Topic: election Oz 2007
Picture: Moir cartoon SMH today, a sign of major crisis with both Turnbull and 'scientist' Ziggy seeking to hose down any idea of Australia going nuclear reactor if the Coalition wins and on the front page of the press here too. This is as dishonest a denial as John Howard in 1996 that there won't be any uranium mine in Kakadu National Park - then Jabiluka protests dominated the environmental movement from 1997-1999 including this writer doing legal work in Darwin and Jabiru not least 400 case histories. I suppose that was all a figment?
Our election observations this Wednesday morning:
- We must agree with Michelle Grattan yesterday on Fran Kelly Radio National, that since Newspoll with 18 point gap early Tuesday 23rd Oct both Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Peter Costello seem to be in denial at the reality of the electorate's repudiation of their last term of office. In particular Abbott on the abc news show was sounding like the boyfriend who's getting dumped by a diplomatic and bored girlfriend: 'we aren't feeling a rejection out in the electorate' says Abbott. That's diplomacy Tony, not love. Their colleague Andrew Robb seems more accepting but seeks to mitigate the huge gap in the polls as a natural tendency for people to consider an alternative after a long relationship with the Coalition under Howard. He even may have used the term "stale" on the AM show.
- Costello on 7.30 last night Tues 23rd and all this week has been chorusing a demonstrably fake line with such as Piers Akerman: It's a "funny" kind of tv worm device to give a bad reading before a person has even spoken ie to approve of Rudd and reject Howard and more so when Costello is named, as per the recent debate. Well it is called teleVISION for a reason: Just like a toddler smiles at the vision of a loving mother with not a word spoken, the worm reflects non verbal messages and that's a fact that smart Costello is disingenuous to ignore. Apparently John Laws, the golden tonsils says Rudd always looks like he's just emerged from a bath - meaning squeaky clean. It's true enough, he's blessed with a milky bar kid visage, which lends to the halo gibes too.
Costello in The Debate audience then next night on 7.30 actually referred to "two worms debating" which seemed to us quite Freudian - in effect calling both Howard and Rudd economic worms for squandering his budget hard work on tax cuts to win an election, which should have gone into national investments. On reflection Costello was probably referring to the worm graphic on the front pages of the press high for Rudd, low for Howard.
- Sol Lebovic is still touting how close or soft the ALP vote is despite flat lining big gap of 10 to 12 points. Is he drumming up business for his old mates in Newspoll, including his subtle niggle that polls are "not predictive". Yeah Sol, but a trend sure is. There is scepticism from other pollsters we notice. Even Robb agrees there is a fair dinkum big gap.
- The trend as per the Brent/Mumble thesis is a rusted on 1996 change of govt to try out the alternative under Rudd. The massive tax cuts package did make a bounce but then straight back in a highly elastic democratic correction, as soon as the ALP matched with a plausible tax package of their own.
- Laurie Oakes hilarious reference to "log rollers" and "real estate agents" in the 'Press Council' folding to dictatorial pressure of the Howard Govt to reject the editorial worm device in the debate, and the controversy afterwards, feeds into the notion Howard is indeed a 'Right' PM, and indeed far too Right wing, with a broad perception now of being mates with the extreme Exclusive Brethren, and sanitising of the grotesque Iraq war miserable slaughter ('the surge is going well'), and ideological IR policies. Such a zealot can't be trusted is the subliminal message.
- Peter Costello was on Alan Jones 2GB kicking off a great PR exertion yesterday and even this pro Coalition conservative radio jock sounded unconvinced: Costello argued 'we won't be there for the ALP to copy our tax policies if we are voted out'. Trouble with this line is, Swan prodded the flat tax change policy back in 2005 apparently, from Opposition, proving that a Coalition Opposition doing its job next time will have just as many opportunities to influence debate and be 'copied' as Swan says Costello took 'two thirds of his ideas'.
- We notice via abc Howard like his spasm in the debate is starting to crack with mangled grammar every so often. In itself a misdemeanour of performance but in Howard a shocking change in usually faultless articulation from a man who has spent 50 years living on his voice.
- Another slightly weird development is top barrister Tom Hughes and a former Coalition Attorney General apparently sledging Kevin Rudd in yesterday's Daily Telegraph without mentioning he is the father of Malcolm Turnbull's wife in a tough contest.
- Indy Dannielle Ecuyer in seat of Wentworth as here, and full page story in Sydney Daily Telegraph today
Ex-lover turns against Labor star THE Wentworth soap opera has taken a new, dramatic twist, with attractive banker Danielle Ecuyer announcing she will run against her ex, Labor's George Newhouse.
is looking (being the operative word) and sounding like a competent and solid thinker and talker in diverse media, front of Wentworth Courier we are told, SMH, abc radio, tv etc with real ideals on climate change and 'solid' capitalist banking background. Though she almost certainly won't have the machine to get the vote in, she does look the material for a suitable independent MP. It's very unrealistic but we appreciate her commitment by running and we will be very surprised if she doesn't get her deposit back in the seat of Wentworth, and she may indeed decide the winner with her preferences.
- And speaking of climate change the spiv John Connor for the ALP aligned Climate Change Institute surprised by correctly marking the ALP as in the 40% range on climate policy, with the Coalition a woeful 20% range. That suggests some real integrity in analysis not just apologia for pro coal ALP.
- Having said all this the Coalition are working the system for all they are worth still - a $4B package on pensioner care apparently, and a $500 utility bonus for pensioners - all in all pitch to 3 million Australians, or something like that. You can't say this Govt have lost their nerve or have imploded. The polling is a bone crunching bruising blow to their credibility but they are keeping their slim chance of victory alive if an unusual circumstance arises. And as Rudd wisely notes polls go up and down, and 4 weeks to go is a long time in world affairs. Just ask the relatives of those 140 murderered Pakistanis on the return to the election fray of Benazir Bhutto to that country. When we saw that on the news we asked ourselves the chilling question, how long before it happens here? And therein is the real politik opportunity for a hard right government to grandstand their law and order agenda.
- Sure enough in the desperation of the polling the Coalition have reverted to some old standbys being the $4Billion 'grey card' but here in NSW also the law and order tub thump which they flogged to no avail in the NSW March state election. The front page of the Sydney Daily Telegraph and the Warren Cartoon sum it up:
And now someone, presumably Ruddock as Federal AG appears via media probing of AFP Commissioner Keelty to have started to leverage this major gruesome exposure of mass murder by raising the David Hicks ostensible terrorist bogey again as possibly subject to a control order on his release. Will the Left/Green mob wedge themselves by throwing themselves headlong into thrashing outrage at more cruel legal meddling on the Hicks case to be seen as mates with an alleged terror trainee? That's just what Ruddock and Downer are counting on. The trap is set.
- In this respect of managing new circumstances, and emerging in the news cycle on a far less melodramatic but still very electorally sensitive note, is the widespread fear of an interest rate hike which does seem quite possible according to various economic boffins. Costello is positioning that no rate rise is justified as if to heavy the independent Reserve Bank. But he's a politician and he would say that because he needs those marginal seats like a drunk needs his next drink after splurging $34 BILLION on tax cuts.