Not the Shipping News: There was no landslide

votesNow that the election counting for the House of Representatives is done and dusted (with Clive Palmer’s 36 vote victory in Fairfax being the last outstanding datum of import; though see the interesting Senate races still undeclared), there’s been a nice coincidence of fact-based articles which seek to disrupt the narrative that there was some sort of Abbott/Coalition landslide.

In part, this was foreshadowed by a series of polls which overshot the mark (particularly robopolls of individual seats, but also a Newspoll with an appalling sampling technique purporting to show Labor wipeouts in Western Sydney and Queensland which never eventuated). The mistake the media made was to ignore (or not to know) the fact that elections are dynamic not static events. Even had the seat level polls been accurate, you can never just put a few seats in a box called “Lost” (which many papers literally did), and then throw another few in the next time you have some polls to report. Everyone who is actually involved in close contests knows that the lead swings. Undecided voters are normally switching several times, being won and lost all the way up to the polling booth.

It didn’t help that the bored commentariat pronounced the election over the week before and turned their attention to Double Dissolution and Labor Leadership scenarios.

Here’s Phil Doyle in New Matilda:

Whichever way you want to look at the result of the recent Federal election, one argument that doesn’t stack up is that this is some kind of landslide for the Coalition. That’s how the election is being rewritten — but the figures don’t support the story.

Fifteen of the Coalition’s new seats are held on very thin margins. Eleven seats have margins of less than 4000 voters, according to AEC figures as at 24 September:

Barton (NSW) 493
Petrie (QLD) 971
Eden-Monaro (NSW) 1071
Capricornia (QLD) 1381
Dobell (NSW) 1189
Solomon (NT) 1492
Reid (NSW) 1490
Lyons (TAS) 1605
Banks (NSW) 3169
Braddon (TAS) 3398
Hindmarsh (SA) 3541

If Gilmore, Lindsay, Robertson, and Deakin are included, less than 30,000 voters nationally would need to change their minds for the government to change as well.

And Malcolm Mackerras in Crikey:

The Whitlam government was defeated in a landslide in 1975, and the Rudd government suffered a respectable loss in 2013. But what of the defeat of the Keating government in 1996? Having examined all the data I would call it a respectable loss.

So, contrary to The Narrative, it is a fact that there was no landslide (and thus Mr Abbott is eminently beatable in 2016). It is also a fact that the polling, and the results, showed volatility and dissatisfaction rather than some race to the LNP. That’s a problem for a government which seems to be governing as if it has won big – from the right, refighting the culture wars which are of such irrelevance to much of the electorate.

Of course, as Bernard Keane argues today, this government hasn’t really thrown the switch from fact free campaigning to governing yet. It seems to have a continuing problem with fact.


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57 responses to “Not the Shipping News: There was no landslide”

  1. Snorky

    ‘ … Mr Abbott is eminently beatable in 2016.’ This assumes, of course that he will still be PM at that point, which I don’t think we can do at present. This possibly pedantic quibble aside, your piece is well argued, Mark. There is every chance of a change of Government in three years.

  2. Helen

    Right. Because when I got up in the morning and bought the Sunday AGE (I was at the beach without my internets, a very deliberate move) the front page screamed LANDSLIDE.
    Talk about jumping to conclusions.

  3. Liz

    Isn’t it true that the swing to the LNP was only 1.5% overall? There seems to be a lot people who didn’t like the government, weren’t keen on the Libs and would probably never vote Green. Hence, PUP did well. It was leadership instability wot killed Labor, not any love for Abbott and the Libs. So, yes they’re very beatable.

  4. Mark

    Looks like a lot of votes went directly from Greens to PUP, Liz. Paul Norton has done the stats.

  5. Carol

    I agree – it’s eminently do-able for 2016 – even forcing Abbott to double dissolution next year on carbon pricing is more fraught for him than ALP. All ALP has to do is re-group, unite, clarify their platform & give ’em half the hell they were given. Was just saying this morning, Eden-Monaro’s on a knife edge. If they win that back, they can win Govt. All signs so far are OK. Let Abbott govern as if he’s Howard, sneaky remix; he’s already scaring the horses on all sides. More please!

  6. paul burns

    Thank you all for starting to lift me out of what must be my post-election blues. Only one term? I do recall Casey’s astrology link saying he wasn’t going to last very long.
    I don’t know how well Shorten would go against Turnbull, but I reckon Albanese would kill him (Turnbull, that is.)

  7. Liz

    Paul Burns, Essential have brought out a poll giving the LNP a lead of just 51/49. I know looking at polls might be a bit outrageous at this stage. But, this government isn’t getting much of a honeymoon.

  8. BigBob

    Abbott has used all his political capital getting to the top. Remember the voters have already had 4 years of him constantly being there, which is why he is on low vis at the moment.

    Far from looking like a disorganised rabble indulging in serious backbiting over the loss, the ALP looks fairly calm and measured. The test will be once the new leader takes over, if the calm continues,then I think they will continue to be the more assured party.

    Abbott may well be pulled apart trying to appease all those who have granted him favours to date, certainly, his ministry is full of people Howard would never have considered for higher duties.

  9. Iain Hall

    Well surely it depends on how you define a “landslide” doesn’t it? it is my understanding that the general principle is to do so on the basis of the number of seats won and in those terms it certainly was a landslide. the fact that a large number of those seats have very thin majorities means very little and you c an bet your house on those new members working hard to use their incumbency to make their seats safer at the next. poll.
    Semantics aside its going to take more than one term just for the people who were disappointed enough with the rabble that was Labor in government to trust them again. Now while its easy to be dismissive of the idea that the Abbott government will be boring and managerial isn’t that just what the middle class swinging voters who put him in want? its only the hard core luvvies of the left who want constant utopian reinvention of society.

    Three years of drama free incumbency will just cement Abbott’s position in power and I doubt that there will be any sort of leadership challenge for many years to come no matter how much the left dreams of internal strife for the coalition there is absolutely no evidence of any one plotting, after all Abbott and co have seen the result of Labor’s disunity and constant plotting and they are smart enough not to follow the same path into un-electability.

  10. Carol

    I wouldn’t describe the ALP in Govt as rabble, disunity IS death, but they did a decent enough job of governing. And don’t underestimate the role played by Murdoch; ever since the NBN was announced, he’s been plotting with Abbott to get rid of ALP. News Corp profits plummeting due to dwindling print media revenues, the NBN was going to be effective competition for Foxtel. Agreed the Coalition were and are disciplined and Turnbull is a non-starter, but ALP’s policies were, in the main, preferred by voters. If ALP restores discipline once the leadership process is completed, a year is a long time in politics. Now if we could just figure out how to put Rupert back in his box, things might even up nicely.

  11. Paul Norton

    Mark @6:

    Looks like a lot of votes went directly from Greens to PUP, Liz. Paul Norton has done the stats.

    What I’ve actually done is found a correlation between the primary vote swings against the Greens and the size of the PUP vote in each seat. This is consistent with Greens voters from 2010 moving to PUP, and that would seem the most plausible explanation. Labor scrutineers have also reported that the Greens preference flow to Labor is up around 90-95%, which is what one would expected if the decline in the Greens vote was accounted for by the loss of the pure protest element leaving a core of philosophically committed Greens voters.

  12. jungney

    Iain Hall:

    Three years of drama free incumbency will just cement Abbott’s position in power…

    Well, there’s the left/progressive/enviro/civil society agenda right there, for the next three years.

    We’re already organising well: the Climate Commission is being reconstituted as a civil organisation through private means right now; the women’s movement is furious at the betrayal of gender equity principles by the gender mix of Abbott’s cabinet, the broad environment movement, which now includes traditional rural communities and landowners, is working against fracking, coal mining and the degradation of waterways and the venerable nature conservation movement is mobilising for the defense of the Tarkine.

    You don’t get it. We’re on.

  13. Iain Hall

    Carrol
    I think that the advent of the net the influence of individual media players like Murdoch is rather excessively overestimated by lefties like yourself. While I have no doubt that his papers were and remain generally supportive of conservative government, its my belief that instead of leading people’s opinions that they generally follow what their readership wants to read.
    Further Murdoch has his fingers in so many pies I very much doubt that he would worry too much about the NBN.
    Finally what makes you think ALP’s policies were, in the main, preferred by voters.? if that was so they would not now be in opposition.

  14. Charlie

    Seems to me that there is the need for some sort of ‘truth and reconciliation’ commission in ALP.

    What actually happened in 2010 and why? Were there a group of ‘Cardinals’ openly undermining Gillard and were they tolerated? If so, why? What did happen over the years that actually allowed Abbott to become PM and as outlined above, an opposition that no one really wanted become Government.

    It is all well and good to say, we have to close ranks, ‘move forward’ (seriously!!), but unless the rats in the ranks are addressed, they will continue to nibble.

    It seems to me that a lot of the better/best talent has fallen on their swords already… more the loss to the ALP and more the loss to us. ie: people of Australia. But perhaps a few more should fall on their nail clippers.

  15. James of St James

    30 000 votes, thats not many. This is also an additional reason why spurious claims of Abbott for policy mandates is quite ridiculous.
    I agree the next election is potentially winnable for the ALP. Another important reason for that (and the thinner result Mark’s article is about) is that for many of the key policy areas, (NBN, climate change, education funding reform, industrial relations, infrastructure investment), the ALP had better policies than the Coalition going into the election, that were also more popular than the Coalition alternatives. (They lost despite this, not because of the reverse.)
    As always some of those that buy (vote for) a new product, immediately after like to convince themselves they made the right choice, …. but the ALP has many (policy) levers to try and disavow them of that self deceit. And the 51%:49% and relatively low approval rating for Abbott (something like 25% less than Rudd’s in 2008) suggest that might be too hard.
    [fixed ~ Mod]

  16. James of St James

    And the 51%:49% and relatively low approval rating for Abbott (something like 25% less than Rudd’s in 2008) suggest that might not be too hard.

  17. GregM

    James of St James I must ask you, are you from the St James in Western Australia or in Victoria?

  18. Paul Norton

    Or the St James underground railway station in Sydney? 🙂

  19. James of St James

    Sorry GreM I’m using nick name for a reason. If you think you might know me contact me other means. : )

  20. GregM

    James I don’t think I know you. But I know St James in Victoria and if that is where you are from then I have some questions about its voting patterns in the election which you might be able to answer:
    http://vtr.aec.gov.au/HousePollingPlaceFirstPrefs-17496-4089.htm

    1. Why was it the polling place which gave Sophie Mirabella the highest vote in all the polling places in the seat of Indi? Did she promise it a cardiac catheter unit or something?
    2. Who voted for the Rise Up Australia party?
    3. Who were the two people who voted for the Sex Party and
    a) Were they related, or
    b) was one of them related to the person who voted for the Rise Up Australia party, explaining that person’s vote?
    4. Who voted for the Greens and what arrangements have been made for that person to be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail?

    I hope you can help me with answers to these pressing questions arising from our festival of democracy.

  21. Debbieanne

    It is then even more important that the ALP & the Greens sort out their differences. Really not useful to have two supposedly left parties at each others throats. Not good for the country.

  22. Mr Denmore

    The Labor Party gifted this election to Abbott via its own institutionalised dysfunction and was rescued from something much worse only by Kevin’s rearguard action.

    Of course, a desperately rrelevant right-wing media (always fighting the last war) is now wishfully intepreting the entire thing as an expression of a tacit desire by the Australian electorate for a redeclaration of the (already) faked-up culture wars.

    But my read on this is that the media-politico commentariat long ago disappeared up its own backside and is now painting murals with the crap that is a byproduct of its eternal self-referencing.

    I’ve just got back from a couple of weeks in the US and I can see it clearly. Abbott’s a sham, a placeholder for the Cato Institute-inspired acne-faced Randian fringe-dwellers who live under the perpetual illusion that Australia is longing for guns, tobacco and US-style labour markets.

    Australia’s default position is social democratic. It’s just that its social democratic party is in the process of tearing itself apart, gifting power to ghosts of the DLP.

  23. Carol

    Iain, I object to being labeled a leftie “like you”, in such a dismissive tone; your debating skills leave a little to be desired. So you’re such a custodian of the truth, anyone who directly challenges you on any point with a different perspective must be slapped down on all points. I check my sources before I write, and I also go to the trouble to spell people I’m addressing’s names correctly. It’s Carol, c-a-r-o-l, not hard for anyone passing observant. A little on the offensive, or is it defensive? You’ve also got it wrong about Murdoch, he backed Rudd in 2007. You’re welcome to debate me if you care to be civil – I don’t have all the answers, but when I take a position, I’ve read widely & thought it through. And you seem well right of centre to me, that’s fine, but I happen to think the current Govt is a dud, though admit the former made errors & had some personality issues, at least there was some heart there, backed by good policies; the stats on policy as perceived by the electorate bear that out, did you miss that bit too? I won’t be changing my mind about those things, unless there’s a compelling argument to do so. There is quite a degree of consensus that Abbott and co are off to a poor start – as expected from their behaviour in Opposition, virtually policy-free, well not much positive anyway. And the ALP is doing fine sorting out their issues, it could be argued that a bit of time to do that was called for. It’s many of the Australian people in the meantime I fear for & broader issues also. Sorry, if you’re looking for someone to force your viewpoint onto or shove out of your way while you’re spouting your own unassailable opinions, you’ve got the wrong person.

  24. David Irving (no relation)

    Paul N, it’s a bit depressing that our protest vote mostly moved to Palmer (here in SA as well). I worked out that my vote productivity on polling day was 9 votes per hour 🙁

  25. Brian of Buderim

    1. First preference votes for the ALP and the LP/ Nats/ LNP/ CLP conglomerate added together are very close to 80% of the formal votes cast. This is, I believe, the lowest figure for this total vote since World War II. The remaining 20 % have gone in a number of directions, mostly Green, then protest votes to PUP, Katter, and minor parties.

    2. The number of people who did not vote at all or who cast an informal vote is also the highest, I understand, since WW II, being roughly equal to the ALP or the Coalition’s vote.

    3. These two facts show that the electorate is experiencing a disillusionment of enormous proportions. Some of this is, no doubt, due to the constant attack by the previous opposition at any time on any issue for any reason but much of it is due to the fact that both parties have become hard-hearted with a compassion by-pass.

    4. The electorate has spoken and left the building, saying a pox on both your houses. The Coalition was marginally less undesirable than the ALP.

    5. Whichever party rediscovers a way to link to the voters, produces policies which are seen by all to be fair and just, and sticks to those policies should be in government for a long time.

  26. Brian of Buderim

    In my previous post ‘desirable’ should read ‘undesirable’. Fingers faster than brain syndrome.

    [Fixed, I think – mod]

  27. zoot

    Unfortunately, both major parties will probably spend all of their efforts trying to identify and woo the “less than 30,000 voters nationally [who] would need to change their minds for the government to change as well.”

  28. Chris

    Paul N, it’s a bit depressing that our protest vote mostly moved to Palmer (here in SA as well). I worked out that my vote productivity on polling day was 9 votes per hour 🙁

    Does anyone actually change how they plan to vote at the polling place door?

  29. Iain Hall

    Carol

    Iain, I object to being labeled a leftie “like you”, in such a dismissive tone; your debating skills leave a little to be desired.

    I was trying to be descriptive rather than dismissive Carol and suggesting you are of the left politically is reasonably accurate from what I have seen of your commentary and was not intended to be a pejorative.

    So you’re such a custodian of the truth, anyone who directly challenges you on any point with a different perspective must be slapped down on all points.

    When I debate anyone I like to be thorough and to address all points that they make.

    I check my sources before I write, and I also go to the trouble to spell people I’m addressing’s names correctly. It’s Carol, c-a-r-o-l, not hard for anyone passing observant.

    My late mother used to say “it does not matter what you are called as long as its not “late for dinner”” but I do apologise for mistakenly giving you an extra “r” it was entirely unintentional.

    A little on the offensive, or is it defensive? You’ve also got it wrong about Murdoch, he backed Rudd in 2007.

    I don’t think that I am wrong about the influence of Murdoch in 2007. As it happens I have been writing about Australian politics for many years and I suggest that it was workchoices that did the Howard government in rather than Murdoch even though he coincidentally endorsed Rudd or have you forgotten the union advertising campaign on that policy? A policy which Murdoch endorsed btw.

    You’re welcome to debate me if you care to be civil – I don’t have all the answers, but when I take a position, I’ve read widely & thought it through.

    Glad to hear that as I love a challenge 😉

    And you seem well right of centre to me, that’s fine, but I happen to think the current Govt is a dud, though admit the former made errors & had some personality issues, at least there was some heart there, backed by good policies; the stats on policy as perceived by the electorate bear that out, did you miss that bit too?

    All of us are a moving feast when it comes to describing our politics and I suspect that we are more similar in our model of a good society than we are different. That said it is fine to have “heart” but if you also lack the smarts to make that “heart” into a soundly run administration of good government then you have squat in real terms and that , in a nut shell, is the tragedy of the ALP in government they certainly have lots of “heart” good intentions and even occasionally some good ideas but I despair at the utter inability to make those ideas work as they promised they would work.

    I won’t be changing my mind about those things, unless there’s a compelling argument to do so. There is quite a degree of consensus that Abbott and co are off to a poor start – as expected from their behaviour in Opposition, virtually policy-free, well not much positive anyway.

    Their behaviour in opposition was consistent, disciplined and ruthlessly efficient. which are fine qualities in any political party if you ask me. Certainly you may not like many of the things that they advocate but you can’t claim that the the poor opinion of the Abbott government from those that supported the previous regime like the esteemed contributors to this left of centre blog has any objective truth.

    And the ALP is doing fine sorting out their issues, it could be argued that a bit of time to do that was called for. It’s many of the Australian people in the meantime I fear for & broader issues also.

    Yes there is merit in the ALP making sorting its internal problems out now while they would be getting no kudos for making futile noises at the newly elected government. but I have many doubts about their new Ruddesque half and half model. I can understand why such an ungainly scheme was hatched by the former Brother Number One (he would have had no chance of getting a leader totally elected by the party membership up against the faceless men.

    Sorry, if you’re looking for someone to force your viewpoint onto or shove out of your way while you’re spouting your own unassailable opinions, you’ve got the wrong person.

    While debating politics is a fine sport I have been doing it long enough to know that it is ALL about persuasion rather than coercion. thus my strongly held positions require lots of effort for them to change but they are not entirely set in stone.

  30. John D

    The LNP has been behaving like a branch of the US Tea party since Abbott took over. The evidence to date is that this may actually have helped the LNP by appealing to some traditional ALP voters.
    Combine this with the sort of political cunning that diverts the attention of your opponents whenever they have a good tale to tell and the Tea Party may continue winning. It suits the LNP to have feminists frothing about the cabinet lineup. It suits the LNP to have the ALP and Greens defending the politically toxic carbon tax instead of attacking the direct inaction plan etc.
    Both Labor and the Greens need to step back and have a hard look at both their policies and strategies.

  31. GregM

    2. The number of people who did not vote at all or who cast an informal vote is also the highest, I understand, since WW II, being roughly equal to the ALP or the Coalition’s vote.

    That is not correct. The non voting and informal voting figures are not extraordinarily high compared to part elections and are nowhere near the ALP (33.38%) or coalition’s (45.56%) primary vote.

    The AEC Virtual Tally Room site show that the number of votes cast at the polls was 93.18% of the rolls with 5.90% votes informal, so non-voting plus informal votes were 12.72% of enrolled voters, The comparable figures for 2010, 2007 and 2004 elections are:

    2010 Votes cast 93.22% Informal 5.5% Non vote plus informal 12.28%
    2007 Votes cast 94.78% Informal 3.95% Non vote plus informal 9.17%
    2004 Votes cast 94.32% Informal 5.18% Non vote plus informal 10.86%

    The premise for your argument is therefore completely without foundation.

  32. Sam

    Abbott is once again playing at student union politics, circa 1978.

    Today they’ve announced that university fees for student services will be banned.

    There is something deeply disturbing about men in their mid fifties playing out their personal battles from not 30 years ago, but 35 years ago.

    It is really disturbing that they are the Federal Government.

    What’s next on the agenda: re-prosecution of Vietnam draft resisters?

  33. Carol

    Hi Iain, can’t do all the cutting and pasting, I type one-handed at present & run a little short on time, but suffice to say, some of your arguments I agree with & have already committed to paper, others not so much. I’m not a professional, just a concerned member of the community. Your excuse for whacking on a label as a perjorative & apology for mis-spelling my name are a smidge qualified. I’m guessing I’m no match for your long experience in political commentary, but your doing these things in the first place kinda undermines your cred.

    I would like to think all involved in politics on any level, including my own lowly station, have similarly benevolent motives, but I’m just smart enough to realise that for some, Macchiavellian ambition & sense of entitlement is all that’s under the surface, & witness this more in the LNP than the ALP, citing as evidence relentless dog-whistling initiated by Howard & refined to an artform by Abbott, Morrison & the rest of his, undisputedly disciplined team. I firmly believe only the ALP holds any prospect for decent reforms & infrastructure & fervently hope they do get their house in order, agree this is not a given, though so far, so good, btw, the hackneyed phrase, faceless men, used by ALP-haters as a way to make them appear out of touch, but doesn’t actually mean very much, also irritates the heck out of me. Both sides have their machines & systems, with various flaws & efficiencies. Get over it. I’m sorry, but especially after the last term when their behaviour was so obnoxious, it’s a miracle the ALP got anything done at all let alone almost 600 pieces of legislation delivered, my views on LNP are set in stone.

    Agree largely with a previous poster that whoever gets it right policy-wise & connects adequately with the average voter, no-one’s going to please all, while simultaneously, a house in order, will win the next election, but the signs to date are this ain’t going to be the LNP. However, if all the majority of voters care about is the economy looking good on paper this week & perhaps their own hip pockets, while the future looks grim & their services are withdrawn, your side may well prevail, only time will tell what the collective consciousness is among this crop of voters.

    I’m heartened by the reminder that destructive conservative govts tend to mobilise the otherwise placid like nothing else, & it’s on in a big way, without the need for offensive itchy placards. Abbott’s got big problems coming his way, his unfitness for the role is well-documented, the party is stuck with him – I can’t see him or his party lasting all that long in office. I may well be proven wrong but that is how I see it. While I respect your right to hold your views, I disagree in the main. Discipline & wiliness without substance & goodwill doesn’t cut it either. What the electorate eventually decides is out of my hands, I have no crystal ball nor the means to read all overt signs, but my view on that isn’t going to change.

  34. wmmbb

    Having now voted, we might ask the question, how representative are the parliamentarian elected of the population? Clearly, women are under represented, but that is not the only distortion in the system.

    The belief that the population can be formed in the image of the government, particularly one not based on accountability and transparency, or a relatively small number of voters who make a difference in electoral outcomes, is the way of political dissonance.

    Where is Tony? Has anybody seen him?

  35. Russell

    GregM – do your figures include those not on the rolls, and who (obviously) didn’t vote?

  36. GregM

    Russell my figures are from the AEC site and show percentages of voters on the rolls.

    I think the figure for those who are eligible to register to vote who have not done so is around 10%

  37. Moz of Yarramulla

    Ohh, oh, ooh, can we talk about who is eligible to vote too?

    The current system where someone with severe senile dementia can be enrolled to vote but a Rhodes Scholar who happens to be 17 can’t is slightly odd, in my mind. Universal suffrage, I say!

  38. GregM

    Moz can you name any Rhodes Scholar who happens to be 17?

  39. Ronson Dalby

    I would like to see the voting reduced to 16 but voluntary for 16 and 17yos.

  40. Moz of Yarramulla

    Greg: I can’t nme any Rhodes Scholars at all. Unless naming them all “Bruce” counts 🙂 The point is that it doesn’t what qualifications a person has, if they can’t prove they’re 18 they can’t enrol.

    There’s a second point that someone can have lived in Australia their whole life, got a job, paid taxes yadda yadda, but if they don’t have citizenship they can’t vote.

  41. paul burns

    Tony Abbott was a Rhodes scholar. 🙂

  42. GregM

    Moz, on your first point this disability burdens seven year olds as much as it does seventeen year olds. Should we lower the voting age to seven to accommodate them? And if we do will there not be a clamour from five year olds to lower the voting age even further so that their voice can be heard? Should we also respond to their strident calls?

    On your second point if someone has lived their whole life in Australia, yadda yadda, then, provided that they have turned 18, they can apply for citizenship and provided they meet the test for it, including being of good character, they will be granted it and then they can vote.

    If they don’t want to do so,well that’s their choice and we should respect it, along with its consequences such as not being able to vote or required to sit on juries or hold certain public sector jobs.

  43. GregM

    Tony Abbott was a Rhodes scholar.

    But not at age 17, Paul.

  44. adrian

    GregM’s correct. You want to vote, become a citizen. Not that hard unless you come from a country that does not allow dual citizenship.

    Even then it’s your decision. Depends how important it is for you to vote in Australia.

  45. Snorky

    Sorry Moz and Ronson, but extending suffrage doesn’t seem to me to be the most pressing electoral reform issue facing us. I’d be thinking along the lines of what can we do about the fact that at election time nobody cares a damn about anyone in my (ultra safe Labor) seat, whereas if I lived in Penrith, the parties would be falling over themselves to pander to my every prejudice?

  46. Chris

    I’d be thinking along the lines of what can we do about the fact that at election time nobody cares a damn about anyone in my (ultra safe Labor) seat, whereas if I lived in Penrith, the parties would be falling over themselves to pander to my every prejudice?

    So I’m wondering if its just a very western Sydney focus rather than a marginal seat property. For the last two federal elections I’ve lived in a very marginal electorate and have only once seen a candidate out and about and have never been door knocked (and I work from home so am home most of the time). The local member is very responsive to emails though.

    GregM’s correct. You want to vote, become a citizen. Not that hard unless you come from a country that does not allow dual citizenship.

    I totally agree. Its like people complaining they have to pay the NDIS levy but won’t qualify for the benefits because they aren’t Australian citizens.

  47. Jacques de Molay

    I’ve just got back from a couple of weeks in the US and I can see it clearly. Abbott’s a sham, a placeholder for the Cato Institute-inspired acne-faced Randian fringe-dwellers who live under the perpetual illusion that Australia is longing for guns, tobacco and US-style labour markets.

    Australia’s default position is social democratic. It’s just that its social democratic party is in the process of tearing itself apart, gifting power to ghosts of the DLP.

    Spot on, Mr Denmore. Australia is a centre-left country and right-wingers have never been able to understand that (WorkChoices etc).

    Aside from the general shitness of the ALP (for a number of reasons) I couldn’t believe they thought it was a good idea during the campaign to attack Abbott from the right by declaring his paid parental leave scheme was too generous, Australians have no problem with Big Government spending.

  48. jungney

    Mr D @ 24. Acute analysis. But we can play with the default social democratic politics, on the fringes. The one thing that the reactionaries can’t stand is being laughed at.

    dada

  49. Strahan

    Um……..it was a landslide.

  50. David Irving (no relation)

    Yeah, that was the thinking of the Psychedelic Left back in the day, jungney. I guess mocking them eventually helped get us out of the Great Military Adventure in South East Asia. It certainly used to piss them off, and I think it still fuels Abbott’s pursuit of the same goals he had 35 years ago.

  51. Brian of Buderim

    GregM @ 33 and subsequent posts.
    12.7% informal and failed to vote, plus an unknown number of people eligible but who declined to register is a large number, possibly ~15-16%.
    It is not an expression of disillusionment when between 1 person in 8 and 1 in 6 has the opportunity to take part in the political process but declines?? Come, come!!
    Step back a bit and look at the size of the forest instead of counting the number of trees. My basic thesis stands uncontradicted so far!

  52. alfred venison

    when i came to australia in december ’76, if you were a commonwealth citizen, living at the same address for six months, you were “required” to register. and the category commonwealth citizen included the irish but not the indians. there are many people from that time who are on the rolls now and not citizens. -a.v.

  53. GregM

    Brian of [email protected] the number of people not participating has been, on the AEC evidence, pretty constant for some time, so the current figures on non participation are not evidence, as you argued @27, that the electorate is experiencing a disillusionment of enormous proportions at the present time.

    It’s just the normal situation where some people are not registered to vote, which may include reasons of churn, such as that they have left one electorate and not got around to register in another one, or may be living overseas (about 5% of Australia’s population at any one time) while other people registered to vote do not do so for many reasons, including travel or being on out fishing on holiday, and people voting informal because they don’t like any of the candidates, or dislike one candidate so much that they refuse to put a number against that candidate’s name, rendering their vote invalid.

  54. Katz

    The Libs will be forced to drain the poisoned chalice of a plethora of seats held by wafer-thin margins.

    Eventually, the nervous incumbents of these seats will ask the question, “How will I be returned to Canberra?”

    The answer will be, “Turnbull”.

  55. Brian of Buderim

    GregM
    Thank you for conceding my point which is basically that the number of people out there who are not involved in the political process is much greater than the numerical difference between the two old party groupings. My apologies if I gave the impression that this is a recent development: I realise now that this is not recent and I thank you for pointing this out.