‘Nice Guy’ Bracksy returns with unprecedented numbers and his party in control of both houses. But after this groundbreaking weekend, just who is worse; the Libs or the Poms?

One negative you could record for the Herald Sun was the soft, friendly
free plug it gave Kirstie Marshall in its Saturday Weekend section one week before the poll. I’m not saying it changed the result in Forest Hill, it didn’t, but it was a gratuitous benefit to one candidate which an honourable newspaper simply should not do.

Gippsland generally is interesting as the only part of the State that appears to have swung away from Labor. Ryan had an easy win in Gippsland South; Morwell swung to the Libs; Libs win Bass off Davies (the final wash-up may show a small 2PP swing to Labor, but much much less than
elsewhere and probably coming from the suburban end of the new seat); easy win for Nats in the Province (considering in 1999 the seat was only decided by a handful of votes after weeks of re-counting).

Andrew Bolt is correct about the Libs laziness, particularly intellectual laziness (as was Howard on Sunday). I don’t agree with him that the Libs can win on a conservative social policy alone; (a) it won’t work (although much more should be done in some of the areas he nominates) and (b), I still think there’s going to be plenty of scope on financial management issues.
He’s a bit sanguine about the temptations/pressures on governments to spend, and their capacities to avoid doing so.

Finally, regarding Bracks ‘new’ Labor party, in my Upper House seat one of the better Libs (Wendy Smith) has been beaten by Carolyn Hirsh, one of the real useless relics from the Cain/Kirner days (no doubt when she was endorsed Labor didn’t think they could win the seat).


Dangerous times ahead with Labor in both houses

At a party with several journos who were clearly Labor and while they delighted at Brack’s win, were less than happy about the Upper House win. They are concerned that the excesses of the Guilty Party might return.

It will be interesting what tack Gawenda takes after this. Whether he is content to avert his eyes to problems or whether he will re-focus the paper and start holding Bracks accountable.

With the Liberals gutted in terms of resources, if The Age doesn’t do this then Bracks will be retirement age when the Libs next get into government.

The public use of taxpayer funds for political advertising was a scandal. It was basically ignored by The Age until the whistleblower came forward. And when it was revealed that he was a Liberal, Ewin Hannan mentioned three times in one 700-word piece.

When things get tight financially, we both know that Brumby is going to “do an Egan” and fiddle with the books in order to get his surplus on paper.

Still, let’s hope that a big majority inspires some most courageous journalism than we have seen to date.


PS: The Greens are just the new left wing of the Labor Party.

Lessons to be learnt from former ‘down and outers’ Labor

It remains only for there to be an internal shakeout in what’s left of the Liberal Party, the parliamentary wing and the party organisation alike. The result shows how far off message and out of touch they had become. Already there is acknowledgment of this, and the ghosts of the Kennett era have been exhumed to cop a lot of the blame and the process of ideological cleansing is in full swing. State secretary, Brian Loughnane, came on strong on this score in an ABC interview late Saturday night, emphasising the need for the Liberals to distance themselves from the past, while leader Doyle was on his knees making a pledge to listen and respond.

They could learn a salient lesson from Labor, which has successfully and without a lot of fuss made the transition from the style of the latter years of the Cain-Kirner era, and distinguished itself from the more confrontational Kennett regime, simply by getting in tune with people and taking care not to frighten the horses. And they had the messages right – services, hospitals, schools, public safety. I’m inclined to think this talk of public safety is scare talk about a problem that really doesn’t exist. But, as it has proved, Labor kept to the script, kept its image clean and didn’t fall for the Liberal taunts to tempt them into a gutter fight.

Be interesting to see what comes out of the 104 bunker and Doyle’s office in the next week.

And although the Greens have failed to win a seat, they have clearly supplanted both the independents and Democrats as the choice of people disaffected with the major parties – becoming, if you like, the alter independents. Without having done a detailed calculation, the Greens’ vote would very likely have won them seats in a reformed Upper House – along the lines Premier Bracks is proposing, with large regional electorates and proportional representation, similar to the electoral structure for the Senate.


Greatest feedback from the grass roots

Hi Steve, remember this beauty from Bocci during the election in Box Hill?

Liberal staffer: “Well we’re treating anything with a margin of under
10% marginal. There is every chance the seat of Box
Hill could be marginal at the next election following our polling

Well Steve, if this is half right then the Libs are going to be
decimated in the eastern suburbs.

Well we can report that Robert Clark has just hung on and survived the ‘Brackslide’ (probably a great effort considering he kept the swing down and slowed the tidal wave before it got bigger and bigger as it headed East), but he has suffered a big swing against him and the party in Box Hill, as Crikey predicted.

Well the Liberal staffer was correct 100%. Their polls were correct and they got decimated in the eastern suburbs. No wonder they “treated everything under 10% marginal” and this staffer sure got it right when she said “Box Hill could be marginal at the next election”. Remember, this seat of Box Hill takes in mostly the old part of the abolished seat of Balwyn and at one stage Robert Clark used to have a buffer of 14%! This is no longer the case following the Brackslide.

Don’t ever under-estimate the feeling of the real people on the ground who know. The greatest feedback is that from the grass roots.


Charles Richardson – guru forecaster

Congrats to Pundit Richardson on his call of the election. As of early Sunday morning, the ABC says

ALP 61 (Pundit predicted 61 on election eve)
Lib 18 (19)
Nats 7 (3)
Other 2 (4)
Green 0 (1)

Apart from a slight bias towards greens and independents, and slightly against the Nats, Mr Richardson was spot-on.

I would be interested to know how you were predicting this – comparing previous elections’ booth-by booth results with reported swings in newspaper polls etc?

By the way, did you know that the VEC website already has booth-by booth results for the whole state on their website? I’m impressed.

David Jackmanson

Shepparton sings the blues with nothing to do

The people have spoken: the Vic Nats hold Shepparton.

The worst possible outcome for growth in the region. Another four years of the ‘Farewell Party’, no representation, no policies and no money coming from Spring Street. But I have heard our new local member has a fine singing voice. Weddings, parties, anything. She’ll have plenty of time on her hands, there’s nothing else to do.

Paul Custance

Premier Bracks prefers non-Victorian beer

Just a thought regarding page three of the Herald Sun today, surely the Premier of Victoria, celebrating winning the Victorian State Election should be celebrating with a VB or Carlton Draught rather than a Tooheys New from Sydney.

Dominic Triaca

Thanks god its over, we can now return to normal viewing

A State election is over.

A bland, unimportant state election. Nobody believed, and only Robert Doyle was sheepishly prepared to claim, that the Liberals could win. Even if they had, would it have been a seminal moment in Australian politics? Hardly.

So why have we in the rest of Australia been subjected to a blitz Crikey campaign suggesting an importance approaching the It’s Time campaign? Is there one person outside Victoria who thought this election had any importance whatsoever?

In the middle of it all, Crikey had the sheer gall to accuse our national paper of being Sydneycentric! Sheesh!

Can we go back to normal now, please?

Chris Kelly

Sydney is not Australia

The Victorian Election is a good example of the Sydney-centric media coverage of which the rest of we Aussies are exquisitely sick!

The ABC honours were done by a bloke called Kerry O’Brien. When since did he become a Victorian expert? Nine trot out that 20th Century relic Ray M! His knowledge of Victorian electoral idiocentricites is based on hosting Carols by Candlelight at the Myer Music Bowl, a gig which is more appropriate to his undoubtedly extraordinary intellectual capacity.

What if at the next NSW election, the ABC in Sydney gets Ian Henderson or Kathy Bolan or Jon Faine to anchor the show? Or if Nine gets whoever reads the Melb 9 news (never watched it myself) or maybe Daryl Somers.

Get real. Sydney is not Australia no matter how much certain inhabitants of ‘convict county’ long for this to be true.

Alan Pace

Whos worse, the Libs or Poms?

18/9/99 was one of those days of upset.

The Libs got thumped by Labor when no one guessed they could.
Essendon got beaten by one point by Carlton who were written off by anyone who knew anything about footy.
And we went into East Timor to end 25 years of occupancy.

So would 30/11/02 see:

The Libs win?
The Poms win the test match?
A new international crisis?

The answer is no because there is no way the Poms can win.

David Lees