Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday Forum - Australia's coming election

Well, based on today's Senate vote, Australia is off to the polls on 2 July. It's going to be a long election campaign. Everybody comes back early for the budget session then the writs are issued and the Government goes into care-taker mode. It really is now, in fact.

The opinion polls suggest a continuing weakening in the Government's position, although it still retains a winning lead, if with losses. However, the election is a long way off, a very long way way indeed, allowing plenty of time for attitudes to shift which ever what way.

We have discussed Mr Turnbull and the Government's position many times here. The people I talk to or whose feeds I read are showing skewed results. If they were representative Labor would be in front, the Liberal Democrat vote would be higher, only the Greens would be about the same.

Last week I bought a copy of the Australian to try to get a different perspective. Even there I noticed that Mr Turnbull's media honeymoon was over.

Up in New England, it's hard to gauge how well Mr Joyce is going as compared to Mr Windsor. I have enough Windsor supporters among my contact network to suggest that Mr Windsor is doing quite well, but they are far from a representative sample.

One of the things that I am finding it difficult to judge is just how the policy debate is going to unfurl. Industrial relations will obviously be one key battle ground. But beyond that? It's likely to be an odd budget, part election, part business as usual except that none of it beyond necessary supply legislation can be discussed in Parliament until the second half of the year.

And will the Senate voting changes yield the Government the desired results? I suspect not. At the moment, it would seem that the Government (assuming it wins) is likely to be left with a very difficult Senate still with a recalcitrant cross-bench.

I wondered what you collectively thought of all this? As always, feel free to go in whatever direction you want!


2 tanners said...

Antony Green expects the Coalition to have one less Senator and for the Greens and NXT (Senator Xenophon) to be the big winners based on the reduced quota required in a DD, former voting patterns and the likely but unquanitifiable reduction of microparties now that votes can be exhausted rather than go through unlikely preference deals.

I'm left to wonder how the Coalition will get it's stuff through. If MT negotiates, will he be able to get legislation passed solely with the support of the Greens? Or will he need NXT as well? Will the DD trigger bill(s) be able to be passed in a joint sitting, or will the HoR result be too close?

Still, Gillard could do it, and if MT can use the DD to negate his worst enemies (the Coalition hardliners) then maybe he will be given enough breathing space to put up his own program. I haven't written Shorten's chances off by any means, but an elected MT will be a great spectator sport, if nothing else.

Jim Belshaw said...

One feasible outcome might be a Labor + green majority. Difficult to know how NXT will go outside SA. Difficult, too, to know how the Lib-Dems in NSW, Lambie in Tasmania, Muir in Victoria might go.

Anonymous said...

"the Government goes into care-taker mode"

Are there any signs we should look for to indicate what is now, compared to what will be then?

opinion polls

One of my favourites on this is/was Bob Ellis. Perhaps it's just me, but I am always more comfortable with an avowed enemy of my own views telling it like he thinks it is, rather than just accepting the waffle of the discrepancies in 'our' position. You can sink your teeth into an arguement only provided it's not obvious pablum.

"Industrial relations will obviously be one key battle ground"

You have to be kidding here, Jim? Or do you mean 'key battleground' in the sense of that which excites the political elite, as opposed to that which actually matters to the rest of us?

Good luck with Tony. I liked his style back when Ms Gillard captured the Iron Throne with his help. But I just wonder about both his relevance and his motives, this time around.


Anonymous said...

Difficult, too, to know how the Lib-Dems in NSW, Lambie in Tasmania, Muir in Victoria might go.

I think Lambie might survive, given the relatively small electorate, and maybe The Brick in Qld. Team X will probably have a couple as well. Muir and Leyonhjelm are hopefully for the chop. Nice fellows both, no doubt - but what, of the larger problems Australia faces, have they actually addressed?

I have no problem with lockout laws, and vaping, and bicycle helmets, or gun rights, as specific issues. But these really are the hackneyed 'first world problem' which everybody with a brain is merely bemused by, before they check their share portfolio, or the latest house sale in their suburb, or worry about the cost of daily living.

These are really not federal election issues - except for the few who earn their living by espousing them.


2 tanners said...

Lambie is popular enough in her home state to survive a DD, so is the Brick with Eyes. Muir, Day, Leyonhjelm are less likely, and I'm not sure, but the Lib Dems I think had a problem with their party name. Plus they are unlikely to get the top ballot spot again. NXT and the Greens between them should hold the balance of power, but if I was Labor, I wouldn't be celebrating very hard. They've moved well away from being natural allies.

A big amount is going to come down to rejection of the big parties, swing back to Labor and vote exhaustion. Actually, by July 2nd, voter exhaustion will be a factor too.

Jim Belshaw said...

kvd, interesting piece on the use (and abuse) of the cartaker role in the Canberra Times - It deals with the now and then quite well.

I'm reporting on New England, but at a personal level and despite my previous support for Mr Windsor I, too, am distrustful of his motives and don't think that he should have run again. Vale Bob Ellis.

I don't agree with you on Muir and Leyonhjelm. If I was in Victoria, I might well vote for Muir and will probably vote for Leyonhjem. Muir has done pretty well to my mind,while I support L as the only one really arguing against the nannny state. Fags will be the decider. I know that Mr Shorten and Mr Turnbull share the same regressive authoritarian view on cigarette taxes. W know what to expect from Mr Shorten, but if the budget goes the way I expect you will have bib and bub.

Comments on the brick interesting, 2t. I have no idea what his electoral strength is in Queensland.

Anonymous said...

Jim, thanks for the Canberra Times link; explains a bit of the process.

But as this is a 'monday forum' could I direct your attention to another article I found linked on that page:

I think the Tasmanian electricity situation is quite extraordinary, on a number of levels.


Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks for the Tasmanian link, kvd. It is an extraordinary situation, but I guess foreseeable. The combination of low rainfall with a a cable outage was statistically significant. Indeed, a story in the Mercury - - suggests that Hydro's risk management committee raised the outage risk only days before it occurred.

I guess that there is a financial calculation involved. The costs to the company from an outage vs the cost of taking dded precautions Beyond that are the costs to the state itself. Hydro Tasmania is Government owned, but probably makes its risk assessments primarily on commercial rather than public interest grounds.