Election 2016 open thread: nearly there!

Bill Shorten looked comfortable with Annabel Crabb in Kitchen Cabinet. He seems fresh as a daisy this late in the campaign. I think he has found the way of being in the moment, so nothing knocks him off balance, not even the bossy Sarah Ferguson, who seemed to get under Malcolm Turnbull’s skin in her Four Corners interviews. On Thursday he sailed through a disgraceful interview with Patricia Karvelas on ABC RN Drive intended to humiliate him, and another spiky and mostly irrelevant interview with the airhead Leigh Sales. He almost looks born to run.

Same sex marriage

The big story mid-week was said to be same sex marriage, I think because The Australian ran a story (paywalled – Google Dennis Shanahan Bill Shorten flips on gay marriage plebiscite) saying he’s flipped in his views from 2103 about a plebiscite. Apparently it’s a character weakness to change your mind.

Shorten said parenthood within the context of a melded family had changed his mind.

He told Annabell Crabb:

    the “steep learning curve” of raising children helped him realise that “people’s relationships don’t need opinion polls from other people”.

Earlier he told ABC RN:

    “Community attitudes have moved on in Australia, I think that is a demonstrable fact, [and] secondly when you look at the experience in Ireland, over a year ago, some of the arguments which emerged were really ugly and repugnant.”

Brian Tobin says Ireland shows why we shouldn’t go down that track.

I doubt the issue will change anyone’s vote, however.

Savage cuts to aged care

In the budget this year the government cut over $1 billion out of the aged care budget. Apparently there was a projected $3.8 billion blowout in cost of the payments.

UnitingCare Australia commissioned Ansell Strategic to ask 501 aged care services across the country how the budget changes would affect them. UnitingCare’s Steve Teulan:

    And what they found is that when these changes are fully implemented, the reduction in funding across the board for aged care residents is over $6,500 a year, which is over, about 11 per cent of the funding.

    The extent of these cuts are huge. If there had been $6,500 reduction in the aged care pension we would see riots in the streets.

The Government says the new formula will yield $1.2 billion in “efficiencies”, the consultants say the number is twice that.

The implications are that some cases may have to be handed over to hospitals.

Labor has promised a comprehensive review, but no restoration of funding at this stage.

Policies compared

The ABC has two sites devoted to the comparison of policies. At Spot the difference: Where the parties diverge on policy a brief outline is given of the contrasting policies for the Coalition, Labor and the Greens.

More in depth comparisons between the major parties is given at Election 2016: Where the parties stand on the big issues


Fairfax-Ipsos poll taken June 26-29 has the major parties 50-50. But if the respondents are asked where their second preferences will go, it falls 51-49 to Labor. Now 27% don’t want to vote for the two majors, compared to 21% in 2013.

I’ve heard it said that if you combine voting intentions, the informal vote and the numbers who haven’t enrolled, only 60% of Australian adults vote Labor or LNP at any one time, not all of them rusted on. This represents a major disengagement with the traditional parties. But back to the Ipsos poll:

    the real story of the campaign revealed by the Ipsos poll lies in the Coalition’s primary vote. It has fallen from 44 per cent to 40 per cent since the campaign began, and it is down a full 6 percentage points on the level recorded at the 2013 election.

    This would be a monstrous problem for the Coalition if it were not for the fact that Labor’s primary vote remains stuck at 33 per cent at the end of the campaign – where it was at the beginning of the campaign and where it was at the 2013 election.

Essential Poll has Labor 51-49, and today Galaxy, which does the Newspoll polling was the reverse.

So it’s down to individual seats and the election is still there to be won or lost. Galaxy did marginal seat polling where the swing to Labor was less than the national swing. Guardian Australia’s analysis of LNP infrastructure promises found that election boondoggles flowed to 73 Coalition seats and just four Labor seats, although several others serve multiple electorates including Labor seats.

With Essential and Galaxy the Greens only get 10% compared to 13% in the latest Fairfax-Ipsos. I think they may struggle to get a second senator in Queensland, and won’t in SA. In Queensland the new far right, anti-Muslim Australian Liberty Party, say they have 3.9 per cent of the vote and have exchanged preferences with Pauline Hanson, making her election almost certain and the senate more difficult.

In SA a Lonergan Research poll shows:

    the Liberal Party at 36 per cent, Labor at 26 per cent, NXT at 24 per cent, the Greens 6 per cent, Family First 5 per cent and others 3 per cent.

That puts NXT in line to possibly shake a few seats loose in the lower house. One earlier poll put his vote at 39% in Mayo.

The Greens fancy themselves for a few more lower house seats like Batman and Higgins, possibly Wills and Melbourne Ports, so Turnbull’s nightmare may come to pass.

Final pitches

Shorten has been hammering health and Medicare, Turnbull stability economic leadership. Shorten reckons the real stability is with Labor and their recent record of unity. He also makes the point that fairness and ordinary people’s lives matter.

Paul Strangio says Shorten has become a consensus builder and has brought healing to the Party. Also a cunsultative style to leadership:

    In my decision-making, I have always consulted with the widest array of people and will continue to do so as prime minister … My belief is that effective leadership does not mean accumulating power. On the contrary it has been my experience that devolving power had the potential to provide superior process and policy.

And further:

    Any government I lead will operate in a collegial, consultative manner where cabinet decision-making processes and caucus debate are taken seriously. To me decentralising power is more than a noble ambition or slogan. It is a style of leadership that works.

He may well keep the leadership should Labor lose.

Shorten makes the specific point that the fundamental reason for Brexit is that many people feel they have been left behind while conspicuous wealth grows at the top, and politicians are just not listening to them. Only the left can fix this problem. Whether he has gone far enough is a question.

Turnbull, on the other hand, has committed to trickle-down economics. When pressed about adequate Medicare, health and schools, he always comes back to the economy. But here his theory is that big companies will invest now, anticipating tax cuts and hence grow the economy, even though there will be three elections, no doubt all with difficult senates, before the tax cuts come through.

He also doesn’t see that companies are unlikely to invest if consumers have no discretionary spending available. So the story has to be foreign investment in smart industries to sell to the world. Foreign investors are more likely be interested in taking over our infrastructure, our utilities, our farms and our real estate.

The transformation of Malcolm

Even late in the campaign hopes have been expressed that Turnbull will achieve a mandate from the people and so will be able to deal with the troglodytes in the Coalition parties, allowing the free-ranging liberal to hold sway.

I think Peter Hartcher got it right when he said Turnbull has now morphed into an advocate for his conservative party:

    Malcolm Turnbull has completed his transformation from progressive firebrand to ambassador for the conservative brand.

    There was no room in his 4000 word speech at the Liberal campaign launch for the words “same sex marriage”.

    Climate change rated a glancing mention, treated in fewer than 50 words.

    And the only time he spoke the word “fairness” was to promise fairness between generations by not bequeathing debt.

    Turnbull provided almost a caricature of Coalition brand identification, overwhelmingly emphasising economic growth and border security.

Shorten is right, Turnbull has been changed by his party. He actually told Annabel Crabb, that what he thinks is only one voice and that he has to consult his cabinet. This leaves the smooth-talking barrister advocating any old rubbish his motley team come up with.

So people have to be aware that they are not voting for Turnbull the man, they are voting for Turnbull the barrister advocating for the diverse and conflicting ideologies the Coalition parties contain, and a National Party that will brook no nonsense on important matters including climate change.

Hartcher also points out that budget-wise Labor, for a measly $16.5 billion over expenditure approaching $2 trillion in the forward estimates, reinforced their brand caricature of big spending.

So who in fact has the better plan? I don’t always agree with Saul Eslake, but this probably nails it:

    “I accept the theoretical case advanced by both sides – that cutting company taxes can boost economic growth and employment and better targeted spending on education and infrastructure can boost economic growth over the long run,” says Eslake, a vice-chancellor’s fellow at the University of Tasmania.

    “But both sides’ arguments struggle to come up with compelling empirical evidence to support the theoretical belief. Ultimately, while there is a stark choice, it’s ultimately one that can’t be resolved by pointing to compelling economic evidence. It’s more a values choice.” (Emphasis added)

50 thoughts on “Election 2016 open thread: nearly there!”

  1. Laura Tingle tells us today that there will be 1.22 million more eligible voters this election than in 2013. Participation is estimated at 95% rather than 92%.

    The participation of 18-year olds is estimated at 70% up from 50%.

    The AEC must have done something right.

    This plays for Labor and the Greens.

    This time, however, 15% of voters have already voted. The result may not be known on Saturday night.

  2. So people have to be aware that they are not voting for Turnbull the man, they are voting for Turnbull the barrister advocating for the diverse and conflicting ideologies the Coalition parties contain, and a National Party that will brook no nonsense on important matters including climate change.

    Of course, only those in the electorate of Wentworth can do that.

  3. I don’t think Mr Shorten will last so long that we need worry about whether his view in 2103 matches his position now. 🙂

    Not sure if this is quoting her out of context:
    The purpose of studying economics is ….. to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists
    Prof. Joan Robinson (dec.)

  4. I think the election could surprise.

    I heard today that some doctors today were charging a co-payment of $25. I can’t find a link except this about a survey saying “more than 30% of doctors say they will have to stop bulk billing all patients due to the Medicare rebate indexation freeze, a survey by a doctors’ group has warned.”

  5. Okay, I’ll be cheeky and suggest that neither ALP nor LNP will get more than 35%~38% each …. so my dream may come true after all and we get some real vigour into the rubber-stamp parliament.

    Howard’s Young Fogies are out in force though – and they will cause as much trouble here as do the fundamentalists and Trump’s fanatics do for the American political scene.

  6. Okay, I’ll be cheeky and suggest that neither ALP nor LNP will get more than 35%~38% each

    I hope so GB, I hope so.

  7. Election campaign has finally got me out of my torpor and I’ve written two new blog posts and had a slight frenzy of social media –

    Turnbull talks about some politicians telling “terrible lies” but is his deceitful performance on climate change any better? http://bit.ly/297khRQ

    A range of organisations have done score cards on political parties on climate change and the overwhelming consensus is LNP Fail, Labor Could do Better, Greens Good http://bit.ly/298eDeg

    I’m writing up my thesis this year and I’ve found it very draining – only have energy for thesis and looking after grandkids, so the blog’s been neglected – but finally managed to do something for the election. Better late than never I hope.

    Brian I want to raise a concern with you about calling Leigh Sales an “airhead”. First, do you really believe she’s dumb? I don’t think so. Second, I suspect it is a word usually applied to women. Search your soul.

    I’ve seen a lot of men calling female journalists and politicians dumb (or similar) in this election, and I’m very suspicious. We know women generally face much more harsh criticism (and abuse) online than men, so I think you should think seriously about this.

  8. We know women generally face much more harsh criticism (and abuse) online than men, so I think you should think seriously about this.


  9. Coincidence or what? Veterans and Defence Party drew group “AJ” on the roll-of-wallpaper Senate ballot paper. “AJ” around Townsville was a non-military term of abuse to soldiers: “army jerk”. 🙂

  10. Val, I don’t need to search my soul. I’ve been critical of the media in general, but if I thought of the best performing journalists in this campaign, I’d think Lenore Taylor, Katherine Murphy, Laura Tingle, Emma Griffiths on our local radio and Chris O’Brien also on local radio, but based in Canberra for eight weeks.

    Emma Griffiths is interesting because she’s not a political journalist and has been filling in on the local Drive program for about a year. She just asks plain questions and mostly gets plain answers in a civilised way, apart from habitual ranters like Steve Ciobo and Goeorge Brandis.

    I don’t think Leigh Sales is dumb, her IQ is probably high, however I think she lacks substance and uses an aggressive, hectoring style which all senior pollies have been coached to handle, so she doesn’t usually get them to trip up or say anything new, or say anything they don’t want to say. Kerry O’Brien was the same. It’s a dysfunctional form of journalism.

    In both cases everyone who fills or filled in for them does or did better, so I think the program production is probably the problem. Greg Jennet is quite vacuous, Chris Uhlmann problematic, and Sabra Lane has deteriorated on the job since moving from Radio National.

    “Airhead” is probably something I would be less likely to call a man and you clearly misunderstood it, so I’d best drop the term.

    Later I’ll try to find a couple of links to programs which illustrate the problem with Leigh, but I want to return to the election first.

  11. Willian Bowe (Poll Bludger, Crikey) has had a crack at what the senate might look like.

    He thinks that “of the existing micro-party senators, the only ones clearly headed for the exit are the last man standing for the PUP, Western Australian Senator Dio Wang, and the two Victorians, Ricky Muir and John Madigan.”

    So in Queensland he’s got 5 LNP and 4 Labor, one Green and both Lazarus and Hanson.

    In NSW it’s 5 each to Labor and the LNP, one Green and David Leyonhjelm.

    In Victoria he has 4 Labor, 5 LNP, 2 Greens and Derryn Hinch.

    In Tasmania it’s similar, 4 Labor, 5 Liberal, 2 Greens and Jacqui Lambie.

    In SA he’s got 3 Labor, 4 Liberal, one Green, 3 Xenephon and Bob Day.

    In WA it’s 4 Labor, 5 Liberals, one National (very much a separate party in WA), 2 Greens and that’s it.

    The territories total 2 Labor and 2 LNP.

    That totals 26 Labor, and increase of one, 32 LNP a decrease of one, 9 Greens, down one, 3 Xenephon and 6 others, one of whom is Pauline Hanson.

    This leaves Turnbull having to get 7 of 9, if Labor and the Greens oppose. Labor with the Greens would have to get 4 of 9.

    So on this scenario, the senate is more difficult for Turnbull than the last, and probably more difficult than it would be for Shorten. He’s also need at least 83 to pass double dissolution bills, so can only afford to lose 7.

    Xenephon would always have a say in Turnbull’s legislation if the Greens and Labor oppose. For Labor it would be possible but difficult to get past him.

    Probably the senators with the highest first preference vote will get the 6-year term, so the bits and pieces will need to front up again in three years time, when the quota will be double. So tidying up the senate, if that was the aim is a two-term project.

  12. Interesting one on abuse Jumpy. However, what the receiver counts as abuse varies from person to person and, to a significant extent, whether the receiver is a man/woman, working class/upper class, Anglo/other etc. Which makes the graphs a bit suspect even though they are in line with what I predicted.
    Perhaps we need a “Jumpy Insult Index” (Jii) where a score of 100 = “impossible to insult” and zero=”impossible not to insult.”
    Not sure where what I have written above fits on the Jii.

  13. I’ve found an article I’ve been looking for by Lenore Taylor about policies that the LNP and Labor have put into the too hard basket.

    The LNP have said nothing about higher education, vocational education, industrial relations, long-term hospital funding, the arts and more.

    Labor have booked $900 million savings on research and development (can’t be a good idea), haven’t said how they are going to fund long-term hospital funding beyond the extra $2 billion they’ve promised, and more.

  14. The Jii, like it.
    It puts the onus on the receiver, not the provider, and therefore a correct measure ” insult “.

  15. Wow, 3 Mil pre-polls they say. My visit was quite quick this morning.
    From what I gather amongst the over 60s that I know, almost all voted pre-poll.
    What that means to the counting coverage I don’t know.

  16. Jumpy, I heard Phil Coorey on the AFR say late yesterday the pre-polls will be counted tonight, but not postal votes.

  17. As far as I recall, AEC has to allow a couple of weeks for postal votes to straggle in. Thank you, Australia Post.

    Until we get internet-based voting, I can’t see an alternative to this delay.

  18. Thank you, Australia Post.

    Yes, run by the highest paid public servant in the Nation.

  19. Geez, Mercurius Goldstein is really sucking in New England, Barnaby looks to have belted him and that Windsor fellow, at this early stage.

  20. Thanks for that William Bowe assessment, Brian.

    Alright, my own guesses and hopes were way off.

    Having a Parliament that is essentially more of the same, in a dangerous, rapidly changing world, is a real worry …. we need radical change – and we have missed out on it again.

  21. Swings to ALP mainly in States with Coalition State Govts. Little or no swings to ALP in States with Labor State Govts.


  22. The States currently having ALP Governance closer to the forefront of their minds think they stink ?

  23. Turnbull has lost.
    Even if he retains the Prime Ministership he will be gone before Christmas.

  24. Looks like the voters, once again, won’t reward the backstabber of a sitting PM with a majority in the Lower House.

  25. No Jumpy, this time I actually agree with what ScoMo said on the ABC coverage.

    About 22% of the vote still to be counted with 10-12 seats in doubt, and enough of these will go the LNP way to allow Turnbull to fall over the line. If not he’ll need divine help if he has to depend on Katter and Xenophon. But the senate looks near impossible.

    We have our TV at the other end of the house from my computer, so I didn’t get on here last night.

  26. Val, I’d like to comment on the issue you raise about my attitude to Leigh Sales.

    Last night the ABC coverage was good, the whole team was good, Leigh performed her role as chair well, and contributed to the discussion.

    I had a look at Channel 9 for half an hour. They had a larger, richer panel, but I gave up when they started to clown about, and tried Channel 7. Again a larger panel. After a while we switched back to the ABC to see how Antony Green’s computer was going, and realised it was at least half an hour ahead of the others.

    And we didn’t have to suffer Alan Jones or Mark Latham.

    So we stuck with the ABC. I think, however, the calmer interviewing style, especially from Annabel Crabb, showed that you actually get more information out of people that way.

    Val, take a look at Leigh’s interview with Richard Marles, read the transcript, look at the vision and read the transcript again. What was she trying to do except make him and Labor look foolish? Look at her use of at LNP attack lines and her adoption of their view that the ALP’s record in government is the sole guide as to how they will act in future.

    Why assume that David Feeney forgot he owned a $2 million house (ridiculous) or that if he did remember he “kept that a secret for whatever reason” (equally ridiculous)?

    The other piece I found interesting was her interview by Julia Zamiro, where she says that she is a lot more comfortable being the interviewer than the interviewee.

    I’m not sure how comfortable she really is being an interviewer. She came across to me (I haven’t revisited it) as a person that lacked confidence and did not have a well-formed identity.

    She did look comfortable last night, but wasn’t in attack-dog mode. Leaving her personal characteristics aside, I think the style of journalism the 7.30 program uses does not serve us well.

    Some years ago on local radio we had a young journo called Kathy Border, who used to sidle up to politicians, mostly male back then, have a few jokes and make them feel comfortable. More often than not they’d end up singing like a bird.

    I think she possibly lacked gravitas or something for the ABC at the time, so she ended up working for Channel Ten as their political correspondent for the longest time, and often returned to the ABC as a political panellist.

    I think the 7.30 political journalist style wastes a lot of time. Have a think about the Richard Marles interview and imagine an interview where the dramatic shift in the ALP’s policy was simply taken as read and a sensible, calm conversation ensued about how and why this was seen as necessary.

  27. Leigh Sales is just another Shock Jock with ” when did you stop beating your wife ” style questions. She’s on the ABC so she gets cut some slack.
    The vast majority of ” journalists ” nowadays are lefties even before they go to Uni, get further left there, then seek out employment with birds of a feather at the ABC or Fairfax.

  28. To say we have a balanced Fourth Estate in Australia is fantasy.
    When a bit of Left scrutiny pops it’s head up, all sorts of hateful scorn ensues, yet scrutiny of the Right get’s applauded .

    It’s a tribal thing that’s obvious to Libertarians but unseen or ignored by the left/right factional tribe members.

  29. The vast majority of ” journalists ” nowadays are lefties…

    Really? Then what is the word which describes the scribblers Murdoch employs?
    They are, by your description, not “journalists” and I get the sense that with 70% market share News Corpse probably employs more than Fairfax and the ABC combined. One wonders where they were trained.
    Of course, if you’re seriously calling the House of Rupert left wing, you’re beyond help.

  30. This is an amusing guide to the choice we have in the Senate.
    I particularly like his description of the Liberal Democrats

    The Lib Dems are committed Libertarians whose ability to ignore all of the evidence on every possible issue would make any cult proud.

    and the ALP

    The post-war European centre right party for Australia today.

  31. Jumpy, not enough journalists will reveal their voting affiliations to have a valid survey. However, if journalists are literate and intelligent it would not surprise if more than half vote left.

    BUT, there are no prizes as to which brand of politics controls the editorial functions when they are working for Uncle Rupert.

    AND ABC journos bend over backwards to seem “balanced” and not to offend the vocal right. As a result they overcompensate.

  32. zoot

    70% market share News Corpse

    Reliable source please ?
    But if we are talking market share we probably should consider those voluntarily paying into that market and those forced to with threat of jail if they don’t.


    AND ABC journos bend over backwards to seem “balanced” and not to offend the vocal right.

    Obviously I disagree, but viewed through a biased left lens I can understand some would come to that perspective.

  33. However, if journalists are literate and intelligent it would not surprise if more than half vote left.

    Hmm.. let’s let that statement hang in the air for a bit….

  34. Reliable source please ?

    Curses Jumpy, your rapier like wit and insurmountable intellect have foiled me again.
    Rupert’s Rags only accounted for 65% of capital city and national daily newspapers, making them by far the most influential in setting the news agenda.

    … there is no doubt that News Corp Australia is our most dominant player …

    So I guess you have demolished my puny argument yet again. *sigh*

  35. BTW Jumpy, have you found a better method of measuring economic performance yet, or are we condemned to keep using GDP?

  36. BTW Jumpy, have you found a better method of measuring economic performance yet, or are we condemned to keep using GDP?

    No, but lame distraction Bro.

  37. Haha, sorry folks, I still can’t get over dead tree print stats representing ALL Market media share.
    Thats a hoot!

  38. I’m gratified that I’ve been able to make you so happy Jumpy.
    (Particularly in these troubled times, what with the left ascendant and all.) Your hilarity warms my soul.

  39. Your welcome zoot, any time.
    But “left ascendant ” is a big call if one looks Globally.

  40. Thanks for responding in such detail Brian, I will take a look at the interview when I have time. My concern was that female journalist receive a lot of gendered criticism. Leigh Sales has commented on this, including the comments about her being ‘in bed with’ Malcolm Turnbull. As a woman reading much of this stuff, it is obvious that men’s attitude towards women influences what they are saying even when they are not aware of it, eg they frame their criticism of women in sexual terms because that is how primarily see women. I’m not suggesting you did this but I do think the term “airhead” is probably gendered in that men would tend to use it more about women than about other men. I guess it’s a grey area, I don’t have any research to back it up.

    As to whether Leigh Sales goes easier on the coalition and/or is biased to the right, I think that’s very hard to say, as journalists may over-compensate, especially in the climate where the ABC is continually being accused of left wing bias.

    I have seen some research that Australian journalists in general tend to be more left/green than the general population (sorry can’t link but maybe could be googled), however there is a lot of job pressure with so many losing their jobs especially in print media, so I guess the pressure to conform to what the bosses/government wants, must also be pretty strong.

    Anyway, that said, how interesting is the current political situation? I was handing out HTVs yesterday and kept saying to my co workers ‘it’ll be weeks before we know the results’ but even so I still can’t quite accept how true that is!

  41. But “left ascendant ” is a big call if one looks Globally.

    I was actually referring to our media which, as you continually point out, is totally dominated by lefty scum. (I assume you mean people like Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine, Janet Albrechtson, Alan Jones, Amanda Vanstone, Peter Reith, Nick Cater, Gerard Henderson, Greg Sheridan, Mr and Mrs Shanahan etc etc ad nauseum)

  42. Ok, I asume you concede the “ 70% market share News Corpse probably employs more than Fairfax and the ABC combined. ” is rubbish ?
    Need to put that to bed before we move on.

  43. What part of

    So I guess you have demolished my puny argument yet again.

    didn’t you understand?

  44. Val, I’m nearly as old as Germaine Greer and the second wave feminists, and can only ever claim to be partially reconstructed. I do try!

    Predominantly it’s the style of journalism I have a problem with, and as such it has nothing to do with gender. Kerry O’Brien, Tony Jones, Chris Uhlmann all use or used an aggressive “gotcha” style, which I don’t think serves us well. Indeed Sarah Ferguson in her recent Four Corners piece wanted us to see the ‘real’ Bill Shorten and ‘Malcolm Turnbull’, but was arguably less successful than Annabel Crabb.

    I do think over-compensation is a factor.

    There was a survey in 2013 which found that reporters lean left, the ABC is much greener than the community, and the bosses lean right.

    Others suggested that the sampling was not up to scratch because many journalists refused to reveal their leanings.

    I’ll leave it there!

Comments are closed.