Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

Why Rates Matter

Posted by Possum Comitatus on October 26, 2007


Me in Crikey yesterday HERE

And below:

Yesterdays post “Rates of Gloom” was actually a more in-depth spin-off of this post, so for those of you struggling to follow the stats, this should make everything a lot clearer.

In Rates of Gloom we just modelled the relationship we see below, but also accounted for the effect of leadership changes (the leadership dummy variables) and the honeymoon period that both leadership changes and interest rate rises enjoy (through the time trend variable). Just as the leadership changes of Latham and Rudd increased the ALP vote before it declined from that peak slowly over time as the honeymoon ended, so to with an interest rate rise. After a rate rise, the ALP vote moves up, but then slowly over time it pulls back slightly. There are more complicated ways to model that type of behaviour, but the time trend variable did the job adequately.

So if you read this post first and keep the above in your thought orbit, for those of you not big on the stats side of things it should make Rates of Gloom a bit easier to follow.


With interest rates and widespread navel gazing about the political consequences taking up the media-space, today instead of picking the verbal lint from our bellybuttons over the issue, how about we go to some spiffy little charts that sum up perfectly the millions of words that will be written over the next month.

First up, let’s run the RBA cash rate against the PM dissatisfaction rating over the period 1999-2007, using Newspoll monthly averages for the latter:


Now how is that for a snazzy little leading indicator!

Next up we’ll run the cash rate against the Opposition primary vote over the same period using Newspoll monthly averages:



One word sums that up – Ouch.

Now for the relationship between the Opposition primary vote and the PM dissatisfaction rating:


And that sums up the debate – three graphs are worth a million words.

The only question becomes whether interest rate increases lift the Opposition primary vote directly, whether it increases the Opposition primary vote via PM Dissatisfaction or whether it works via both channels?

As far as the Coalition is concerned however, it’s probably a moot point.


I was just informed of a pretty spiffy site:

Soapbox is a unique Australian political archive of
federal elections, bringing together key historical documents and
audio-visual material, and making them available to students, researchers,
journalists and the general public.”

It’s a cracker of a site if you are into historical election material. Very, very, very much worth a visit:


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65 Responses to “Why Rates Matter”

  1. Meng said

    Have you got access to similar figures during the early 90s? If so, I assume the correlation with interest rates was not as tight (or perhaps it correlated more closely with dissatisfaction but not with opposition primary vote).

  2. Possum Comitatus said

    The data for the early 90’s still correlates, but its not as strong, as the fallout from the 93 election had the opposition vote literally all over the place.It started to settle down after 96, but the relationship started crystalising out with the origins of the housing boom in 98.

    With the growth in debt levels that accompanied the housing boom, it makes sense why interest rate movements seem to have become a big factor in PM dissatisfaction levels (and the opposition vote).

  3. pligg.com said

    Why Rates Matter « Possums Pollytics

    With interest rates and widespread navel gazing about the political consequences taking up the media-space, today instead of picking the verbal lint from our bellybuttons over the issue, how about we go to some spiffy little charts that sum up perfectl…

  4. Rate Analyst said

    Regressing on the cash rate is tough – do you have 90 day rate (it tends to work better).

    If you want me to send you the data just ask.

  5. Possum Comitatus said

    I was just looking more at the way interest rates generally (meaning both the actual hip pocket side plus the perception side of the RBA rate rises) were correlating with the primary vote. If one was doing a pure modelling exercise, the standard variable loan rate actually works out a little better than the 90 day bill rate. Especially the impulse response of the change in the variable rate.

    I’ve mucked around with both of those before when I was trying to build a pure economic model of voting behaviour. But as tends to happen with these things (where estimated voting intention is the dependent variable with economic indicators as the independent variables) the more complicated you make it, the less it actually has to say.

    So I’ve junked that approach.

  6. bunny bampton said

    thanks possum for your graphs and explanation… who’d have ever thought that people’s votes could be bought with just a few %points of interest? 😉

  7. Rate Analyst said

    Sounds like you’ve got it well in hand.

    I noticed that your other post has both DUMMYLATHAM and DUMMYRUDD as positive!

    Does that mean that poor Bomber attracts the 0 in the set of dummies?

    Have you also inadvertently captured an “it’s time” factor in your leadership dummies? I know your time variable is negative, but the nature of your leadership dumies makes it very hard to measure like that. They could be interfering with each other.

  8. Possum Comitatus said

    Crean and Beazley are both the baseline, so Latham actually ends up a positive force on the vote simply because he lifted the ALP vote above the level it was normally baselining at. Before Latham, Crean had taken the ALP vote down to the point where their primary vote level was higher than their satisfaction rating!

    That’s almost unheard of. Latham gets a lot of crap bucketed his way, but he did save the party from what could have been its worse ever defeat.

    I probably have captured a bit of the ‘it’s time’ factor. The Rudd dummy doesnt represent Rudd himself, but the period of time he’s been leader. So it not only captures a bit of that, but also a bit of the Workchoices fallout as well.

    Over here:

    …is a quick little exercise that shows the policy influences that are playing out that arent captured with interest rates, and the cubic time trend here:

    shows the its time factor.

    All of these things combined makes up the actual state of play, and it’s impossible to separate them all out in terms of their individual influence, as different things influence different people in different ways. Collectively is what counts because that’s what wins seats, and none of it’s looking pretty for the Coalition.

  9. mark-sydney said

    Hey Possum – thanks so much for that heads up on the Soapbox website, what a fantastically fascinating archive!
    Hours of reading to be had there
    much appreciated

  10. The Keegan said

    Dear Poss,
    I struggle a bit with the psepho-statistical lingo, regressions and dependant versus independent variables etc, but those 3 little graphs are marvellous and I’m hurriedly sending them to my nervous ALP-voting friends who still fear a nasty narrowing leading to the Toad getting his license back. As a mortgage slave, I’d even welcome another .25 on my rates just to settle the matter one and for all. Anybody else happy to take a rates slug to see this deal done and dusted?

  11. Andos the Great said

    Hey Possum,

    Alan Kohler’s stealing your material. Did you see his graph of interest rates vs Opposition vote on ABC News last night?

  12. Possum Comitatus said

    I missed it Andos – the cheeky bugger 😉

  13. 2353 said

    Hey Possum,

    As well as Alan Kolher, the Courier Mail based an opinion piece on your work today (with attribution). Well done.

  14. Alan said

    Thanks for that Soapbox link, Possum. Feeling nostalgic, I read Whitlam’s campaign launch speech from ’72. Incredible parallels with ’07. All the same issues -interest rates, education, health, even childcare. Not much about tax cuts though. Wasn’t that Mr Whitlam just too damned idealistic for us? Sobering to realise that Whitlam was talking about INTRODUCING most of these priorities and programs… before then, many of these policy areas were ignored by the Feds. Today’s pollies are really just fiddling at Whitlam’s margins.

  15. Possum Comitatus said

    I woke up to that this morning 2353. Mr Atkins seems to be a regular reader… Hi Dennis 🙂

    For anyone interested it’s over here:

    Alan, isnt that Soapbox a great site!

    Some of those older ad campaigns are a classic.How quickly things become so passe.

  16. Bruce said

    Hi The Keegan,

    As another mortgage slave, yes I could tolerate another 0.25% just to rub in that Howard couldn’t lie straight in bed.

    However, what troubles me is that unless we get some fiscal responsibility from the next government (presumably Rudd Labor), the only thing that is going to stop interest rates rising is a recession. Rudd is going to have to do a major backflip – and say divert tax cuts to savings via super – or he’ll risk fulfilling Costello’s prediction of a recession if Labor is elected.

    I’m also more that a little concern that Rudd is just a mini-me Howard as pointed out by Ross Gittens.

  17. Goodbye Mr Thatcher said

    Bruce – You might find the link below interesting on where Rudd is coming from on the ideas/policy front – particularly his rejection of Howard’s radical Hayekian cum Thatcherite economics possy.


  18. Helveticus said

    Hey Bruce #16

    Re Rudd being a mini-me, he could always do the non-core promiss trick on on the punters, it appeared to work before! I for one dont nescessary blame the pollies altogether for the lack of integrity. It is a democracy that we have and the punters have some responibility too. Just my 5 cents worth of wisdom.

  19. The Keegan said

    16 Bruce and 17 Goodbye Mr Thatcher, yes it will be interesting to see post election if a fiscally responsible social democrat crawls out of that school boy uniform that I always picture Rudd wearing. Finger’s crossed that Robert Manne was right back in late 2006 when he saw compassion in Rudd. I hope Kevvy hasn’t forgotten that metooism is just an election ploy to be dispensed with Nov 25…..

  20. Bruce said

    Goodbye Mr Thatcher
    As a Christian of the William Dean variety (“Christianity must always take the side of the marginalised, the vulnerable and the oppressed.”) it is not just baffling to me how so many Christians (the majority?!) get entangled in right wing politics, but also anathema – used in the St. Paul sense of something completely rejected by God.
    Robert Manne is one of my favourite commentators, along with Ross Gittins, which probably points to my politics:

    If Rudd, “has married the ideas of social justice and the idea of the defence of family and community with the old Australian idea of an intelligent, activist state and the more recent commitment to fiscal conservatism…”, how on earth do you account for junking the anti-obesity policy when it is entirely unnecesary for campaign purposes:

    Finally, I think Manne is right about Howard’s pooly thought through Hayekism (or something similar – below). The modern day “dufunct economist[s]”[see below*] controlling Howard include the likes of Hugh Morgan (ex Western Mining), publically prominent in the 1980’s for his advocacy of laissez-faire economics. I don’t know whether this differs from Hayekism. In the past Hugh morgan didn’t achieve the change he wanted by being a public advocate. Perhaps it is through his work in the shadows as Howard’s defunct economist that he is now achieving some success.

    Although I think Howard is a brilliant politician – more in touch with people’s prejudices than any other politician in Australia – I don’t think he’s particularly smart philosophically. Like Manne I don’t think he’s thought through the inherent contradiction between “tradition, family and community” on the one hand and “market fundamentalism” on the other.

    *see Manne quoting Keynes, “Ideas are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist”

  21. Pedro of Canberra said

    Just a thought.

    Possum’s last point was: “The only question becomes whether interest rate increases lift the Opposition primary vote directly, whether it increases the Opposition primary vote via PM Dissatisfaction or whether it works via both channels?”

    This prompts me to wonder whether the role of interest rates as a leading indicator of the Opposition primary vote holds necessarily, or whether it is particular to John Howard’s ‘brand’. In other words, by selling the economic narrative differently (i.e. making less of a big deal about government’s role in influincing interest rates), could Labor in government break this nexus?

    Possum – would it be possible to model this for previous governments to get a feel for the numbers?

  22. alpal said

    Possum,The polls are showing the swing. What they are not showing is what’s happening on the ground in individual seats. Macpherson is public already through the local media.On election night keep an eye out on the neighbouring seat,Forde. The new demographics make these two seats worthy of attention.

  23. Rod said

    The RBA target rate comparison really does make interesting reading. See http://www.rba.gov.au/Statistics/cashrate_target.html

    Have a look at the reduction achieved by Hawke and Keating. Then look at the 1996 rate compared to the current 2007 rate.

    I wonder if Costello will let Swan have his hammock after the election? 😉

  24. Enemy Combatant said

    For the benefit of Gerry “Hangdog” Henderson and “Melbourne Mickey” Kroeger who put in simply stellar performances on Fran’s RN Breakfast this morning, one submits the following current board odds:

    LABOR 1.33
    COALITION 3.35

    “Avagoodweegend!” to both you fine gentleman,
    because WorkChoices have sure buggered-up the weekends
    of the Battlers of Oz.

  25. CL de Footscray said

    Apparently the Centrebet price for the coalition winning just blew out to $3.35. ALP @ $1.33. Maxine went from $2.40 to $2.25. Someone put some money on – I understand the total market for these things is not particularly big, and thuis easily influenced. Nonetheless, that’s the longest price the libs have been at. This is a rout, isn’t it?

  26. Enemy Combatant said

    CL, too slow, I’m a blog sneak like Bartlett.

  27. CL de Footscray said

    Kroger’s performance on RN brekky was an Oscar winner. Gerard was on earlier and sounded a bit sad. In fact, suicidal, he does the broken man voice well these days. He didn’t want to talk about the interest rates, he was more interested in talking about how the ALP is nice to their former leaders. As compared to how the libs will be to rattus. I wish it was 23/11.

  28. CL de Footscray said

    Well done, EC. But at least I got the Maxine thing in.

  29. Enemy Combatant said

    “Dolly*, what have we got for CL, our runner up on tonight’s show?….
    Didn’t he play a swell game,customers? ”

    “Well,Bob, CL has won this lovely Bulova watch…..”

    * Dyer, Pick-A-Box. cf. Barry Jones.

  30. CL de Footscray said

    EC – you must be older than me!

  31. Enemy Combatant said

    CL, that corker has robbed me of the spontaneity of my stock in trade. Touche. It was kind of a very Cazart moment. Here’s to many more, cheers.

  32. Evan said

    Thanks for the Soapbox link Poss.

    I’ve been looking for an audio or video recording of Billy McMahon’s 1972 campaign launch (with that now famous “Peeeeeple of Austraaaalia..” line) just so I can compare it to Howard’s campaign swan song this time around.

    I haven’t located it yet, but I’m still looking and I’ll post it if and when I do.

    From memory, there’s lots of familiar stuff in it about communists and unions running the ALP and also about the economic ruin, war, plague, pestilence and famine that will necessarily follow any Labor victory.

    In other words, all the usual Chicken Little stuff that’s been dusted-off and given a run again this time around.

    Still, it should be good for a laugh and I can’t wait to see how much of it Howard plagiarises.

    If he lifts too much and doesn’t source Billy, I’ll be dobbing him to the Joint Parliamentary Political Standards Committee. That’s the Parliamentary ethics mob co-chaired by Abbott and Heffernan, in case you didn’t know.

    And a stirling job it is they do, too.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  33. Avidwatcher said

    Nats doing computerised Robocalling into Forde with a recorded message from Barnaby Joyce. Seeking support for the Nat candidate.

  34. Helveticus said

    Pedro #21, I thought along a similar line, but I am not too familiar what drives these cash rates. I seem to remember reading in The A after one of Howards handouts, that days later sales of plasma screens in Hardly Normal went through the roofs ( I think it was $ 2000.00 children rebate). is this Keating was refering to about Howard lighting matches?

    Thanks Rod #23 , indeed interesting…. The question is, will he hang around the Canbra Island without hammock?

    CL #30 I’d say late 50 given the Fear and Loathing. Still, what’s the alternative, Relaxed and Comfortable?

  35. Socrates said


    Great analysis, which is very much what I would expect. But its pleasing to see that the statistics pan out with such a good R squared to boot.

    I have a further question that is an obvious follow up to this. Assuming that the interest rate rises affect those with mortgages most, is it possible to rank Federal seats by the % of persons paying off their own house? This woudl give an indication of where this factor is likely to be strongest. it would also enable us to separate out the appropriate degree of macro factors in each case and get a better picture of each candidates’ performance.

  36. Meng said

    Seeing as the next interest rate rise (you know, the one that hasn’t happened yet) has been foreshadowed like no other in Australian history, one might expect the effect on the polls to be less laggy, and perhaps even lesser in magnitude. Any thoughts?

  37. steve said

    Check out the Household savings ratio which went negative in 2002and hasn’t made it back into positive territory since.


  38. Grumblebum said

    WIN TV Central Qld published a (IMNSHO – useless) phone in poll yesterday, on of the 1900 number ones.

    The question was ‘Have you made your mind up who you are going to vote for?’ ‘Yes or No’. The results was 97%-Yes, 3%-No.

    Make of it what you will but it doesn’t seem likely that such figures will cheer the coalition.

  39. seajay said

    Hi Socrates, re post 35,
    try the parliamentary library’s recent analysis of census data for each federal electoral division:

    I have happily wasted hours on this data: religion is particularly interesting, seemingly those with no religion tend to vote Liberal! Catholics and Muslims seem to favour Labor (probably more a socio-economic issue rather than faith).

    Is anyone else worried by the recent apparent downward trend of ALP primary votes on the Morgan polls? I know it’s Morgan but the decline tends towards the precipitous.

  40. Doug said

    On Morgan – in the face to face poll sample over 900 there was this note on Tasmania for what it is worth:

    Tasmanian Federal Vote
    Special analysis of Tasmanian voting preference combining the samples from the last two telephone Morgan Polls and face-to-face Morgan Polls finds a significant fall in the ALP vote since they gave bi-partisan support for the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill. Support for the Greens has increased 12.5% from 8% to 20.5%.
    September (Pre ‘Gunns’) % October (Post ‘Gunns’)%
    Liberal Party 35 34.5
    ALP 56 38
    Greens 8 20.5
    Family First 0.5 2
    Others/Independent 0.5 5
    Total 100 100

  41. Kim said

    According to that Parliamentary Library data, of the 25 seats with the highest proportion of dwellings being purchased, 19 are held by the Government. Not the the mortgage belt, more like the mortgage noose!
    The Government seats are:
    La Trobe

  42. Kirribilli Removals said

    Bruce @ 20

    Goodbye Mr Thatcher indeed!

    As the 19th-century Scottish journalist Charles Mackay concluded in his 1841 book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, wrote: “Men, it has been well said, think in herds. It will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

    If we applied that maxim to Possum’s graph of the Rodent’s primary vote over the last two years then we can see this very thing in action. Gradually, but inexorably, the electorate has started to see through all this ‘economic rationalism’ and cultural and racist fear mongering for what it is: the actions of a politician who is narrow and ideologically moribund, but a clever exploiter of our phobias and prejudices.

    And then the gradual erosion meets a tipping point, and the herd moves yet again. The paradigm shifts, yesterday’s shibboleth becomes today’s doormat, and we all move on.

    I just loved your quote from Robert Manne, and like so many who have been vilified by the rightwing cultural warriors, is about to be vindicated with a comprehensive defeat of the white armband brigade. Greg Sheridan flew the white flag for Howard this week, in what was probably the most bizarre piece I’ve ever seen in the Australian press. Essentially he praised Ceasar whilst burying him. Howard had done some nifty ducking and weaving to wrong foot the left, but had not gone in hard enough with a ‘scorched earth’ policy to eradicate the vermin from the ABC and the universities! The barbarian elites, like the myriad Orks, are at the citadel and now all is lost.

    That horde is the electorate, and enough of them have finally come to their senses to see through Howard’s shallow tactics of porkbarrelling and bribery. Finally, the emperor has no clothes, and there is nowhere left to hide.

  43. John V K said

    What a crock Kirribili, you haven’t followed this Blog at all, work choices and interest rates, maybe some of the soft libs heart beats, some. Howard and the Libs did themselves over.

    All of the left wing cringe cultural warriors havent layed a glove on the Lib Nats for over a decade, Rudd centred the labor boat, the electorate wants nothing to do with left wing cringe and abuse.

    Manne isn’t being vindicated he’s being buried, by the centre at the centre.

    This blog is on the issues that effect and drive votes. Show me a left wing cringe vote driver issue as a factor, show me.

    Work choices and interest rates and a real alternative that doesn’t hate the people like all the feral lefties do, shit, rudd even goes out of his way for the values of electorate to show he is the electorate.

    But feral lefties main argumetn is how the masses are dumb and shouldn’t be trusted with an opinion or a vote.

  44. John V K said

    and are then ignored. cya.

  45. George said

    John V K, forgot to take your pills this morning 😉

  46. Goodbye Mr Thatcher said


    Its interesting to consider Manne’s article in the context of more recent views of someone like the social researcher Hugh Mckay. He argues that the Australian electorate is slowly beginning to wake up after a period of Howard-induced sleep on broader social issues and that they aren’t happy about what they have become. This seems to correspond with a broader shift in sentiment on the international level due, particularly, to the problem of global warming and the foreign policy disaster in Iraq. The question is, regardless of who wins the election, are we now seeing a move beyond the neo-conservative consensus of the last decade to something quite different. I think that’s where Manne’s article is interesting.

  47. Doug said

    These broad categories of “left” and “right” are not helpful. People take different stands on different issues.

    On questions of the rule of law and public accountablity Manne is an old fashioned conservative – that is he is concerned to conserve what is good from the past

  48. Goodbye Mr Thatcher said


    I’m not sure its so much about ‘left’ versus ‘right’ as it is to do with the privileging of economic growth over everything else – which has been the hallmark of the neo-conservative ascendancy since Thatcher. Interesting to hear on the radio yesterday that even the supposedly pro-Howard, conservative’grey vote’is very worried about climate change.

  49. Neil Cammack said

    I’d like to think that the Right has lost the “culture wars”, but it seems to me that Howard and his cronies have effected deep and substantial change in he national psyche where it counts.

    They’ve succeeded in diverting a huge number of the nation’s kids into private schools, and this carries the message that education is a commodity, and you get what you pay for (with the generous assistance of your government).

    They’ve done much the same with health care, with major growth in profit-making private hospitals. $4B or so that could have gone into the public system is being used to subsidise private health insurance taken out largely by those who can already afford it.

    Tthus, while the number of Australians living in poverty has increased in recent years, the middle class find themselves swimming in government largesse. They won’t want to give it up.

    I’m concerned that Rudd has left himself very little wiggle room in which to reverse these corrupting trends. As things stand I have to hope that he at least would like to, and has options up his sleeve that the rest of us can’t see.

  50. Goodbye Mr Thatcher said


    If Rudd does win office one of the major challenges he will face is to build a new consensus on Australia’s future direction – (a la Hawke and the Accord in the 80s). He’ll need to do this to counter the neo-con cosmentariat, but also to build support for his own administration. I think this is where the idea of the education revolution becomes interesting because it can be expanded to encompass a whole range of pressing issues previously buried by Howard – i.e. cultural productivity, environmental sustainability etc.

  51. Chris said

    I kind of wish that Rudd held fire on his tax package until this week. He could have justified a smaller tax concession and sold it pretty well on the back of the proposed interest rate rises.

  52. Kirribilli Removals said

    Thanks everyone, some very interesting responses, from the downright hostile, to the gently accomodating!

    I think Hugh Mackay is onto something, there’s an awakening, and even if it cannot be entirely framed within a right/left dichotomy, it has decisively shifted away from Howard’s theme of ‘relaxed and comfortable’ to something else entirely. Sure, Work Choices is a slap in the face and the entire Neocon madness is just no longer tenable, but to think that it’s the Left that are somehow out of touch is hardly credible. What are the core issues of the Left, education and health? In that sense, Rudd has moved the needle from the far right to the centre, which is surely a movement to the Left if we are going to use this antiquated metric.

    There’s more to this than just interest rates and Work Choices, that’s way too simplistic, and we need a much broader debate.

  53. George said

    Hey Chris @ 52 – I tend to agree with you now in hindsite. Although a lot of people out there (including myself) felt that Rudd needed something big (in the way of policy release) going into the debate, I now think he should have released policy addressing global warming/environment, and held off releasing his tax plan until now. He/Swan could have put it in the “we need to be responsible” basket and produced a slightly smaller tax policy and committed the rest to infrastructure projects. In the end it hasn’t hurt him though, the polls are still on his side. I am concerned on what issues the rest of the campaign will be fought on. The interest rate hike will give a lot of ammunition to the Labor party in the closing parts of this election, and this may be part of Rudd’s later strategy – a bit hard not to see it biting a fair bit, especially when Howard so stupidly made it an issue in the last election and gave some voters the impression he could just dial-up lower interest rates. Very stupid.

  54. George said

    I meant Chris @ 51 – oops. 🙂

  55. Rod said

    Chris writes:

    “I kind of wish that Rudd held fire on his tax package until this week. He could have justified a smaller tax concession and sold it pretty well on the back of the proposed interest rate rises.”

    Mmm. I wish Rudd had simply held fire on a whole range of matters.

    Providing oxygen to the xenophobes and fear mongers on the NT “Intervention”, Haneef, Iran, and the like was completely unnecessarily electorally IMHO. He would be winning handsomely anyway. Yes, it might look clever to win the election by not being “wedged”, but if he was half decent at the job he’d be simply putting forward a “we’ll wait until we are in office before we comment on this stuff” line, leaving the way more easily open for a more rational stance on such things in government. If he was three quarters decent he’d be able to wipe the floor with the current government on such matters.

    As it stands he will either simply give in to the xenophobes on these things (most probable result – probably reflects his own views) or have to engage in a bumfight to justify a change of position. His “pragmatism” is simply entrenching a lot of nasty stereotypes on such matters at present.

    Let’s hope the Greens control the Senate, to make any “pragmatism” in government require that he plays at least lip service to something more intelligent than the current junk in such areas.

  56. Socrates said

    Seajay and Kim,

    Thanks I had seen those, and posted some conclusions of my own at Poll Bludgerr. Howeever, those are based on 2001 data. I was wondering if anyone had done any work on the 2006 census data, which apparently has been recently released.

  57. johng said

    As has been said many times Kevin is determined to make a difference – the final line in his maiden speech. He will implement what he has promised, but if you read the fine print that leaves quite a lot of wriggleroom. His philosphical position is quite clear. He holds to the Christian social democrat position held by Tony Blair and Kim Beazley Jnr and Snr and Geoff Gallop. Paradoxically that is quite a pragmatic position in many respects, because it holds no political ideology sacred. But it is a position which believes in the absolutes of truth and justice, while recognising the real world necessities. So Bonhoeffer was willing to try to kill Hitler while believing killing was alway wrong in some absolute sense. A belief in truth and justice would be quite a change from the current PM. So we will see significant changes with Kevin.
    I am disappointed with some of the policies like the backflip on food advertising in children’s time, but I suspect that is due to excessive influence from the NSW right in his office. A Rudd cabinet would have a different view.

  58. Rod said

    “He holds to the Christian social democrat position held by Tony Blair……”

    Like I said, “Let’s hope the Greens control the Senate, to make any “pragmatism” in government require that he plays at least lip service to something more intelligent than the current junk in such areas.” 😉



  59. Neil Cammack said

    Regarding Senate numbers – today the Canberra Times reported that a Morgan poll gives the Greens a chance of picking up the second ACT Senate seat. The poll has Labor on 47% (almost 13-14% more than a quota), the Liberals on 24% and the Greens candidate Kerrie Tucker on 17%. How the other 12% is distributed isn’t mentioned, nor are any other details of the poll.

    I’m not sure what sort of a chance that represents, as even if Tucker got all of Labor’s surplus votes she’d still be about 2% short of a quota. However, on those numbers the Liberals are 9-10% short.

  60. Sarah said

    as a first timer this election to blogs i just want you to know, possum and all you commentators, i really appreciate your effort-am really enjoying having some objective feedback which is not available in Adelaide due to the fact that Murdoch owns all the papers and so the right wind bias abounds in SA in the press.

  61. Neil Cammack said

    Um, please delete the “almost” in front of “13-14% more than a quota” in my last post. Reminder for self: proof-read better.

    A quota in a 2-seat Senate election is of course 33-1/3% + 1.

  62. Peter Fuller said

    I don’t pretend to know what KR really believes on the issue of education. However, I would think that the appropriate starting point for a new approach is to frame it in terms of his education revolution, then argue the pragmatic justification for increasing resources in the public sector. The consequence of the trend towards private is to give up on the segment of the community which can never aspire to private, no matter how generously the fees are subsidised. Of the 60-70% of students in public education, I would guess that more than half (conservative estimate) cannot contemplate fee-paying education. It’s not just the fairness issue of letting public schools deteriorate – important though that is, but the fact that society misses out on the potential of those students, if they are given inadequate opportunities.
    This segues into a story about the social consequences of encouraging private individualised “solutions” to health, transport, the environment and so on. The accumulated social consequences of these individualised responses to issues are likely to be disastrous.

  63. Kim said

    Socrates at 56:
    The Parliamentary Library uses the the latest census data – from the Intro:

    This paper provides an analysis by Commonwealth electoral division of socio-demographic data from the first release of the 2006 Census of Population and Housing. The electoral boundaries used in this paper are those applicable at the next federal election and they incorporate the recent redistributions in the Australian Capital Territory (December 2005), Queensland (November 2006) and New South Wales (November 2006).

  64. SJP said

    I think people are voting Rudd because, 1. they never liked Howard anyway they were just waiting for an alternative but Howard had won previous campaigns by scaring them (terrosists/ 9/11, ineterests rates); playing to their prejudices (tampa, illegals); or buying them (health rebates/money for religious schools/ pork barrelling). Now they have seen all his games, are sceptical of him AND are scared of global warming/ recognise Howard is a sceptic who is just hedging his bets and will put the economy before all else. They unfortunately don’t give a toss for left wind ideology around civil rights, a fair go: climate change affects THEM and their children and people are innately seflish and easily bought, especially in this shallow, selfish materialist society which has been propagated by Howard!

  65. Peter Kemp said

    I’ve been looking for an audio or video recording of Billy McMahon’s 1972 campaign launch

    Sorry can’t help Evan, but I remember the campaign. McMahon high pitched, squeaky: Ber ber, bah ber ber…..” Gough: “Men and women of Australia, never before {little shake of head} and never again…{little shake of head}”

    Gough had a perfect one liner on Billy as to his limited abilities: “The Tiberius of the Telephone and the Augustus of the Autocue.”

    But I guess that’s adaptable to 2007: “The Tiberius of the Tampa, the Clau…Clau… Claudius of the Shoulder Twitch, the Augustus of Augean Stables and the Caligula of Climate Change.”

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