Saturday, August 21, 2010

Election 2010: Day 36 (or, a hung dog expression)

Well I certainly didn’t think it would go this bad.

QLD – a slaughter, NSW a shellacking.

Victoria good, but not good enough. SA ok, but nowhere near good enough.

AT the moment it looks like LNP 74, ALP 71, Greens 1, 4 Independents. Lets put Adam Brandt in with the ALP, and we’re at 74 –72.

Andrew Wilkie you think would go with the ALP, but if he doesn’t get up the ALP will win the seat, so either way we’re at 74-73.

And then we have Bob Katter,  Rob Oakeschott and Tony Windsor to decide who wins. And tonight they have said they will vote as a block.

I have no idea where they will go though just because they are ex-National Party members does not mean they will necessarily go tot he LNP. There were reasons why they left the National Party – you don’t leave a party an run as an independent for no reason. All three also have such high standing in their electorates that they could side with the ALP and it would not hurt their chances for re-election. As someone on Poll Bludger wrote, Windsor could put Gough Whitlam back as PM and he’d still win his seat in a canter.

Windsor said something interesting tonight:

Tony Windsor, who is on track to retain his NSW seat of New England, says he's "quite happy to talk to anybody" when the final results are in, including other independent and Green candidates. But he cautioned everyone to be patient and "just breathe in for a while", since a hung Parliament could be a "very good thing". "The most important issue here is stability of governance," he told Channel 9.

The only person he refuses to work with is Nationals Senate Leader Barnaby Joyce.
"I won't be taking any advice from Barnaby Joyce on what I should do or shouldn't be doing," he said.

Oakeshott was well regarded and well treated by the ALP in the last three years, so who knows…. What they would also want to bear in mind is that the Greens will (as expected) hold the balance of power in the Senate. So a minority Liberal Party Government with the Greens holding the balance of power in the Senate. Yeah that sounds like stable Government.

So maybe Julia will be PM… maybe Abbott. The LNOP will probably have more seats, but as of now (with 74.5% of the vote counted) the ALP is ahead on two party preferred stakes 50.6 to 49.4. (By the way Newspoll seems to have got the 2PP the closest, but Nielsen and Galaxy were better on picking the ALP primary vote of 38% – it’s currently 38.6%)

It’s eenie-meenie, acey-deucey stuff. You’d put money on Abbot though… or Gillard… or...


Now let’s get down to what we really should be doing – blaming people. 

The ALP should have won this by the length of the straight.

Maxine McKew who lost Bennelong (just a shocking loss really, given the demographic of the seat and that her opponent was John Alexander – a guy whose ineptitude at tennis commentary is beyond compare) let fly with a few comments – some good some a bit ranty. But she nailed it with this:

"I think our problems date back to last year when we never really claimed victory over the global financial crisis"

I have said it many times on this blog – the Government's failure to sell the response to the GFC was a disgrace. And for that total blame must go to Kevin Rudd. His, and Wayne Swan’s stupid fear to talk about deficit and debt just gave the Liberal Party’s idiotic economic argument validity. All they needed to do was back in late 2008 was stare down the camera and say we didn’t want to go into deficit, but it was either that or people would lose their jobs, and I couldn’t let that happen.

Instead they talked about saving jobs, but refused to admit it meant going into deficit. Idiots. Weak and gutless idiots.

Karl Bitar. Great campaign. Well done. Now piss off and never darken the door of any Labor Party meeting ever again.

Some will say they it is because the ALP dumped Rudd, but that is for counterfactuals. My belief is he was seriously on the nose. Maybe his incumbency would have got the ALP over the line. But he suffered a 4.43% swing against him in his own seat. That does not reek of love. And anyway, Rudd brought it all upon himself.

So yes maybe you can blame the factional heavies – I certainly did at the time. But I also think if Rudd had understood that you need to work with your cabinet, and also showed a skerrick of ability to sell an economic policy he would have kept his job, and the ALP would be still cruising along.

Sandra O’Malley also made a very good point on twitter:

One certainty tonight - the race to the bottom by both sides wasn't endorsed by the Australian public.

Yep, the ALP need to look at two things: The first preference. The ALP’s went down by around 5.38%. The Liberal Party’s only went up by 0.97%. The Greens vote increased by 3.77%. And secondly the 1.5% increase in informal votes – the people saying get stuffed to both of you.

The Greens are now viewed as being part of the game – in effect part of the centre – the centre-left. The ALP in it’s great desire to take the centre, forgot about the centre-left.

The problem with the ALP is it always wants to win over the centre, which is correct, you need to do that, but it does it by trying to move to the right. The Liberal Party does it the other way round – by convincing the centre that what the Libs stand for is the centre. The problem with the ALP’s way of doing it is going to the right doesn’t work in the long run, because the right will always go with the Liberal Party in the long run, and all the ALP will have done is look hollow. They need to be the centre-left party that convinces those in the centre that they can come into the fold and be safe.

It means actually having someone who can convince the middle Australia that progressive policies – be they socially or economic are part of “middle Australia”. It means having a soul and defending it, not trying to convince the electorate you;re something you’re not. They won’t believe you in the end – and the media sure as hell won’t thank you for it – as Tim Dunlop says – Lucy always takes the football away.

Whatever happens from here, the ALP needs to reform itself – and firstly get rid of those advisors who sit in Parliament House for 16 hours a day watching 4 TV screens and worrying about the 6pm news, then what’s on Lateline, then what’s on the front page of The Oz, then what they’re talking about of talkback radio, then what’s on the 6pm news.  

It’s time for the ALP to work out why it wants to govern.


Anonymous said...

Or IF it wants to govern

Pip said...

Hi Grog, well last night I wanted to kneecap somebody [ in my dreams ]. Should I start with those bloody advisers ?? I agree with you about selling the success of the GFC, job creation, and the health, hospitals, education, pensions and infrastructure achievements, etc. which they didn't and it serves them all right. They need to start on that tomorrow and keep it going until the message gets through just in case we have to go to the polls a bit earlier next time. We've got new black strips of bitumen on the next street where the NBN stuff is and I'll be really pissed of if it doesn't continue. Bloody Tony is on now right now banging on about "stop the debt, taxes , boats". I think I'll kneecap him first.... followed by some of the tweeters. Probably best to hava a glass of red and go to bed, violence is never the answer !!!

Grog said...

Pip. It was a combination of the advisors and Rudd's inability to sell anything.

You could write a book on what the Rudd Govt did wrong in defending its policies. But it could all be boiled down to "believe in what you are doing"

The writing was on the wall when earlier this year Rud lamely agreed with the criticism of the insulation scheme. He actually had the facts on his side, but he never tried to defend the scheme in any serious way. The is no way Hawke, PJK or Howard would have let their critics have such an easy win.

Anonymous said...

We will be bak to do the election thing again very soon as no legislation will pass in the Senate based on current numbers.
Whoever wins in the Lowerr House gets to be the Government. Passing a Bill is a different matter.
No legislation means no capacity to govern.

Bill said...

Maxine McKew's comments, and people's reaction to them, are everything that's wrong with Labor in microcosm.

It wasn't a dummy-spit, it was a few home truths that needed to be said. Rather than take it on board, they accuse her of "doing a Kernot," which is ridiculous since there is no analogy.

This government had so much to be proud of if only they'd had the balls to say so and stop accepting the Liberal narrative.

The problem was not faceless men, it's gutless men.

Anonymous said...

Once again well said Grog,why wont they talk themselves up, they had a good story and shut up, they did it after 96 too,bloody libs had no story and wouldn't shut up .
It helps I suppose if MSM picks your side .
Still as you say Hawke or Keating would have attacted, they had pride .

Anonymous said...

Rudd was poorly advised no doubt. Sense his instincts werent to bad but the party around him was pushing him in the wrong direction on many things.

Many parliamentary members of the ALP were also very foolish, never should voted for the leadership change.

It was an act of mass suicide.

Disloyalty is death.

Chris Grealy said...

Maxine said it well. People have been telling Labor for months that they need to emphasise their great success in managing the effects of the GFC.
In a perfect world, I would have kept Kevin as leader and run an election in February under the Kevin 11 banner. Oh well, it won't happen now.......or will it?

Roger said...

"Now let’s get down to what we really should be doing – blaming people."

And so it begins. The lead question will be some variant of: "Who are the traitors or utter incompetents within?" That's "within the Labor Party"?

This ignores the real enemy - which is without. Fact: international capital had a little something to do with bringing down this government. I'm thinking mining and advertisements. I'm thinking Rupert and unrelenting negativity. As an inveterate watcher of Fox "News", and a dual Yank/Aussie, I am confident that the MSM attack in this country compares favorably with Sean Hannity on steroids.

Yes, clearly, some self-examination is in order. But before we let each other's blood, can we pause,look up, and out, and see the self-confessed enemies of progressivism.

SM said...

I think we can all agree that they two majors can't really claim a mandate. The really interesting thing is this morning the three independents seem to be suggesting they want the NBN, but maybe the NBN will get rolled out to the country and those of us near crap exchanges in cities can go to hell.

Election next year, if Abbott forms govt in lower house he might want to go before all the greens take their senate seats.

Longfulan said...

It's the morning after the night before. Drank too much red wine. But then, I was always going to.

For me it was lost when the gutless men (and woman) in the forefront of the Labor party, did not call a double dissolution election over the ETS and other legislation blocked in the senate. I reckon the coalition would have been wiped out. Labor needed to treat the Greens as an ally and not an enemy, and vice versa. They needed to take the risk. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that. As they say on the ski slopes 'no falls, no balls'.

Where is 'the light on the hill' in Labor now? What do they believe in? Gutless wonders. But I also reckon the gutless wonders will endure, because after all, they really only care about their own positions. They have let us down, betrayed us. Bastards in Sussex Street.

Anonymous said...

Grog, your insights have been the best of the election. Thanks so much for your efforts.


Longfulan said...

Roger, I agree with your view of the 'enemies of progressivism'. It started even before Labor won in 2007. News Ltd. focussed on anything negative, real or imagined, even Rudd's ear wax for goodness sake. They worked their arses off in their campaign against Rudd. I was surprised he took it for so long.

I'm old enough to remember when Gough won in 1972. And that lovely (keep the bastards honest) Don Chip, announced in the Friday evening papers that if Labor won, the flood gates to drugs and pornography would be opened. But, that time it didn't work, but the negative campaign in the media eventually did. Poor Gough wanted to buy back the farm while the conservatives were happy to sell it off. What's changed?

StephenD said...

I agree with most of what you say (as usual), Grog.

On the other hand, I entertain this fantasy that if Rudd had had his gallbladder whacked out 18 months ago, and dumped all his focus-group obsessed advisers, he'd have romped home at this election.

And I say that as someone who was completely turned off Rudd when he hung Garrett out to dry. This was perhaps the most despicable act of betrayal in the last 25 years of ALP history.

I would love to be able to blame the media for this loss, but the fact is that the ALP completely failed to deliver any strong messages.

I wouldn't be cheering for a DD election at this point. The ALP record of the past two and a half years may as well not exist at this point. The Coalition would romp home.

noel said...

Blame inept Qld and NSW state Labor goverments and, at the federal level, the badly handled ETS, the mining tax and the party heavies dumping an elected PM and splitting the party.

Anna Bligh's privatisation, council amalgamations and dams were wildly unpopular and with Rudd gone, so was Qld.

Anonymous said...

Just heard Karl Bitar tell Laurie Oakes that there'd be many people waking up this morning saying they'd voted for Tony Abbott but were unhappy that Julia wasn't Prime Minister. ????? With such incisive analysis from the campaign guru it's easy to see why the Government failed miserably to sell its achievements. Julia remained preferred PM in all the polls, & sure Labor would have swept back if that had been the determiner, but....

I think things were on a slide from the time of Rudd's mea culpa, which effectively trashed or obscured the big successes of the Government. On the same theme I thought Julia's " good government which had lost it's way" explanation for her ascension jarred. Also, as you noted at the time, the "real Julia" shouldn't have been announced, just happened.

Grog, your daily observations on events have provided the sanest political commentary in the country. I'm glad to see from the comments here (and tweets) that your skills and generous spirit are widely acknowledged and appreciated. The fact that you write beautiful prose is a terrific bonus. Good luck with your move this week. Really hope that you'll have time in the coming political chaos to share your thoughts occasionally.

AS for the election - still nurturing a faint, almost extinguished, hope that Gillard can hang on with minority government.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!gain

Agnes Mack said...

That last Anonymous ramble was from me, don't know how I mistakenly hid my identity. So it's still , thank you, a thousand times.

Maria said...

This is pretty much matches what I have been saying (to my cat, mostly) for the last while.

So I agree, and hope the ALP actually starts listening to folk outside their media rooms.

Anonymous said...

Whilst bitar is a gimp he has this right: "they'd voted for Tony Abbott but were unhappy that Julia wasn't Prime Minister" as this is the average intelligence of the voting public. Clearly they dont get it. I've already been texted this morning by swinging voter mate from wollongong who is an aspirational voter - once a garbo, now self employed financial advisor who voted howard previously, keating & hawke prior who has the same view.

Why Cant this be someones speech/doordtop in the ALP (they have no balls)....

100% agree with:

"I am confident that the MSM attack in this country compares favorably with Sean Hannity on steroids"

1000% agree with:

"Poor Gough wanted to buy back the farm while the conservatives were happy to sell it off. What's changed?"

Debt & deficit amount % agree with:

"I wouldn't be cheering for a DD election at this point. The ALP record of the past two and a half years may as well not exist at this point. The Coalition would romp home."

Cantbeeffed said...

Well Maxine was kind of right about selling the message of the GFC, but Rudd was a terrible, awful saleman.

As a lawyer and corporate executive who can concentrate when presented with a reasonable amount of waffle, Rudd had me switching off the moment he opened his mouth. The guy spoke like a robot and what came out of his mouth was UN-speak crap. If I couldn't stand to listen to him, what about the average working class voter? Listening to his speech after he'd been deposed, I was stunned that the guy could actually say something in English with normal modulation in his voice. Why the hell couldn't he talk like that all the time????

But on the rest, Labor needs to stop trying to be Liberal Lite. Sinking the boot into refugees, gays and greenies was just stupid from Gillard. She accused one of the people's forum women of being cynical, well she should know, being the Queen of Cynicism herself.

To Bill Shortern and Andrew Robb, smart move telling the independents who they would get along with better...patronising much? If I were one of the 3 independents, I'd be telling both party machinists to get fucked, nobody would be telling me who I should get along with better, that would be for me to decide.

Doesn't anyone in politics have any people skills at all??

Oz said...

The lack of a narrative is a concerning thing.

I personally believe that social democratic/labour parties need to focus on the three crises that affect us right now: of growing inequality in society, that of climate change and the deteriorating faith in our democracy.

That should be starting point of it's narrative and addressing it should be why the ALP wants to govern

Marshall-Stacks said...

My electorate is totally blue-ribbon so my vote there could not possibly count against 68% for LIB, but my Senate vote was based on what Cantbeeffed said above -
'Sinking the boot into refugees, gays and greenies was just stupid from Gillard'
and I am now one of the stupid people who would prefer her as PM, but for that ... so hopefully Rabbit and The Nose will both now go Greener, gayer and more compassionate, having seen how many of us voted that way.

Janet said...

I also want to say thanks for your thoughtful work over the campaign. I hope we continue to see your insightful analysis of question time when/if we get a functioning parliament again.
Two old sayings: Be careful what you wish for. My preferred outcome was one that would give us Mark Arbib's head on a platter without giving us Tony Abbott PM. But this is too close for comfort, and no sign that the Arbib/Bitar/Howson cabal are being given their marching orders.
Guard your flank. In rushing to shore up the right - which they were never going to retain, the ALP has bled to the left. The warning signs were there, and they ignored them. Another reason the ALP needs to purge its generals.
I can only see legislative paralysis ahead. Another election in 12 months?

2353 said...

Does anyone think that a bill in Parliament can satisfy Bob Katter in the Reps and The Greens in the Senate? I hope it works but I can't see it happening.

The deserved victory at the next election will hopefully go to the first party to get out of the gutter, articulate a clear policy position, sell the benefits of voting for them and follow through when elected. The current position is due to Australia basically telling the two major parties to get stuffed.

When Bob Katter was being interviewed by Kerry O'Brien last light, he discussed "corporate politics" where (apperently) Australia is the one of the few countries in the world that tolerates the position where all members of a political party are expected to toe the party line, and suggested this result was the beginning of the end unless there was a lot of change from the major parties. While Katter usually is a waste of space, he might actually have a point here. It will be interesting to watch.

Keep up the blogging Grog, apart from being "a cracking read", I have a feeling politics in Australia is about to get REALLY interesting!

Rowan said...

Agree about Rudd, Grog, but StephenD articulated my opinion---rolling Garrett was a despicable and cowardly act, tantamount to an admission that the govt had bolluxed up something they had *not* bolluxed up, and the beginning of the end. While I think the Rudd Roll was just as big and despicable a mistake, it was a giant karmic moment.

I also think Gillard called the election too early. She should have given Rabbit a few more months to trip over his own personality. It may not have gotten better for Labor, but I doubt an election early next year would have been worse than this result.

On the bright side for me, a Lib govt is good financially, but unlike the Lib voters I know, I don't believe it's about what my country can do for me. I'm not quite comfortable about getting rich at the expense of the disadvantaged, the unemployable, the disabled, and the poor. But if Rabbit pulls it off, I foresee a drop in infrastructure building and education and health funding so there can be more tax cuts for me, a rise in unemployment and a possible flow on to a reduction in my interest rates so I can buy more shoes and an even bigger TV, and more homeless people to buy Big Issue from on my walk to work.

Grog said...

[I entertain this fantasy that if Rudd had had his gallbladder whacked out 18 months ago, and dumped all his focus-group obsessed advisers, he'd have romped home at this election.]

Agree completely. Wasn;t going to happen.

And yes I also agree 100%, that Rudd's not stnaidng up for Garrett - especially as the facts were on his side - was one of the lowest acts by a Labor PM. Garrett will have to wear that for the rest of his life. All he did was run a program that put insulation in 1.1 million homes in one year. The previous average yearly rate? about 67,500.

And the rate of incidence of fire from those insulaation dropped by a massive rate. And for that Rudd (and now Gillard) talk about it being a complete mess.