The day after

Like everyone else, I expected a Labor victory in the election. I expected good things from that, and I see lots of bad consequences from the actual outcome.

Still, my personal disappointment is muted by the fact that I found the campaign so utterly depressing. The shift to positivity I noted a couple of weeks ago only lasted for a day. I saw the positive ad I wrote about only once. By election day, like the majority of the Australian public, I just wanted it to be over.

The lesson I draw from this election, and from Clinton’s failure in 2016, is that negative campaigning doesn’t work for the left. It hardens the resolve of the other side, and obscures the fact that most people agree with you on the issues.

But that’s not the lesson that the political class, (for whom the two sides are always interchangeable) and especially the hardheads who ran the campaign, will learn. They will conclude that the small target strategy has been vindicated once again.

166 thoughts on “The day after

  1. Troy low income people cannot afford financial advice. They cannot salary sacrifice let alone buy shares because they are low income people!

  2. Harry Clarke says May 23, 2019 at 10:26 am

    Geez Harry Clarke, surely you’re just repeating the Murdoch reptile minions. As if they don’t copy and paste amongst themselves enough! You’ll likely be as happy as any Murdoch to have Anthony Albanese co-captain the duopoly team. They surely have at least an eight point plan for AA to work on.

    HC – “There is evidence that your first claim (The people that voted against the ALP were people that were unaffected by franking credits ( and negative gearing) is wrong (cited in the press and Conversation) and Labor are certainly acting on this.”

    On this issue most of those who otherwise may have voted for the ALP in fact were to be unaffected by Labor’s proposed franking credit changes. The fact is that they voted thinking wrongly that they would be. Labor had more than 12 months to correct their understanding…

    HC – “Your second point is just wrong and I did not say “income” but “wealth” anyway. People with $1m in savings and ineligible for the pension would be moderate wealth individuals who might have a self-managed fund invested entirely in bank shares and Telstra.”

    $1m in savings, and no doubt home owners too. They aint moderately wealthy.

    HC – “That Labor exempted pensioners shows that they realized the policy had distributional injustices.”

    No. It shows that they realised that cohort of voters, potentially mostly Labor voters, may well not understand the policy. The exemption cost little to make in foregone revenue so the policy proposal was quickly amended to reflect that. Labor must have thought they’d solved that problem in the minds of those relatively few particular pensioners, and in the minds of all other pensioners who might have got the proposal by the wrong handle, but in fact they hadn’t. Labor utterly failed in communication. To be fair, broadly it is a difficult group to communicate with on anything let alone financial changes. To get the ideas across Labor perhaps should have placed sufficient resources behind just one capable older high-profile polly doing nothing else but saturation on this issue for the 14 months. People are highly indisposed to lose any money. After 14 months pensioners should have all clearly received and understood a message that none of them faced any financial risk of losing anything from the ALP franking rebate change proposal. The message actually sent wasn’t lost, it was inadequate for the purpose, it was a loser.

  3. “Troy low income people cannot afford financial advice. They cannot salary sacrifice let alone buy shares because they are low income people!”

    Maybe, but who knows. People network, word spreads (whether accurate or not). Only takes one to get some advice and share that to friends who maybe have similar investment setups. All speculation, but plausible.

  4. Smith9, “lower future tax rates are not policy proposals. They are already legislated.”

    So, what are the personal income tax rates for the year 2200?

  5. A couple of things here to understand the argument that is going on.

    Firstly there are very few self funded retirees. most but not all people who will become retirees arrange their affairs so they get at least $1 of pension.This means they get heavily subsidised drugs from chemists. Just remember retirees can easily live on the pension if they own their own home so tax free super benefits plus health care card makes easy living

    Secondly you need a lot of savings to salary sacrifice. you need even more to buy shares.

    Thirdly buying fully franked shares is a recent development in financial advice. The coalition has brought this on. Previously any extra money went into purely super as it was tax effective.

    This means people on high incomes would buy a large share portfolio in their latter working life. you could have almost a portfolio of $400k given not all companies continually pay fully franked dividends.

    It follows the only possible way a low inc come person would be in a position of having franking credits would be because they are asset rich.

    Just heard Ben Phillips on the radio.

    Older people who would benefit from this policy voted against the ALP people who were disadvantaged voted for the ALP.

    Happy for correction any time Harry

  6. Svante

    Quote from AFR not Newscorp

    Will Australia’s centre-left political duopolist continue to be controlled by an organised labour movement led by the Australian Council of Trade Unions – a once substantial institution – now led by undergraduate radicals who want to “change the rules”, end trickle down economics, and romanticise law breaking? Will it continue to be virtually suffocated by the unions, as Bob Hawke complained? Is Labor still a party of labour, as Julia Gillard insisted, when working class voters turn against it? And, finally, will Labor continue to make climate change a quasi-religious crusade for urban cosmopolitans where even questioning the cost of policy action is damned as dishonest.


  7. HC, good questions. The ALP receives hefty donations (distinct from union movement affiliate fees) from across the board, including big business. That’s the donations we get to know of – those that are made public a year late. The loopholes allow vastly more funding from dark money donations that will never be made public. The ALP also has other significant income from investments. All up, as union membership now borders on being insignificant I expect the amount received from unions now to be a comparatively small portion of ALP funding. So why doesn’t the ALP dictate to the unions instead of the union tail wagging the dog, particularly unions in conflict with it such as the recent undermining of Labor by the CFMEU and AWU?

    It’s a doubtful proposition that Labor was ever truly a party of labour. It has a very chequered history in that regard. Of course it always has insisted itself that it is, and is always revisionist.

    It’s the chasing of votes, and power, and the perks of power, wherever the chase may lead that is ever the Labor crusade. They are relentless in that, and ruthless, as even many a genuine labour movement has found over time. If they thought rats up drainpipes might lean ‘left’ they would chase them there. Cosmopolitans generally see themselves, and are often seen by others as left leaning, but they are also often affluent financial conservatives. Climate change is one of the hooks Labor has at it’s disposal to catch those cosmopolitans in the urban rat race. Labor offers indulgences, albeit rather conflicted, to the cosmopolitan urban elites for the salving of conflicted conscience much as the Roman church has done. The Greens’ indulgences come far less conflicted though.

    Questioning the cost of climate change policy action without also questioning the cost of inaction is likely why you’ve seen it damned as dishonest. Whole sight; or all the rest is desolation.

  8. It’s amazing how numerate Labor wannabe leaders are when it comes to counting their potential votes in leadership ballots. They could be Fields medallists, It’s a shame this skill doesn’t extend to counting potential votes in general elections.

  9. John Quiggin:

    The lesson I draw from this election, and from Clinton’s failure in 2016, is that negative campaigning doesn’t work for the left.

    The anti-Work choices and “Mediscare” campaigns worked very well for Labor. My dear old mum voted Liberal for the first time in 20 years because she bought into the LNP scare campaign about Labor killing off jobs and running up Government debt. I get the feeling you have very little affinity with the white working class.


  10. Actually Mediscare did NOT work. Back hen polls actually worked neither did the ALP vote jump nor di the Libs vote fall. Indeed from go to whoa the polls stayed the same given the margin of error.

  11. Negative campaigning worked a treat against John Hewson. What is true is that the L&NP (at least at the national level) are usually better at not creating conditions where negative campaigns can be used effectively against them. Labor, on the other hand, has perfected the art of leading with its chin.

    Re: Clinton – Obama used negative campaigning to great effect against Mitt Romney in 2012.

  12. IMHO popularity polls and broad statistics are generally near useless for gauging the constituency’s view on specific issues (with a few exceptions). No detail, no context, and a broad range of competing issues to muddy the waters. Probably the best gauging (short of surveying on the specific issue) would be from the candidates/MPs themselves. They’re supposed to be on the frontline, gathering person-to-person feedback on grievances, concerns etc.

  13. Troy, I agree with you @ 24/5/19, 4:09pm – not least because we are said to have a representative democracy.

    In a country as vast as Australia with a greater risk than say the Netherlands of booms and busts in various regions due to the mining sector, extreme weather events, an open financial sector and a multicultural society with a changing composition, etc, the problem of aggregating information in a timely fashion is acute.

  14. For me the biggest flaw to the campaign was Bill Shorten, a person who lacks credibility, which is probably why voters switched to the others eg PHON, UAP.

    With Pauline and Clive, you know what you get, they are straight up and fair dinkum. As the RC into unions revealed, Bill Shorten is just a bit shifty and has sfa charisma – there’s no real connecting with him, it’s all ducking and weaving. His role in the usurping of Rudd then the usurping of Gillard then reinstating Rudd was inglorious.

    So why would you vote for someone who has no real loyalty to the party?

  15. IMHO popularity polls and broad statistics are generally near useless for gauging the constituency’s view on specific issues (with a few exceptions).

    Eh. The problem is, if the population lies to you the poll is useless. We used to be able to get good figures on racism because people didn’t realise that their attitudes were “racist”, but now they do.

    How-to-put-this: rates of expression of racist attitudes will fall faster than rates of holding racist attitudes. This poses a significant planning problem.

  16. sorry Collins but that is a variation of the shy voter effect that has no basis at all.

    you need to read more on it.
    Try my place i have a lot of it.
    The reason the pols were out was old fashioned stats 101. They ddi not have random samples

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