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Where's Costello when needed? « Previous | |Next »
November 21, 2007

Howard is attempting to shore up his core constituency with his advertising blitz about the sky falling in. Suprisingly, I haven't seen one Liberal street image of Howard in Adelaide---nor any in Melbourne when I was there on Monday and Tuesday. The only images of Howard I've seen are on ALP billboards with their warning about not taking Workchoices further. Does that mean Howard is part of the problem?

Bill Leak

I understand that the Treasurer is working on advocacy messages to voters in target seats in support of specific candidates. Will the unfortunate targeted voters have to pay for their unsolicited massages when the phone bill comes in next month? I feel sorry for them.

Howard's political epitaph is currently being written. The presidential politics that focused on promoting Howard is now working against him. Are the women turning against Howard? Howard remains strong on being better able to handle the economy and as being decisive and strong. But he's gone too far on Workchoices and the Liberals know that the smell of WorkChoices is a key reason why they are now facing defeat.

Judging by the Liberal adverts I heard in the taxi's about union fanatics, environmental extremists and learners being in charge of our economy Howard's appealing to the doubters in his hard core constituency, by opposing change and creating fears about the knowns of an unknown future under the ALP. Yet the Liberals will change leaders if they win, and step into the unknowns with Costello. More IR change? Confusing, huh?

Costello's parrotting the line that "there will be no changes" ignores what we all know-- that he will become captain of the very rusty looking SS Liberal. Howard, after all is a Prime Minister, not a president issuing imperial edicts.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:29 AM | | Comments (21)


Howard is appealing to his socially conservative heartland. He's started talking about an election outcome producing a politically correct alliance of Labor and Green's on drugs, education and social isues.

I hope that the Greens outpoll the out-of-favour Liberals in the inner city metropolitan seats in Melbourne and Sydney, where the Liberals run dead. Then we might have more organic coffee shops and better quality slow cooked food.

'Sure up?'
Shore up - correct

thanks.Spelling corrected.

I will have to check the boxing rules but I am sure that with 10 seconds to go that this would not be counted as a knock out. The count would most likely start when Howard hit the floor and that would be a few seconds from this point. So if the ref counted to 6 and the final bell rang it would go to a count back.

But seriously The point you make is valid. I would expect Howard to appeal heartfelt to the people soon and say. Who do you as Australians feel deserves the job Costello or Rudd? Who is the one that has done the hard work?
It will work for some. But whether it works for most is unknown.

Hows the nostrils?
Are you still smelling blood on the streets?

I've more or less lost all interest in the election campaign even though I know that about 20% of voters make up their mind in the last few days and the Liberal strategists are looking for the signs of God's intervention---the "narrowing" is happening; the Swing Back To The Liberals Has Started In WA etc.

The press gallery is so "embedded" within the camp-followers accompanying the party leaders on their daily fly-in photo ops that they just write about these staged media events on the road and opinion polls.

I guess my lack of interest is called campaign fatigue. Just three more sleeps. How many more opinion polls? I'm going cold turkey.

In Todays Crikey for squatters Norman Abjorensen says that Rudd needs 16 seats to win government, but let’s assume the Liberals pick up the two ALP held marginals in the west, Cowan and Swan, which looks at least possible. That makes 18 seats for Rudd to seize. He says:

Clearly there will be a swing of sorts and a not insubstantial one. We can with some confidence therefore write off in likely falling order the following 16 government seats: Kingston (SA), Bonner (Qld), Wakefield (SA), Makin (SA), Braddon (Tas), Wentworth (NSW), Bass (Tas), Moreton (Qld), Solomon (NT), Lindsay (NSW), Eden-Monaro (NSW), Bennelong (NSW), Dobell (NSW), Deakin (Vic), McMillan (Vic) and Corangamite(Vic).

That first tranche of possible marginal losses falls with a swing of 5.3 per cent or less, but it excludes two government-held marginals in WA, Stirling and Hasluck, which would fall to Labor with swings respectively of 2 per cent and 1.8 per cent.

At this point, the ALP would need to pick up two more seats – and if the government manages to hold one of the above, then three more seats. He then adds that if we are watching the count at home on television, the benchmark seats then become the crunchers:
Boothby (SA) with a swing of 5.4 per cent, Page (NSW) 5.5, Blair (Qld) with 5.7 per cent, and La Trobe (Vic) 5.8.If Labor takes these, then government is Kevin Rudd’s – but only just.

Abjorensen then goes on to say that should there be a continuing swing against the coalition, the following seats requiring a swing of under seven per cent become the ones to watch:
Herbert (Qld), Paterson (NSW), Kalgoorlie (WA), McEwen (Vic), Longman (Qld), Cowper (NSW) Sturt (SA) and Robertson (NSW).

It's a big ask. The Coalition could still sneak back with one or two seats.

Costello has gone missing when he's needed by a bloodied Howard because he's become infatuated with loveins. Poor fellow. Maybe they are both on the nose?

the blood will flow freely in Liberal HQ if Howard loses the election but retains his seat as expected. Expect the NSW Christian Right wing to move into the political vaccum and shift the Liberals to the Right.

We can expect the Liberal's educational policy to include creationism to be taught in public schools along wiith the 3 R's. The Liberals willl hold that the Constitution is founded on Christian values and blessed by God. This will be resisted from within by the liberals and more blood will flow. It won't be pretty.

So I guess I am alone in my prediction of a coalition victory with a majority of 10 seats then.

yes I doubt Howard will lose his seat.

The press club seems all about to yawn today. Rudd spoke well when he was talking about what was rehearsed but again showed he was fallible in a crunch.
Its all starting to look a bit like Father Xmas vs The Easter Bunny to me.

It will be interesting to see how hard Rudd is pushed on the ABC tonight

I reckon you are in the minority on this. Maybe this appeal by the PM to those wavering in his core constitutency---voters who say they're leaning to Labor but can't quite explain why---can work:

I'm focused on spending my waking hours and my energy over the next three days in saying … if you think that Howard hasn't done a bad job, if you think the economy's good and national security is being looked after but you're flirting with change just for the sake of change, remember that you can't have a changeless change of government. There's always a risk in changing government and Australia will not be the same if we elect a (different) government. It's not like a Christmas present you didn't want and you can take it back at the Boxing Day sale, it's not like that. It's much harder than that. And the country will change. Every country changes when it changes its government.

It's the old Keating line: change the government change the country. The Coalition has nothing to offer other than fear and an appeal to the undecided not to change for the sake of it. Presumabaly that appeals to the self-employed battlers, and not to the CentreLink dependents as they've already well and truely gone. .

the advertising blitz has finally ended. Thank goodness. I was heartily sick of the 'vote for us don't vote for them' messages wrapped up in scaremongering.

the ALP have run a better advertising campaign than the Liberals. The latter's negative scare campaign--"they'll stuff the economy" hasn't gained much traction, whilst its 'go for growth' slogan was shot down by the Reserve Bank's interest rate rise.

Labor's adverts stood for the future with its time slogan. Not original or clever, but it has garned support without alienating too many people. The new leadership slogan was a fizzer.

re the blood on the floor scenario.

If things do change on Saturday as you imply, then in opposition, Peter Costello will inherit the Liberal leadership, Abbott is his deputy, and the social liberals will be treated as traitors by the conservatives.

Abbott, as a intellectual and political warrior, will try to continue the conservative's cultural wars fight in the battle of ideas against the left-liberal orthodoxy, which has consolidated itself in the institutions of civil society - the ABC, the universities and the public service.

have you noticed that the business-led advertising in support of WorkChoices has gone quiet? The Government's pre-campaign advertising blitz is increasingly being seen as a forgotten failure. The industrial relations issue mostly works in favour of Labor. They've won this debate.

two possibilities re your hopes: there is a very late swing that the polls miss. Or all of the polls are erring in the same direction.

the other part of the Liberal advertising campaign is the reason given why Rudd + Co will stuff up the economy. The reason is on the prospect of union influence on an incoming Rudd Labor government. That message has gained traction in the economy. You hear it being repeated word for word by some swinging voters.

My understanding is that the Mark Textor campaign strategy was for the Government to stop Labor setting the agenda, stress its economic management record and paint Labor as a risk - or it would face electoral oblivion. I guess they have tried to do that but Labor has been able to see the agenda and the Coalition has slipped up at crucial moments.

Thus the fake pamphlet antics of the Liberal Party in the electorate of Lindsay saying the ALP supports Islamic terrorism would have ruined Howard's attempt to get voters to concentrate on the Howard message---- that his government had transformed the nation for the better and that a Labor government would be a bunch of economic and cultural vandals.

The Liberal advertising campaign hasn't gained traction because the public want to hear what Rudd has to say. After 11 years the public have heard everything the Coalition and the Prime Minister have said many times before and they are simply not listening.

Maybe they've been on the union issue. Depends who 'they' are though. Is it just Coalition supporters who are not really serious about changing their vote?

yes I am standing out there somewhat alone and perhaps relying too heavily on my readings of casting dried fish heads and chicken claws. Also I see it as important to separate what I want to happen from what I think will happen. It isn't that I don't want Labor to win. I don't want Rudd to be P.M. As I have said before he was my local member and I met him and spoke to him a few times. There is no doubt that he is a good talker but so are all con artists. That is the tools of their trade.

Back to the polls.
I have some concerns about the reading of the swings with such a high percentage of undecided. It is clear to me that these undecided have not bought the need for a change line or they would of swung that way. Also at the last election there was a huge angst out there regarding Oz's involvement in Iraq and many people voted against the Government because of that but still they won convincingly. Workchoises is causing some angst but not what Iraq did.
I don't really go for averaging swings because they don't take into account local issues and local candidates but if I did I would be thinking along the lines of a 3% swing.
There is no doubt that the government will lose seats. Half of their majority would be about right. It is also quite possible that they will pick up 2.
I see it as more of an earthquake and a few buildings falling over rather than a landslide.


As you say, the strategy depends heavily on setting the agenda, but they realised too late the agenda had already been set against them. It also depends on your opposition behaving in a predictable way, which Labor didn't.

Labor were supposed to respond with counter attacks, but you can't fight with someone who agrees with everything you say.

The greatest lesson any party can learn from this is that any game plan gets predictable after a while if it's the only one you've got. Of course, the other problem is that after a while a given leader can only be credible in limited situations. Oddly, Costello might have done better using the same old game plan simply because it was coming from a different person.

Bit late now.

Now in normal circumstances a lot of people would tick greens in the senate but I wonder if the thought of Labor with the states and federal Governments and the chance of control of the senate through the greens might scare people off a bit.
It will be interesting to see if the greens vote goes down. I would think that with all this talk of climate change if the greens vote stayed about the same this would be the reason.