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38 responses to “Not-so-great expectations”

  1. Mark Bahnisch

    Paul, I think basic public support for a centre-left government has been present since 2005/6. I don’t think, and haven’t thought for a long time, that there’s real public desire for an Abbott regime, still less for its policy platform. Obscure as it is, there must be sufficient indication (enhanced by the experience now of state LNP and Coalition governments on the Eastern seaboard) that it wouldn’t be a return to Howard, but something much odder and more confronting.

    The parsimonious conclusion is that Labor itself has let voters down.

    My take on the polls is that there’s enormous volatility underlying the headline figures, and I think we’re starting to see that emerge in polls such as this one (and for that matter, the huge disparities Nielsen and Newspoll have both found for the Labor primary vote under Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd). I take all these questions with a massive grain of salt, but it’s fair to say, I think, that we have volatility and that it’s driven at least in part between a dissensus between public wishes on policy and the perception of the government’s performance.

    It’s bigger than a “communication” issue, just as Ted Baillieu’s problems were.

  2. Kim

    One problem is dissonance between what the government does and what it says.

    Two examples:

    (a) 457s, Asian Century.

    (b) Gender equality, forcing single parents onto Newstart.

    In some ways, the “values” are right.

    But a lot of the policy either contradicts them, or is just managerialism by numbers.

    Philosophical and political confusion.

  3. Marian Rumens

    This concentration of personality over policy will see a lot of voters regret their choice as they did in Queensland. The hatred of Julia Gillard has no basis in logic. Tony Abbott was very successful in his denigration of her by constantly repeating that she lied about the carbon tax which,of course she didn’t since she didn’t legislate for a carbon tax but a carbon price. Unless voters return their attention to policy and forget personality, they will be voting against their own best interests

  4. Alison

    It is also the warped coverage of politics by most forms of media. That’s why I’m glad LP is back!

  5. Geoff Robinson

    Australian Election Survey has public opinion, in terms of positioning on a left-right spectrum, steadily moving left. But there is a lot of economic anxiety & that works against incumbent govts though in WA voters see Labor as threat to their good times.

  6. Jacques de Molay

    I agree Mark in that I think there is general support for a centre-left government and the ideals that would come with that versus the shemozzle that has been the Rudd/Gillard governments.

    Almost from the start they drunk the kool-aid spun by the strategists that they needed to be a centre-right government to appeal to notional Lib voters and don’t worry about the Left because where else are they going to go.

    The constant backflipping (CPRS, Mining tax, Carbon tax, Wilkie, Malaysian Solution, knifing Rudd etc) has destroyed the credibility of the government.

  7. Jacques de Molay

    How come my post has gone into moderation?

  8. tigtog

    Jacques, your IP number keeps changing. Every time it does, WordPress will treat you as a first-time commentor and put you into moderation.

  9. paul burns

    I’m just confused. One day Labor is wiped out and its all Gillard’s fault.
    The next day, with the eternal provisoes of if things go well and the Ruddites don’t talk to the press gallery Gillard just might wring Mr. rabbit’s neck.
    I’m getting to the point I ignore the polls because I think they’re bull-shit, whatever they say.

  10. Jacques de Molay

    tigtog, thats weird I’m posting from the exact same computer I did last night and that comment didn’t go into moderation.

  11. Paul Norton

    I’ve currently switched off moderation on this thread because it is less disruptive to my “real” work to delete bad comments as they appear rather than constantly fish for good ones that have been automodded. I’ll switch it back on when I’m doing something different.

  12. tigtog

    In that case, maybe WordPress just decided to muck you around? It’s an unpredictable wee sleekit beastie.

    (ETA: aha, Paul Norton above reveals all – he was mod-queueing the whole thread! So it wasn’t about you at all, Jacques.)

  13. Mark Bahnisch

    @5 and 6 – yep. What would be useful would be data on the relative effects among different groups of voters of policy views and economic factors/perceptions.

    Off the top of my head, I would suspect higher income and education groups would tend to privilege the first and conversely (maybe hence “Western Sydney”).

    Is there work done in pol sci on this?

  14. mindy

    I wonder also if the whole #Ruddmentum is muddying the waters somewhat in voters minds too. They don’t want Abbott, aren’t thrilled with Gillard but might vote Labor if Rudd made a comeback. Perhaps when it becomes apparent that it is Gillard v Abbott then their choices might firm up and more scrutiny of Abbott might (big might) start to happen.

  15. faustusnotes

    How much of the volatility in the poll results is driven by their bias away from young, single renters in the city? I haven’t been able to find much on selection bias in polls but a while back I found a Nielsen (?) document suggesting that their political results significantly under-represent this demographic – a demographic far more likely to vote labor. It could be that this is affecting the polling, though I’m not sure how it would explain the contrast between reported centre-left ideals and reported voting intention in those who do answer the questions.

  16. Salient Green

    I think the main factor working against Labour, Big Greed, is doing so not because of Labour, but sadly, because the Greens are in government.
    Labour has done bugger all to offend Big Greed. The carbon tax is pathetic, the mining tax ineffective, poker machine control pathetic and it’s still full steam ahead for coal, gas and any other mining venture.
    The supermarket duopoly and the banks are still rampant, as are developers with immigrants streaming into Australia at a very worrying rate.
    Big Greed is threatened by the Greens just being there. The best way to get rid of them is to get rid of Labour and sadly, the good things Labour have done, and truth, are just collateral damage to them.

  17. Salient Green

    Labour has annoyed the heck out of me by almost immediately undoing it’s good work as it goes.
    Labour sent off the Margiris but allowed mining in the Tarkine.
    Formed extensive marine parks then allowed the Kimberly gas hub and associated environmental and paleontological (?)destruction.
    Brought in a carbon tax and allowed coal export expansion with continued massive coal exports.
    Poker machine controls which are utterly ineffective. Mining tax but utterly ineffective.
    Claims to be social democratic and a creation of the union movement yet villifies the unemployed and stands back while jobs go overseas.
    Plenty there to piss off the average voter but nothing to annoy Big Greed yet Big Greed still controls the narrative through the media and is clearly sending an anti-Labour message.
    I might add that there are plenty of individual creeps in the media pushing an anti-labour message for their own sick reasons – Misogyny, homophbia etc but it all adds up to the perfect storm.

  18. jumpy

    The vast majority of voters in Australia don’t follow politics very closely, but they must turn up on election day and pick.
    Most are traditional but the swingers look at competence, trust and understand debt and interest burden.
    They don’t want the Government to run their lives.
    The voter gave labor a shot and got Incompetence, lies, the highest debt and interest on that debt in our history and so many rule, laws and regulations they could be a criminal next week if this mob stay in.
    They don’t like Abbott but they are willing to let him have a shot given the alternative.
    Oppositions don’t win office, Incumbents lose office.

  19. Guy

    As much as I would prefer not to frame the election decision in such a “personality politics” way, it does seem as though a certain proportion of people have decided to vote against Julia Gillard, no matter what.

    I’ll be voting for her in September if (cynically speaking, big if) she is still there.

  20. Cindel Towani

    [Moderator note: morphing your nym and other details to evade previous bans is a breach of the comments policy. Bye!]

  21. Peter Murphy

    Cindel: I would put it this way. The average voter does not self-identify as Green or left-winger – or right-winger for that matter. On the other hand, the average voter would probably like policies closer to the “left” on a number of issues, like privatisation.

  22. John D

    One of the things many of us are upset about is that the government is unwilling to increase taxes even though lack of revenue is stuffing up both the federal and state governments. As a result we see things like an nominal Labor government trying to pay for its programs by doing things like screwing single mothers and maintaining Newstart payments at a level that most (all?) of us could not live on.
    It is time Labor screwed up its courage and declared that the Howard tax cuts are unsustainable and paid for by allowing the country’s infrastructure to run down. The government should raise tax rates for the top two levels to pay for federal expenditure. It should also stop refunding all the GST paid by exporters and increase the GST if all the states agree publicly.

  23. John D

    By the way one of the factors behind Obama’s success was his opposition’s insistence that the unsustainable tax cuts GW gave the very rich could not be changed. There is a lesson there for Labor. Perhaps step 1 in building Labor stocks would to be to move Swan. He is just too willing to stifle any talk of raising taxes, running a deficit etc.

  24. jumpy

    Just to give insight into where I’m coming from I’m a Tradesman in the construction industry.
    This industry contributes around %10 of GDP and about %9 of all employment.
    The activity in construction in Australia has contracted, each and every month, for 33 consecutive months.
    This very large group of people ( and their families ) were the ALP base, not any more.
    The best we can hope for is Less Decline (pdf).
    And the media remains ignorant.

  25. Salient Green

    jumpy, unfortunately, most of the construction industry is based on Growth and continual growth is unsustainable.
    In transitioning to a sustainable/steady state economy, there would be a lot of work for construction skills in energy efficient building renovation.
    I am a tradesman too. As a fitter and turner/maintenance fitter/toolmaker/orchardist I know that a tradesman can turn his/her hand quickly to another skill.
    Further to JohnD at 23, I can recommend Robert Reich’s blog.
    http://robertreich.org/

  26. jumpy

    SG
    Our economy is growing, isn’t it?

  27. Salient Green

    Cindel, you a probably right in regards to some of the purely environmental issues but even those who don’t care much about the environment can recognise the rank hypocrisy in much of what Labour does.
    I think most people care about the environment, just not enough to do anything about it.

  28. Ken_L

    Most people very sensibly don’t vote on the basis of a party’s policies. They vote on the basis of which party they trust to manage the affairs of the nation. It’s clear that a lot of people don’t trust the Labor Party and all who sail in her. Their judgement is amply justified.

  29. paul of albury

    That’s the puzzling thing, Ken. if you measure Labor on day to day economic management, and measure by the numbers rather than wishful thinking, Labor are clearly superior to the Libs. Their failing is in personal trust – the Rudd rolling and alleged personal misbehaviour, not how well they can manage the nation’s affairs.

    And to many of us their greatest failing is that they are no longer a party of change, with a vision for an improved future. Instead they stand for doing the same things the Libs would do, better.

  30. Lefty E
  31. RWhite

    If this turns out to be true, a huge mistake in my view – though I could have placed my post saying so much better:
    http://larvatusprodeo.net/archives/2013/03/overflow-thread/#comment-394509

    Where is Bruce Hawker at present?

  32. Lefty E

    I wouldnt bank on it being true RWhite. A story that big would *presumably* result in more than just one leak to Darwin. Who knows though.

    Its sure created some havoc on pollbludger tonight though.

  33. RWhite

    Quite so. I wasn’t.

    Any more than the Twitter/Punch flurry of Thu: “…source unknown. Liberal mischief? Mebbe. Faceless Bruce up to his tricks? P’raps. Mere excess of post-lunch viognier among the suited classes? Quite possible.” http://larvatusprodeo.net/archives/2013/03/overflow-thread/#comment-394509

    It all certainly has the mark of deliberate mischief, now. If Hawker had been spotted fussing around Rudd the past few days , that’d be interesting.

    As I’ve said on Overflow, it’s time for them all to show some spine. The machine-driven revolving guillotine is a path to deserved disrepute and disaster. They’ve got a PM with spine – time for them all to fight it out, with courage and plain facts. I’ll not vote for a Rudd led ALP.

  34. Dave McRae

    This load of horseshit is asserted by all to be true:

    “The voter gave labor a shot and got Incompetence, lies, the highest debt and interest on that debt in our history and so many rule, laws and regulations they could be a criminal next week if this mob stay in.”

    amplification of stupid by an unquestioning media and you get the likes of Ackermen on ABC Insiders paid to rant on about Conroy=Stalin and it’s not bloody questioned. Yeah, Stalin killed 20million odd but Juliar and thus it’s the same – no adult pipes up to say this is stupid – instead it’s transmitted as balance.

  35. Fran Barlow

    Lefty E:

    Hmm, Gillard gone by next week, claims Crikey:

    sigh … overflow thread. …

  36. Fran Barlow

    Dave MacRae:

    you get the likes of Ackermen on ABC Insiders paid to rant on about Conroy=St@lin and it’s not bloody questioned.

    IIRC Farr said “that’s silly” and made something of a point about it. Akerman ended up having the panel laughing at him and doing parody — “At least Pol Pot never had a carbon tax”.

  37. Dave McRae

    Fair enough Fran Barlow. I must admit, I turned off the TV and thought of better things to do mid rant, but it was mostly ALP Fed leadership speculation before that – it was worth it to catch Conroy answering questions.

    His rant is now on the ABC online “featured video” for all to enjoy and learn from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-17/piers-akerman-attacks-totalitarian-conroy/4577978

    And this is the problem now. The Window is News Ltd crank right and News Ltd Malcolm Farr the other. There’s no way a centre-left position well get a look at. Even facts are just opinions.

    Thus Jumpy’s spray of falsehoods is understandable – that crazy is transmitted 1/2 the time as valid opinion and opinion=fact.