Australian election date announced

January 31st, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

news.com.au reports:

THE issue of trust and economic management will emerge as the ultimate background areas in a super 10-month campaign that will leave no excuses for flimsy promises and plenty of time to trip, experts say.

And with both leaders painting the other as untrustworthy, voters should be prepared for the “liar” verses the “misogynist’.

Economic management, boats and the carbon tax will all feature heavily in the lead up to September 14, but political pundits say the overarching issue will be trust.

“The unpopularity of the two leaders will be the main talking point because most people will agree, both the leaders are very unpopular,” veteran election analyst Malcolm Mackerras said.

“I think it will be a nasty campaign.”

The broken carbon tax promise and inability to deliver a budget surplus was widely perceived to have left Labor’s reputation and economic policy in tatters, he said.

“They have established a general trust which the Labor party have failed to establish,” he said.

Sadly I think he is right, and it will be a pretty nasty campaign.

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28 Responses to “Australian election date announced”

  1. TimG_Oz (883 comments) says:

    Not all of Julia’s MPs are happy about it:

    http://www.danbymp.com/press-releases/1859-no-danby-on-election-day–yom-kippur.html

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  2. anonymouse (651 comments) says:

    The problem with such a long campaign, is that it makes it very hard for the voters to tell when a government is governing, and when it is campaigning, and pretty soon everything will be seen as campaigning….

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  3. dime (8,778 comments) says:

    Hell yes it will be a nasty campaign.

    Labor have been a disaster. It will be like the last election labour lost over here.

    I wonder if they will send someone to NZ to go over 20 year old files….

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  4. emmess (1,334 comments) says:

    Remember, the same thing happened here in 2011.
    I don’t think that election was particularly nasty compared to others in the recent past.

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  5. Viking2 (10,734 comments) says:

    Certainty should be provided for the date. That can be set permanently. Its the start of the campaign date that needs to be established with it.

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  6. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,681 comments) says:

    Ten months?

    Really?

    Well actually it’s eight months and fourteen days.

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  7. ChardonnayGuy (1,024 comments) says:

    One wonders if Abbott is up to the task. If I were the Coalition, I’d wrongfoot Gillard by dumping him and replacing him with someone far more palatable to the public, ie Mal Turnbull, about the only Aussie politician on either side of Oz politics that I can even remotely stomach, with the exception of the ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope. Most of the Oz LGBTs that I know will probably be voting OzGreen, given that it’s the only party that unequivocally supports marriage equality. As for most of the ALP, it disgusts me.

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  8. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    I think the important thing is that mostly only left leaning folks speculate about the Libs replacing Abbott with Turnbull. They’re unlikely to do that unless Abbott starts polling below Gillard, and they’re convinced he can’t turn it around. The Libs are a conservative party in a way that National in NZ aren’t – they don’t make big decisions in haste.

    I don’t see a problem with knowing the election date a long way in advance, and that doesn’t automatically mean we’re in election campaign. But the ALP indications are that they’re driving that way – they’re starting with the “now Abbott can release costed policies” and other crap that incumbents normally get up to.

    The big difference I think between when John Key did this, and when Julia Gillard did it, is that John Key just said “it’s silly to hold out, here’s the date” and then went back to governing. And as such, he got credit for it. Gillard said “here’s the date, now the Libs will have to put up or shut up” and a bunch of other things that made it a political decision – and as such she’s attracting the type of commentary that goes with a shallow political decision. My impression is that Gillard’s government doesn’t know the difference between those two things, so can’t even do a convincing job of faking it.

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  9. Ross12 (930 comments) says:

    Technically an election has not been called until the Governor General signs to the writs to call one. At present a date has been given. Gillard is hoping this will be enough for Abbott to start announcing policy for the ALP to try pull apart. Abbott needs to just sit tight and not play her game until it is all official.
    ( Having said that the writs could be signed quite quickly.)

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  10. Manolo (12,637 comments) says:

    I look forward to Gillard’s demise. Will it happen?

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  11. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    @Manolo: I’d call it 50/50. The polls have the Libs ahead, and have for some time. Abbott and his team campaigned very well last time – they were disciplined and organised, and Abbott himself was a machine. He also tends to go better with the public when they see him in person (debates, town halls etc) than when they read about him in the lefty press. There are also probably some structural changes – some electorates (particularly in rural areas) much less likely to return independents. Logic therefore says that they’ll win handily.

    Against that, we have the fact that the Libs are known chokers who can’t close the deal at the last moment. Also, once the unions work out that it’s Gillard (who they don’t like much at the moment) or Abbott, they’ll swing in behind again, and that will bump up Gillard’s numbers. The whole “cant’ work with women thing” will also get a lot of air play – the political director in Gillard’s office ran the exact same campaign against Cameron in the UK when he was director there. I think it’s closer than people think, I’m still cautiously optimistic for an Abbott win.

    I feel like Abbott will be a better PM than opposition leader – he is thoughtful and I think sensible. Against that would be the knowledge that I thought Gillard would be an OK prime minister (not that I would have voted for her), and she’s turned out to be rubbish. On paper she had strong political instincts, a good ideological side (i.e. should make “sensible” long term decisions that reflect her politics), and a set of principles. In practice she flummoxed every hard political call, and made stupid short term decisions for poll driven reasons. My concern is that I sort of like Abbott for the same reasons, and he might similarly turn out to be a complete disappointment.

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  12. Manolo (12,637 comments) says:

    Thank you the analysis, PaulL. I do share your optimism towards an Abbott win.

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  13. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    The difference between the two leaders is that it’s drawing a fairly long bow to call Abbott a misogynist and one has to go back many years to find egregious examples of statements that support it. And even those are applicable only if you accept the broadening of the term from “one who hates women” to “one who does not believe in equality”.

    And whether Abbott has genuinely changed the views he held when he was considering the priesthood as a career or is pretending to doesn’t really matter – he knows they aren’t accepted by the majority of voters – or his own caucus – and wouldn’t dare try to implement them as policy.

    OTOH Gillard has a recent and ignoble record for saying one thing and doing another. Call it lying or call it expediency but it’s undeniable.

    Most famous is the “no carbon tax under a government I lead” pronouncement on the eve of the last election, but there are others. Her broken pledge to independent Andrew Wilkie to introduce tough “precommitment” rules on pokie machines for instance.

    Provided the Liberals maintain better discipline than at the last election – and I think they will, since last time the Turnbull/Abbott battle was still raw – Abbott has a very good chance, despite his own polling suffering as a result of the “misogynist” label being trotted out repeatedly by the Greens and Labor.

    Labor and the Greens, incidentally, got things off to a fine start by lambasting the PM’s partner Tim Mathieson for an off-the-cuff joke when spruiking prostate cancer checks for men, when he told cricketers they should “may try to find an Asian female doctor with small fingers”. He was forced to apologise the next morning and the PM spent the day expressing her “disappointment”, then Greens leader Senator Christine Milne took it upon herself to tell the entire Australian nation they had to change their ways and abandon their larrikin humour, all the while adopting the purse-lipped demeanour of a school teacher remonstrating with Year 1s. So they’re off to a fine start…

    edit: Oh, and I agree with everything PaulL says above too. Excellent analysis.

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  14. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    @Rex – agree with your analysis. One of Gillard’s biggest problems is that many people simply don’t like her – even people who support ALP. The school teacher lecturing is a big part of that, it really pisses people off. That’s probably also true of Abbott for a sub-section of the population (I know a number of women, even those nominally right-leaning, who are adamant that he’d outlaw abortion and force all women back into the kitchen, for example), but I sort of feel like that section of the population mostly aren’t Lib voters, whereas part of Gillard’s traditional vote (working class types in the old lingo) really don’t like her. Hence the problems in Sydney.

    Boats will be a problem too. The hippy part of Labour decided that the Lib policy sounded too tough, so they changed it. Befre those changes there were basically no boats – so whilst the policy was tough, it actually applied to nobody. (The few who did come in on the boats mostly got a better deal than the policy claimed to – it was all about talk tough but not being so tough in practice). The Labour policy basically opened the floodgates again, and they can’t fix it. That will be an election issue, particularly as the cyclone season ends and the boats start up again.

    Defence could be an issue, Defence as a % of GDP is the lowest since before WW2 I think. This is part of the budget savings that the govt ran (not necessarily bad), and partly because the ALP have no interest in defence, and are mostly concerned about how they can use Defence to create jobs – particularly through industry policy that drives building locally things that could be bought cheaply offshore (submarines for example).

    Finally, the weight of a not particularly competent govt will take it’s toll – there are lots of examples of incompetence to point to.

    Against Abbott, we have a team that’s a bit lightweight in places (Hockey for example keeps saying some stupid things, and generally comes across as a fat stupid guy – he’s sort of the Gerry Brownlee of Australia in that sense). He’s pushing too hard on carbon tax when that boat has sailed (no votes in it – those who hate it already vote Lib, it turns off many of the rest. So whilst it’s a good idea to get rid of it, it’s bad politically to keep on about it). Better to point out the carbon tax is incompetently administered (paying more in compensation than it’s going to take in in tax once the price floats). The National Broadband Network is a problem for the Libs – it’s a waste of money but it’s all off-balance sheet, so there’s no savings in killing it, and those people who have it love it (who wouldn’t want govt subsidised broadband).

    The Libs seem to have a weak economic team at the moment, they don’t seem to have the analytical skills to put together an alternative budget that’s sensible. They’ll get caught out again on their numbers, and they’re morons for allowing that to happen – logically the Lib supporters club must include some accountants, economists and the like who could help out.

    The state Lib govts aren’t helping, Campbell Newman swung the axe on govt jobs in Qld, the NSW guys have been untidy (but there’s a corruption scandal running about the previous Labour govt, so still probably on average positive for Lib), Victoria is a mess and would go back to Labour if an election were held today. That leads to a meme of “Liberals just slash jobs”, and even though most people don’t like govt employees, it’s still a bad meme when you’re trying to sell hope.

    Lots of interest I’d say in this campaign.

    Ultimately this election will be won and lost in Western Sydney I think, and they care about immigrants, roads, trains and jobs. So that’s where the election will be fought.

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  15. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    PaulL:

    Befre those changes there were basically no boats – so whilst the policy was tough, it actually applied to nobody.

    What a concise and brilliant way of explaining it. Sell that line to Abbott. Seriously. Why the hell hasn’t somone in the Liberal Party thought of putting it like that?!

    The state Lib govts aren’t helping…

    Arrrghh don’t get me started on “emperor” Barnett in the West with his grandiose and totally unnecessary “Elizabeth Quay” development choking city traffic while roading infrastructure cries out for money, his kneejerk law ‘n’ order policies, his foisting of government service delivery onto the grossly underfunded social services sector, his seat-sniffing Treasurer, his…

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  16. All_on_Red (950 comments) says:

    Here is the real reason Gillard has set the election date
    http://m.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/craig-thomson-arrested-by-fraud-squad-20130131-2dmnn.html#ixzz2JW3FLfDW

    Craig Thomson arrested for fraud. 150 charges.
    Polling over the last six months show a 5% swing to the Libs. Labor reduced to 51 seats vs 91 for the Libs. That excludes the independents who will go too. As for Malcolm Turnball he may as well be in the ALP. He is yesterday’s man.
    The Greens will be wiped out.
    Gillard called the date so she can avoid a by election . The odds are Slipper will resign. He is truly stuffed because of the sexual harassment case against him.
    Lots of popcorn to eat on this one . Our Oz cousins are fed up with the endemic Union corruption.
    Also Gillard is being investigated for preparing and using a Power of Attorney illegally to access Union funds which were gathered fraudulently .
    It will be a wipeout for the ALP.
    Good job. Couldn’t happen quickly enough to a bunch of corrupt liars

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  17. Nostradamus (2,772 comments) says:

    ChardonnayGuy:

    Most of the Oz LGBTs that I know will probably be voting OzGreen, given that it’s the only party that unequivocally supports marriage equality.

    I see. So what you’re saying is that most “Oz LGBTs” that you know are single-issue voters? Do they leave it up to other Australians worry about big-picture issues like the state of the economy then?

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  18. Nostradamus (2,772 comments) says:

    Rex:

    Did you like Mark McGowan’s suggestion yesterday that, if elected, he would consider renaming Elizabeth Quay (although he wouldn’t be drawn on specific suggestions)? Isn’t it great that a state election is being fought on the issues that really matter? Do you have a sense of what the election result might be?

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  19. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    Hi Nostradamus. You still here? (in Perth I mean). If so another few wines must surely be on the agenda.

    I’d have been much happier if McGowan had said he was canning the entire bloody silly scheme. My Aboriginal friends pointed out that they well know that if you carve an artificial chunk out of a river bank that size in the hope of catching fish, the water keeps flowing downstream and just pools off to the side, with a few eddies here and there, and what you get is a pool of stagnant stink and lot of mosquitoes.

    Not to mention we have no need of towers built right on the waterline. If Perth took a look at Wellington especially, or even Auckland, it would see how to take advantage of a water frontage. Very disappointing Labor wouldn’t put an end to it, especially as I know their very good Perth MP John Hyde has been busy highlighting the fallout from it (like the ferry captain who now has to swim to work!) including the unnecessary additional congestion.

    I did like the caller on 6PR who suggested that Barnett’s big policy announcement in the last week would be that the new stadium will be called “Prince William Oval”. That’s exactly the sort of toadying in which he specialises.

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  20. Nostradamus (2,772 comments) says:

    I’m still here – great suggestion to catch up.

    I’ll resist the temptation to divert this thread into a discussion about the Perth election. No doubt we can have a good discussion about that, and a million other issues, offline :)

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  21. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    @Nostradamus

    I’m off up north next week, back late Feb. Email when you have a minute: FirstnameLastname at hotmail.com and we’ll catch up when I’m back.

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  22. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    It’ll probably take eight months for the nose job scars to heal, the bum lift to stabilise, the botox to swell and for Rolf Harris to get his six inch brushes supple enough to make the a la Helen makeover look realistic! :)

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  23. Mark Craig (17 comments) says:

    I have the distinct impression you wing nuts distinctly underestimate how on the nose Mr Abbott is over here.Even my son who cannot abide Ms Gillard is having trouble bringing himself to stick up for him.No doubt the carbon tax is an albatross around Gillards neck{courtesy of the Greens and a hung parliament },how
    ever John Howard had no trouble dismissing core and non core promises to the electorate some years ago.It appears it is only the left that is to be pilloried for submitting to force majeure on the broken promise issue.I assure you she is tough and smart and I think she will pull this off this year ,the only proviso is that she is up against Abbott not Turnbull who I think would beat her .

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  24. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    @Rex:

    What a concise and brilliant way of explaining it. Sell that line to Abbott. Seriously. Why the hell hasn’t somone in the Liberal Party thought of putting it like that?!

    Yeah, I’ve considered taking time off work and volunteering. They sometimes look like a bunch of amateurs. But I still find the Libs just a touch too…..conservative for my liking. Clearly better than the ALP in my mind, but I’m not convinced I’d fit in within a room full of libs. We’ll see.

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  25. kiwi in america (2,336 comments) says:

    PaulL
    I am in the process of setting up a branch of our business in Australia so I travel there regularly. Your ideological gut feeling sums up Australia vs NZ – Australia is a slightly more conservative country than NZ and its political centre more to the right than NZ. Australian Labor (notwithstanding all its egregious union related excesses) has always been more to the right than Labour in NZ and likewise the Libs are more to the right than National. The US’s political centre is again more to the right than Australia.

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  26. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    @KIA – agree, but also to me the Australian brand of right wing is a bit more socially conservative, and more overtly religious than I perceive the National party to be. It’s complex, but it just doesn’t feel quite right to me, some of the views I see in the Libs just aren’t ones that I support.

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  27. ChardonnayGuy (1,024 comments) says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if Abbott falls into a gender gap, of whatever size, and whether Turnbull tries to subtly whiteant him. As for the ALP, its byzantine factional morass render it somewhat out of the social democratic mainstream insofar as Britain and New Zealand are concerned. I’m going to grit my teeth, hold my nose, and hope that Gillard wins, although not enthusiastically, but is dependent on the OzGreens. However, as well as marriage equality, I also object vociferously to Australia’s stygian consensus on draconian imprisonment of refugees and asylum seekers and its utter backwardness on indigenous politics. And the Coalition’s climate change scientophobia.

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  28. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    Heh. ChardonnayGuy, should you perhaps change your tag to ChardonnaySocialist?

    Anyway, my take:
    – ALP is a mess, agree, and their close ties to the unions, who are turning out to be more and more corrupt the more people look at them, won’t help
    – Marriage equality I think the Libs aren’t so far off as people think. My take is that they’ll make no moves in this area, but they’re also not going to try to roll anything back. That’s actually the same position the ALP have. I’d prefer to see some change in this area, but I’m not sure it’s that big an issue for most in Australia – Australia is a pretty LGBT friendly place in general
    – Refugees and asylum seekers is an easy one to chatter about, but the reality is that people who get on boats often drown, and get taken advantage of. So we need to separate those who get on boats from those who come via other channels. Australia takes a lot of refugees from other channels, and generally treats them pretty well. It is trying to avoid people arriving via boat. To me boats are a classic slippery slope – you can’t really sit in the middle. You either need policies that stop the boats (so people stop dying), or you need policies that make boats as easy as possible (so people stop dying). Making them easy would mean legalising people smuggling, and stopping impounding the boats / imprisoning the captains when they arrive. Then people could get on a safe boat with a competent captain, and travel at a time when the seas were calm. Of course, the number of arrivals would go through the roof. To me, the only politically feasible option is stopping the boats.
    – Indigenous politics is a lot harder than it looks. The reality is that “indigenous lifestyle” and “indigenous culture” are not compatible with first world standards of living. You can’t have first world life expectancy and first world social norms without cultural change, and nobody is prepared to engage in culture change. Again, we’re stuck in the middle, attempting to deliver first world living standards to a group of people who are trying to live a communal/tribal lifestyle in the bush. It doesn’t really work, and it’s too scary to try and fix it.

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