Apr 3, 2012

Labor could be cycling toward its doom

The same pattern keeps repeating: a party wins government federally at the high point of its fortunes, then the tide starts to run out again and it loses seats at state level until eventually it loses federally as well and the cycle starts again.

Charles Richardson — Editor of The World is not Enough

Charles Richardson

Editor of The World is not Enough

I remarked yesterday on the way pundits keep trying to interpret the polls either without any historical context, or at best trying to introduce a historical context that they proceed to get wrong. All the more refreshing, then, to read a commentator who knows what he’s talking about. Step forward Antony Green, with a fascinating piece yesterday on the cycles of state and federal politics.


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19 thoughts on “Labor could be cycling toward its doom

  1. Mike Flanagan

    A perceptive an interesting observation of both you Charles and Antony.
    I would like to add that Queensalnd have had a predominantly conservative bias in their governments from the second world war. The Peterson gerrymander only explains a part of this trend. I suggest that the past number of Labor Governments have been both against the trend and anomalous. I think modern history tells us that queensland is naturally conservative in its’ politics and will probably continue to be in contradiction to its’
    earlier political history
    The closeness of the balance of the parties in Victoria is an indication that the collapse of the labour support in NSW has some individual characteristics related to the
    Sussex St influence and syndrome. This also points to an anomalous trend pertinent to NSW
    Even so it is not uncommon in post ’69 political history to have a Federal Government that is not of the same persuasions as the majority of the state governments.
    Prior to ’75 the DLP had a major impact on the governments throughout the nation and the rise of the Greens in replacing the Democrats is significant associated with the reinvgorated interest of the younger voters throughout the nation.
    Their(Greens) distribution of prefernces may have a dramatic impact on the future of both government makeup and the dominance of the two party equation.
    We could also see the development of more and more independants successfully contesting Federal seats thus requiring us to get use to minority coalition
    governments from either side of politics

  2. Michael

    Wishful thinking Charlie boy and probably the only thing left for you guys to hold on to.
    However, I don’t recall history throwing up results like NSW (2011) & Qld (2012) elections.
    The fact is that Labor as a trademark is utterly rooted. The public know this, the Coalition know this, the media know this, the Greens know this. The only ones who don’t know this are Labor & the moronic Unions.

  3. Charles Richardson

    @Michael – well, actually, history has thrown up quite a few results like those. Labor in 1974 was reduced to 11 seats in Queensland – do you really think there’s a big difference between 11 and 8? The Liberals were reduced to 3 seats in Queensland in 2001, and 17 in Victoria the following year. Labor got down to 17 in Victoria in 1961. It happens. Everyone likes to think their own era is unique and special, but it’s usually not true.

  4. Michael


    Make that 7 Labor with Anna Bligh looking very likely to still lose her seat.

    You can close your eyes, say your prayers, meditate or simply get pissed but rest assure that life as you once knew it is over!
    Labor is finished 4 ever, wether it comes back as the New Democrats, the Social Democrats or whatever else, it will never have credibility again as the Australian Labor Party.

  5. Mike Flanagan

    I am not dismissing Antony’s cyclical hypothesis but am trying to
    point out there are some peculiarities and anomalies that are relevant
    today that may not show up in graphs and analysis of recent past
    There are some fundamental questions and challenges that are
    confronting the populace in general. Our experience of the banking
    meltdown (GFC), the western nations sovereign debt crisis and climate
    change are questions that I think stimulate our youth. Lots of
    people find these issues confronting. Over the past generations,
    perhaps since the end of the second world war, we have experienced
    and accepted an ever improving and more secure lifestyle and
    standard of living that is now economicly and scientificly in question.
    Whilst we confront these challenges and try to find solutions,it is my
    contention we will experience considerable volatility that will
    manifest itself in the ballot box.
    The polarisation that these questions create could explain a fair
    bit of the Queensland results together with the inherent conservatism
    apparent in the states’ history. Admittedly the losing party had some
    self inflicted wounds but there must be more to it to explain the
    enormity of the swing. Traditionally a 5% or 8% swing was enough for
    incoming party to form a healthy majority. Today the swings are
    double that figure.

  6. Liz45

    @MICHAEL – Yes, and if Abbott’s elected, he’ll go after two terms at the most, and the Libs can only blame themselves. He’ll be so right wing with lots of horrors to come, that eventually, he’ll be responsible for a similar position that faces the ALP now! (I hope!) Probably won’t affect you as you’re probably one of the ‘chosen few’? Pity about women and young workers! Too bad how sad, I suppose you’d say!

  7. Michael

    Liz you thought the same thing about Howard but looking at Oz then & Oz now can you not see how average Australians are so much worse off? Or does ideology consume you so much that you don’t care?

  8. Mike Flanagan

    My posting (still under the moderators boot) at 5.38 requires an explanation. I read your
    response to Michael and although I thoughht it a bit formal I thought
    it was a response to me. I read Michaels posting earlier and dismissed it as
    not deserving of a response.

    Keep your pecker up, there are 18 months to the election and the
    volatility in the electorate can be radical both ways .

  9. mattsui

    Perhaps the poll bludger guys could do more with this data. The premis is quite true but anomalies between states makes it difficult to draw any conclusion from bum-on-seat percentages alone.
    Irregularity of term length as well as local bias and the varied nature of lib/nat coalitions all spanners in this type of calculation works.

  10. David

    Charles you were never very good at picking, apart from your bugle…no doubt Crikey paid you for that load of twaddle

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