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Launch delayed

September 1st, 2013

After a disappointing campaign, Kevin Rudd’s “launch” speech was excellent, both as a defence of Labor’s record and in setting out an agenda for the next term, notably with a long-overdue focus on the TAFE sector. Unfortunately, this announcement wasn’t the only thing that was overdue. What possible sense is there in “launching” the campaign with a week to go, when most voters have already made up their minds or turned off? This isn’t one of the quirks for which Rudd has been criticised – Gillard did the same thing in 2010, and the Liberals were only a few days earlier. I have no idea how the supposed experts who run campaigns cna think this is a good way to do things – it’s obviously not a good way of presenting voters with a reasoned argument[1]

If Rudd had given this speech three weeks ago, and campaigned around it, Labor would be in with a good chance. As it is, their best hope is that the corresponding piece of trickiness on the other side will backfire. This is Abbott’s decision to release his allegedly independent costings on Thursday, with the advertising blackout in place, and only a couple of days to go. It’s hard to see any creditable explanation of this, and it ought to be reason enough not to elect him as PM. But that seems unlikely.

fn1. In fact, I have no idea why these “experts” are given any credence. As the debate between pundits and psephbloggers has shown, here and in the US, the alleged experts don’t even have the basic (first-year uni) statistics needed to interpret an opinion poll, which means that they can not have, and never have had, the slightest idea whether their strategies were working. It’s just that one side always wins, and victory has a thousand parents, at least until failure the next time around shows them up. The classic example is Karl Rove, acclaimed or dreaded as an electoral genius, who humiliated himself by refusing to believe the 2012 election results, even when they were beyond doubt. Then there’s Dick Morris, the famed inventor of “triangulation” who also predicted that Romney would win in a landslide.

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  1. Tim Dymond
    September 1st, 2013 at 21:02 | #1

    I understand that the earlier you officially launch your campaign the less eligible your party is for public funding.

  2. Jim Rose
    September 1st, 2013 at 22:03 | #2

    I read somewhere that a lot of people have already voted.

  3. Hermit
    September 1st, 2013 at 22:44 | #3

    What if the costings are bogus or queried by the auditors? There will hardly be time to respond. I think it is weasel-like but perhaps not enough people really care. Now the airlines tell us in chorus the carbon tax has sent them broke so I guess things are about as bad as they can possibly get.

    The rural people I have spoken to come across as naive simpletons in their belief Abbott will erase the scourge of socialism. They seem slightly giddy as if a momentous event is about to unfold. I think Abbott has got those people and perhaps the Murdoch press for just one year before they turn.

  4. Steve
    September 1st, 2013 at 22:50 | #4

    Tim is right. Funding is linked to the date of the official campaign launched. Note the Libs held their launch fully 1 week before the ALP, but are likely to be a lot more flush with cash from donations.

  5. Ikonoclast
    September 2nd, 2013 at 06:25 | #5

    I had made up my mind and turned off before the election campain even started. It is obvious what Liberal and Labor both stand for. They stand for;

    (a) No action on climate change (Lib) or inadequate, token action (Lab).
    (b) Attempted endless growth in a finite world.
    (c) Use of unemployment to control infation and discipline wages.
    (d) Movement of national income from wages to profits.
    (e) Ignoring the plight of unemployed youth and students.
    (f) Pork-barrelling for their own contstituencies.
    (g) Increased middle-class and corporate welfare.
    (h) Obsessing about arbitrary, contextless budget outcome figures.
    (i) Ignoring the real economy and real people.
    (j) Increase of corporate power and decrease of democratic power.
    (k) Inhumane and racist refugee policies.

    About all I can do with my vote is attempt to deny them primary votes in the Reps and deny them both a majority in the Senate.

  6. Donald Oats
    September 2nd, 2013 at 10:42 | #6

    @Ikonoclast
    Indeed.

  7. may
    September 2nd, 2013 at 12:31 | #7

    Icono?

    you left out

    (l) the stripping out of services we have all contributed into the public purse to pay for.

    my vote liberal letter from my federal mp goes

    “our plan”

    1) a stronger 5 pillar economy.

    pillar?
    is this something to do with stokseys’ using the worst australian as collateral to buy into caterpillar?
    the shareholders who had a rather nice dividend flow axed are still spitting chips about that.

    2) the carbon tax gone.
    what carbon tax?
    they must be on about the carbon price that is on the worldwide agenda and is not going away.

    3) the end to waste and debt.
    good luck with that boyos.

    4) better roads and services.
    well if it’s anything like the state lib car crash happening here in the west,they can go whistle.

    5) stronger borders.
    aargh. i’m sick of it.
    serco cleaning up from the public purse.
    and with the business case for really expensive,really dangerous boat trips gutted,
    the libs promise to rev up the entrepreneurial Indonesian small boatbuilding industry by guaranteeing an Austalian govt public purse buyer.
    which brings us to

    6) two million new jobs.
    for Indonesian boat builders?
    thats an awful lot of new boats.

    given the coalition form guide for job creation is not as good as lab,

    a preposterous “TEN YEAR PLAN”

    is that stalincorp doubled?

  8. Ken_L
    September 2nd, 2013 at 15:22 | #8

    ‘I have no idea why these “experts” are given any credence.’

    Don’t forget the genius of Graham Richardson, who pioneered the brilliant strategy of relying on preference votes while ignoring core constituencies. Nothing like an apathetic, disillusioned Labor base to influence swinging voters at the local level.

  9. Nathan
    September 2nd, 2013 at 17:26 | #9

    @may
    For a nice summary of the of political rhetoric about waste: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zoz5EuIF_y8

  10. Jim Rose
    September 2nd, 2013 at 21:08 | #10

    Rudd loses by going on about abbott and his foreign policy competence.

    All it does is remind voters of kevin747

  11. September 2nd, 2013 at 23:58 | #11

    I watched the Hamster Decides and they had the segment where they asked the public their opinion on various pollies. The twist was that they were, to quote Monty Python, ex-parrots. Andrew Peacock, Harold Holt, Billy Hughes… But that didn’t stop people from having opinions about them.

    I have no idea how most people form their voting intentions, but I’m pretty sure that informed thought is not normally part of the process.

  12. September 3rd, 2013 at 03:41 | #12

    I am wondering as PM, Tony Abbott will go against an Opposition Leader who takes the negative approach and philosophy he adopted. Furthermore, I wonder how that fits into a conservative world view, Michael Oakeshott not withstanding. His politics, on display in his election launch speech despite multiple inconsistencies was pragmatic, poll driven and according to some an astute win at all costs (without scrutiny of costings) approach.

    Kevin Rudd comes from a different school of political and logical thought which will be good enough to see him lose in a landslide. The most interesting case studies will be an analyses of the effect of the Murdoch media campaign. Murdoch will win the promissory note; the rest, particularly the low or no income earners, will get the non-negotiable, blank cheque.

  13. Hermit
    September 3rd, 2013 at 13:29 | #13

    I wonder if Abbott has painted himself into a corner on carbon tax repeal. I’d say he has made it an ultra-core promise. When he gets over the line it must be an early priority. However whatever is left of the ALP and Greens know the public wants climate action. Whether a soft carbon tax could achieve that is an open question but it beats direct inaction. If we go to a referendum on it in 2014 it may backfire on Abbott.

    I understand Abbott may abolish the Climate Change Authority and related commission meaning that Pr Q may have to take up a newspaper round. The CCA talked about increasing the 2000-2020 emissions cut from the pathetic 5% to a more respectable 15%. I hope those silly old buggers who waved ‘axe the tax’ placards at the Alan Jones rally get cooked in future heatwaves.

  14. wilful
    September 3rd, 2013 at 14:36 | #14

    Ikonoclast :
    I had made up my mind and turned off before the election campain even started. It is obvious what Liberal and Labor both stand for. They stand for;
    (a) No action on climate change (Lib) or inadequate, token action (Lab).
    (b) Attempted endless growth in a finite world.
    (c) Use of unemployment to control infation and discipline wages.
    (d) Movement of national income from wages to profits.
    (e) Ignoring the plight of unemployed youth and students.
    (f) Pork-barrelling for their own contstituencies.
    (g) Increased middle-class and corporate welfare.
    (h) Obsessing about arbitrary, contextless budget outcome figures.
    (i) Ignoring the real economy and real people.
    (j) Increase of corporate power and decrease of democratic power.
    (k) Inhumane and racist refugee policies.
    About all I can do with my vote is attempt to deny them primary votes in the Reps and deny them both a majority in the Senate.

    Ikonoclast, i wont vehemently disagree with you, but I argue that for several of those items, the ALP is unambiguously less-bad.

    Although I don’t think pork barrelling is a particular curse in Australia, from either side. The ALP has done as well as could be expected on cutting middle-class welfare (and Australia is better than most countries in this respect anyway). You are still far more likely to see a policy that supports low income people coming from an ALP government than a Coalition one.

    In the Senate, there are only two groups/people I would ever want to see above the ALP and Libs, that being the Greens and Xenophon. All the other fringe parties are nutters, and worse than the mainstream.

  15. Jim Rose
    September 3rd, 2013 at 21:16 | #15

    Palmer is supposed to have 8% in Qld, more than katter!,!

  16. Ikonoclast
    September 4th, 2013 at 13:12 | #16

    Why any of the lower socio-economic 99% of the poulation would ever vote for a billionaire (and think he would care about things good for the lower 99%) is beyond me.

  17. may
    September 4th, 2013 at 15:40 | #17

    Icono?

    PR m’boy, PR.

    Nathan?

    Ta.

  18. Jim Rose
    September 6th, 2013 at 20:05 | #18

    Three million have already prepolled. Late launches miss this boat.

  19. September 8th, 2013 at 22:44 | #19

    Vote to deny the majority party passage of bills in the senate. Laugh, this would be from the same people complaining about Murdoch circumventing democracy. However, please do. The Australian people have aptly demonstrated what they think of fringe group rent seekers in Goverment and there is another baseball bat waiting in the wings.

  20. John Quiggin
    September 9th, 2013 at 08:53 | #20

    I’ve consistently rejected the mandate theory, whoever is in power.

    http://johnquiggin.com/2008/02/15/qa-on-mandates/

    And of course, the question of relationships between the Houses of Parliament is entirely unrelated to that of the influence of a corrupt and corrupting foreigner over our politics.

  21. crocodile
    September 9th, 2013 at 08:59 | #21

    While Abbott was opposition leader he consistantly rejected everything forcing the government to deal with crossbenc senators. If that is his method he deserves nothing different from any other opposition leader.

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