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...]


The Power And The Passion – A Personal View

The ABC has screened the first of a two-part documentary on Gough Whitlam, The Power and the Passion.

The Power and the Passion – A Personal View

by Malcolm Farnsworth

It’s flawed. The incorrect details and dates irritate. The interviews are marred by minor-celebrity bilge. The re-enactments are execrable. It’s hagiography, not documentary.

But last night’s first episode of The Power and the Passion is not that bad. Unreconstructed Whitlamites can rest easy. I lapped it up.

One line stands out: Whitlam had to beat his own side before he could win.

Party structures had to change. Individuals had to be surpassed and sidelined. New policies had to be born. The electorate had to be carried along. There was an inescapable logic to Whitlam’s famous sequence: the party, the program, the people.

For me, the program was a reminder of the inversion that’s taken place forty years since It’s Time. For people like me, the ALP has reverted to its pre-Whitlam shape.

It’s an ugly look the ALP has in 2013. It’s anachronistic and electorally poisonous. In New South Wales, it doesn’t even look like a party anymore, just a criminal enterprise. Nationally, it’s a party controlled by narrow cliques at odds with the electorate. [Read more...]


Would A Double Dissolution In Early 2014 Be Unconstitutional?

Tony Abbott has made it clear that the first legislative act of his government after September 14 will be to introduce legislation to repeal the carbon tax.  The mining tax is also up for repeal.

The obstacle in Abbott’s path is the composition of the Senate.  Until July 1 next year, the balance of power in the Senate remains with the Australian Greens.  Without the support of their 9 senators, neither the ALP (31 senators) nor the coalition (34 senators) can command the 39 votes needed to win a vote.

Abbott and his shadow ministers have made it clear that they are prepared to call a double dissolution election if the Senate rejects their legislation.  This can take place if the requirements of Section 57 of the Constitution are met. [Read more...]


A Scenario For Tony Abbott And A Motion Of No-Confidence

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s intention to give notice of a no-confidence motion when Parliament returns this week has always been a potentially messy business.

A brief explanation: the government controls the Notice Paper in the House of Representatives. This is the document which outlines the order and timing of debate, including the order of legislation.

Whilst there are set times when the Opposition can bring on debate on particular issues (such as in regular Matters of Public Importance), if it wants to move a specific motion it needs to first move a motion for the Suspension of Standing Orders.

Abbott

Abbott attempted to do this during Question Time on March 21, whilst the government was preoccupied with the leadership spill that wasn’t. He sought to suspend standing orders in order to move: “That this House declares no confidence in the Prime Minister.”

The motion was carried by 73 votes to 71 but was defeated because a suspension of standing orders requires an absolute majority of 76 votes.

Abbott then announced that he would give notice of a no-confidence motion when the House resumes tomorrow. He didn’t say whether it would be no-confidence in the government or the prime minister. The difference is technically significant but may not necessarily be crucial to the outcome of any vote. [Read more...]