Archive for July, 2010

Day 15: Candidates announced

The declaration of nominations took place at midday yesterday at local electoral offices all over Australia. It took most of the day before lists of candidates appeared on the AEC website.

There has been a marked reduction in the numbers of candidates standing. The AEC reports that only 849 candidates have nominated for the House of Representatives, down from 1054 in 2007. This reduction is consistent across all states.

The ALP and Greens are standing candidates in all seats. Coalition candidates are standing in all seats. The Liberal Party is standing 107 candidates, and the Nationals are standing 16 candidates. The Queensland Liberal National Party and the NT Country Liberal Party are standing candidates in all 32 seats in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

In five seats, the Liberals and Nationals are both standing: in the Labor seats of Richmond and Throsby, the Nationals seat of Riverina, and the WA regional Liberal seats of O’Connor and Forrest. Throsby is a particular surprise, as a majority of the seat lies in the Illawarra region, very much an urban area.

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Day 14: Nominations declared

Apologies for the absence over the last week. I’m busily working on the election campaign for the Greens NSW and, as you’d expect, things are very busy right now.

I’m going to be at the declaration of nominations for the Senate in NSW at midday today. At the same time, nominations will be declared in all House of Representatives and Senate races (I assume in South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia, however, they take place at midday local time).

I doubt I’ll have my computer open, but I plan to do some tweeting from the event, so you can follow proceedings on my http://twitter.com/benraue.

Meanwhile, Poll Bludger last night reported three polls: two Morgan polls and a Galaxy. The Galaxy Poll has the two-party preferred vote at 50-50, with the Coalition leading on 43% primary vote, Labor on 37%, and the Greens steady on 13%.

The two Morgan polls (one face-to-face, one via telephone) both have Labor with comfortable leads over the Coalition, and with the Greens on 11%.

Day 8: Nielsen, marginal seats polls

From the Nielsen poll in today’s Fairfax papers, Labor’s two-party preferred vote is up two to 54%. On primary votes, Labor is up three to 42, the Coalition down one to 41 and the Greens down one to 12.

There have also been a number of interesting marginal seat polls. An Advertiser poll of the marginal Labor seat of Kingston in Adelaide sho wthe ALP gaining a 13% swing on a two-party preferred vote. Possum is particularly impressed with the robustness of the poll.

Westpoll has conducted polls of four marginal seats in Perth. In the marginal Labor seat of Hasluck, the ALP leads 54-46. In the Liberal seat of Canning, former Labor state minister Alannah MacTiernan is just ahead, 51-49. The Liberals are ahead in Cowan and Swan, both of which they won off the ALP in 2007. Bear in mind that, with a sample size of 400, these polls have a large enough margin of error to overturn any of those results.

In the NSW south coast seat of Gilmore, an Illawarra Mercury poll reports sitting Liberal MP on a solid 60-40 two-party preferred lead, despite the redistribution turning the seat into a notional Labor seat.

Consider this an open thread for federal election discussion this weekend.

Day 6: Election leaflet website launched

The Australian version of the ‘Straight Choice’ franchise was launched yesterday, at electionleaflets.org.au. Somehow they have already got a flow of leaflets appearing on the site, one of which particularly caught my eye.

Australia First has distributed a leaflet in the seat of Riverina that launches a very nasty attack against African refugees, using an image that conjures up nasty American racial conflict of previous generations, and with none of the subtlety you would expect of modern dog-whistle immigration politics.

The leaflet is posted below the fold, although you are warned that it is not a pleasant document:

Consider this post the open thread for federal election discussion today:

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Day 5: Filter Conroy?

The debate over the internet filter has demonstrated that an expertise in technology and social media doesn’t necessarily translate into political smarts.

Stilgherrian ripped apart those who seriously believed that Julia Gillard would replace Communications Minister Stephen Conroy with Senator Kate Lundy, a senator with so little factional support that she has been constantly under threat of losing preselection for her ACT Senate seat.

Many tweeters, including prominent anti-censorship activists, seem astounded that the Greens would make a preference arrangement with the ALP, unaware of any other issue on which the Greens might find Tony Abbott more objectionable than the Government’s censorship policies.

The worst example, however, has to be the campaign to get Victorian voters to vote below the line and put Stephen Conroy last on their ballots.

It is astounding that people would organise such an idiotic strategy, that is clearly doomed to failure. Among other reasons:

  • No-one is going to know if anyone puts Stephen Conroy last. No “last preference” votes are counted, so we will have no idea if a large number of people will put Conroy last.
  • It couldn’t possibly work. Conroy will be first on the Senate ticket for the ALP. So to stop him from winning you need to reduce the ALP above-the-line vote to below 14%, probably below 10% to be practical. Considering that the ALP vote in Victoria should be at least 40%, you would need 30% of Victorians to follow your advice.
  • There’s a high barrier of entry. It’s actually quite difficult to vote below-the-line. You won’t get many people to do so.
  • You’re ignoring all the other pro-filter Senators. You’re asking people to put Conroy lower on their ballot than Steven Fielding, the senator who has pushed an authoritarian and simplisticly conservative agenda during his time in the Senate and likely was the inspiration for the filter.
  • It’s the party, not the minister. The ALP’s agenda is driven by the central party machine, not by ministers acting independently. There is no evidence that removing Conroy from his ministry, let alone Parliament, will have any impact on the ALP’s policies. In the process of saying “put Conroy last”, you are saying it’s fine for voters to vote for the other Labor candidates, those ones that may actually require those votes to win their seats.

If you actually want to change the policy agenda, you need to vote for a party that actually doesn’t support the policy. Campaigns against a single politician distract voters from the way politics actually works by personalising policy when it really is about greater forces. If you were somehow successful in knocking off Conroy (which is entirely impossible without the complete destruction of the ALP) it would not change the direction of the government.

I’m coming dangerously close here to advocating a vote for the Greens, but my point isn’t that people should vote Green, but if you don’t support a party’s policy, and that’s what you care about it, then you vote for a party with the policy you support. Idiotic campaigns to get people to give a last preference to a candidate for whom it doesn’t matter won’t help a jot.

Day 4: Essential, Labor-Greens preferences

Yesterday, Essential followed Newspoll and Galaxy, with a poll showing the ALP with 55% of the two-party preferred vote. The ALP is steady on 41%, the Coalition up one to 39%, and the Greens steady on 13%. This puts them in a similar position to the latest Newspoll, give or take a point for each party on the primary vote.

The other big electoral news of the day was an announcement of a preference arrangement between the ALP and the Greens. The deal sees the ALP preference the Greens ahead of all other parties in all Senate races, in exchange for which Greens local groups in more than 50 seats agree to put the ALP ahead of the Coalition. Antony Green has an insightful blog post examining the implications of the agreement. Clearly this is a significant event, but due to my active involvement in the Greens campaign I’m going to steer clear of interpreting the consequences or the motivations.

That doesn’t stop you from doing so, dear reader…

Seat profile #145: Curtin

Curtin is a safe Liberal seat in western Perth. Despite being named after the former Labor prime minister, the seat has never been won by the ALP. The Liberal Party has only lost the seat once, in 1996 when the sitting Liberal MP lost endorsement and won re-election as an independent. The seat was held by prominent Liberal Paul Hasluck from 1949 until his retirement in 1969 when he was appointed Governor-General. It has been held by Julie Bishop since 1998.

The seat covers affluent suburbs along the north shore of the Swan River to the west of the Perth CBD, and along the west coast.

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Day 3: Galaxy and Newspoll diverge

We’ve had two polls come out in the last few hours showing remarkably divergent results.

Galaxy has brought out their second poll of the weekend. After a poll conducted on Thursday and Friday gave the ALP a lead of 52-48 on a two-party preferred basis, a poll conducted on Saturday night for the Nine Network has put the two-party preferred vote at an even 50% for each party.

In contrast, Newspoll, in its first poll in three weeks, has the ALP up from 53% to 55%.

Galaxy has a primary vote split of 44-38-12 in favour of the Coalition, while Newspoll has a split of 42-38-12 in favour of Labor.

Consider this an open thread for discussion of the federal election.

Election called for August 21

News reports are unanimous in reporting that Prime Minister Julia Gillard is on the way to Canberra to meet with the Governor-General and ask for an election. There doesn’t appear to be consensus on whether Gillard will call it for the 21st or 28th.

The 21st will allow her to call a quick five-week election, but would mean that the writs would have to be issued by Monday, not giving voters much time to get enrolled. The 28th could give up to an extra week for voters to get on the roll.

Update: it’s the 21st.

Seat profile #144: Tangney

Tangney is a relatively safe Liberal seat in southern Perth. Tangney’s suburbs include Alfred Cove, Attadale, Melville, Applecross, Mount Pleasant, Winthrop, Leeming, Willetton, Canning Vale, Rossmoyne and Shelley.

Tangney has been won by the Liberal Party at all but two elections since its creation in 1974. The seat was held from 1993 to 2004 by Daryl Williams, who served as Attorney-General from 1996 to 2003 and continued to serve in the Howard government’s cabinet until 2004.

The seat has been held since 2004 by former CSIRO research scientist Dennis Jensen. He has developed a reputation as the more ardent climate change sceptic in the Liberal Party. He was defeated for preselection before the 2007 and 2010 elections in ballots of local Liberal members, but both preselections were later overturned by higher authorities.

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