Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

Oh Yes, we’re all sorry now

Posted by Possum Comitatus on November 28, 2007

One of the inevitable consequences of an electoral drubbing is the miraculous discovery of a special type of remorse that only the prism of hindsight can apparently deliver.

Turnbull is sorry the Coalition didn’t say sorry, Hockey is sorry that Workchoices went too deep, Nelson is sorry that his government didn’t use the phrase “human and social objectives” as often as he believes they ought to have, half the front bench are sorry that Costello was a political eunuch for the past 12 months and the entire Liberal Party is sorry that Jackie Kelly ever got married.

Not to be outdone, Russel Broadbent seems to be sorry that he didn’t join the Greens, Nick Minchin is just sorry they lost and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is particularly sorry that they now have to say that they didn’t really agree with Howard over Workchoices after all – lest they be completely sidelined in a Rudd government as their Queensland counterpart has been under Beattie for years.

Meanwhile Heather Ridout is not sorry at all to say a big “I told you so” to the leaders of other business lobbies over their campaigning for Workchoices.

On the other side of the fence, the Labor Party looks a bit sorry that Tony Abbott probably won’t win tomorrow’s Liberal leadership ballot.

And I’m sorry that I didn’t get back to all the comments on the last post 😉

You may have noticed that there’s a new button up toward the top left of the site marked “comments help” which is a handy little tutorial put together by the ever helpful Aspirational Aspirationalist on how to embed links, bold words and do a great many other things in the comments section for those interested.

Also, a very big thank you to all the readers, the commenters, those that sent me email and fellow bloggers for their kind words – and a bigger thank you for all your participation over the last days, weeks and months.

When the election result is finalised we’ll be able to announce the winner of the election tipping competition and start to do some spiffy things with the results themselves.

In the meantime, the ever insightful Alister Drysdale has an interesting analysis of the final days of polling in the campaign over at Business Spectator – it’s a very very interesting read.

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146 Responses to “Oh Yes, we’re all sorry now”

  1. kwoff.com said

    Oh Yes, we’re all sorry now « Possums Pollytics

    One of the inevitable consequences of an electoral drubbing is the miraculous discovery of a special type of remorse that only the prism of hindsight can apparently deliver.

    Turnbull is sorry the Coalition didn’t say sorry, Hockey is sorry that Work…

  2. Sydgal said

    I’m sorry I didn’t want to believe in what you were saying Possum 🙂 My heart was saying yes, my head was saying no…

    I’m sorry Abbott won’t be leader either. I wanted a good head kicking every time the mad monk opened his mouth. What a shame we won’t get it.

    I’m looking forward to the return of parliament – I may even tape it just for the sheer joy of it all 🙂

  3. BlueSkyMining said

    I am sorry that the Liberals are no longer in power in any Australian State Government because if they were I am sure there would be a movement to put the following on all new car rego plates:

    The Sorry State

  4. Rudi said

    I am sorry that the Liberals are in such disarray and are likely to be a shitty and ineffectual opposition. I am also sorry that because we only have two parties the Coalition will get back in power at some stage, unless of course Peter Faris QC is elected their leader.

  5. Country Kid said

    My ‘gut’ feel last week was that JWH’s line…

    “the country will change direction” worked for him.

    It was like a wedge issue – those who were really keen for a change just thought,

    good that’s what we want.

    Those disengaged with the political process probably thought,

    well maybe we should stick with what we have

    I felt it was about the only thing that gained traction for JWH in months – & so he kept banging on about it all week

    I also figured that the Jackie Kelly leaflet fiasco stopped the drift away from Labor in its tracks – but not all those who had already drifted away came back – because the ALP primary dropped from around 47 or 48 to below 45.

  6. 50_sigmas said

    The Labor functionaries who should have Drysdale’s article pinned to their wall probably won’t. They will be in the throes of self-congratulation.

    The fact remains that Labor failed to develop and sustain a good story about the Rodent’s laughable economic genius.

  7. Andos the Great said

    ABC News Radio:

    Tony Abbott withdraws from Liberal leadership race.

  8. And Ridout’s point is a valid one. Rather than reduce regulation workchoices increased business red tape.

    Rudd can get rid of workchoices and reduce business compliance costs.

  9. Cat said

    Poss given how the Labor vote is sliding in the close seats you could probably start another betting track on whether they will actually make 80 seats!

  10. Sir Henry Casingbroke said

    Monky is sorry that his colleagues won’t support him. Zero votes from his mates on a quick phone around. The Turnster will win the Leader of the Opposum Mission and the Liberal party will return to its roots, sort of…

    And what if the Turnster maneuvres the party to the left of the Ruddster? Do a David Owen. What then? Republic? The Turnster has runs on the board. Green credentials? Tick (sort of…). His only problem is Laser Eyes. She will be wathing him. Be afraid, Malcolm, be very afraid.

  11. Crikey Whitey said

    Telstra MAY be VERY sorry, if they don’t watch it.

    Demanding entire broadband cake on the one hand, and dishing it out to the workers on the other.

    Dim view, Kev? Julia?

  12. Detest National Socialists said

    What a farce to see the decimated ranks of Liberal members falling over themselves to ditch the odium of the Howard/Costello legacy. Where were these people of ‘principle’ in the party room when these issues were being debated and decided? Why didn’t one, or more of these people of conscience cross the floor to vote against some of these policies that they now profess to oppose?

    We can take these protestations of support for Labor policy as the cynical connivings that they clearly are – can a leopard change its spots?

    I think not, and I don’t intend to swallow these feeble, Nuremburg-like pleas of “I was only following orders, I was never a member of the right wing of the party!!”

  13. Andos the Great said

    I think you meant to say “can a leopard change his shorts?”…

  14. Fleetmac said

    I would like to comment on the Drysdale piece. My thoughts are anecdotal and he may be right but I don’t think the Jackie Kelly saga (I bet she did not get a Lodge lunch invitation today) is the cause of the big swing in Queensland (or Victoria or South Australia or Tasmania either). I certainly think the Kelly saga had an impact in Western Sydney and may have been the thing that tipped Maxine over the line but I do not think it was the cause of Mal Brough loosing his seat. Politics is very parochial. I come from Sydney and the impact here was noticeable. If such a saga happened in northern Queensland or WA would it have impacted us in Sydney to a large extent? I think not.

  15. KatieLou said

    Interesting that both Costello and Downer did not go to Howard’s farewell lunch at The Lodge today. Costello’s absence is no surprise but looks like Downer is sorry he didn’t shaft Howard earlier when he had the chance.


  16. Ronin said

    Abbott pulled out and to put his number behind Nelson. I don’t think Turnbull have the numbers, whereas Nelson have a lot of support amongst the back bench.

  17. Steve K said

    I’m going to leave the following line from a report of guests arriving that the Lodge for the last supper well and truely alone:

    “Mr Turnbull, however, chose to enter by the back way.”

  18. paul said

    Maybe a bit of Tracey Chapman for the Libs new theme tune, unless malcolm wants to write the theme tune, sing the theme tune…

    Is all that you cant say
    Years gone by and still
    Words dont come easily
    Like sorry like sorry

    Forgive me
    Is all that you cant say
    Years gone by and still
    Words dont come easily
    Like forgive me forgive me

    But you can say baby
    Baby can I hold you tonight
    Maybe if I told you the right words
    At the right time youd be mine

    I love you
    Is all that you cant say
    Years gone by and still
    Words dont come easily
    Like I love you I love you

  19. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    Cat, i replied to you in the comments thread.

    On the other side of the fence, the Labor Party looks a bit sorry that Tony Abbott probably won’t win now wont be contesting tomorrow’s Liberal leadership ballot. http://au.news.yahoo.com/071127/2/153ef.html

    Now that they’ve said they’re sorry, hopefully they have started a trek back towards the beliefs which the party must have been founded on, because i dont think what we saw at the last parliament was what its founder had envisioned.

  20. RobertBe said

    Drysdale’s analysis is interesting. But I think he is exagerating the effect of the Kelly stunt on the final result. I think they would have got there anyway. The tightening was partly about the leafy liberal wets wimping out (to no net electoral effect) at the end.

    That said, both the Kelly incident and the Willis letter highlight that there is a special corner of hell waiting for any fool carrying out a silly and dangerous stunt on the Wednesday before election day. Possibly involving a fire ant nest and certainly including the extra hot pokers.

  21. Sir Henry Casingbroke said

    Peter Coleman is sorry Howard has ruined his son-in-law’s prospects and the Liberal Party for a long time to come. Ha, ha, ha. He was speaking as one failure abiout another.

  22. Dave Bath said

    Given Turnbull’s “Spycatcher” case shows more commitment to individual liberties than Rudd’s me-tooism on Haneef et al, we could see Turnbull to the “left” of Rudd. But then, which way would the me-tooism go: to the right or the left.

  23. The Finnigans said

    Hi Poss, you can tell your boss at Crikey that I have signed up with Crikey just because of you. keep up the good work!

  24. Crikey Whitey said

    I observed Heather Ridout on Lateline Business, looking rather cheery, I thought. As she got stuck in. Remarked then, ‘what a difference a day makes.’

    Not Sorry..Amanda Vanstone. Laughing her head off. Ian Campbell. Smiling.

    Tim Dunlop on HOCKEY, Jobs for the boys the Howard reshuffle. Tuesday, 23/1/07.

    “Joe will bring energy, he will bring intelligence … Joe’s a good media performer, he’s an avuncular sort of bloke,” Mr Howard said.

    In other words, it’s all about the selling of the policy, the presentation, the putting lipstick on the pig that is WorkChoices. Prepare yourself to be treated like an idiot as the Uncle Joe from WorkChoices explains why giving up your conditions of employment is good for you, just like he did back in October last year when he had these avuncular words of advice for young people:

    DOLE bludgers have to “get off their backsides” or jobs will go to foreign workers, Federal Minister Joe Hockey said yesterday.

    The Human Services Minister’s comments were prompted by a lightening tour of country NSW towns last week where he found companies desperate for thousands of workers.

    “There is a class of people out there that have to get off their backsides and go to work,” he said.

    “There is, in some parts of Australia, an attitude problem and it seems to be more closely linked to coastal areas and warmer climates. We need people to swap the thongs for work boots. It’s a sad state of affairs when jobs are going begging in towns like Tamworth.” End quote.

    Good to know that Hockey contributed more than he ever imagined towards the effort on the skills shortage. All those ex pollies. All those staffers.

  25. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    Apparently its newsworthy that people don’t trust politicians :). Parliamentry art hidden from departing MPs

  26. Crikey Whitey said

    I’m sorry about my excessive para spacing.

    Wait. Or is it me?

  27. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    Crikey, the space in between lines seems on par with everyone elses, look at comment #5. must be the new style. I dont think there is a way to control that.

  28. dany le roux said


    I think you once said words to the effect that you were more interested in policy than psephology and with the result of the election now determined I would expect that you would give us your thoughts on many of the new government’s stated policies.

    If that is what is happening I look foward to it.

  29. PJay said

    I would like to send a HUGE thankyou to Jackie Kelly. We could not have done it without you. A true blessing in disguise. Free lifetime ALP membership in the mail.

  30. Oh Yes, were all sorry now

    For the Liberal party, all of a sudden sorry isn’t the hardest word to say.

  31. Possum Comitatus said

    Dany, I’m waiting anxiously to actually see some policy. The election campaign commitments are probably a bit light to do much with – they need to fleshed out, run through the departments and then delivered as an actual set of policy documents ready to implement. We should get the first of those turning up in a few weeks or so if some of them are going to be fast tracked.

  32. Possum Comitatus said

    Oh, and I’m sorry for anyone that put money on McPherson 😉

  33. Harry 'Snapper' Organs said

    It’s going to be fascinating. I was much bemused by Kev’s enthusiasm for Treasury and a different relationship between Treasury and Prime Minister’s Dept. last night on the 7.30 Report. He might ditch super Dept. of Homeland Supersleuths and Muscle, but you can just see how super Dept. of Policy Wonks would appeal.

  34. Charles said

    Perhaps Turnbell is the next Menzies, I wonder what he will call the new party when th time comes.

  35. zoom said

    I keep thinking of the appraisal of Nelson attributed to the ADF soon after he became Defence Minister – “Just like Peacock but without the substance.”
    I’ll be very sorry if he isn’t Opposition Leader.

  36. Crikey Whitey said

    Phew! You up there, Poss! Just dropped in for a cuppa, if the kettle’s on.

    Bit frantic at William’s, scrutineering.

  37. David Richards said

    the Aqua Party? (a little green, and a little blue?)

  38. Possum Comitatus said

    I like that Dave – Mal Turnbull:Aquaman!

  39. David Richards said

    Ties neatly with his $10M scheme lol

  40. Sir Henry Casingbroke said

    Turn to the left but via back door for Backdoor Turnbull.

  41. Sir Henry Casingbroke said

    Turn to the left but via back door for Backdoor Turnbull.

    “All three Liberal leadership aspirants – Malcolm Turnbull, Brendan Nelson and Tony Abbott – were there. Mr Turnbull, however, chose to enter by the back way.”

  42. David Richards said

    Tradesman Malcolm…

    he came to collect the tools he left behind

  43. The Doctor said

    It would seem that about half the Liberals have decided to apologise for the content of WorkChoices, however they do not seem to have worked out that the implementation process was also toxic!

  44. Steve_E said

    Is it just me or do state Liberal parties (plural intended) have the odd problem or two. Last week it was (and continues to be ) NSW – just a little to the right.

    Now its Qld. If you have 8 sitting members and you cannot arrange them into a majority and a minority, then does it matter who is their leader. Do they even have a leader? Are we meant to be impressed by their deliberations? Is this the way to get voters to support you? We used to hear that it is different in Qld but is it meant to be this different?

  45. Harry 'Snapper' Organs said

    Steve e, check out the current situation with the W.A Libs! I think it is the case that the Libs and Nats, are right royally up the proverbial stream of effluent in the old barbed wire canoe, without a paddle, across the nation, and if they can manage a bite of anything at all, it’s going to taste excremental, flavour wise.

  46. David Richards said

    Same here in SA – state Libs are totally useless

    Business has given up funding the mob of microcephalic hobbits.

    Is there a state where they have even a kitten’whiff of a chance in the foreseeable future?

  47. drew said

    What a release it’s been in recent days. The air seems lighter. Coming down I realise it’s not about ALP triumph – it’s just that the poison is gone.

    On one hand I want to scrapbook every opinion piece from this week – where the most surprising commentators have put the boot into the rodent for mean manipulation, blame shifting and economic ineptitude.

    On the other hand the ALP are not ascendant; a 10 seat/2% majority + challenging senate – not much margin for error.
    They’ll be OK. ALP Ministers will not want to get a bad report card from Principal Rudd – seems likely they will be very very competent.

    Rudd will remember his roots and restore public service independence.

    Then there’s the prospect Sir Henry raises of Liberal party repudiating Howard 50s’ism, looking at the way it’s heartland embraces progressive issues (study the 1999 referendum results) . Maybe such a new liberal party can outflank essential conservativism of the ALP in 2010. (Guess it depends if the Catholic Hillsongers have any actual power).

    It all smells like democracy.

  48. Crikey Whitey said

    Don’t worry overly much about the Policies.

    In a cliff hanging, suspense thriller, new release, all is revealed.

    The Garrett Prediction.
    Published by Union Press.

    Available soon at Bookshops near you.

    Critics anticipate a certainty shortlist, all Australian categories.

  49. Enemy Combatant said

    Petit Mal, Shreckie, Stud Nelson VC shamelessly endeavour to unburden themselves of the guilt of their bastardry towards decent Australians.

    “Oh, we’re so sorry, we didn’t really mean it, OK? We were team players just following policy.”

    Oh, how the prospect of years of irrelevance focuses the born-to-rule conscience. Another flogging at the next election and they’ll become living bloody saints!

  50. Styx said

    I’m sorry that the Liberals are in such a sorry state because I don’t like the current one party dominance even if it by the party I favour. Though I imagine that the electors will rectify that at the first possible opportunity in WA unless, as it seems the Liberals are determined to stuff up the unloseable election.

  51. Enemy Combatant said

    What’s this I hear about The Confessor Party exchanging preferences with Family First in the upcoming Higgins by-election?

  52. Ratfree! said

    Poss, your fame spreads. You are featured in Rosslyn Beeby’s Environment column in today’s Canberra Times:

    “Good to see Australian wildlife featuring prominently in recent federal election commentary, with brush-tailed economist Possum Comitatus leading the charge with the politically astute and acerbic online blog, Possum’s Pollytics. Meanwhile, cartoonist First Dog on the Moon also kept us informed (and laughing) via a daily spot in Crikey’s newsblog on matters as diverse as the quoll vote, Labor supporters at the Mullumbimby Cane Toad Detention Centre and why peanut butter-loving brown antechinus should run the country. No doubt a clever pun on posse comitatus ( a United States federal law limiting the powers of the Government to use the military for law enforcement), the Possum quickly became the go-to site for intelligent, in-depth poll analysis and trend-spotting. As for political fallout from the post-election rout and the question of Coalition leadership, the Possum wisely quotes a Confucian-style gem from The West Wing – ‘a leader without followers is just a man taking a walk.’ Not acquainted with the political possum? Try http://www.possumcomitatus.wordpress.com”

    I handed Greens HTVs at a booth here in the ACT on Saturday, and the woman handing out for the Liberals at the same time was being paid to do so. This booth was one of eight in the ACT where the Greens Senate vote was higher than that for Labor or Liberal, the highest being 41.1% at Turner.

    The high Senate vote bodes well for the Greens for the election for the ACT assembly late next year. There are three multi-member electorates. The Greens Senate vote in Fraser (24%) would get almost two quotas in the 7-member electorate (where the quota is, of course, one-eighth) and the vote in Canberra (19%) would be more than the quota (one-sixth) in the two 5-member electorates.

    Thanks for the wonderful blog. I’ve been reading it avidly since early September, but this is my first post.

  53. Crikey Whitey said

    Intriguing, Ratfree, 52. My brother asked why I had handed out for free, when he knows our sis in law, Darwin, is paid to do…something similar. Unsure from his account, whether it was HTV, if so, for whom, or official, a la AEC. Finding out. It would be very interesting to learn the actual source of such recompense, too. Taxpayer, in some devious way?

  54. Kyle Aaron said

    The other issue that popped up moments before the election was an Aussie soldier being killed in Afghanistan. Given that a lot of the humming and hawing of the swinging voters over Howard was over the issue of our foreign wars, having a digger cop one the day before the election couldn’t have helped.

    It was certainly on my mind as I cast my ballot. Much more than Jackie Kelly’s little pamphlets, since the Liberal party disseminating racist propaganda, from Tampa to Andrews and his Sudanese – well Liberal racism hardly seemed like news to me.

  55. Big D said

    Turnbull (Turncoat?) would be daft to rise the Republic debate again, no one gives a rats testicles about it bar hardcore republicans. Even Labor has realised this and dropped the plebiscite/referendum policy like a shiny new possum poo. Irrelevent policies the way of the future for Libs?

  56. Ron Brown said


    Do you agree with Alister Drysdale’s conclusion

  57. otiose said

    sydgal @2 – she who must be obeyed works @ the house on the hill and is getting me public gallery tickets to the 1st question time for christmas 😉

  58. Ron Brown said

    Possum , “Sorry” being the word of the day , then I should say ‘sorry’ for not putting my head on the chopping block & saying there
    is SOME substance in the Alister Drysdale article. I thought Howard’s ‘we are heading in the right direction’ , ‘if you change the Government’ were far more effective ‘fear’ messages to the mortgage belt than either the Unions ads or the 3 previous Labor PM interest level ads

  59. RoD said

    Is there a state where they have even a kitten’s whiff of a chance in the foreseeable future?

    Ted Baillieu may not be the most shining of lights for Libs’ future, but there is a definite stink of corruption among Brumby’s lot here. Bracks was popular (in a brainless, Hilton style version of populism) but now he’s gone the masses could turn easily. Baillieu may sell a Rudd message – economically conservative, but not ‘them’ – to a jaded public fed H-un rhetoric.

  60. Trubbel at Mill said

    “…sorry that Jackie Kelly ever got married.”

    Just imagine – Kelly’s husband is a dentist – the same filthy hands that created and handled that racist shit actually go into innocent people’s mouths.

  61. David Richards said

    Drysdale’s article was wrong. Even if it was true, it came too late to affect the outcome of the election. Perhaps if the Libs had run the campaign from the start on the same henny penny message they ran at the end, it might have had some resonance or gained traction. Coming as it did after four weeks of sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops it would, if anything, have confirmed the sneaky conniving image in the voter’s minds.

    Revisionist dribble such as the Drysdale article seeking to gloss over or deny the fundamental reasons for the goolie kicking dealt out to Team Rattus will only serve to keep the Libs on the cross benches for a considerably long time.

  62. David Richards said

    Isn’t Beaullie tainted by the selling school land to speculator mates issue?

    erratta #61 “Even if it were true…”

  63. David Richards said

    errata #61 “Revisionist drivel..”

  64. Yes, they’re all sorry now. But not as sorry as I am that they managed to hold Australia in thrall for over a decade.
    I worry that this incoming Federal Government will not be able to turn the clock back far enough to regain what we have lost as a society, even if it turns out that Labor has the political will to try.

  65. Forgot to mention that in the last days of the election campaign, Possum Comitatus was even being quoted in the lead frontpage story of a regional newspaper.
    Well done on excellent coverage of the polls etc., Possum.

  66. Bernice said

    & keep an eye for Margot Saville’s Battle for Bennelong – apparently to be launched on the 17th of Dec somewhere in Bennelong with Maxine & ” a significant Labor figure”. Make sure you all turn up in your new t-shirts…


  67. Stephen T said

    Oh my God Greg Sherridan is at it again. Revisionary right wing tripe justifying Howard’s unethical behavior, meanness and duplicity. We the voters just don’t get it and must rely upon the vast intellect of right wing journalists to tell us the way it is. There will be no sorry or recognition of misjudgment by the Conservative Rag. Boy that didn’t take long. Ethics, ethics, ethics. Where were these blokes taught human values. It is time to attack amorality head on as a strategy for justifying the unjustifiable. There needs to be a revision of the political narrative to clearly define right from wrong, good from evil. Iraq is wrong; 250,000 children dying a day of preventable causes is wrong; taking income of the lowest paid workers in thesee country is wrong; ignoring and manipulating empirical evidence when the vast majority of scientist are calling for action on global warming is wrong; the incapacity to say sorry is wrong and forcing single mothers to be latchkey parents is wrong (note I have left out Tampa etc). Revisionary Journalist are clearly at fault on these important issues. We do not need to rewrite history we need to bring our conception of ethical behavior into the twenty first century.For these guys the elections are some sort of ethereal dream that can just be ignored.

  68. Neil Cammack said

    I’m a little bemused that Menzies is being evoked as a symbol of moderation and liberalism, the antithesis of his admirer Howard.

    Menzies was a backward-looking, conniving old Tory who misappropriated the term “liberal” in perhaps the most blatant example of political false advertising we’ve ever seen.

    His aim was to make Australia safe for business, his party’s financial mainstay, and to maintain Australia’s forelock-tugging quasi-colonial place in the world. He worshipped Britain and the monarchy, but when political advantage dictated he unashamedly fell in behind US policy. In allowing the British to use him as a pawn during the Suez crisis, that last gasp of Anglo-French imperialism, he revealed his utter inadequacy on the international stage.

    His Communist Party Dissolution Bill represented one of the direst assaults on civil liberties in our history and was pursued solely for political advantage.

    He cynically bought much of the Catholic vote by funding church schools, thus beginning the slow attrition of our system of free and secular education.

    He led us into the Vietnam War quagmire that killed more then 500 young men, many of them conscripts.

    Admittedly he didn’t, like Howard, embark on a single-minded campaign to destroy the union movement, but that was as much due to his laziness as lack of conviction. As Fred Daly remarked, he set out to do nothing, took a long time doing it, and did it very well.

    If this old fraud is to be the inspiration for a new generation of conservatives, heaven help us. The only talent this puffed-up mediocrity ever displayed was a ruthless determination to hang onto power.

  69. Cat said

    My favourite moment from last night’s Chaser election wrap-up was when they held the “I wish I had run for Bennelong” thought bubble behind first Tony Jones and then Kerry O’Brien the response from Kerry was “I am too old” . Is that the only reason you did not run against Howard Kerry?

    Oh and I am quietly hoping Peter Garrett gets responsibility for Water because he once threw a milk-shake container of water in my face to my great relief so I am willing to trust him on water.

  70. David Richards said

    Heffernan was his usual charming self.. what a really nice bloke :p

  71. ho_hum said

    Tony Abbott signing off from Lateline last night came out with a treasure:

    “Part of the Democratic process and Democratic accountability, Tony.”

    Yeah, right!

  72. Ronin said

    Rudd’s cabinet announced


    Peter Garrett retains Environment I think.

  73. James said

    The conservative commentators are going on about how extraordinary it is for a government – no matter how manky – to be turfed in generally prosperous times. You’d think Kevin broke the laws of physics, instead of bending a ‘law’ of electoral psychology based on a tiny sample. But it has got me thinking a bit about the evidence for such claims, and I’d be very interested in opinions on the three questions below.

    (i) In 1954, 1961, 1969, 1990 and 1998, the federal government was returned with less than 50% of the TPP. How many of those do you reckon count as elections in similarly prosperous times?
    (ii) Is it at all surprising that no opposition has ever come to government on less than 50% of TPP?
    (iii) How well do state elections support the ‘prosperous times -> keep incumbents’ theory?


  74. Andos the Great said

    It’s Nelson: 45 to 42!

    ABC News Radio

  75. Andos the Great said

    Should have taken those 9 to 1 odds on Nelson. Dammit!

  76. David Richards said

    The thing to note about 1954 was not only did the ALP get over 50% 2PP, they got over 50% primary – so I guess the people wanted to turf out Menzies then, regardless of how the economy was doing.

    1998 the Libs are lucky they had the Nats, or Howard would have been a one-termer

  77. Andos the Great said

    Penny Wong gets a new portfolio Climate Change, Peter Garrett gets Environment (minus Climate Change).
    Steven Smith gets Foreign Affairs.
    Tony Burke gets Primary Industries.

    ABC News Radio

  78. David Gould said

    I am pretty sure that Sawford’s formula held up for this election, by the way. Interest rates and inflation were both up since the last election. I have checked back to 1993, and all the elections from 1993 to 2007 have obeyed the Sawford formula. I understand, of course, that correlation does not equal causation, but it just makes me wonder if events really have all that much to do with voter intentions. My suspicion is that the personal fortune of an individual voter is much more likely to affect the way they vote. Ideological voters tend not to change their spots, no matter what events occur and no matter their individual circumstances. So circumstances – which tend to equal financial circumstances – would seem to be the key. But I am new to all this, so I could be completely wrong.

  79. Kirribilli Removals said

    Just got $50 on the Lord Nelson this morning.

    Very happy John (had $500 on Maxine too!)

  80. happy chap from Griffith said

    Just heard Nelson won. The audio from abc’s latent camera feed picked up a journalist reporting in to Macquarie radio

  81. Andos the Great said

    I also believe that John Faulkner got Special Minister of State.

  82. Andos the Great said

    Reports that Julie Bishop got deputy from ABC News website.

  83. Andos the Great said

    Julia Gillard gets Education as well as IR.

  84. Sir Henry Casingbroke said

    Yesssss, we’re not sorry, so get nicked. Turbull got sidelined, the right wing is back in control with Gormless Brendan up front. If you’re a rabid Labor supporter that is good news. Hopefully, this spells the end of the Libs, for good. Pox on them. They are rotten to the core.

  85. josh lyman said

    Nelson wins with less than 50% support – talk about a hospital pass.

    Gillard gets education + IR: that’s a tough load to carry. If they have talent to burn, why double up?

  86. Andos the Great said

    K Rudd explained the double up as Julia being responsible for all of the productivity and participation related responsibilities.

  87. josh lyman said


  88. Cat said

    Josh listen to him on NewsRadio. So far big ticks.

  89. josh lyman said

    correction: ABC online has corrected the Lib numbers. It’s 45 votes to 42, not 45%.
    Even so, not much of a mandate.

  90. Tassieannie said

    Nelson and Bishop? My first reaction is – hahahaha!!!! They must be looking forward to a long opposition.

    I wouldn’t like to have Turnbull and Abbott looking over my shoulder.

  91. sydgal said

    Nelson as Lib Leader? ROFL! Oh man this is gonna be fun watching the Libs for the next 3 years.

    I found it rather funny that Costello announced this – how the mighty have fallen. Should have been Howard. 🙂

  92. Cat said

    Happy with Rudd’s picks mainly.

    There are not 87 coalition members so something is screwy with the numbers surely?

  93. David Richards said

    Yes – fun and games with the ID supporter and the WC supporter.

    Question time will be entertaining – I’ll have to sort out plenty of tapes to catch it all lol

  94. David Richards said

    only Lib members vote – and they are from the Reps and the Senate

  95. Possum Comitatus said

    Josh – rolling education into employment and training is a pretty orthodox thing to do for Labor governments. There used to be the old dept called DEET (known as DEET the People Eaters!), the Department of Employment Education and Training.

    It reflects how the focus on IR is viewed by the two sides. The Coalition sees it as as a political department and a key platform in their public face, whereas Labor tends to see IR as something much larger than simply workplace relations, involving how employers and employees not only relate to each other (and the regulation surrounding that), but how businesses and employees integrate into the general opportunities that government funds for human capital development like further education and training.

  96. Cat said

    Oh sorry I forgot the senators. How could I have possibly the likes of Heff????

  97. ed@bennelong said

    Interesting ministry with substantial changes of emphasis.

    Plenty of policy debate to get our teeth into now we know the overall direction and the players. eg Faulkner’s role of accountability for benchmarks and changes to FOI etc is going to keep labour in office for a long time.

    Seems the Liberals are heading for 30% rusted on greedy habitual Liberal supporters only.

    Emphasising climate change as a global and business negotiation combined with Dept of Environment being involved more at the local implementation level is very smart politics and hopefully shows an awareness of how serious this is going to get.

    Also shows that the Greens are not going to be as relevant as they hope, i spite of the new Senate numbers, unless they start to think more globally in their party/support structures and in their approach to policy implementation.

  98. Bert said

    Just when I thought it could not get any better IT DID!

    We must not get too carried away as there is a lot to fix. This should make the job easier once the Senate can’t obstruct.

    I still cannot believe the drivel that comes out of the GG. The only way I can fathom it is what I heard on a RN doco on neurophysiology, where a patient who had the delusion he was dead could easily see the delusions in the other patients but actually argued he was dead.

    Thanks from me poss as well for stopping me from becoming delusional.


  99. Andos the Great said

    Nice link there, Ed.

  100. Faith said

    I think Nelson will be rolled by Turnbull either just before or just after the next election. Abbott doesn’t stand a chance and he knows it. Nelson will be the sacrificial lamb to appease the Australian people when eleven years of dirt from the Howard era emerges… AWB kickbacks, pork barreling, tampa, Iraq, IR, reconciliation; Nelson has his work cut out for him. No wonder Malcolm was smiling at the outcome! Brendan will be the shit kicker and Malcolm will take the reins in a few years and be hailed as the Saviour of the Liberal party.

    Other predictions – Maxine McKew and Mike Kelly will be promoted as soon as someone in cabinet screws up. Rudd is going to keep his ministers on their toes.

    Interesting promotion: Stephen Smith to Foreign Affairs. Penny Wong will do well.

  101. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    I also think that one reason that Penny Wong got the Climate change portfolio is that she is a senator, so that discussions and debates on legislation can be held in the senate with the Greens.

  102. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    The Liberal Party Leader John Howard Brendan Nelson is sorry they didnt ratify Kyoto. Nelson Backs Labor on Kyoto.

  103. Peter R said

    Who’d have thought that you could move the enviroment away from climate change and water…

  104. Anne said

    Despite the fact that there are about 500 unemployed Liberal staffers in Canberra now, I’ve had a couple of calls this week from Canberra employment agencies asking if I’m available – and I live in Melbourne now!

    Interpret it as you will 🙂

  105. Bernice said

    Oh Possum, oh Polly
    Oh Ticcy our sweet
    The vote for Bennelong
    Goes slow, it does creep
    Will Howard once more land back on his feet?

  106. David Richards said

    lol – 101 uses for an unemployed Lib staffer?

  107. David Richards said

    Bernice – there’s more than one way to skin a rat lol

  108. Bert said

    Peter R it is an admission that climate change (AKA known as human induced global warming) and water are at the forefront of the health of the Economy. I am sure the rest of the environment will soon follow as it falls apart and is obvious to even neocons.

    A bit like Nixons favourite saying ” if you have got them by the balls their hearts and mind will soon follow”


  109. David Richards said

    I think the whole climate change/environment/water trio of issues is too large for one minister to handle, so splitting it up was the only option. Although coordination and synergy would be required to ensure that there were no discontinuities or even contradictory measures taken.

    This is one thing the ALP MUST get right first. Without a healthy environment – we have no future.

  110. happy chap from Griffith said

    I agree with Faith @ 100: Installing Nelson is Machiavellian politics 101, Malcolm has been reading 😛

  111. Peter R said


    Sadly, my attempt satire and sarcasm has failed…I shall not try humour again 🙂

  112. Crikey Whitey said


    Convention is that the Governor General has an expected tenure of 5 years.

    Major-General Michael Jeffery (remember him?) was commissioned Governor General on 11 August 2003.

    To serve the remainder of the former GG’s term, that is three years.

    As of 29/11/07, 4 years, 109 days served (no comment.) 5 years due to expire in mid 2008.

    As of December 2007, GG permitted to resume his duties in the position. Courtesy PM of Australia.

    Momentum political and active, occurs in addressing indigenous issues. NT intervention reviewed and reshaped. In consultation with stakeholders.

    Sorry legislation flagged. Consultation occurs. Noel Pearson mollified.

    Opinion sought in private over logical person for next GG.

    Sorry legislation, of whatever type, is framed.

    Date nominated as to its being put before the House.

    Current GG announces intended retirement date.

    Next GG decision announced.

    Professor Lowitja O’Donohue OA. First woman, first aboriginal. National Living Treasure. Last Australian Governor General.

    Sorry Legislation passes through HOR and Senate.

    New Governor General Lowitja O’Donohue signs legislation. Great fanfare.

    Tempus Fugit. Republic put forward as issue for next election. Referendum. New round of suggestions for the Flag.

    Rudd Government re elected to second term. Terms of Referendum framed and announced.

    President to be elected by the people. Candidates put forward.

    Include: Julian Burnside QC. Tim Costello. Malcolm Fraser. Ian Chappell. Fiona Stanley. William Deane. William Bowe. Possum. Decision made, by the people.

    Republic comes into being.

    Monarch of Australia attends to anoint decision of the Australian people. (Look, don’t touch, Kevin) More great fanfare.

    Sydney Harbor Bridge closed for Reconciliation walk.

    CC: Pollbludgers, Possum Comitati.

  113. ppitta said

    Another lurker coming in from the cold … thanks Possum and others for analysis and hand-holding over the last few weeks.

    Returning to the hypothesis of narrowing disrupted by ‘events’. Its certainly plausible – and this is of course why there were so many nervous Labor/Green supporters turning to this and other blogs to keep their morale up. And it seems that there was some sort of last-minute return to the tories, and once again the ‘doctor’s wife’ vote failed to materialise. But what exactly were the factors, and what was the role of inadvertent Kelly gang reverse swing late in the innings? It’s no trivial matter – future myths are now being seeded, and a lot of claims about what is or isn’t viable policy, and how future campaigns should be run, hinge on this sort of tea-leaf reading. So it would be nice to have more solid data and on-the-record attribution to go by. It is indeed scary and sobering to think that if it were not for a few stuff-ups, the miserable crew now being painted as hopelessly out of touch might well have been returned. Perhaps this is the sobering up we need to have, but perhaps not … in the absence of compelling evidence, there are plenty of hypotheses which could be spun about what actually happened.

    Taking what Drysdale actually offers, I’m frankly surprised to see the stalwart Possum taking it seriously – it looks like just another covert manipulation for dodgy purposes. Obviously getting this view out well suits the Howard faction of the Tories and the managerial apparatchiks within Labor. Looking back through Drysdale’s previous columns provides no reason to believe he is in possession of superior information or wisdom – it’s all just filling space and posturing. So please tell us, Possum, do you have other reasons for taking this particular line seriously?

  114. David Richards said

    I don’t really care if there was or wasn’t a narrowing and a subsequent widening or the reasons behind them. I am just glad that we got rid of the dysfunctional demented drongos. Let’s not look a gift horse in the sphincter.

  115. Harry 'Snapper' Organs said

    Very droll, Crikey. I look forward to your future contribution to the ABC Board. Have you looked at this yet? Vast amounts of fun to be had.

  116. GS said

    Malcom as shadow Treasurer – what’s that one about keeping yr friends close and yr enemies closer? I was thinking that overall the new Cabinet and outer ministry line-up was a breath of fresh(ish) air then realised – after the other line-up – how could it be otherwise? An oddity or two tho – an Agriculture Minister from a suburban Sydney electoriate who’ll need to get acquainted with a farm tout d’suite!

  117. Troy C said

    So, with Mr. Howard handing over the keys to The Lodge and the swearing-in almost upon us, have you guys given any thought as to whom you will direct your hatred for the next three years?

  118. Stig said

    I’m not sorry. Not at all.

    I’m not sorry that Costello had to read out the Lib’s ballot results. He looked like a bunny in the headlights, which is kind of appropriate for him. Actually, he looked like he’d just been told that Howard had lost the jar that he kept Costello’s nads in – must have been packed up by Kirribilli Removalists when they were cleaning out the office, and is now sitting in a Kennard’s storage unit somewhere in Minto.

    I’m not sorry than Nelson and Bishop are now up the front of the sandwich queue. It’s panned out pretty much as discussed the other day o nthis fine blog. Did you see that big smile on Turnbull’s face coming out of the party meeting? No sandwiches for that man, and he’s in the box seat to take over after the flogging stops.

    I’m not sorry that I just watched Nelson trying to defuse a question from Kezza about him not being sorry. Going to see that little pantomime a few more times in the next year as well.

    Nope. It’s all good, and I’m not sorry.

  119. ppitta said

    I agree … its a new game now, things can unfold differently, and yes, thank goodness the drongos are gone. The relief is palpable.

    But of course part of what this shows is that actually winning elections does make a difference, and it does help to have some idea of how this is acheived. Various narratives will inevitably be asserted about this, and it does make a difference which of these are believed. Without getting too obsessive about it, it might be wise to observe the horse’s sphincter to avoid being shat on in future.

  120. Stig said

    Well Troy, I guess we’ll have to amuse ourselves with talking about functional policy instead. The Libs might want to have a crack at that as well, in between eating sandwiches.

  121. Peter Fuller said

    My understanding is that the Leader chairs Liberal Parly. Party meetings. Since Howard is (almost certainly) no longer the Member for Bennelong, he didn’t have a right of attendance or a vote; so the task fell to the Deputy, which I assume is the reason Costello announced the result.

  122. David Richards said

    ppitta – point taken.

    OK – once the horse’s sphincter has been thoroughly inspected and a definitive analysis made… we’ll file that away for next time – and hopefully keep the evil empire of the horrid hubristic homunculi at bay.

  123. Crikey Whitey said

    Harry ‘Snapper’ Organs

    Glad you enjoyed. But reasonable scenario, I reckon. Intend to post at William’s, but half the working party haven’t shown up. Need constructive comment before I send to Kev. Cause I intend to.

    Did you mean look at the posts here, which I have and do, or some missing link?

  124. Rocket said

    Ppitta 113 – With 2 ex and 1 current, Brendan has cornered the “Doctors’ Wife” vote all on his own!

  125. pedant said

    Peter Costello speaks to John Howard, but the voice is that of Connie Francis:

    “Who’s sorry now, who’s sorry now
    Whose heart is achin’ for breakin’ each vow
    Who’s sad and blue, who’s cryin’ too
    Just like I cried over you

    Right to the end, just like a friend
    I tried to warn you somehow
    You had your way, now you must pay
    I’m glad that you’re sorry now”

  126. canberra boy said

    Bernice (#66) do you have any idea where the Maxine 13 t-shirts came from? Apart from the fact that it rhymes like Kevin 07 does, what does it mean? Maxine will be running for PM in 2013? Is this a Maxine fundraiser or something inspired by the Libs? And if its a Maxine fundraiser, wtf is a thong (g-string) doing there? I’d better buy one quickly – will be worth a fortune at the election after next.

  127. canberra boy said

    And to add to the list of ‘sorries’ – Steve Biddulph doesn’t sound terribly sorry when he suggests that the party is over for the Libs and that future politics will be Labor vs Green. An interesting alternative view.

  128. Marrickville Mauler said

    Great stuff Crikey Whitey – hopefully those close to the action actually have something like your how to say sorry scheme in mind. Most noble Possum, being the maximal marsupial means never having to say you are sorry: I don’t mind in the least having done a few dollars on Macpherson – made plenty more on Dawson inspired by your analysis and would have paid still more anyway to see the change, dare we say redemption, come

  129. Crikey Whitey said

    And now I hear, ABC Radio. Nelson sees no need to apologise to Aboriginal people.

    How sorry is that?

  130. David Richards said

    No Sorry

    Still want WorkChoices

    Have they learned nothing from Saturday?

  131. dany le roux said

    Ppitta,( at 113)

    I agree with you here.The accepted wisdom at the time regarding the last Newspoll was that it had sampled a greater proportion of respondents in country areas than normal to give “narrowing” type results.You cannot have it both ways.
    This article, with no quotable attributions, has all the elements of an urban myth in the making.
    Because of the amount of power at stake I like my hypothesis of the apparent “narrowing” in the late polls better – a certain amount of electoral fraud always takes place and some polls provide a script for attainable and believable fraudulent results.

  132. dany le roux said

    the time stamp seems to be daylight saving time free.

  133. Ordem e Progresso said

    Brendan Nelson, along with his supporters in the Libs, is a complete disgrace. He says the issue of an apology to Indigenous people is a ‘sensitive’ one. I thought it was principally Howard who stood in the way of Reconciliation. But I was obviously wrong. It’s the obstinate, miserable bastards on the right who create an ‘issue’ out of this with their incomprehensible attitude.

    Sink further you miserable bastards!

    It reminds of the motion put to the House years ago in which MHRs were to affirm their support for multiculturalism. The Liberal opposition opposed it. Argghhh! These idiots makes me angry!

  134. Rudi said

    Great article by Pamela Williams in the Fin Review about Liberal Party’s attempt to remove John Howard. Mal Brough is an obvious source – there are clearly many – given the specific comments attributed to him. If the article sets out Brough’s role accurately then he must be furious at Howard and the party.

    Don’t think there is a link yet.

    Looking forward to the weekend papers, which surely are going to have more of the same. Love it!

  135. Neil Cammack said

    It was reported in today’s SMH that Turnbull lost a few vital votes after Malcolm Fraser got on the blower lobbying for him. I can believe that.

    Nelson’s victory (no pun intended, and I’ll forebear from making comments about one-eyed policies) looks like a win for the Liberal Party Right and the remaining delusional Howard-huggers. No doubt this accounts for his transparent tap-dancing around the “sorry” issue during a lacklustre performance on the 7:30 Report.

    No doubt Turnbull will strike at an opportune time, but it might be a Pyrrhic victory. To the troglodytes of the NSW branch of the party electoral success is secondary, and they’ll fight him every step of the way. Has he got the nerve to take them on, as Whitlam took on and defeated the ALP Left? And is victory over such a poisonous crew of ruthless, branch-stacking God-botherers to whom character assassination is second nature achievable?

  136. Cat said

    110 – whatever Malcontent has been reading I suspect it ain’t the Poss 😉

    113 – George Megastatistics supported the story re swing back to ALP in marginals after Bogan-gate. What that says about why the swing back to the government was happening is tea-leaf reading and no more.

    117 – given Nelson saying no to an apology and continuing to back Work Choices I suspect it will be the same people. BTW hatred is too strong a word. Contempt is a more accurate choice – at least in my case. Mind you given Malcontent garnered 42 votes it will be interesting to see if Nelson continues to follow Bishop’s line or is manouvered into some common sense.

    Unfortunately I will not believe Rudd really intends to say sorry until he actually does it – his parsing of words on the subject would make Clinton proud.

    Telstra is just one of many companies trying to harrass people into AWAs before the legislation is enacted so given the capacity of Australians to blame the closest person for their problems I wonder if they will remember it was the ALP trying to stop that happening by the time 2011 rolls around. That might sound absurd but that episode of 4 Corners reminded me it is hard to overestimate the stupidity of a large chunk of the electorate.

  137. David Richards said

    I read the drysdale thing – but now can’t find it again – anyone got a link?

  138. Possum Comitatus said

    PPitta at 113 – I’ve heard the same thing that the Drysdale article said. The tracking polls were closing together in the last week until those bogans from Lindsay did their thing. That night the tracking polls went all over the place with major volatility and different responses in different types of electorates and everyone on both sides held their breath waiting to see where they’d settle.

    They ended up settling where the election result is – with a late swing on some demographics back to the ALP.

  139. josh lyman said

    Possum, that raises the question as to why the tracking polls were closing until the Liberal Taliban stepped in.

    I haven’t seen anyone suggest (even before E-Day) that Howard had a better campaign than Rudd, or indeed was even close.

    * That could mean that TV ads are far more important than the nightly news.
    * It could mean “The Narrowing” is real but happens mostly in the last week, with undecideds firming to the government of the day, at least in ‘good economic times’.
    * Or it could mean something else completely?

    Suggestion: how about a new thread to explore this question in more detail?

  140. David said

    Stig@118 – I reckon one of Stud’s votes might have been from Malcolm. I’m sure he’s read “The Prince”, but I doubt if Nelson has.

  141. Possum Comitatus said

    What a good idea Josh.

  142. Possum Comitatus said

    David at 137 – the link is:


    Dany – the time is real time, Qld time. Not that curtain fading pretend time you Mexicans use :mrgreen:

  143. ppitta said

    Possum at 138 – So looks like this is the sobering up we had to have, then? … The apparently settled trends of long-term poll averages with which you’ve been comforting us all this time turn out to be vulnerable to last-minute scares and hip-pocket dog whistling after all? While wary of locking this in as the dominant or only story to be told, it is – sadly – probably a necessary corrective to the more rosy view that the Australian people had seen through these bastards and was bound to throw them out.

    Obviously Nelson’s bitter-enders will be holding fast to the view that the election result was an accident and carries no mandate for change or sorry-saying. And sadly, they are not entirely wrong in this. But I think it is clear also that they are not entirely correct, and that it is important and reasonable for the new Labor govt to proceed as if the result did express a judgment on the past and a desire for change, in fact to take a more flattering view of what a sufficient majority of the Australian people will go along with. Cautioned, of course – and this is why your original posting is quite apt – by a sense of how vulnerable this all is.

    Crikey Whitey at 112, I like the look of your plan. Have you asked Lowitja if she wants the job?
    One minor quibble I would have is an uncertainty over the order of events and the symbolism of the official collective expression of sorrow being made by the new indigenous head of state. Without getting too heavily into the business of guilt etc just now, there is perhaps something to be said for the official expression of sorrow to be performed by a white figurehead just prior to handing over to an indigenous successor. However, this would create an extra complication in that the present incumbent is clearly not suitable for the task. Perhaps William Deane could be drafted in for a brief period as caretaker Governor General, officiate at the ceremonial apology, and then hand over to Lowitja.

  144. josh lyman said

    PPitta 143:

    Actually I think the reverse is true – it would be better coming from Jeffrey. That way it is clearly coming from the Head of State not an activist individual (much as I love Sir William).

    For the same reason a bipartisan apology, such as we had in NSW Parliament, is far far more significant than a polarised event.

    Which also leads to the question: if this does happen in Parliament, it would presumably take the form of a Ministerial Statement, in which case the Opposition by convention gives a response. What is Dr Nelson going to say – “we are so NOT sorry”???

  145. politics…

    Oh Yes, we’re all sorry now « Possums Pollytics…

  146. excellent submit, quite useful. I wonder exactly why the other experts in this field don’t realize this specific. You must proceed your current writing. I’m sure, you’ve got a great readers’ base presently!

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