Liberals win safe liberal seats: thank god for Tony!

Could News Ltd be any more gushing in its efforts to portray the Liberal Party retaining Bradfield and Higgins on Saturday as some kind of a ringing endorsement of Tony Abbott?

Liberal leadership gamble on Tony Abbott pays off in polls

Oh, come off it. The retention of a sixty year old safe seat somehow due to the new leader?


Bet you Mark Latham Tony Abbott is going to win in 2004 2010. In the week since his accession, things look good. Finally, a strong leader ready to take the fight to that nasty John Howard Kevin Rudd!

Only an extreme optimist would’ve thought the progressive Greens’ second federal lower house seat victory in history would be in a long-standing safe conservative seat – since its formation in 1949, it’s been held exclusively by Liberal Party members and Prime Ministers. And it’s not surprising that the Greens vote didn’t equal the ALP plus Greens vote at the last election; there are just as many ALP voters who the party has trained to hate the Greens as there are wealthy conservative voters who’d consider voting against self-interest and supporting a progressive party.


Also, I haven’t forgiven Hamilton for his support of Conroy’s bullshit filter – the Greens are the strongest opponents of the ridiculous idea, and I’m not keen on Clive diluting that opposition.

So, sure – Abbott and the conservatives dodged the most crippling bullet imaginable, losing their safest seats whilst in the middle of the new leader’s honeymoon period. They’re undoubtedly relieved that their most reliable voters didn’t abandon the party as soon as he took over – but they’re hardly the middle of the roaders they should be most worried about Abbott driving away.

It’s a bit early for the Liberals to be breaking out the champagne.

UPDATE: Suggests Bernard Keane, via twitter:

Take note of all the commentators who are declaring today that the Libs have got it right on Abbott, and compare in six months.

Tobias has a post over at Pure Poison asking commenters to post links and quotations of over-enthusiasm by the punditocracy for future amusement.

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68 responses to “Liberals win safe liberal seats: thank god for Tony!

  1. Didn’t the Greens say that the by-elections were referendums on climate change?

  2. I loved Milne’s comment about Alamein being a more working class area of the electorate.

  3. Sure but I’d note that the Oz also had Malcolm Mackerras saying that Higgins would go to the Greens and that Bradfield would be decided on preferences … why he still gets called on for quotes is anyone’s guess …

  4. Obiviously Clive was a tad optimistic:

    The high profile Greens’ candidate, Canberra academic Clive Hamilton, said Higgins’ voters knew the by-election was really about federal issues.
    “The events of the last week or two weeks have conspired to turn this into a real contest,” he told reporters in Malvern East.
    “There has been a shift in the mood of the electorate.

    Certainly a shift in the mood increased the Liberal vote. It doesn’t look like Abbott has hurt the Libs. Maybe Liberal voters prefer a leader that doesn’t look like an ALP stooge.

    Funnily enough, the by-elections didn’t make the front page of the SMH this morning.

  5. There were a lot of true believers last week predicting that a climate sceptic’s rise to the Liberal leadership would result in electoral damage for the Libs in the weekend’s elections. There were some who even argued a possible Green victory in Higgins.

    Yet we have seen the Libs returned in both seats with an increased majority. As far as I’m aware there was no discernable swing to the Greens at all. All those who believed the electorate would punish the Liberals for their climate scepticism were wrong.

    But instead of actually dealing with reality we seem to be hanging on to the same mentality that caused the misread the weekend’s results – except now the prediction is pushed out by six months. I suppose we must give the electorate time to catch up to the position we know they should take.

    Wake up people. The sceptics are in ascendency – the ETS is dead, the science is under sustained attack, and the Australian people have already given a small indication that they don’t see AGW as a vote-changer. The complacency born from the “everyone agrees with us” delusion is about to completely unravel.

  6. “Sure but I’d note that the Oz also had Malcolm Mackerras saying that Higgins would go to the Greens and that Bradfield would be decided on preferences … why he still gets called on for quotes is anyone’s guess …”

    Because it suited some people to exaggerate the Greens’ chances in a safe Liberal seat?

    “There were a lot of true believers last week predicting that a climate sceptic’s rise to the Liberal leadership would result in electoral damage for the Libs in the weekend’s elections. There were some who even argued a possible Green victory in Higgins.”

    Those who argued that there’d be a bit shift hurting the Liberal base by the election of one of the most conservative leaders the party has had – well, sure. They were very wrong.

    Most pundits think Abbott will hurt the Libs by making them less attractive to swinging voters, though – and the weekend’s results contradict that not a jot.

    “the Australian people have already given a small indication that they don’t see AGW as a vote-changer. “

    “The Australian people”? I think you’re extrapolating somewhat.

  7. Shhh, Mondo. Don’t tell them the truth. You will be cast out like a prophet in his own home town.

    They will not take kindly to suggestions that they don’t understand how others think. Everyone knows that these bogans are just fearful bitter people clinging to their bibles and their guns.

    Forget about rational argument, or even pretending that they are human. The appropriate response is scorn and contempt.

    I mean just because there was a swing to the Liberals doesn’t mean that they captured any swinging voters.

  8. Most pundits think Abbott will hurt the Libs by making them less attractive to swinging voters, though – and the weekend’s results contradict that not a jot.

    I certainly agree that this observation is both accurate and fair – reading too much into this result is silly.

    I guess I’m just surprised at how quickly last week’s predictions that the Liberal party’s open embrace of Climate Scepticism would see them punished at the weekend elections have evaporated. The common wisdom around these parts seemed to be that the Liberals were utterly insane for picking Abbott and that their denialism would see them punished and the Greens rewarded.

    But it didn’t happen, and nobody seems willing to face up to the possible implications of this.

    I still believe that the sceptic’s message is FAR stronger than many of us are willing to admit, and that it will have massive traction with the Australian voter. Knocking science down is a hell of a lot easier than building it up.

    Personally I think we’re looking at a complete collapse of the support for climate change action in this country.

  9. Did anyone here really think the Liberals would lose safe wealthy seats to the progressive Greens?

    I do agree that the ETS issue is not the easy win that some think it is – Labor’s policy is a compromise that pleases no-one. It certainly doesn’t impress me as a Greens voter.

    I think Labor will be stupid to make this an election about the ETS. Abbott should be electoral poison – but on issues like personal freedom and industrial relations. I’m fairly lefty, and the climate is still not the issue that will decide my vote.

  10. Did anyone here really think the Liberals would lose safe wealthy seats to the progressive Greens?

    No – but plenty apparently believed that there would be a swing to the Greens. This predicted swing didn’t eventuate – in fact the swing went the other way.

    Confessions – are you reading this? You are one of those who I think was quite convinced we would see the Libs punished for their lack of coherency on climate change.

    Have these results given you any pause to reconsider?

  11. Well… there was a swing to the Greens. It just wasn’t 100% of the ALP vote.

    But you wouldn’t expect that it would be. There are plenty of conservative ALP voters in Higgins, who might prefer the Liberals to the Greens.

  12. “Because it suited some people to exaggerate the Greens’ chances in a safe Liberal seat?”

    And you can call other people conspiracy theorists about climate change with a straight face!? Ha!

  13. Methinks people trying to read the Liberals fortunes out of 2 by-elections where Labor didn’t stand a candidate are equally delusional IMO.

  14. The ALP didn’t run. They’re both extremely safe Liberal seats. The Liberal Party’s communications wing (ie News Ltd) can make of it what it wants.

    And even I will admit that the Greens were stupid if they made it an election on climate change – there are other issues, albeit not as important perhaps.

  15. I can’t recall any predictions of electoral doom for the Liberals in these by-elections.

    I do recall lots of speculation as to whether the recent leaderaship turmoil would hurt them or help the greens.

    But those are two different things.

  16. First of all, let’s all welcome Shabadoo to the site.
    I’ve always thought that his reason and intellect was better suited to this mob, as opposed to the PP site.
    I just hope that he’s ready for the fight! 🙂

    With regards to the non-event that was the topic of this post, …Hello?
    Ther are no asumptions that can be drawn and no extrapolation to be made from the results of the two by-elections.
    There is no point discussing the result, for reasons that Jeremy pointed out in his post.

    Let us all wait until Mr. Abbott is forced to come up with a policy that is not “opposite to what the opther bloke had”.

    cheers.

  17. At last we see a contest between a only one major party and the greens – and we see the result.

    Deep intellectual analysis is really no substitute for….hmmm…..victory?

  18. Please forgive my shitty spelling in the last comment.

    Cheers,

  19. Have these results given you any pause to reconsider?

    Didn’t see this before, sorry Mondo.

    The answer is no. My reasons:

    1. Labor didn’t stand candidates. Whatever you might think about Liberal vs Greens in safe Liberal seats, the main action is between Liberal and Labor. FWIW I think Labor can realistically aim to claim Higgins next year.

    2. Antony Green said the voter ‘turnout’ was lower than at the 2007 election. What if those who didn’t ‘turnout’ were Labor supporters? Ont his score, look at the DLP vote for Higgins and Bradfield.

    3. The Liberals actually don’t have a position on climate change at the moment save for a series of populist attacks on Labor’s “massive new tax” and opposition to the government’s scheme.

    4. Paul Fletcher’s camp were handing out personalised notes from Paul with their HTV cards indicating he personally supported action on climate change. Kelly O’Dwyer reportedly distanced herself from the Liberal party in correspondence to voters. This suggests to me both candidates were worried that Abbott’s carry on would impact voters.

    5. Higgins had a shit Greens candidate: a radical extremist unlikely to appeal to blue-bloods, who like their political candidates more restrained.

    6. Blue ribbon Liberal seats will always be….blue ribbon Liberal seats.

    You are sounding like a Boltite Mondo: assumption making either out of context, or without all the facts. Frankly I’m disappointed.

  20. Oh and I meant to add:

    7. We’ve just had two national polls, neither of which have shown any movement at all to the coalition.

  21. “Higgins had a shit Greens candidate: a radical extremist”

    Is there any other kind? 🙂

  22. Is believing in better public funding of health and education “extremism”?

  23. Seriously J, you bit on that one?

  24. I’m in a bitey mood. 🙂

  25. Is there any other kind?

    There are plenty of Greens candidates, if not the majority who are acceptable to me.

    The reason I tag Hamilton as an extremist is he has spoken in favour of the governments internet filter, he uses unfortunate analogies with Nazis to make his points, and in the past he has articulated what I consider to be extreme views on tackling climate change.

    To top if off he lives in Canberra, not Higgins. These days you are fair game for criticism as a pollie if you don’t live in the electorate for which you seek support.

    The Greens platform is a sensible one for people who consider themselves to be Left of center. I don’t usually vote Greens in the lower house because I live in a safe Liberal seat and a vote for the Greens is a wasted vote IMO. I have however voted Greens in the senate, except for last fed election where getting rid of Howard was the priority.

    It is disingenuous to claim that all Greens are radical extremists when you consider the radical throwbacks who occupy safe Liberal seats.

  26. “I don’t usually vote Greens in the lower house because I live in a safe Liberal seat and a vote for the Greens is a wasted vote IMO.”

    Please explain this. We have preference voting. How is your vote “wasted” by putting the Greens at number one?

    On the contrary, I’d suggest it effectively gives you a double vote – you tell whichever candidate wins your seat that there are people in your electorate who agree with the Greens’ platform, and they might want to moderate their views accordingly; and with your preferences you also get to vote for or against whichever major party you like.

  27. The objective as far as I’m concerned is to defeat the Liberal candidate. The best way to do that is to vote for the party that would never preference Liberals in my seat: Labor.

  28. Um, what? Unless you vote above the line on the senate paper (where, despite the Greens lobbying for above the line preferencing, at the moment you can only vote “1” and you trust your luck to that party’s ticket), YOU control your preferences.

    If you vote 1. Greens 2. ALP 3. Liberal, there’s NO WAY your vote could help the Liberals.

  29. Are you talking senate or HOR?

  30. Because I’m quite happy to vote for the Greens in the senate. I would prefer however to control the preference distribution myself when it comes to HoR. Which is why I vote 1. Labor 2. Greens and then whatever. The last election we had a good independent who I put 3rd, but we have a proliferation of One Nation, christian fundies, Nationals and Liberals who have to be sorted into order of preference.

  31. Confessions, you always control the preference distribution yourself when it comes to the HoR.

    I don’t understand why you think voting 1. Greens 2.Labor 3. Liberals in the HoR could work as anythingbut a vote against the Liberals. Better than that, as a vote for the ALP to be less like the Liberals.

    In what scenario would voting 1. Greens 2. Labor 3. Liberals help the Liberals?

  32. It probably doesn’t. But the greens are unlikely to ever form government, so in that sense placing them above labor to me feels like a wasted vote.

  33. If they have no hope of winning the seat at all, then your vote becomes an ALP vote when they’re eliminated. BUT voting 1. ALP tells them they can take you for granted. Voting 1. Greens 2. ALP tells them that they have progressive voters who are not rusted on and who they should pay attention to. The more people who vote 1. Greens 2. ALP the stronger that message.

    There’s no way at all that a vote for a third party in a preference system is a “wasted vote”. It might be in countries without preferences, like the US, where a vote for the Greens instead of the Democrats effectively helps the Republicans. But that’s not the case here.

  34. You are probably right. Still, it *feels* like a wasted vote.

    I take your point about my vote “being taken for granted”, but surely that’s only relevent when Labor are in power, or in this case hold the seat?

  35. The higher the Green vote overall, the more the ALP has to move to the left to try to protect its flank. If you just vote for the ALP alone, then it’ll feel confident trying to build its vote by chasing voters to the right – like religious fundamentalists.

    The only reason to vote 1. ALP is if the party presents policies closest to your views on most issues.

  36. Geez Confessions – calling me a ‘boltite’ simply because I’m worried that Abbott is a bigger threat than people are willing to admit is a bit harsh!!

    All I’m saying is that we should not underestimate an Abbott led Liberal party, and we should not assume that the veracity of climate change is as ‘obvious’ to others as it is to us.

  37. reading anything by dennis shanahan i can feel myself getting dumber

  38. “Conroy’s bullshit filter”??

    If only!

  39. The only reason to vote 1. ALP is if the party presents policies closest to your views on most issues.

    No way! The only reason to vote ALP when you live in a safe Lib seat is to make sure you stick it to the Liberal party. You won’t change my mind on this I’m afraid, but you make sensible points in any case.

    Geez Confessions – calling me a ‘boltite’ simply because I’m worried that Abbott is a bigger threat than people are willing to admit is a bit harsh!!

    Yeah, guess so – I thought you were trying on a bit of schadenfreude.

    How do you feel having seen the shadow front bench? You don’t surely think that the bunch of has-beens and loons he’s selected can match the government?

  40. “No way! The only reason to vote ALP when you live in a safe Lib seat is to make sure you stick it to the Liberal party. You won’t change my mind on this I’m afraid, but you make sensible points in any case.”

    Voting for any party other than the Liberal party sticks it to the Liberal party. As long as you put the ALP above them you’ve done at least as much to hurt them as you would’ve if you’d put the ALP first. More, in fact.

  41. Thats not quite right. Depending on which party you vote for, preferences can be directed to the Libs – you could put them first and still end up with your vote going Lib. Even independent candidates can preference Libs ahead of ALP or Greens.

    There is another argument in favour of voting Greens which I’ve only just thought of: money. I’m sure the Greens don’t accept donations from corporates (correct me if i’m wrong), so they are far more dependent than Labor on the cwlth funding they get for their primary vote.

    If I can be certain that Greens preferences *will* go to Labor in my seat the funding issue is probably more likely than anything else to convince me to direct my 1st vote to the Greens.

  42. “Thats not quite right. Depending on which party you vote for, preferences can be directed to the Libs – you could put them first and still end up with your vote going Lib.”

    NO. That is quite wrong. No. No.

    Please let me be very clear about this, because it’s important.

    If you fill in your preferences – which you have to for a valid vote – then they go exactly where you’ve said they go. It doesn’t matter where any of the independents or anyone else wants you to direct your preferences – it’s where YOU direct them.

    The shit-storm at election time is over “how to vote” cards – but you don’t have to follow them at all. Even if the Greens were to put the Liberals higher on their HTV in a particular electorate – which only happens very, very rarely, when the ALP candidate is even worse – then you can easily override that by not putting the Liberals higher on your ballot. An HTV card is just a request by a party – you do not have to follow it to vote for them.

    It is IMPOSSIBLE for your preferences to go anywhere but where YOU expressly choose them to go.

    The ONLY exception to this is the above-the-line ticket voting in the Senate, where you mark “1” for a party and then it’s completely up to that party where your vote goes. That’s a dangerous thing to trust, as ALP Senate voters discovered in 2004 when their votes were used to elect Fielding.

    The Greens argue for above-the-line preferencing in the Senate, where you can issue your preferences between the parties just like in the HoR, but without having to number all 80 boxes – the only alternative to nominating a ticket at the moment. (I do it, but I can understand why many just vote 1 above the line – even though it means they have no idea where their vote is going.) But the major parties have stifled such moves, because they like the control the ticket system gives them.

    But in the HoR, there is no way for a party to hijack your preferences. They’re yours, and your preferences are sacred.

    You can be absolutely certain that your preferences will go wherever you want them to go.

    As to the second point – you are quite correct, every first preference vote the Greens get is funding they get instead of the ALP. Parties get election funding based purely on their first preference votes.

  43. What happens if my first numbered candidate scores lowest number of votes? That person is eliminated and it goes down to how other people voted, possibly for candidates I didn’t want as 1st preference, or even 2nd or 3rd preference. And with the rightards that live in my electorate, if the Lib person wasn’t so strong a vote, any old redneck could feasibly get up!

    That’s why your number 1 vote is important IMO.

  44. “What happens if my first numbered candidate scores lowest number of votes? That person is eliminated and it goes down to how other people voted, possibly for candidates I didn’t want as 1st preference, or even 2nd or 3rd preference.”

    NO. If your first numbered candidate is eliminated, your vote goes to the person you placed second.

    Provided that you place the ALP above the Liberals, your vote will always help the ALP ahead of the Liberals.

  45. Okay, fair enough.

    You learn something new every day.

  46. Happy to help. It worries me that the majors have been so successful in confusing the issue that people feel they have to vote for them to be “safe”.

  47. I don’t vote 1. ALP in the HoR because I didn’t understand the preference issue. As I’ve said it’s mostly because I don’t see the point in voting 1. Green when they don’t have a chance of forming government – Labor do.

    Having said that, the *only* thing that would tempt me to change, now that I’m aware of preferencing, is the funding issue. Labor is rich, the Greens are poor so sending the greens funding for my primary vote seems a no-brainer to me.

  48. How do you feel having seen the shadow front bench? You don’t surely think that the bunch of has-beens and loons he’s selected can match the government?

    Bishop and Ruddock – geez, they’re selecting dinosaurs now!!

    But my unease remains. Not because I think thath the new Liberal team has anything of value of offer – but because they (and their media barrackers) are unbelievably good at making it look like they have something of value to offer. And if the ‘climategate’ nonsense continues to gain traction it will only help them.

    I think that Australia’s will to take decisive action on climate change is hanging by a thread. In that context I see a scissors-wielding Andrew Bolt (and his politician followers) taking a run at that thread, and I’m not sure the threat is being taken as seriously as it should.

  49. From some of the comments here, it looks like some people will be wondering what happened if the Coalition buts up a respectable performance at the next election. At least it is likely that they will oppose the government.

    Also Mondo, I don’t think you need to look to Bolt to bring down the Hopenchangen conference. The participants appear to be quite likely to do that on their own.

  50. To be clear SB – I don’t thik Bolt will even register as a blip in relation to Copenhagen. His views are an utter irrelevancy from the perspective of the conference participants.

    My concern is that his dishonest and deliberately deceptive campaign to undermine climate science at all costs will distort domestic politics, mislead Australians and destroy any hope of achieving a consensus amongst voters in relation to the importance of this issue.

  51. I think it is good that people are questioning the holy mantra of “The science is settled”. Turns out a lot of it is not ‘science’ as much as unverifiable assertion.

    If the science is so conclusive, no doubt the scientists will be able to present irrefutable arguments to that effect.

    What we are seeing is a shift from alleged certainty in 2005 when alarmist Flannery said:

    “The general patterns that we’re seeing in the global circulation models – and these are very sophisticated computer tools, really, for looking at climate shift – are saying the same sort of thing that we’re actually seeing on the ground. So when the models start confirming what you’re observing on the ground, then there’s some fairly strong basis for believing that we’re understanding what’s causing these weather shifts and these rainfall declines, and they do seem to be of a permanent nature.”

    To an acknowledgement that things are once seemingly certain are not so certain in 2009, when Flannery said:

    when the computer modelling and the real world disagree, you’ve got a very interesting problem, and that’s when science really gets engaged. We don’t actually know why the current cooling is occurring because the current modelling doesn’t reflect it. We can’t pretend we have perfect knowledge – we don’t.

  52. I think it is good that people are questioning the holy mantra of “The science is settled”

    It is good in principle, I agree. But the potential benefits of questioning the science are significantly undermined if that enquiry is based almost entirely on an ideological agenda. This is particularly so if the questioning is intentionally designed to promote a preferred outcome, rather than to genuinely resolve a scientific enquiry.

    You’re a classic example SB. You preach restraint in relation to taking climate scientists at their word, but at the same time you unquestioningly swallow and amplify every sceptic talking point you can get your hands on. This is a distortion of the debate, not an impartial attempt to resolve it.

    Not all those who question the science are adding anything of value to the debate, just like not all of those who support it add value. There is an element within each side of the debate that cares not a jot for the science and is simply barracking for their team.

    I’m pretty sure I know where Bolt sits in that regard.

  53. Mondo: the coalition’s boosters in the media gave their all to getting the HOward govt re-elected. To no avail. They got tipped out of office with a vengeance.

    Logic says Abbott is the kind of candidate who will scare the horses, and for good measure he’s already talking about fiddling with IR and has brought back into prominence a series of hardliners who are heavily associated with the worst of the Howard years. IMO the socially conservative working class will be sceptical whether Abbott is genuine in his wanting to keep a safety net – and with good reason.

    They are trying to run a scare campaign on climate change but we know from polling taken over 16 months that i) a majority of voters accept climate change as a policy perogative for governments, ii) a majority of voters accept that action on climate change will cost, an iii) two thirds of voters want an ETS for Australia. In effect the coalition are trying to scare voters into a position they already accept. It’s counter-productive.

    I’m of the view that what Abbott’s doing is trying to stop further coalition voters leaking to Labor. He might be successful and stop the rot, but on the strength of 2 years worth of polling, LAbor are set to increase their majority at the next election.

  54. Mondo:

    you unquestioningly swallow and amplify every sceptic talking point you can get your hands on.

    That is a bit harsh. I have concentrated on a few issues, especially whether you can classify research as science when the ‘scientists’ try to block attempts to verify their work, whether the Hockey Stick graphs are based on good science, and whether the last 10 years has produced outcomes which accord with earlier predictions. I haven’t gone near the conspiracy theory of the world government motive, and I haven’t said that the Climategate documents, tantalising though they are, prove decisively that AGW is a scam. But hey, don’t let facts like that get in the way of your bluster.

    Confessions, I don’t see what 2 years of polling tell us about the Coalition’s chances under Abbott, given that he has only been in the job for a few days. Abbott’s job is to put up a credible opposition, so that when the voters are sufficiently sickened by Rudd’s strutting hubris they have a realistic alternative. Turnbull’s ego was hardly less engorged with self regard than Rudd’s, and he couldn’t extract his tongue from Rudd’s sphincter long enough to present a credible alternative.

  55. More soothing words from Antony Green.

    In fact he raises another point I hadn’t considered: those in the MSM and blogs who are comparing the 09 by-election booth results with the 07 election results in the same booths are creating false comparaison: one election had labor in it, the other didn’t.

    What’s more Abbott believes the ‘swing to the Libs’ meme and seems to have based his entire election strategy based on the ‘analysis’ provided in the Australian which Green now says is flawed. Oh dear.

  56. SB: the polls are suggesting voters haven’t shifted, despite the fact that the Libs’ leaders have, the Libs’ policy maybe has and despite all the other noise in between.

    Abbott will get a bounce because he’s new. Then I expect the polls to return to business as usual.

  57. Confessions, it’s only been a week. I don’t think old poll results are relevant. Abbott will sink or swim on the credibility of the alternative he presents.

    The difference between Rudd and Beazley was that Rudd presented an alternative, whereas sometimes it was hard to tell the difference with Beazley and Howard, particularly on refugees. Latham presented an alternative but it was a bit scary due to the fact that he was insane.

    Abbott will present an alternative, but the risk is that he will be perceived to be a bit nutty, like Latham was. Abbott needs to keep his private beliefs private, and away from his political beliefs. He also needs to disappear the hard-line aspects while still distinguishing himself from Rudd.

    I wonder if he can do it? I am giving him the benefit of the doubt at the moment, but we will see soon enough. Maybe he will avoid having policies until the last possible moment before the election.

  58. That is a bit harsh.

    Fair enough SB – you don’t swallow the worst of the conspiracy nonsense I’ll give you that.

    Your proclamations about the validity of the science are, however, overblown given what we currently know about climategate.

  59. I don’t think old poll results are relevant.

    They are very relevent when the MSM is using flawed analysis in presenting the results of the 2 by elections. Abbott seems like he’s swallowed without question the various columns this week that have presented the by-election results as a win for Liberals. Antony Green shows how shallow if not false those analyses are. This is what Mondo was referring to when he talked of the Liberals’ media boosters in the MSM.

    The poll results are very relevent when you look back over the past 2 years. Two Lib leaders, plenty of ‘crises’, some manufactured by the media, plenty of things for the electorate to kick the government over. But apart from peaks and troughs around those ‘crises’, not a great deal of shifting. This suggests to me that either the electorate is no longer listening to the coalition (which is likely given we’re not in an election year, and next year they start tuning in), or as you say they, voters haven’t liked the message of past and will shift now.

    The problem with that is the last 2 leaders were different and did present different approaches: Nelson was incredibly populist and attacked the government relentlessly, whereas Turnbull is an ego maniac but more pragmatic. Where both came unstuck however is over the coalition’s climate change policy. My prediction is that Abbott will find the same difficulties. In fact he already is if you consider Turnbull sat on the backbench with a grudge. I’m waiting to see whether Hockey, Hunt, Humphries and co who spoke in favour of the CPRS cross the floor and resign their positions when the bill hits parliament again next year.

  60. Which is why I vote 1. Labor 2. Greens and then whatever.

    That vote simply shows you don’t understand preferential voting. If you vote 1 Greens then 2 ALP your vote will still go to the ALP at full value in a lower house. It also means

    a. The Greens candidate has one more vote to help perhaps win the seat
    b. The Greens get the electoral funding, assuming more than 4% vote.

  61. The Greens will never win this seat. If Libs don’t win it then Labor or Nationals will. Which is why I don’t see value in voting for the Greens as first preference. And please don’t patronise me by deigning to dictate how you think I should be voting.

    As I’ve already said twice now, the *only* argument that comes close to convincing me to put Greens first is the funding aspect.

  62. Confessions, the reason the Libs were confused about AGW was the state of the debate at that time, which was mainly – “shut up don’t argue the science is settled”.

    The debate now is much more interesting and it is feasible to challenge things like the ETS head on (mainly because a lot of the AGW story wasn’t science, and was far from settled, and when people tried to verify it they ran into a concerted effort to keep them away from the data and methodology which would enable them to do so).

    Now there is a credible position to hold against precipitate action, and it was made credible by then idiotic behaviour and attitudes evident in the Climategate documents.

    The fact that the government will not step back and explain the scientific basis of their policies to the people will only lead to a further loss of credibility for the AGW cause.

    There is plenty of scope for the Libs to make hay on this issue. they are more likely to come unstuck reverting to Howard era hard-line policies on refugees or workplace relations.

  63. mainly because a lot of the AGW story wasn’t science….” – SB

    Where would we be without your repetitious and baseless assertions?

  64. SB: I agree with you that the government has made a ham-fisted attempt at explaining the CPRS, and that this leaves them open to populist attacks from the opposition.

    Unfortunately for the opposition, so far all of those attacks have fallen flat as Abbott (and Barnyard today) have tripped over their own enthusiasm, and made serious blunders.

  65. Confessions, it is an interesting contest. As soon as Abbott goes hard on the refugees I’m out. But in the meantime, I watch with interest. Did you see that Australia funded 114 hangers on to Hopenchangen? A political gift if ever there was!

  66. He *will* go hard on refugees. Scott Morrison was on AM Agenda this morning pushing the barrell. It jarred, not a natural position for him to take was my assessment, and it showed. Why any moderate would want to be associated with an Abbott shadow cabinet is anyone’s guess.

    International summits always have hangers on, the claque on the outer desperately trying to convince people they are ‘players’. Meanwhile the real work of Copenhagen continues behind locked doors and far away from the media circus.

    Did you catch Wong with Red Kerry? After Barnyard blustering and turning beet red whenever he does an interview, or Abbott looking like he’ll beat up the interviewer, it was refreshing to watch an MP cool, calm and authoritative without having to raise her voice.

  67. Hamiltons support for the Great Australian Firewall should have been the least of your concerns. That man would be a danger in any position of power – he substitutes pseudo-science for religion and is as bad as any religous fanatic of any faith.

    It is a great disappointment to me that he was supported by the Greens as a candidate.

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