Webdiary - Independent, Ethical, Accountable and Transparent
header_02 home about login header_06
sidebar-top content-top

Malcolm B Duncan: Howard will win again in both Houses

There are some interesting things in play in this Election, and while anything can happen in an election campaign, let me stick my neck out and do a Malcolm Mackerras, only unlike the former (who has never ever predicted an election outcome correctly in living memory despite being a self-confessed psephologist and making a living out of it) I hope to get the result roughly correct.   I still believe at this stage that the Coalition will be returned in the House of Representatives with a drastically reduced majority and will maintain its majority in the Senate.

Let’s analyse that proposition in detail.  For some months, the Australian Electoral Commission has been doing two things; one successful and the other a flop.   The success is cleaning up the electoral roll and the flop is encouraging young people to register to vote. The cleaning operation means that many who are actually entitled to vote will not be able to because they forgot to return the form after the “Do you still live at this address?” letter or did not re-register to vote after moving some time in the past three years.    I suspect, at this stage, that is why my nomination was rejected.   Although I had more than the bare 50 nominators required, only 42 of them were validly enrolled.   The flop is that huge numbers of young people (and unless they live at home they probably move around more than the rest of us) are simply not registered.

I have not been opinion polled recently but from my memory of working with Morgan Gallop and ANOP (back in my student days) and the times I have been polled, it is not standard practice to ask whether the respondent is on the roll and, of course, if you thought you were but were not in fact, you would answer any such question falsely.   Further, a lot of opinion polling is age targeted and linked with market research which reduces the response rate.   Add to that that statistical methods of polling require randomness and you don’t really know what is going on seat-by-seat. 

 What is more accurate is the internal polling the major Parties do seat-by-seat because, while still random, it is random off a smaller N and in a specific location.   On top of that, the polling is done by phone and increasing numbers of people use mobiles these days and don’t have a landline.   I assume privacy laws mean that unless you have a listed landline, your number is not readily available.

The polls published by the major media outlets are therefore likely to be misleading.   Strangely the betting market has in the past been more accurate but, again, it is an overall measure not a seat-by-seat one.

Let’s do a few seats.    Labor’s internal polling last week had Maxine McKew 12% in front of Howard [I have that from an impeccable source] in Bennelong. Add to that the draw on the ballot paper, which gives Maxine the reverse donkey, and Howard’s being stranded in the wilderness as it were, and he’s a gonner.   

Turnbull will lose Wentworth for three reasons: the unbelievably stupid Pulp Mill decision, Lucy’s letter (which was only sent to females in the electorate – hard call now the boundaries have changed to include the homosexual areas -  and has large parts of the Electorate quite literally seething) and the electorate has had three years to get to know him.   If cats could vote he’d be in even more trouble.  

Calare goes back to the Coalition and they will win in Brand.    The Coalition will win Lindsay because the candidate has been the electorate secretary to the retiring incumbent for the whole time she has been in Parliament.  Labor may lose a seat in Victoria to the candidate it has just dumped.  The reality is that Labor needs to win somewhere between 20-22 seats to form a stable government.   That is a result that has never been achieved in one go anywhere in Australia and there is no reason to think it is achievable.

While I move in fairly conservative circles, I just don’t get the feeling that there is a mood for change.  I think there will be a swing but I don’t think it will be enough to displace this despised Government.

Now, let’s do the Senate. How stupid is Bob Brown?   A preference swap with Labor?    Seems natural, doesn’t it, until you look at what’s up for grabs.  First, you have to understand that there is a quota system which means you need to get a quota to get in.  Next, you need to understand that only half the Senate is up for grabs. There are six seats up for grabs in each State and two each in the ACT and NT. 

I do not agree with Margo that the Greens can knock off the Liberals in Canberra.  The Territories will split as they always do 1 Conservative 1 Labor.  

In SA, poor ageing Natasha will lose her seat to the Independent and the numbers will remain otherwise the same.  

In NSW, the last seat will be a contest between the Greens and Labor and they’re preferencing one another – der.   In Qld, Bartlett gets wiped out (at least we’ll never see him on the end of an intact bungy rope again)  and the contest will again be between the Greens and Labor.   

Brown gets back in Tassie and in Victoria another Democrat disappears leaving the fight to the Greens and Labor.  Same, same WA.  Net result: no loss to the Coalition.  We’re just replacing one lot of Opposition or Cross-Benchers with another.

Time will tell if I’m right and if I change my mind on the basis of any reliable information, I’ll let you know.

Bear in mind this interesting scenario though.  The Sun-Herald is speculating that, if TOM loses Wentworth, the Liberals might parachute him into Ruddock’s or Bishop’s seat.   That’s not what’s going to happen.   TOM is hated as much inside the Party as out.   He’s a real gonner and the Victorians won’t wear another NSWelshman in a fit – it’s their Party after all but they don’t like Costello either.  

If the Coalition wins after poll scares like this, they’ll want to keep Howard.   How could that happen if he loses Bennelong you say? Have a look at s 64 of the Constitution:

Ministers to sit in Parliament: After the first general election no Minister of State shall hold office for a longer period than three months unless he is or becomes a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

That’s right kiddies, the Runt can stay PM even if he loses his seat; he just has to be re-elected within three months.   Bye-bye Ruddock (and good riddance) – there are a couple of High Court appointments coming up soon and Bronnie ain’t going anywhere particularly for Howard.   The rumour is that he called her in and asked her what job she wanted and she said “Yours” so he sacked her.

So that’s my campaign diary for day 7.

Margo: OK, Malcolm's stuck his neck out. How about an election tipping contest in the comments box. Who wins and by how many seats? Coalition minus Labor, or Labor minus Coalition, forget the independents. Anyone who also wants to have a go at naming the seats that will fall/be gained, go for it.  I picked the Coalition in 2001 and 2004, and I'm going the other way this time.  I'll say Labor by 5 seats.

Re the Senate, Kerrie is still a long shot in my opinion.  Recent commentary saying she's got it hurts her cause, and Liberal protest voters may think again. However, I'll wear my heart on my sleeve and back her to win. Anyone like to put $50 on it?

[ category: ]

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Leaving Kirribilli? In your dreams!


What removal?  Rudd told them to take as long as they liked ...... or was it needed?

I would have turfed them out on election night!

Leaving Kirribilli

Fair enough giving the Runt time to pack - just make him pay rent from yesterday.

Business Opportunity

What about some enterprising Webdiarists selling ringside seats for the Grand Removal?

The worm turns, emphatically

Howard last night: "I accept full responsibility for the Liberal Party campaign and I therefore accept full responsibility for the Coalition's defeat in this campaign".

Too right you do, John. And for a lot of other things.

Karma gets us all in the end. To lose not just the election but also your seat, John (decision pending)! Poetic justice.

I'm with Angela and a few million other Australians in feeeling really good right now. What a happy day.


Change of mind - change of Government

Today’s letter to the Herald:


The sad thing R G Worrall, is that it is an Utopia along the lines of Sir Thomas Moore's.

I want to live in a decent, fair Australia that provides the opportunities the likes of Malcolm Turnbull and I enjoyed when we were growing up and going to University. Howard's Utopia doesn't.

This is a mean, nasty, visionless government of and for the greedy.

The disgusting, mendacious and offensive Lindsay stunt is not Utopian. Rather, it is likely to prove fatal.

Vote the bastards out.

Yours etc,

Malcolm B. Duncan


I undertook to notify Webdiarists if my view on the election result changed. A week is, indeed, a long time in politics and the Lindsay stunt has changed my mind. Rudd will win on the back of the Liberals losing Lindsay. See, I am capable of changing my mind.

Rudd will, however, face an hostile Senate with a Coalition majority.

I expect there will still be a by-election in Wentworth because TOM is that kind of spoiler. With Howard gone, he might just get it back.  You have to understand he has only ever had one real ambition besides wealth and that is to be PM. He’ll never make it but he doesn’t stand a chance if he’s not in Parliament.

Fraying at the margins

At least I corrected the overall result. I couldn't tell how deeply the Lindsay deception would bite but I think it lost them Lindsay and Parramatta and, from what I hear on the ground, Bennelong as well.

We still have to see how the result pans out to the wire and how the Senate goes but it looks like I called the Senate better.

We'll still see about a by-election in Wentworth. What a twat Shithouse is. It was there for the grabbing. And, as for the mistress, apparently my constituents won't even vote for the donkey. If, however, there is a clear majority for Labor [sic] it might be more mischievous to leave the cat in the cradle.    See how he copes with Opposition and what machinations he creates for whoever manages to get up in the leadership ballot.

Bad luck being anointed by Howard.

WMBO is seeking volunteers to help Jeanette pack.

Back to the Chronicles of Nadir, methinks. We're still on Prince Crispin.

Current Play in the Senate.

According to Antony Green's site (but not the AEC), the only State I got wrong was SA where the Greens won a seat from the Liberals. Strange place SA. Still, the result is not yet certain. Whatever happens, the ALP will not have a majority and the Greens win in SA only makes up for its loss in NSW. Overall, a very dismal result for the Greens in an electionn where "climate change" was so talked up. Could it be that it isn't really biting in the electorate it just has a disproportionate number of vocal proponents?

It will still be some time before we have a declared poll in either House. Then, I suppose we see if 13 by-elections would make a difference.

Never surrender.

rodents stink ,Barnet.Time to GET IT

Malcolm, the thing about Lindsay is that according the Liberal party member who was involved in the 2004 election, a similar thing, without the race hate card, was done to deceive last election regarding the Save ADI Land party. It didn't sound legal to me back then, but heck, they won that election so makes all all right doesn't it?

Rodent didn't weep over it either then. Initially I appreciated his condemnation of the event and thought him sincere. Silly me, then the ADI Party thing came out.

Seems getting caught before the election is what makes one weep. Can't be the race card, his favourite in the pack.

Go Maxine. Make my day.

Happy happy happy day.


Howard's biographer still doesn't get it. "We don't get the attraction of Mr Rudd," says it all. Step back mate and smell the roses. Lying deceitful rodents stink. You don't lose your own safe seat because it is "time".

Rudd's flower is just blooming. Let us see what the smell is.



"Rabbi Dr Jihad Jacques Woodforde, Esq, OAM"

Really, is that sort of thing called for? Unbelievable.

NO, BUT ...

Axoltl Q Flubbster: Weally, is that sort of thing called for? Unbelievable. [!!!]

One weally must thank you for calling for it, nonetheless, m'boy.

Chief Rabbi Dr Jihad Jacques l'Woodforde, Esq, VC, OAM, Standard Bearer of Ghent (uncalled for)

Eliot, unbelieving? after rising so gallantly to the occasion

I agree Eliot (hey, another unbelievable event), but they even give OAMs to cricketers. No Greens yet. Naturally.

PS: Have you considered your carotene levels? Little wonder you are having difficulty with seeing in the dark my friend. And all those B group lost. Really, a good dose of the Greens is healthy in so many ways. Yet, sadly, some stay blind and have dull hair. Even Claude eats Greens to help him puke. Greens are that noble and therapeutic to most of the world's woes and ills.

Flogging a dead horse

Hee, hee, hee, Fat and Rude has gone to Court and I've worked out how to turn the computer on. Fat and Rude caught the bus back from lunch yesterday and ran into the Dead Party candidate handing out at Kings Cross station and had a long chat with the lad (he's younger than I am). Nice kid, pity about the acne.

Anyway, Fat and Rude is wondering where all the other candidates are. TOM might be doing TV but unless he gets out and starts talking to the locals around here he's in deep kitty-litter.

As for the dreary Newhouse bloke, since his Party hasn't announced any policies it's wearing a bit thin that he's relying on what his shadow ministers are saying. I had a minister once - when I was living at Kingsgrove - bloke came to visit, I bit him. Tasted terrible.

And as for the Mistress - those shoes must have cost a bomb. Climate change with stilettos? Why elect a Merchant Wanker when we've already got one? And the accent - now I might be foreign myself but sounding like a Pom? Give me a rest - had one yesterday most of the day really.

And what's Bob Brown doing down at Bondi yesterday with a girl? I thought he had a different approach entirely, but I'm neutered so I'm not all that interested. See, Fat and Rude and SWMBD don't notice me watching the TV but I can hold my own - well, lick it actually.

I'm just glad that cats can vote - beats the heck out of being a dog. I like the Fishing Party, I've always liked fish and I'm voting below the line.

Oh dear, time for a nap. All this bloody rain - I'm sick of sleeping on my head. Now, how do I turn this bloody computer off?


For the record, it should be noted that I subbed this as "The view from the bunker". Margo re-subbed it.

Give Me Another Week

My wife needs to consult her spirit guides - and I guarantee I will give you an accurate prediction.

Malcolm B is spot-on with some of his analysis but I don't agree with his assessment that Howard will win. Murphy's Law dictates that any previous cherished rules in anything are bound to be broken. We are about to see that at this election.

The latest on Crikey is that the racing industry is also hell bent on punishing Malcolm Turnbull as well.

PS: Malcolm B - surely you know in past elections cats have voted, often, and invariably for the Labor Party.


Angela Ryan says:

"Eliot will vote for whoever best stimulates the private sector he most prefers. And by his posts he obviously supports everyone stimulating the private sector. Trouble is, one gets inflation."

Some things are more likely to cause sudden detumescence than inflation.

Oddly enough, too many Greens in your Diet can have that effect.

Angela Ryan says:

Not being a local watcher I am going to punt outrageously on a landslide swing to Rudd with a surprisingly strong Green vote in the Senate.

If I said that, people would say I'm just being cruel.


Margo: What seat is Leichhardt in? You wouldn't be an inner city chatterer, would you

Grayndler. I'm more a Child of the Night than an Inner City Character.

Grayndler has about as much chance of going to the Liberal Party as Tehran going to Likud.

Though, come to think of it....


ER: Grayndler has about as much chance of going to the Liberal Party as Tehran going to Likud.

Sounds like wishful thinking, m'child. And doesn't Graymander cover the Northern RichBitches? Or is that Northern Reich Beaches from Mannerly to Ellis Point?

Or is it a seaside part of Palestine, set aside for a US garrison? In which case Likud is doin' it already, bro'. But not Wentworth, nor nor Bennelong.

Rabbi Dr Jihad Jacques Woodforde, Esq, OAM

Labor, I think

Margo: So whoya gunna vote for, Eliot? 

Probably Labor. But in Leichhardt (NSW), nearly everyone does.

At the end of the day, I'm voting against a personality in Peter Costello. I mean, I'd vote for Tim Costello. But against his brother.

You know what I mean?

Least worst option.

Margo: Yep Eliot, I know what you mean. What seat is Leichhardt in? You wouldn't be an inner city chatterer, would you?

Hope vs cynicism

Eliot – there was an ‘if Labor wins’ caveat there.  It’s far from certain, but one can dream, right?  Actually, I don’t like to surrender to schadenfreude, generally.  Bad karma.  Must resist. 

Richard – hey mate, we’re the same age!  1965 was a great year.  I don’t know about you, but I’m into the idea that 40 is the new 30, which would makes us 32, right?  Youngsters!  (OK, I’m in denial).  

Cloud – hi, I enjoyed your post, and it’s always good to see a new Webdiarist.  As Richard said, don’t assume you’re the odd one out.  Your post resonated with me, for one.  I wonder how long it’s been since somebody else posted with the word ‘love’ in there? 

We do have a tendency here to sound like a bunch of smartarses, but a lot of it is bluff, I suspect.  OK, I’m speaking for myself.  Yes, I had a shot at predicting the election outcome but it was based on nothing more than ‘the vibe of the thing’ – and wishful thinking.  Nobody really has a clue how it will turn out, anyway, until maybe one or two days out from the election when the polls firm up.  Even the professional pollsters get it wrong.  

It’s too easy to surrender to cynicism, something you see a lot of on Webdiary.  Cynicism is easy, hope is hard, because cynicism means you don’t have to do anything.  You can just sit around slagging everything off.  If you have hope, then you also acknowledge that things have to be done to make the world a better place.  And you have to be part of it yourself. 

It's a cliché, but if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem. 

I like the Greens because they represent hope, to me.  They're idealists, perhaps, but what's wrong with a little idealism?  It's gotta beat Howard's mean-spirited and ruthless pragmatism.  And it's amusing to me that while for many Australians the Greens are 'freaks', in European countries like Germany they're a major political force. 

It's all about perception, isn't it? 

I don’t really know how Rudd will turn out, but I loved that in his first speech as Opposition Leader he used a word that seems to have become taboo under Howard: compassion.  It kind of shocked me, because we haven’t seen much of it under Howard – with weird exceptions, like the $5 billion tsunami aid cheque.  Which was admirable, no doubt about it. 

But the same Government has vilified whole cultures and made (or not made) policy decisions – like the treatment of asylum seekers - that have had real, damaging consequences for real people.  Like two friends I have in Canberra who lost four years of their lives in Baxter. 

Howard made it OK to be xenophobic, even racist, if you remember the child-sacrifice myth about asylum seekers.  Howard has encouraged our baser instincts and made us more mean-spirited as a nation.  

What stopped me from becoming completely disgusted with Australia was meeting people at the grass roots level who said: I won’t be part of this.  People who took in refugees on TPVs or sent letters to asylum seekers in detention centres.  I met a retired teacher who devoted almost all of his spare time to assisting asylum seekers, linking them up with lawyers who worked pro bono, arranging accommodation, lobbying politicians - whatever needed to be done.  

There is a retired school principal, an amazing woman who lives in Canberra, who has been to Baxter 99 times, in between caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s.  The work she does for refugees is truly humbling. 

These people are real heroes to me.  Real Australians.   

People like Mary J, on Webdiary.   

I cross my fingers that on 24 November we get a Government - of whatever persuasion - that re-asserts and appeals to the better qualities of Australians - compassion, inclusion, generosity, humanitarianism - rather than our worst, as John Howard has consistently done.

Kerry Nettle - stimulating the private sector. Not.

Margo: So whoya gunna vote for, Eliot? The Greens? They're the party arging against the tax cuts.

That's because they're big government marxisant romantics pretending to be concerned about the environment.

And since tax revenue will be no greater if we go back to a wind-powered barter economy based around jute production and Morris dancing (the preferred left alternative scenarios) then not giving the tax cuts won't make any difference to anything.

It's a bit like how Cuba has 'overcome' peak oil. By living in roach infested, derelict apartment buildings, leaving the '56 DeSoto at home and going to the banana collective on a donkey cart instead.

No, I cannot see struggle street going for that option.

My bet is Rudd or Howard will just renege on some of the spending promises.

Unless the Chinese and American economies go into recession. And that's going to happen for sure sooner or later. Probably sooner.

In which case, the monetary and fiscal stimulus might be welcome.

It's not going to be plain sialing for either side, that's for sure.

Margo: So whoya gunna vote for, Eliot? 

Eliot's private sector woes, a big splash bet and council awa

Hi Margo. Lovely some of what was written just before. And I am so glad you are back.:)

Eliot will vote for whoever best stimulates the private sector he most prefers. And by his posts he obviously supports everyone stimulating the private sector. Trouble is, one gets inflation. That's where the old men of the Reserve Bank come in, really cuts down any stimulation generally. Then again, for the old pensioners I heard what they prefer to stimulation of the whole area are just rises in rates. Economics can be so interesting, I bet I could teach it now.

Not being a local watcher I am going to punt outrageously on a landslide swing to Rudd with a surprisingly strong Green vote in the Senate. Any money? Malcolm? Bet, Claude?

And a huge US crash . They will wish they had bananas. Poor guys. Le roi est mort vive le roi… Might be good to have a PM who can speak Mandarin.

Oh and councils can amalgamate. AWAs can come to councils. No public job is really safe under Costello (with Morgan calling for more measures).


info, info

Here's Newspoll's detailed breakdown of voting intention, by state, gender and age group. For Tasmania's state of play, see here.  In Tassie, the Greens vote is 15%, up 5% since August.

Now, that had me in stitches....

David Curry says: 

"I'm in stitches just thinking about it."

Famous last words.

The interesting thing about Reserve Bank interest rate decisions is that they're prognostic.

A rate rise is not a 'report card' performance outcome statement - it's a decision base on the Reserve Bank's expectations of future economic activity.

In other words, they're expecting future inflationary pressures regardless of who wins.

So, if Rudd finds himself in office, Wayne Swan will be the first casualty. Then Gillard.

By the way, did people see Rudd on SBS trying to link the rate rises over the last four years to the IR reforms?

Now, that had me in stitches....

And all it did was hand another opener to Howard to claim this morning that rates would rise even higher without the IR reforms.

Really, Rudd's a clown and will be made mince-meat in short order.

I'm not saying that's not a reason to vote for Labor, though. Peter Costello is a reason to not vote Liberal.

Margo: So whoya gunna vote for, Eliot? The Greens? They're the party arging against the tax cuts. 

Rational observations & renewal

Hello Cloud. You do not say how old you are, (nor are you obliged to!) but it is clear that you have good  observational skills  and you make rational deductions. If you are still young, in time you will have a feel for how a community is feeling. Whether there is a connection, a contentedness, or whether it is sour,  bitter, mean and afraid.

As for the assumption that those who predict the number of seats to won or lost are clever, it is not necessarily so!

Like you my impression is that many of the contributors to WD are not young.  And like you I feel it is very much a ‘club’, with a good many of the members knowing each other beyond these columns. (Margo: True, but they made contact through Webdiary!)

And you are right about the many out there who will vote with no interest in, and no knowledge of politics. Within these columns you will find those who write confidently of their political views while admitting to having no knowledge of Iran or Iraq.

Then there are those who write confidently of how well the coalition has governed, who seemingly have no knowledge of the underlying issues that have driven the economy.

There are those who talk about how well the economy is doing, who are seemingly oblivious of those who are doing it hard — and I am not referring to those in McMansions whose aspirations were bigger than their incomes, nor those who turn up in 4WD’s drives seeking charity handouts — but single parents, the homeless, the ill that cannot afford treatment that would alleviate their suffering, if only they could afford the specialists that cater to the affluent.

There are those who decry any mention of climate change, and we all saw the debacle that was APEC where the ‘world leaders’ who were discussing ways of combatting climate change had multiple war planes overflying Sydney for the whole of the exercise, plus god knows how many choppers, plus 50 odd vehicle motorcades.

Your observations are at least as valid, and as soundly based a any other that you will read here, and at least to me, they have the advantage of compassion and understanding.

Though I am but an occasional visitor, I welcome the new voice, the new perspective, and the commonsense honesty of your post. Please come back again!

David Curry, amidst your ‘funny moments should Labor win you include: "The looks on the faces of Downer, Costello, Campbell, Abbott, Ruddock,  and Christopher Pyne on the first sitting day after the election (no smirks, I suspect). "

What makes you believe that these people will be reelected?   Should we have a decent clean out, a chance of real change and renewal, these at least will have to go:  Downer, Costello, Campbell, Abbott and Ruddock.

I am not predicting that they will go, just that Australia needs them to go!

On the outside looking in

I’ve been called a hippy. I don’t know what the word means and I doubt whether those who bandy it about so freely know what they mean by it either. I venture to suggest that this applies especially to those who use it as a term of abuse.

This site seems to be home to a lot of people who are much more ‘wordly’ than me. There seems to be a great deal of knowledge amongst contributors about politics and politicians and it often reads very much like a clique. Lots of you know each other and share private jokes.

I’m on the outer. I’m not as bright as you. Not as well-informed. I don’t have a hope of making any predictions about the election outcome. But if I stand here looking up the ladder of knowledge at all of you 'bright young (and not-so-young) things' I’d like to remind you that there are a helluva lot of rungs below me. And the people on those rungs  vote.

When I see predictions based on electors’ reactions to a multiplicity of variables I have a quiet chuckle. Sometimes I guffaw (what a great word!) While the predictions may turn out to be correct I suspect this has a lot more to do with luck than judgment. Because I could show you a few people who, on the ‘smarts’ ladder are a long, long way below me. They don’t have a clue about anything you’re earnestly discussing. There’s thousands upon thousands of them out there and their vote is worth exactly the same as yours!

Meet Tex, the ‘slow’ bloke who calls into our local optometrist’s because the girl behind the counter is patient and kind and the chat he has with her is likely to be the only friendly one he’ll get all day. Provided he doesn’t spoil his vote its worth the same as yours and he wouldn’t know the first thing about politics.

Meet the woman who, as I was chatting to my bearded Sikh  friend (runs a curry stall at the local market), told us in all seriousness that all men with beards are child molesters (“It’s true ... you can see it on the Internet”). Her vote is worth the same as yours.

Meet the bloke in our town who emphatically states that the reason our local river is in a bad way is (polluted and down to a trickle) is “all those hippies fishing in the headwaters”. Not satisfied with being our Shire’s Mayor (heaven help us!) he recently toyed with the idea of standing as a candidate when our local member (Nationals) announced he was retiring. Thank goodness the party must have realised what a wally he is. But the fact that he’s Mayor says a lot about the analytical capacity of the people who elected him. With a few exceptions the councillors he heads are almost as daft as him. Every one of their votes carries the same weight as yours.

A long time ago I heard a saying that went something like this: “Do what thou wilt with love ... this is the whole of the law.” I don’t know who said it but it seemed to me to be very important. Would it matter what political party held power provided love guided their policies? OK, I can just about hear the sniggers from here. But go on ... argue with me. What’s wrong with the concept?

In the last few days I heard a radio commentator state that those who are less ‘well off’ give disproportionately more to charity. They know what it’s like to do it tough and they empathise.

Find the opposites of love and empathy and you’ve found what I believe is wrong now with Australia. It seems to me that we’re at the peak of a “you’ve never had it so good” period in Australia. So, which came first ... the nasty, greedy voter or the nasty, greedy politician and who eggs on whom? Nastiness Rules OK? So is that recent or has it always been thus?

The Greens are worth voting for because they want to reverse that trend.  Take note of who trashes the Greens on this site and elsewhere and how they do it. It speaks eloquently of the substance of what I’m saying. I can find nothing to match the Green’s ‘heart’ in even the so-called Christian parties. (I’m afraid sometimes they’re the nastiest of all!)

Margo, I heard you on Late Night Live recently. Your laugh was, at last, one of pleasure rather than the cynical and brittle laugh of old. You know what it means to align yourself  with ethical politics. Along with those of us who’ve voted Green for years you’re in for a rough ride. But, like Bob said, we can vote and do it with a (genuine) smile on our faces.

Richard:  Cloud, with enough concerted effort the political environment you hope for might come about.  Stranger things have happened.  By the way, you'll find that many Webdiarists will not be sniggering at your notions- far from it.

From the lower rungs

Cloud: Speaking as I do from one of the lower rungs of the intellectual ladder around here your words sit well with me. I found those who post here quite intellectually intimidating at first, but then I realised the life experiences under my belt had fitted me quite well to move in any circle I chose. They may baffle me with science, with their knowledge of literature, of language, of philosophy but I know that the stuff that makes the man, and the woman is the capacity to overcome adversity in life, to make a worthwhile contribution to society and the lives of others.

And as I got to meet some Webdiarists and become friends, I realised that their lives have not necessarily been down easy street, far far from it.  So you can share life experience and what it gives you, even if you cannot converse in French. And anyway,  when you finally meet them you find their favourite literature is not some great (and to me) obscure poet, but rather Winnie the Pooh and Harry Potter.

You are right when you say those that have the least often give the most. I have just been going through my late sister's papers and am amazed at the amount of her small income that went to a whole range of various charities every month. She was very devout and her whole life was dedicated to helping others despite enormous health problems all her life. The better off members of my family are far less charitable. I think the old saying that goes the more people have the more they want is very true. Greater wealth breeds greater greed. I have seen it so often.

I don't think the word hippy means much these days. But I have some very good friends I would describe as feral. Don't ask me to explain.

As for how people vote, voters can be quite unpredictable. Some years back the Goulburn folk voted onto their Council a man who spent his life scrounging in garbage tins. They voted him back again for a second term too. The other councillors were rather incensed and tried to get him sacked for breaking the health laws, and secretly had him filmed scrounging in the bins. They failed, so just chose then to try and ignore him.

At a civic function he was sitting all alone with no one speaking to him, and my father, the local respected historian was there. So he walked over and sat down and spent the evening chatting to him to the disapproving glances of the others. And every Christmas my sister would have him to Christmas dinner and my mother would put him at the head of the table. He was a very intelligent man and wrote beautiful poetry, and while walking the streets counselled kids about drugs.  He had a lot to offer if only people were prepared to listen and set aside his idiosyncracies.

What amused me was every year when my sister asked him where she would pick him up for Christmas day, he would reply: Bin number 29, or at some other numbered bin. And so she would have to go counting the rubbish bins up the street to find him. And there he would be waiting in his old suit.

Ah yes, if you want to meet the real characters and givers in life, you'll find a treasure trove of them down on the so called lower rungs of the ladder.


Hi Cloud

Great post, Cloud. Mother Teresa said something like - life is not about doing great things, but doing small things with great love. In my journey from inside to outside, I've seen that in action. People who live their values every day in every way, striving to reduce their footprint on the planet and to care for others. I feel lucky to finally be where real people live, and to have met so many inspiring people who do what they can not for status, power or ego, but because they feel it's the right thing to do. Vote Green!

Looking back, I started that journey with Webdiary, but it was virtual grassroots. Now I've met many Webdiarists, and liked them all, regardless of how they vote. It's all come together, and I've lost my anger. Yeah!


Did you wander lonely, perhaps as a Cloud?    Well, whoever you might really be, your use of language alone marks you as more intelligent, more literate and more deliberate than you would have us believe.

Your political desires, on the other hand, suggest a degree either of naivitee or purpose that you do not reveal.    I'm anti-Greens to my bootstraps and proud of it.    If the luddites win in this country, we'll have people lamenting for the likes of Howard and Bush (oh, and Maggie and Ron).   There really is only one question in this election: how do you pay for  the life most of us (known as a democratic majority)  would like to lead?

Agreement from Me

Hi Cloud,

Yes, this is a bit of talk fest for political geeks (of a certain age probably).

Richard: Oi! 42 is not "of a certain age," is it?  Oh..

I agree with you about politics.  

The quote about love started with St Paul and has had quite a history since, including even Aleister Crowley who was quite rabidly anti-christian.

I do think love is what it is all about.  I for one think that John Howard and his clique have made Australia more nasty.  Does this mean the nastiest was there waiting to be released?  Certainly.  And they (including the commentariat) need to take responsibility for letting the genie out of the bottle.

The way politics is in Australia at the moment (party hacks rewarded) leads to it being more likely that those devoid of morality will rise to the top.  I don't see this as being confined to any one party.  Love has structural aspects in my view. 

Thank you for your heartfelt post.


Remember the colons.

I hope Rudd wins. I'm feeling restless and don't warm to the prospect of Peter Costello becoming PM.

But then, I've got a sicko sense of humour and am virtually guaranteed employment.

So, I've little to worry about from the next recession and even look forward to having a chuckle or two as Rudd thrashes around looking for policy tips to filch - only to be reminded he's in government.

The inconvenience of recurring industrial action is going to be mildly annoying, and certain once the ACTU discovers it can no more control economic reality than any other kind of reality.

It'll need scapegoats and so will be 'betrayed' by Rudd.

Peter Garrett is my best hope for some really funny moments as he slowly, but surely ends up being hated by greenies even more than Malcolm Turnbull.

Other laughs to come

Eliot, hi.  Speaking of schadenfreude, some more funny moments if Labor wins:

Watching John and Janette get crow-barred out of Kirribilli House. 

The concession speech, with tears running down Howard’s face as he realises the awful truth of the moment (thinking, 'If I'd only left with some dignity 12 months ago!  Why didn't anybody suggest it?').

Listening to Costello dish the real dirt on Howard when it sinks in that he’s missed his only chance at the top job.  (Might be some pretty funny stuff in his upcoming biography, too).

The recriminations amongst Coalition MPs and Senators (with some notable exceptions) as they wonder why they were unable to grow spines and stand up – once!  - to the man who lost them the election. 

The looks on the faces of Downer, Costello, Campbell, Abbott, Ruddock,  and Christopher Pyne on the first sitting day after the election (no smirks, I suspect). 

I'm in stitches just thinking about it. 

something in the air

Tom, by my calculation, a 6% swing against Humphries would see the Greens take the second Senate seat in the ACT. The swing could go, say, 4% to Kerrie Tucker and 2% to Labor. Might depend on the youth vote - hippies or hip hop or whatever. As long as they all registered in time.


Senate vote

With respect to the ACT Senate vote, the quota is 33.33% - you need to end up with a third of the votes cast after the distribution of all preferences. At the last election the ALP got 41.1% of the senate vote (second only to the NT on 41.37%). The states were between 5 to 10% lower than this while, conversely, the Lib vote was higher in the states.

So I think we can safely say that there is less ground for the ALP to gain in the ACT and less ground for the Libs to lose. The Greens vote was also significantly higher in the ACT than elsewhere - around double or more and even three points higher than in Tassie.

If you will let me make the wild assumption for a moment about the type of people that vote Green (at the risk of being howled down), I will say that not many Green voters are former Liberal voters so there is a limited pool of people to swing to the Greens - being limited essentially to disillusioned ALP voters and other voters from other minor parties.

It seems to me that it is unlikely that the ALP will suffer too much from disillusionment at this particular election, being refreshed by the ascension of Kevin Rudd. Disillusionment will probably come one or two cycles in. So I won't change the ALP vote for the purposes of this exercise.

So this really leaves a few Libs to bail and the other minors. At the last election they (other minors) received: Dems 2%, CDP 1.6% and others 0.96%.

If Humphries receives 33.3% or more of the primary vote he is automatically elected so he can wear a swing of up to 4.53% without any worry at all.

Next, 20% of all voters in the ACT at the last election voted below the line. These means they were not caught in the parties preference swap deals.

So let's assume for the sake of the argument that Humphries gets 30% of the primary vote. Personally, I can't see him going below 33% but lets have a bit of fun seeing as we're all on the web and not doing work or being outside or, in my case, whatever else constructive we could really be doing.

Anyway, we will distribute the 8% Humphries has lost all to the Greens for the sake of simplicity, taking them to 24% and still needing 9% to make quota. The next thing the returning officer will do is distribute the quota of the ALP that is not used to elect Lundy - in this case I will ignore the below the line tendencies of the ACT and assume they all go to the ALP person at number two on the ticket, otherwise it gets too hard. This leaves ALP2 at 8%.

Next step for the RO is to look at the person/party with the fewest votes and distribute them. I don't have enough information here to make a more accurate distribution so I will eliminate "other" as a bloc and distribute 80/20 to the greens. The number is almost so small as to be meaningless anyway. So Lundy elected, Humphries 30.2%, Greens 24.8% ALP 2: 8%, Dems 2%, CDP 1.6%

No one is elected so next distribution is the LDP, which will go to the Libs. But remembering the 20% below the line I will assume that people voting below the line for CDP are doing so to buck the deal (and again for simplicity) are more likely to pref the Greens so LDP 80/20 to Humphries (ie all below the line to Greens).

So Humphries to 31.5, Greens to 25.1, ALP2: 8, Dems 2

Happily this means the Democrats are out next and it is with some alacrity that I distribute them, again remembering that 20% of ACT voters will vote below the line and again making the assumption that they do so to buck party deals. This is a bit of a judgment call but I rely on the history of the Dems (coming from the Libs) to make it and allocate 80% of the below the line vote to the Libs. So 80% of 20% is 16% - about .3% of the total Dem vote to the Libs and the rest to the Greens leaving: 31.8%, 26.8% and the ALP 2 at 8%.

So ALP2 is out next. I will assume here that the 20% of ALP voters who vote below the line are voting below the line for two reasons. 1) to try to annoy the RO for their own amusement and/or 2) because they don't like Greens and would prefer to see the Libs in ahead of them. So, again, I will make the wild and probably erroneous assumption that 80% of these will go to the Libs. 16% of 8 is 1.3% taking Humphries to 33.1% and the Greens on 33.5% which of course leads to the election of a Green Senator for the ACT by .2%. It's not as scary if you say it quickly.

So the point is even though Humphries is unlikely to fall below quota, If he does, anything below 32% is very risky and almost certainly deadly from 31% down given the fairly generous nature of my assumptions.

So I suppose, Stephen, this is a very longwinded way of me agreeing with you. A 6% swing will have Humphries in very serious trouble.

It must be bed time.


I'd rather be a hoppy.

What's a hoppy?

Malcolm, what is this 'hoppy' subculture?  People who imitate kangaroos? 

'Happy' would do me.


To quote, David Curry. "Ah, happy: I remember that."


There is no way on God's green Earth that the ALP will lose Brand - It would need a 4.5% swing to the Libs to lose Brand and while they may tread water in WA, there's no chance of that big a swing. What will happen is that former ALP Nat Sec, Gary Gray will prove that the ALP dealing for Green preferences in the reps is a complete and utter waste of time.

Also, have a look at some of the "firebreak" seats - those between 7% and 12%. These will be the seats where the ALP will make big gains. Seats like Canning which has a soft lib majority that looks much bigger than it is thanks to Latham. The ALP lost Canning by a couple of hundred votes in 2001 and then saw Latham push that out to around 10% with his particular brand of genius. Boothby in Adelaide is another to watch. 11 years of doing very, very little won't hold Andrew Southcott in good stead as he fights off Nicole Cornes who is doing so much better on the ground than the media is telling you. Not a bad bet at odds of 3 to 1.

With no incumbency in Lindsay, there is also no way the Libs will hold that one. People still think that the local member is the one that does all the work in the electorate even though it is almost always the staff so being the electorate officer to Jackie Kelly won't be worth much. Without being rude, she will be just another Lib candidate.

With regards to the ACT Senate, Quota is 33%, last fed, Libs got 38% primary vote. It is highly unlikely in my view that a major party vote will drop below 30% even in Hippy Central. Even a minor spray of preferences from the Greens will be enough to put Humphries over the line. The only way the hippies could win would be at the expense of the ALP and that is highly unlikely in this election.

The poor old ALP, should it win government (which is my prediction) will have to deal with the terror that is a Greens balance of power. How people can still vote for those freaks after all these years is beyond me and why on Earth the ALP feels the need to keep doing preference deals with them to their own detriment is also beyond me.

The Planet

Dear Tom,

Why we still vote for the Greens is because we care about the planet.  It too, despite the efforts of the major parties, is still here after all these years.

But don't worry it may not be for all that much longer if the major parties stick with business as usual (or at least not in a form habitable by homo (allegedly) sapiens.

If the major parties even looked at the important questions maybe we wouldn't have to vote Green. 


EvanWhy we still vote for the Greens is because we care about the planet.

Whereas some folks vote for Grandpa Kirribilli, Geo W Bush's poxy on Earth, because they care about his home planet. Mars. Hence we may despatch him, ASAP. That's what NASA's Space Shovel is all about - texile of Space Slime neo-Cons. Once there, he and Condoleezza RUMP!! may start a new Space Race, without poor little dogs or apes.

Flight Commnder Dr Emeritus Woodforde, DFC, VC, OAM, master of Starship Ngunnawal, RAAF

Canberra - Hippy Central!

Hi Tom – Hippy Central?  Are you sure you're not confusing the national capital with Byron Bay?  I must live in the wrong part of Canberra, obviously. 

There is a small, bedraggled group of emos who sit in the middle of Garema Place and call out ‘conformist’ to suited public servants during lunch hour.  Which is hilarious.  But they’re not hippies. 

Although, come to think of it, I did once get a whiff of wacky tobaccy at one of those 'rock and roll' concerts at the ANU, back when I didn't know any better.  

Well I’ll be.  Hippies!  Who would have thought?


Hi David. My fairly broad definition of Hippy includes greens and anyone who votes for them. It allows me to use the word much more often which is good because it's a great word.


Margo: I'm glad to be a hippy! 

Labor by a nose

I don’t think the swing to Labor will be anything like the polls have been suggesting all year.  It’s all down to those marginal seats, where the swing to Labor, if it happens, is likely to be much smaller than the national polls suggest.  But I reckon Mike Kelly might pick up Eden-Monaro, the bell-weather seat, and that means a Labor victory, right?  It’s a law of physics, or something. 

So I reckon Labor will just get across the line, two seats ahead.  And I’m an optimist, so I reckon Kerrie Tucker will take Gary Humphries’ Senate seat, instantly destroying Howard’s control.  If not, the first six months of a hostile Senate will be very rocky – maybe a double dissolution, who knows?

Alan – if Bob Brown's 'time wasting' in the Senate gets up your nose, you must be absolutely livid about it being reduced to a rubber stamp by John Howard. 

I think Howard should have been upfront about what he was doing and just sent all the Senators home two and a half years ago.  Was it Stott-Despoja who asked ‘why are we here?’ soon after Howard got the majority? 

I suppose Howard had to keep up appearances.

Libs by a nose

Margo, I think Howard will win by 6.

It does not bother me either way, as long as The Greens don't hold the balance of power. They waste enough of the Senate's time already, with Brown's "point of orders" and "divisions". Plus the damage they will do to the mining and forestry industries. They should give the Greens total control of Tasmania for a couple of years, and watch as it sinks slowly in the west.

By the way Margo, when Howard wins, do you think he will shut down WD as Ern says?

Admirable persistence.

G'day Alan,

For a person to continue with such a view in these difficult times that people may not want to hear is swimming against the tide.

Alan, are you sure you were not in the Navy?

While my wife and I respect your convictions, we hope you are wrong. 

Cheers Rosie and Ern G.

Come in spinner.

There was a report that the member for Blair, one Mr Cameron Thompson MP said that the increase in the interest rate tomorrow will be good for the Government. I have not heard him said that but I did hear Janet Albrechtsen of the OZ said exactly that last night on Skynews. Come in spinner.

The pollsters don't just call listed numbers

I have been polled on Bennelong twice this election - once by an outfit that seemed to be doing the polling for the Greens (based on the questions they were asking) and once by Galaxy for the notorious Bennelong survey released over the weekend that said Howard was behind in Bennelong.

The first call came in on an unlisted number and asked for me by name. The pollsters for hire seem to be using the same databases the telemarketers do, so if you have ever given your number to any business they'll have it.

The Galaxy pollster called me on an unlisted, temporary telephone number. I was moving last week and Optus take 2 days to transfer your number (the people in their number-transfer department must be the most appalling hunt-and-peck typists imaginable). So in the interim they assigned a temporary number from their pool. I suspect Galaxy uses a random-number dialler.

The funny part about the Galaxy poll was when they asked me if I voted in Bennelong in the last election, then asked me who I voted for then. They followed this up with "and finally, for quality control purposes, can you please state your....first (phew) name."

Margo: Hi Troy. Good to hear from you. Remember last election when Howard email-spammed voters in Bennelong and wouldn't say how he got the addresses? Readers, Troy stood as in independent in Bennelong at the last election.  

hung Parliament

Malcolm, your scenario with s 64 of the Constitution would have made a great TV mini series. Imagine the last episode going to air on ABC TV the week before polling day.

OK, as far as tipping goes, here is another novel scenario. I had a play with Antony Greens' House of Reps calculator. A national swing of 4% gives - a hung Parliament! 75 Labor, 73 Coalition and 2 other seats won. 

In the Senate, if Kerrie Tucker wins a seat in the ACT for the Greens, she would take her place from the first sitting day. This would give Labor the numbers in the Senate with Greens support.

Malcolm and Margo, I don't agree that in the ACT, Kerrie is a long shot or that a 1:1 split between major parties is still the natural order of things.

I think Kerrie will stroll it in. The two reasons being, firstly, ACT voters are sick of the shabby way the Government has treated Senate process over the last three years. ACT voters have seen this up close and are therefore more appreciative of the need for balance in the Senate. Secondly, I think the three-way preference deal between Greens, Labor and Aust Democrats will see Lib Senator Gary Humphries fall below 30% of the vote.

Hanged more like

Stephen Smith, the gamble I was running on, unlikely as it was, was that if, by some miracle I had won, the probability would have been that Tony Windsor, Bob Katter and I would have had the balance of power. Distributing the IQ, I know who would have been leading.

Apart from having to be in Canberra in summer and winter, could have been a lot of fun.

I'll have 2 bob each way

This is a ‘two bob each way’, but what the hell. I’m non party political, with friends so far right that they make Howard and Ruddock appear left of centre, — one of them a couple of days ago began a rant stating that climate change was a load of crap, and that the only academics supporting it were music professors , at which point I walked out — to far left.

It was when well right of centre friends approximately 12 months ago began saying that Howard had been there too long, that it was time for a change, that I began believing a change was possible.

I never expected these people to actually vote against the Coalition when it came to it, but the fact this sentiment had affected them suggested to me that the more moderate might well change.

It seems to me that either the coalition will scrape home, or Labor will win in a landslide.

In spite of the much trumpeted booming economy, small business in general is not doing well.  There is no doubt that many, if not most, people are working longer hours for, if not less pay, certainly no more.
The number of people under stress on the home mortgage front is ever growing, and it looks as if the number is set to increase tomorrow.

Howard has finally come out and admitted that his outfit has had less than no effect upon interest rates and, by association, has not had anything to do with the buoyancy of the resource based economy.

My impression is that Howard and his cohorts are projecting an ever more desperate ‘power at any price’ impression, and that all the recent conversions reinforce the image.

It all hangs on whether or not people panic at the last minute, as they put pencil to paper. If panic doesn’t set in, stand by for a landslide!

My Tip

Hi Margo, my tip is:

A swing of 4.8% to Labor. Two Party: Labor 52.1 Coalition 47.9.

Labor 76 seats - Coalition 72 seats - Independent - 2 seats.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
© 2005-2011, Webdiary Pty Ltd
Disclaimer: This site is home to many debates, and the views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the site editors.
Contributors submit comments on their own responsibility: if you believe that a comment is incorrect or offensive in any way,
please submit a comment to that effect and we will make corrections or deletions as necessary.
Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner

Recent Comments

David Roffey: {whimper} in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Jenny Hume: So long mate in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Reds (under beds?) in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Justin Obodie: Why not, with a bang? in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Dear Albatross in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Michael Talbot-Wilson: Good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Goodnight and good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 3 days ago
Margo Kingston: bye, babe in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 6 days ago