Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Electoral Matters

Although the Member for Wentworth is refraining from actually lighting the touchpaper, we seem to be heading for an election in July.  So I thought I'd get in early with a few thoughts.  I'll start with some humour from past elections.
  • At some point in the 1960s  Private Eye had two alternate images on the cover of the edition prior to a UK General Election.  Both featured Jo Grimmond the leader of the Liberals with a speech bubble saying "I don't believe it.".  One showed Jo smiling broadly with a stamp saying 'Liberals lose election'.  The other showing him in total despair with a stamp saying 'Liberals win election'.
  • A second British joke was a bumper sticker for an election on March 14.  It said "Vote Labour March 15".
  • In the 1980s I worked for an Independent candidate in the first ACT election for self Government and handed out "How to vote" cards for him at a local booth.   At one point Al Grassby, a former Federal Minister who lived nearby turned up and chatted to anyone who'd listen.  He commented about an Irish election in which one of the card distributors appeared to be missing a lot of punters as they went in.  Someone said to him "Seamus, you're missing half the folk!"  His response was  "To be sure it doesn't matter at all.  I'll get them on the way out."
Out constituency is marginal as always.  It is also seen as a bellwether seat since it always goes with the Government.  That possibly reflects it having a fair cross section of the social characteristics as much as anything else.  The three main parties have all announced their candidates and some comments follow on each of them.
  • Liberal have the sitting member Dr Peter Hendy.  After a year of the Abbott rule of terror-of-terrorism he became very constituent focused as he could see his job going along with the Monk's.  He offered to do a lot of stuff to help us get better mobile phone and internet services.  Unfortunately before the community could do much about that Hendy led the charge to install Moderate sized Mal as PM (that is Mr Turnbull: Big Mal is Meninga, Large Mal is the late Fraser and Little Mal is the recently sacked Brough).  It looked as though Hendy's job was safe so constituents returned to the bottom of the pecking order.  Unfortunately Moderate-sized Mal has declined in popularity more than somewhat so possibly that Doctor is Out!
  • Labour have re-endorsed the previous Member Dr Mike Kelly.  He is very active around the electorate and - like Al Grassby - will always talk to anyone if there is half a chance they might vote for him (or if they might know someone who will vote for him).  I have worked for Mike in the last two elections, primarily because he spoke to me when I was handing out cards (for the Green candidate) in 2007.  I reckon he has a really good chance.
  • The Greens have snatched humiliation from the jaws of defeat.  Their candidate is a nice young woman - I assume she is nice despite being a lawyer - who has been interviewed by one of the local newspapers.  Apparently her main goal is to stop the rule of middle aged male politicians.  There is a fair chance that she has just alienated about 40% of the electorate in that one sentence.  I know many good Greens in this electorate: how could they endorse this air-head?
Picking the results is tricky.  12 months ago I would have said Labour both overall and locally.  Six months ago I would said Liberal nationally and probably local.  Now I suspect the Coalition will hold on overall (subject to a few several points to be discussed below) but reckon the disillusionment with Turnbull will make it harder for Hendy to maintain the bellwether status and rate Labour as a possibility locally.  There has been mention in the local media that a few fully corroded-on Monkites  will vote for someone other than Hendy because of his role in rolling said Friar, but just means their second preference will go to Hendy (after whichever bunch of right-wing extremists run a candidate get the first).

The issues that I see potentially causing Turnbull difficulty are:
  • the activities of the Abbott 'loyalists' in coming up with comments designed to destabilise Turnbull and give us back the Monk.  The recent activities of Sophie Mirabella are possibly an indicator of the Shape of Things to come which cause issues.  Also any time the Monk, George Brandis or Peter Dutton open their mouths a PR disaster is likely to emerge.  Did someone mention Barnaby?
  • He is going to announce his Budget a day or two before the last date for the GG to call the election.  Most of the main points have already been announced, but there is always the chance that something in that will bite him in the bum and time is just long enough for antipathy to build up, but not long enough for a Government in caretaker mode to fix anything.
  • The High Court are currently looking to hear a case about the validity of some legislation (IMHO very good legislation in most regards) and if they decide to boot the laws I think there will be much difficulty in running the election.  And the Government will have two or three omelettes on their faces.
  • I didn't expect the PNG High Court to lob in a hand-grenade but they seem to have done just that.  The question is really will Peter Dutton handle this well  - see first bullet above.  However, the decision will also let Sarah Hanson-Young off the leash, so the news isn't all bad for the Government.  The Left of the ALP have also made a contribution towards returning the Government.
  • Question: How do you make Peter Dutton look like an asset?  Answer: Let Christopher Pyne hold a Press Conference.
  • I am unsure whether naughty funding stuff in NSW will have an impact.  It is after all "business as usual"  in that State and the major parties are equally tainted.  However most of the Labour people have been weeded out so it is unfortunate for the Coalition to have Senator Sinodinos' situation prominently in the media. 
  • I am unsure what impact the RBA dropping interest rates on Budget day will have.  My first thought is that it looks like a bit of a friendly fire situation.
.What does Sportsbet have to say?  At the moment they have the Coalition at $1.30 and ALP at $3.50, but the big money is still in its owners Panamanian Bank accounts.  They also have some special markets:
  • for Melbourne Adam Bandt (Greens) is unbackable at $1.10;
  • In Fairfax the sitting member  - Clive Palmer - is written down at $21.00 (Liberal win is $1.01).  They don't yet have a market on Clive going to the slammer for dodgy things but I'd rate it somewhat less than a 20:1 shot.
  • New England has the Coalition at $1.70 (g'day Barnaby) and Tony Windsor - an excellent independent former Member - at $2.05.  That will be the most interesting seat around!

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