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September 9th, 2010

I was too clever by half with my prediction in 2007 that “the Liberal Party will never win another federal election”, but it still looks as if I might be right. My point of course, was not that Labor would be in forever[1], but that the Liberals and Nationals would be forced to merge before they could get back in. The merger has taken place in Queensland, with the result that the current Coalition includes only six members elected as Nationals. The future for Lib-Nat coalitions at state level doesn’t look much better. On current trends, NSW Labor will be wiped out so thoroughly that the Liberals will have a majority in their own right, and anything they give to the Nats will be an exercise in charity. It’s possible that a Lib-Nat coalition could get in at the forthcoming Victorian election, but unlikely, which brings me to a more interesting point.

The Labor-Green-independent coalition that has emerged at the national level is still being treated by the Canberra pundits as an aberration, but it’s becoming the norm for Labor. Labor governments depend on Green support in the ACT and Tasmania. The NT government relies on an independent and the same has been true in the past in SA, Queensland and Victoria. On current indications, the next round of state elections should see Labor beaten in NSW and Queensland (at least if they stick with Anna Bligh and privatisation). Victoria is the state where Green support is strongest, and any remotely fair electoral system would see Labor forced into coalition with the Greens. Whether the Green can actually win enough Lower House seats to bring this about remains to be seen, but Adam Bandt’s win at the national level has certainly brought this into the realm of the possible.

So, it’s entirely possible that, in a decade or two, when we talk about “the coalition”, we’ll be referring to Labor-Green, not Lib-Nat.

fn1. That said, I never anticipated anything like the fiasco by which Labor managed to turn the unassailable position they held in December 09 into the hair’s-breadth margin they nnow hold.

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  1. boconnor
    September 9th, 2010 at 09:43 | #1


    And I suspect that the quality of policies from such a Labor-Green-etc alliance will be higher than the timid stuff that has come out of the apparatchik dominated Labor governments of late.

  2. September 9th, 2010 at 09:48 | #2

    Worth noting that at the Fed election just finished that the Nats ran no candidates in SA.

  3. Hermit
    September 9th, 2010 at 09:50 | #3

    It could be that recently voting Green has been a protest vote intended to make the two big parties shift ground. By implication the voter will revert back to the major party when they have gotten the message. On other blog comments some people with severe misgivings about wind and solar energy have said they voted Green simply to put real pressure on the coal industry. Therefore it’s possible the Greens may ultimately go the way of One Nation or the Democrats. It will be interesting to see to what extent Greens cave in on key policies … carbon tax, old growth logging, private school funding, gambling restrictions and so on. I’d expect considerable watering down.

  4. September 9th, 2010 at 10:21 | #4

    If people come to see the Greens and Independents as votes for Labor then support for these entities will drop. The two independents will plausibly have at most a single term stint in the Federal Parliament given their conservative constituencies. Green compromises with Labor – e.g. at the drop of a hat abandoning their 40% mining tax proposal – will reduce their support too.

    My guess too is that the Greens/Independents will compromise on the issue of climate change when the choice is between facing a new election and continuing on as king-makers getting personal and regional pork.

    Labor will face huge pressures over the foolish $43b (cost-benefit analysis free) NBN when the scale of the implied cross subsidies to rural areas becomes evident and the technologies being promoted are superseded even before the scheme is complete. The NBN will become a lasting monument to Labor’s economic irresponsibility. Watch the rats abandon ship.

  5. peterm
    September 9th, 2010 at 10:52 | #5

    To Hc #3:

    I’ve just read John Kay’s Obliquity which seems to put Hayek’s thesis that world is just too complex to central implement grand policies in a form that a normal person like me can understand. I guess the fact that centralised government cannot deal the complexities of the real world is why labor’s El Grando Ginngo from the North could not even successfully implement a simple home insulation scheme.

    So you must feel you are on a winner by bagging the NBN. But I think you are just ignorant. The NBN is dealing with tested proven technology, a work force that has several decades of experience with the technology, a infrastructure that is mandatory if we wish to remain a developped country, and an industry with the standard practices to maintain quality. (Modern Quality management practices were initially developed in the telecommunications industry). I would not be so certain the NBN rollout will all end tears if I were you.

    I for one certainly hope you are wrong.

  6. Emma
    September 9th, 2010 at 10:53 | #6

    hc, Tony Windsor has represented his ‘conservative’ electorate for a decade in the Federal Parliament and for the previous decade in the State house. His constituents have had the free choice to vote for National Party candidates at every election during that period, and strangely they have not done so. He received 61.87 % of the vote in the election just gone, and the National candidate 25.2%, representing a 5% swing to Windsor, most of which came from Labor.
    Ron Boswell was running this line about conservative electorates on the radio this morning without being challenged at all. These seats do not belong to the Nationals any more. They tried to get rid of Windsor every way they can, including offering him jobs (a matter that was referred to police at the time), and they’ve failed dismally.
    Both Windsor’s and Oakeshotte’s electorates are changing fast, as analysed by Possum, here, and the building of a decent broadband network will change them faster, as both men have seen. They are looking at real ways to revitalise commujnities in their areas, unlike the Nats, who have been content to sit idly by and watch Liberal policies gut their constituency towns.
    We shall see what happens.

  7. rhwombat
    September 9th, 2010 at 10:57 | #7

    [email protected]#3. Ya recon? I know that the Rupertarians are unleashed and pissed, but wishful thinking won’t stop the NBN. You (and Rupert) can’t buy it so it’s out of your hands (and in those of us dreadful anti-capitalist watermelons). It’s a bit like health care: once it’s escaped the capitalists (and their prophagandists) grasp, it will be too popular with the masses to revoke (or rape and pillage for profit) – and the gollums of the right will not get another John Winston Howard-shaped portal to the 50’s. The nice thing is that it is the uncontrolled information of the web that will protect us: the Budgie Smuggler didn’t win because we could see him (and the rest of the right-wingers) all too clearly every day. I suppose that this is why the Right hate the very concept of fat pipes of public information. NBN has a left bias too! Slainte.

  8. September 9th, 2010 at 11:20 | #8

    “a infrastructure that is mandatory if we wish to remain a developped country”

    Big call. Huge call. Any justification for it other than wishful thinking?

  9. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 9th, 2010 at 11:53 | #9

    John, contrary to the noise coming from the L-NP, Brendon Grylls and the three amigos have shifted the centre of gravity from the city to regional politics, and like it or not both major party’s now have to work within this new paradigm.

  10. fred
    September 9th, 2010 at 12:51 | #10

    Actually I can see the possibility that in the future, fair way away maybe but its probably just a matter of time, we will be talking about a Greens-Labor Coalition and wondering what happened to that other mob, you know the Liberals and wasn’t there a party once called the Country party or Nationals or something like that?.

  11. September 9th, 2010 at 14:38 | #11

    I suspect JQ is right that the Coalition will become the Liberal Party – but I suspect we’re also going to see the re-emergence of something resembling the National Party when that happens. The mainland independents have (in theory) brought massive benefits to their constituents, and also reminded country voters that the L-NP brought them absolutely absolutely bugger all. A real NP with a focus on country seats and a willingness to deal with anyone who’ll support the cause of the country could do well next time round…

  12. Russell W
    September 9th, 2010 at 15:52 | #12

    Yes,the Rudd-Gillard government reminds me of the Whitlam regime in its ability to score ‘own goals’,why oh why didn’t Rudd call a double dissolution on the ETS? I’m rather pessimistic in regard to the chances of the Gillard government surviving a full term, some of the propaganda (which is already coming from the Coalition) attempting to undermine Gillard’s legitimacy is reminiscent of the period before the dismissal of the Whitlam government. In the national interest of course, Coalition senators might be forced,with great regret, to block supply.So I doubt that the Green-Labor coalition has any future in the short term.

    The Coalition has the commercial media in its pocket, or is it the other way round–wait for the campaign to white-ant Gillard from the American’s minions.

    Abolish compulsory voting and introduce proportional representation.

  13. peterm
    September 9th, 2010 at 16:51 | #13

    “Big call. Huge call. Any justification for it other than wishful thinking?”

    Of course the statement is wishful thinking on my part. Who can accurately predict the future? But, I feel I am good ground to predict that Fibre Optic based communication will be key technology that will determines the productivity boundary of developed countries.

    Have a read of Jeff Hecht’s ‘City of Light: The Story of Fiber Optics’, from the excellent (Sloan Technology Series) to get a good handle on this technology. I would say that any firm that does not have wide band width, low latency connections to both their suppliers and customers will be at a competitive disadvantage in the near future. That even goes to Joe the local dairy farmer who currently now is forced to sell their production to the local milk processing monopoly but in future could find all sorts of alternative customers once they can search for them at real time.

  14. smiths
    September 9th, 2010 at 17:36 | #14

    i like the sound of that fantasy world you describe wombat, NBN as a citizens social forum running rings around the corporate media and allowing fullscale public information … and then i woke up

  15. Alan
    September 9th, 2010 at 19:21 | #15

    @Russell W

    The difference between Whitlam and Rudd/Gillard is that Whitlam indeed scored a number of own goals, but always in an effort to further their policy objectives. Rudd/Gillard (and Gillard more than Rudd) scores own goals in an effort to retain office and policy objectives are always secondary. That is why Whitlam managed to change the framework of Australian politics, while Rudd/Gillard’s only banner is their own pusillanimity.

    Rudd had his own problems, the government was too centralised. his staff claimed too much power, and the caucus and outer cabinet were basically ignored. We should remember however, that Gillard was a member of the inner cabinet and endorsed the policy timidity and over-centralsied governance. Moreover a good deputy has the job of occasionally saying ‘Prime minister,this governance structure is not working well. We are in danger of losing our way.’ That does not seem to have happened. Indeed Rudd was sacked because the policies that Gillard had recommended had destroyed his popularity.

    If Rudd had fought a double dissolution on climate change he would quite possibly have been elected with an increased majority. Sadly, the ALP apparat, led by Gillard, imposed other strategies. The current minority government is the inevitable result.

  16. Alice
    September 9th, 2010 at 19:37 | #16

    I dont know about the Coalition not winning again. Watch Malcolm Turnbull. My own thoughts are that Tony Abbott is a caretaker opposition leader. There is too much of Howard shadowing him and an immensely popular prime minister with what appeared to be a large mandate became probably one of the most unpopular prime ministers because he had too much power in the senate. I think the party will recognise that it has headed off to some pretty wild territories politically (a la Minchin et al) and perhaps thats not what people really want of a conservative government.

  17. Ben
    September 9th, 2010 at 20:46 | #17

    The evolution of the Green/SPD coalition in Germany is instructive. There is a lot of similarity with what is happening in Australia. This is documented in books such as “West German political parties: CDU, CSU, FDP, SPD, the Greens”.

  18. September 9th, 2010 at 20:48 | #18

    Pr Q said:

    I was too clever by half with my prediction in 2007 that “the Liberal Party will never win another federal election”, but it still looks as if I might be right. My point of course, was not that Labor would be in forever[1], but that the Liberals and Nationals would be forced to merge before they could get back in.

    Quite the contrary, Pr Q’s notion of Last Liberal is not only flat wrong, its almost the opposite of the truth. It would be far more accurate to characterise the shifting balance of forces in the Coalition as a portent of “the Last National”.

    The National Party truly is facing extinction owing to demographic and economic changes. Tree-changers and rural rationalisations have decimated its traditional electoral base. Rural independents and conservative Liberals have picked up the pieces. The Age gleefully dances on its grave:

    the Hanson phenomenon is not sufficient explanation of the Nationals’ decline – in Victoria, where One Nation was always weakest, the National Party’s representation has shrivelled so much that it has had to reconsider its co-operation with the state Liberals. The real dilemma the party faces arises from the demographic change referred to by Mr Anderson: regional Australia is less and less typically rural.

    If The Nationals keep adjusting their image and policies accordingly, they risk the accusation that they differ little from the Liberals. If they do not, they risk becoming a rump the Liberals won’t need as coalition partners. Either way, the party’s long-term prospects look dim.

    Moreover the possibility of a formal Coalition merger will hardly reduce the Liberal Party’s influence on the Right. A merger would be in effect a Liberal Party takeover of the rump of the National Party – more an acquisition than merger. For once I can wholeheartedly endorse an Age editorial:

    since the 1970s the party’s representation has shrunk and it now holds just 13 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives. Its clout within the coalition has shrunk accordingly. National Party members, fearing either eventual extinction or a merger with their Liberal coalition partner, which amounts to the same thing,

    You can get an idea of this changing balance of power in the Right by observing the collapse of the National vote over the past generation or so. From the mid-seventies through the mid-nineties the National vote averaged around 10%. Since the mid-nineties it has slumped to about 5%.

    The empirical evidence refutes Pr Q’s suggestion that the Liberal Party’s days as a dominant political force are somehow numbered. The Liberal party’s primary vote (including the rapidly urbanizing QLD Liberal “Nationals”) has steadily shifted from the from the lower 30% closing towards 40%.

    There has been a lot of delusional commentary about this election. Particularly that it represents a shift to the Left, when in fact overall the polity shifted significantly to the Right by nearly 3% in 2PP. The increase in the GREEN vote came almost totally at the expense of pinko ALP voters, which represents an intra-ideological flow, rather than a cross-ideological swing.

    So lets have no more misleading speculation about “Last Liberal” and instead focus on “actual and existing” electoral behaviour.

  19. Monkey’s Uncle
    September 9th, 2010 at 22:49 | #19

    “The Labor-Green-independent coalition that has emerged at the national level is still being treated by the Canberra pundits as an aberration, but it’s becoming the norm for Labor. Labor governments depend on Green support in the ACT and Tasmania.”

    The situation in Tasmania and the ACT is vastly different from the rest of the country though, for a couple of reasons. Both jurisdictions are considerably more left-leaning than the rest of the country, and both have proportional representation for the lower house. This makes some kind of Labor-Green alliance more or less inevitable. In most of the other states and territories Labor would take a significant hit for being seen to be too close to the Greens, and many Labor hardheads would die in a ditch rather than get into bed with the Greens.

  20. Monkey’s Uncle
    September 9th, 2010 at 23:04 | #20

    That said, it is a fascinating proposition that in years to come “the coalition” may end up referring to Labor-Greens, rather than Liberal-National. Although I think it unlikely, there is still some chance it could happen.

    The biggest problem with a Labor-Green coalition as opposed to the longstanding Liberal-National coalition is that while the National Party are a bunch of rural rent-seekers, the Greens are a more ideological party substantially to the left of Labor. Doing deals with sectional interests in order to gain power is par for the course in a democracy. Getting into bed with parties on the fringes of the political spectrum is a good recipe for defeat.

  21. Donald Oats
    September 10th, 2010 at 00:13 | #21

    The Greens-Labor coalition is an interesting development because it has the potential to allow the Greens to eventually own the policy space around Environment, and for Labor to focus on economic policy, taxation, and employer-employee relations, rights and obligations. Perhaps a significant overlap with mutually recognised areas of specialisation, as it were. In fact, such a partitioning would help remove some of the internal conflict among left and right factions within the Labor party, basically by a shifting of responsibility for contentious – even fractious – problems that left and right have serious difficulty agreeing on. Who knows?

    A question: {rhetorical}Why is it that the pundits say “Liberals” when they want to demonstrate that the Liberals beat Labor in 2PP for example?{/rhetorical} Shouldn’t they be saying “Liberal/Nationals coalition” or some such thing? I really doubt that the Liberal Party comes close to beating the Labor Party, unless it has an agreement with the `National’ National Party to form a coalition. Nitpicking perhaps…

  22. Alan
    September 10th, 2010 at 01:29 | #22

    Jack where do you get your ‘nearly 3%’ figure from? The AEC shows the 2PP swing at 2.6%.

  23. rhwombat
    September 10th, 2010 at 11:36 | #23

    @ Alan: Jack tried this over at Crikey…and got caned again.
    @ smiths: Nothing as concrete as utopian dreams I’m afraid, but the NBN does scare the crap out of the Rupertarians for quite good reason. It is going lay a framework (literally) to change the “information control for fun and profit” paradigm that underlies the Rupertarian ethos, and it will allow the JQs of the blogosphere to reach around (!) in the regions. It has happened with public transport and medicine, and it will happen with public information. It happened in Oz with tax-funded telegraph and telephone in the last 2 centuries, it will happen with NBN in this one. Sure, there will be a push to operate “toll pipes” but only by those who might be able to turn a profit from it…and look what happened to Howard’s attempt to flog off Telstra. I think the volume of the screaming from the usual suspects confirms their fear. There is a reason why Packer got out of publishing and Macquarie Bank is flagging. Slainte

  24. Alice
    September 10th, 2010 at 11:47 | #24

    Agree with rhwombat above re old newsltd – if he doesnt lower his advertising charges on his ratty old papers he is the loser anyway. A rel just moved their advertising spending to online advertising and lo and behold the hits are bigger.. stupid local Newsltd papers are intractable with prices for tiny segments due to empire commandments from on high and will not negotiate no matter how long you have been a customer. Let the papers shrink – the faster the better.

    Another article on Woolworths executive pay today…
    Maybe Bob Katter is better off sitting on the Coalitions side after all (like a thorn in their side?).
    Hope Katter maintains his assault on the grocery giants from wherever he sits.

  25. September 10th, 2010 at 17:19 | #25


    @ Alan: Jack tried this over at Crikey…and got caned again.

    Breaking a butterfly on a wheel over, what was at the time, a 10% rounding error. But Left-liberals get kind of touchy when I bring up the subject of the substantial two-party preferred swing to the Right. It kind of rains on the parade they are holding for homecoming GREEN scene queens.

    Likewise, after the last election Pr Q cherished fond hopes of “the Last Liberal” (it would have been less misleading to say “Last National”, but “Last Liberal” sounds more ominous for the Right). Which hopes were promptly dashed when Abbott, a practically unelectable Right-wing Liberal, achieved a very impressive first-up result against a government whose position should have been impregnable.

    It wont wash to say that this result was all down to campaign errors or back-lash against ALP state governments. A sizeable portion of the swing was down to core ALP Left-liberal policies: Rudd’s mining tax (which QLD hates) and Rudd’s Big Country (which NSW hates). The Liberals will run on this and will probably make more ground on it in the coming year.

    There is a heck of a lot of psephological denialism and delusionism on the Left, which fits nicely with their anthropological denialism and delusionism. Its a major reason why the Left’s electoral performance over the past generation has been so spotty.

  26. Alan
    September 10th, 2010 at 18:34 | #26

    Where do you get your 3% figure? There is no need to accompany the source by the customary novella.

  27. John Quiggin
    September 10th, 2010 at 18:43 | #27


    The length of your comments tends to disrupt comments threads. I request that anything over 100 words be posted to the sandpit.


  28. September 10th, 2010 at 18:48 | #28

    While doing some casual research for a comment on another blog, I came across these interesting tidbits:

    Woolworths latest net profit margin – 3.9%
    Coles latest EBIT margin – 3.2% (couldn’t quickly find net profit)

    That doesn’t look like excessive profit to me. I’ll be in the Sandpit if anyone wants to talk about it.

  29. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 10th, 2010 at 18:49 | #29

    Jack Strocchi, you seem to be are an educated man. Where is your evidence to say Rudd’s mining tax was a major factor in the ALP losing votes, and what percentage swing are you talking about?

  30. Alice
    September 10th, 2010 at 20:04 | #30
  31. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 10th, 2010 at 20:06 | #31

    Jack, Jack, Jack, if you start from Joseph Stiglitz’s position that Gillard’s coup against Rudd was in fact a sacking of the Prime Minister orchestrated by the mining companies, then your argument is dead in the water and baseless.

  32. September 10th, 2010 at 20:46 | #32

    Alice, that link doesn’t contradict my figures, but as per JQ’s request, please continue this in the Sandpit.

  33. September 10th, 2010 at 21:35 | #33

    Alan @ #26 said:

    @Jack Where do you get your 3% figure? There is no need to accompany the source by the customary novella.

    I got it from the AEC, okay?! Cripes. The 2PP swing to the L/NP in the week after the election was 2.75%. It has now settled slightly to 2.62%.

    The 2010 saw a large Right-wing swing against the government, GREENs self-congratulations, “miracles of democracy” and “Last Liberal” aside.vThis was the second largest adverse swing against a government’s first-up re-election attempt since WWII. (The largest was the -3.0% swing against Howard-L/NP in 1998, another election fought on an unpopular tax.)

    Most everyone outside the Left-blogosphere has got their heads around this fact without endless quibbles. Guys, just get over it already. (And I’ll try to keep my inner-Tolstoy off the comments thread.)

  34. Alan
    September 10th, 2010 at 22:11 | #34

    Okay, 2.62% is not 3% any more than 2.75% is 3%. When you are comparing figures like 2.62% and (alleged) 3% rounding is inappropriate. These things become important when you’re trying to find a rightward shift that is not there. The 2PP swing against Howard in 1998 was 4.61%. I suppose Abbot’s result this year is as good as Beasley’s result in 1998 if and only if you round 2.62% up to 3% and 4.61% down to 3%.

    The 2PP is calculated by removing all candidates except those for the 2 leading parties and transferring the votes of any excluded parties according to their next available preference. It is just not a good tool to measure movements of opinion to parties outside the big two.

  35. September 10th, 2010 at 22:12 | #35

    Michael of Summer Hill @ #29

    Jack Strocchi, you seem to be are an educated man. Where is your evidence to say Rudd’s mining tax was a major factor in the ALP losing votes, and what percentage swing are you talking about?

    The evidence is as plain on the nose on your face. Although I missed it, gazing to long at the forest I missed the trees.

    The Sunshine State’s Right-wing reaction against the mining tax was evident at the time. The DT (05 JUN 10):

    The poll found a majority of Queenslanders opposed the mining tax, including one-third who were strongly against it.

    The QLD swing was critical, it seems to be the swing state these days.

    The ALP won the 2007 election in QLD where it achieved a massive 7.53% swing against the L/NP, winning eight seats off the govt.

    The ALP was travelling reasonably well in QLD until well into 2010. Then towards the middle of the year its numbers dropped off a cliff. That would be just after Rudd introduced the mining tax, which won the ALP no fans in other mining regions, such as WA & NT.

    The ALP damn near lost the 2010 election in QLD, where it suffered a massive adverse swing of 5.34%, losing seven of those seats back to the Coalition.

    No mining tax, no anti-ALP swing in QLD, no lost majority govt. Its that simple.

    And Rudd was to blame for the mining tax and the insane Big Australia policy which helped to drive Sydney against the govt. So the dumping of Rudd was a consequence, not cause, of the anti-ALP swing. Blaming the ALP’s numbers men is another myth being spread by Leftists to avoid the obvious conclusion.

  36. Peter T
    September 10th, 2010 at 22:14 | #36

    If you think back to the drivers for the emergence of Labor – the endemic class warfare of the century before last (continued well into the last century), and eventual realisation that only some form of social democracy could end this, then you can see the rise of the Greens as reflecting the key issues of the next century. Quite simply, the environment is increasingly central – water, the effects of warming, the flow-ons from mass extinctions and so on. So the Greens will be a major force. The real issue is whether the opposition to them will be Labor or Liberal. I think the jury is still out on this.

  37. September 10th, 2010 at 22:31 | #37

    Alan @ #34 said:

    Okay, 2.62% is not 3% any more than 2.75% is 3%. When you are comparing figures like 2.62% and (alleged) 3% rounding is inappropriate. These things become important when you’re trying to find a rightward shift that is not there.

    From memory I wrote NEARLY or ~ 3% okay? Your obsessive quibbling over this trivial equivocation is a sign of intellectual bad faith. Reinforced by the blatantly false assertion about “a rightward shift that is not there”. Mining state citizens vote, you know.

    Alan said:

    The 2PP is calculated by removing all candidates except those for the 2 leading parties…It is just not a good tool to measure movements of opinion to parties outside the big two.

    The 2PP figure is designed to correctly measure overall shifts in the political centre of gravity. Just because some inner-city pinkos decide to jump ship and vote for the GREENs does not mean the country as a whole has shifted to the Left. Dont forget that more than 5% of the population voted for parties of the Far Right (ON, FF, DLP etc). Rednecks have the vote too.

    You need to get your head outside of latte land and see how more typical Australian think and vote.

  38. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 10th, 2010 at 22:50 | #38

    Jack, Jack, Jack, I didn’t ask for a poll or survey result, I asked for facts which show Rudd’s mining tax was a major factor which contributed to swing against Labor.

  39. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 10th, 2010 at 23:09 | #39

    Jack, I’m still waiting for an answer given that in the seat of Griffith there were only huge yellow posters in support of Kevin Rudd.

  40. Alan
    September 10th, 2010 at 23:10 | #40


    Just for the record, I live several hundred kilometres from the nearest latté shop, but that is neither here nor there. You quote figures that are simply wrong. 2.62% is not 3.0%. 2.75% is not 3.0% And the 1998 swing of 4.61% is certainly not 3.0%. I recommend a good strong latté so you can approach your calculations with a clearer head.

  41. September 10th, 2010 at 23:14 | #41

    Michael of Summer Hill @ #38

    Jack, Jack, Jack, I didn’t ask for a poll or survey result, I asked for facts which show Rudd’s mining tax was a major factor which contributed to swing against Labor.

    MOSH, MOSH, MOSH, I am afraid we are stuck with “polls or survey results” as a way of divining major factors in political decisions, unless you can find some clairvoyant medium to tap into voters minds. (Hint, the policy-political chronology is critical in this case.)

  42. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 10th, 2010 at 23:33 | #42

    Jack, did you know that Barbara Shaw, a Greenie in the seat of Lingari, was a vocal opponent of the Northern Territory intervention which resulted in the Greens 15.3% swing against Labor. Sorry Jack but I cannot see what the former PM’s mining tax had to do with the swing in Lingari.

  43. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 10th, 2010 at 23:48 | #43

    Sorry Jack, the swing against Labor was 12.59% and not 15.3% for the Greens in Lingari. But I’m sure you now get the picture that you simply cannot generalise but must look at all the facts ie issues affecting each electorate.

  44. September 11th, 2010 at 00:04 | #44

    Alan @ #40 said:

    You quote figures that are simply wrong. 2.62% is not 3.0%. 2.75% is not 3.0%

    No, your construction of my figures is mendacious, as I said “nearly 3%”, and of course the margin changed over time. To settle the matter here is my original comment verbatim, without doctoring by other parties:

    Most ALP votes were lost to the Left, but nonetheless the L/NP achieved nearly a 3% national 2PP swing.

    So you will have to drop that disingenuous line of attack. Whats striking about this is the attempt by Leftists et al to avoid the main issue of the general political movement by starting diversionary debates.

    Quibbling over my observations will not get you off the hook. There was a major Right-wing swing in the 2010 election, as the AEC 2PP data properly records. The second highest swing in a first-up reelection attempt against government since WWII.

    The highest adverse swing suffered by a government at its first-up re-election was Howard-L/NP 1998, which was trying to implement the GST. Which adds a siginficant data point my theory that the electorate will penalise seemingly popular governments that propose large new taxes without properly selling the benefits to the electorate.

    You can wiggle and obfuscate about this till the blue in the face but the fact will stubbornly persist, irrespective of how many lattes go down the hatch.

  45. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 11th, 2010 at 00:19 | #45

    Jack, Jack, Jack, if you are going to argue a case for the swing against Labor then please present the facts as to what caused the swing and not some mumbo jumbo. Just give us an example ie the issues in your electorate.

  46. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 11th, 2010 at 01:00 | #46

    Jack, Jack, Jack, we are all interested in what you have to say but please present some facts and not just numbers as to why Labor did well in some electorates and not so well in others. In other words what were the main issues affecting communities ie is it water, jobs, climate change, infrastructure, etc Have a good night.

  47. jquiggin
    September 11th, 2010 at 05:56 | #47

    Jack, you’ve ignored my request to keep comments under 100 words. Please take this to the sandpit, along with anything more you want to contribute at your standard length

  48. Alan
    September 11th, 2010 at 09:06 | #48

    The we wuz robbed stuff that the opposition is using is deeply worrying. It began with Abbot’s claim that he had won more primary votes than Labor. That is superficially true but discounts the fact that later preferences have the same value in our system as first preferences. It continued with the Liberals’ claims (on days the 2PP favoured them) that the 2PP should be decisive. It went further with the theory that the country independents own electors did not know what they were doing and somehow voted independent when they intended to vote National. Substituting what the media wants for what the electorate decides is profoundly troubling.

    The joint campaign by the Coalition and the Murdoch press is not going to change any parliamentary votes before the next election, but it could delegitimise the whole electoral process if they keep it up long enough.

  49. September 11th, 2010 at 09:34 | #49

    Deleted. Please move to the sandpit. The same for anyone responding to Jack

  50. Alan
    September 11th, 2010 at 10:22 | #50

    I have been unfair to Abbot, although not to his frontbench.

  51. Russell W
    September 11th, 2010 at 11:13 | #51

    @Alan #48

    Yes, I think that the Murdoch-Coalition campaign to undermine the government’s legitimacy will probably be effective since a large percentage of the population(including political journalists) think that we elect PMs and the Parliament is an accurate representation of the popular vote. I’m amazed at the sudden Coalition conversion to ‘one vote one value’, historically Conservative parties have had no hesitation assuming power with a minority vote.

    Coalition politicians could always support proportional representation to demonstate their committment to the principle of an equal vote for all.

  52. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 11th, 2010 at 11:45 | #52

    Jack, when parliament resumes the Coalition will be hammered from pillar to post for falsely claiming the Gillard government is ‘illegitimate’. Not only are are the L-NP irresponsible but it just shows how how inept they are and should apologise to the Australian people.

  53. Alice
    September 11th, 2010 at 12:28 | #53

    Occasionally the news gets something right. Did we really expect Tony Abbott to stay Mr nice guy for long? Hes baaack..

  54. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 11th, 2010 at 14:14 | #54

    You are wright Alice the budgie smuggler is back, back where he belongs in ‘Opposition’.

  55. cortexvortex
    September 11th, 2010 at 14:34 | #55

    Jack, re the argument about 2.6% swing 2PP (or whatever it was) I see this not a swing in the political spectrum from left to right but a referendum on perceived competence between two idealogically identical parties. The perception was mainly driven by the media and their beat up of the various project Labor undertook.
    The 3.5% swing from Labor to green however was driven by a right to left swing in the community.

  56. September 11th, 2010 at 16:01 | #56

    So, cortexvortex – your argument is to say that if we assume that Lib = ALP, then any move to the Greens is a swing away from the Lib and ALP.
    Logical – but a fairly pointless argument. If I assume that the Libs, ALP and Greens are all broadly social democratic parties as they all support a fairly large public sector, then the increased vote for the LDP as a party that aims to substantially reduce the public sector means that there was a swing against social democracy.
    This assumption game is fun. Do you have another?

  57. Alan
    September 11th, 2010 at 16:46 | #57


    Apples and oranges. An anti-public sector swing of .02% does not cancel the combined Labor/Liberal/National/Green swing, a concept in itself so silly that it is impossible to calculate.

  58. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 11th, 2010 at 19:11 | #58

    Maybe I am wrong, but I thought the majority of Australians love watermelons and dislike desiccated coconuts.

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