No sign yet of a late swing. The Victorian state election campaign seems to be ending with a whimper. Anything the leaders of all the parties might have had to say in the closing days has been swamped in the media by the drama of the New Zealand coal mining disaster. That should suit Premier John Brumby down to the ground because by any measure he was the front-runner as time started to run out for the Liberals. The only thing Ted Baillieu can hope for is that feelings of boredom cause voters to do something strange on Saturday.

Underdogs do win sometimes but the underdog effect, in which I am generally a believer, is much stronger when there is some underlying reason to dislike a Premier. Victoria saw that when Jeff Kennett was surprisingly beaten to give Labor the start of its long period in office. But there is none of the dislikeable arrogance of a Kennett in a Brumby personality. His defeat really would be a major turn-up and I will be taking the short price from the bookmakers about him still being the Premier leading a Labor government next week.

The Crikey Election Indicator has moved further in Labor’s favour as this week has progressed.

25-11-2010 crikeyelectionindicator

Give the securitisers a hand. There’s no doubt that the shrinking of what the Australian Bureau of Statistics classifies as the securitisers that has enabled the banks to help themselves to higher profits from housing loans. ABS figures out this morning show the dramatic decline in the total loan assets of these alternative mortgage lenders.

25-11-2010 totaloansofsecuritisers

Finding a way of restoring the strength of this sector would do more for competition in the mortgage market than verbally bashing banks.

A victory for the PM by any measure. I am sure that even we golden oldies, well past the normal retirement age, have got the idea by now that having an internet connection that downloads quickly is better than one that operates slowly.

Our grandsons and granddaughters certainly do so pushing ahead with the NBN is good politics in its own right. But more important for the Prime Minister is being seen as a practical politician who can deal with the restraints imposed on Labor by the last election result.

In finally getting approval of enough minor party and independent Senators to allow development of the NBN to continue, Julia Gillard will be rewarded with an increase in support for herself and her government.

Peter Fray

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