Jingoistic, Xenophobic, Protectionist: Bill Shorten’s March To The Fringe In Speech To Submarine Workers

Disregarding the ALP’s role in developing a modern and open trading economy, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has taken the low road of jingoism and protection in a speech to submarine workers in Adelaide.

Shorten

Shorten spoke to workers in Adelaide, following reports that the National Security Committee of Cabinet is set to replace the Collins class submarine fleet with a new “off-the-shelf” Japanese vessel. He accused the government of lying to workers.

Rather than simply support local submarine building, Shorten told a rally of Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) members at the gates of the Australian Submarine Corporation: “Under Labor, we will build ships and submarines in Australia because we love this country.” [Read more…]


The Result Of Clive Palmer’s Al Gore Stunt: Carbon Tax Abolished, ETS Dead

The cynicism of today’s stunt by Clive Palmer became clear late tonight as the Palmer United Party leader confirmed that his senators will vote for the abolition of the carbon tax and the emissions trading scheme.

Palmer

Earlier today, Palmer called for the establishment of an emissions trade scheme (ETS) that would only come into force once China, the United States, the European Union, Japan and Korea had also taken action to establish similar schemes. International action of this order is all but impossible to imagine.

In an interview with Tony Jones on the ABC’s Lateline program, and in a subsequent encounter with journalists, Palmer clarified his earlier remarks and confirmed that no conditions would be set for the abolition of the carbon tax, other than a legislative guarantee that companies would pass on to consumers the savings from abolition. [Read more…]


The Malcolm Mackerras Six And The Question Of How To Define A Landslide

In a weekend newspaper article, the well-known psephologist and election analyst, Malcolm Mackerras, argued that there have only been six federal election “landslide” victories.

In his article, Mackerras nominated the six elections as: 1917, 1929, 1931, 1943, 1966 and 1975.

Mackerras quite rightly objected to the idea that “every second federal election” is a landslide. He described the 2013 election as a “respectable loss” for the ALP but not worthy of being called a landslide.

He said: “However, I have a more rigorous definition, the details of which I have not the space to elaborate now.”

How To Define “Landslide”

I would suggest two essential election statistics as criteria for defining a landslide:

  1. The proportion of House of Representatives seats held by the winning party or parties.
  2. The national two-party-preferred vote achieved by the winning party or parties.

The primary vote achieved by the election winners is also of some interest but since our system of compulsory preferential voting always provides us with a national figure of combined primary and preferred votes the primary vote alone doesn’t necessarily mean much. [Read more…]


The New Senate Numbers And The Abbott Government

As counting of the 2013 federal election winds down, the Senate election result is now clear.

There is a small chance of change in Western Australia where the Greens have asked for a recount following Scott Ludlam’s defeat.

Because of the fixed terms of the Senate, it will be another nine months before the complexion of the Senate changes. Current senators remain in place until June 30, 2014.

The current numbers are:

The Current Senate – until June 30, 2014
Party/Group No.
Coalition
34
A.L.P.
31
Greens
9
D.L.P. (Madigan)
1
Independent (Xenophon)
1
TOTAL
76

In this configuration, the Greens hold the balance of power. The Greens-ALP combination has a blocking majority. It ensures that Abbott government legislation to repeal the carbon pricing arrangements and the mining tax will most likely be rejected by the Senate.

This will be the state of the parties in the Senate after July 1, 2014:

The New Senate – from July 1, 2014
Party/Group No.
Coalition
33
A.L.P.
26
Greens
9
Palmer United Party
3
D.L.P. (Madigan)
1
Liberal Democrats (Leyonhjelm)
1
Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party (Muir)
1
Family First (Day)
1
Independent (Xenophon)
1
TOTAL
76

 

In this configuration, the ALP-Greens combination becomes less important and power shifts to a collection of minor groups and independents. [Read more…]


Of Votes And Bodies: The Labor Party’s Election Defeat

by Malcolm Farnsworth

There’s votes and there’s bodies.

In Saturday’s election, the ALP ended up with more bodies than it thought it would. Members who were written off or deemed at risk just three months ago have survived the election.

Think, for example, of Jason Clare, Chris Bowen, Laurie Ferguson, Ed Husic, Matt Thistlethwaite, Mark Dreyfus, Alan Griffin, Anna Burke, Graham Perrett, Kate Ellis, Gary Gray and Warren Snowdon. They are some of the saved furniture. Some of it is tatty, some of it has lustre, but it has survived.

That’s why the relief in the ALP is palpable. Bodies matter. MPs have staff, offices and facilities. They are an essential part of the infrastructure a political party needs to wage war with its opponents.

Whatever the Gillard apologists might say – and they were out in force over the weekend – the ALP was heading for the loss of 30-40 seats in June.

In Melbourne in May the massive swing against the ALP in a state by-election where the Liberals didn’t even run a candidate drew attention to what was happening in the electorate. In some areas, the swings were over 20%. The smarties denied that a state by-election warranted federal comparisons but people on the ground knew better. [Read more…]


It’s Over: Defeat Looms For The Rudd Government

by Malcolm Farnsworth

After Kevin Rudd’s return to the prime ministership on June 27, and throughout July, I told anyone who asked that I thought the electoral psychology of Rudd’s revival wasn’t clear. I wanted to wait until the end of July to see what the polls revealed.

It seems clear now that the country breathed a sigh of relief that Gillard was gone. The electorate was also prepared to give Rudd a chance to show his stuff. There was a general sense of excitement that we now had a contest. [Read more…]


Alternative Universes And The PNG Solution

Alternative universes abounded last night.

But sometimes the media worlds available via a remote control are more alike than they are willing to pretend.

There was the ABC. Within an hour of Kevin Rudd’s announcement of the PNG solution, its screen was filled with refugee advocates castigating the decision. They were joined by frothing right-wingers in an unholy unity ticket of condemnation.

Online, in the ever-so-slightly-nutty world of Twitter, there was talk of White Australia, racism and Labor’s shame. Dire warnings of malaria and rape coalesced with suddenly-expert analyses of the state of civil society in PNG.

Some lamented the shape-shifting Rudd and yearned for The Great Gillard.

There was Sky News, sadly these days a paradise for ever-more vacuous right-wing talk show hosts and those cable-friendly Laborites who make you worry that you might be on the same side.

As on the ABC, the resident Liberals and standalone right-wingers were especially lathered and frenzied. Last night they were born-again campaigners for the down-trodden. They accepted the solution but despaired of its implementation.

I felt somewhat alone. In my foolishness, I thought I might just have witnessed a political masterstroke. Commentators online suggested otherwise. I should be more ashamed, they seemed to say. [Read more…]


Where Are The Seats Rudd Needs To Win?

The “sugar hit” polls are in. It’s 52-48, perhaps 51-49. We have a contest.

Don’t we?

Labor starts with 72 seats, including the notionally independent Dobell. It needs 76 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives. It needs to hold everything it has and pick up 4 more seats to govern with an outright majority of one.

Let’s assume for the moment that the ALP can hold all its 72 seats. Yes, it’s a mighty big assumption.

Where might four more seats come from?

TASMANIA

Labor holds 4 of the 5 seats in the Apple Isle. The only seat it doesn’t hold is Denison. Unlike the other independents who backed Julia Gillard, Andrew Wilkie is trying for another term.

Denison is based on Hobart. It has very strong Labor areas and strong Greens areas. Recent polls suggest Wilkie is polling strongly and has lifted his primary vote from 21.26% in 2010 to the mid-30s now. He could be hard to beat.

Other reports and polls have Labor on the nose in Tasmania. But Labor has won all 5 seats in Tasmania in 3 of the past 5 elections (1998, 2001 and 2007). Beyond that, you have to go back to 1974 to find a fourth occasion.

VICTORIA

Labor is at a historically high point in Victoria. It polled 55.31% of the two-party-preferred vote in 2010. Despite losing Melbourne to the Greens, the ALP picked up La Trobe and McEwen, giving it 22 of the 37 seats, or 59.4%.

Assuming it holds those 22, it can look to Melbourne as a possibility. The Liberals are likely to direct preferences to the ALP. Unless Adam Bandt can lift his primary vote by several points above the 36.17% he secured in 2010, he is unlikely to win. [Read more…]


Woof Woof!

I can’t resist it. Whenever I hear someone say “woof woof”, I always think of a famous exchange between Gough Whitlam and Billy Snedden in 1975.

Today’s email from Crikey alerted me to this tweet from Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Saturday:

Gillard

At least Gillard was only expressing her delight at the 9-point victory by the Western Bulldogs over Port Adelaide.

In the House of Representatives on February 19, 1975, however, the same words were uttered by the Liberal Opposition Leader, Billy Snedden. They came during a discussion of one of the most contentious constitutional issues of the Whitlam years. Snedden was ridiculed by Whitlam and the incident contributed to Liberal unease over Snedden’s leadership. He was replaced by Malcolm Fraser a couple of weeks later. [Read more…]


2013 Federal Election: How Many Seats Will Labor Lose?

An election defeat of historic proportions seems to be looming for the Gillard Labor government.

As a rule, I’m more interested in trying to explain an election result after we know the outcome. However, let’s take a stab at predicting the result.

I don’t regard these predictions as particularly startling or original. They are based on the published opinion polls, assorted news items and anecdotal reports. In some cases, I have local knowledge. In others, I’m influenced by historical results. Often, I’m just guessing. Don’t take it too seriously.

Some assumptions and explanations:

  • I believe the Gillard government is going to lose and lose badly. I believe this outcome has been certain for the past two years.
  • All of the published opinion polls (Newspoll, Nielsen, Essential, Galaxy, Morgan) have been showing a 4-6% swing against the ALP for most of the past two years. Seats in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia are particularly at risk and the swing is expected to be much greater in Labor areas. Rural and regional areas have turned decisively against Labor. During this year, an emerging view has Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria joining the trend, after having swung toward the ALP in 2010. On this basis, I expect the ALP’s result to be worse than 1996, probably closer to 1975. It could be worse than 1975. I expect the ALP to lose a minimum of 25 seats. CLICK HERE for tables showing the ALP’s federal election record.
  • I don’t expect any members of the Coalition parties to lose their seats. My starting point for the Coalition is 73 seats, including Peter Slipper in Fisher and Tony Crook in O’Connor. Both of these men will be replaced by new members.
  • The ALP goes into the election with 72 seats, including Craig Thomson’s seat of Dobell. Thomson currently sits as an independent. The tables below deal only with those 72 seats.
  • In addition to the 145 seats held by the ALP and the Coalition, another 4 are held by independents and 1 by the Greens. There are 150 seats up for election.
  • The electorate of Melbourne is the only seat I think it is possible for the ALP to pick up. If the Greens member, Adam Bandt, can improve his primary vote, he may win, even if the Liberals preference Labor. This will be one to watch on the night.
  • CLICK HERE to see a colour-coded table of election outcomes in each seat for the past 10 elections.

ALP SEATS MOST LIKELY TO BE LOST (28)

These seats are the ALP’s most marginal. However, it includes some seats once regarded as safe Labor, particularly in NSW. It seems to be generally accepted that the ALP is doing especially badly in NSW, so I have given away all of its rural seats and made a call on others that don’t seem marginal on the swing.

A.L.P. SEATS MOST LIKELY TO BE LOST (28)
No. SEAT STATE MEMBER MARGIN %
1.
Banks
NSW
Daryl Melham
1.5
2.
Barton
NSW
Robert McClelland (retiring)
6.9
3.
Dobell
NSW
Craig Thomson (suspended)
5.1
4.
Eden-Monaro
NSW
Mike Kelly
4.2
5.
Greenway
NSW
Michelle Rowland
0.9
6.
Kingsford-Smith
NSW
Peter Garrett
5.2
7.
Lindsay
NSW
David Bradbury
1.1
8.
Page
NSW
Janelle Saffin
4.2
9.
Parramatta
NSW
Julie Owens
4.4
10.
Reid
NSW
John Murphy
2.7
11.
Richmond
NSW
Justine Elliot
7.0
12.
Robertson
NSW
Deb O’Neill
1.0
13.
Chisholm
VIC
Anna Burke
5.8
14.
Corangamite
VIC
Darren Cheeseman
0.3
15.
Deakin
VIC
Mike Symon
0.6
16.
La Trobe
VIC
Laura Smyth
1.7
17.
Blair
QLD
Shayne Neumann
4.2
18.
Capricornia
QLD
Kirsten Livermore (retiring)
3.7
19.
Lilley
QLD
Wayne Swan
3.2
20.
Moreton
QLD
Graham Perrett
1.1
21.
Petrie
QLD
Yvette D’Ath
2.5
22.
Brand
WA
Gary Gray
3.3
23.
Perth
WA
Stephen Smith
5.9
24.
Adelaide
SA
Kate Ellis
7.5
25.
Hindmarsh
SA
Steve Georganas
6.1
26.
Bass
TAS
Geoff Lyons
6.7
27.
Braddon
TAS
Sid Sidebottom
7.5
28.
Lingiari
NT
Warren Snowdon
3.7

 

ALP SEATS AT SERIOUS RISK (9)

Some of these seats have been marginal and switched parties at various times in recent years, especially when government has changed hands. Whether they are at serious risk or merely at risk is open to debate. Electoral boundaries have altered over time, so historical comparisons are fraught. [Read more…]