The worm has turned.

Anyone who remembers Channel Nines greatest contribution to Australian political life will remember the worm. A wobbly plot of aggregate punter intent scrolling across the bottom of the telly, that purported to assess, real time, the leader in the political dogfight showing on the screen.

Well, it seem pretty obvious that this week, is the week that the worm turned Southward for Kevin Rudd, and failing any new strategy by Labor, it will cross the point of no return in the next month or two.

Its a big call perhaps given that theres only been a couple of polls that have shown any hint of light for Mr. Howard, but its not the polls that you need to look at to see this. Its the big strategic moves, and right now Mr. Rudds strategic moves, which have served him so well to this point, are all in the process of being effectively neutralized. Once safely blocked, it leaves Mr. Howard with his one single strategic weapon, the economy, free to smite the Rudd forces as they attempt an assault on the hill.

In strategic terms Mr. Rudd has made the running to date, and I suggest this has been due to the three quite powerful moral issues which Labor has run with. These are firstly, the unacceptable legal treatment of David Hicks, and the governments complicity in that; Secondly, the dramatically escalating concerns over climate change and the governments complacency; and thirdly the governments IR changes implemented without consultation and without electoral mandate.

In each of these cases the Coalition was very successfully painted as being brutally focused on pushing its own interests and the interests of a narrow constituency rather than being fair and reasonable, and being concerned about the broader implications of its actions. And as such, these moral issues have trumped the Coalitions more prosaic strength (or claimed strength) of conscientious economic management.

No surprise, when you think about it in those terms. There arent too many any great inspirational speeches from historical world leaders that mention anything about marching bravely forward to promote double entry bookkeeping in the provinces.

There are of course other Labor policies. The promotion of a new broadband plan comes to mind, but that is a policy for technocrats which doesnt reach to the heart in the way that the three moral issues have done. And so this piece is really a study of the way Mr. Howard has blunted the attacking power of these three moral issues.

The first, Hicks, is obvious. The government, feeling the rising anger, and reading it in the polls, finally acted to bring Hicks home. Issue successfully neutralised.

The second is climate change. The recent report from the Prime Ministers handpicked Carbon Trading Taskforce, recommending not surprisingly, Carbon Trading, has put the Government and Labor on the same page on this matter. Sure theres differences about targets, and the inclusion of MRET verses nukes, but in principle both parties now agree that something should be done and they now agree on the main mechanism with which to approach the problem.

Having clawed back some of the moral ground on climate change, Howard is now in the process of framing this issue as being about who can best manage the economics of climate change. Its where Howard wants to fight the election as we know.

The third moral issue, fairness in the workplace, has this week also been blunted. The IR debate is now being framed by Howard, with the kindly assistance of News Corporation, as the Union Bosses Power Grab. And despite the years of unions positioning themselves as being reasonable, and indeed munificent as witnessed though the ACTUs noble fight for justice for the victims of James Hardie, it is being forgotten as the public are easily reminded of the ugly face of unionism. The leaking of the ACTU document and the use of the software with the scarily cult-like name Magenta Linas was a severe blow, heightening the image of ALP-union collaboration which is already pretty vivid with some of those very same union bosses, Combet, Campbell, Shorten, Marles etct. lining up for seats, and hence proof, to those who wish to see it, that saving a withering and redundant union movement is what it was all about.

With these moral issues successfully neutralised, Howard is free to fight the next election on the economy. And this he will win, because with eleven years in the job, with an economy in rude good health, its a hard argument to put that Labor will do it better.

And this I fear is the trap that Rudd is beginning to fall in to. Reaching for somewhat declining productivity, as evidence of Howard economic mismanagement, will never cut it with the electorate. For Rudd to win this one, he needs to either find a completely new issue, or even better, needs to recreate big differences and open up a big moral lead, in the only two issues he really has left. Climate Change and IR.

For Rudd to win he must win the moral war. He will never win the economic one.

Update 18/7:

The Nielsen poll and Newspoll today confirm some sort of turning of the worm.

Several interesting things to note:

The turning, if it stays at the current 1% per month increase in the Coalition position, wont be enough for Mr. Howard to get over the line come election time. (or so I heard on Frans Chat n Chew this morning) Expect Mr. Howard to delay the election as long as possible in the hope of allowing his current glide path to get him onto the airstrip without stacking I guess.

The Australians headline Howard closes gap verses The Ages Strife fails to reduce Rudds lead, says much about how the Australian press will continue to report this election. (Is media bias acceptable when its commercially funded?: Discuss)

That the PM has seen the need to respond with a broadband policy of his own to neutralise the Rudd advantage (after a decade of inaction), says much about the threat Mr. Howard sees this Rudd led ALP to be. Hes still as nervous as hell. Lets keep an eye out for quivering knees.

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Guy
Guy
14 years ago

I think education is another policy area where Labor has a lot it can run with. Objectively speaking, it is hard for the Howard Government to deny the hard facts – Australian public investment in education compares unfavourably with many or most of the other OECD countries.

I think you may be right in relation to the economic war. It’s hard to shake some public perceptions that have been so firmly rusted on. Having said that, it is still a war that Labor needs to wage visibly and cogently.

Patrick
Patrick
14 years ago

So what Guy -our total spending compares pretty well, and does it really matter whether the government takes it first and then spends it or people just spend it?

(A: yes, the latter is better)

Also, wasn’t education a bit of a right royal cock-up for Labor last time?

Guy
Guy
14 years ago

If by people spending it as opposed to the government it is implied that money is being spent progressively more on private education than public education, then there is a problem there. It’s all very well for private schools in Australia to be wonderfully well funded but we also need to be concerned with the majority of students who are enrolled in public schools.

Chances are the kids in those schools are also more needy in terms of quality teaching and the provision of quality learning environments.

Mark Latham was a right royal cock-up for Labor last time – not specifically education.

Amanda
14 years ago

All of which may be true, but I honestly cannot imagine any even remotely likely alternate scenario in the real world where Labor could be doing better than they are now. All of the Govt moves/media opposition was inevitable, but the fact we can even think realistically about a Lab victory was not. A change of Govt is the less likely result IMHO (17 seats!) still but the idea is being taken seriously.

The worm may turn all it likes (or not), the worst case scenario is that we end up back where we assumed we would be all along.

cs
cs
14 years ago

He will never win the economic one.

He doesn’t have to win this one, only neutralise the government advantage. Just as it was too early to call the election when the polls were stratospherically in favour of Labor, so it is also too early too call simply on the basis that the government has moved to fight back on a couple of policy fronts.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

I think Labor is probably keeping a relatively low profile at the moment to let the government trumpet its shrill rantings undisturbed. Personally, I thought, for instance, Rudd’s soundbite on the news in response to the Kirribilli scandal and also the “unions are going to beat down your door” beatup were eminently reasonable. If you go with the “punters are sick of the permanent campaign” theory, this is a good way to go.

Interestingly, I read recently that Labor conducted some research in Latham’s seat after he resigned in the lead up to the by-election. It found that most voters in Western Sydney derived their knowledge of politics from commercial news. Few took any notice of what was in the papers – the Daily Telegraph was seen as entertaining but its right wing spin was discounted.

The political game looks very different to marginal seat voters from how it looks to us political junkies.

Robert
Robert
14 years ago

Good post, Rex.

A little while ago the ‘campaign’ was in the doldrums – post the personal attacks on Rudd, the several other shots by the Libs to obtain purchase, resulting in Labor’s sky high polls. Issues weren’t fleshed out, merely flung about in broad terms, yet each jampacked with energy – potential. Then, those high polls kept on coming.

The thing which altered the game was that Gallaxy poll in the Telegraph. All of a sudden, the LNP were back on track, Howard had regained authority, and the media were talking up the Coalition’s chances and Labor’s enormous task. Nothing else had worked, until that Gallaxy poll. I reckon it’s bloody suspect. If it’s a rogue, we’ll know as time passes, but whether it was a deliberate rogue we may never.

Of course, it could be that Howard’s annihilation tactic worked, the public sat up, and the couple of blunders by Rudd and some best-ever in the history of the country economic flying sensationally fiscal news have created a poll correction. (But that many points, so suddenly?). This is probably more like the case.

Overall, that jampacked issue situation of some while ago is now unfolding, and we’re entering the thick of the real thing. Issues will swing one way, and another, and probably dramatically and in ways not yet experienced.

At this point, to state the infuriating, it will be a time when uncertainties one way or another will be seen with post election hindsight as being blaringly obvious. “It was always going to be that..” we’ll say.

But how to see them with clarity and confidence now?

A few shots. The economy is not a given for Howard. Consider Rudd taking Howard on, as would Keating, in a frontline battle win or lose. Rudd, being new, would appear in commentary as bold, but also Lathamesque, wild and risky. But we can safely say Rudd has to take the issue on. Rex’s post has written into it a lesson taught once again by Howard: take your weakness and turn it into a strength, and minimise the opponents strength hopefully to render it invisible. It would be common sense to assume Rudd must do this, at least, with the economy.

Rudd’s strategy, unlike what would be Keating’s, is to keep the economy in public mind as humming along, so as to enable an ease of govt change, and paint Howard as yesterday’s man with it: ie, it can’t last forever and Howard is not prepared for the future. For those of us who wish to see the economic truths belted around each party’s head, Rudd’s strategy may well prove to be the safer albeit less spectacular and immediately rewarding.

Every single strategy focus by the LNP is going towards the economy. It’s becoming a singular peg upon which their hopes swing. As Rex says, this may be a LNP winner, or it could end up being the singular reason where the LNP fucked it up.

Maybe, just maybe, the electorate want more, this time around, and what Howard and the LNP gave them, in hindsight, wasn’t enough.

Climate Change, Education as mentioned, IR, fair play, honesty, arrogance and hubris, foreign policy and foreign friends (new to be had, and old), nukes, immigrants, Costello as PM next term, smart cards, poverty pockets, first time house buyers, just to name a few, are all things out there in some way or another and whatever role they play come ballot day, one thing to date and looking fairly certain til then is Howard is not wanting to flesh those things out. Maybe the public want to know he is interested in doing so, more than perhaps that the issues are done so, and that he’s not interested could be enough to say his time has come. And as indicated, maybe the public really have moved on from pure backpocket economy voting.

Rex’s post rings very true and for those of us who want Howard gone, that sound is depressing.

Yet, should Howard be called on two points in the next few weeks: a) public response to his climate change policy is written off out of disbelief in him on the issue, and b) the public don’t buy the unions will run the country line, Howard could conceivably be facing no substantial change in polls and the leadership issue will be on again. It is still conceivable, under a public rejection of the current LNP shots, that Howard goes in a few weeks.

Having said all that, Rudd hasn’t been impressive lately. Unlike Mark’s ideas above, my two bobs is that Labor has been low because Rudd is overworked and become susceptible to illness. He looks crook. He’s making mistakes, and that shine so important to the punter’s half interested glance is gone. For one thing , not halfway important, he’s going to have to start looking the goods again.

Which makes me think Rudd has been head down on policy making – the results of which we’ll see a while ahead, dragging us further into the thick of it.

In summation: we’re just entering the real engagement, and we’ll be far better placed to read it in a month’s time or so, after CC and IR have worked through some more – provided we don’t get blinded by the heavy shit which is going to go down fairly soon.

mangoman
mangoman
14 years ago

One or two dodgy polls and we are throwing in the towel or looking for heads to kick. Bugger me!

The ALP will win some votes as a result of the baggage picked up by the LNP. Most of these are unlikely to be reflected in the polls. The issues are not necessarily the ones that that polling will focus on. Indigenous affairs, immigration, child care, etc are in this list.

Other votes will come from those who think they will get a better deal from the ALP than the LNP. Health, education, transport, infrastructure and welfare policy are important here and, so far, we have not seen too much detail on these areas from the ALP. We know the LNP record though and that should be front and centre in any discussion.

The majority of votes though will come though from those who, on the one hand, see a safe pair of hands – trusted even – and, on the other, a vision for the future that they can relate to. Rudd is now seen as more trustworthy and Howard is still looking backwards.

The ALP should take a lead on the reaction to broadband and climate change. They have won those arguments and the LNP is seen as having been forced into doing something they will probably renege on – non-core promises.

Rudd needs to lay out a vision for the future. Provided he gets that right and avoids ‘no child shall live in poverty’ statements the ALP stands a real chance of getting up.

Robert
Robert
14 years ago

Check this out. You just died, and didn’t go to heaven; instead, you went to your local ballot box hall on the big day, wandered in, and hovered over your fellow people. You see their pencil poised over the boxes. Essentially LNP, and ALP.

One by one, the pencils hover over a box, deciding, then hover over another, deciding. Each time, a decision is made. Each time, the pencil moves away from a box in consideration and ticks the other one.

What causes the pencil to move away?

This is why Govts lose elections, and Ops don’t win them. Same as why parties run negative campaigns. As we know, psychologically, we move away from things we don’t like more passionately than we move towards things we do like.

There are plenty of reasons for those pencils to hover over the ALP box and move away to vote Lib.

But my point for all of this is this: come that day, what, at the very core of our electoral decision would cause the hand to move away from the LNP and tick elsewhere?

As of now, it’s this – yes, the economy, but more particularly: Treasurer.

Who will be the Treasurer for the Coalition Government elect?

On ballot day, as we know, the air is clear, fresh, and relief and freedom fill our day. It’s over. The whole shitbang awful revolting loud intense and pathetic campaign is over – yesterday’s news slept away overnight. Everything we dissect or consider until that day: gone.

What remains? As we see it as of now, on ballot day, Howard will be gone, that’s clear, and Costello will be Prime Minister – if the pencils vote Coalition.

But we don’t know who the Treasurer is. As always, it’s the better of two evils (two big parties), and the pencil moves away from the unknown.

Distill on the day, and the fear of a new or unknown Treasurer or PM/Treasurer combo could be the thing we knew all along as the decider. Central to the economy, central to the Govt’s lose Ops don’t win, it’s at the heart of it.

I think there’s value in considering who would be the Coalition Treasurer (Turnbull??), and how those contenders would fare against the ‘known’ (by how much?) ALP people.

Having just died and not gone to heaven, those pencils moved away from the Coalition for mine eyes (having seen no glory) and alighted across the valley in yonder shiny and new ALP box.

Mr Denmore
Mr Denmore
14 years ago

I think we’re in a hiatus period. The media and pundits are filling the resulting vaccuum by playing their favourite game…’the tide has turned’, ‘the honeymoon is over’ and ‘Howard has got his mojo back’.

I swear I’ve seen Michael Brittenden use the first of those lines in his 7.30 Report segment once a week for the past five months. And I notice Peter Hartcher, who seems to positively delight in pricking the Rudd bubble, completely writing off Labor’s chances in today’s SMH.

Once again, though, I think the pundits have got it completely wrong. This notion that the government ‘manages’ the economy is starting to lose traction, as the punters wake up to the fact that our prosperity is being driven largely by external forces and the legacy of the structural reforms of Hawke & Keating.

Keating’s appearance on Lateline last week might have generated embarrassing headlines for Rudd, but the bulk of his commentary made the entirely legitimate point that Howard is basking in sunshine generated by Keating.

Labor has failed for the past 10 years mostly because it has been running away from the economic legacy of the Hawke/Keating years and if continues to do so, Howard will steal yet another election.

If I was running Labor’s media agenda, I would be telling them to get on the front foot every day about the economy – the benefits of a floating exchange rate, open capital markets, free trade, decentralised wage fixing and a super scheme that is the envy of the world – all Labor’s doing.

While they’re at it they could highlight the more than doubling of foreign debt since Howard road his debt truck around Australia, record low home affordability, the hollowing out of public education, the escalating cost of health, rising costs of essential services.

“You want to talk about economic management? I’ll you what ‘the economy’ means for most people….”

From a big picture view, Howard’s apparent fightback in the polls is good for Labor as it will kill off any lingering sense of complacency and hopefully sharpen its attack on a government that is a pox on this country.

Rex
Rex
14 years ago

He doesnt have to win this one, only neutralise the government advantage

I agree Chris, but you don’t go about neutralising the government’s advantage on the economy by nitpicking about this economic statistic or that. You do it by reframing the economic debate in terms that are favourable to Labor.

One or two dodgy polls and we are throwing in the towel or looking for heads to kick

I don’t see it as throwing in the towel Mangoman, I see it as raising a red flag, with I hope a clear eyed view of the situation.

As Keating said, Labor has to go out and take the prize. Has to rip it out of their hands, and to do that requires the courage to walk away from the framing that Howard and the entire media is willing onto Labor.
A framing that is economic in nature.

Take Albo on Wednesday

Unless Rudd can bring Garrett back to the centre, focussing unapologetically on the economics of climate change, we may see a repeat of that 2004 episode when blue-collar workers cheered Howard.

Nice of Albo to say that. Labor needs to fight Climate Change on Howard’s territory or they aren’t credible. Give me a break!

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

Rex, that quote is in fact from Albrechtsen. Perhaps you should clarify that in case people think you mean Albanese!

But in fact it’s a non-argument. All Labor has to do is point to the many credible economists – and big business figures – who’ve suggested that a 60% target won’t lead to economic disaster.

Laura Tingle quoted one source in the Fin today – modelling had found that economic growth might be reduced by .1%. The horrors!

I think her argument has a lot to commend it. What we’re seeing at the moment is a massive accentuation of all the hyperbolic negative attacks and all the favours being called in from every interest group under the sun. Morgan today has Labor with a 10% lead on 2PP (albeit with a primary drop from last time). The Galaxy poll is rubbish.

As I said the other day, the question should be framed in these terms – given every thing in the play book has been thrown at Labor, why is the government still trailing so badly in the polls?

http://larvatusprodeo.net/2007/06/14/annihilation-vs-gibberish/

Rex
Rex
14 years ago

Thanks Mark. I do indeed mean Albrechtson.

But in fact its a non-argument. All Labor has to do is point to the many credible economists – and big business figures – whove suggested that a 60% target wont lead to economic disaster.

I’m not so sure that’s its so easily defeated by simply quoting credible pundits. The Today Tonight and Tele consumers don’t follow and aren’t interested in detail like that. They want soundbites they can swallow whole.

As I said the other day, the question should be framed in these terms – given every thing in the play book has been thrown at Labor, why is the government still trailing so badly in the polls?

Only works to a point. As soon as the polls start to swing, the framing is dead.

cs
cs
14 years ago

The Morgan poll is here. Note that the recent Morgan’s have been based on small samples (as has Galaxy).

FWIW, my guess at this stage is that Rudd Labor has been fully admitted as a credible alternative government. The public had a good look at the party when Rudd was elected and gave it the thumbs up. Regardless of repeated assaults on KR’s credibility, he has been credentialled for the contest.

QWhat now? There are many theories of course, but one that has some appeal (and which is not inconsistent with the views of Mark and Robert) is that electors at large only make decisions a couple of times, at the most, in the lead up to an election. Having welcomed Rudd Labor into the contest, barring major intervening events, my guess is that the public will not have another good look before the election is called.

In the meantime, we are likely to have to endure a (trench) war that is largely meaningless to everyone except the political class. In this phase, Labor might only need to remain roughly competitive, and nimble in taking advantage of opportunites as they arise. Firing a whole lot more big guns before the bell rings seems likely to be largely be a waste of ammo. The priority, I would suppose, should be on preparing the way for the second major and final round, while above all maintaining party discipline.

The major source of heart for nervy ALP supporters, which I think is probably all ALP supporters, is that they can feel confident that, whatever the present political balance really is, Rudd is more likely than almost anyone to be close to the quick, with a dash of professional pessimism to stop him believing his own press.

you dont go about neutralising the governments advantage on the economy by nitpicking about this economic statistic or that. You do it by reframing the economic debate in terms that are favourable to Labor.

I suggest you read the actual interview, Rex. KR was apparently caught out in not having been briefed on the productivity figures deduced from the quarterly national accounts released the day before, which is perhaps lamentable but also understandable, given that he is basically running a campaign out of the back of station wagon. The productivity argument is a bid to reframe the debate, positioning the economc argument beyond present growth figures and situating education on both economic and equity bases.

Guido
14 years ago

Has the worm turned? Well probably yes. But I think no one expected labor to maintain the stratospheric levels of support shown in recent polls. As Rudd himself stated it will be more of a 51 to 49 situation come election time.

To me elections will be always governed by the field force theory. The force field diagram is derived from the work of social psychologist Kurt Lewin. According to Lewins theories, human behaviour is caused by forces beliefs, expectations, cultural norms, and the like within the life space of an individual or society. These forces can be positive, urging us toward a behaviour, or negative, propelling us away from behaviour. A force field diagram portrays these driving forces and restraining forces that affect a central question or problem.

Are the forces for change enough to overcome the forces for maintaining the status quo?

Interestingly I wrote that post on April 23rd, 2004. Look what I wrote:

The national newspaper (you know the one who is owned by someone in Delaware USA) has reported that Howard is doing a 2001 mark II on Latham. Steve Lewis and Jeremy Roberts report: The Howard Government has launched an orchestrated campaign to undermine public trust in Mark Latham, to capitalise on political research showing growing voter concern about his grasp of policy detail and leadership inexperience.

Liberal Party pollsters are picking up growing unease among voters over aspects of Mr Lathams political style.

The qualitative polling – based on small focus groups – suggests the leader is vulnerable to claims that he does not think issues through thoroughly and is sometimes scant on policy detail.

He jumps all over the place and isnt up to speed on the detail, is how one figure described the view of Mr Latham.Tim Dunlop also comments on this piece of news.

Dennis Shanahan picks up the story thus: The Coalition is also attacking Latham more methodically and trying to establish a pattern of behaviour which reinforces voters concerns that Liberal Party polling is detecting. If the electorate is worried that Latham is not experienced to run the country, there is no more effective political tactic than telling people what they already believe. The image of rashly cutting and running is of a similar ilk to Howards devastating one-liner about Kim Beazley lacking ticker.

Sounds familiar? You’d expect Labor to do something to counteract this strategy after all these losses.

derrida derider
derrida derider
14 years ago

given every thing in the play book has been thrown at Labor, why is the government still trailing so badly in the polls?

Precisely because they’re throwing every thing in the play book. The government’s mistake has been to act like an opposition rather than a government. It has robbed them of the ability to set the agenda – something that’s always been Rattie’s strength. And a scare campaign is always going to be a failure when the other side is led by someone as manifestly over-cautious as Rudd.

Their best bet is indeed to do things like the carbon trading stuff, although in that particular case it’s gonna be (correctly) seen as too little, too late. After all, the ALP clearly has some issues it too is keeping in reserve for the campaign (simply “a vote for Howard is a vote for Costello” is one. The fact of an interest rate rise, with its reminder of the last election’s promises, another).

But I reckon its all too late now – barring unexpected Tampas (always possible) we’re heading for a Rudd government.

Jack Lacton
14 years ago

I called a Coalition win back in April when Labor released its economically insane climate change policy. http://ker-plunk.blogspot.com/2007/04/climate-policy-will-cost-australian.html

Furthermore, unless something unforeseen happens the election is already all over as I point out http://ker-plunk.blogspot.com/2007/06/rudd-backs-himself-into-climate-change.html

Jc
Jc
14 years ago

Climate chanage is a dead issue after the G8 pow wow. Labor’s initiaive was to sign Kyoto which was deep sixed by G8. Howard of course will back G8. Labor will need to explain how its gone from wanting Kyoto to the new G8 deal. At the back of everyone’s mind is how incompetent is this party when they were telling us we must sign the agreement and G8 comes out and whacks it out of the ball park.

IR. Can someone please explain Labor’s policy and why it’s good? Other than reversing AWA’s even Keating sent it packing. He also accused Gillard of not understanding her own portfolio describing it as a throw back to the 70’s.

The sleeper issue is how much more damage can the Union movement achieve between now and the election.

Labor can only win if the government does something silly or Howard is still on the nose.

We’ll see.

Robert
Robert
14 years ago

Gee there’s some value in the thoughts above.

On further consideration, from a duck in black and none too big, it’s this: as it stands thereabouts today, it’s not Howard or Rudd who define the result. Projecting from right now, those two are one and the same: reflections of each other, new and old, past and future, one way or another, rendered bland and invisible.

The unresolved tension resides with Costello.

Electorally, it is Costello’s future which is packed with the telling. He, alone, stands with history, unaccounted for, from aeons (electorally) past, and yet to behold of future uncertain,- all of that, electorally, is demanding resolution.

Howard is not demanding it, nor Rudd – they, and what they represent, are head to head and by all of that annulled, in this context.

Today, tonight, as a current affair and with the bagholders in mind who pay the ultimate odds, Costello is the word.

Shall we say it’s “Economy’? What is the lynch pin?

In voter mind, yet to unfold, the Costello issue as PM (not wanted) and of replacement (who) sinks the whole LNP boatload.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

In the meantime, we are likely to have to endure a (trench) war that is largely meaningless to everyone except the political class. In this phase, Labor might only need to remain roughly competitive, and nimble in taking advantage of opportunites as they arise. Firing a whole lot more big guns before the bell rings seems likely to be largely be a waste of ammo. The priority, I would suppose, should be on preparing the way for the second major and final round, while above all maintaining party discipline.

Yes, I agree with cs. And with derrida derrider – the government is not doing anything really to sell their own policy – just very loud and shrill negative crud day in day out.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

Also, Rex, I can’t see that for Rudd or Garrett or whoever to say “every reputable economist accepts that a 60% target won’t damage the economy” is a particularly complex argument to get across in a soundbite. All the government has is fearmongering anyway.

Just Me
Just Me
14 years ago

“A change of Govt is the less likely result IMHO (17 seats!)…”
Amanda, 12:08 pm

Labor took back 18 or 19 seats (can’t remember exactly) in the 1998 election. And the government has more seats to lose this time. So it is a real possibility.

cs
cs
14 years ago

The entire blogosphere has to get one thing crystal clear in its collective head, and everyone who reads this should repeat it, as often as necessary, until the entire political class and well beyond knows the words as well as “Waltzing Matilda”:

Labor only needs 15 additional seats to win government. With the hypothetical uniform swing, using the election calculator, if Labor wins 51.3 per cent of the TPP vote share it would win 75 seats. The last seat to fall under that swing would be Bennelong.

OK, ballpark, we need 51/49, and that’s from Bryan Oz, and I take no ultimate responsibility, but the guy seems to know his stuff. In sum, we’re sweet as it stands, however you read it, and allowing for buffers to absorb a trend or so, but if if worse comes to worse, we have Max on the borderline.

Peter Wood
Peter Wood
14 years ago

John Howard does noyt understand the economics of climate change. Perhaps Rudd should educate himself about the economics of climate change and talk about that. Maybe he should also highlight the incredible vagueness of the task groups report (especially with respect to the choice of a cap).

rf
rf
14 years ago

Gee, Jack Lacton, you have a 50-50 shot at picking it – just like my wifes pronouncements on whether a pregnant friend is having a boy or a girl. And guess what? She sounds smug when she gets it right too. There’s a name for this kind of supposed insight but I can’t recall it.

Vee
Vee
14 years ago

Rex, I think you have hit the nail on the head. I have come to the same conclusion to myself but it is also to be expected. Why? Because IIRC the TPP vote is generally always something like 52-48 and the Opinion polls haven’t been reflecting that but as Bryan Palmer notes – the Coalition preference is beginning to trend upwards.

As for winning arguments – it can’t be done in politics – its about winning perceptions. Its a shame but that’s the way it is.

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[…] pundits may get the collywobbles from time to time and although you may be able to produce evidence that your humble correspondent has also suffered from this I completely deny it.