on 2 people.

    My point was more that if your intubated, you’re effectively unconscious, so wouldn’t even know if Maggie Thatcher came back to hold you in her icy hand. That there were two nurses, as we best understand it, suggests because they were probably at high risk (eg aerosolising assisted ventilation, viz a mask with high flows and some residual positive pressure) they were limited numbers doing long shifts. Doffing the PPE is one of the riskiest times for contamination, so keeping the number of ‘doffs’ to a minimum would be important. A long shift of one-on-one care with someone who thinks they are dying is pretty bonding, and that’s what he seems to have done – bonded closely with the two nurses he mentioned by name and country of origin.

    (edit – grammar)

  20. Why does the IPA have charity status? Could anyone at all please identify a recipient of their so called charity?
    ________
    The Coalition!

  21. ‘Bushfire Bill says:
    Monday, April 13, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Apparently Peter Jackson had planned a remake, or re-treatment of the Dambusters story, but didn’t.

    One of the reasons was that Guy Gibson’s black Labrador (reportedly run over and killed on the afternoon of the raid) was called “Nigger” and modern audience sensibilities couldn’t cope with such a word.

    Which is a pity, seeing as the story deals with the death of thousands of Germans drowned, and dozens of air crew blown and ripped apart during the raid. That doesn’t offend modern sensibilities, it seems.

    Jackson would have made sure the SFX was convincing in a modern film version. SFX in the original were disappointment to this viewer’s modern sensibilities.’

    Many of those drowned were foreigners – forced labourers working in factories downstream. As for ‘modern sensibilities’, perhaps they are a bit more advanced than those of the Dambusters times?

    There are shades of grey. The reality is that the Dambusters were defending a British Empire then including hundreds of millions of ‘niggers’ who had few or no rights and who were ruthlessly exploited. This was justified because of the inherent superiority of the white race and western civilization. ‘Niggers’ were the White Man’s Burden, poor things. Calling a dog ‘Nigger’ has its own echoes.

    The casual dehumanization involved in calling human beings ‘nigger’ was part of what enabled Churchill to allow between two and three million Indian ‘niggers’ to starve to death within a year or so of the Dambusters Raid. In the lifetime of the Dambusters, thousands of ‘niggers’ were lynched by US mobs. Australia’s ‘niggers’ had only recently had a continent pinched from them, were non citizens, could not own land, did not have the vote, were excluded from attending schools in some states, and were commonly herded into concentration camps where the death rates were fearsome. Pay theft was routine.

  22. NSW numbers
    2863 up 9 (there was a revision down 2 days ago – presumably some false positives)
    Deaths 26 up 2
    Testing available for all symptomatic patients in 13 hotspots

  23. “I don’t think the initial models were inappropriate given what had happened o/s
    Australia’s many advantages and the national response has been hugely successful so far”

    A lot of those models included us taking the measures we did. We have been much more successful than we thought we would be.

  24. ItzaDream @ #1015 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 11:27 am

    Bushfire Bill @ #1414 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 11:12 am

    Sick of watching breathless death counts, self-congratulations and nothing-but-coronavirus, I’ve been watching JFK assassination interviews. Not conspiracy theories, but of Secret Service agents, and Parkland Hospital surgeons who were right there at the scene of the shooting. and in the trauma room where they brought the President. All old men now, but as sharp as they could be.

    None of them were in any doubt that there was more than one shooter.

    We watched The Dam Busters last night.

    We watched Diva. Amazing movie. 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. 4/4 from Roger Ebert.
    1981 French. Beautiful music. Weird and wonderful characters, including two of the most evil baddies ever thought of. Fantastic chase through the Paris Metro, on a moped. Go for it.

    https://vimeo.com/327232594

  25. The ACT is on its third day of zero new cases.

    The dare-to-dream psychology is going to be difficult to manage – both at a personal and at a government level.

  26. One of the MANY great pilots in the Dambusters was our own :

    Air Marshal Sir Harold Brownlow Morgan “Micky” Martin, KCB, DSO & Bar, DFC & Two Bars, AFC (27 February 1918 – 3 November 1988) was an Australian bomber pilot and senior commander in the Royal Air Force (RAF). He took part in Operation Chastise, the RAF’s “Dambusters” raid in 1943, and was described by journalist Sir Max Hastings as “one of the three great bomber pilots of the war”. He rose to become a senior officer in the RAF, commanding RAF Germany and later serving as Air Member for Personnel, a member of the Air Council, the RAF’s controlling body.

    Martin soon acquired a reputation for low-level flying in order to avoid anti-aircraft fire and fighters

    Martin’s penchant for low flying contributed to his selection in March 1943 for assignment to the newly formed No. 617 Squadron under Wing Commander Guy Gibson. Martin took part in the “Dambusters” raid on the night of 16/17 May 1943. He piloted the Lancaster bomber AJ-P “Popsie” (officially known as AJ-P “Peter”) in the first formation, which was assigned to attack the Möhne Dam in Western Germany. Martin’s plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire during the attack, but he successfully accomplished the bombing run and returned. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for his actions. Martin was considered one of the best pilots in the squadron and was known for his dry jokes and constant good humour that he exhibited at all times, even when he was under considerable pressure.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Brownlow_Martin

  27. Part of the cultural evolution has been that we now accept that the 40’s to 70’s economic view was correct.

    Full unfettered free market economics just does not work. There has to be a balance.

    Not the conservative economics culturally progressive but progressive on both. The virus has revealed we are vulnerable to the diseases of the poor including in Africa India the rest.

    We need foreign aid programmes. We need to end poverty. It helps us. No matter how wealthy we are.
    It’s the national interest. Otherwise known as the common good.

  28. The Dambusters for me is always linked to the magnificent march that is in the sound track. The brass band I played with in Adelaide had a bandmaster who was able to both arrange for the band and get limited copyright clearance.
    One year we played a shortened and simplified segment of the march on ANZAC Day leading the RAF group. Boy did those guys appreciate it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J20oquYW7ZQ

  29. ‘shellbell says:
    Monday, April 13, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    BW

    In honour of the hattrick of zero cases, a tram ride may be in order.’

    haha
    My view is that the government should consider age segregation as part of the first stages of relaxation. This might involve keeping the 70+ locked up for much longer. I belong to that cohort and would be willing to accept a continued loss of freedom to move, associate and recreate as my contribution to getting the economy going again.

  30. Reference the earlier discussion about notification of deaths on active service. I used to work for the PMG and maintained the Teletype teleprinters used to send and receive telegrams.

    During WW2, morse would have been the predominent means of transmitting telegrams. Even by the time I started with the PMG, most people did not have a phone at home and telegrams were the usual method used for urgent messages. I remember the envelopes in a rack next to the teleprinter. Bad news telegrams were put into a black envelope for delivery.

    Telegrams were usually delivered by a Junior Postal Officer on a pushbike. I have read elsewhere that bad news telegrams would be delivered by the Postmaster instead of the JPO. The stories I read were of the utter dread of people seeing the PM pull up in front of their house and then come through the gate with a black envelope in his hand.

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