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Election eve tip

My guess is that Tony Abbott’s Coalition will not win enough seats to form a government on its own bat but that it will fall just short of a majority of seats.  With the support of the independents Abbott will be able to form a government in a hung parliament situation.  Its a pretty good outcome in the sense that a totally incompetent Labor Government is being justifiably turfed out – Gillard herself has said her party ‘lost its way’ but the key difficulty for Labor – and one that the electorate will observe – is that she was an intrinsic part of this incompetence. 

The election of a Coalition Government will mean a return to good quality administration of the Howard years. Unfortunately it will not mean decent policies on climate change and it won’t create the sorts of pressures necessary to reform the Coalition so that it does place adequate weight on environmental issues.  Currently the Coalition has poor policies on climate change but it has better policies than Labor. In the House of Representatives I am voting 1 Greens with preferences to the Liberals and I will put the Labor Party last.  In the Senate I will vote the Green’s ticket.

Sunday update:  I take no pleasure in being spot on in my election eve forecasts. Not even in probably winning the ex ante tipping competition held at Club Troppoex post, yes, I don’t stand a chance. Well done Nick. Predicting the outcome of course does not mean endorsing it.  I can see no positive outcomes from this election – no policy initiatives being introduced that I favour that would not have occurred without it. The only general message of importance sent to the major parties is the electorate’s repugnance with the poor Federal administration achieved by Labor. The Greens will hopefully become a permanent thorn in the side of the disgruntled Labor riff-raff.

I’ve got to say I enjoyed the antics of the Labor Party cry-babies at Larvatus Prodeo – my ability to enjoy the sufferings of others has never been stronger.  Mark Banish is the court jester of student Labor politics in Australia – his earnestness and glib insights make him a possible future Labor leader in Queensland.

Last night I started to wince when wind-bag Rudd got wound up into giving a grand ex-Prime Ministerial account of election banalities. Kerry O’Brien on the ABC cut the interview short with a ‘this looks like it might go on for quite a while’ termination.   I disagree with the proposition that getting rid of Rudd was a mistake for Australia – it might have been a mistake for Labor – but we have all been saved from a further 3 years of pointless wind-bagging from this bore.

Julia Gillard looked like a sad old spinster on the eve without much going for her. She is very unattractive to look at and to listen to and a shadow of her former intelligent self. She wound into a ritualistic Labor account that focused on ‘working families’ etc. and refused to mention the massive slap in the face that the Australian people had directed at her.  I would not be surprised if Labor gets rid of her – off to the glue factory Julia dear you are well past your best.

The bloodletting inside Labor’s ranks should be a joy to watch over the next few months.  Maxine McKew let fly with a few preliminaries last night but, with luck, the smarties at the centre of Labor’s NSW right wing machine will be publicly executed.

I am glad that Wilson Tuckey looks like ending his political career. One of the most ignorant and uninteresting Coalition MPs I cannot imagine his National Party replacement could be worse.

Labor incompetence in NSW and Queensland has been savaged while the relatively competent Labor Government in Victoria has left Labor federally with strong support here.

The contrast with the athletic and optimistic Tony Abbott could not have been more obvious.  He ran a fantastic campaign and should be Australia’s next PM.  My best bet is that he will be. Standing next to his 3 attractive daughters and wife he seemed to have everything that Gillard did not.  My pity is about some of his policies. But he has re-invigorated conservative politics in Australia and my side of politics owes him a debt for that.

I voted Green in the House of Representatives with second preference to the Liberals but voted for the Liberal ticket in the Senate – in the end I could not go through with my commitment to vote for the Greens. I was a bit disloyal but not much as the Liberals effectively got my vote and I registered a protest via the Greens vote in regard to bad Liberal policies on climate change and mining taxes.  If Abbott becomes PM and appoints Malcolm Turnbull to a senior front bench role and takes serious steps to upgrade his climate change policies I will return to the fold. Otherwise more fence-sitting.

18 comments to Election eve tip

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by denyse skipper, Denyse Skipper – RSS. Denyse Skipper – RSS said: Election eve tip: My guess is that Tony Abbott’s Coalition will not win enough seats to form a government on its o… […]

  • MH

    Good call Harry!. Seems that’s what we got. Would not count on the rural independents supporting Labour they have had enought of Libs and Labour so we are in unchartered territory for a while and no amount of spin from Labour or Libs will change that. I like to think of it this way, the Australian electorate at large has handed the major parties a challenge, work it out or get off the stage, we don’t think you can, that’s why we voted Greens who at 20% of the total vote are now a major party, the promise of major change and possibly reform beckons. Exciting times indeed.

  • Sir Henry Casingbroke

    Abbott running a “fantastic” campaign has very little to do with this result, except that he didn’t implode or go mad, which is, in itself, some sort of achievement.

    Indeed, the electorate couldn’t quite bring itself to deliberately install Abbott as the PM and if he becomes one it will be through default and the peculiarities of our electoral system.

    Fact is, the ALP disappointed a lot of its backers, both for the way it dealt with the man who led it to an excellent victory over John Howard’s Libs, and for its junking of its “hero” policy, the carbon trading scheme, flawed as it was. Problem was that it ran hard with it on a moral high ground to start off with and then abandoned it without a satisfactory explanation; that’s because it didn’t have one, and it couldn’t admit to failure of nerve.

    Hence, the flight of support from the ALP to the Greens and to the independents, and Wilkie, and incidentally, away from Wilson Tuckey, who was one of the rebels rousers who abandoned Turnbull over the scheme. Turnbull on the other hand got a massive, gargantuan swing of 10 per cent for himself. How do you explain that except his principled stand to put a price on carbon?

    Hence, also, the extraordinarily high informal vote, 5.7 per cent, by people presumably fed up with the bankrupt, vacuous bullshit from the ALP seen now to be empty of principles but who couldn’t and would vote for Abbott.

    In all, a swing to Abbott and the LNP of 1.4 per cent – which is normal for a second-term government that got in on an inflated vote in 2007, as some people returned to the fold after registering their protrst vote against Johnny Howard who was by that time loathed, even in his own electorate.

  • observa

    I was busy polling day getting a bit philosophical-

  • hc

    Sir Henry, many of your observations are sound – I also welcome the end of Tuckey and the strong vote for Malcolm Turnbull. The high informal vote was a curious reflection of voter attitudes to a most uninspiring campaign.

    When congratulating Abbott on his effective campaign I was not endorsing his policies. Many are foolish. But he will win back15+ seats. That is an achievement.

  • Sir Henry Casingbroke

    Your prediction is off the mark too, I would hazard a guess. Abbott will most likely not be in a position to form a minority government. Turnbull would have romped in, but of course that ignores the actual history leading up to this election, so that is just a footnote.

    Abbott actually failed to convince the elctorate that he is PM material, rather than done well. That is because the flight of support from the ALP – to Greens, to independents, and, significantly, to informal voting. The swing against Labor was 5.4 per cent yet Abbott only managed to score 1.8 swing to the Coalition. That is dismal and can be marked as a resounding failure.

  • Sir Henry Casingbroke

    He, he, back to the future H. The ghost of Blackjack McEwen rides again in the corridors of power as Australia moves forward to become an agrarian socialist republic. Yee haw.

  • Mark U

    Labor only lost one seat in net terms in Victoria, SA, WA, Tasmania, NT and ACT combined and the Coalition did nowhere near as well as they expected in NSW, where it was expected the boat issue would swing a lot of electorates in the Western Suburbs. So I agree with Sir Henry, it was hardly a resounding result for Tony Abbott. It was Queensland that did all the damage. A number of factors affected the result in Queensland that had very little to do with Tony Abbott’s abilities. First, the tremendous and very high support in the 2007 election that was never going to be maintained in 2010. Rudd was a factor in this high support and his ineptitude a factor in the rapid erosion of this report. Second, some people may have been upset at his removal and changed their vote as a result. Third, there is the unpopularity of the Bligh government, which was heavily and successfully exploited in LNP advertisements. Fourth, the Queensland economy has been suffering a bigger headache from the GFC with Queensland consumers doing it tough (look at the latest State Accounts and see Ric Battelino’s speech late last week).

  • via collins

    No doubt at all that any triumphalism about LNP result – spruiked predominantly by Abbott himself and the various ex-LNP hacks on the telly – was premature.

    Rob Oakeshott in particular seems to articulate what the ALP stood for prior to their surrender to Sussex St. We may well see those values in place, but driven by different people. Which will be a big positive for the country.

    Curious to see no markets going to pieces as per most “experts”. We live in exceedingly interesting times.

  • […] to Harry Clarke, who got the outcome right, but didn’t quantify it exactly. Harry’s ambivalent reaction to the election is well worth reading. And Edward Mariyani-Squire earns a very modest commendation […]

  • Uncle Milton

    “If Abbott becomes PM and … takes serious steps to upgrade his climate change policies”

    This doesn’t seem likely, since he thinks the idea of man-made climate change is “crap”. And it especially seems unlikely since to become PM Abbott will need the support of Bob Katter who is “violently” (his word) against the idea of an ETS.

  • hc

    Uncle Milton, I watch Abbott carefully when asked what he will do about climate change. I think he does not believe it is a real problem but thinks the political momentum is there to do something about it so he will. My real concern is that this will result in half-hearted policies.

    Katter is as Sir Henry suggests an agrarian socialist who wants to protect the agricultural sector, likes to kill animals, cut down trees, dam every river….he is a dangerous clown who thrives on being a red neck. If the Coalition get 74 seats they only need the support of 2 of the 4 independents – they might be able to cut Katter out.

    I want the Liberals to form a government but if the alternatives were Labor or the Liberals dependent on a wide-eyed maddie like Katter I would have to seriously rethink. A dangerous man who makes Barnaby Joyce look like an intellectual. The same goes for Labor – could it form a credible government with Katter?

  • Mark U

    “If the Coalition get 74 seats they only need the support of 2 of the 4 independents”

    A complicating factor is the new member for O’Connor (Tony Crook) who has indicated he may sit on the cross benches. So it will be a shaky 74.

    But at present it looks more like 72 ALP, 73 LNP, 1 Green, Andrew Wilkie, two reasonably sensible independents and Bob Katter. So unless Andrew Wilkie goes with the LNP, it looks as though the LNP will need Katter (as well as locking in Tony Crook). On the other hand, the ALP could get a majority with 1 Green, Andrew Wilkie and the two sensible independents.

  • Melaleuca

    “I’ve got to say I enjoyed the antics of the Labor Party cry-babies at Larvatus Prodeo – my ability to enjoy the sufferings of others has never been stronger. Mark Banish is the court jester of student Labor politics …”

    Comrade Kim tipped a Labor victory:

    “[T]he only warrant for believing that there will be a Coalition win is placing one’s faith in Newspoll against all the other evidence.

    If the final result is a Labor win, as I think it will be, the flagship poll of the Murdoch papers might need to be dethroned as the only one the press gallery takes seriously.”

    and Comrade Mark Bahnisch bumbled just prior to polling day:

    “I’ve been saying for a while now that the contest in Queensland marginal seats is much tighter than state samples would have us believe”.

    These two clowns remind me of “Tim and Debbie” from the 80s Oz comedy show, “Australia, Your Standing In It”.

  • Hi Harry,

    I can’t believe your pick for the election! It seems you could have a very profitable future in political bookmaking!

    We have just launched an opinion based website,, and would love for you to republish your post election thoughts in our election section or to hear any more of your thoughts.

    Many Thanks,
    David Southwood

  • Harry,

    Not to p*ss in your pocket but that makes two outstanding calls back-to-back: Rudd-for-Gillard leadership swap and the ALP – L/NP hung parliament.

    I am deeply envious.

    I had a good run for a while, correctly calling all the AUS federal (x 3) & US national elections (x 3) through the noughties.

    But this election defeated my powers of analysis. Did not see that the mining tax caused the QLD marginals to flip from ALP to L/NP. So the ALP lost the election due to a provincial Right-wing adverse reaction to the introduction of an unpopular MRRT tax, not a national Left-wing adverse reaction the delay of a popular CPRS tax.

    My policy prediction is that the L/NP will negotiate the ALP/GRE to repeal the mining tax in return for allowing the carbon tax through the HoR.

  • hc

    For once Jack I gotta point out I outperformed my prominent colleague blogger. He said:

    “For once, my electoral predictions haven’t turned out too badly, so I’ll offer one more before we get back to policy: The Liberal Party will never again win a federal election.

    This isn’t a prediction of unending Labor rule, rather an observation that the Liberal and National parties are in such dire straits that they can’t continue as they are. They haven’t got enough support, parliamentary representation or ideas for one party, let alone two”.

    I am much too dignified and well-rounded to crow about this.

  • hc @ #16 said:

    I am much too dignified and well-rounded to crow about this.

    I have no such scruples and am prepared to do your dirty work for a small fee – a round of golf in a leafy suburban course would be acceptable.

    Pr Q is a brilliant social scientist, probably the best all-rounder in the country. But he is not always as good as he thinks he is.

    And his prediction that the Howard-L/NP government would be “the last Liberal” is totally wrong-headed and misleading as the Liberal primary vote is holding up pretty well by historic standards.

    A more accurate heading would be “the last National”, as the party that represents regional conservatives is in secular decline. Mainly due to the adverse economics of small farms in drought and the effect tree-changers on electoral demographics.

    It is possible that the Nationals may be folded into the Liberal party by merger, under some new brand name. But a friendly take-over the Nationals by the Liberals is a sign of the Liberals institutional strength, not weakness.

    In any case, its probably too soon to write off the Nationals, especially given the power of the mining companies. And the ALP looks pretty moribund in both NSW and QLD, plus dead in the water in WA.

    One is only as weak as ones opponents strength. And the ALP looks pretty inept at the moment, both at state and federal level. That must give the LIBs hope.

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