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Australian Federal Election 2007 on November 24
October 13, 2007 7:48 PM   Subscribe

And we're off! Prime Minister John Howard has set the date for the Australian Federal election as November 24th, meaning we're up for a long six-week campaign. With Kevin Rudd leading the PM by between 16 to 18 points (depending on who you read) in recent opinion polls, this election seems the most likely to provide a change of Government since Howard was first elected 11 years ago. Antony Green's usual excellent election guide is up and running here, along with an excellent calculator which shows which seats are up for grabs dependent on a 2 party preferred swing. You might also want to check out the Vote-O-Matic, a fun but entirely disposable quiz which aims to help you decide who you'll vote for.

Metafilter's international readers unfamiliar with the Australian political scene will likely be scratching their heads when trying to figure out just what the hell is going on over here, but this page offers a useful guide as a starting point. It can be handy to read over whether you're from outside Australia or a true blue Aussie yourself.

Some other excellent Australian election resources include;

Links to some of the contenders web pages;

Australian Labor Party (plus the Kevin07 website).
Liberal Party
The Nationals
Greens
Australian Democrats
Pauline Hanson's United Australia Party

And here's some links to some excellent blogs which will no doubt continue to annoy the mainstream media throughout the campaign.

Oz Politics
Poll Bludger
Possum Comitatus
The Road to Surfdom
Larvatus Prodeo
Tim Dunlop's Blogocracy

Mind you, the following two blogs are by mainstream media pundits, and right wing columnists Piers Ackerman and Andrew Bolt.

Piers Ackerman's Blog
Andrew Bolt's blog.

And finally, Google's election guide, seen previously on Metafilter.

The next six weeks are going to be long, grueling and if the experts are to be believed, incredibly negative. Strap yourselves in, folks. It's going to be one hell of a ride.
posted by Effigy2000 (603 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Kevin Rudd by 7 goals (Downer will be sent off in the 3rd quarter).
posted by Jimbob at 7:53 PM on October 13, 2007


Oh, and Bolt and Ackerman are clearly running in fear of their careers with the likely demise of Howard. I can't see how the the Right can keep calling the Left "shrill", "loonies", "ranting", "raving", with those two batting on their side...
posted by Jimbob at 7:57 PM on October 13, 2007


... help you decide who you'll vote for.

If people haven't already decided - either through political inertia or intelligent rational thought - who they're going to vote for, then I'd rather they didn't vote at all. Basing an important decision on 6 weeks of force-fed bullshit is a bad idea.

And I say that as someone who very strongly supports compulsory voting.
posted by Pinback at 7:59 PM on October 13, 2007


Jimbob: "Oh, and Bolt and Ackerman are clearly running in fear of their careers with the likely demise of Howard. I can't see how the the Right can keep calling the Left "shrill", "loonies", "ranting", "raving", with those two batting on their side..."

Indeed. Though you kind of have to admire Ackerman. Whereas Bolty has run for the hills screaming the sky is falling, Ackerman has stuck to his guns in his criticisms of Rudd. That said, his perhaps... overzealous pursuit of Rudd over 'Shreddergate' may yet make him tuck tail between his legs, given recent developments.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:02 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah Bolt has impressed me somewhat with a few recent articles that came close to standing up for Sudanese refugees. But you know, stopped clock, all that...
posted by Jimbob at 8:06 PM on October 13, 2007


Yeah, I'm already suffering from election fatigue.
posted by liquorice at 8:06 PM on October 13, 2007


At least now we have a date, and UbuRoivas can stop sending me multiple Facebook invites to his "Celebrate the Labor victori and burn Howard in effigy" in Newtown party.

That said, how excited am I to vote in my first federal election?! Thanks for all the links, Effigy2000.
posted by web-goddess at 8:12 PM on October 13, 2007


web-goddess, I hope you're enrolled, because the rodent has changed the rules in this. Those not enrolled have until 6pm on the day the writs are issued to enroll- thus disenfranchising as many young- mostly green and labor voters as possible.
posted by mattoxic at 8:26 PM on October 13, 2007


Metafilter's international readers unfamiliar with the Australian political scene will likely be scratching their heads when trying to figure out just what the hell is going on over here

Australia's new PM will still be Bush's new regional sheriff, right?
posted by homunculus at 8:26 PM on October 13, 2007


I'm enrolled, mattoxic. It's the FIRST thing you do when you finish your citizenship ceremony. (Literally. The voter registration guys have a table by the door and corner you on your way out.) Plus I voted in the last NSW election, so I know I'm on there. You don't have to do anything *extra* for your first federal election, do you?
posted by web-goddess at 8:42 PM on October 13, 2007


The Vote-a-matic is really awful, exactly what you'd expect from News Ltd trying to help you decide how to vote - one of the questions is: "Which is more important? A) Jobs, B) Trees". Oz Politics has a much better one.
posted by stammer at 8:51 PM on October 13, 2007


Wow, the Labor site is... impressively restrained. (And why do you guys spell it like that down there? Did the letter 'u' not survive the long journey? Signed, a concerned Canadian and Commonwealth neighbour)

In any case, I'll be glad to see Howard go.
posted by blacklite at 9:44 PM on October 13, 2007


I do find it funny that one of the issues I see come up on these political websites is the issue of "fee-free" checking accounts. I don't think that's ever come up in any American election, ever. Well, maybe those highway robbery ATM fees banks slap on non-member cards.
posted by dw at 9:56 PM on October 13, 2007


You don't have to do anything *extra* for your first federal election, do you?

Cash donation to a citizen born here. Email in profile.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

I'd like to go on record and say: I just don't care about this election. We have piss-poor excuses for politicians among all the choices. This is not the era for talented politicos in Oz. I'm seriously considering botching the ballot form. A vote for anarchy!
posted by peacay at 9:59 PM on October 13, 2007


I can't help but feel that there is a bit of snark in here about the grueling, lengthy, really really long 6 week campaign. Particularly as compared to the year+ we USians have. Not that I mind the snark, I totally understand and even agree. Just surprised no one else has mentioned it yet.
posted by ericales at 10:04 PM on October 13, 2007


....meaning we're up for a long six-week campaign

Newbies. Don't you know you have to start the campaigning, completely with weekly polls and televised debates, TWO YEARS before the actual election? Spending only six weeks, that leaves FAR too much time for actual, you know, governin'. And we wouldn't want that.
posted by rokusan at 10:07 PM on October 13, 2007


And the Family First Party... they sound like decent, sensible American Republicans. All 14 of them.

I mean, they probably sound really scary to most Aussies, but these guys are pinkos compared to their American counterparts. Their policies on asylum seekers make the Democrats sound like Ron Paul.
posted by dw at 10:10 PM on October 13, 2007


Australia's new PM will still be Bush's new regional sheriff, right?
Yes
posted by Canard de Vasco at 10:36 PM on October 13, 2007


What an absolute and blessed relief. The phony war was driving me demented.

Two cheers for the lying rodent.
posted by Wolof at 10:42 PM on October 13, 2007


The next six weeks are going to be long, grueling and if the experts are to be believed, incredibly negative.

Speaking as an American, you have no idea how lucky you are...
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:02 PM on October 13, 2007


I hope you're enrolled, because the rodent has changed the rules in this. Those not enrolled have until 6pm on the day the writs are issued

That's ridiculous! I thought it was crappy that Elections Ontario doesn't allow vouching (for people with no ID, you get someone resident in your polling area to swear that you are an eligible voter)..
posted by Chuckles at 11:22 PM on October 13, 2007


That should have been: for voters not on the voters list, who can't bring ID to the poll on election day, you get someone resident in your polling area to swear in writing that you are eligible to vote at that poll.
posted by Chuckles at 11:29 PM on October 13, 2007


Their policies on asylum seekers make the Democrats sound like Ron Paul.

I don't know if that's true, actually. Republicans may have some loopy and impractical proposals for dealing with illegal immigration, but, as far as I'm aware, none of it even comes close to the horror of the Australian mandatory detention system, which is a reality right now.
posted by stammer at 11:43 PM on October 13, 2007


I don't know though... although I do think that is a negative and cynical move to change the voter registration rules, I sort of echo Pinback's sentiment earlier: if you didn't know an election was coming any day now and couldn't be stuffed enrolling until you had details, I don't think your vote was worth that much anyway.
posted by jacalata at 1:11 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, it's worth more for one side of politics than the other, jacalata, I guess that's the issue. Young people - first time voters - are the ones who will be caught out for not having enrolled yet. And young people's votes are fairly biased towards the progressive side of politics.
posted by Jimbob at 1:34 AM on October 14, 2007


At least now we have a date, and UbuRoivas can stop sending me multiple Facebook invites to his "Celebrate the Labor victori and burn Howard in effigy" in Newtown party.

i've updated the party in facebook with the new date. i'll send you a reminder. you *are* coming, aren't you?

(and if you pop by the australia st booth in newtown on the day, i'll be one of the kids in green t-shirts)
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:40 AM on October 14, 2007


*ubu interrupts this serious political discussion to present an important public service announcement*

warney makes a guest appearance on kath & kim tonight, as sharon's new boyfriend.

"Shane Warne plays a Shane Warne impersonator who's terrible at cricket and doesn't own a mobile phone"
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:58 AM on October 14, 2007


I know, Jimbob. I just resent the way most articles I've read present it as solely a problem with the system, and ignore the fact that it's partly (even mostly, in my opinion) the fault of the apathetic youth in question. I say this as a 22 year old who updates my electoral enrolment every year when I move house, and have made postal votes when I was away for elections - it's not that hard! And why don't they enforce the compulsory enrolment anyway (fines or whatever)? I bet that would a) cause widespread outrage and b) solve most of the problem. Easy enough to assume that Howard doesn't do this because of the demographics involved, but I would see it as a good if unlikely move from Labor if they get in.
posted by jacalata at 2:16 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, the Australian democratic system is built on the apathy of the public, jacalata ;)
posted by Jimbob at 2:28 AM on October 14, 2007


kath & kim's on!
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:30 AM on October 14, 2007


Oh no the evils of the apathetic youth who dare not give a shit about politics driven by crazy wrinkly people who voice concerns over issues that most young people don't give two shits about. Leave it out.

Anyway, it's not just apathetic youth it's an apathetic country. I'm sure we'd all be more interested if, say, Kath ran for PM.
posted by liquorice at 2:46 AM on October 14, 2007


I'd be more interested if Peter Cundall ran for PM, but that's just me.
posted by Jimbob at 2:59 AM on October 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Actually, I'm going to try to be deliberately apathetic this time. Last election I became obsessive; flicking the radio between News Radio and Radio National, tuning into AM, PM, The World Today, 7:30 Report, Lateline. Hitting reload on way to many websites. It messed with my head a bit, really. I'm going to try to take it all in from a distance this time. I know who I'm voting for, everything else is out of my control.
posted by Jimbob at 3:06 AM on October 14, 2007


Although... I would like to see some analysis of the chances that the Senate seats for the Northern Territory won't be split one for Labor, one for Liberal. I keep hearing rumours that one-quota-each isn't guaranteed in the ACT, so I guess anything is possible...
posted by Jimbob at 3:08 AM on October 14, 2007


Anyway, it's not just apathetic youth it's an apathetic country.

speak for yourself. in the second safest labor seat in the country here, but i'll still be doing my bit letterboxing & handing out how-to-votes.

we (the greens, that is) came within a whisker of taking the seat from labor in the state election. not too long before the end of counting, they were calling it as a greens victory.

This seat contains most of the state seat of Marrickville where the Greens finish a close second to Labor. This includes parts of the Green heartland around Newtown, where the party can poll close to 50% of the primary vote.

"can poll close to 50%"?!?. we won every single booth from darlington to petersham. it was only the only the hardcore marrickville voters (big booth, there) who swung the counting in labor's favour, late in the show.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:30 AM on October 14, 2007


this is going to be fun watching my first federal election! It will be good practice for the next one when I should be able to vote.
posted by michswiss at 5:00 AM on October 14, 2007


Orright, you mob. It's game on. And if I don't see the back of that runty, lying, thieving, self-satisfied little prick and his gang of petty schoolyard thugs this time around, you're all disowned.

1: Greens, where applicable
2: Dems, where applicable
3: Anybody but Libs

Got it?
posted by flabdablet at 6:19 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, Rokusan & Artifice_Eternity, while the campaign is officially to run over the next 6 weeks, we have been afflicted with much prancing, chest-beating, crap spewing, practice campaigning for pretty much the entire year.

There has also been much arm waving and email forwarding over the changes to the cut off date for enrolments. I've been getting emails urging me to make sure I was enrolled before the rolls were slammed shut since 4th April, I've possibly deleted earlier ones. The changes have also been heavily discussed in the media. I suspect that anyone who hasn't bothered to act yet to ensure their enrollment is up to date for this years election was probably not going to make a valid vote anyway.

I also strongly support compulsory voting
posted by goshling at 6:51 AM on October 14, 2007


Ubu, so are you a fan of Barbara "Foot In Mouth" Norman?
posted by goshling at 6:58 AM on October 14, 2007


Oh, and to any Americans that reckon we have it easy here in Aus, we have had Howard in charge as Prime Minister or the last ELEVEN years. He is running for his FIFTH consecutive election. Truely cruel & unusual.

I promise I am shutting up now
posted by goshling at 7:10 AM on October 14, 2007


Interesting.. Looks like the deadline to enroll is actually Wednesday, October 17, and the deadline to change your address is Tuesday, October 23.

On top of that, looks like you can actually vote, even if you aren't on the voters list on election day - declaration vote - seems like it seriously messes with the notion of anonymous voting though..

Not actually being a part of the system, I could be missing a lot.. Please let me know if/where I have it wrong.

This whole process of counting preference seems interesting.. I really like the way you guys handle House of Representative votes. On the other hand, the way you handle Senate votes, with surplus votes and transfer values.. Seems a little wacky.
posted by Chuckles at 8:22 AM on October 14, 2007


From here:
8pm on the same day the writs for the election are issued (8pm, 17th October 2007)
I see.. The writ hasn't actually been issued yet, hence the date discrepancy..
posted by Chuckles at 8:25 AM on October 14, 2007


I love the weasel words they use:
If you are not enrolled, or you haven’t made sure that your name or address details on the electoral rolls are up to date, you risk missing out on being able to vote.
OMG! You risk it! Sure.. If Canadian electoral offices (combined with my understanding of declaration votes) are any gauge, what they mean is that they prefer not to tell you about the mechanism, because it causes too much trouble on election day..
posted by Chuckles at 8:31 AM on October 14, 2007


surplus votes and transfer values.. Seems a little wacky.

Well, any electoral system where you have multiple representatives being elected to represent the one group of electors gets a little wacky, I guess. It does make for some strange results once the preferences start getting shuffled around for that last Senate seat in each state...unfortunate things like every other party ganging up on the poor old Greens, which resulted in the election of a Family First party candidate in Victoria last election.
posted by Jimbob at 8:59 AM on October 14, 2007


Sixteen unbroken years of economic expansion, and they're throwing the bums out.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:06 AM on October 14, 2007


A further nod to Possum Comitatus. The quality of Possum's political analysis is so far ahead of what I have come across in The Age it's eye-opening. (And it's interesting how much of what he or she writes is subsequently regurgitated, although usually less incisively, in the mainstream media.)

Apparently Possum will be appearing regularly in the free section of Crikey during the election.

I heartily recommend taking a peek. When you have some spare time. Because the peek may very well mutate into a trawl.
posted by puffmoike at 10:59 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Some more good links for those keeping a close eye on this election.

State of the Nation, a 2mb pdf color coded map showing which seats are currently held by who.

John Howard's first speech of the campaign proper
.


Kevin Rudd's first speech of the campaign proper
.

Australian Labor's Youtube Channel.

Also, the latest Newspoll has Labor maintaining its 12 point lead.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:33 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jimbob And young people's votes are fairly biased towards the progressive side of politics.
Can you point me towards this.. pro.. gre.. ssive? side of politics pls? All I see are two shades of brown.

posted by coriolisdave at 2:10 PM on October 14, 2007


coriolisdave: the greens, silly. one of sydney's big, trashy sunday newspapers also reported that 73% of young voters (18-24 was the definition, i think) are against howard, which tends to suggest that they are against all the divisive racism, against the war, in favour of kyoto, and opposed to locking up asylum seekers.

that's gotta be at least relatively progressive, in comparison with the shit we've been seeing from the libs for the past 11 years - all scare campaigns & economic coat-tailing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:36 PM on October 14, 2007


(oh, and kath & kim have completely jumped the shark. perhaps they shouldn't have been feeding it all those dead dogs' balls...? ended up watching a doco on neanderthal man instead)
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:38 PM on October 14, 2007


If my university SRC elections are reflective of anything, young people despise the hippies as much as they despise Howard. But the hippies always win because they're the only ones who can be bothered voting.
posted by liquorice at 3:15 PM on October 14, 2007


Lordy did I mess up the formatting on that. sigh
See, that's the problem Ubu. The Greens. How viable ARE they as a party, really? The impression I get is that their support is growing (they almost knocked Grace Grace off the safe Labor seat of Morton this past weekend in the bi-election). But my concern, which I suppose is probably like the majority of Australians, is -- what would they be like if they actually won? Do they actually have a semi-sane political platform? Just how broken WOULD the economy end up if those hippy nutjob wacko*'s got hold of the reins of power?

Although I'd just about pay to see the GG in hemp.

I ask this mostly as a political ignoramus -- I get most of my info from the teev, and disbelieve most of it. Like most Australians. Which is why we have ended up with our choice being between two shades of Johnny. And frankly, Prime Minister Kev?

*shudder*
*Not hippy-nutjob-wackoist

Also Ubu: I ended up watching part 1/3 of some ABC reality show where five women were popped into a Benedictine nunnery for a month. And I'm surprised to say it was fascinating

posted by coriolisdave at 3:17 PM on October 14, 2007


blacklite: The reason it's spelt Labor lies somewhere between the founders' sympathy with the American labour movement, and King O'Malley's penchant for spelling reform.
posted by zamboni at 3:42 PM on October 14, 2007


Australia's new PM will still be Bush's new regional sheriff, right? -- homunculus
Duh. It's an election, not a revolution.

I'm going to try to be deliberately apathetic this time. -- Jimbob
You're like one of those people who says they need to "work on their relaxation".

Sixteen unbroken years of economic expansion, and they're throwing the bums out. -- Kwantsar
The first five of those would have been under Labor then. Anyway, there's more to life than economic expansion.
posted by Ritchie at 3:44 PM on October 14, 2007


Bennelong Time Since I Rock and Rolled.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:47 PM on October 14, 2007


The Greens. How viable ARE they as a party, really? The impression I get is that their support is growing (they almost knocked Grace Grace off the safe Labor seat of Morton this past weekend in the bi-election). But my concern, which I suppose is probably like the majority of Australians, is -- what would they be like if they actually won? Do they actually have a semi-sane political platform? Just how broken WOULD the economy end up if those hippy nutjob wacko*'s got hold of the reins of power?

Well, that's quite a common red herring of a question. I don't think anybody realistically expects the Greens to "actually win". What the Greens represent, is a third significant voice in Parliament, filling the gap that the Democrats left when they imploded - the "keeping the bastards honest" role. Bob Brown & Kerry Nettle were the only people in Parliament to stand up to George Bush over Guantanamo & Iraq when he visited Parliament, for example.

The Greens already have four Senators in Canberra. "At state level in 2006 the Greens have fourteen elected members of parliament – four in Tasmania, four in New South Wales, three in Victoria, two in Western Australia and one in South Australia – and more than 80 Greens have been elected to local councils around the country" - you can form your own opinions on whether the country is falling apart, but I don't think we've reached total pie-in-the-sky hippie collapse yet.

You can read all the policy details here. There are plenty of things in there that I think are not in any way representative of a loony fringe, like this, for example:

Greens move law to shame governments over political advertising
11/10/07

If Parliament resumes next week Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown will introduce a private members bill requiring the total amount of taxpayers' money spent on government advertising to be included in every advertisement.

"The aim of the bill is to name and shame governments who use taxpayers' money on blatantly political advertising. It will allow taxpayers to see exactly how much of their money is being spent by self-serving governments," Senator Brown said.

"The government will not be able to hide the amount it spends on advertising. The 'Climate Clever', 'Better Super' and 'Net Alert' ad campaigns will cost taxpayers $52 million, $69 million and $21.5 million respectively. The Greens' bill will amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 to require the total cost of a government advertising campaign to be displayed in all the advertisements in that campaign, alongside the authorisation," Senator Brown said.

"Some government advertising is necessary to impart information to the public, but by displaying the cost of these advertisements governments will think twice before abusing taxpayers' money," Senator Brown said.

posted by UbuRoivas at 4:17 PM on October 14, 2007


Don't count our chickens Kwantsar... though I'll certainly have had my bum-throwing trousers cleaned.
posted by pompomtom at 4:32 PM on October 14, 2007


Well, Kwantsar, if "economic expansion" is the only measure by which you want to judge governance, then yippee for you.

What the hell was with Howard's "love me or loath me" line, anyway? Why does he think people who loath him would want to vote for his return? The man's got tickets on himself.
posted by Jimbob at 4:39 PM on October 14, 2007


Note the reason 6 weeks is seen as a long campaign is due to some advertising rules.
Prior to the official date being set, the government can spend what it likes on advertising to inform the public about their polices. The Howard government has been spending millions in the past few months with ads that spruik what a wonderful job they are doing.
From today they will have to pay for advertising themselves, so it is in their interest to keep the formal campaign short.
posted by bystander at 5:06 PM on October 14, 2007


>I'm seriously considering botching the ballot form.
Great decision. (seriously.) When you don't like anyone on the slate this is a great idea and much better idea than simply staying home. If everyone unhappy spoiled their ballot, it would/might/could send a message.
posted by philfromhavelock at 5:08 PM on October 14, 2007


By "they", bystander means The Liberal Party, whereas before today they could spend the money as The Australian Government.
posted by Jimbob at 5:08 PM on October 14, 2007


If everyone unhappy spoiled their ballot, it would/might/could send a message.

It will send a message to the people counting the ballots. Then what?

If you're disillusioned with the major parties, just throw your vote a a minor party or an independent. If everyone did that, it would send a message, because the nutter would get elected. My father-in-law votes for the Communist Party or the Socialist Alliance, simply because he likes to stir up shit. Better that than spoiling your ballot just to cause some mild amusement for some lowly ballot counter.
posted by Jimbob at 5:18 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


As an aside, can anyone tell me why the Australia Labor Party spells "labor" without the "u"? As an American who recently moved who is trying to get my s's and u's in the proper place, it irks me.

No Aussie I've talked to knows the answer...
posted by philoye at 5:35 PM on October 14, 2007


It's Time!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:49 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


can anyone tell me why the Australia Labor Party spells "labor" without the "u"?

Yeh, it's like fingernails on a blackboard to me. I think it's a historical legacy. At one of our meetups, I snapped jessamyn in front of the door to the "Ladies' Parlor" (sic) in one of the historical pubs in The Rocks, which suggests that at some time around the late 19th / early 20th century, the American spelling of "-or" instead of "-our" was in use.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:53 PM on October 14, 2007


"Better that than spoiling your ballot just to cause some mild amusement for some lowly ballot counter."

As a lowly ballot counter (we're actually called scrutineers) I can tell you that they aren't even mildly amusing. This is because we've spent almost all of polling day in the sun, are tired, hungry and quite frankly, we've seen all the 'jokes'. Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse... trust me folks, these aren't witty or original.

In fact, the only time I've ever seen a ballot paper that made me chuckle was a scrawled message on the ballot paper that read "Maybe if you made voting non-compulsory more people would actually vote!"

I should clarify; by 'chuckle', I mean I went "heh" before telling the AEC official I was working with "Dud vote" and continuing counting the thousands of ballot papers strewn out before us.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:06 PM on October 14, 2007


As an aside, can anyone tell me why the Australia Labor Party spells "labor" without the "u"? As an American who recently moved who is trying to get my s's and u's in the proper place, it irks me.

To differentiate itself from the Labour party of Great Britain.

When the ALP (Australian Labor Party) was formed, many Australians considered themselves to be British, rather than being citizens of an independent country.
posted by mattoxic at 6:07 PM on October 14, 2007


Official answer from the ALP website: "During the early years of the ALP, the Party was referred to by various titles differing from colony to colony. It was at the 1908 Interstate (federal) Conference that the name 'Australian Labour Party' was adopted. In its shortened form the Party was frequently referred to as both 'Labor' and 'Labour', however the former spelling was adopted from 1912 onwards, due to the influence of the American labor movement."
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:13 PM on October 14, 2007


Official answer from the ALP website Damn, I wanted to keep guessing
posted by mattoxic at 6:21 PM on October 14, 2007


Also worth noting that when I was in primary school (1967-1973) we were, for a while at least, taught "-or" spellings and marked down for using "-our".
posted by flabdablet at 6:34 PM on October 14, 2007


That and King O'Malley having a yen for spelling reform.
posted by zamboni at 6:36 PM on October 14, 2007


As a lowly ballot counter (we're actually called scrutineers) I can tell you that they aren't even mildly amusing. This is because we've spent almost all of polling day in the sun, are tired, hungry and quite frankly, we've seen all the 'jokes'.

I haven't actually scrutineered yet, but have letterboxed & handed out how-to-votes in a number of elections now, and my perspective on informal votes is pretty much that anybody who deliberately votes informally is an idiot.

You may not be completely enamoured with the alternatives on offer, and you may consider the entire political system to be a bit of a facade - "various shades of brown" - but voting is one of the very few opportunites that the man in the street has for having a say in how the country is run, so why waste it? I don't think anybody will ever agree 100% with the policies of any party, but it surely must be possible to at least say that Party X is the best of a bad bunch, no? And if you are required, by law, to make your way to a polling booth & go through the whole process, why add insult to injury by making your say an exercise in pointlessness?

I find it hard to believe that scrutineers & other election officials - people who willingly give up their free time to assist in the democratic process, regardless of whatever flaws the system may have - wouldn't regard informal voters with a similar degree of dismissive disrespect, because we/they at least care enough to try to make a difference. Informal voters, on the other hand, are like petulant children who refuse to eat their dinner because they think they should be entitled to ice-cream for every meal, and that meat & veges just don't cut it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:37 PM on October 14, 2007


To differentiate itself from the Labour party of Great Britain.

Wikipedia has a different story (which I don't remember seeing when I looked a few months ago).

The formal name Australian Labour Party was adopted in 1908, with the American spelling of Labor adopted from 1912. While it is standard practice in Australian English to spell the word labour with a u, the Party has spelt it without since Labor cabinet minister King O'Malley thought he would "modernise" the name;[6] at the time, it seemed likely that Australia would move to American spellings.

I'll be sure to tell my father-in-law that us Americans are more modern...
posted by philoye at 6:40 PM on October 14, 2007


>I can tell you that they aren't even mildly amusing.
I'd agree. I mean spoiling by returning it blank or writing "None". I don't spoil a ballot in the hopes of amusing anyone.
>It will send a message to the people counting the ballots. Then what?
I have seen the press report the number of spoiled ballots in an election.
Props to your father in law for still going out to vote.
posted by philfromhavelock at 6:42 PM on October 14, 2007


Do they actually have a semi-sane political platform?

Yes.

Just how broken WOULD the economy end up

Not.

if those hippy nutjob wacko*'s got hold of the reins of power?

It's perfectly clear that you've been paying more attention to Rupert's FUD machine than to actual parliamentary performance. Listen to Question Time sometime. You will find that the Greens, by and large, are the ones conducting themselves like adults in the midst of the majors' schoolyard rabble.
posted by flabdablet at 6:46 PM on October 14, 2007


One more website Aussie political junkies: Andrew Bartlett's blog. If you are registered in Queensland, well I strongly advise you havinga look at his blog and his views on everything. One of the most thoughtful and honest pollies around. I jsut hope he gets back in.

Poor ADs - so much hard work, so little reward. They all work ten times as hard as Bob Brown, modifying legislation, questioning at Committees, doing all the grunt work of democracy, but they're considered shit because they want the system to work, they are pragmatic.
posted by wilful at 7:04 PM on October 14, 2007


wilful - where do you get these stats on comparative workrates?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:41 PM on October 14, 2007


"... they're considered shit because they want the system to work"

Correction. They're considered shit because they are pretty much the one and only reason the GST ever became a reality. It trashed their relationship with the voters forever. Voters had always bought their catchphrase that they were there to keep the bastards honest. By allowing the GST passage through the Senate, they had become one of the bastards.

And then, when they took a positive step in trying to repair that relationship by dumping the leader that was responsible for that mess with a young, vibrant, positive leader named Natasha Stott-Despoja, the party ate her alive and spat out the"... they're considered shit because they want the system to work"

Correction. They're considered shit because they are pretty much the one and only reason the GST ever became a reality. It trashed their relationship with the voters forever. Voters had always bought their catchphrase that they were there to keep the bastards honest. By allowing the GST passage through the Senate, they had become one of the bastards.

And then, when they took a positive step in trying to repair that relationship by dumping the leader that was responsible for that mess with a young, vibrant, positive leader named Natasha Stott-Despoja, the party ate her alive and spat out the remains. The Democrats were always liberal Liberals but the public had never seen it until now. And this was the final nail in the AD's coffin.

They never recovered since, and with antics like that, that's probably for the best. remains. The Democrats were always liberal Liberals but the public had never seen it until now. And this was the final nail in the AD's coffin.

They never recovered since, and with antics like that, that's probably for the best.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:42 PM on October 14, 2007


Flagged my response above as a display error. Let's try this again.

"... they're considered shit because they want the system to work"

Correction. They're considered shit because they are pretty much the one and only reason the GST ever became a reality. It trashed their relationship with the voters forever. Voters had always bought their catchphrase that they were there to keep the bastards honest. By allowing the GST passage through the Senate, they had become one of the bastards.

And then, when they took a positive step in trying to repair that relationship by dumping the leader that was responsible for that mess with a young, vibrant, positive leader named Natasha Stott-Despoja, the party ate her alive and spat out the remains. The Democrats were always liberal Liberals but the public had never seen it until now. And this was the final nail in the AD's coffin.

They never recovered since, and with antics like that, that's probably for the best.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:44 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have to agree with Effigy on the dems. I do like Lyn Allison, Bartlett and Stott-Despoja, and the dems are a different party now than under the disastrous Lees & Kernot leaderships.

But they are finished sad to say.
posted by mattoxic at 8:11 PM on October 14, 2007


Absolutely seconding Effigy2000 on the reasons for the demise of the Dems, though Meg Lees deny it to her dying day.

The only good thing about the GST was that it was going to be simple. Ten percent on everything. Unfair, regressive as hell, but simple.

What Meg Lees did, in fiddling about with it in an attempt to make an inherently regressive proposal a tiny bit more palatable, was (a) made sure it actually happened and (b) smashed its only good feature - simplicity - into tiny little pieces.

Because of her, we've ended up with a less progressive tax system that causes more people more work than the old wholesale sales tax used to. And everybody except Meg Lees understands that, and remembers that, and has written off the Democrats because of that.

If the Government proposes measures that are wrong in principle, you don't fiddle with them to help them through; you oppose them. That's generally been the Greens stance, not the Dems stance. In fact, ever since Hawke and Keating embraced economic "rationalism", the Greens, tiny minority that they are, have been the Opposition.

I used to believe that there were vital in-principle differences between the ALP and the Coalition. Since Tampa, I don't believe so any more. Voting 1 ALP in this election is voting for more of the same. Kevin "me-too" Rudd is the true face of his party. Just look at the way they've pulped Peter Garrett.

I recommend The Latham Diaries to anybody who hasn't already read the book. Don't let the spinmeisters convince you it's a petulant dummy-spit: it's far, far from that.

Australia has never been so indebted to future generations as it is right now. I want to see some rebalancing there. It appears to me that the Greens are pretty much my only option for getting there.
posted by flabdablet at 9:00 PM on October 14, 2007


While recommending books.

"Losing It" by Annabel Crabb is an excellent read
posted by mattoxic at 9:22 PM on October 14, 2007


flabdablet: It's perfectly clear that you've been paying more attention to Rupert's FUD machine than to actual parliamentary performance.

Actually, that was rather my point -- that as a member of the public who, in general, would rather fellate rabid dingos than listen to the bickering of Question time -- the only real exposure the Greens have had is that of slightly-wacko-nutjobs. I'm not saying they ARE, just putting forward a man-on-the-street viewpoint. I apologise if my tongue-in-cheek tags failed -- they worked on preview, I swear!

Oh, and although I don't have time to read all their policies, can someone explain to me why repealing the GST is a good thing? I'm not claiming it's the best tax in the world -- far from it. But surely reverting to the much maligned wholesale sales tax system would require far more time, money, and effort than would be spent on completing BAS's?

And I say this is a small-businessperson.
Listen to Question Time sometime. You will find that the Greens, by and large, are the ones conducting themselves like adults in the midst of the majors' schoolyard rabble.

As a matter of fact, I have. More than once, too, hence my utter disgust for ever doing it again.

I did not say it was a facade, Ubu. Just that the choices as they stand are between Johnny and Johnny Lite. And as much as I dislike what I've seen of Costello, having personally met the sleazebag scumsucking Treasurer of the Opposition I know who I'd stab first.

Before stabbing the rest of them, natch
posted by coriolisdave at 9:41 PM on October 14, 2007


Effigy, flabdablet, time doesn't permit right now, but rubbish. The GST was only a small part of the ADs demise.

Mind you, it was an excellent deal and a much better result than either the Labor or Coalition offerings. A good tax, overall.

By the way, Australia voted for a GST. Don't like, take it up with the electorate.

If the Greens want to vote against everything that doesn't accord entirely with their ideological purity, they NEVER deserve to form part of any government and I would never vote for them. The Greens do not have all of the answers (but they think they do), and they're not out there trying to find them. The ADs know/knew that they are not the ultimate truth-keepers and were prepared to work hard to make things better.

Saint Bob never goes to committees, hardly even votes, never proposes reasonable amendments to Bills. He's a showpony looking to spin the media and gain votes rather than govern. He voted against the EPBC Act. The Democrats made over 450 amendments. It's now Bob Brown's favourite piece of legislation!
posted by wilful at 9:55 PM on October 14, 2007


I've agonised over the Kevin Lite/Me Too-is of the leader of the opposition, and I have come conclusion that this is such an important election to win, that it's the only sensible tactic.

I've now come to the conclusion that I don't want Labor to win. Next term will most probably see Australia in recession as a post Olympic bubble busts in China coupled with Japan and the US going into recession.

The laziest, dullest treasurer in Australia's history should be around to reap what he has sewn, and Labor needs to win in its own right, on a socially progressive platform, not on the coat tails of a conservative agenda.

The last ten years have seen nothing but middle class handouts and invective politics by the Howard government, the last ten years has been a disaster. The sort of government a dull, lazy population deserves.
posted by mattoxic at 9:57 PM on October 14, 2007


wow, I just reread that. Sorry. I won't start a post, have a cup of tea and finish ever again.
posted by mattoxic at 10:08 PM on October 14, 2007


By the way, Australia voted for a GST. Don't like, take it up with the electorate.

Ah, was that Howard's "mandate" election? The one in which he just got over the line, and in which something like 52% of the voting population voted *against* him, with the GST as the main issue that people apparently objected to? And then he got up, all puffed-up & said that it was a strong endorsement & mandate for his policies? Sorry, no. It was just the way the votes fell in the marginal seats. More people voted against him than for him. Fair enough, that's the way the system works, but a 'leader' who knows that the majority of the people didn't want him or his policies should not then start carrying on like a bull in a china shop.

If the Greens want to vote against everything that doesn't accord entirely with their ideological purity, they NEVER deserve to form part of any government and I would never vote for them.

I've long been of the opinion that one of the Greens' main benefits is in forcing the major parties to make their policies more Green-voter-friendly in order to attract preferences. With the Greens polling around 7-10% nationally, 20%-plus in a number of educated, middle-class seats, and coming very close to stealing lower house seats in certain strongholds, it forces the major parties to start to pay some attention. You could think of it as a bargaining process: if you think 10% of energy should be renewable within ten years, demand 50% within five.

The Greens do not have all of the answers (but they think they do), and they're not out there trying to find them.


What on earth is that, other than empty rhetoric? At least the Greens are asking the right questions, imho, and they are, in fact, supplying answers. Consider the stance that drug addiction should be treated as a medical & social issue, not a criminal one. This happens to be in accord with every single expert in the field on the entire planet, but the major parties continually ignore this, because it's easy & popular to play the law-&-order "tough on drugs" card. Then, the right-wing columnists & talkback hosts distort this into claims that the Greens are in favour of free smack & ice distributed by your local primary school tuckshop.

Anyway, one of the things you learn quickly when campaigning is that there's little or no benefit in getting involved in arguments - the person you are arguing with already has their own opinion, which you are unlikely to change, backed up by whatever confirmation-biased facts they have taken on board, and are usually likely to know more details about their pet issues than you ever are...it's like walking into the house of the loony in The Silence of the Lambs, at times. The standard response, really, is "here is where you can read the policies. We encourage you to read our policies, and those of the other parties, and decide according to whatever best fits your worldview".

Having said that, what does impress me is the way in which I think Aussies tend to stick more to actual policies, facts, and behaviour in office, while Americans seem to go in a lot more for image, hype, stereotyping of opposition supporters & the like. You can see that in the way people are discussing the intricacies of how the GST came into being.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:45 PM on October 14, 2007


If I hear one more mention of "working families" I'm moving to New Zealand.
posted by markr at 10:53 PM on October 14, 2007


Claims that the Greens are incapable of compromise have never been tested, because as far as I'm aware, they've never been in the position of holding the balance of power in the Senate. What proof does anyone have that they couldn't perform a sensible role?

As for Bob Brown never doing anything; well I haven't checked out his attendance at committees, but I know when I listen to the Senate broadcast, he's making speeches every single day, and his party are putting forward motions and forcing the votes to be counted so we have a record of exactly what our representatives are standing for. As far as I can tell from listening to the broadcast, he appears to be one of the few senators (along with the likes of Andrew Bartlett from the Democrats) who always seems to be there. Unlike some of the blue-bloods on the government benches who've been sitting in the senate for decades and never mutter a word.
posted by Jimbob at 11:06 PM on October 14, 2007


If I hear one more mention of "working families" I'm moving to New Zealand.

Yeah, you'll be safe there. From what I hear, everybody in New Zealand is on the dole.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:57 PM on October 14, 2007


UbuRoivas: "Yeah, you'll be safe there. From what I hear, everybody in New Zealand is on the dole."

LOLKIWIS.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:15 AM on October 15, 2007


Rudd is the biggest spiv false-prophet shinybum I've seen since… well, since maybe ever. Reith and Downer come close.

I hope all you Howard-haters know what you're doing.

Pass the popcorn, Australia.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:34 AM on October 15, 2007


We know what we're doing. Gillard is going to send her Secret Death Squad after him before the ALP have even sobered up from election victory party. They are going to take out Wayne Swan at the same time.

That's what I'm counting on, anyway.
posted by Jimbob at 1:51 AM on October 15, 2007


They are going to take out Wayne Swan at the same time.

Good point. That Swan fella is a bit very creepy too.

How do obvious shinybums like him and Rudd get so far in a party that supposedly represents the working man?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:00 AM on October 15, 2007


I have to agree with Effigy on the dems. I do like Lyn Allison, Bartlett and Stott-Despoja, and the dems are a different party now than under the disastrous Lees & Kernot leaderships.

Past tense for Stott-Despoja there, sizzlechest.

I do like how her nickname is Twat-Displayer.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:04 AM on October 15, 2007


Apparently our answer to "Obama Girl".
posted by liquorice at 2:04 AM on October 15, 2007


Well, uncanny, how do the likes of effete blue-bloods like Alexander Downer and Christopher Pyne and Julian McGauran get so far in a party that's supposed to be representing hard-working, self-made small business people?
posted by Jimbob at 3:11 AM on October 15, 2007


uncanny hengeman: "Past tense for Stott-Despoja there, sizzlechest. I do like how her nickname is Twat-Displayer."

And they say the right wing troll is an extinct creature in Metafilteria.

Anyway, interesting how the Coalition decided to unveil $34 billion worth of tax cuts (over five years) on Day 1. You would have thought that that was something they'd have left until the last week of the campaign.

I mean, voters are fickle, after all. By the end of these six weeks, not only will these tax cuts and their possibly disastrous (mp3 link) effects on the economy have been examined to death, but in all possibility people will have forgotten they were even promised.

Strange, strange move...
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:59 AM on October 15, 2007


And they say the right wing troll is an extinct creature in Metafilteria.

Come come.

But for a bit of balance, I also like how Amanda Vanstone's nickname is Amanda Twentystone. Yuk yuk.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:51 AM on October 15, 2007


wilful: "Effigy, flabdablet, time doesn't permit right now, but rubbish. The GST was only a small part of the ADs demise."

No, it was exactly 1/2 of their demise.

I mean, c'mon. You can't seriously tell me that there is no correlation between the Democrats support of the GST and the first round of loss of voter support, followed by a final and second round after their very public in-fighting and flaying of Stott-Despoja?
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:28 PM on October 15, 2007


Anyway, interesting how the Coalition decided to unveil $34 billion worth of tax cuts (over five years) on Day 1. You would have thought that that was something they'd have left until the last week of the campaign.

It seems to have backfired, too. The (admittedly unscientific) polling on the Sunrise breakfast TV show had 90% of people say they'd prefer better services to tax cuts (out of many thousands who bothered to sms a vote), and the SMH is currently running at 63% of almost 7,000 votes saying the same thing.

I hope that people are beginning to see through this kind of pork barreling, and thinking "Wow, so you've hoarded up $34Bn of our money, and now you propose to give it back to us. Big fucking deal!" - especially when there's been so much news recently (in NSW at least) about hospitals falling apart, including Royal North Shore, of all places, which has long been probably the flagship public hospital in the state.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:30 PM on October 15, 2007


"Wow, so you've hoarded up $34Bn of our money, and now you propose to give it back to us. Big fucking deal!"

Income tax rates in Australia, when related to Average Weekly Earnings have been essentially level for more than 20 years. (For example someone on AWE paid about 23% in '83 and paid about 23% in '03, someone on half AWE paid about 16% in '83 and the same in '03. The periodic "tax cuts" from this government and the previous Labor government have just returned some increased tax caused by inflation and bracket creep. This is not a bad thing.
posted by markr at 5:43 PM on October 15, 2007


Agreed, but it's pretty lame of any government to allow bracket creep & then act as if they're being magnanimous when they correct it. It remains nothing other a situation of taking with one hand & giving with the other.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:01 PM on October 15, 2007


Oh I agree with that. A pet hate of mine. I was looking at the Dem's site this morning and one of their policies is indexing the brackets, which always seemed like a good idea to me, and takes away that aspect of tax cuts. Any changes would need to be a genuine changes in tax policy rather than the restoration combined with much back slapping we get now.
posted by markr at 7:45 PM on October 15, 2007


DAY 2.

Day 2 of the hustings and Labor produces two new policies. The first is the release of as much Government owned land as is feasible to try and ease the housing crisis.

And the best one... the one that I personally believe should be the vote changing issue for every undecided voter at this stage (though I know it won't be)... Labor has promised to scrap the plans for the Access Card! I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that the death of this most insane of all ideas is night. Now all they need to do is win and this ill-considered idea can be consigned to the scrap heap once and for all.

Discuss, and come back tomorrow for Day 3.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:26 PM on October 15, 2007


...and this ill-considered idea can be consigned to the scrap heap once and for all until next time.

FTFY.
posted by pompomtom at 9:06 PM on October 15, 2007


oh, good...i was working on the technology behind the access card...
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:00 PM on October 15, 2007


History of the Liberal Party. (lol)
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:33 PM on October 15, 2007


LABOR has confronted a Liberal attack ad by including it in one of its own advertisements.

Kevin Rudd is seen watching the ”beware of learners’’ commercial in which the Liberals brand him and his shadow Treasurer Wayne Swan as L-plate politicians.

Rudd then flicks off the ad with a remote control and lists Labor’s positive proposals which he says would help Australia.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:48 PM on October 15, 2007


Oh, god, not the L-plate ads again. Just goes to show that you can't teach an old dog new tricks!

I wouldn't mind seeing a clip of Hans Moleman - from the Simpsons - having his licence revoked with a big red rubber stamp, for having failed his vision test.

Apart from that, I wonder why people swallow this "inexperience" line so easily. On all sides of politics, you're pretty much dealing with hardcore, longterm career politicians. Many have done nothing but politics all their lives. They live & breathe policy, economics, budgets, dealings with the Treasury & Reserve Bank, Parliamentary committees, foreign policy debates & so on - the entire length & breadth of political life.

Collectively, they would have to be the most experienced people in the country for the job. Professional Parliamentarians. I just don't get why a mob who have been debating every issues with the ruling party for 11 years are, yet again, being portrayed as if they've just wandered in off the street, and why so many people are apparently so willing to regurgitate this tired old meme...?

Apart from that, the "inexperience" meme selectively glosses over the fact that the government has at its disposal the entire public service, mostly career Sir Humphreys, who no doubt have a massive influence on tempering any of the more extreme elements of proposed policies. Add to that legions of advisors, public submissions, committees, and the balance of power that is (or should be) provided by the Senate, and the whole "OMG L-platers! Imminent collapse!" bogeyman starts to look more than a little ridiculous.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:05 PM on October 15, 2007


indexing the brackets, which always seemed like a good idea to me,

I could never figure out why we need brackets - can't they just use, say, an equation to work it out? The current tax rates would look something like:

income tax rate = 12.832 * ln(income) - 113.04

No brackets. Nice smooth curve. What's wrong with that?
posted by Jimbob at 12:02 AM on October 16, 2007


No brackets. Nice smooth curve. What's wrong with that?

The problem is not so much in the fact of brackets as the buying power of the currency. Even if you had a nice smooth differentiable curve to calculate applicable tax rate, you'd find people sliding further up the tax scale as a result of inflation.

Permanently killing bracket creep (or equivalent) requires making the applicable tax rate depend on the ratio of your yearly income to average yearly income, instead of depending on an absolute yearly income number. Once you do that, it doesn't matter whether the tax rate function is smooth, as you propose, or piecewise linear as we have now.
posted by flabdablet at 12:28 AM on October 16, 2007


UbuRoivas, one parting comment is that sur we wont agree on the value of the Greens, however you're as dyed-in-the-wool impossible to convince as I am, so cheap shots directed personally at me but said in an impersonal manner don't really cut it.

I don't entirely mind the Greens, they have many good policies such as harm minimisation for drugs, but they've got to come down from their high horse one day and start considering the 95% of Australians that dont vote for them and why that is - and it's not just a media conspiracy (though that doesn't help).

Anyway, they'll be somewhere about the ALP on my senate card.
posted by wilful at 4:59 AM on October 16, 2007


Oh JimBob, I have also wondered why we can't have a function for tax rates. flabdablet, they'll never fix bracket creep, otherwise they can't announce tax cuts!
posted by wilful at 5:01 AM on October 16, 2007


It's my considered opinion that the vast majority of Australians inherit their parents' preferred political party the same way they inherit the family footy team, and support it in a similarly uncritical and partisan way. Most people barrack for a political party. The Australian Greens have only existed as a political party for fifteen years. Nobody has had time to inherit support for them. They're in roughly the same position as the Melbourne Storm: a truly excellent team, but playing a minority game, and not getting much recognition for what they actually do.

...they've got to come down from their high horse one day and start considering the 95% of Australians that dont vote for them and why that is - and it's not just a media conspiracy...

Nobody likes having their own faults pointed out, even implicitly; it's only to be expected that a party that generally takes a principled stand when given the opportunity, instead of taking the focus-group-tested majority position, is going to piss a lot of people off. But it's also going to attract people who have come to realize that being cynical about politicians is never actually going to improve anything. We need principled politicians in this country. Without them, something like mob rule becomes the order of the day, and the whole country starts looking as ugly as Cronulla.

I'm pretty sure the 93% of Australians who didn't vote 1 Greens last time includes the 75% who thought it was a good idea to give the Federal Police the power to bang up "terrorist suspects" without charge and hold them for two weeks in secret while doing christ knows what to them. Frankly, I don't care why sheep like that vote the way they do. Just being able to live far away from most of them is enough for me.

If that's "being on a high horse" then I'm on a high horse. I'm just glad that there's at least one party I can vote for without wanting to weep or be sick.

Oh, the power and the passion
Oh, the temper of the times
Oh, the power and the passion
Sometimes you've got to take the hardest line
posted by flabdablet at 6:20 AM on October 16, 2007


All politicians are professional except those that are clean green who are "non apposita sed diversa."

Consider the stance that drug addiction should be treated as a medical & social issue, not a criminal one.

Certainly an idea to hang your hat on.
posted by Rancid Badger at 8:46 AM on October 16, 2007


DAY 3

It seems as though middle income earners will actually be worse off under the Governments proposed tax cuts.
Professor Patricia Apps, the professor of public economics at Sydney University, says middle income earners will be paying higher effective marginal tax rates than the Government claims.

While middle income earners will get a tax saving of around $33 a week over three years from next July, it is only a fraction of what the rich will get.

Professor Apps' analysis of the tax cuts announced on Monday shows wealthy people earning $180,000 are getting tax cuts fives times higher than those on average earnings of $60,000.

"This ultimately means the middle is being given an increasing tax burden," she said.

"The Government is using bracket creep to get this revenue off the middle and giving it disproportionately to those at the top."

Her analysis shows that the way the Government has structured the tax cuts is deceptive.

The Government's tax scales show people earning between $30,000 to $60,000 will face top marginal rates of 15c or 30c.

She says in reality their marginal tax rates will be 4c in the dollar higher.

This is because of the withdrawal of a tax subsidy to low income earners, the low income tax offset, once a person earns more than $30,000.

This problem arises because the Government has refused to raise the tax-free threshold, set at $6000 for all taxpayers.

Instead, it has effectively raised the tax-free threshold of low income earners by raising the low income tax offset, allowing them to earn $16,000 before they pay tax by 2010.

The Government starts withdrawing the low income tax threshold once someone earns over $30,000 at the rate of 4c in the dollar.

Professor Apps says this has the effect of raising their marginal tax rate by 4c.
It will be interesting to see how the Guvmint responds to this. My predication: "She's an academic so she must be a Labor supporter!"
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:30 PM on October 16, 2007


you're as dyed-in-the-wool impossible to convince as I am, so cheap shots directed personally at me but said in an impersonal manner don't really cut it.

It was prompted by you, but directed generally, and I don't think it's a cheap shot - just my perception of how things work. Once people settle upon who they are going to barrack for (typically, by inheritance, as flabdablet points out) the rest of the political debate tends to become an exercise in confirmation bias, combined with massive motes-in-eyes. Partisan voters are quick to spot any hypocrisy or failing in the opposition's policies or behaviours, and are willingly blind to the faults of their own team.

And when it comes to picking out the faults of others, they can do it with the zeal of trainspotters. I can never find the Hansard any more, but I recall finding out about Howard sitting on the opposition front bench while the shadow foreign affairs spokesman gave an impassioned speech about how concerned they were that our great ally Saddam Hussein was facing problems in Kurdistan, and how the Coalition supported his measures against the Kurds to ensure stability. They endorsed the poison gas attacks.

Because of my particular bias, I can trot that out in front of any Coalition supporter whenever Iraq comes up, and they're basically fucked, largely because I have dirt on them that they're not even aware of, since people remain willingly blinkered to a lot of what their own party does - politics is often more about discrediting the opposition than knowing one's own party's business.

Anyway, a bit of personal background, by way of a disclaimer - my dad's been an old ALP hack for as long as I can remember...secretary of the local branch, letterboxing, how-to-voting & scrutineering at every election at every level since before I could talk. My parents still live where I grew up, on the edge of a bush reserve, one sister's a botanist (in the sense of doing environmental impact studies on native bushland), dad spends all his spare time in volunteer bush regeneration & so on, so we have the greenie blood in our veins, too. I'd be very surprised if any member of my nuclear family didn't vote 1 Green, 2 ALP in every election.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:42 PM on October 16, 2007


Professor Apps' analysis of the tax cuts announced on Monday shows wealthy people earning $180,000 are getting tax cuts fives times higher than those on average earnings of $60,000.

Someone has discovered the magic of percentages. If you give a percentage tax cut, people who pay more tax, get a larger dollar figure cut. Duh. Glosses over the fact that the person earning $180k currently pays more than four and a half times as much tax as the person earning $60k. Hell, they pay more tax than the second person earns.

The Government's tax scales show people earning between $30,000 to $60,000 will face top marginal rates of 15c or 30c. She says in reality their marginal tax rates will be 4c in the dollar higher.

Weeeell, that's one way of putting it, but it's a pretty disengenuous. If you earn under $30k (it's at about $21k now from memory, but is set to increase) you get a tax offset that effectively raises the tax free threashold for you to $11k now, moving up to $16k by 2010. Once you earn more than that the rebate tapers off, until you are paying the "normal" tax rates. Claiming this means these people who don't get this rebate are paying "more" is true, but then it's true of our theoretical $180k earner too, but no one is claiming he's paying a higher marginal tax rate because of it.

And trying imply that this would mean these people are paying more than they are now is downright shoddy.

There's plenty of things to shoot down the current government over. Hell, try the "they're just returning the money they got through bracket creep" angle, or the "use it on health care and education" one, it seems to go down well.
posted by markr at 7:10 PM on October 16, 2007


Interesting, I just went from here and read this article that says people in the $30-50k bracket actually get the largest "cents per dollar earned" tax cuts in the Libs proposal.

Also makes the obvious point that with interest rates moving up and the economy overheating now might not be the best time to pump more money in to it through tax cuts. They sure do win votes though.
posted by markr at 7:20 PM on October 16, 2007


Did anyone see the Insight program on SBS last night? OMFG what a pack of young idiots you can assemble in one small studio. It’s all about the money baby, what's in it for my hip pocket. The most in touch guy there was a recent Sudanese immigrant.
posted by wilful at 7:46 PM on October 16, 2007


In the style of LOLCats, I bring you LOLPoliticians.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:54 PM on October 16, 2007


The most in touch guy there was a recent Sudanese immigrant.

You see now? Proof that they can't fit in with Australian values!
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:15 PM on October 16, 2007


Bizzare. This thread seems to be playing havoc with my posts. Let's try this again.

Rudd has promised $81m to creating 9250 new nursing positions.

He's also demanded a referee for the debate that is currently scheduled (at least as far as Howard is concerned) for this Sunday.

Day 3 dosen't seem to have produced any new announcements from the Government. Just the continued carping that Labor produce its tax policy or respond to theirs. Labor has pledged a balanced tax response once they've had time to review the figures.

Which is fair enough, really.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:13 PM on October 16, 2007


People disappoint me.

If the best the government has to offer the country for the future is "We're going to fiddle with the tax thresholds!", then that's bloody pathetic.

If the public are actually impressed by this - if all it takes to demonstrate leadership and a plan for the future is to fiddle some numbers around - then that's bloody pathetic as well.

And if the opposition takes the bait and produces their own minor-number-fiddling to demonstrate their grand vision for the future, then that's the most pathetic of all. They're engaging the wrong debate; they'll be done just like Latham was done on interest rates. Rather than pointing out the lack of economic association between government policy and interest rates, rather than confronting Howard and Costello's lies about the relationship between economic growth, interest rates, and government surplus, he caved in and signed some fucking giant pledge to keep interest rates low.

If Labor are going to do anything with tax, they should adopt my tax curve, combined with flabdablet's automatic indexation against the average wage. Or remove the tax from beer.
posted by Jimbob at 9:43 PM on October 16, 2007


...Which for all I know is a state tax - vice taxes usually are. But shit, all the Liberal candidates are going around claiming they have the power to fix problems that are the responsibility of state governments. "Too much graffiti in the community - leave it up to the Howard government to fix that!"
posted by Jimbob at 9:44 PM on October 16, 2007


Perfectly fair for Labor to take their time, and good politics too, imho.

First, the Libs taunting them to come up with a policy "right now, or else!" was most likely just a tactic to try & lure Labor into making off-the-cuff, rash & impromptu policy, which is part of what undid Latham. Rudd responding with "we will take our time & evaluate the figures" plays up their sober, responsible financial manager credentials, and also buys them time to listen in to what the pundits & public think of the tax cuts.

Right now, it seems that the majority want better services, not a token bump in the back pocket, so the promise of extra nursing positions is a wise opening move. $81 million down, more than $33.9 billion left to spend yet, if they bludge off the Coalition's figures. I can see Labor making an announcement like this every other day for a while now, watching the polls' reaction to the spending, and maybe compiling a package comprising some tax cuts & a reasonable swag of new infrastructure & services within about a week or so. Whatever they do, Labor's pork-barreling will probably fall well short of $34Bn, which allows them to portray the Coalition as reckless & wanton with the economy.

Waiting a while also allows commentators & the general public to bite little pieces at a time out of the Coalition, doing Labor's work for them. Anecdotally, the notion that the Coalition has just been riding the worldwide conditions & minerals boom seems to me to be reaching the level of accepted common wisdom - what people tell each other with a know-it-all glint in their eyes - and the idea that Howard is behaving like a manic desperado is also gaining ground.

In contrast, Rudd's approach almost hints that he's spent the year studying the Art of War (in the original, naturally). Howard's laid down probably nearly his entire hand on day one, and Rudd has the luxury of taking his time, and revealing small pieces at a time, soberly & probably with a view to demonstrating "freshness". "Here's a big tax cut", on the other hand, just sounds so very stale & unimaginative - one of the key perceptions that the Coalition should be trying to avoid, not bolster.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:47 PM on October 16, 2007


Right now, it seems that the majority want better services, not a token bump in the back pocket

People, of course, want both. I read two polls yesterday, one showing that a huge majority of people want "An improvement of services rather than tax cuts", and the other showing that a huge majority of people "Are in favour of Howard's tax cut."
posted by Jimbob at 9:51 PM on October 16, 2007


(almost 10,000 nurses for a bargain $81m? whatever the details of the deal, that one pushes the buttons labelled employment, education, skills shortages & health simultaneously. the comparison of $81m to $34b should also get people wondering what more the current govt could have done with such a fuckpile of money, if only they had a clue how to spend it)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:52 PM on October 16, 2007


People, of course, want both.

Probably comes down to the framing of the questions:

"Prefer services to tax cuts?" - yes!

"Like tax cuts?" - yes!

They're not mutually exclusive.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:54 PM on October 16, 2007


The nurses in Victoria are about to go on strike, though, UbuRovias. I can't yet figure out what that might mean (if anything) for the election. Meh. Not many marginals in Victoria anyway, are there?
posted by Jimbob at 9:54 PM on October 16, 2007


"Probably comes down to the framing of the questions."

Of course it does. As usual, Sir Humphry explains it best.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:07 PM on October 16, 2007


I wonder if Victorian nurses are striking because they're overworked & understaffed? I have a slight feeling that Victoria is a bit of a battleground state now, thanks to these developments & the Sudanese thing. I've seen a few Africans in Adelaide, but Melbourne seems to be the place where they all settle. Every single cab driver these days seems to be African, for example.

For Andrews to try to create a wedge around the Sudanese suggests to me that they're trying to attack Victoria, because here in NSW, at least, we simply have zero exposure to these terrifying gangs of blackies, so we just think "Meh, more Liberal racism; can't see any problem with accepting people from Darfur. What kind of total wanker would oppose helping out one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time? (other than Iraq, of course)".
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:11 PM on October 16, 2007


(gaah! no youtube at work! i think i know the bit you are talking about though...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:12 PM on October 16, 2007


I wonder if Victorian nurses are striking because they're overworked & understaffed?

No doubt. But that doesn't always garner the sympathies of the public, these days. Some folks might be thinking "Maybe they're overworked and understaffed because of poor management by the state Labor government. Maybe we would see more strikes and chaos in the health system is we elected Labor."

I find the Sudanese thing pretty bizarre as well; back in Adelaide, I think most people were positive about them. There are plenty of African refugees here in Darwin as well, and people seem to be positive (although I'm sure there are some arseholes up here thinking "If only our blackfellas could be that polite and well behaved...") There was some very brief media coverage last year about groups of Sudanese teenagers getting into rumbles with groups of Aboriginal teenagers - some kind citizen came to the rescue and started up a club where the kids could play together and teach each other Soccer and Aussie Rules, respectively. Haven't heard a peep about it since then.

Attacking the Sudanese appears to be heading completely for the racist fringe, in an even more severe way than previous attacks on refugees or minorities. I don't see where they think there are votes in it, I'm sure it will backfire if Andrews keeps it up.
posted by Jimbob at 10:23 PM on October 16, 2007


Maybe more Vic marginals than some think. None under 5% - but is that the benchmark?

Where's the firewall
?
posted by wilful at 10:25 PM on October 16, 2007


Liberal Party officials also confirmed they have abandoned plans to target Labor-held seats - to concentrate on protecting sitting members.

They have revealed the level of their concern over Mr Rudd’s growing popularity in western Sydney, with plans to draw a “Sydney Line” as a last bulwark of defence in their national campaign.


Oh, dear God, that's music to the ears! It's like all units being brought back for a last-ditch defence of der Vaterland against the irrestistable onslaught of the glorious Red Army, in the Great Patriotic War!
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:38 PM on October 16, 2007


Most sudanese refugees settle in Labor seats, so the racist politics applies to people who don't have much to actually do with the issue.
posted by wilful at 10:44 PM on October 16, 2007


Wow. This piece puts everything into a beautiful little nutshell, and explains the deal behind the huge tax announcement. It's the strongest card left in an almost completely depleted deck. The Japanese carrier fleet at Midway, if you like, speaking of decks.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:48 PM on October 16, 2007


the racist politics applies to people who don't have much to actually do with the issue

like wet liberals who might agree with support for Darfur? it's understandable for 9/11 to have put the shivers up everybody over Muslims, but if you never even see a bunch of Sudanese youths loitering around, what's there to be afraid of?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:50 PM on October 16, 2007


I haven't been following this thread all too closely but I'm thankful for some of the snippets I've seen.

I made the crack about 'anarchy' way up the page and (if I read him correctly) Jimbob (quite rightly) obliquely chastised the ballot-botching approach.

My first job after leaving school was in the public hospital system where my political ideals were stongly cast from the outset. The mention of strikes by nurses has, I assure you, been around for a long time. It was almost always a toothless threat of course. Ironically or perhaps wantonly (although, with the benefit of hindsight I wouldn't rule out some measure of apathy) I chose never to join the union. Not because I didn't believe in unions or because I thought that the situation on the ground was up to an acceptable standard.

It was because I couldn't reconcile doing it half-arsed. If I'd joined I would have been a militant molotov-throwing (I speak here in the proverbial, Mr & Ms A.F.P, if you're watching) disruptionist of the first order. But the thing is, the industrial side of that profession is not what the profession is actually about. I mean, you know what I'm speaking of - the greater good, the basic premise of making people better, the actual work of helping people and doing good - is always an irreconcilable overarching consideration that makes the idea of withdrawing such services just ludicrous, when you're on the inside.

Nurses, everywhere, in every country, since Florence Nightingale onwards, have faced the same insurmountable conundrum. And of course all governments know this - it's both why nursing wage rises have traditionally lagged behind and why you will find the term 'nursing strike' every week or two in some form or other in some state or other in the media. It's one of the few industries I think where there is always some measure of desperation tactics being aired. And of course I am also (poorly) describing a big reason for turnover, burnout and eventual abandonment of the industry by such a large number of people (myself included).

All this is just to say that the bleeding obvious, and ultimately tragic, logic to --the comparison of $81m to $34b-- is, to my mind, the great travesty in historical terms of this government. That is why they must go.

Yet I remain very very underwhelmed by the alternative. They are a bunch of talentless hacks and I predict that they will lurch from one crisis to the next and be thrown out of office at the next election. I just comfort myself with the ideological hope that it will mean that there is a greater likelihood that 'welfare' - and all that describes - will receive a boost in comparative terms in the meantime.

So, no Jimbob, I probably won't actually botch the ballot but it's about the first time that it suggested itself as an option as equally vacuous as completing the form correctly.
posted by peacay at 11:02 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


They are a bunch of talentless hacks...

Everyone is, of course, entitled to their opinion, but i really don't share your analysis. The depth of talent on a putative labor front bench is just as strong as the current Cabinet. There are some genuine thinkers in the shadow Ministry.
posted by wilful at 11:16 PM on October 16, 2007


plans to draw a “Sydney Line”

Definitely the best laugh I've had all day.

No pasaran!
posted by Wolof at 11:18 PM on October 16, 2007


The depth of talent on a putative labor front bench is just as strong as the current Cabinet.

Yes, that's what concerns me.
posted by peacay at 11:21 PM on October 16, 2007


Effo: that was a different Sir Humphrey bit to what I was expecting. Interestingly, what he did is straight out of the Sales Manual (not that I've ever done sales *spits*): you only need ask somebody three questions for which the most reasonable answer is 'yes', and you have at least an 80% chance of getting 'yes' for the fourth, as long as it seems to more-or-less follow from the others.

Do you feel that there isn't enough variety in TV programming?

Are you annoyed by advertisements interrupting your programs?

Do you think there would be a benefit in dedicated channels for sports, news, comedy & lifestyle programs, so that you always have something you want to watch?

Would you like to try a special introductory offer for Foxtel, at only $99.95 per month?

posted by UbuRoivas at 1:55 AM on October 17, 2007


Pure gold, really.

I think I'll carry this around in my wallet as a form of bingo until the election.

(graph from my link made above at 4:48. dotted boxes & lines indicate where howard's advisors will have told him to try and reposition issues. spot-on. eg - all that recent talk about the coalition "team" = trying to shift the item in the far bottom right corner into the positive, where it hopefully becomes relevant to voters, rather than irrelevant. playing bingo with this graph will turn listening to howard into something like duck-hunting)
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:19 AM on October 17, 2007


UbuRoivas: "Pure gold, really.

I think I'll carry this around in my wallet as a form of bingo until the election.
"

I've been carrying around this, which I believe is also pure gold.

In other news, Libs Face In Civil War in Wake of Defeat. Really? I can't fuckin' wait. *readies popcorn*
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:04 AM on October 17, 2007


hm, i've been wondering if there's any link between possum comutatis & nick possum, apart from the possummy namesakiness...?

(i *heart* nick possum!)
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:29 AM on October 17, 2007


link's borked there, Effo.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:05 PM on October 17, 2007


Day 4.


Before we start on the 'fun' for Day 4, let me take the opportunity of linking to the correct 'Liberal Civil War' article. Here it is.

So. Day 4. Only another, what, like, 37 to go? And already its descended into petty bickering. Though I'm proud to say it's mostly coming from Howard.

Remember the ad I linked to up-thread? No? Here it is. Well, Howard don't like it. So much so he's told Rudd to "grow up" and stop calling a scare campaign a scare campaign.

And just to show that the Liberals haven't run out of ideas, he's gone online and, much like the way the Labor ad used the Liberal ad to mock it, Howard has used the Labor ad that used the Liberal ad to mock the Labor ad.

No new policies so far (the day is young) but the Leader tracker shows that Rudd is off to Adelaide today so no doubt something is gonna go down there.

By the way, am I wrong, or have there been no new policy announcements from the Libs since Day 1 (namely, the tax cuts)?
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:32 PM on October 17, 2007


Adelaide...let's see. Collapsing manufacturing sector - some kind of skills shortage announcement? Lack of water - some new water initiative? Or maybe it's just a good place to announce my suggested repealing of the tax on beer.

Hey, has anyone else actually seen any of these ads they are going on about? I mean on old fashioned TV, not on YouTube? Maybe I'm just a freak that only watches the ABC and obscure Foxtel channels the parties obviously don't bother throwing money at, but for all the supposed "battle of the ads" that's been going on, I haven't seen a single one.
posted by Jimbob at 3:40 PM on October 17, 2007


no new lib policies? no surprise. refer to the magic diagram.

"lower taxes" is about the only policy-able item that the libs own, which is why they made such a big deal of it on day one, and tried to entice labor into fighting in their court.

the rest of the lib strengths are perception issues - team, low interest rates, national interests, defence & security. not a whole lot they can do there, in terms of issuing new policies.

they'll do everything they can to drag the debate towards the tax policy, meanwhile dropping terms like team, national security etc at every possible opportunity, whilst avoiding talking to Rudd's strengths wherever possible. i reckon we've seen pretty much everything of the libs' policy now, the rest is gonna just be fearmongering & smear over unions & the supposed lack of experience of labor. oh, and a lot of focus on state labor govts.

no policies, though.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:44 PM on October 17, 2007


Well here's one. Howard has committed $13m to a private hospital in Rudd's own electorate to help fund a medical training centre. Which would be nice for that hospital, I guess, but I can't see this one having too much national significance.

Basically this seems to be continuing his small target strategy of hitting specific electoarates. But Rudd's? Griffith is a safe Labor seat. The old man has lost it, I'm telling you.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:29 PM on October 17, 2007


Symbolic attack? "Taking the fight to Rudd's own turf"? Trying to suggest that Rudd is out of touch with his own electorate?

He'd be better served spending in Bennelong, imho, but that would be a clear admission of desperation back home.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:58 PM on October 17, 2007


"The unions are finished!" declares Hockey.

"Nuh-uh!" retorts asbestos disease sufferer and activist Bernie Banton.

Meanwhile, Howard is still forgetting the names of his own candidates, even though in this latest instance said candidate was wearing his own name on his t-shirt when he joined the Prime Minister on his routine morning walk.

Just another day on the hustings...
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:56 PM on October 17, 2007


So what are you saying? That in addition to senile dementia, his eyesight is also failing?

Also, are we keeping this thread alive until the election?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:06 PM on October 17, 2007


You're right - he definitely has lost it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:13 PM on October 17, 2007


Nah, I'm just saying it's funny.

And yeah, I'm updating this thread every day until it closes. And then I may start a new one for the last week of the campaign or however long it is. I'm actually trying to get this thing sidebarred!

But in short, yep, new updates every day.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:13 PM on October 17, 2007


Yeah, keep this thread running. May it serve as an example to all the American politics nuts who insist on starting a new post every time Hillary takes a shit.
posted by Jimbob at 10:16 PM on October 17, 2007


did Hillary take another dump?

i've gotta email matt & tell him the RSS feed's borked.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:25 PM on October 17, 2007


Hillary did take another dump. Howard immediately said the smell was the unions' fault. Rudd proposed a new plan for subsidizing exhaust fans in rural and regional areas.

Bob Brown was all set to point out the Greens' longstanding policy on composting toilets, but the press never showed up.
posted by flabdablet at 10:34 PM on October 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


And Pauline Hanson declared that shits of that particular colour carry diseases and have difficulty integrating with the other sewage.
posted by Jimbob at 11:05 PM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


But she didn't get any press either, because they were all too busy reporting Kevin Andrews saying the same thing.
posted by flabdablet at 11:25 PM on October 17, 2007


I thought this article from Crikey today was worth sharing:


MacCormack: Howard aiming to keep aspirationals hostage

Failed public servant David MacCormack writes:

As each drip of data suggests an economy under inflationary pressure, John Howard and Peter Costello will be hoping an economic version of Stockholm Syndrome keeps voters faithful to them.

As the Government has been quick to point out, it's pretty hard to have the benefits of an historic economic boom, including near-full employment and tax cuts, without the negatives, like inflationary pressure and the higher interest rates now being foreshadowed.

But when Howard promised in 2004 to keep interest rates low – no matter how he parsed it subsequently – it always looked like a written invitation to Nemesis to show up three years later. Yesterday's IMF report, urging fiscal restraint in an at-capacity economy, suggests that that good lady is flexing her wings for the flight to Kirribilli.

The Government would've known the IMF report was coming, and factored it in to the timing of its tax announcement. Even Daily Telegraph readers might think it wasn't very responsible to announce tax cuts after the IMF suggested the Government should take its foot off the accelerator.

But the Government's reliance on so-called "aspirational" voters places it particularly at risk. Stereotypically, such voters reside in an air-conditioned McMansion in an outer suburb and care only about how to pay off the enormous mortgages they have acquired. And they've multiplied in the economic conditions of the last decade. Personal debt, house prices and mortgages have all increased significantly, so that large numbers of households are now exposed to even small increases in interest rates. Further rates rises will thus make such aspirationals decidedly perspirational.

To combat this, Howard and Costello have only one line: it might be bad under us, but it'll be worse under Labor. The high interest rates of the Labor years are invoked (and the higher rates under Treasurer Howard quietly ignored).

In other words, having encouraged an economic framework of high debt and reliance on appreciating housing assets, the Government is in effect now telling worried voters that only it can prevent the whole house of cards from collapsing around them. Punters may not like it, but the idea is they'll be too scared to turn to the other side. It's rather like hostage-takers hoping their captives will end up identifying with them.

All things being equal, this ploy might actually work. But, thanks to WorkChoices, things definitely are not equal. The removal of employment protection affects aspirationals just like everyone else.

In an economy with near-full employment, they may not be too worried about losing their own jobs. But seeing their kids have to take pay cuts or get sacked will anger even the most self-absorbed McMansionite.

In such circumstances, the Government's message that it is the lesser of two evils isn't going to go down very well. The hostages are likely to beat their captors to a pulp.
posted by wilful at 11:34 PM on October 17, 2007


And they'll take that beating, and then spend the next three years blaming Labor for the deteriorating economy.

Costello's a young man. He can wait.
posted by flabdablet at 11:48 PM on October 17, 2007


All things being equal, this ploy might actually work. But, thanks to WorkChoices, things definitely are not equal. The removal of employment protection affects aspirationals just like everyone else.

Employment protection is a lesser part of the coalition's IR problems with aspirationals. A sizeable proportion of McMansionites are apparently semi-skilled or skilled blue-collar types, with the main breadwinner often pulling in reasonably big bucks from penalty rates & overtime, working 60 hours per week or more.

Mortgaged to the hilt, even a hint that they might lose their penalty rates or overtime will send them into a panic, potentially far worse than their fear of the interest rate bogeyman.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:06 AM on October 18, 2007


He can wait.

True, but there are plenty of very ambitious people right behind him, and he'll be identified with the ancien régime if the Libs pop off.

I'm hoping for a post-election night of the long Liberal knives. 11 years has built up a terrible reserve of latent schadenfreude right here, and that boil wants lancing. With extreme prejudice.
posted by Wolof at 12:09 AM on October 18, 2007


Election2007: that boil wants lancing. With extreme prejudice.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:57 AM on October 18, 2007


Wolof: did you read Effigy2000's link?

And this?

In other news, I have a case of Andrew Wilkie fundraising bubbly untouched from the previous election. Been saving it for a special occasion...
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:19 AM on October 18, 2007


Wolof: did you read Effigy2000's link?

Here's hoping!

*clinks*
posted by Wolof at 4:07 AM on October 18, 2007


Lazarus Stirs! (slightly)

Pork barrel nets 2 points for coalition; stocks up to 46.

In other news, a Higher School Certificate industrial technology question asking "how do the government's IR policies affect workers?" was apparently politically motivated by the unions, communists, freedom-haters and the international workers of the world.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:08 PM on October 18, 2007


"Pick on someone who's alive!" says angry Howard as Chaser team confront him on his morning walk.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:26 PM on October 18, 2007


Day 5.

As Ubu pointed out above, this media storm over The Chaser's 'Eulogy Song' has started to almost eclipse the election itself.

But there is some election news not related to The Chaser.

So far, Rudd has agreed to the debate that Howard threatened to have by himself this Sunday.

Galaxy has released a new poll that shows Howard clawing back some support, but no one believes Galaxy anyway. It's probably only slightly more credible than Morgan.

Howard is playing the 'national security' and 'terrorism' cards he has stored away in his deck with his comments on the Pakistan bombing today.

And the ABC has released Part 3 in its stories about the effects blogging has on the election vs the mainstream media.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:05 PM on October 18, 2007


Oh hey, I forgot. I e-mailed Jess asking for this thread to be side-barred, and she said she'd run it past Team Admin, but they normally only sidebar posts that get a lot of favorites or awesome post flags.

I doubt this FPP will get more than the 12 favorites it's already gotten, so if you want to see it side-barred, may I humbly suggest that you head back to the very top of the post and flag it as a 'fantastic post.'

It's not a fantastic post really, I know, but it might help get it in the sidebar and that can only be good for helping keep the thread alive but also promoting further discussion.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:12 PM on October 18, 2007


I doubt this FPP will get more than the 12 favorites it's already gotten

pffft. as long as mattamyntex doesn't pull the plug & close the thread, it will probably make mefi history for being both the longest-running thread, and also the most-commented of all time.

in a humble sort of way, it would also serve as a slice of history - an entire election from day one to polling day, and - hopefully - the celebrations that follow, all captured chronologically, in a single thread.

imagine being able to go back & read the progress of bush's first election from the start, right through to the florida thingy & the supreme court action that resulted.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:29 PM on October 18, 2007


this media storm over The Chaser's 'Eulogy Song' has started to almost eclipse the election itself.

i actually think that howard's playing right into the hands of the chaser team. they dealt him a massive blow during apec, when sydneysiders were already completely pissed off by all the fences, overzealous security & disruption to the cbd, and i find it hard to believe that making fun of the don wasn't deliberately done, in order to lure howard into a response. and a response they got, all right - "pick on somebody who's alive" will be taken out of context & played as a variation on "pick on somebody your own size" in next wednesday's chaser, mark my words.

in attacking the chaser team, howard's really tilting at windmills. the show is immensely popular (1.5 million viewers, on the fucking abc!) & reports were that the switchboards lit up on the night of the eulogy song, with six whole calls! of praise! then howard comes out & calls the song "despicable", revealing himself to be a curmudgeonly old bastard, completely out of touch with aussie humour.

apart from that, johnny, psssst: the chaser are not the alp. why don't you pick on somebody your own size? (or bigger, as the case may be)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:39 PM on October 18, 2007


(also, you can never win an argument with a comedian. even if you win, you lose)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:41 PM on October 18, 2007


This has become my daily newsfilter for the election. Nice. Then I scab all your opinions and pass them off as my own when talking to others. Even better.
posted by liquorice at 4:53 PM on October 18, 2007


speaking of the chaser, here's chaser writer dom knight's pre-emptive postmortem on the election.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:06 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


liquorice: scabbing others' bon mots & insightful thoughts is the prime appeal of metafilter.

here's a hint: a blackberry with a decent microphone, voice-recognition software, automated mefi seach via the google API, text-to-speech converter & a tiny bluetooth earpiece are your friends! be the funniest & most insightful person at every dinner party!

(don't forget the greasemonkey script to filter out all comments by ethereal bligh, though! not that they are unintelligent or anything, but your guests will have left long before you finish even half your spiel)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:17 PM on October 18, 2007


With headlines like this, surely someone could now make the claim that "100% of Howard's cabinet are buisnesspeople! BE AFRAID!" (probably... though they also probably shouldn't)

Plus some interesting commentary over at Possum regarding todays Galaxy Poll. Summarised, it reads "ALP supporters, don't panic! Because this is business as usual for Galaxy."

Even without Possum's expert analysis and soothing words, I find it amusing that the MSM are claiming this as a great day for Howard, when he's still staring down the barrel of a landslide loss. Pathetic. Utterly pathetic.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:26 PM on October 18, 2007


Malcolm Turnbull makes little boy cry: loses toddler vote.

I'm not even kidding.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:22 PM on October 18, 2007


*STOP PRESS* - Rudd to release tax policy at 2:15 this afternoon.

Makes sense:

* it was needed before Sunday's debate, especially if there's only gonna be one
* gave the alp time to gauge reaction to libs' policy
* gives libs minimal time to analyse it before sunday
* makes it into the saturday headlines & supplements, with probably not quite enough time for anybody to find any major holes in it
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:47 PM on October 18, 2007


(i would never in my wildest dreams have imagined that i would regard the release of a taxation policy as a moment of edge-of-seat anticipation, but taxation is howard's only significant policyable strength, according to the leaked reports from his own advisors, which makes this a make-or-break moment.

i'm assuming that labor's strategy is "whatever you do, just don't break" - they're pretty much like that olympic skater: over the line first as long as they don't fall over...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:52 PM on October 18, 2007


from a comment over at possum comitatus:

I have to say I found myself “refreshing the possum” a dozen times this morning waiting for the analysis of the posts.

(and *I* have to say that's gotta be this year's most innovative euphemism!)

posted by UbuRoivas at 9:04 PM on October 18, 2007


Oo ooh excitement plus! Where can I hear this tax announcement live from my office? Newsradio, I'm assuming? I'll tune in now, only five minutes to go...
posted by Jimbob at 9:10 PM on October 18, 2007


From here (there's a link to a video at the top of the page).
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:19 PM on October 18, 2007


Oooooo. I can see that tax rebate for kids at primary school and secondary school going down well with the electorate. I wonder how it will play out against the deferment of the Government's tax cuts next year, though.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:34 PM on October 18, 2007


Summary:

1. 50% education tax refund:
- Claim 50% refund, up to $750, for education needs primary school tax, if you qualify for FTB part A.
- Secondary = $1500
- Funded through killing Howard's tax cuts for uber-rich.

2. 6 year plan - flatten income tax system, collapse number of brackets to 3. 40%, 30%, 15%.

3. Direct tax to health reform plan (400m)
- National elective surgery strategy to reduce elective surgery waiting times.

On point 1 - Rudd choose as his example a family with one child in primary school, and one in highschool. This was a bit sneaky. As I understand it, if you have, say, 2 kids in primary school, that doesn't increase the amount you can get refunded. It will still be capped at $750 in total.

On point 2 - Fiddling with brackets. Ho-hum.

On point 3 - This isn't a tax reform - this is just announcing something new they would spend the tax on.
posted by Jimbob at 9:36 PM on October 18, 2007


TOOLBOX OF THE 21ST CENTURY!!!1!
posted by Jimbob at 9:37 PM on October 18, 2007


Okay, who asked Kevin if he was "making downloading porn tax deductible"?
posted by Jimbob at 9:45 PM on October 18, 2007


Actually Jimbob I think I heard Rudd say that if you have a kid at primary and a kid at high school it's capped at $1250. I may be wrong though.

I also just heard (I think it was The Australian's Dennis Shanahan) ask if you are making the internet tax deductible, is he making the downloading of porn tax deductable. What a ridiculous question.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:46 PM on October 18, 2007


Yeah, I thought I heard that too, Effigy...I thought he must have made a mistake and he really meant $750 + $1500. Hmmm. Sneaky.

Aaaah it was Shanahan. I figured it would either be him or Glen Milne.
posted by Jimbob at 9:47 PM on October 18, 2007


but kids *can't* download porn anymore, thanks to the libs. i mean, that's what that glossy mag was about, wasn't it?

disclaimer: i didn't actually read it, becoz - like more than 50% of australian households - there *are* no children in my home.

also, $1250? surely, it must have been $2250? That's the only result that makes sense. $1500 would also potentially have made sense, but there's no reason why the hiskewl amount would be reduced because there happens to be another kid under hiskewl age.

(unless, um, the ruddster has taken aboard a little too much chinese 'culture' during those mandarin lessons...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:55 PM on October 18, 2007


but yeh, good stuff. take away from the 2% of people above $180,000 pa - who aren't alp constituents anyway - and hand it out to the mortgage belt.

onya, Ruddin Hood!
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:58 PM on October 18, 2007


I think you may be right Ubu. $2250 makes more sense. I think we'll know for sure soon enough.

I can't get over that "making porn downloading tax deductible" question. If I were Rudd I would probably have said the same thing Ubu just said (about the glossy mags sent to us by Howard), because it was the first thing that popped into my head too. But it just goes to show the way these conservative journos work. Find the puritan angle and plug, plug, plug away at it!
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:03 PM on October 18, 2007


Well the first thing that popped into my head is that people running their businesses from home, for example, can already claim things like computers as a tax deduction. Therefore, the Liberals have already made high-tech pornography viewing equipment tax deductible.
posted by Jimbob at 10:05 PM on October 18, 2007


you've got the corrected figures now?

* $375 per primary school kid
* $750 per secondary

= $1125 for one primary + one secondary.

capped at $750 (2 or more primary) & $1500 (2 or more secondary)
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:12 PM on October 18, 2007


The Australian has it's story on Rudd's tax policy up already.

Spin yet to come.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:14 PM on October 18, 2007


The comments over at news.com.au are, as usual, hilarious. The way "conservative" voters demand government handouts is fantastic - a bunch of people whining that they don't have kids, so clearly Rudd isn't doing anything for them.
posted by Jimbob at 10:21 PM on October 18, 2007


And then there's the people complaining that it only benefits people who get FTB part A.

That's pretty much everyone with kids, except the really quite wealthy, or people who have kids who already have jobs. I have no sympathy for people saying "but I don't get FTB-A, what's in it for me?" What's in it for you is that your kid probably already goes to a private school and you've probably already bought them a laptop. And a nice one too. There are even commentors calling FTB-A recipients "welfare families not working families". That shit just pisses me off. I shouldn't read news.com.au.
posted by Jimbob at 10:25 PM on October 18, 2007


Hey, we're forgetting to talk about the health reform aspect of the plan, mentioned here at the ABC News page.
Labor's final measure would deliver $400 million to a health reform plan.

This would include a national elective surgery timetable to reduce waiting times for elective surgery.
I think, Jimbob, what most of the peons commenting at news.com.au are forgetting is that Labor is, as I understand it, still going to cut their tax; the only people who won't recieve a tax cut next year are people earning over $180,000. Infact I think Rudd even said that since he earns that much, he can say with some conviction that people earning that much don't need a tax cut right now. Infact, if we look at the ABC News article I linked to abaove again, it says;
... that Labor's treasury spokesman Wayne Swan says his party is supporting the bulk of the Coalition's tax cuts because they are what the ALP has been pushing for over the past three years.

"Something like two-thirds of all the tax cuts in the package the Government brought down go towards the low income tax offset and go towards shifting the 30 cent rate, we think that is very, very important," he said.
Looks like some economists are even giving the plan the thumbs up already.
An economist has welcomed Labor's tax plan when compared to the Coalitions' plan.

TD Securities senior strategist Joshua Williamson says the Opposition's plan should be well received.

"Well, this when compared with the Coalition's tax package announced earlier in the week, it is a very modest set of tax expenditures deliberately designed as not being seen to fuel inflationary pressure but to actually help build skills and actually help working families deal with the rising cost of education," he said.
So basically it seems as though Labor has a decent tax package here, but will need to keep their cool as they try to sell it through all the hubris that the Coalition's supporters have already started to hurl.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:02 PM on October 18, 2007


Howard has decided to have another go at The Chaser boys over The Eulogy Song. The linked article has this great quote from the PM.
"The stuff about Belinda Emmett and Stan Zemanek was just outrageous, that's not funny, it's appalling taste. It reflects poorly on them and it reflects very poorly on people who think it's funny. Have a go at me, have a go at Kevin Rudd, have a go at people in public life who are alive and kicking. But to smear people like Stan and Belinda, who died in such tragic circumstances and in Belinda's case at such a young age, is just absolutely unacceptable."
Who wants to be the one to tell him that they didn't actually 'have a go' at Belinda Emmett?
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:10 PM on October 18, 2007


Yeah. The best the peons at news.com.au can come up with really is "But we deserve our money NOW, not in a couple of years!"

All the Liberal apologists demanding "what about me" are missing the point. The middle-class, middle-aged have already benefited greatly from Howard's middle-class welfare over the last decade. They all bought houses when they were cheap, and are sitting on huge amounts of equity. They don't have children to support anymore, in these difficult times. How dare they say the money is better spent on them than on our kid's future?

Australia was saved by the mining boom. Agriculture is shot. Manufacturing is shot. Tourism has limits. The most important thing that needs to be done, on a national scale (besides addressing environmental issues, which ain't never gonna happen) is to look at what other industries we can grow into the future when mining eventually stops paying it's way. The choice here is simple. Rudd seems to be honestly disgusted with the state of information infrastructure in Australia, while the best the Howard cabinet can do is tell everyone to be scared of the Internet lest it hurts their kids.
posted by Jimbob at 11:13 PM on October 18, 2007


meh, does anybody seriously think that the forums at news dotcom, the age, the herald & the brisvegas escort directory are not filled with party hacks?

not necessarily in an organised sense, but party members & people with solidified & strongly opinionated views (unlike me, ahem) hover around these places just dying to put their spin on things.

no surprises that so many of the commentators seem to be bending over backwards to misinterpret the situation to their party's advantage.

consider me a possum convert. as far as my reading goes, rudd only had to match howard on tax, more or less, and the old rat would have nothing left in his armoury. once people (except the very few mega-earners) realise that they are getting the same under rudd as under howard, but with a bonus for now & the future in subsidised education-related texts & technology, and with less inflationary pressure, well, fuck me dead if it's not a winner all round.

thanks to the wonders of possumalysis, ppl can whinge all they like about the brain drain, welfare bums, incentives to become single parents, me-too-ism, etc etc etc, and i can happily turn a blind ear, because these are not issues that will change voter intentions.

headin off now for a refreshing coopers green first, red second.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:26 PM on October 18, 2007


Oh yeah, I don't know why I bother with news.com.au, to be honest. It's a clear mix of party hacks and former talkback radio callers who've discovered the power of the internets.

And I guess I'm looking for some evidence that tax policy (Howard's or Rudd's) change voting intentions. I mean, people seem to be into tax cuts, in an abstract sort of way. If tax policy is going to change anyone's point of view, it's going to be the result of how well the media presents the idea of the tax cut so it's associated with one particular party, rather than any fine details.

I can only hope this will be interpreted as:

Howard: Fiddling with the brackets.
Rudd: Doing the same thing as Howard, but directing money at kids and hospitals!

Anyway, yes, it is beer o'clock.
posted by Jimbob at 11:35 PM on October 18, 2007


Not quite Beer O'Clock for me yet. I've still got another 1.15hrs to go. Then it's James Boag time! (St.George, natch).

I'll leave you with Costello's response to Labor's tax policy. I think you can guess what it says without clicking on the link, but go ahead. You know you wanna.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:45 PM on October 18, 2007


*clicks on the damn link*

*opens the Boag's*
posted by Wolof at 11:48 PM on October 18, 2007


*cringes at awful news.com.au idiots, closes page, throws salt over shoulder, bolts door*
posted by Wolof at 11:51 PM on October 18, 2007


I wasn't going to read anything on noooz.COM.au anyway, but you guys have really turned me off it. Did shamaham really say that?

Not wildly impressed with the ALP tax package. Having recently had to deal with FTB for the first time I am horrified at the complexities of the system and think it should all be scrapped and if we are to give tax transfers to parents (which is another question) it has to be done in a far simpler and cleaner way. This just adds to the complexity.

I like the simplification of scales, but that's about the only improvement. They could have done something far more interesting and caught the imagination and set the debate, instead they've just gone 'me too'.
posted by wilful at 12:12 AM on October 19, 2007


Hmmm. 15, 30, 40. Anyone for tennis?
posted by flabdablet at 3:41 AM on October 19, 2007


Day 6.


Labor's tax plan seems to be going down well enough. The Government Gazette The Australian is calling it Rudd's $31b counter punch and even Shanahan, while not necessarily giving it his full endorsement, is saying it is a decent package that gives Rudd back some of his balance. No comment yet from Ackerman, but Bolt, like Shanahan, is also giving it some guarded support. No doubt they're waiting for Rupert Murdoch, who has been keeping himself tight-lipped during the campaign thus far, to make his feelings 100% clear.

So unless there are some serious holes in Labor's package that haven't yet emerged, it seems that this tax package will probably be a winner for Rudd... unless you're one of those selfish news.com.au bloggers who earns over $180,000 whining about not getting your $10pw next year.

In other news, Rudd is continuing to attack Australia's broadband infrastructure (which is good, because I can't even get ADSL2 where I live, which annoys the fuck out of me) and The Greens are apparently set to finalise a preference deal with the ALP.

Five more weeks of this to go...
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:45 PM on October 19, 2007


meanwhile, howard continues with the strategy of stepping in & "fixing" state issues, in an attempt to portray (state) labor as incompetent:

HALF a million dollars will be given by the Federal Government to fund closed circuit cameras in western Sydney to crack down on hoons and street racers.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, said the $550,000 would be given straight to the local council, bypassing the State Government, which he criticised for not doing enough to tackle a problem that was of great concern to the local community.


admittedly, he's got a point where nsw is concerned. they are so utterly fucked that i was actually going to vote liberal for the first time ever at any level, just to get rid of carr. i was very disappointed when he resigned. i'm just glad that howard's still gonna be around to be booted the fuck out of office, kirribilli & wentworth.

it's quite ironic for howard to attack nsw labor. people were so fed up with them & wanted them gone, but they were re-elected simply because the opposition was so piss-poor, and to be honest, that's the only thing that i think has saved howard from having been deposed at any election after his first term. my feeling is that aussies have been wanting to see the back of the lying rodent for years now, but just needed a credible opposition, nothing more. just credible. no brain explosions; anybody who can walk & talk at the same time would do...
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:24 PM on October 19, 2007


bennelong, not wentworth. wrong species of rodent.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:26 PM on October 19, 2007


... so why not amuse yourself by playing Whack*A*Poll! (awesome, awesome fun, via Possum, of course.)
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:28 PM on October 19, 2007


no sound?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:39 PM on October 19, 2007


Well I'm desperately unsurprised about just how boring and depressing this election has turned outto be.

Anyone give odds on the debate? I reckon a) Rudd will win it in a canter b) it will be tightly scripted and nothing original will be said c) it wont matter a jot and no one will watch.
posted by wilful at 8:56 PM on October 19, 2007


I'm going to watch it. It'll be a terrible, dull, soul-sapping grind. But I have to know.
posted by Wolof at 9:06 PM on October 19, 2007


Dave Hughes with his view on the election. I suspect Howard will want to punch him in the throat for this.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:19 AM on October 20, 2007


Day 7


Julia Gillard has returned fire over Costello's attempt to smear her over her tenuous links to Communist organisations by pointing out Costello once tried to join the Labor Party.

The leaders debate is, of course, on tonight. Channel 9 will be showing it with the worm, so that's what I'll be watching. I'm wondering if Howard will look as nervous and worried as he has during the last three election debates.

Glen Milne, meanwhile, is claiming that Howard's insistence that there be only one debate has backfired, with this demand apparently being seen by the electorate as a joke.

I probably won't be in this thread commenting live as the debate goes on, but I'll definitely be here afterwards with my thoughts. Shall we meet here afterwards to discuss what happened?
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:23 PM on October 20, 2007


good to hear that the worm will make an appearance.

i might record homo sapiens & watch that after the debate, i think. can't get enough of people dressed up as neanderthals etc, moving about like gorillas & grunting in an imagined proto-language.

(c'mon guys, get your act together - by that stage early man had the same voicebox & facial muscles as today; they were not restricted to "ugh! grugh, eurgh, ug ooog graagh!")
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:50 PM on October 20, 2007


...the Liberal Party has counterpunched ahead of tonight's televised debate hosted by the National Press Club, issuing a "bingo"-style card so viewers can mark down Kevin Rudd's "annoying" phrases and mannerisms. The card includes areas dedicated to the use of phrases by Mr Rudd such as "fresh ideas", "end of the blame game", "the buck stops with me", and "I am an economic conservative".

Might that not backfire as well? Rudd now has a list of phrases not to say. Which he shouldn't. Coz those phrases are fucking annoying.

I was thinking of an IRC gathering during the debate. If folks want to give it a spin, I'll be hanging out in irc.slashnet.org/#mefi as per usual.
posted by Jimbob at 7:39 PM on October 20, 2007


Only 15 minutes to go and the excitement is palpable (well, for me it is anyway).

No doubt some issues of contention will be Rudd's promise today of $1.5b for child care, Costello's claim that Labor's tax package has some holes in it, and the Liberal's inability to count the correct percentage of union officials on the Labor front bench.

Should be interesting...
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:19 AM on October 21, 2007


Damn the half-hour delay for Centralia.
posted by Jimbob at 2:45 AM on October 21, 2007


That worm is going off...Okay, has Channel 9 picked their room full of worm-turners from the local Trades Hall, or do the public now completely despise Howard while being passionately in love with Rudd? Well, Rudd is pretty kissable, especially with that make-up...
posted by Jimbob at 3:44 AM on October 21, 2007


Howard thinks bringing the "culture war" into things with his obsession with the "correct Australian Historical Narrative" is going to win him votes? Dude has lost it.
posted by Jimbob at 4:03 AM on October 21, 2007


flatline for the rodent.

as a colleague said, people have just stopped listening to him.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:07 AM on October 21, 2007


Howard seemed way more confident this time round. But yeah, it looks as though the worm has turned and now votes Labor. Which given those 200 yobs sitting behind Ray are self-declared swinging voters, is bad news for Howard.

And what the hell happened with the Channel 9 feed for the debate? Ray made a comment about it as soon as the debate ended (something about "someone angering the worm" and "what ever happened to freedom of speech?"). Sounds like someone from the Libs may have complained about it. Does anyone have any info on that?

Anyhoo, as much as it is clear that Rudd owned tonights debate, as Annabelle Crabb pointed out, Howard has lost the last three election debates and won the last three elections. So it's not a clear indication about what will happen on November 24th. That said, as my non-political girlfriend pointed out, that may be due to the fact there was no real credible alternative those last few times. Rudd is credible. So maybe this time round the worm may have picked it?

It will be interesting to see tomorrows media coverage of the debate, I think...
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:23 AM on October 21, 2007


I just loved watching the worm head for the floor every time Howard name-dropped "Downer" or "Costello" or "Abbott" or "Brough"...
posted by Jimbob at 4:36 AM on October 21, 2007


Oh, of course...and "Bush".
posted by Jimbob at 4:43 AM on October 21, 2007


It's an interesting sample, but the voters who are going to matter going into this are not the ones who watch this sort of thing.

Still, some encouragement there.
posted by Wolof at 6:24 AM on October 21, 2007


Love your work, lads. Keep it up!

On the Costello/Gillard shenanigans: it sounds like Costello really isn't in a position to cast nasturtiums upon Gillard's previous political leanings.
posted by zamboni at 11:43 AM on October 21, 2007


Day 8 (Week 2)


Most of the MSM outlets are reporting the obvious this morning; that Rudd won the debate hands down (although The Government Gazette is calling it a 'narrow victory' for Rudd). For me, though, the real story lies in the so-called 'censoring' of the worm.
RAY Martin claims that the Nine Network's coverage of tonight's Sky News Debate has been "sabotaged" by someone unhappy with its use of the maligned "worm".

After being ordered to not use the "worm" - which indicates the reactions of undecided voters to arguments and has been a feature of modern televised election debates – the network broadcast it anyway.

[...]

Martin did not accuse any specific individual or group, but said "someone" obviously was not happy.

[...]

A spokesman from the Liberal Party said that Nine did not adhere to the agreed rules. “Nine breached the conditions of the broadcast (agreement),” the spokesman said. “It’s a matter for the National Press Club.”
Hopefuuly more information on this will emerge as the days and weeks go on; it actually sounds like something of a juicy apple in this campaign!

As week 2 begins, the campaign, of course, goes on. No doubt Labor will spend most of the day spruiking its new $1.5b child care policy, announced yesterday. And the Government looks set to announce $700m for a Toowoomba bypass.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:32 PM on October 21, 2007


Some more info on the censoring of the worm. Looks as though the feed to Nine was cut twice (I only noticed one cut) and it may have been the National Press Club that ordered the feed cut. Spicy!
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:34 PM on October 21, 2007


Costello is a commie. Abbott is a union thug.
posted by Jimbob at 3:02 PM on October 21, 2007


Turns out it was the National Press Club that censored the worm.

The National Press Club, an organisation of journalists that holds free speech as one of its core principles, censored the worm.

Un-freaking-believable.

In other news, the PM was heckled this morning while on his morning walk, and this time it wasn't anyone from The Chaser.
"You're a disgrace John," the man said. "You're such a bad economic manager."

Mr Howard ignored the man, but a fellow walker defended the prime minister.

"Shut up you idiot," a young man said in defence of Mr Howard.
Yeah. I guess that young man (obviously a Liberal staffer) showed him!
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:40 PM on October 21, 2007


Do you reckon the number of candidate posters around the suburbs is any measure of the resources parties are putting into electorates? If so, it looks like the reports that the Liberals are giving up on winning a load of marginals and are pulling out campaign funding may be true; Labor posters are outnumbering Country Liberal Party posters around Solomon by a ratio of about 10 to 1. Dave Tollner appears to have gone into hiding in his bunker with his guns and cases of Crown Lager...
posted by Jimbob at 4:55 PM on October 21, 2007


I've always wondered why people haven't made it a regular part of their mornings all these years - grabbing a coffee & croissant & lying in wait to heckle Howard on his walks. I guess you'd need to live nearby.

Speaking of his walks, has anybody else seen Keating: the Musical? The parody of Howard's ridiculous walking style was perfect.

Also of vague interest, we have a bit of a microcosm here: me & zamboni in Sydney, Effigy in Brisvegas, Jimbob in Darwin, wolof in Adelaide, and I guess liquorice would have to be our Melbourne correspondent. Nobody from Hobart or Perth, to my knowledge.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:21 PM on October 21, 2007


Jimbob: yeah, the campaign posters (or corflutes) are a bit of an indicator. Unlike the Greens, who tend to have generic posters ("Vote 1 the Greens", "Fund Public Education" etc) suitable for re-use election after election, the Major parties print most of them up specifically for each election, all smiley candidate portraits & current campaign slogans. Those things don't come for free.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:24 PM on October 21, 2007


"Do you reckon the number of candidate posters around the suburbs is any measure of the resources parties are putting into electorates?"
posted by Jimbob at 10:55 AM on October 22

Yes. A candidate is only as good as the resources granted to him by the party, and if he or she dosen't have a lot of party workers available to help them put up signs, then not a lot of signs go up.


In the case of Solomon, it's interesting. It's an incumbent Liberal who won the last two elections. He only won by 88 votes in 2001 but increased his margin to 2% in 2004. I suspect that this was a result of the anti-Latham factor. That means the 2001 result is probably the more accurate margin, meaning that the Libs have probably decided that they can't win it.

It's part of the firewall strategy mentioned by Possum. And given that Solomon, like Eden-Monaro, is one of the 'litmus test' seats for who will win Government, I wouldn't be surprised if the Libs really are poring all their resources into the seats they think they can win.

"Also of vague interest, we have a bit of a microcosm here: me & zamboni in Sydney, Effigy in Brisvegas, Jimbob in Darwin, wolof in Adelaide, and I guess liquorice would have to be our Melbourne correspondent. Nobody from Hobart or Perth, to my knowledge."
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:21 AM on October 22

Ubu, we're no longer Bris-Vegas. Haven't you heard? We're now ripping off New York now. Get with the program!

As for spotting the Metafilter Microcosm... good spotting!. But who cares about Perth and Hobart? I can honestly say I've never actually met a Tasmanian online (I think Tasmanians may actually be a myth) and anyone from Perth would probably just be banging on about how great it is to vote for Howard and how awesome it is to live in the middle of the fucking desert.

In other news, I found this interesting distributional analysis of the Coalition and ALP tax proposals at Andrew Leigh's blog. Makes for interesting reading... or a great cure for insomnia. Take your pick.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:34 PM on October 21, 2007


Ubu, we're no longer Bris-Vegas. Haven't you heard? We're now ripping off New York now. Get with the program!

A new Big Banana?

Speaking of his walks, has anybody else seen Keating: the Musical? The parody of Howard's ridiculous walking style was perfect.

Hang on a tick, just let me talk
'Cos you can tell by the way I use my walk
I'm just a bloke, a normal bloke,
and nothin' more...


Was just listening to it today.

Also of vague interest, we have a bit of a microcosm here: me & zamboni in Sydney, Effigy in Brisvegas, Jimbob in Darwin, wolof in Adelaide, and I guess liquorice would have to be our Melbourne correspondent. Nobody from Hobart or Perth, to my knowledge.

Actually, I'm overseas for a bit. Think of me as your external observer.
posted by zamboni at 6:30 PM on October 21, 2007


OK, New New York it is, then, following the grand tradition by which New York is not in the tiniest bit like York. I think you're infringing the Betty Ford Clinic's copyright, though, with "Get with the program".

Kudos to zamboni for the Big Banana monicker.

A candidate is only as good as the resources granted to him by the party, and if he or she dosen't have a lot of party workers available to help them put up signs, then not a lot of signs go up.

I don't think that's the issue. It's probably more a matter of choosing not to spend money on new signs in seats that don't look like they're going to be contestable. "Party workers" are not, to my knowledge, ever paid contractors. There are enough party members in any electorate who are willing to give up a few hours in the evenings or on weekends to drive around with a ute & a ladder & put the things up. All the best spots are well-known & documented from one election to the next, and the actual process is down pat.

"I'm just a bloke, a normal bloke" - the audience was in stitches.

And...has everybody been refreshing the possum all morning, too?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:56 PM on October 21, 2007


There are enough party members in any electorate who are willing to give up a few hours in the evenings or on weekends to drive around with a ute & a ladder & put the things up.

Since the CLP has a grand total of four MPs in the Northern Territory Parliament at the moment, I imagine they have plenty of members with free time to give up to the cause...
posted by Jimbob at 7:07 PM on October 21, 2007


The rodent's suggestion to include mention of aborigines in the preamble to the constitution makes this story on an all-indigenous swimsuit calendar quite pertinent to this thread.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:38 PM on October 21, 2007


"I don't think that's the issue. It's probably more a matter of choosing not to spend money on new signs in seats that don't look like they're going to be contestable. "Party workers" are not, to my knowledge, ever paid contractors. There are enough party members in any electorate who are willing to give up a few hours in the evenings or on weekends to drive around with a ute & a ladder & put the things up."
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:56 PM on October 22

You are correct that they are not paid contractors; party members more often than not volunteer their time to help their team. But often the organising for where these volunteers go and what work they do is planned by State office. I can imagine that, if Possum is correct and a firewall strategy is in place, Liberal Party HQ in the NT would have let Tollner and his people know "Sorry mate, we need your people somewhere else" and sent them off to a neighboring seat.

But Solomon does not fit this theory since the only other NT seat is Lingiari, which is a safe Labor seat which I can't see a firewall strategy helping to pinch from Labor. There would obviously be no point to sending all of Tollner's people to Lingiari when they would be better off staying in Solomon to try and hold back the tide as best they can. I only offer this as an explanation as to how party workers and volunteers are often managed in elections.

So, what's more more likely to explain why Jimbon can't see any signs anywhere is that the Libs have just cut off all (or next to all) funding from Tollner with the expectation that Solomon can't be won, with funding going somewhere else. Why Tollner couldn't just use his corflutes from last election is beyond me. Maybe they were damaged or something. Maybe Tollner knows its a lost cause and he's busy shredding documents. Maybe his people are just lazy. It's hard to say with any certainty. But clearly the Libs don't expect to win Solomon, and I can see why, what with the polls being the way they are, the tight margins and the fact that Tollner is known for "speaking his mind", they would think this.

In other news; Treasurer refuses to rule out a challenge. Hmmmmm....
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:01 PM on October 21, 2007


Wait, wait, I'm in this microcosm thingy too! I haven't been piping up much, but I've been watching this thread (and the debate) with interest...
posted by web-goddess at 8:24 PM on October 21, 2007


I'm in melbourne, but thankfully in one of the safest seats in the country, Gellibrand, with the incumbent being the rather average Nicola Roxon.

Safe seats are nice and quiet places, but we do also like the smell of freshly dumped pork, at least from time to time.
posted by wilful at 8:42 PM on October 21, 2007


Well, I just read this article and learned something I did not know before now.

Glen Milne is the VP of the Press Council.

Glen-freaking-Milne is the VP of the organisation who tried to censor the worm.

As Monty Burns once said "It's all falling into place."

Howard is saying his office had nothing to do with it. And I believe that because it would have been an act of insane political suicide to have done so, as evidenced by the firestorm this morning.

Still, it won't do the Liberal's any favours. Look at what Laurie Oakes had to say.
Veteran Nine Network journalist Laurie Oakes, who was on the question panel for the debate, angrily attacked the NPC's decision.

"With a name like National Press Club, you'd think it would be out there defending the free press and the rights of the media. Instead, it rolled over supinely when John Howard said you've got to ban the worm. That was the problem last night."
I imagine most, if not all decent journalists, will have been apalled by the NPC's decision, and would suspect that the Libs may have had something to do with it, especially given Milne's involvment. I can see them not only doggedly following this story for a little while, but resenting the Libs encroachment on free speech and turning against them for doing so.

In other news, the ACTU has launched a new ad to try and deflect the Government's attempts to demonise trade unionists. I think it does a great job of it too.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:52 PM on October 21, 2007


In case you need your memory jogged about Glen Milne, here he is at the Walkley awards.
posted by zamboni at 9:20 PM on October 21, 2007


Glenn Milne?? Who's the president, Piers Ackerman?

This will rebound on them somewhat. I noticed News.com commentary claiming that Labor and the coalition had both requested the worm be banned. Not the story Fairfax gave.
posted by wilful at 9:35 PM on October 21, 2007


wilful - sorry to have left you out; just did a quick mental poll. web-goddess' perspective is also keenly sought, due to her relatively new status as a citizen. that, and the fact that she is a namesake of our (soon to be ex-) leader, which must cause at least a few incidents of "no relation, honestly!" per week.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:41 PM on October 21, 2007


Here's a perspective on where Victoria sits in the election from today's Age:
COULD it be that they held a federal election and Victoria did not matter?

Bizarrely, Australia's second most populous state, the location of the national parliament for the first few decades of the federation, the home of prime ministers Deakin, Menzies, Fraser and Hawke, could conceivably play no part in the outcome of Election 2007.
Premier Brumby has been complaining about the distinct lack of bacony goodness round these parts the last few weeks. Kinda fair enough, we certainly pay our share of taxes and always get shortchanged on everything. Which would be fine if it was going to Tassie and SA, but to SE Qld and WA? Grrr.
posted by wilful at 9:48 PM on October 21, 2007


on the topic of corflutes, remember that we're only a week into the campaign. it might take a bit of time to organise the printing & the 'postering' runs, but you'd have to presume that the major parties have their graphic design ready to go at any time leading up to an election announcement, and printing arrangements in place.

i went for a cycle around the inner west, harbour foreshore & inner south on the weekend, and didn't see too many corflutes up yet. anthony albanese had a bunch up all over intersections around marrickville & petersham, which is a bit funny, because it's the second-safest labor seat in the country. most were "your rights at work - worth voting for", probably hoping to catch some of the commuter traffic en route to the city from other electorates.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:52 PM on October 21, 2007


I'd be Melbourne observer, but the paper this morning tells me that Victoria is irrelevant.

Of course, that doesn't bother me a bit, cos I live in the West, and we were irrelevant to start with...
posted by pompomtom at 9:55 PM on October 21, 2007


Yeah, maybe the CLP haven't got around to churning out all their posters yet.

I just remember the last federal election, when I was living in Adelaide... people were out sticking posters on power poles within half an hour of the election being called, and within a day the power-poll-coverage was close to 100%. Huge waste of cardboard.

Maybe folks up here are just lazy. Must be the build-up weather.
posted by Jimbob at 10:33 PM on October 21, 2007


Well, it would have been the most exciting thing to happen all year in Adelaide, so that's understandable.

The buildup would make for much better entertainment. Are you getting all those wonderful lightning storms now? The jacarandas are flowering in Sydney right now, which always means it's exam time. It'd be funny to associate exams with crazy lightning, instead of lilac flowers & bogong moths...
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:40 PM on October 21, 2007


No lightning yet. In fact, the weather isn't even that bad. Maybe I've just gotten used to it.
posted by Jimbob at 10:59 PM on October 21, 2007


Ooo possum's updated.
posted by Jimbob at 11:05 PM on October 21, 2007


the fact that she is a namesake of our (soon to be ex-) leader, which must cause at least a few incidents of "no relation, honestly!" per week.

Um, yes. That actually happens quite a bit, the latest being a job interview this morning. "No relation!" I usually add with a smile. That ferret has ruined my perfectly good surname.

I LOVED watching the debate last night. Viva la worm! If only we had something similar in the US...
posted by web-goddess at 11:08 PM on October 21, 2007


How do you think John Howard feels? Still, at least he gets to say sorry.
posted by wilful at 11:36 PM on October 21, 2007


Yep, John Howard (the actor) does that a bit.

Hey, does anyone know the rough number of people disenfranchised by the early closing of the rolls? The only one I've seen is one hundred and forty thousand.
posted by zamboni at 11:45 PM on October 21, 2007


possum fix!

*stops scratching bloody holes in hands & face*
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:24 AM on October 22, 2007


"Glenn Milne?? Who's the president, Piers Ackerman?"
posted by wilful at 3:35 PM on October 22

Nope. It's some geezer called Ken Randall. Anyone know who he is?

But look at who else is on the board. David Speers, who was the debate's fucking moderator!

This thing goes deep, dude...

"I noticed News.com commentary claiming that Labor and the coalition had both requested the worm be banned. Not the story Fairfax gave."
posted by wilful at 3:35 PM on October 22

And not the truth, either. In the days leading up to the debate, not only did Rudd consistently back the the worm, but the ALP website had a petition to save the worm.

You know, when the lies and hidden truths surrounding this whole episode are so blatant, it makes me wonder if the NPC was indeed acting alone. The only thing that makes me think otherwise is, as I said before, Howard's office couldn't possibly be this politically stupid... could they?

Plus I'm not a great fan of conspiracy theories. But I think that there is far more to this story than we know at this stage, and I just hope that those journalists who were aghast at the NPC's decision actually investigate this thing over the coming days and weeks, rather than just letting it sit.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:48 AM on October 22, 2007


it's short notice, but i bet media watch has something to say about it tonight, and may run the story over the next week or two...
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:39 AM on October 22, 2007


(i assume i don't need to explain or link to Media Watch, right?)

(heh - i wrote away for & received one of the Stay Brave & True fridge magnets a coupla years back...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:41 AM on October 22, 2007


The Worm = Children Overboard!

Erm.

Carry on, then.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:41 AM on October 22, 2007


Brown wants Senate Worm probe.

Gross.

OK, OK, I'm going to bed.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:28 AM on October 22, 2007


It doesn't look like Media Watch mentioned the worm at all.
posted by zamboni at 12:21 PM on October 22, 2007


Day 9


There's a new Newspoll out today that shows Labor is surging ahead once more.

The CEO of the National Press Club is denying that there was any political interference in the controversy surrounding the worm.

And the PM has scrubbed all reference to the 'Howard-Costello team' in his own election advertising in his seat of Bennelong. Anyone else suspect he's feeling the heat there?

Also;

zamboni: "It doesn't look like Media Watch mentioned the worm at all."

Maybe next week.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:55 PM on October 22, 2007


What I'm really waiting for is Clarke and Dawe's take on the worm malarkey.
posted by zamboni at 2:38 PM on October 22, 2007


Anyone else suspect he's feeling the heat there?

Well, a couple of polls have put Maxine McKew ahead of Howard in his own seat, and voters are rarely fond of by-elections.

Howard being the power-greedy rodent that he is, if he's returned in Bennelong & subsequently hands power over to Costello, does anybody realistically think he would return to the front (or even the back) bench? Not on your life - the second he relinquishes the prime ministership, he retires from Parliament, and the people of Bennelong have to put up with a new smarmy bastard trying to handle their babies in Macquarie Mall again.

But that's all hypothetical, anyway, since Maxine will trounce him, and the coalition in general will be decimated at the polls.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:00 PM on October 22, 2007


If the coalition lose but Howard doesn't lose Bennelong, what do you think would happen then?

Hang around as opposition leader?

Head for the backbench?

Retire immediately?
posted by Jimbob at 3:13 PM on October 22, 2007


since Maxine will trounce him

I want to believe!
posted by Wolof at 3:20 PM on October 22, 2007


A new Labor ad, this time on Climate Change.

It's a pretty slick ad. When you compare it to "The evil unions are comin' to getchya!", I can see how that real positive vs negative campaign element is going to start swinging votes Rudd's way.

Mind you, they're obviously just working from a template.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:30 PM on October 22, 2007


Yeah, the whole anti-union, pro-business thing just shows how out of touch the federal Liberal party have become.

I really don't think the average Australian cares much about unions... they may not like it when the train drivers go on strike. And clearly fewer people now feel like joining up and paying their dues than 20 years ago. But there's no actual negativity towards unionism as a principal, apart from a subset of business owners who are probably Liberal Party members anyway.

I'd wager people have much more suspicion towards business; the obscene bonuses CEOs and other executives are earning, stories of small businesses ripping off young workers under Workchoices, tax-dodging investors. Richard Pratt. Renee Rivkin. AWB. James Hardie.

How many evil businesses or business people can you name? How many evil unions or unionists?
posted by Jimbob at 3:46 PM on October 22, 2007


"Yeah, the whole anti-union, pro-business thing just shows how out of touch the federal Liberal party have become.

I really don't think the average Australian cares much about unions..."

posted by Jimbob at 9:46 AM on October 23

I couldn't agree more strongly. The Liberal's have been carrying on about how evil the unions are and how a Rudd Labor Government would mean union control of Australia for 10 months now... 10 months... and there's not been a single shift in the polls, except for the odd 2 points up, 2 points down move on either side.

I don't understand how a party that has held power for so long can simply not understand the simple, fundamental message that 10 months of consistent polls have shown them; average Australians don't share your rabid anti-union views. The only explanation I can think of is that the Liberals are so ideologically blinkered against the unions that they can't see the forest for the trees.

You can't smell your own shit on your knees...
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:07 PM on October 22, 2007


If the coalition lose but Howard doesn't lose Bennelong, what do you think would happen then?

I think he'd retire almost immediately. The rodent cares about nothing other than power. As John Hewson said recently (paraphrasing) "He doesn't actually have any principles, at least not in the sense of lying awake at night wondering how he will implement his vision. He just does whatever is politically expedient on the day, with hanging on to power as an end in itself, his sole raison d'etre". Howard would not be able to stomach sitting in opposition, powerless, while Labor does pretty much whatever it wants, nationally. (unsure what's going on with the senate, ie could Labor control both houses?)

How many evil unions or unionists?

The Federated Canadian Baby Fur Seal Clubbers Union doesn't have the best image.

The Liberal's have been carrying on about how evil the unions are and how a Rudd Labor Government would mean union control of Australia for 10 months now... 10 months... and there's not been a single shift in the polls, except for the odd 2 points up, 2 points down move on either side.

Wrong.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:26 PM on October 22, 2007


average Australians don't share your rabid anti-union views

I think there's a whole lot more to the IR issue than that, and suspect that the pendulum may be swinging back towards increased faith in & reliance on unions (at least, in the abstract) specifically because of WorkChoices.

Ironically, it was the success of the Accord between Hawke, Keating & the unions that caused a decline in union membership & activity, by stabilising the macroeconomic situation & ensuring across-the-board minimum wage, leave & other entitlements on an industry-wide basis. This meant that, for example, every waiter or waitress in the country could easily look up what their minimum hourly wage should be, as well as all their other benefits (depending on whether they were permanent or casual employees, but casuals, as we know, receive a higher hourly rate in exchange for not receiving leave loading and so on).

The success of these legal minimum conditions meant that people no longer felt that they needed to pay their $5-10 a week in union dues, because the negotiations had already been done, and people came to accept the deal as a fundamental, natural & ongoing fact of life.

WorkChoices changed all that. Suddenly, the bosses have all the power, "negotiating" with small, disempowered groups of workers, site by site, company by company. I think people realise now how vulnerable they are, and are actually looking to the unions, in principle at least, as their saviours against the bosses. If they don't care to sign up again & fork out for that protection, the next best thing they can do is vote for the party that's apparently stacked with the kinds of people who've spent a good part of their careers protecting the rights of ordinary workers.

That, imho, is why the government's fear-mongering over unions is apparently doing nothing whatsoever for their re-election chances, and is probably playing right into Labor's hands.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:32 PM on October 22, 2007


Labor won't need to pay for corflute if the libs keep putting Labor candidates' faces on the telly.

I don't have a TV, so that "booga booga unions scary scary" thing is the first Liberal TV ad I've seen in this campaign.

My instant reaction (possibly due to watching the scary-bunny how-to video first) is best summed up in the immortal words of Derek and Clive.

Thanks for the link to Milne vs Mayne, too; hadn't seen it before. Quality journalism indeed from the Poison Dwarf!
posted by flabdablet at 6:37 PM on October 22, 2007


Possum's updated!

Plenty of beautiful, sweet, lovely, heart-embiggening graphs to enjoy!

In other news, there's much pork being thrown in my direction at the moment, so I'm off for a bbq pork & wonton noodle soup.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:15 PM on October 22, 2007


Possum makes a good point. Where is the Narrowing?

It might be a bit too early into the election to say the Narrowing (and as such, the Coalition) is dead and buried, but I'm fairly sure its being moved into palliative care as we speak.

flabdablet: that Derek & Clive thing was piss funny.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:31 PM on October 22, 2007


You thought this story surrounding the worm was big? Well get this.

An unnamed US military source has claimed that he was present when John Howard and US Vice President Dick Cheney cut a deal on the release of Bill Hicks. Quoteth the source;
"He [Mr Cheney] did it, apparently, as part of a deal cut with [Australian Prime Minister] Howard. I kept thinking: this is the sort of thing that used to go on behind the Iron Curtain, not in America. And then it struck me how much this entire process had disintegrated into a political charade. It's demoralising for all of us."
Howard denies it, of course, especially the allegation that part of the deal was that Hicks couldn't talk to the media until after the election.

It's hard to imagine this day getting any worse for Howard at this stage. If Newspoll's 2PP figure is correct, the election calculator is predicting a wipeout.

In other news, Swan has agreed to debate Costello, with the worm, next week. And gay marriage has suddenly become an election issue.

Interesting times are ahead...
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:09 PM on October 22, 2007


Isn't, er, Bill Hicks that dead guy who doesn't like marketers?
posted by Wolof at 8:15 PM on October 22, 2007


And by Bill I meant David, of course.

Sorry. Been a long day.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:33 PM on October 22, 2007


Bill Hicks is dead?!??

I didn't even know he'd gone hunting with Cheney.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:35 PM on October 22, 2007


With respect to Howard and Cheney's putative cosy little deal on Our David, I wish I could muster a little more shock and outrage at this collusion and mutual exchange of favours presented as the exercise of independent process. The last few years have set my expectations pretty low, I'm afraid.
posted by Wolof at 8:39 PM on October 22, 2007


(and something to lighten the mood)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:40 PM on October 22, 2007


This thread is up to 288 comments with this comment. I reckon we could make 300 before the day is out, which would probably make this the longest Aussie politics thread ever.

And yet, still no sidebar. Last time I e-mailed Jess she said this was an "impressive thread" but gave no committment to sidebarring it. Has everyone flagged the thread?

Maybe we Aussies should band together and e-mail Jess to ask for a sidebarrin'. Or maybe start a MeTa thread letting everyone know this thread is, after 9 days, still alive and kicking?
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:53 PM on October 22, 2007


Are you really sure you want delmoi coming in here to write "Australia sucks"?

I say we forge ahead in clandestine manner and see what it looks like in a month.
posted by Wolof at 9:02 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


The thread is, indeed, showing more signs of life than Bonsai.

But no, I'm not flagging it until I see a Greens tag, as well as AustralianGreens, InternationalGreens, BobBrown & Brown tags.

I think Worm & Rodent could also be added.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:05 PM on October 22, 2007


A clarification on terminology, for our international friends: "Bonsai" is a nickname sometimes used for our Prime Minister, John Howard, because (as Dubya's own mini-me) he is a "little Bush". This is also a play on the colloqualism whereby "bush" is commonly used to refer to a woman's pubic area, making him a "little cunt". This also just happens to be a perfect description of both his stature & personality.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:14 PM on October 22, 2007


Added those tags, plus a few more. Bonsai!
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:16 PM on October 22, 2007


See, this is how deals are done!

I've flagged the post as a "great post".

Now, for a favourite: how about a BedsAreBurning flag?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:33 PM on October 22, 2007


tag.

the BedsAreBurning flag features a yellow bunny, hopping across a black & red horizon.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:35 PM on October 22, 2007


I'm all for plugging away here rather than getting pushy about sidebarring.

My links for today -
Helen Razer at New Matilda, crying out for substance over spin.
$4bn for pensioners. It's like the villain of a melodrama trying to buy his way out of peril. "What do you want? Money? Power?"
The Brethren seem to be up to their usual tricks in Wentworth.
posted by zamboni at 9:52 PM on October 22, 2007


Very funny, Ms Razer, that is a joke that I and three others will relish until, well, teatime at least. Because warmed over, half-digested, sub-Baudrillardian wittering is important. You know, for the people.
posted by Wolof at 10:00 PM on October 22, 2007


"Now, for a favourite: how about a BedsAreBurning flag?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:33 PM on October 23

It is done.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:08 PM on October 22, 2007


Wolof, I think you're missing Razer's wonderfully deft command of post-irony: crying out for substance over spin, she bends over backwards to make a gratuitous & clumsy punning allusion to none other than Slavov Zizek!
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:17 PM on October 22, 2007


It is done.

OK, you've got my vote.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:18 PM on October 22, 2007


Bob Brown now reckons Rudd is discriminating against gays.

Which he is. But c'mon Bob. Where's the criticism of Howard for the same thing while you're at it?

300...
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:25 PM on October 22, 2007


Wow, those Brethren sure don't come across as crazy-old-man-on-soapbox nutters, do they?

MAYBE IT"S THE WAY THEY USE ALL CAPS, WITH ITALICS & UNDERLINING TO EMPHASISE THE REALLY IMPORTANT BITS?

Aside from that, "we don't even vote" - shouldn't the police be onto them?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:28 PM on October 22, 2007


Maybe it's too much coffee speaking, but i'm really in the mood to do a black operation down at Bondi this weekend, dressed in some kind of hessian sack, maybe with a crown of thorns, ranting & raving & wearing some of those poster-boards (what do you call them? sandwich boards?), quoting Brethren literature, interspersed with Time Cube.

Plenty of Brethren-TimeCube-Turnbull flyers for the punters, too.

This kinda silliness could even call for some more serious jamming. Wentworth is where Sydney's Jews live, so as to be close to the Synagogues. Some pro-christian, Brethren-branded graffiti on & around these places of worship would surely be a boost for Turnbull...
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:37 PM on October 22, 2007


How well does that whole OMG WE'RE CONCERNED CHRISTIANS AND THE GREENS ARE GOING TO SELL THE COUNTRY TO SATAN / ALLAH thing play with the population, though, really? Australians are, on the whole, a bunch of godless heathens. Even Family First have to pretend they aren't the Christian Right in order to get any votes. Is there any evidence that the Brethren's ads do anything but send some more advertising dollars to the papers?

I can't imagine many swinging voters reading an ad like that and thinking "Oh shit, I can't vote Labor now! And to think, I was so close to voting for George Newhouse, thus ensuring compulsory sex change operations and heroin addictions for all Aussie primary school kids!"
posted by Jimbob at 10:49 PM on October 22, 2007


*signs on for free heroin*
posted by Wolof at 10:51 PM on October 22, 2007


UbuRovias, compulsory voting makes exceptions for people of unsound mind.
posted by Jimbob at 11:00 PM on October 22, 2007


*signs on for sex change operation; looks forward to being able to play with boobs without having to feign interest in somebody else's office politics*
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:05 PM on October 22, 2007


Ubu, you're not fooling anybody with those shorts. You've been out of primary school for many years.
posted by flabdablet at 1:27 AM on October 23, 2007


how do you know i'm wearing shorts?!??

oh, ubucam dotcom. dammit.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:05 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Day 10


Day 10 finds the media still digesting Howards $4bn tasty pork sandwich to the senior citizens of the country. Rudd's pork fillet of $77m for childcare students, meanwhile, dosen't seem to be getting as much airtime.

QLD has banned all federal candidates from QLD schools, although federal members and ministers are allowed to enter with prior approval from the QLD Education Minister's office.

And Labor has gone on the attack over the Government's $34bn tax policy, claiming the Government was panicked into releasing it on Day 1 of the campaign.

30 odd days left to go...
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:56 PM on October 23, 2007


Meanwhile, the party's already started in Bennelong.

"Oh, when Maxine, oh when Maxine..."
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:25 PM on October 23, 2007


I don't know how many extra votes that $4b of pork is going to win Howard - based on a sample size of 1 (my dad) I think he's already got a stack of greedy pensioners / retirees on side from previous actions, like superannuation reform.
posted by Jimbob at 2:39 PM on October 23, 2007


Based on a sample size of 2 (my parents), Howard can stick it.

Dennis Shanahan sees it differently (of course).
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:30 PM on October 23, 2007


I don't know how many extra votes that $4b of pork is going to win Howard

Firewall strategy?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:43 PM on October 23, 2007


A comment in a Possum thread was a quote from Piers Ackerman in his blog. Apparently, the poor Newspoll figures can be explained the fact that pollees are playing with the pollsters, and lying to them to have fun, and none of this will matter by election day.

Man that guy's going to have some cognitive dissonance to deal with come November 25th. He's not going to be a well man.

In the meantime, I must say I find my interest waning - it's a long election campaign, a metaphor for Howard's soporific leadership of the last 11 years.
posted by wilful at 5:04 PM on October 23, 2007


yeh, getting a bit boring.

this looks like a livelier confrontation.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:12 PM on October 23, 2007


BTW, Ubu, other Green-freaks (and you are all freaks and weirdos with long hair, i can just tell), this blog may be of some entertainment value to you, he's reasonably witty.
posted by wilful at 6:22 PM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Effigy, why are the Australian Democrats neglected in the tags????

The only truly responsible party standing... I mean, you've even got the joke Pauline Hanson in the tags. Good to see you've missed Fambly First though.
posted by wilful at 6:25 PM on October 23, 2007


Aaargh, take that back, I see it now. No idea how I missed it.
posted by wilful at 6:25 PM on October 23, 2007


Playing to his strengths, the PM has pledged $200m for a defence skills plan. Rat-a-tat-tat!
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:55 PM on October 23, 2007


wilful: I cut all my dreadies off after my most recent trip to study Yoga at the Kumbh Mela in India, about ten months ago. Actually, the quarantine guys at the airport forced my hand: it was either that, or take a shower...you know, with actual shampoo and all that, which is known to destroy the breeding patterns of the leafy seadragon, as the chemical fragrances are absorbed into various local seaweed species & interfere with the seadragons' abilities to detect nearby mates.

Never fear, though - after sterilising the lopped dreadies with a ti-tree oil, I wove them during a Koori smoke ceremony at the Tent Embassy (to celebrate the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras) into an organic hemp hairshirt, which I wear under my clothing at all times. It also serves as a convenient permanent store of starter cultures for my macrobiotic home yoghurt farm.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:58 PM on October 23, 2007


Howard's end will come on Wednesday. As Peter Martin observes on his blog, the trigger is cocked.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:22 PM on October 23, 2007


Ooh, I just saw that too! Sadly, my new status as a Sydney homeowner means that "interest rate" is the first thing I scan for in the headlines. (*congratulating self on locking in a two-year fixed rate*)
posted by web-goddess at 7:31 PM on October 23, 2007


Yep, it is expected that the Reserve Bank will announce another interest rate rise next Wednesday.

Unfortunately, that's the day after the Melbourne Cup, so won't receive the attention that it deserves.

Expect to see a lot of the rodent on Cup day, droning on about true blue dinkum di aussie values like having a flutter on the horses or making the obligatory pilgrimage to the Bradman Museum in Bowral, which is set to receive a $6.5m facelift, courtesy of the coalition.

Funny, that. I thought the spirit of free enterprise would dictate that the market would determine the viability of the museum, and that it should be able to raise its own revenue, if there's sufficient demand from the punters...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:40 PM on October 23, 2007


It's going to be hugely interesting: will the RBA dare? If there's any time for crass partisan politics to come into it, this is it. The five businessmen on the Board would have to be feeling the heat.

The RBA are damned if they do, damned if they don't. Lucky for them they never release their Board minutes.

Speaking as someone with a large mortgage, I hope they do raise rates.

Which reminds me, I had a chat with Lindsay Tanner two weeks ago, the day before the election was called. He said that tax cuts would be hugely inflationary and fiscally irresponsible. As the shadow Minister for Finance, his views are (hopefully) both informed and influential. I guess the Party leader didn't get the memo, however.
posted by wilful at 7:43 PM on October 23, 2007


Speaking as someone with a large mortgage, I hope they do raise rates.

Speaking as someone who's landlord increased their rent by 20% last year following the previous pile of rate rises, I'm praying for stability.

Once again, though, I don't think it will do much in terms of the election. I keep saying that, don't I? But those poll numbers are telling the simple story that somewhere along the line, about 10% of people have decided they're switching to Labor this time around, and that's probably the only part of the election story that matters. Even the video of Rudd picking his ear and eating it only lasted in the news cycle for about three hours. And if anything was going to kill him off, that would be it!
posted by Jimbob at 8:34 PM on October 23, 2007


"Rudd picking his ear and eating it"
posted by Jimbob at 2:34 PM on October 24

Holy crap that's gross. And I hadn't even known it had happened until you just mentioned it then, Jimbob, and I went a'googlin'.

Surely there must be some sort of explanation? Maybe he had a Juicy Fruit stored away in there for when he got hungry and... uh... erm... hmmm.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:01 PM on October 23, 2007


Rudd picked his ear & ate it?!?? Ew!

Mind you, I don't want to even *think* about what Howard must get up to in private. I mean, it's hardly likely that Janet is putting out for him, so...
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:03 PM on October 23, 2007


I dunno, once he got the GST passed and was banging away about "sweet political satisfaction", the wife and I looked at each other and said "Jeanette is really for it this evening".
posted by Wolof at 9:15 PM on October 23, 2007


hm, if that's a habit of his, this means i might have come into contact with Ruddster earwax, courtesy of having shaken his hand once...

while he was still shadow foreign minister, he & Sydney MP Tanya Plibersek were holding a public meeting in a hall where we train. unfortunately, their meeting carried on overtime & i had to interject with "um, are you guys going to finish soon, because we have a permanent booking for this hall, and you're eating into our timeslot!"

Tanya was actually one of my sister's good friends at highskewl, and i'd been in the habit of sending her cheeky emails every now & then, as she was my MP at the time. to her credit, she always seemed to respond in person, and never used form replies, although it wasn't until my heckling that she was able to confirm my identity.

shame it had to bear the possible price of icky earwax transfer!
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:19 PM on October 23, 2007


"Jeanette is really for it this evening".

Afterwards: "No, I don't really mind, Johnny...if I always close my eyes & think of Brad Pitt, how can I object if you always want to talk dirty talk? I just don't understand why it has to be 'Take that, Kim!'...?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:27 PM on October 23, 2007


Today's links, relatively free from laboured pomo puns.

Ross Gittins predicts the rise of Zombie Howard.
Larvatus Prodeo makes an immodest proposal for electoral reform.
posted by zamboni at 9:27 PM on October 23, 2007


RTS, zamboni, not LP (speaking as a habitué of both).
posted by wilful at 10:02 PM on October 23, 2007


FYI, lead in crikey this arvo, from Alan kohler:
1. Kohler: a rise for now, and another for Christmas

Eureka Report publisher Alan Kohler writes:

There will now definitely be a rate rise in November. The only question now is whether there will be another one in December as well, and whether the Reserve Bank will even bother waiting for the December quarter CPI in February to move a second time. As for November 7, the day after its next board meeting, if the RBA did not raise interest rates, it would be rightly seen as a blatantly political act.

So complete is the consensus in the market that there is no longer anyone on the other side of the bet and money market traders are reduced to betting on Maxine McKew futures - $2.50 for the win in Bennelong, "a snip" said one trader: "everybody’s getting on Maxine".

Forget about the relatively benign-looking headline weighted average of 0.7% for the quarter, and 1.9%. That’s not what the Reserve Bank, or anyone else, looks at any more because it is distorted by one-off irrelevancies. The weighted median is 1% (3.1%pa) and the trimmed mean, which is what the RBA actually pays attention to, is 0.9% (2.9% pa).

Those RBA measures of inflation are now at the top of its band of comfort of 2-3% and have not stopped going up. With rising prices of oil, food and rents Australian inflation is about to burst through 3% and is expected soon to be 3.5%. Moreover the inflation rate is being boosted by the statistical aberration of a low inflation shock a year ago which is now working its way through the CPI growth rate.

By the way, both the median and the trimmed mean are obtained by the statisticians listing all the components of the CPI from highest to lowest and then simply chopping off the ends of the list. For the median they cut 50% off each end of the list so they are left with the figure that’s bang in the middle; for the trimmed mean they chop off the highest 25% and the lowest 25% so they are left with the half in the middle. It’s a way of smoothing out the figure and eliminating the "noise" of big once-off price movements.

And this means that no one, including John Howard and Peter Costello, can say that inflation isn’t really a problem and that it’s only a short term blip. It’s not – inflation in Australia really is on the move and it is the Reserve Bank’s job to do something about it.

Moreover with non-farm GDP at 5.2% year on year for the June quarter and unemployment at a 33 year low of 4.2%, there is no risk in raising rates in November. The risk is all John Howard’s, and today’s CPI is undoubtedly the greatest blow he has yet suffered in his campaign to be re-elected: brace yourself for an election campaign rate hike, Prime Minister, and practice trying to explain it away.

Alan Kohler is publisher of Eureka Report. This is an edited version of a column to be released later this evening at http://redirect.cmailer.com.au/LinkRedirector.aspx?clid=40155b42-633d-401f-9b11-4eebb8a830eb&rid=72adff62-67f1-4f85-9f67-a33d2d531be2
posted by wilful at 10:04 PM on October 23, 2007


wilful: Whoops!
posted by zamboni at 10:10 PM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ross Gittins predicts the rise of Zombie Howard.

You mean he's not already a zombie? How else do you explain his slurry elocution, awkward jolting gait, or the fact that he obviously doesn't have a working heart?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:20 PM on October 23, 2007


THE GREAT RUDD COMMANDS YOUR VOTE
posted by Wolof at 11:24 PM on October 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Heh, that's all kinds of awesome Wolof.
posted by Jimbob at 11:51 PM on October 23, 2007


Dude. What Jimbo said.
Yo, Abe! Can we get an actual translation of that?
posted by coriolisdave at 12:10 AM on October 24, 2007


wonderful find, Wolof!
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:44 AM on October 24, 2007


UbuRoivas: "wonderful find, Wolof!"

I disagree. I thought it was technically very well done, but it was an easy joke to make, and not a funny one at that (ha ha, Labor is a commie party!). But different strokes and all that. But anyway, thanks for sharing the link, Wolof.

In other news, PM denies Hicks deal. So par for the course, then?
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:25 AM on October 24, 2007


different strokes and all that

ah, there you might have it. i took it as something produced by a genY alp / leftie person, with tongue-in-cheek irony written all over it. maybe that's just becoz i happen to love ironic humour. to me it made a mockery of the coalition reds-under-the-bed smear campaign, by reclaiming & subverting the meme, but like i said, that's just my pigeon.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:03 AM on October 24, 2007


Yeah, the guy who produced that video seems to be taking swings at all sides. I don't think it was some kind of right-wing "Reds Under The Bed" video, I think it was taking the piss out of that sort of attitude. And taking the piss out of Rudd at the same time.

Over-thinking legumes, we all are.
posted by Jimbob at 6:05 AM on October 24, 2007


Day 11


As The Australian reports today, the PM is facing a rates rise nightmare. It's an issue which threatens to ensure he is destroyed, as per the Saward formula (which states that if two or more unemployment, inflation and interest rates rise over a full, three-year electoral cycle, the government will lose), and it's given Labor something to target him on, and no doubt a meaty chunk of flesh for Wayne Swan to bite into come next weeks debate between him and Costello.

And on the environment debate, there's news this morning that Peter Garret's FOI application, in which he asked for documents on the effect of global warming on the reef, was knocked back by Malcolm Turbull's Department because it could "help his campaign". The bill to Labor was $12,000, which Malcolm Turbull's Department refused to waive.

But it's not a free ride for Rudd at the moment. He's defending himself over comments made by a NT Labor Minister about the indigenous intervention going on in that territory at the moment, and there's been some embarrassment over comments made by a NSW candidate over the GST (which have since been retracted). And the US media has picked up on his apparent ear-wax eating episode, which won't really matter in the context of the domestic campaign (much) but is nonetheless kind of embarrassing.

The Democrats, meanwhile, are trying to remind us that they still exist with a swipe at the Government over what they see as 'deplorable' defence scholarships.

Ozpolitics has also released the latest Reuters Poll Trend graphs which shows the government began to slowly claw back support after the May budget, pegging Labor’s lead back to 8.9 percent by early August. But Howard’s comeback stalled in August, when the central bank increased interest rates.

All of that on Day 11... and it's not even 7am yet!
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:52 PM on October 24, 2007


Washington Post fingers Rudd's wax diet

The article went on to question whether an earwax eater would be a worthy Prime Minister.

"The question is whether a man with so little savvy for the cameras is fit to hold his nation's highest office."


This, coming from a country whose leader isn't even capable of speaking a coherent sentence!?!??

In this case, the pot isn't merely black; it's some kinda quantum pot, made out of all the dark matter in the universe, distilled, concentrated & moulded into the pure platonic form of irony.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:34 PM on October 24, 2007


Peter Martin has written an excellent piece about Peter Costello's press conference RE: interest rates yesterday.

And don't miss this awesome comment over at The Poll Bludger.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:56 PM on October 24, 2007


Possibly worth mentioning: at present, only two of the top 15 viewed articles from Fairfax (Melbourne Age, Sydney Morning Herald & Brisbane Times) are related to the election.

For what it's worth, both of those are from the Age.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:19 PM on October 24, 2007


Election Blue
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:38 PM on October 24, 2007


For what it's worth, both of those are from the Age.

No surprise. Every cultured person in Australia either lives in Melbourne or wants to live in Melbourne.

I think interest rates talk is going to dominate the discussion for more than a week, and that's great.
posted by wilful at 4:51 PM on October 24, 2007


"I think interest rates talk is going to dominate the discussion for more than a week, and that's great."
posted by wilful at 10:51 AM on October 25

Time for Labor to wheel out this ad for more general (ie; not just the intertubes) consumption, then.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:04 PM on October 24, 2007


Surely that Galaxy senate poll that GetUp commissioned is a steaming pile? I find it difficult to believe Labor can be so far ahead in the primary vote, two-party preferred vote, preferred prime minister vote, yet behind in the senate.

I'd love to see one of those election-calculators for the senate, that would let you enter the proportion voting for Labor / Coalition / Green / Other and tell you what the senate would look like. As I understand it, it would be pretty much impossible for Labor to get control of the senate in it's own right. The only real possibilities are the Coalition maintaining a majority in the senate, which would lead to...interesting times, or a minor party gaining the balance of power, which would lead to...interesting (and fun) times.
posted by Jimbob at 5:10 PM on October 24, 2007


Every cultured person in Australia either lives in Melbourne or wants to live in Melbourne.

Top SMH Articles of the past 24 hours, for the record:

* Lessons in sex - who's for homework?
* Guilty of murdering 48 people
* Too much to bear as father grieves for beautiful and easygoing son
* Now you can hop on a double-decker bus to Sydney
* Suicide after system failed

Sex, death & buses. Sydney to a T.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:10 PM on October 24, 2007


In other voting-related news, finally the world is showing signs of sense: Sarah Jessica Parker has very rightfully been voted the world's unsexiest woman.

Can't say I agree with Amy Winehouse at #2, though.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:00 PM on October 24, 2007


The magazine said Parker was the "least sexy woman in a group of very unsexy women" that ironically starred in a show with the word "sex" in the title.

(one of many reasons why i could never stomach sex & the city...i just couldn't get past the concept that a bunch of women who might (on a good day) manage to barely muster up for looks, but with seriously repulsive personalities plummeting them instantly back down to a zero rating, carrying on as if they could pick & choose from thousands of hyper-eligible men, rather than latching onto the first unemployed bus driver who was sufficiently desperate & beer-goggled to have made the mistake of picking them up)

posted by UbuRoivas at 7:24 PM on October 24, 2007


Possum has donse some maths on how important is the cash rate on the Oppositions primary vote.

There's a lot in there, but Possum's analysis shows that for every 1 point increase in the cash rate, the ALP primary vote increases by 3.5 points. So if rates were to rise by 0.25 in November, the ALP primary would be expected to rise by 0.9 points, or around 1 point.

Howard must really be wishing he'd gone to the polls a little earlier now. Not that it would have done him much good, but it may not have been anywhere near as bad a result as it looks like it might end up being.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:18 PM on October 24, 2007


Never watched the show more than a few minutes, but I thought the redhead with the bob was pretty cute. No idea what her name was.

However, this is really a digression. Good to see Heavy Kevvie promising a billion bucks towards Melbourne's ageing road infrastructure. While at one level it's correct, this is essential national infrastructure that's under a stain, it'd be nice if one time they'd say "here's a big wad of cash to fix the rail infrastructure, put in a few suburban lines and duplicates some freight lines". The benefit cost ratios of those projects are so much better than for road.
posted by wilful at 8:22 PM on October 24, 2007


So if rates were to rise by 0.25 in November, the ALP primary would be expected to rise by 0.9 points, or around 1 point.

*snickers*
posted by Wolof at 9:00 PM on October 24, 2007


Never watched the show more than a few minutes, but I thought the redhead with the bob was pretty cute. No idea what her name was.

To clarify, I wouldn't say that any of them were physically repulsive; only that a middling sort of range of looks would not be sufficient for them to have been able to carry on like they did. The standard equation is that the amount of shit (eg obsession with a certain brand of expensive designer stilettos) that a man is willing to put up with is proportional to the hotness of the woman in question, and those gals were not sufficiently hot for anybody to put up with their personalities for more than five minutes.

Anyway, I just wanted to take a derailing break from all this election talk in hope of a flameout. Back to regular programming now.

posted by UbuRoivas at 9:41 PM on October 24, 2007


Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has entered the election campaign accusing Treasurer Peter Costello of spending the past decade in a hammock and arguing unions are responsible for the Howard Government's low inflation policy.

"The Treasurer has spent the past 10 years in a hammock. This is the laziest, most indolent, most unimaginative treasurer in postwar history."
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:31 AM on October 25, 2007


A colleague of mine noted that, in Possum's regression analysis, the intercept has a value of 24.45. This is remarkably close to George W Bush's approval rating of 25%. He suggested to me that this may indicate that in a two party system, a quarter of voters may stick by a party no matter what.
posted by Jimbob at 1:28 AM on October 25, 2007


no matter what

I know I do.
posted by Wolof at 5:01 AM on October 25, 2007


me too, although i have two. always greens first, with preferences eventually ending up with labor.

(although i really wanted to vote liberal in the recent nsw election if carr was still in office, even if i would've had to shower for 48 straight hours afterwards...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:18 AM on October 25, 2007


Day 12


Not much to report today (so far), so I may take the opportunity to link to two things that happened yesterday that weren't mentioned here. First, Rudd being verbally assaulted by a senior citizen in Tasmania, and the Firefighters Union's efforts to unseat Lindsey Tanner in his safe seat by directing preferences to The Greens.

There are a couple of new things worth looking at. George Megalogenis (voted 'Australian Journo With The Most Pornstar Sounding Name 'two years running) writes that the latest Liberal ad appears to be assuming Labor will win. And the Banks have told Costello to mind his own business.

OOOOH, SNAP!
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:30 PM on October 25, 2007


And last night, former Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser described the war in Iraq as an "unmitigated disaster" and says that, in future, the Australian Parliament should vote on going to war.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:58 PM on October 25, 2007


"And last night, former Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser described the war in Iraq as an "unmitigated disaster" and says that, in future, the Australian Parliament should vote on going to war."
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:58 AM on October 26

I certainly agree with that idea.

You know, Malcolm has really become a very great guy. And yet he was reviled by many when he was PM, much as Howard is today. I'm sure had I been around in Fraser's day, I probably would have hated the guy with the same passion I have for hating Howard.

It makes me wonder if, 20 or 30 years down the track, we could be discussing Howard in a similar light? Whether he can change and see the light like Fraser so obviously has.

That said, Howard would probably need to have a friend like Gough Whitlam. It's weird to see how close Fraser and Whitlam, those two old enemies, have become. I think Gough has obviously been the biggest influence on Fraser.

Infact, I remember last year during the anniversary of the dismissal, Kerry O'Brien was interviewing Gough and asked him about Fraser and how close the two are now. Kerry asked Gough what he thought of Fraser now.

In what was one of my favorite moments of TV all year, Gough stared at Kerry for about 4 seconds and then, in classic Gough Whitlam style, said "He's much improved."
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:30 PM on October 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Update on The Great Rudd Commands Your Vote: YouTube revolutionaries upstage the party machine

Hugh Atkin, 23, a law student at Sydney University, has scored a big hit on the internet with his clip that depicts Kevin Rudd as a Chairman Mao figure in a video styled on Chinese propaganda films.
[...]
"It's definitely not an anti-Labor ad. Most of my videos have an anti-Liberal bias. Part of the point is to make fun of the Liberals' communist scare in their advertising, which is so over the top, and partly to make fun of the way Rudd has turned his campaign into such a presidential thing."

posted by UbuRoivas at 4:12 PM on October 25, 2007


If I'm ever in legal trouble, remind me not to hire Hugh Atkin. He's obviously spending more time editing slick videos than studying for his law degree. (lol)

Meanwhile, Howard tells us he gets more hugs than heckles and he's not a cranky old bastard.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:44 PM on October 25, 2007


There he goes, telling porkies again.

Can you remember when he was first elected, and carried the "Honest John" monicker? Oh, the bitter irony!
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:04 PM on October 25, 2007


Three rate rises to come, says ANZ CEO.
posted by Wolof at 7:33 PM on October 25, 2007


These last two days have been pretty slow going announcements-wise, haven't they? I suspect that the two major parties are saving what they have for the last two weeks of the campaign. We voters are quite fickle, after all.

That and the Libs are knee-deep in strategy sessions planning for any rates rise after the Melbourne Cup. I bet they're wishing they hadn't released $34b of tax cuts on Day 1, now. Whoops!
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:16 PM on October 25, 2007


Todays Morgan Poll has just been released. Labor is ahead on 2pp 56-44, which is a slight narrowing from last Friday's Morgan that showed 57-43.

Before any Government sympathisers get excited, check out the election calculator to see what kind of result this would produce come election day.

But no one believes Morgan anyway, so who cares, right?
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:24 PM on October 25, 2007


Hmm Gillard is in Darwin, about to announce something. I can smell the pork roasting.
posted by Jimbob at 10:57 PM on October 25, 2007


Of course, 56-44 versus 57-43 has basically no statistical difference, but try getting the hacks to say that out loud.
posted by wilful at 11:03 PM on October 25, 2007


I can smell the pork roasting

Maybe she has other fish to fry, like promising to repeal the law that threatens you with a $74,000 fine or 18 months' jail for transporting the equivalent of two bottles of whisky across one of Darwin's alcohol-free zones...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:16 PM on October 25, 2007


$74,000 fine or 18 months' jail

Yowzers.
posted by Wolof at 11:35 PM on October 25, 2007


Threatens me with a $74,000 fine or 18 months jail? No no, you've got it all wrong, mate, I'm a whitefella, they won't come after me.

Besides, I just heard Kevin Rudd on the radio dissing on Marion Scrymgour and saying he won't be messing with The Intervention.
posted by Jimbob at 12:47 AM on October 26, 2007


All I know is that this cold, frosty Boags is going down damn well at the end of this week... mmmmmmmmmm.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:55 AM on October 26, 2007


cold, frosty Byron Bay premium ale here. just back from Bell Shakespeare at the Opera House :)
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:48 AM on October 26, 2007


Day 13


In news that may or may not make Jimbob happy, Julia Gillard has announced with candidate for Solomon Damian Hale that an office for Fair Work Australia will be based in Darwin if Labor wins power at the election. How do you think that will effect votes up there, Jimbob?

Expelled unionist Joe McDonald says he won't roll over and Alexander Downer says Rudd was too weak to expel him earlier. A Liberal Party ad is saying the same thing.

Seniors groups, meanwhile, are unimpressed with Howards seniors pork roll.

The Poll Bludger is reporting on a new online AC Neilsen survey which echos Morgan from yesterday with Labor on 56-44 2PP. This figure is also echoed in a poll for the Canberra Times which shows that Eden Monaro is going to go to Labor.

Finally, Possum has written a follow up piece on 'Why Rates Matter', Paul Kelly wants to tell us the same thing, Galarrwuy Yunupingu has backed Howard's proposal to put Aboriginals into our Constitution's preamble, and the Australian Democrats are calling for greater Koala Habitat Protection.

All in all another day with lots of debate but very little new policy.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:20 PM on October 26, 2007


Makes me happy...unsure what it will mean exactly.

She says the office would be opened on January 1, 2010.

That's a long time way. I assume there's going to be one of these office in every city anyway, right? Why choose Darwin to announce the first one? Maybe because they don't have anything much else to launch up here.
posted by Jimbob at 6:11 PM on October 26, 2007


dudes, i'm blogging to you live from suncorp stadium where the qld roar are currently down 2-1 to the perth glory using my palm treo. its a boring game and i'm bored off my nuts. so i'm reading metafilter. anyone wanna say something interesting to help allieviate my boredom a little?
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:11 AM on October 27, 2007


Yes, stick on topic, please!
posted by Jimbob at 2:01 PM on October 27, 2007


Day 14


The last day of the second week sees neither Malcolm Turnbull or John Howard denying that Turnbull asked Cabinet to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The Greens are, naturally, criticizing the Government for failing to ratify the protocol.

And the day gets even worse for Turnbull, with news that he may be positioning himself as a prime candidate for Leader of the Opposition post-election. A member of his staff endorsed a profile page touting his leadership ambitions under the heading "Malcolm Turnbull for PM" on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Labor, the Democrats and the Greens have united in one advertisement to try and "save the senate" and Joe Hockey has admitted the Government is running a fear campaign on unions.

In other news (OT), The Roar made a comeback during the second half of last night's game which made the game more exciting, but the Glory tied the game during extra time. Which sucked, but at least QLD didn't lose.

Discuss...
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:27 PM on October 27, 2007


Well, Turnbull probably wouldn't be that bad a choice, would he? I mean, when you look at the other contenders; Lord Downer, Abbott and Costello... Turnbull is probably the best of a bad bunch. He hasn't "done his time", but that didn't seem to matter with his elevation to the ministry.
posted by Jimbob at 6:18 PM on October 27, 2007


Jimbob: "Well, Turnbull probably wouldn't be that bad a choice, would he?"

I actually know many dyed-in-the-wool Liberal Party voters who are voting for Kevin Rudd this year so that they can vote for Turnbull in 2010.

I kid you not.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:44 PM on October 27, 2007


Howard has said that because the Liberal Party ad that ran during the 2004 election which promised to keep interest rates at record lows only ran for two days and never came out of his mouth directly, that promise should essentially be forgotten about. Especially when, he reckons, we should be focusing on the future. Has shades of that "non-core promise" excuse about it, don't it?

And he's still keeping mum on whether he reckons Turnbull leaked sensitive Cabinet discussions to save his own hide.

Meanwhile, Bobby Brown believes that the Government is panicking over the thought of a Labor-Greens preference deal. Which, let's face it, they probably are.

With so much bad news finishing off week 2, one would have to conclude that week 2 definitely goes to Labor then, yes?
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:20 PM on October 27, 2007


In the first real policy from either party in what feels like days, Kevin Rudd has unveiled a $1 billion water plan designed to help secure urban water supplies across the country.

He says Labor's pledge to set up the billion-dollar water fund would be the largest national investment in water infrastructure.

Nice. I suspect that Howard's response will be "But it's better that you all be thirsty!" or something along those lines. ;)
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:39 PM on October 27, 2007


Effigy:Meanwhile, Howard tells us he gets more hugs than heckles and he's not a cranky old bastard.
My (really rather red) father's been spending a bit of time in Perth recently, and was telling me last night that he went out for his usual early morning walk along the Swannee last week.

Only to be told by a handler that he couldn't walk there. Cos Lil' Johnnie was about to do his powerwalk thing.

I gather said handler got a quick guide to precisely where, when, and in what fashion he could stick himself, Johnnie, and the horse they all rode in on.

I'm mean, srsly. Get out of it. The pudgy old man with the bad shorts? Not a terrist. Wankers.
posted by coriolisdave at 10:20 PM on October 27, 2007


coriolisdave's dad: Can't get within 50m of the PM.

The Chaser Team: Regularly does.

The only conclusion is that Howard's people like seeing the PM made fun of on The Chaser.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:45 AM on October 28, 2007


I wonder how long it's going to be before we see the Greens and Labor form their own coalition.

People are so used to saying "the coalition" when they're talking about the conservative side of Australian politics that it often seems like "the coalition" is a party. But it ain't. It's the Libs, plus a Nats rump. Neither of them has ever had the numbers, in their own right, that Labor has.

The Nats have been in decline federally since Joh melted down, and currently hold only 12 of the 150 House of Reps seats, which is pretty much their lowest share ever. It's not much of a stretch for me to imagine the Greens getting within cooee of numbers like that within the next four or five electoral cycles, assuming the majors continue their foot-dragging in response to increasingly obvious environmental issues.

There is no way Labor would ever allow that to happen without making at least some attempt at embrace, extend, extinguish.
posted by flabdablet at 3:32 AM on October 28, 2007


Well, Labor made a concerted effort to wipe the Greens out at the last election, with their preference deal with Family First. Fat lot of good that did them - I'm glad to see they're being a bit more realistic this time around. They said on the radio this morning that some polls were indicating the Greens had doubled their vote in Tassie - hello Senator Wilkie?
posted by Jimbob at 5:04 AM on October 28, 2007


My nifty link for the day is The Soapbox - Melbourne Uni's archive of Australian election campaign material.
posted by zamboni at 12:42 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Day 15


The third week of the campaign sees senior Government figures urging the the PM to change his tactics in the poll, believing that though they are in trouble, the tide can be turned if this is done.

Labor, meanwhile, is keeping up pressure on the PM over interest rates after revealing that days before the 2004 election he personally promised to keep interest rates at record lows, contrary to the PMs defence in recent days.

In other news, the Poll Bludger has exceeded its bandwidth allocation, but will hopefully be back up shortly, and Possum has an excellent photo of the PM to share.

Finally, the Soapbox recently got its own FPP here on Metafilter, courtesy of me. It went down like a lead balloon, getting all of 3 comments. Feel free to like, you know, go along and comment in there and favorite it. You know you wanna.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:39 PM on October 28, 2007


In other news, Piers Ackerman is now only four weeks away from a fatal aneurysm.
posted by Jimbob at 1:54 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Effigy2000: That I will. How'd I miss that the first time around?
posted by zamboni at 2:26 PM on October 28, 2007


Ah, it's only from the last couple of days - that'd explain it.

Jimbob: Promises, promises.
posted by zamboni at 2:53 PM on October 28, 2007


"In other news, Piers Ackerman is now only four weeks away from a fatal aneurysm."
posted by Jimbob at 7:54 AM on October 29

Oh my god, Jimbob. That was the funniest Ackerman article I have ever read. Thanks for that. My fave bit was where he goes "INTEREST RATES WEREN'T 22% UNDER HOWARD, IT WAS 21.75%!!! LABOR ARE A PACK OF LIARS!!!!111"

I am seriously, seriously looking forward to reading the Sunday papers on November 25, especially the conservative columnists. The laughs will help me cope with the hangover I'll have from celebrating.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:42 PM on October 28, 2007


Taking a leaf out of the American manual for fundy hypocrisy, Andrew Quah, of the Family First Party, has been dumped after photos of him parading his private parts appeared on gay websites and were emailed around the country.

Flailing desperately for an excuse, he said "I might have been drunk off my face or my political enemies might have drugged me."
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:27 PM on October 28, 2007


I wonder how long it's going to be before we see the Greens and Labor form their own coalition.

Um, never? Or, at least, not in the foreseeable future.

As was pointed out upthread, the Greens are a principles-based party. If you take a look at any policy statement (eg), you can see that the policies work deductively, from principles through goals to measures. The major parties, in contrast, are largely based on political pragmatism, making policies inductively from opinion polls, and more specifically, often from polling marginal seats.

This means that the Greens will actually take "courageous" policy stands that might actually be the right thing to do, even if those policies are unpopular with Mr & Mrs Bloggs. The medical approach to drug addiction is a clear example of that.

So, while Labor definitely wants to court the Greens for preferences, they would want to distance itself from many of the Greens' more "radical" policies, because I think there's a strong tendency for people to stick their heads in the sand over many of the big issues that we face today & into the future, and it's more reassuring to listen to sweet white lies than to have a gadfly tell you exactly how things are.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:46 PM on October 28, 2007


(eg)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:50 PM on October 28, 2007


(they would want to distance themselves, d'oh! i have teh stupid today & can't work out if Labor should be singular or plural)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:54 PM on October 28, 2007


I gather said handler got a quick guide to precisely where, when, and in what fashion he could stick himself, Johnnie, and the horse they all rode in on.

* Shouts coriolisdave's old man a Redback *

Seriously, what a wanker. Good luck to Howard if he wants to do those morning walks, as long as he doesn't inconvenience one single battler in the process. And by "inconvenience", I include dipping into our pockets to pay for the half dozen or more hired goons that always accompany him. Those guys cannot be cheap.

(any guesses or info on what each morning walk costs?)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:16 PM on October 28, 2007


I was trying to remember where I'd heard of Quah before - unsuprisingly, the answer was shifty uni politics. (Quah got caught hacking into the SRC’s server’s a couple of weeks back).

Ubu: You could try asking the AFP Protective Service, but I doubt they'll be forthcoming.
posted by zamboni at 7:10 PM on October 28, 2007


Already Mr Quah is being called "Australia's smallest loser".

L.O.L.
posted by Jimbob at 7:32 PM on October 28, 2007


Already Mr Quah is being called "Australia's smallest loser".

"I might have been drunk off my face or my political enemies might have drugged me...but whatever the story, I can assure you that it must have been twenty degrees below freezing in my bedroom, I swear!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:05 PM on October 28, 2007


Crikey presents some of the stranger candidates running this election, including my personal favourite, a guy who's changed his name to "Of The Above None". It will be unfortunate if he lands at the top spot on the ballot.
posted by Jimbob at 9:02 PM on October 28, 2007


Heh. Good one, Ubu. I'm taking bets on how long it takes before someone splices a Youtube video together of Quah and that scene from Seinfeld where George is yelling out "There was shrinkage!"

In other, non-tiny-penis-related news, Labor has unveiled a $200m Reef protection package and former Howard staffer Arthur Sinodinos has said that the Coalition is still in the game.

With four weeks left until the end of this campaign, I'm forced to concede that Sinodinos could yet be proven right (who knows what could happen, right?), but I doubt he would concede the obvious; that the Coalition is floundering and doing so big time.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:12 PM on October 28, 2007


Labor has unveiled a $200m Reef protection package

That will appeal, in particular, to Qld voters, but won't save the reef. Reefs are extremely vulnerable to even the slightest change in sea temperature.

Temperatures only a degree above the current summer average can cause mass bleaching of corals, and if they persist at 2-3 degrees warmer the corals die. There have been eight such events in Australia since 1979. In 1998, 42 per cent of the [Great Barrier] reef’s total area was hit by varying levels of bleaching. In 2002, 54 per cent of the reef was affected by rising water temperatures.

Other coral reef provinces have been permanently damaged by warm sea temperatures, most severely in the Indian Ocean. Up to 90% of coral cover has been lost in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Tanzania and in the Seychelles. [wiki]

Basically, the world's reefs are fucked beyond any hope of redemption. See them now, while they're still living.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:38 PM on October 28, 2007


speaking of life under the sea...
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:56 PM on October 28, 2007


The money has been flowing freely from both sides these last two days, with Howard just announcing $2.1b on tech colleges which will fund the building of 100 additional specialised school technical college over the next 10 years.

The announcement was in the marginal Melbourne seat of La Trobe, so Victorians are starting to get a faint smell of pork, at least.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:57 PM on October 28, 2007


We did fairly tastily out of Rudd on the ringroad last week. Want. More. Pork!

(I mean hey, if it's going to waste, better us than SE Qld.)
posted by wilful at 11:27 PM on October 28, 2007


Piss orf, wilful. When SE Qld has a road system even HALF as decent as Melbourne's (and I say that FULLY cognisant of just how horrible it is)... then you can whinge about road infrastructure.

And don't get me started on the Health system. Or the water system. Or pretty much anything ELSE that the state (labor!) government has wilfully ignored these past aeons. Thanks, Premier Pete.
posted by coriolisdave at 1:40 AM on October 29, 2007


coriolisdave: "Piss orf, wilful. When SE Qld has a road system even HALF as decent as Melbourne's (and I say that FULLY cognisant of just how horrible it is)... then you can whinge about road infrastructure."

Totally seconded.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:41 AM on October 29, 2007


Baby steps, ubu?
posted by flabdablet at 5:40 AM on October 29, 2007


oooh!
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:24 PM on October 29, 2007


Day 16


WHAT. THE. FUCK. NEWSPOLL? Ah, I see. Possum explains it.

Meanwhile, Peter Garrett isn't helping much when he makes mistakes like this. But then, unlike Deputy PM Mark Vaile, he's not questioning if climate change is even occurring.

Not much else to link to at this stage. More to come throughout the day, no doubt.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:09 PM on October 29, 2007


Crap infrastructure in Qld is entirely Queenslanders fault - or more particularly, your ruling class, going back to Sir Joh. You've always gone for lower taxes and less services. And the other states bail you out via the grants program. For example, the whole Murray Darling crisis was spurred by overdevelopment and under-regulation at the top of the catchment.

Anyway, I digress. SE Qld needs infrastructure to cope with all the Vic retirees now up their baking their brains away.
posted by wilful at 2:30 PM on October 29, 2007


wilful, I think you should look at how much QLD has gotten from federal programs (such as in road fundings case, AUSLINK) compared to other states. We've been shortchanged year after year after year and the State Government can only do so much in terms of picking up the slack.

So it's not entirely our own fault; it is more the fault of a federal government that seems to be pretty much Sydney-centric when it comes to dishing out funds.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:41 PM on October 29, 2007


...so let me get this straight, wilful.

Crap infrastructure in Queensland is OUR fault. But crap infrastructure in Victoria is the Federal Government's fault?

Explain to me, please, how that makes even the slightest bit of sense?
posted by coriolisdave at 3:58 PM on October 29, 2007


PETER Garrett's political credentials were in tatters last night after Kevin Rudd forced his environment spokesman to issue a humiliating clarification of Labor's greenhouse gas policy.

The backdown came after a Labor crisis meeting, which followed a day of sustained assault by John Howard and senior ministers on Mr Garrett's approach to a new post-Kyoto climate accord.


Dennis Shanahan tells me there was a CRISIS yesterday, and Garrett's credentials are in TATTERS.

I was pretty much listening to or reading the news all day, and I didn't get that impression at all. Funny that. And if I spent the whole day listening to the news and didn't know Peter Garrett had been POLITICALLY DESTROYED, how the hell is the average punter going to know this important bit of information?
posted by Jimbob at 4:14 PM on October 29, 2007


Also, fellas, point me to somewhere in Australia where you could say the "infrastructure" isn't crap in some way. I've spent time in SE QLD and Brisbane, and Victoria and Melbourne. I think your roads and highways are bloody brilliant compared to Adelaide. I mean, you actually have the ability to drive from the suburbs to the city at speeds greater than 35kph!
posted by Jimbob at 4:18 PM on October 29, 2007


Swan is debating Costello today at 11.30am (10.30am for those who've fiddled with their clocks in the past week). The worm is invited this time, so there may not be a repeat of the same controversy that surrounded the worm last time it appeared on our screens.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:26 PM on October 29, 2007


Here's a play by play account of the debate so far...
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:37 PM on October 29, 2007


Jimbob, I think you'll find that Adelaide drivers are to blame for the 35kph commuting...
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:48 PM on October 29, 2007


Reading the play by play it sounds as though this debate was much closer than Howard vs Rudd, but that Swan seems to have been the winner. The Worm seems to have favored Swan by a mile, though. All of which is excellent news.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:08 PM on October 29, 2007


A crackpot... I'm sorry... a body language expert *scoff* has awarded the debate to Costello.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:00 PM on October 29, 2007


Possum (who else?) has a second look at todays Newspoll data.

The Australian, meanwhile, says that Costello's performance in todays debate lacked a killer punch.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:06 PM on October 29, 2007


Don't scoff at the body language expert, Effigy, unless you are better qualified. For all you know, he wrote his doctoral dissertation in smirkology.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:08 PM on October 29, 2007


(does anybody else think that Joe Punchclock has switched off? if the most-read articles in the Fairfax press are anything to go by, the man in the street is no longer interested in what either party has to say.

if this is the case, i wonder how it will play out? howard was probably hoping for some kind of major slip-up by Rudd, and setting a long campaign to increase the chances of that. also, perhaps hoping that voter apathy would set in, going for the "devil you know" vote. any thoughts?)
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:17 PM on October 30, 2007


Day 17


Hell, even I've switched off (to a degree), Ubu.

Not much happening at this stage. Rudd is under pressure over a federal candidate who called a soldiers family warmongers, Howard is under pressure because Abbott slurred asbestos campaigner Bernie Banton of conducting a political stunt and Christopher Pyne and JanMcLucas have debated aged care policies in Sydney.

All in all, I think most of us, if not most of Australia, are just waiting for the inevitable result on November 24, at this stage.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:15 PM on October 30, 2007


I think that's about it. Nothing the coalition has done has made a dent in Labor's lead so far, other than maybe a redundant percentage point or two, soon lost again, and probably within the polls' margin of error anyway.

The writing has been on the wall for months now, although howard has clawed his way back from monumental deficits in the past, so it was possible that an impressive campaign might have swung things his way again. Happily, that never happened.

On that matter, possum's analysis that showed massive Labor leads being reversed under the onslaught of six months of govt advertising was telling: this time around, the taxpayer-funded binge simply didn't reverse the polls. If anything, things became worse for the coalition throughout that period.

So, yeh, inevitable indeed. My Andrew Wilkie Bennelong Celebratory Champagne is chilling, even as I type.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:43 PM on October 30, 2007


I think most of us, if not most of Australia, are just waiting for the inevitable result on November 24, at this stage.

John Watson suggests going postal. I think he's on to something.
posted by flabdablet at 5:19 PM on October 30, 2007


nice idea, flabbo, but i think the premise is flawed.

the pollies wouldn't even know if the entire country had submitted an early postal vote. as far as i know, the postals just sit around to be invoked if & only if the result is close & they might influence it.

if the idea is just to vote by post, then spend the day at the beach, well, duh! anybody who doesn't already do that is a bit of an idiot, really. although i have no objection if all the cute idiots show up at my booth on the day.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:22 PM on October 30, 2007


Tony Abbott was late (by 1/2 hour) for the start of the debate with Nicola Roxon for Health. He says it was because he had to be at a campaign launch.
"I'm delighted to be here and I have to say I feel... particularly pleased to be here, I'm sure I'm going to win a lot of votes, particularly if I'm the only person prepared to debate myself on health policy," Roxon said.

Ms Roxon finished her address and had fielded several questions from journalists by the time Mr Abbott arrived.
Not a good look for the Government...
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:24 PM on October 30, 2007


Here's a play by play rundown of the Nicola Roxon vs... well, vs. eventually, Tony Abbott, for those who missed it.

Looks like Channel 9 didn't broadcast it, so no worm, sadly.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:38 PM on October 30, 2007


I suppose I should provide a link.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:40 PM on October 30, 2007


The Australian has tried to do a humorous article about the Chairman Rudd video but it was probably less funny than the video itself.

I wish Matt Price would start writing again. I hope he's on the mend.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:37 PM on October 30, 2007


Road to Surfdom points out that the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations has just been pinged for violating the Workplace Relations Act. Comedy ensues.
posted by zamboni at 8:54 PM on October 30, 2007


I'm sure I'm going to win a lot of votes, particularly if I'm the only person prepared to debate myself on health policy," Roxon said.


What does she want votes for? Hitler couldn't lose her seat....
posted by pompomtom at 10:37 PM on October 30, 2007


i take it she's not the member for Stalingrad, then?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:15 PM on October 30, 2007


The member for Stirlingrad? Oh. Stalingrad.

Interesting that over at news.com.au, the poll asking "who won the debate?" has Abbott at 43% compared to Roxon to 40%. When even friendly press characterises Abbott's day as a day from hell, if you ever had any doubt that Liberal staffers are flooding these online polls to influence the results, there's your proof.

In other news, Rudd acknowledges ear wax video. Gross.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:35 PM on October 30, 2007


Tony Abbott's day from hell just got even worse.

Abbott ends tough day with 'bullshit' rebuke.
"Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has been caught swearing at his Labor opponent Nicola Roxon.

Posing for photographs with Ms Roxon at the end of the debate, the pair got into a testy exchange.

Ms Roxon told the Minister he could have made it on time if he had wanted to. Mr Abbott replied: "That's bullshit. You're being deliberately unpleasant."
Oooooo, SNAP! Looks like he's going to need to make one more apology today. Ten bucks says the PM defends him, though it'll be a hard thing to do. Hell, I hope he defends him.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:10 AM on October 31, 2007


Hell, I hope he defends him.

Yes, it will establish a precedent that people can show up late for work without being unfairly dismissed.

Um, apart from the fact that the coalition is soon to be dismissed. Only that will be well deserved, and in no way unfair.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:51 AM on October 31, 2007


Heh, Ubu. I like it.

Speaking of things I like, did anyone see the interview Howard had with Tony Jones on Lateline last night? It was a good `un, but here's my favorite part. Have a read of this;
TONY JONES: Mr Howard, you talked a lot about 'me too-ism', but during the course of this campaign you've actually been guilty of that in the past yourself, haven't you?

JOHN HOWARD
: Well, I've undoubtedly in the past agreed with the Labor Party when it's done something sensible.

TONY JONES: On this occasion I'm actually thinking of George Bush, actually.

JOHN HOWARD: You're talking about the past. I see. He's not a candidate in the election, is he?

TONY JONES: No, but the 'me too-ism' works in relation to him and in relation to you, do you think? I mean George Bush says he won't sign Kyoto, John Howard says he won't sign Kyoto.

JOHN HOWARD: I think you're struggling a bit with that question. 'Me too' in the Australian political context at the moment is about the attitude of Kevin Rudd towards John Howard and the attitude of John Howard towards Kevin Rudd. I think it's a pretty long bow to bring George Bush into the Australian domestic political debate.

TONY JONES: It's just the White House has had a considerable impact on your policies evidently. I'll just go over these things. George Bush says he won't sign Kyoto, John Howard says he won't sign it.

George Bush says he's going to invade Iraq, John Howard says 'me too'.

George Bush says clean coal and nuclear energy are the main solutions to global warming. You also go down that path shortly afterwards. I'm just wondering if there isn't an element of 'me too-ism' in the relationship between the White House and your Government?

JOHN HOWARD: John Howard, when he became Prime Minister of Australia in 1996, brought in national gun control laws. George Bush would never do that. John Howard's led a Government that signed the International Criminal Court charter, George Bush would never do that. I can list many things where our positions are quite different. John Howard happens to think the social security safety net in the United States is far too weak.

John Howard happens to have told George Bush that he should have a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in America similar to the scheme that we have in Australia. I think he would like to 'me too' on that, but for a combination of reasons he hasn't been able to do so. You can always find similarities in approaches around the world. There are a lot of similarities in the language as well as the policies used by Mr Rudd and Mr Beazley before him with those of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Me too, George!
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:21 AM on October 31, 2007


That's only the tip of the iceberg.

Try searching for UN resolution votes. 99 times out of 100, when the rest of the world agrees, the only nations voting against resolutions in recent years have been the US & Australia.

I have somewhere a letter from the acting head of middle-eastern affairs in DFAT. I wrote to them protesting the fact that we (and the US, natch) were the only two countries in the world who voted against a resolution condemning Israel when they assassinated, extrajudicially, the "spiritual leader" of Hamas (the Wheelchair Sheikh). I pointed out that we oppose the death penalty & abide by the rule of law, whereby one must be tried & condemned in a court, not blown up by missiles fired from a helicopter & that it is improper for us to contradict our values by endorsing political assassinations.

The response? "We felt that the resolution unfairly targeted Israel". Well, duh! They were the ones who carried out the assassination!

Anyway, that's just one of zillions. Our voting record at the UN has been cringeworthy & reeking of me-tooism for years now.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:05 AM on October 31, 2007


Day 18


Day 18 finds Tony Abbott looking to recover from yesterdays disastrous day, and Dennis Shanahan reports that the Howard's $4b package of bribes to the elderly is lifting his vote amongst seniors.

Not much else at this stage of the day.

24 days to go...
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:04 PM on October 31, 2007


UbuRoivas: "That's only the tip of the iceberg."

Ubu, all of that is info I'd be getting to Tony Jones, STAT! If he's decided that this is a legitimate line of questioning to the PM (as he clearly has, given he, y'know, asked it), your info might help him strengthen the line of questioning for the next time Tony interviews him.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:06 PM on October 31, 2007


I need to post something to keep this thread in my Recent Activity, so here's the SMH's round-up of public feedback regarding Abbott's lateness yesterday. Many, many of them gave me a chuckle.

(Question for the True Blue Aussies - although I hesitate to bring this up - but several of those SMH comments make explicit references to his Catholicism. I think the guy's a complete and utter dickhead, but dragging his religion into it makes me uncomfortable. Is this justified because he trots it out himself all the time? Or is this just a bit of casual racism poking its head out...?)
posted by web-goddess at 3:55 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


web-goddess, it's because he trots it out all the time. A politicians personal history is generally considered fair game if he uses it for his own political advantage, as Abbott has tried to do in the past (anyone remember his long lost son?).

The Aussie dollar has hit a new high. No comment from the pollies yet, but you know it's coming.

Stephen Mayne has announced he's going to challenge Peter Costello in his own seat. No doubt Glenn Milne will run Costello's own personal smwear unit against Mayne... for free.

Howard is facing questions about another Cabinet leak on environmental issues, this time regarding a warning two years ago from his then Environment Minister about the Coalition's renewable energy target.

Is it any wonder that Possum has written an article called 'Bring Out Your Dead'?
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:10 PM on October 31, 2007



wilful, I think you should look at how much QLD has gotten from federal programs (such as in road fundings case, AUSLINK) compared to other states. We've been shortchanged year after year after year and the State Government can only do so much in terms of picking up the slack.

So it's not entirely our own fault; it is more the fault of a federal government that seems to be pretty much Sydney-centric when it comes to dishing out funds.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:41 AM on October 30 [+] [!]


Effigy, are you really sure that Qld is shortchanged form the Federal Government? I know that Vic pays ~26% of all federal excises for fuel etc, but receives about 18% of AusLink funds year on year, despite having the main port and most of the manufacturing. And my point that Qld has been low-tax and low-service (for whatever reason) is still true.

...so let me get this straight, wilful.

Crap infrastructure in Queensland is OUR fault. But crap infrastructure in Victoria is the Federal Government's fault?

Explain to me, please, how that makes even the slightest bit of sense?
posted by coriolisdave at 9:58 AM on October 30 [+] [!]


Dave, the reason it makes no sense is because I said no such thing. Actually Vic road infrastructure is mostly keeping up with demand, with little help from the Feds but because we've had two fairly competent governments in a row. My point is that the largesse being splashed around is hot spiced pork, and we like it too here in Vic, especially with our large asian population, and if they want to reward poor planning in Qld, as they did with land clearing and water over-allocation, then that's not fair. Vic will continue to subsidise Qld and WA, despite not having a minerals boom, because the Commonwealth Grants Commission is broken. We don't mind subsidising SA and Tassie, they're basket cases and we're nice, it's the undeserving pits in the ground we dont like. Another example: Queensland rail buying up national rail infrastructure. It's like the Singapore Government buying our national assets, but subsidised by the sellers.

Anyhoo, back to the election. Geez I love watching Abbott have to apologise. Couldn't happen to a nicer bloke. As for his catholicism, it would also matter less if he didn't have the health portfolio and hence a role in reproductive health issues.
posted by wilful at 6:39 PM on October 31, 2007


Effo, why should *I* go crawling to Tony Jones? He should know that the blue is the crucible wherein the zeitgeist is created.

And also, the Aussie Dollar has not hit a new high. The American dollar has hit a new low. They're different, if related, things.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:31 PM on October 31, 2007


from the "public feedback" link provided by web-goddess, above:

The man is in the middle of an election campaign, and is trying to convince the country that he isn't an odious wretch. His time is at a premium! He has apologies to make, places to embarrass, sycophancy to dribble, idiocies to spout! So let's not get ahead of ourselves. Surely we can give him the benefit of the doubt on this one, regardless of whether or not he is a disgusting piece of human refuse.

Posted by: JimBawb on November 1, 2007 1:41 AM

posted by UbuRoivas at 7:36 PM on October 31, 2007


Ha!

That comment was not made by me, but I wish it had been.
posted by Jimbob at 8:57 PM on October 31, 2007


The Family First candidate for Leichhardt, Ben Jacobsen, wants candidates to declare their sexuality when running for election.

High quality policy.
posted by Jimbob at 9:13 PM on October 31, 2007


wilful: First, some facts. Sorry I can't link to any of these stats, because I only have them in hard copy format.

1. More than 25% of total travel on the AusLink network occurs in Queensland.

2. Of the eastern states, Queensland is responsible for the largest proportion of state controlled roads as a percentage of total road network. QLD has 19%, NSW 11% and Victoria 6%.

3. The AusRAP 2005 report shows that of the 4705km of Queensland roads in the AusLink network, 1,295km or 27.5% are described as 'worst links' requiring attention.

4. Over 23% of fatalities in Queensland over five years to December 2005 were on the QLD AusLink network, which is only 3% of entire state road network.

Now, if you consider that under funding can reasonably be reflected in reduced network condition, performance and an unacceptable safety record on the AusLink network in Queensland, you begin to see that QLD is indeed underfunded compared to other States.

Now some history. Queensland's forecast total commitment to AusLink and other state transport infrastructure over the period 2004-05 to 2008-09 is in excess of $7.4bn for roads and in the order of $3bn for public transport and rail. So this is a total in excess of $10bn.

But Queensland's AusLink1 funding share from the Australian Government over the same period amounts to only approximately $2.6bn for state-controlled roads. Though to be fair, a further $1bn is allocated to us but this is predominantly for local (not state controlled) roads.

The RACQ has also publicly stated that a $14bn backlog in vital transport infrastructure in Queensland happened on Howard's watch.

So am I sure that QLD is short-changed on roads from the Feds? Given all of the above, you bet I am.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:51 PM on October 31, 2007


Rudd has matched Howard's tasty $4bn pork sandwich for seniors. Rudd is also promising to campaign against a plan by mining company Frontier Resources to re-route a part of the Kokoda Track. I think the PM will have to do a bit of "me-too-ing" on this one.

Or maybe he won't? The PM has revealed his secret weapon to win the campaign... a 'sexy' male media advisor. 'Luffy', as he's called, probably won't be too happy to read the Possum article I linked to earlier, then, which shows Howard's appeal to female voters is dropping like a lead baloon.

And finally, Abbott looks set to be forced to make another apology, this time to the Tasmanian Health Minister over the Mersey Hospital takeover delay. Doubt he'll get one, though.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:05 PM on October 31, 2007


Piers Ackerman has written another article. In a surprising move*, he has decided to attack Labor and Kevin Rudd.

Funny thing about Ackerman, who claims to be deep within the Liberal inner-circle, is on Insiders last Sunday he said the Libs' launch would be in Sydney or Melbourne.

Sorry Piers. It's Brisbane.

For international readers, I cannot drench these words with any more sarcasm than I have already given them.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:25 PM on October 31, 2007


Poll Bludger reports that;

* NineMSN’s awfully named Passion Pulse poll... shows Labor on 81 seats and the Coalition on 58, with both independents re-elected and nine seats too close to call.

* That there has apparently been chat on ABC Radio in Melbourne about a poll tomorrow (presumably either ACNielsen or Galaxy) showing Labor’s lead increasing from a fortnight ago (from 54-46 or 53-47).
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:34 AM on November 1, 2007


This just in: The above-mentioned Family First candidate has taken a leaf out of Tony Abbott's book, and has apologised for demanding candidates declare their sexual orientation. I'm sure it's heartfelt.
posted by Jimbob at 2:26 AM on November 1, 2007


The above-mentioned Family First candidate has taken a leaf out of Tony Abbott's book, and has apologised for demanding candidates declare their sexual orientation, after photos of him flashing his genitals were discovered on gay websites.

There, much better.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:20 AM on November 1, 2007


Day 19


There are two big stories today. The first is the AC Nielsen poll which shows Labor on 55-45 on the 2PP. As Mark Reilley noted on Sunrise this morning, 55 has been the consistent trend for Labor throughout the three weeks of the campaign and it shows no signs of easing. The Narrowing looks set never to eventuate.

The second is the leaked e-mails that Dr Mohammed Haneef's lawyers have obtained which show that the Federal Government (specifcally Kevin Andrews) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) conspired against his client. A spokeswoman for Mr Andrews says he considered Dr Haneef's visa for the first time on July 16, and cancelling the visa was entirely unrelated to the criminal proceedings. No doubt this issue will play heavily on the campaign as the day unfolds.

But before that can happen, the campaign is on hold for a little while as both John Howard and Kevin Rudd take time out from the campaign trail today to attend the funeral of SAS Sergeant Matthew Locke in Perth.

In other news, as Labor again fights off claims of 'me-tooism', the AMA says it can see key differences between the parties on health and Peter Costello's brother Tim says he can see key differences on foreign aid, going so far as to back Labor's plan.

Finally, as most commentators say that victory is nigh on impossible for Howard at this stage in the campaign, news comes forth that the Liberals are about to run a new advertising strategy. Attack the State Labor Governments.

Uh guys... it's a Federal campaign. You know that, right?
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:45 PM on November 1, 2007


Attacking State Labor Governments is also a bit crazy, when in most of the States the Premier's standing is higher than Howards (not sure about in NSW). Also, it can play up Rudd's "end the blame game" message.

I wouldn't advise it - but hey, they're doing a swell job at the moment, what would I know?

Howard is G.A.W.N.

Hoo fucking ray.

Gonna get drunk on election night.

Effigy, I'll give up talking about roads, it's a derailment. I'm sure Qld has shit roads and needs investment, I'm also sure that they're subsidised by Victorians.
posted by wilful at 4:29 PM on November 1, 2007


Very well wilful. We shall agree to a cessation of roads debate (though I much enjoyed it). Maybe it's better to say we all have shit roads, unless you live in Sydney.

As I predicted earlier (though I admit it was hardly a Nostradamus-style prophecy), the Haneef e-mails have come forth to play a role in the campaign. Andrews has come out to deny there was ever a plan to jail Haneef. No word from Labor yet but you just know it's coming; probably right after Sergeant Locke's funeral.

And Mungo McCallum (an excellent journo who used to sink his teeth into the Libs back in Fraser's day) has returned from semi-retirement to write an awesome article about the Primus inter Minimos. Man, Mungo really did retire way too early.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:44 PM on November 1, 2007


Mungo still gets a gig with Crikey from time to time. He's not bad at all, better and less predictable than some of the newer lefties, like Guy Rundle.

One of the truly laughable commentators is Professor David Flint. He's fricking hilarious, totally on another planet.
posted by wilful at 4:49 PM on November 1, 2007


yes, quit the road derail. your arguments are floundering like a lead balloon. in fact, they never even had the legs to get off the ground.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:59 PM on November 1, 2007


wilful: Really? I had no idea. I don't read Crikey as much as I should. I might have to spend some more time there. Ta!

Back to Haneef: You can read the Haneef e-mails here (pdf link). I had a look at them. Now, I'm no legal expert, but I must be missing something. I can't see any eveidence of a 'conspiracy'; only two public servants discussing what happened in the court. Anyone want to fill me in on what I'm apparently missing?

Also over at The Australian, there's another story about how badly the Liberal campaign is going. It has a quote from Brian Loughnane saying "You'd have to have been extremely removed from Australian politics to believe the Coalition is completely out of the race."

That's true Brian. You're obviously quite removed from Australian politics because quite clearly you can't see the forest from the trees. Twit.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:01 PM on November 1, 2007


Hahahahahahahaha!

In true coalition style, Kevin Andrews's office denies he knew of plan to keep Mohamed Haneef in jail. "I didn't see the emails, says Andrews, but if I did, I don't recall having seen them..."

Pathetic, spineless liars to the very end.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:02 PM on November 1, 2007


Oh wait. Never mind. I see the line regarding contingencies in case he is granted bail.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:04 PM on November 1, 2007


I will reluctantly admit that the Government Gazette hasn't been too cravenly partisan with the Haneef affair. Actually reasonably good journalism.

Reckon they need to get Dennis Shanahan onto it.

I wonder what the Aus is going to do to reinvent itself.
posted by wilful at 6:36 PM on November 1, 2007


Greens Senator Kerry Nettle has said Kevin Andrews should resign because of his handling of the Haneef issue.

Kerry, he will resign. Not willingly though. It'll happen in 22 days time.

Especially if we go by
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:05 PM on November 1, 2007


um, since when did anybody within the coalition do the honourable thing & fall on their sword over anything?

that's one of the things i find most appalling about this mob of reprehensible asswipes - the notion of ministerial responsibility has been completely trashed under howard. there's always some shitty excuse as to how they weren't told, or some legalistic sidestepping.

the whole notion of responsibility is supposed to be that the buck ends with the minister (or PM), no matter what.

weren't told what happened in your dept? bad luck, shoulda known. made the 'right' decision based on wrong info? bad luck, shoulda gotten the right info. made the wrong decision but wanna weasel out of it with legalese? nope, that won't cut it either.

this is just another in a long long list of fuckedness by these guys, and it seems like we're all sick to death of their cowardly evasions & equivocations. this makes labor's tactics quite beautiful to watch: "me-too" on all the economic issues (more or less), then let the coalition die from a thousand cuts like this one, abbott the other day, habib & hicks, children overboard, AWB, Iraq, "sorry, but no sorry", migration zone tinkering, stealing east timor's oil, politicising the public service, non-core promises, the access card, citizens deported & lost, refugees held offshore forever, cuts to the abc & sbs...

good fucking riddance to the lot of 'em!
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:56 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I worry that ministerial responsibility has been trashed forever, though - I doubt Labor will be any better in this regard. I'm hoping they will come clean soon with the way they'll manage their "ministerial code of conduct".
posted by Jimbob at 9:16 PM on November 1, 2007


Effigy2000: "Especially if we go by..."

... todays Morgan Poll, which shows the two-party gap widening to 57.5-42.5 from 56-44 last week. Labor’s primary vote is up 2 per cent to 49 per cent, while the Coalition’s is down from 39.5 per cent to 39 per cent.

Is what I meant to say, except I was having trouble posting at work earlier today. Like serious trouble.

And serious trouble is what Peter Garrett is in tonight after telling Steve Price (of all fucking people) in a Melbourne airport lounge that Labor would "change everything" about their promises when they win Government. Though Garrett has moved to clarify the issue, insisting it was a joke, it was a stupid, stupid move at a time when Labor seemed poised to be ready, willing and able to let the Government stew in its own failures. Especially so given that Tuesday's Newspoll will be conducted this weekend.

I'm expecting a hefty drop for Labor. It won't matter too much come Wednesday however, when the Reserve Bank announces its decision on interest rates...
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:18 AM on November 2, 2007


Garrett? Storm in a tea cup. No-one gives a shit, Effigy, I promise you. No-one who's planning on voting Labor would give a shit if Labor did want to "change it all". That's why they're voting Labor. They don't want the Liberal policies any more. People have made up their minds, and this is just more News Corp. fussing.
posted by Jimbob at 4:37 AM on November 2, 2007


(Also, the fact that Garrett said this indicates that a hint of radicalism may still flicker in him. That might win back a few people who've been waiting for the man to grow some fucking balls.)
posted by Jimbob at 4:41 AM on November 2, 2007


Looks like the boys are visiting today.
posted by Jimbob at 9:27 AM on November 2, 2007


My wife and I have debated the Garrett gaffe at length. She reckons it's a disaster, I reckon it'll be forgotten in an instant.

But christ, joking with Steve Price?? What were you thinking you fool? Poison dwarf #2 has never had a sense of humour. Michelle Grattan has a nice line - Peter should spend the next three weeks in a forest somewhere.

It gives Howard a new line for the last three weeks - "Labor's secret plans". But it has a sting for the Libs - what about their secret WorkChoices plans? What about Honest John and his core versus non-core promises?
posted by wilful at 3:27 PM on November 2, 2007


Day 20


Be it a disaster or storm in a teacup, the Government is going on the offensive over the Garret gaffe. The good news for Labor, though, is the unnamed television personality that Price mentioned overheard and confirmed the conversation was Channel Nine television personality Richard Wilkins. Wilkins has backed Mr Garrett's recollection, saying he is sure that Garrett was making a joke, and not revealing Labor's insidious secret plans for world domination. This is bound to dampen the issue a great deal, probably even limiting the length of run that it gets in the news cycle, but I still suspect that Labors numbers will take a hammering on Tuesday's Newspoll.

The day gets slightly worse for Labor with news that a Newspoll in todays Weekend Government Gazette shows the Coalition 'clawing back' Labors lead in marginals. So in what must be a strategic move to try and limit some of the fallout, Kevin Rudd has challenged Howard to another debate and has also tried reminding people that there was some pretty big news yesterday surrounding a doctor called Mohammed Haneef.

There is some sad news though, with news to hand revealing that Peter Andren has died today at the age of 61. Never before has the following gesture been more appropriate.

.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:00 PM on November 2, 2007


Never really knew about Peter Andren, it was more of a NSW thing, but I only heard good things about him.

Care of Possum Comitatus, check out this crazy ranter, given a space in our national broadcaster. A vote for Krudd is a vote for the terrists!
posted by wilful at 4:04 PM on November 2, 2007


What the? Who the hell is David Barnett and why should I care about his insane views? He looks like your atypical grumpy old man. What's the ABC thinking here?

On the plus side, we're officially at the half way mark of the campaign today.

And about 10 days away from the mandatory closing of this thread. Drag.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:12 PM on November 2, 2007


David Barnett wrote "John Winston Howard - a hagiography" (line ripped off shamelessly from aforementioned marsupial). A-grade fossil, as bad as Professor David Flint.
posted by wilful at 4:35 PM on November 2, 2007


This is cute: Hockey says some of his fellow Ministers are duds. Labor would like to know which ones exactly.

I've got shitloads of schoolwork to do today, so am busy procrastinating.
posted by wilful at 6:09 PM on November 2, 2007


Hmmm. Speaking of Hockey, turns out Steve Price's wife is employed as an adviser in Hockey's ministerial office. There's motive to take a joke way out of context here. The plot thickens...
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:59 PM on November 2, 2007


Peter Garret says that he was dumb to say what he said to Steve Price and that the joking is over for Federal Labor and himself. Kevin Rudd has promised to keep to all he's promised. And as the Labor Party and Greens stitch up their preference deal, a new poll shows Howard is set to lose Bennelong.

And so endeth Day 20, the halfway point of the campaign. The first half was mostly dull but ended with a bang. Let's see how the second half goes. Maybe Downer will get sent off in the third quarter as someone jokingly predicted earlier. Let's plow on and see...

Gosh.... comment #1 seems such a long time ago...
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:43 AM on November 3, 2007


Howard is set to lose Bennelong.

Oh, dear God, please make it happen!
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:46 AM on November 3, 2007


I've heard said that the Libs don't have a lot in the kitty for major advertising campaigns from here on in - they needed momentum (which they didn't get) so front loaded a lot of their expenditure. Oh well.
posted by wilful at 3:36 PM on November 3, 2007


it is grand to contemplate the ruins of cities; but it is grander still to contemplate the ruins of human beings! ...

(Isidore Ducasse / Le Comte de Lautreamont: Les Chants de Maldoror)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:02 PM on November 3, 2007


Day 21


The PM revealed on Insiders this morning that he has heard audio from another radio broadcaster, Charles Wooley (who?) that Peter Garrett has for some time now been telling friends in the Green movement that once Labor gets in all their promises would change. Steve Price, meanwhile, has written of his conversation with Garrett, sticking to his version of events that it was no joke in his view. Rudd, meanwhile, has reiterated that all Labor's policies are locked in. Depending on how this new revelation from Wooley plays out, I suspect this issue will be dead by Wednesday, but it is undeniable that this issue has, unfortunately, given Howard and his cronies some traction at a time that they were slipping and sliding like... erm... kids on a slip'n'slide...

Back to the PM and Insiders, I also found it interesting how he has doubled back on his mantra of low interest rates and is now actually embracing the possibility of a rates rise on Tuesday. Obviously the aim is to try and limit any fallout from the Reserve Banks decision on Wednesday but like the journos on Insiders this morning, I'm skeptical that this will work in his favor. And if it does, I'm going to disown the Australian public and I'm gonna move to Sweden.

Two new promises will be issued forth later today. In what may well spark renewed debate between wilful and myself here in this thread, the PM will apparently announce that SE QLD will be getting $5.2b worth of roads, including a ring-road for Brisbane (which, I'm loathed to admit, is an excellent idea and I really do hope Rudd comes to the party there). And Kevin Rudd has announced that Labor will over $500m worth of tax breaks to young home buyers to help them get their first home, which is also an excellent idea.

Discuss!
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:27 PM on November 3, 2007


I'll pass on the roads discussion again (though there was an article in yesterday's Age discussing just where the pork had gone this election, and it was overwhelmingly to Qld and all of the marginal seats there), but I will disagree that tax breaks for young home buyers necessarily makes good economic sense. The market will factor that in in two seconds flat. I guess I'll wait until the details are out, but I'm highly sceptical. Australia needs to get over its property obsession. But anyways...

The media discussion these days (apart form the parallel universe of the Aus) seems more and more inclined to say that it's all over red rover. The polls this week seemed to fix it. The message now will be that Howard is out of it. I don't think he can survive that narrative.
posted by wilful at 6:25 PM on November 3, 2007


Interesting post over at Club Troppo, regarding lying in politics.
posted by wilful at 6:35 PM on November 3, 2007


Looks to me like Labor is trying its hand at Howard-style dog-whistle politics. Garrett's little "joke" strikes me as being aimed fairly and squarely at voters who would normally be Labor loyalists but are toying with the idea of drifting over to the real Opposition i.e. the Greens.

I'm sure Rudd has told Garrett, in private, that if he just keeps on mouthing the Labor line then they really will change it all once in power, and I think Garrett has probably convinced himself that there is some chance that this might be true. I can think of no more plausible explanation for his extraordinary willingness to renounce so much of what he formerly so strongly espoused.

I, for one, don't believe it for a second. It's perfectly clear to me that Rudd really is Howard Lite, and in true Howard style, is playing his high profile show pony Shadow Environment Minister for an all day sucker.
posted by flabdablet at 8:20 PM on November 3, 2007


Gotta give him style points for using Howard's very own dog whistle to do it, though :-)
posted by flabdablet at 8:27 PM on November 3, 2007


Rudd's housing plan isn't a bad one, I guess - tax breaks for saving is a better idea than straight handouts like the first home owners grant.

The problem is, it makes the assumption that "first home owners" are the only ones struggling with affordability. I was a "first home owner" once. We had to sell up and start renting again when my job took me to a new city where housing prices are through the roof. So, it doesn't help me. Maybe if it was phrased as being aimed at renters rather than first home owners...
posted by Jimbob at 8:44 PM on November 3, 2007


Sitting in Darwin airport, watching the lightning flicker around the horizon and waiting for a flight to Hobart, I notice that the Senate tickets are out. As the Poll Bludger explores in the link above, there are some strange alliances forming. Family First directing preferences to libertarians? The Climate Change Coalition directing preference to the Fishing Party? And in Queensland, the CCC have put One Nation ahead of Labor. I wonder what Philip Adams thinks of that.

I notice here in the NT, Labor has directed their Liberal preference in reverse order, giving a higher preference to their second ticket place, rather than Nigel Scullion...I guess they figure "if the Liberals have to get a Senate seat, we don't want it to go to Nigel"...is this common? Does it ever work?

You can see two forces at work; the pragmatic we don't like you but it might help if we can exchange preferences , and the ideological preferencing of enemies last, as Family First do with The Greens. Liberals seem much more inclined to preference Labor last, while Labor generally preferences a variety of right-wing nutters last, and put the Liberals in the middle of the ticket.
posted by Jimbob at 8:21 AM on November 4, 2007


Day 22


A Galaxy poll out today, taken over the weekend, shows Labor increasig its lead over the coalition. It also, curiously, shows that most voters wouldn't blame Howard for any rise in interest rates.

That's probably fair, because the Reserve Bank is independent. But Government policy, such as $34b worth of tax cuts, does have an influence on any decision the bank makes. And besides, I think Galaxy is asking the wrong question. Would you blame Howard? Maybe, maybe not. Bu if the question were "would you trust him or think he had broken a promise from the 2004 election to keep interest rates at record lows", maybe that would be a different story?

Also interesting is that Labor kept its lead despite the Garrett fiasco (which itself has all but dissapeared from the front pages this morning, near as I can tell). To be honest, I was expecting Newspoll to be released today, as Shanahan has always released Newspoll on Mondays (instead of Tuesdays) when the results have been favourable to the Government. Perhaps I was wrong and tomorrows Newspoll won't be as bad as I thought it would be...

In other news, Joe Hockey has said he'll quit if the Government makes any more changes to Workchoices if re-elected and two animal welfare activists have gate-crashed Howards morning walk this morning.

Which is probably the most interesting thing to happen in what has been a pretty boring day so far, but one thing is for certain. I get the feeling that this week and its events will be the week that decides the election.

Anyone for some coffee?
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:56 PM on November 4, 2007


I always love Ross Gittins economic analysis.
posted by wilful at 3:10 PM on November 4, 2007


Labor has unveiled a $150m plan to halve the number if homeless people turned away from shelters. Which is nice, but if $150m halves it, would it really hurt to spend $300m to eliminate the need to turn anyone away from these shelters? Like I said, $150m is nice, but still seems like a drop in the ocean, really.

OT: Melbourne Cup is tomorrow, as you'd probably be aware. Who's your pick? I'm totally going for Gallic.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:38 PM on November 4, 2007


Rate rise now a 'fait accompli'.

In truth, this is Howard's last stand.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:07 PM on November 4, 2007


The host of ABC TV's Gardening Australia program, Peter Cundall, claims federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull told him in August that he "hated" the Gunns pulp mill proposed for northern Tasmania.
But Mr Turnbull says he has never expressed an emotional view on the pulp mill. "I don't recall saying that, and I've not expressed an emotional response to the pulp mill per se," said Mr Turnbull. "The pulp mill itself, what I have been appalled by and very, very unhappy with, has been the way in which the Tasmanian Labor Government cut short the Resource Planning and Development Commission (RPDC) process.''
So no denial and no claim that it was only a joke, Malcolm? Bwahahaha! :P
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:50 PM on November 4, 2007


Day 23


The latest Newspoll (pdf) sees Labor drop 1 point on the 2PP vote and Rudd drop 2 points as preferred PM. Shanahan puts it down to the Garrett gaffe, of course. Shanahan can blow me; I await Possums analysis.

In other news, John Howard has begged voters not to be angry at him over any rates rise that may happen tomorrow, and Alexander Downer has labeled Rudd a "show off" after conducting an interview on Chinese TV yesterday entirely in Mandarin.

Also of interest, Antony Green has revealed a new Senate calculator for you to see how any given swing will affect the Senate vote. It's not as simple a toy as the House calculator, and you'll need the Group voting tickets to help you play with it, but it's nifty nonetheless.

Finally, today is of course the Melbourne Cup. My pick Gallic has dropped out so I'm just gonna go with the favorite, Master O'Rielly. Any good tips for me, people?
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:43 PM on November 5, 2007


"And in Queensland, the CCC have put One Nation ahead of Labor. I wonder what Philip Adams thinks of that."
posted by Jimbob at 2:21 AM on November 5

Why don't you ask him? It'd be appropriate feedback for his latest piece at the Government Gazette.

Also, if you're bored, check out this video at Larvatus Prodeo*. These guys can't sing for shit but if you can get past that it's a great video.

* While/if you can. LP has been hammered by spammers big time over the last couple of days. The theory, apparently, is it's the Young Libs. Pathetic, if true.

Also; this is comment #500.

posted by Effigy2000 at 2:34 PM on November 5, 2007


OT: Melbourne Cup is tomorrow, as you'd probably be aware. Who's your pick? I'm totally going for Gallic.

Call me churlish, but I find horse racing to be about the most boring sport in the universe, probably because I've never had the tiniest bit of interest in any form of gambling. So yeh, a great big "meh" from me. Have fun, though. I might go out for a walk or something (anything to avoid watching the race!)

posted by UbuRoivas at 5:14 PM on November 5, 2007


Still on the racing (the sport of kings, which is about right, it's always had a strange class consciousness embedded in it), I'm liking Zipping, a US horse. Got $20 each way on it.

The Newspoll gives the 1 point (still within the MoE) from Labor to the Greens, which comes straight back on preferences (I mean, which Greens voters put the Libs second?) so it's nothing. Tomorrow's rate rise will be the talking point for the week.

Effigy, I think it's comment #519 actually.

Here is the Age pork-o-meter I mentioned earlier. I'm fairly sure it's broken at the moment, it's suggesting the Libs have announced more for Victoria than I'm aware of. Qld way in front for Labor.

My goodness Downer is a churlish twat. Nothing new there, however. He's been vewwy vewwy quiet this campaign. Where's the team guys?
posted by wilful at 5:52 PM on November 5, 2007


Well, Efficent has won the race. Mahler, the horse John Howard picked, came third. Kevin Rudd would still have had a horse running in the Melbourne Cup if he followed his strategy of me-tooism as Maybe Better was a late scratching.

My own personal results? I went in a sweep here at work and got On A Jeune, which lost. Bah. My girlfriend won though, getting $60 out of the process! Now she can keep me in the manner to which I'm accustomed. :P
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:35 PM on November 5, 2007


"The Newspoll gives the 1 point (still within the MoE) from Labor to the Greens, which comes straight back on preferences (I mean, which Greens voters put the Libs second?) so it's nothing."
posted by wilful at 11:52 AM on November 6

Well said, wilful. Possum also had some excellent analsysis on Newspoll, via Pollbludger.
"This week’s Newspoll figures have the problem of slightly undervaluing the preference flows the ALP receives from the minor parties, meaning that it’s more likely than not that the next Newspoll will probably fix that up. These slight rounding problems and sampling volatility of the minor parties all come out in the wash over a few polls. When you combine that with the ALP primary looking rock solid at 47/48, it’s almost expected that in the next poll or two, the two party preferred headline figure will show the ALP increasing its lead – simply as a result of the high ALP primary vote combining with this minor party sampling error and rounding issues. But should that happen, the headlines will undoubtedly scream “Interest Rate Backlash!” as some new 55/45 poll shows the ALP gaining a two point lead from the previous poll, the best poll the government had enjoyed for 12 months, but one which no-one paid attention to because the ponies were on."
I love Possum. In the absence of Matt Price, his writings have been the best piece of electoral analysis this election.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:09 PM on November 5, 2007


today's SMH cartoon
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:08 PM on November 6, 2007


Day 24


The RBA has announced its decision, and it's decision is to raise interest rates by 0.25%. And even though Dennis Shanahan has tried to deflate Rudd's economic credentials today, and even though there are now talks about how the rates rise will affect the IR debate, one thing is loud and clear;

The campaign is over, folks. Howard has lost. Everyone go home and have a cold beer. Nothing more to see here. Dead man walking.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:38 PM on November 6, 2007


while cold beer at 10am does have some appeal, i might just pull up a deckchair & watch the rodent continue to squirm for a while. for another eighteen days, in fact.

he really must have been clutching at straws, setting up such a long campaign, presumably in the hope that he'd be able to throw enough mud to claw out a win. now it must feel like an endless nightmare, and i'm loving it!
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:08 PM on November 6, 2007


And so the storm that will sink this Government's ship begins.

PM says sorry for rates rise.

An ABC presenter says that Costello told him off air that rates wouldn't rise this month.

The Liberal slogan 'Go For Growth' will now have to be ditched.

Meanwhile, Cameron Thompson, a QLD Liberal MP in the marginal seat of Blair, reckons that the rates rise will be great for the Government.

Possum wonders which scenario is more likely...
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:41 PM on November 6, 2007


The live blog for the Gillard vs. Hockey debate. I watched bits of it and as Lincloln Archer said, who won the debate will probably depend on whether you think Workchoices are awesome or evil. For my money then, Gillard won.

Hockey made some announcements during the debate, too, so here they are, for your edification. The headline seems to be 'Hockey promises 52 weeks unpaid parental leave', which doesn't sound to tempting to my ears. A year without money when your baby has just been born sounds... tough.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:14 PM on November 6, 2007


Peter Costello has said that today's rates rise is proof of good economic management and is a reason to keep the Government in power.

I'm speechless. Utterly, utterly speechless.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:22 PM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


The parental leave is just addressing the situation where maternity leave was only available to the mother. This would allow the father to be the primary carer should the mother return to work.
I suppose it will help a small minority of families where the mother wishes to return to work because she earns more or similar, but it still isn't the paid parental leave available in every other developed country except the US.
posted by bystander at 7:52 PM on November 6, 2007


Hockey promises 52 weeks unpaid parental leave

Huh/ I thought that was an existing right?

maybe that's the one they promise to leave in after the election.
posted by wilful at 9:02 PM on November 6, 2007


I thought there was no existing right regarding parental leave?
posted by liquorice at 9:09 PM on November 6, 2007


Go for Growth is gone!

All through the campaign John Howard has been in front of a sign that read "Go for Growth".

Not today. It has been sidelined by a previously-absent flag.

It might have been because the Reserve Bank's statement said we should not go for growth. It might have been because right now "Go for Growth" could be translated to maen "Go for higher rates".

In any event, not only is a rate hike mid-campaign historic, so too is abandoning your central campaign slogan mid-campaign.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:21 PM on November 6, 2007


Labor says this latest rates rise hurts the PMs credibility and, to really rub it in, they've got this ad ready to go to air.

Meanwhile, The Government Gazette is in full spin mode with Caroline Overington parrotting the line that this rates rise is great news for Howard. The comments to the article, which are overwhelmingly in disagreement with her, not only make for funny reading but give some insight into how Costello's earlier comments will resonate with people more generally.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:37 PM on November 6, 2007


There is no right to paid parental leave. New mothers have the right to take up to 52 weeks unpaid maternity leave.
It appears this is reciprocating to the male parent.
Without seeing the wording, I bet it limits parental leave to that taken in the first year of the child's life, so it isn't mum take a year off then dad take a year off.
posted by bystander at 10:52 PM on November 6, 2007


I liked Gillard's new take on core promises:

"If you'd like me to pledge to resign, to sign a contract in blood, take a polygraph, bet my house on it, give you my mother as a hostage, whatever you like."

What I'd find absolutely hilarious is if Rudd's me-tooism extended to pinching "Go for Growth". If they're not using it...
posted by zamboni at 11:26 AM on November 7, 2007


Day 25


Not surprisingly, inflation has stayed the key focus of the campaign today. George Megalogenis says that Costello was "too honest for his own good" when he yesterday said that the day's interest rates rise was proof of good economic management and is a reason to keep the Government in power. And although business is backing the PM over interest rates, taking another swipe at Labor's IR policy in the process, the PM has still seen fit to apologise to voters for the latest rise in rates and has asked them for a "leap of faith."

Finishing off on interest rates, Mike Steketee has also written an interesting article on Howard's economic legacy over at the GG here and Ozpolitics reports that the latest media release from Sportingbet shows that, in an unexpected shift, punters have flocked to the Coalition since yesterdays news with 96% of money bet with Australia’s biggest bookmaker, Sportingbet Australia, going to the Coalition since the Reserve Bank’s announcement was made.

Finally, The Pollbludger has analysed the latest Newspoll geographic and demographic breakdowns and The Climate Institute says their recent poll results indicate voters are likely to be swayed by the issue of climate change, which is sure to the main topic of today's debate between Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Garrett today.

I'll post the live blog when it's available. Let's just all hope Garrett dosen't put his foot in his mouth again.

16 days left to go...
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:05 PM on November 7, 2007


the latest media release from Sportingbet shows that, in an unexpected shift, punters have flocked to the Coalition since yesterdays news with 96% of money bet with Australia’s biggest bookmaker, Sportingbet Australia, going to the Coalition since the Reserve Bank’s announcement was made.

Not long ago, Possum was speculating that the Coalition might be channeling party dollars through faceless entities in order to place bets on the election result. All in the name of gaining "traction", "momentum", "comeback narratives" and the like. If the polls are all against them, but they can still buy a result that seems to show them gaining ground, well, desperate times call for desperate measures...a last throw of the dice, if you like.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:24 PM on November 7, 2007


Not long ago Catherine Deveny was suggesting that everyone should bet on the Coalition, so that on the day they'll at least have one reason to be happy.
posted by pompomtom at 3:10 PM on November 7, 2007


Why's that? Because the Coalition members will be getting great odds, betting on a Labor victory?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:04 PM on November 7, 2007


Not long ago Catherine Deveny was suggesting that everyone should bet on the Coalition, so that on the day they'll at least have one reason to be happy.

That was my idea well before Catherine Deveney's.

If on election night the Coalition win, at least you can console yourself that you got great returns on your wager, adn can spend it on some fine strong alcohol.

If Labor wins, well so what if you lost a bit of money on the outcome, you'll be getting pissed on some fine strong alcohol.

BTW pompoms, where's the party on the 24th? We're free.
posted by wilful at 5:42 PM on November 7, 2007


The live blog for Turnbull vs Garrett is up and running.

In other news, Unemployment, job numbers up. So more bad news for Howard then?

"Not long ago Catherine Deveny was suggesting that everyone should bet on the Coalition, so that on the day they'll at least have one reason to be happy."
posted by pompomtom at 9:10 AM on November 8

Not a bad idea, actually. I could easily sink $50 into the Government and would be happy (very, very happy) never to see it again if Labor wins, but the $185 I'd get in return if Labor loses would probably go some way towards easing my pain on November 25.

While we're talking about the bookies, this is an interesting article from a few days ago. Bookies seem to be betting on two different outcomes. Labor to win generally, but a hung parliament on a seat by seat basis. Interesting...
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:44 PM on November 7, 2007


In other news, Unemployment, job numbers up. So more bad news for Howard then?

No, it's good news for Howard. Haven't you been following recent news? A rise in unemployment cools inflation & lowers pressure on interest rates. This just proves that Howard has full control over all the macroeconomic levers.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:59 PM on November 7, 2007


Fearless and insightful writing, Caroline. Don’t forget your white stick on the way out.

Heh, heh, heh.
posted by Wolof at 7:59 PM on November 7, 2007


The Federal Government's Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has recommended that the asbestos cancer medicine Alimta should be subsidised.
Last month, anti-asbestos campaigner Bernie Banton visited the office of the Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott to call for the drug's subsidy. Mr Abbott accused Mr Banton of staging a political stunt, but later apologised.

Today, Mr Banton is reported to be delighted at the decision to subsidise the drug. He was too sick to speak to the media, but was quoted by his wife as saying 'at last'.

The Federal Opposition has also welcomed the decision.
Trying hard not to be cynical here... but isn't the timing of this good news story just too perfect?

Bah. Whatever. The important thing is that asbestos victims finally have something to smile about.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:34 PM on November 7, 2007


Saying "sorry" and apologising are two quite different things.
posted by Wolof at 9:21 PM on November 7, 2007


"Saying "sorry" and apologising are two quite different things."
posted by Wolof at 3:21 PM on November 8

For the second time in as many days I am speechless. Utterly, utterly speechless.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:31 PM on November 7, 2007


Day 26


Mark Latham returns from beyond the grave, calling this election the "Seinfeld election" because it is about nothing.

John Howard, meanwhile, says that Labor is trying to divert attention away from its lack of policies by focusing attention on how non-apology apology. And Costello has admitted that the lack of available jobs spoken of yesterday is bound to push up inflation.

Possum has written another excellent article, as always, this time saying that the effect of Wednesday's rates rise is, essentially, a race against the clock for both sides.

Finally, the Poll Bludger has an open thread about the rumor doing the rounds at the moment that the Sunday Telegraph and/or Australian Financial Review has a big bombshell of a story on Rudd that will hit on Sunday or Monday next week. Apparently it is the 'mother of all dirt stories'. The Latham story today could qualify, but I think its probably more of a positive for Labor.

Should make for an interesting Sunday, if true...
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:51 PM on November 8, 2007


Latham again says something that is perfectly accurate but not politically tenable.

I don't believe in the existence of dirt stories. If they'd had it, they would have used it by now. And by delaying for long enough, the story becomes the story - that they're manipulating the election by timing, not the content.
posted by wilful at 1:32 PM on November 8, 2007


It does look like it's time for the dirty tricks to come out. That headline is a shocker, although as a commenter on Poll Bludger pointed out, based on the photo attached to the article the average punter may interpret "Howard's Rival" to be someone different than intended...

As for the Tele/AFR dirt? It worries me a bit, but Downer's boys have flung a lot of dirt already, mostly before the campaign even started, so you have to wonder what they have left. None of it stuck, anyway. Surely the big bomb should have been dropped weeks ago to build momentum. I guess we'll see.

Surprisingly, I feel that despite the trend recently to make Australian elections "presidential", I don't think this election is about leaders. Well, it may be about Howard, but it's not really about Rudd. I mean, I can't really stand the guy. I seem to remember liking him a lot more when he was a shadow minister, but since he's taken on the lead role he's gone completely milquetoast. That pained sincerity. The constant reassurances that he's really just like Howard, no alarms and no surprises, everything in it's right place, fitter, happier. Most other people I talk to aren't too hot on Rudd either. But they are going to vote Labor, despite him, not because of him. Maybe that's why the dirt doesn't work.
posted by Jimbob at 1:37 PM on November 8, 2007


People like Rudd as Labor leader not because he's Rudd, but because he's not Beazley or Latham or Crean.
posted by Jimbob at 1:43 PM on November 8, 2007


People like Rudd as Labor leader because he's not quite Howard.
posted by flabdablet at 2:10 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have heard some talk that the 'big story' is that Rudd and Therese Rein had a trial separation a while back.

I suspect that's bullshit and they probably have nothing. Like wilful said, sounds to me more like they are trying to make a story of the story because frankly, if that is the Libs big dirt story for Sunday, the Government may as well pack up and go home now.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:37 PM on November 8, 2007



I have heard some talk that the 'big story' is that Rudd and Therese Rein had a trial separation a while back.


If that is the story, it's a serious flop, too. It humanises them. Also, from what I've seen of them in public together, there's genuine affection now.

Gawd, if you were the Lib strategist, you'd hate the idea of Janette Howard getting more than a few seconds of banal coverage.

BTW, while talking about women, here's an interesting post from Larvaprod. LNP voters are patriarchal. Who would thought it?
posted by wilful at 3:51 PM on November 8, 2007


I think how the quote is phrased in that "Passion Pulse" question is interesting. It's asking do I agree that people want to see women stepping forward and taking a fair share of all the roles in politics.

I know I want to see women stepping forward into politics, but do I think that other people do?
posted by liquorice at 4:02 PM on November 8, 2007


It's a silly question anyway. I mean, you can't possibly answer it without knowing how good-looking these hypothetical female politicians are.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:50 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


(obviously, i interpret the question as "do i think joe punchclock wants to see more women in politics?")
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:53 PM on November 8, 2007


Deputy PM Mark Vaile has pounced on Mark Latham's comments as proof that Labor has no policies of its own, convieniently forgetting that Latham's Seinfeld comparison applied to both major parties. When even Andrew Bolt says that Latham's attack won't hurt Labor (albeit he says that in a kind of underhanded way) you know Vaile is grasping at straws.

In other news, John Howard has declared the economy to be more important than climate change. After all, he says, "It's not the end of the world."
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:47 PM on November 8, 2007


Frankly I'm more interested in the cricket. 3 for 380, Hussey 8 away from a century. Looks like 550 for the first innings.

God Australian cricket is boring these days.
posted by wilful at 7:09 PM on November 8, 2007


First Mark Vaile pounced on Latham's article in the Fin Review, and now so too has the PM himself, saying;
"I thought he just confirmed everything that Peter Garrett had said. Peter Garrett had said we'd change it all when we get in, and Mark Latham says that we all expect, we all hope, that it will be a lot more, he uses the word 'progressive', I use the word 'radical', a lot more radical if the Labor Party gets in."
For all important context, here is what the Prime Miniature was referring to. Latho said;
"Undoubtedly many people in the Labor movement are expecting Labor in power to be far more progressive than its stated election promises. Behind the scenes, they are reassuring each other that once Howard has gone a radical reform program can begin. I think the reverse is true. I expect a Labor administration to be even more timid, more conservative."
Ah, sweet, sweet context. How, exactly, does Latham saying "Labor won't change shit" equal "Labor will change it all!" We've seriously entered the looking glass here people. Sorry dosen't mean sorry. Interest rate rises are signs of good governance. Everything means something other than what it means!

Also a good point was something one commenter said under the linked article.
"For a total radical failure, Mark Latham certainly seems to command a lot a media time. It wasn't that long ago that John Howard was making Latham out to be close to a raving idiot and now he is treating his comments as if they are of significance."
Not really a revelation there or anything, just a good point. Howard looks increasingly desperate as the finish line draws nearer and the polls don't budge for him. It'd be hilarious if it weren't so pathetic.

Speaking of the polls, the new Morgan Poll is out, and it shows a swing to Labor . I still say it's a useless poll to be listening to, but it's a poll nonetheless so there's a link for you anyway.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:24 PM on November 8, 2007


Ubu: No, I think it's more that Deveny knows that Liberal voters aren't likely to be reading her column. Sort of like how I presume they're likely not reading this thread. (though I'm typing quietly, because I'm sitting next to one RIGHT NOW! - I presume she doesn't realise that she's actually working for a union-owned business...)

Have to agree with Wilful about Latham. Of course, the last election wasn't about anything either... so Howard made it about the pathetic economic illiteracy of the voting public interest rates. Thank fuck he'll not be doing that again, 'cos it would've worked.

(and Wilful: Sorry, hadn't seen recent comments before that bbq email. We could do it your place, cos you're the seasoned political wonk, or we could do it at my place because I have a better stocked bar and couldn't be arsed staggering home. Your call.)
posted by pompomtom at 7:30 PM on November 8, 2007


Also, from what I've seen of them in public together, there's genuine affection now.

What a crock.

Seeing them holding hands, walking to the church at the SAS soldier's funeral was the most painfully forced, unaffectionate thing I've seen in a long time. And most other times I've seen them together.

Carry on with your circle jerk, folks.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:33 PM on November 8, 2007


Oh, looks like I was wrong.
posted by pompomtom at 7:42 PM on November 8, 2007


Carry on with your circle jerk, folks.
I'm sorry, where the fuck did that come from? And what value did it add?

You can be a fuckwit, uncanny, and make comments like that, or you can contribute. Your choice, of course, but we'll just ignore you if that's the level of your input.
posted by wilful at 7:43 PM on November 8, 2007


no, uncannyhengo is more than welcome here. after all, he's just put his hand up to play the part of the sao biscuit in the centre of our circle.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:01 PM on November 8, 2007


play the part of the sao biscuit in the centre of our circle

Bags not eating the bikkie afterwards though.

Two more weeks, folks.
posted by Wolof at 8:11 PM on November 8, 2007


"Two more weeks, folks."
posted by Wolof at 2:11 PM on November 9

And only four more days for this thread to remain open. I suspect it'll be forcibly closed around 1pm on Tuesday. Anyone wanna put their hand up to post Thread #2 once this one closes to get us through to Election Day? I'm more than willing to let someone else host the next circle jerk.

In other news, a woman has been knocked out during a shopping centre appearance by Prime Minister John Howard in west Sydney today. The ABC has a better photo of the carnage here.

At the same event, a 29-year-old man was spoken to by police after he declined to shake the Prime Minister's hand. The man, identified only as Alex, put his hand out as Howard approached him but then whipped his hand away. "I'm not a fan," he said later.

Alex was spoken to by police before being allowed to leave.

Insane...
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:22 PM on November 8, 2007


You can be a fuckwit, uncanny, and make comments like that, or you can contribute.

????

I did contribute. I said there is no "genuine affection". (IMO)

And what else do you call a Labor voting love-in thread where even bullshit calls of "genuine affection" can be plucked out of your ass and suddenly become fact? I call it a circle jerk.

Now carry on.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:35 PM on November 8, 2007


Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.

AND, for what it's worth, I would love uncanny to stick around since he provides a nice counterpoint to most of us in here. But I would say that's only because there's so few Liberal supporters left in the world at this stage, given the polls.

But c'mon guys. We've gone over 550 comments without a flame-war. No need to start one now!
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:41 PM on November 8, 2007


Alex was spoken to by police before being allowed to leave.

Insane...


Well, given that the AFP was brought into being because Billy Hughes had a few eggs being chucked at him, it's not that big a surprise.

Welcome to the thread, uncanny. I know you've got a lot to be upset about right now, but it'd be nice if you could stick around.
posted by zamboni at 9:13 PM on November 8, 2007


i think the sao should eat itself.

but yeh, i'd like to hear the opinions of an intelligent coalition supporter, because to be completely honest, i can't remember the last time that hasn't been an oxymoron.

while howard-haters can cite all kinds of issues that they have against the man, whenever i hear anything in favour of howard it's little other than "he's a good economic manager, record low unemployment, budget surplus, remember keating & 17% interest rates!" over & over & over. i find it hard to recall anybody pointing to any single thing that he's actually *done* to improve either the economy or australian culture & life in general; just that he was sitting around & apparently doing sweet fuck all, while things have been rosy all round the world.

the gun buy-back was pretty good stuff. the gst? hm, if it did anything to strenthen the economy then i guess we might have heard about the extent of those benefits by now. immigration detention? turning universities into expensive sausage factories? politicising the public service? following the us into the iraq quagmire? seriously, what has the guy actually ever done, that's been of any benefit to anybody whatsoever? i'm really curious, and i have no objection if people want to focus on the initiatives of supposed economic genius, and ignore all the disastrous cultural & social policies.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:40 PM on November 8, 2007


example of a coalition supporter:

lets see how good alex the prankster is at running the country. we aint fans of him, we think your a moron. Johnny shows respect by offereing his hand and you dis it like some sad punk. grow up, your 29 idiot. get off the dole and get a life.
Posted by: mark gunn of adelaide 4:27pm today

posted by UbuRoivas at 9:44 PM on November 8, 2007


I'm a fan of VSU and I think that, if full-fee degrees are going to exist, then it is good that the students can access the HELP funding (the ability to borrow HELP money for exchanges is also a brilliant idea). The Commonwealth scholarships program (introduced 2004, apparently) is a good system. I think that in the most recent budget, over-25 recipients of Youth Allowance got access to Rent Assistance: honestly, it's about fucking time. I would like to see HECS fees AND government funding to universities indexed, and I don't think full-fee degrees are a good idea, but I'm not sure if my instinctive 'just get better grades and get a HECS place' attitude is terribly helpful in forming an alternative system.
posted by jacalata at 10:21 PM on November 8, 2007


Actually I thought he was reasonably decent with Timor l'este. And he was honest with the GST, so I don't hold that against him (and economists generally do say it was a good thing, but not a miracle, just fixing something overdue for reform).

Costello hasn't been a bad Treasurer, per se, just a bit lazy. Paying down public debt has some issues, but if they can't think of anything else to do with the money it's not that bad an idea.

Here's one that will get me into hot water with the lefties - immigration has mostly been handled well! Statistically, we've taken a decent whack more refugees, and lots of useful skilled migrants. Of course, Rau, Solon, Nauru, Baxter, Vanstone, Ruddock, Andrews, 457, I know, know, but the underlying program has mostly done well.

OK I'm all out of positives. Basically yeah, it's a pretty thin record. I think even the Aus said as much, earlier this year.

Where are the vital skills and education, the infrastructure, the direction?
posted by wilful at 10:25 PM on November 8, 2007


When I'm busy procrastinating instead of studying this weekend, I'll post a new FPP. More than just a ...continued, I hope.
posted by wilful at 10:26 PM on November 8, 2007


The Courier Mail has a gallery of shots from the PMs visit to the shopping centre where the woman was knocked out.

Well, I dunno about you guys but it's basically Beer'o'clock for me. I'm getting smashed on Boags tonight so I expect to not wake up until late tomorrow morning.

You kids play nice while I'm gone, y'here! And no wild parties!
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:30 PM on November 8, 2007


Coalition supporter???

Keep it down, guys! I am anti Lefty Whiney Circle Jerky... so I can honestly see your confusion that it equates to being pro Howard.

I'm also very worried about Rudd - The Man. Can anyone say, snake oil salesman? The guy just oozes slime. But the hatred of Howard (a lot of it deserved) has totally blinkered many of you.

The Labor party really worries me. I'm not so sure they're the saviours we're hoping for.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:39 PM on November 8, 2007


GODAMMIT! I learnt a new term a couple of days ago.

And if my post didn't fit that definition perfectly.

/not in the employ of the Liberal Party!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:45 PM on November 8, 2007


oh, it's true. rudd is incredibly slimy. he's a less-objectionable-for-now mirror of howard: somebody interested in power for its own sake, fuck all principles.

mclaren vale over here. red, naturally.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:20 PM on November 8, 2007


I've made the same point before. Which is precisely why I composed my memo the way I did.

We have a preferential voting system in this country. There is absolutely no downside to voting [1] minor-party-of-choice.

Make the Greens put their money where their mouths are: give them a crack at Government. Their stated policies are all absolutely sound, and they cannot possibly do a worse job at running the joint than the majors have.
posted by flabdablet at 11:59 PM on November 8, 2007


Yeah I haven't seen anyone around here who's actually spruiking for Rudd, Uncanny. We're spruiking for the hope for something other than the Howard Liberals, because they fucking deserve to be punished. And that's going to be Rudd. I agree, he is slimy and insincere. But the people in his cabinet generally aren't, and the principals of his party generally aren't, and he hasn't got us into a war, or dissolved ministerial responsibility, or sent people to Nauru. Labor has done a preference deal with the Greens, which is better than the last election, and that gives me hope that they're not going to be all Howard-lite.
posted by Jimbob at 1:49 PM on November 9, 2007


Day 27


In what is a mixed bag of news for the Howard Government this morning, it has been revealed that almost half of all AWAs fail the fairness test. The Workplace Authority confirmed 26,833 agreements had been knocked back for failing to comply with minimum standards since the Prime Minister introduced the fairness test in May.

So obviously this is bad news for Howard, since it shows his IR laws are unfair and are able to be used to screw over workers. But the fact that the fairness test is catching out these unfair agreements is a sign that the fairness test is working, unless you're The Australian, who says that red tape is to blame for "strangling" AWAs. Overall though, I'd have to say that this is bad news for Howard, and will only add fuel to the fire that Labors plan to reintroduce fairness back into the IR system is a good thing.

The Australian, meanwhile, has really been earning it's name as The Government Gazette. Not only has it spun the IR news this morning, but yesterday Dennis Shanahan (who else) wrote this story reporting that the Australian car industry had sent a letter to the PM pleading for support because an incoming Rudd Government would kill their industry. Only thing is, they never sent such a letter, as this report shows. Pathetic, and no retraction or explanation at The GG from Sham-I-am this morning either.

Polls! Yesterday I linked to the Morgan Phone poll result and, later in the day, Morgan released their face to face poll results (which, by the way, a friend of mine in Hervey Bay was interviewed for last week). The result is an enormous lead for Labor with a record lead of 24% (62% vs. 38%) 2PP. Although this was before the increase in interest rates, the latest CPI figure had been released, foreshadowing a likely interest rate rise. I think that that is an unattainable figure which won't be reflected in real life, but hey, if I was proven wrong, I wouldn't complain. Just for fun, here's how the House of Reps would look if this f2f poll was right.

The other poll released today was the AC Nielsen online poll which shows the ALP ahead 56 per cent (steady) to 44 per cent (steady) on a two-party basis. Here's how the House of Reps would look under this result.

In other events, the Government has committed to an ABC Kids channel if re-elected, George Megalogenis writes about how the Governments fear campaign has now switched to unemployment, Annabel Crabb has written an excellent article on interest rates and Possum has hosted a new image of the PM and the woman that was knocked unconscious at the shopping center he visited yesterday, showing what really happened.

Exactly two weeks left to go...
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:42 PM on November 9, 2007


Hey, that Kid's Channel is about the smartest thing I've heard come out of the government in close to 11 years. I say this as a parent who spent the morning placating his sick son with Babar and Muppets DVDs. It actually is a smart alternative to "banning junk food advertising".

I really can't believe the lengths Shanahan and the other lackeys at The Australian are going. You would have thought they would have felt the tide turn by now and try to save some tatters of their reputation.

Poll Bludger reports on South Australian senate polling which, while as always a bit dodgy, suggests that Nick Xenophon is pretty much guaranteed a seat, left over votes for him might get The Greens a SA senate seat as well, and under some modelling scenarios we might have the first time a state holds the balance of power. Not likely, I know, but interesting.
posted by Jimbob at 7:04 PM on November 9, 2007


Morgan FtF always skews high for the ALP, they haven't ever explained why. But I'd believe the Nielsen.

I reckon that picture of Howard using the force was photoshopped. Darth Johnny? *snigger*
posted by wilful at 7:28 PM on November 9, 2007


Kids' telly is already on all day during the week on ABC2.
posted by Wolof at 7:58 PM on November 9, 2007


Not all day...you still run into Four Corners and Australian Story reruns occasionally. You are right that a "100% kids" channel is not a serious change, but I still think it's a nice idea.
posted by Jimbob at 8:14 PM on November 9, 2007


Jimbob: "I really can't believe the lengths Shanahan and the other lackeys at The Australian are going. You would have thought they would have felt the tide turn by now and try to save some tatters of their reputation."

I guess they're just thinking that if they stick to their guns and somehow Howard does win, they'll pretty much be rewarded with unfettered access to his Government. But they'll come round. Hell, judging by the latest posts over at Ackerman and Bolt's blog's, they've pretty much given up themselves.

Jimbob: "Poll Bludger reports on South Australian senate polling which, while as always a bit dodgy, suggests that Nick Xenophon is pretty much guaranteed a seat, left over votes for him might get The Greens a SA senate seat as well, and under some modelling scenarios we might have the first time a state holds the balance of power. Not likely, I know, but interesting."

I think the Senate situation has been largely ignored this election. I think it is bound to produce some amazing results come Election Day for that very reason (voters will be going in with virtually no outside opinion having influenced their decision).

wilful: "Morgan FtF always skews high for the ALP, they haven't ever explained why. But I'd believe the Nielsen.

I can't really explain it either. When my friend, who lives in the safe Nationals electorate of Hinkler, told me about being interviewed for it I asked her a tonne of questions about it. Did she feel she was being skewed towards one party or another? Did she feel like the interviewer was biased? All up she said no. But she had already made her mind up about who to vote for this time (Labor). And she's a swinging voter! So there you go.

Polls keep coming in, meanwhile. Looks as though a Galaxy Poll to be released tomorrow will show that Malcolm Turnbull is in some serious trouble in Wentworth. And in Boothby, a safe Liberal seat, polls are showing the Government in some serious trouble there too.

In other happenings around the intertubes, Tim Dunlop has written an excellent piece about this mornings IR news, the Coalition has pledges $50m for veterans affairs, and Labor has announced a $10m funding boost to the arts sector. So both majors playing up their strengths today, obviously. Which is fair enough, I suppose.

wilful: "I reckon that picture of Howard using the force was photoshopped. Darth Johnny? *snigger*"

These aren't the politicians you're looking for...
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:54 PM on November 9, 2007


Links to the Coalition and Labor announcements that I missed adding at the end, there. Whoops! Damn hangover!
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:56 PM on November 9, 2007


Lucy the Sheep has been arrested and charged!
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:22 AM on November 10, 2007


I don't think there's any way in Hell Labor are going to win in Boothby, (I live there), despite the ABC's effort to talk it up.

Southcott is fairly hopeless, but Nicole is a national laughing stock.
posted by Wolof at 4:31 AM on November 10, 2007


Day 28


The 'Big Sunday Story', if indeed there ever had one, was not about Rudd but about she-who-would-be-Deputy-PM, Julia Gillard. Apparently she was once in love. With a man! Who conned her and in doing so managed to steal money from the AWU. SCANDAL!

The story was, apparently, leaked by rogue WA CFMEU union official, Kevin Reynolds who accused Gillard of hypocrisy. Though the story by Glenn Milne says neither how much money was stolen or why Gillard was hypocritical. So basically it sounds like more mud slinging from the poison dwarf in the hope that something will stick, basically.

In other news, the PM has acknowledged that home repossessions have increased since his last election win, but argues the percentage of repossessions is still very low. Reaction to some of yesterdays promises has also started to surface. The ABC Kids channel idea has attracted some criticism from the Friends of the ABC organisation, who have said that the Government can not give away things it does not own. And the Arts industry has, unsurprisingly, applauded Labor for its promise to boost funding to them.

Finally, the lovable Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, who is running as a Senate candidate in New South Wales, has drawn fire from another doctor, Dr Peter Cook from research group CO2CRC. Cook, who is also the lead author of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, said Dr Kruszelnicki's recent comments saying clean coal was impossible and then compared support for clean coal with Nazi propaganda, believed that the comments were offensive. I suppose Cook felt that Kruszelnicki wasn't in a position to Godwinise, or something.

And finally, the ACTU has launched a new series of ads blasting the Government's AWA system. They're not up on the ACTU website yet (I guess the Unions must not force people to give up their weekends or something) but no doubt when they are uploaded, you'll be able to view them here.

Sunday bloody Sunday...
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:39 PM on November 10, 2007


The 'Big Sunday Story', if indeed there ever had one, was not about Rudd but about she-who-would-be-Deputy-PM, Julia Gillard. Apparently she was once in love. With a man! Who conned her and in doing so managed to steal money from the AWU. SCANDAL!

Oh, good god. *eyes roll out of head*
posted by liquorice at 2:56 PM on November 10, 2007


Yeah I saw that Gillard story and it never occured to me that it was the story. I mean, it's not even bad is it? Some guy screwed over Gillard years ago...and we're supposed to think badly about her why exactly?
posted by Jimbob at 3:37 PM on November 10, 2007


I did spend a little time trying to discover what the big story was - more than a little disappointed to discover that one about Julia. Truly, utterly pathetic.

I even went onto the Daily Tele site (feel like I need a wash). My goodness they are shameless. The second para is that "she admitted she was a union lawyer. Er, hang on, everyone knew she worked for Slater and Gordon and did Union work.

Anyway. The Coalition are gone. Big time.

The Senate race really is interesting. Far too little has been said, because it's too hard to analyse. Small parties are too noisy in the polling and it's complicated to track preference flows. I really really hope Andrew Bartlett gets back in Queensland, and I think he's got a real chance.

Just like many here, I'll be voting below the line. I discovered recently that you don't have to get it 100% right, you can make a certain number of errors and your preferences will still count. Up to 10% I think I read, or about 6 errors (illegible, or double counted, etc). But make sure to get 1 to 10 right.

Usual process. Start from the bottom, who do you hate most. Difficult choices sometimes - Fred Nile, Pauline Hanson, Citizen's Electoral Council, Families First?

The Liberty and Democracy Party (LDP are Australia's recently emergent libertarians. As certain of their candidates and members will freely admit, they're totally screwed because they mix genuine philosophical small government Libertarians with yank-import gun nuts who think we should have 'concealed carry' (ugly US term) automatic weapons. For that reason they'll be close to the bottom of my list as well.
posted by wilful at 3:41 PM on November 10, 2007


Yeah, there was another Libertarian Party before, wasn't there? I remember visiting their website a few years back and finding photos of their "national conference".

It looked like a bunch of guys with scary beards (who still clearly live with their mother at age 38 and dedicate their evenings to playing text-based MUDs and listening to Vangelis) gathering for a pizza party.

Apparently candidates for the new incarnation have discovered the joys of shaving and showering.
posted by Jimbob at 3:55 PM on November 10, 2007


Jimbob: "Yeah I saw that Gillard story and it never occured to me that it was the story. I mean, it's not even bad is it? Some guy screwed over Gillard years ago...and we're supposed to think badly about her why exactly?"

It may be the big rumored story; it may not be. I probably should have phrased that clearer.

If it wasn't, maybe the dirt squad are holding it over till next Sunday, so it dominates the last week of the campaign? Or maybe there's nothing left in the Liberal gun-chamber and they're just waiting until D-Day.

The only thing is, Downer has been very quiet and he's the alleged leader of the dirt squad. Something (other than the campaign is his own seat and getting in early byregistering down at Centrelink) has to be keeping him busy?

/frets
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:09 PM on November 10, 2007


Back at the start of this thread I linked to some excellent blogs which I said would "no doubt continue to annoy the mainstream media throughout the campaign."

I hadn't seen much annoyance from the MSM over the last four weeks but then again it looks as though I missed this piece in The Australian by Samantha Maiden.

Entitled 'Blogged down in pessimism of the Left', Maiden peruses The Poll Bludger's threads and comes to the conclusion that the place is a haven for Labor voters who have "spent the year dreading the Newspoll that shows the Coalition is back in the game." Writes Maiden;
"Across the blogosphere, there's a fever that grips the online society on Monday evenings as they begin to speculate over the latest results.

Each Newspoll is greeted with fear, trepidation, excitement and furious reinterpretation. The Australian's analysis of the result is always wrong.

By last night, a Monday night post on the Poll Bludger website, Reflections on the Newspoll: 53-47, had generated more than 700 online posts in reaction. "
Possum and Mumble also come in for some of Maiden's scorn. But the ABC's Club Bloggery (now up to Part 6) has written this excellent article in defense of sites like Possum and the Poll Bludger, criticising Maiden's article with the scorn it deserves.
"If the psephs' readers did always assume The Australian was wrong, it would surely be justified by the paper's consistent tendency to talk up bad poll news for Labor.

[...]

The tendentiousness continued on Thursday in the Australian, with front-page proclamations that business was backing Howard on rates, full coverage of the PM's contrition on the rise, and Dennis Shanahan's reading of the detail of the (pre-rate rise) Tuesday Newspoll carried under the headline, "Home owners in mood to forgive", even though the data show the Coalition trailing with voters in every age group except the over-50s."
As the article says, it's hard to see the latest attack on the Blogs from The Australian as anything other than a cranky reaction to the diminishment of their authority.

It's quite amusing to watch. But if Uncanny's reaction up-thread is anything to go by, imagine the day The Government Gazette discovers Metafilter and this thread!
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:35 PM on November 10, 2007


And those blogs are popular, man. I've spent the last week scooting through a variety of airports between Darwin and Hobart, and I've seen The Poll Bludger open on no less than four other people's laptops. That's not a huge number, I guess, but it's probably on the same order of magnitude as people I've seen reading The Australian.
posted by Jimbob at 7:41 PM on November 10, 2007


Day 29


Last week on Melbourne Cup Day, Possum wrote this;
"This week’s Newspoll figures have the problem of slightly undervaluing the preference flows the ALP receives from the minor parties, meaning that it’s more likely than not that the next Newspoll will probably fix that up. These slight rounding problems and sampling volatility of the minor parties all come out in the wash over a few polls. When you combine that with the ALP primary looking rock solid at 47/48, it’s almost expected that in the next poll or two, the two party preferred headline figure will show the ALP increasing its lead – simply as a result of the high ALP primary vote combining with this minor party sampling error and rounding issues. But should that happen, the headlines will undoubtedly scream “Interest Rate Backlash!” as some new 55/45 poll shows the ALP gaining a two point lead from the previous poll, the best poll the government had enjoyed for 12 months, but one which no-one paid attention to because the ponies were on."
In testament to Possums awesome powers of psephology, I present a new Newspoll which is out today which has a 2PP vote of....... 55/45 for Labor! And sure enough, Shanahan has deduced that there has been a "small" interest rate backlash but that Howard remains the "clear economic manager" as his standing on that question has seen him rise from 46 to 51 and Rudd drop from 37 to 32. There seems to be something of a disconnect there, Dennis old boy. No doubt Possum will explain more and, as previous Possum analysis has shown, the next and final Newspoll of this campaign will, I predict, show Labor's 2PP vote increase as voter discontent with the interest rate rise sets in.

In other news, the Liberals are set to launch their campaign today and the word is that they plan to spend big, though they deny this of course. But given that at their campaign launch in 2004, when they weren't in anywhere near as much political trouble as they are today, Howard managed to spend $6b in half an hour, I suspect that they may not be telling us the truth. Labors campaign launch, just so you know, is on Wednesday.

Late yesterday Rudd also unveiled a new $510m plan to help young Australians pay for their dental bills, which is, I think, an awesome plan and its about time we started looking at dental health in this country. Tony Abbott, on the other hand, has not so much criticised the plan but said that federal Labor is picking up the slack left by state Labor Governments. Sigh.

Not much else happening around the traps at this stage. More updates throughout the day.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:29 PM on November 11, 2007


Link to that dental plan story. It's early, OK!?
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:31 PM on November 11, 2007


Tony Abbott, on the other hand, has not so much criticised the plan but said that federal Labor is picking up the slack left by state Labor Governments. Sigh.

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. The 'slack' was created by the abolition of the Commonwealth dental scheme in 1997.

Aaaaaargh!

Obviously I didn't prepare a new FPP yesterday. Hopefully this afternoon.
posted by wilful at 1:27 PM on November 11, 2007


Hopefully this afternoon.

Bless you, Vicar. This thread is getting quite unwieldy.
posted by Wolof at 2:03 PM on November 11, 2007


Howard remains the "clear economic manager" as his standing on that question has seen him rise from 46 to 51 and Rudd drop from 37 to 32.

I wonder how that question is phrased. "Who is the better economic manager?" would obviously yield vastly different results to a simple economic approval rating for each candidate individually. You'd probably expect people to say "Howard" if asked to pick between the two, simply because he has some runs on the board, as opposed to none. The fact that roughly on in three are apparently prepared to say that Rudd is better at the economic stuff without any track record whatsoever is actually quite embarrasing for Howard, I think, rather than a huge endorsement.

Or was that just a load of spin by me?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:17 PM on November 11, 2007


"I wonder how that question is phrased."
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:17 AM on November 12

The question is phrased as "Which of John Howard or Kevin Rudd do you think is more capable of handling the economy?" See the Newspoll pdf.

"Bless you, Vicar. This thread is getting quite unwieldy."
posted by Wolof at 8:03 AM on November 12

I'll fix that tomorrow. Just you watch.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:34 PM on November 11, 2007


On the anniversary of the Whitlam Governments dismissal, both Fraser and Whitlam have come forth to call on both sides of politics to restore the principles of ministerial responsibility, which they say have been "seriously undermined" over the past 20 years.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:52 PM on November 11, 2007


Hey folks, time to up sticks and move on over.
posted by wilful at 5:01 PM on November 11, 2007


Yep, good idea. I also posted this MeTa thread with an index of this thread and its major events, so if this thread is too hard to navigate (lets face it, it is) then this will help. And, as Jimbob said, it may even serve as an example to all the American politics nuts who insist on starting a new post every time Hillary takes a shit.

Great job folks! This thread probably only has two or three hours left to live so yeah, I'll see you over at the new thread!
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:16 PM on November 11, 2007


This thread is the shining beacon that proves Australians have more stamina than the Americans, Europeans, Koreans, or Japanese.

There, now I have spurred on all you other mefites to write in this thread. I apologize if I neglected to include your country. My geography, like most Americans', sucks.
posted by misha at 11:52 AM on November 12, 2007


Why the heck is this thread still open?
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:41 AM on November 13, 2007


Last post!
posted by liquorice at 1:11 AM on November 13, 2007


Last post!

Me so solly.
posted by Wolof at 2:13 AM on November 13, 2007


Last post again!
posted by liquorice at 3:06 AM on November 13, 2007


Last post again!

Yeah, but this one is the jazz version.
posted by Wolof at 4:27 AM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


No.
posted by flabdablet at 4:36 AM on November 13, 2007


Last Post! (third time lucky)


....So how 'bout that John Howard, ay?
posted by liquorice at 1:03 PM on November 13, 2007


...So how 'bout that John Howard, ay?

Dead Meat Walking.

Sister Prejean, why have thou forsaken him?
posted by Wolof at 1:47 PM on November 13, 2007


SO, do I get the final say around here?

Adios, Johnny boy, we wont miss you...
posted by wilful at 3:04 PM on November 13, 2007


nope, our aim's too good.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:10 PM on November 13, 2007


No, this is the last post.

Seriously, why is this thread not closed yet. It's been over 30 days. Unless '1 month' = 31 days regardless of how many actual days are in that month.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:17 PM on November 13, 2007


Careful, Ubu, he might hear you.
posted by flabdablet at 3:21 PM on November 13, 2007


What scares me most is that my whole family votes Liberal. Woe.

Also, can someone not me arrange a Melbourne meet-up?
posted by liquorice at 3:48 PM on November 13, 2007


Yeh, I'll arrange it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:55 PM on November 13, 2007


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