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MOVING FORWARD ON A TIGHTROPE: Libs don’t need to win 17 seats to win election, it’s more like 7

vexnewselection2010470 It is a common refrain from some in the Canberra Press Gallery that the Coalition needs to win 17 seats to form a government.

It’s not true.

It’s a conclusion quickly drawn from reference to the old MacKerras pendulum but it’s wrong.

It’s wrong in part because there are three independents, conservative leaning blokes Bob Katter, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott who would have to be considered more likely than not to lean towards an Abbott government than a Gillard one, if it came down to the wire. Yes, Windsor and Oakeshott don’t like the Nationals for their own intensely personal reasons but are unlikely to jeopardise their hold on their former Nats party dominated seats by propping up a Labor government. All three, we are informed by a source familiar with all of them, regard Abbott reasonably favourably and would be expected to vote together on such a momentous matter.

Adding to the complexity is the very real possibility that the ultra-left wing Greens party will achieve what none of its predecessors, like the Communist Party of Australia, ever managed: election to the House of Representatives. While more likely to lean to Gillard than Abbott, their presence in the chamber would be more likely to push the three conservative independents toward supporting Abbott if for no other reason than the instability a Labor-Greens government would inherently have.

It’s also wrong because a quick analysis reveals that a 1.5% swing against the government – seen by many as likely – would be enough for the Coalition to win notionally Labor seats of Herbert, Swan, Gilmore, Macarthur and Dickson (held by Coalition incumbents but notionally Labor after redistributions) and currently Labor seats of Robertson (where the sitting MP was disendorsed), Solomon, Macquarie, Corangamite, Hasluck, Bass, Bennelong and Deakin.

That’s only seven currently held Labor seats that Abbott need to change hands. All but one of the rest have had redistributions the effect of which is largely cancelled out by advantages from incumbency. Each of Swan, Gilmore, Macarthur and Dickson is in that category. In Herbert, as a VEXNEWS Investigations Unit member pointed out, Peter Lindsay is retiring but is strongly backing preselected successor auctioneer Ewen Jones.

That would bring the Coalition to 72 seats.

Assuming – as the bookmakers and the ultra-left party do – that the Greens party can win Melbourne, that will leave Labor with 74 seats. Labor’s put up a good candidate but Gillard moving to the mainstream on asylum seekers might hurt it in the latte sipping inner-city of Australia’s equivalent of Massachusetts. Grayndler and Sydney, on published polling, could well fall too but are considered much less likely than Melbourne.

Taking us back to the conservative three independents who’ll be in a position to hand government to Tony Abbott, if they want to. VEXNEWS Investigations Unit research indicates all three will be strongly inclined to support Abbott over Gillard, if their votes made the difference.

A tiny swing, with only six incumbent Labor MPs losing their seats to the conservatives would be enough to put Tony Abbott in the Lodge.

The last election was much closer than it appeared to be. Howard/Loughnane nearly stole it back from under Rudd’s nose because he’d built up such a colossal buffer in 2004. Not that you read much of that analysis around the place. It felt like an It’s Time landslide election with so many seats changing hands that night that most people didn’t subsequently take time to look at just how close it was.

Gillard is going to need to have a strong campaign to hang on to government.

Don’t believe those who say the Libs have a huge mountain to climb, it’s much more like a brisk stroll up Capital Hill, Canberra  than trekking Mount Everest.

For both sides, it’s all to play for.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. bullshit the coalition has no chance

    Posted by anon | July 17, 2010, 21:03
  2. Saying Rob Oakeshott would most likely support a Coalition government is a huge call. He voted for both stimulus packages, the Fair Work Bill and he voted for the CPRS twice, but said it didn’t go far enough. [VEXNEWS: Good points but our source knows all three reasonably well. That a long-term former Nats member of parliament (and before that long-time staffer) turned independent loves spending lots of public money and is anti Workchoices etc should come as no surprise to anyone who knows Nats MPs. Most are not exactly doctrinaire free-marketeers.]

    Posted by ShowsOn | July 17, 2010, 21:12
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  4. You’ve got it wrong. The Greens are the party of the center, with Labor on their right and the Coalition on the ultra-right.

    Posted by Michael | July 17, 2010, 22:23
  5. Michael (17 Jul 10), just a nit picky point, in Australia “centre” is spelt thus not as the Yanks spell it. I hate anything Yank.

    Also those 3 parties are all roughly in the centre

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | July 17, 2010, 22:30
  6. Andrew whether is 7 or 17 extra seat the Liberals need to win it would help if we knew who the candidates were.

    I Googled the Liberal Party of Australia and a box said search for your electorate so I typed in Melbourne Ports and retiring Senator Judith Troeth popped up.

    Higgin and Goldstein had the correct Liberals but they are already MP’s.

    I wonder how many new Liberal candidates are not on the Federal Director Brian Loughnan crappy website.

    Brian is the nervous Nelly that looses campaigns first in Victoria and now in Canberra

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | July 17, 2010, 23:47
  7. Just checked the Liberal Victorian Division website and they still have not got the 3 last Senate candidated however the Reps candidates are listed. Better effort that the Federal Website.

    Interesting a former Melbourne Port Chairman Mike Kabos is the Liberal candidate for Bruce and his profile says he has done a lot for business in Bruce. This would be pretty difficult to do as the latest white pages has only one Kabos listed (M. Kabos) and he lives on Page St, Albert Park not Bruce where ever that is.

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | July 18, 2010, 0:28
  8. I don’t like the Joos.

    Posted by Wacko Jacko | July 18, 2010, 3:07
  9. “Gillard moving to the mainstream” – interesting choice of language. It is true polling-wise in that numbers reflect a large proportion of the electorate has been captured by the “Fortress Australia” rhetoric of Abbott and his ‘armada’ language when talking about boats of asylum seekers.
    However I’m curious as to why you did not say ‘moving to the right’, which is equally true.

    Posted by jeff | July 18, 2010, 4:12
  10. The member for Herbert (whose local celebrity saved him from a massive 6+ % swing last time round) is retiring. Contesting the now notionally Labor seat is the ex-mayor Tony Mooney. Incumbency in Herbert? Wrong.

    Posted by Townsville boy | July 18, 2010, 4:18
  11. “anon” is clearly another Labor voter, and as such is totally blind and deaf to anything/everything that could even possibly be to the benefit of Australians. Just look at what we have received from the current Federal Labor Party folk – a absolutely massive national debt, along with dozens (or even hundreds) of promises of lovely things, but no delivery.
    And this clown wants more of the same ?
    The first hundred people you meet in a major shopping centre would certainly do better than any Labor government – and that includes the States !!

    Posted by Geoff Cass | July 18, 2010, 9:33
  12. Admittedly, I’m biased. But I would be surprised if the Liberals require 17 seats for victory.The winning margin in 2007 was quite small and it’s hard to believe that Labor have won over a horde of voters with their performance in government.

    There’s a similarly dodgy story about the betting on the election outcome. A lot of noise about how much money there is on a Labor win – not so much about the age of some of those bets. Placed a year or two ago when Rudd was still in the ascendant.
    The line coming across in the media is that Abbott has no hope of winning and he might as well give up now. Some commenters at Boltblog seem to have fallen in with that attitude – moaning about the zombified masses who will tick Labor without a thought. FFS, this gang of clowns has done enough damage already! They might win (I hope not most sincerely) but let’s at least go into the campaign with a determination to give them a fight.

    Posted by Gregoryno6 | July 18, 2010, 9:58
  13. Ari Sharpe and another reporter in The Sunday Age today report that Liberal Federal Director Brian Loughnan has Julian Sheezel as his deputy. Now there is a loosing combination.

    After Loughnan left the Victorian Division as Director he was replaced by Sheezel. Liberal losses ensues followed by his departure when HQ staff were caught bagging Ted Ballieu on the Internet (no wonder their party websites are crap now with factional wankers not doing their job properly).

    In the recent SA election he was Liberal campaign manager and the election the Liberals should have won was lost.

    Why do the doppy Liberals reenforce failure? Perhaps there is little talent left in the Liberal gene pool. Membership declining (like the ALP) with an average age of 65 years old.

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | July 18, 2010, 10:39
  14. Adrian Jackson, are you sure you typed your electorate name correctly? You seem to have great difficulty spelling common words like “losing” (not “loosing”), and “reinforce” (not “reenforce”), so it wouldn’t surprise me if you got the rest wrong as well.

    Posted by Syphologist - A Pox on Pollsters | July 18, 2010, 12:28
  15. […] Morning HeraldLiberals stumble on industrial relations policyThe AgeThe Canberra Times -VEXNEWS (blog)all 35 news […]

    Posted by Abbott’s promise on rates – Sydney Morning Herald | news plus | July 18, 2010, 14:32
  16. The Greens are an “ultra left party” ? Puh-leeze.

    Posted by You're Kidding | July 18, 2010, 17:07
  17. Gillard would be best served to call in my Queen Pauline Fegan for advise on I.R.

    Posted by Les Butler HSAM OAM | July 18, 2010, 18:26
  18. Australia will regress if Gillard wins the elction!
    moving forward to what?
    moving forward why?
    moving forward how?
    Ms Gilard do you think voters are dumb! NO we are not, but you and the ALP are so dumb because you chant slogans ad nauseum! We are so tired of all the MANTRAS you put forward
    ONCE it was working families, and now its moving forward so give us a break
    your agresion in getting ridd of Rudd was very unedifying you only seem to care about your hairstyles hair color and self advancement- so thats not good enough to earn anyones vote! So think of the hairdresser you can vist when you lose the election! well better that than getting under our skin with stupid repetitive slogans!

    Posted by REGRESSION AND AGRESSION | July 18, 2010, 18:44
  19. Syphologist (18 Jul 10) and I spell Labour with a “u” too

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | July 18, 2010, 19:26
  20. I just want labor to lose so Shortent doesnt get a ministry. I hope that judas spends the rest of his time in parliament in opposition

    Posted by Anonymous | July 18, 2010, 19:27
  21. Are you still the highest paid man in the room Sir Les?

    Posted by Bald Vicky | July 18, 2010, 19:32
  22. Syphologist (18 Jul 10) I just checked the doppy Liberals Federal website and yeap Melbourne Ports still has retiring Senator Judith Thoeth’s profile shown but no candidate for the electorate.

    Perhaps he is not in Loughnan’s or Sheezel’s neo-con faction and has been left off deliberately. Probably not its just incompetence

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | July 18, 2010, 19:38
  23. Greens are ultra left posers on every issue..professional ‘kite flyers’ who rely on environmental solutions never being adopted by the majority of parliament….
    they need an environment crisis to continue…to maintain their ‘brand’.

    even on human rights they are full of it….they support a doubling of the refugee intake but will they tell the migrant families in the inner city hi rise and in the outer suburbs that that Greens pro-boat people policy will mean less skilled migrants and less family reunion.

    Posted by ultra left posers | July 18, 2010, 22:55
  24. Well, this site is stinking of HSU so called officials – their national office, Michael Williamson and of course the very eager KJ have their hands very dirty, together with Shorten you know the one that pretended to care about his members. God help the right controlled Unions for the next 5 weeks because their members sure will not get any service – unions should not be the means to get into politics –

    Posted by anon | July 19, 2010, 0:18
  25. The worst case scenario is this:

    Gillard’s campaign is needlessly centrist. Her left flank deserts her and the Greens win Melbourne, Sydney & Grayndler.

    The three independents are all returned, and the ALP and the Coalition both win 72 seats.

    This means no one party (or coalition) can govern without the Greens.

    Then Abbott would have to walk into his party room and talk them into opposition, as there would be no way a tripartite “rainbow” coalition could work. He’d have to let Gillard form a minority government, and wait for them to implode.

    The good news is this is highly unlikely.

    Posted by Steve Sensible | July 19, 2010, 10:47
  26. OK, that’s all very interesting but all the voting women in my family (4 of 7 voters) aren’t particularly fazed that the current PM is a woman. What they all agree on is that regardless of who leads the ALP – they just won’t vote for Tony Abbott – and these are generally conservative – as in not risk taking – rather than right-wing women. They still don’t understand why the Libs replaced the easy going, middle of the road, Malcolm Turnbull with a man who is so addicted to his religion that it clouds his judgement.
    From what I can gather listening to them – and their friends – TA is really on the nose with Howard’s battlers’ wives and daughters. I wonder how many other women out there think the same thing and will it make a difference to the outcome?

    Posted by Stephen O'Shea | July 19, 2010, 11:37
  27. No Liberal candidate for Issacs as yet to be endored 29-7-10…leaving it all a bit late.

    Posted by The Player | July 19, 2010, 11:40
  28. With the mad monk changing his story every time he speaks particularly on work choices, I doubt that the electorate will endorse him and the dumb blond any time soon. Does this mean that Malcolm will be returned after August 21st.

    Posted by Argus Tuft | July 19, 2010, 12:17
  29. Mike Symon will hold Deacon easily. He is a STAR

    Posted by True Beleaver | July 19, 2010, 13:19
  30. you must be joking True Beleaver…he has had little to do with the electorate….and from all accounts the way he treats his staff makes Rudd look like an angel…we are bound to lose the seat esp as he won’t have the ETU backing him financilly this time…just deserts

    Posted by Madam Lash | July 19, 2010, 13:49
  31. I’m the smart bloke who will win Deakin.

    Posted by Fill Barresi | July 19, 2010, 14:09
  32. I’m a rusted on ALP voter in Melbourne who is being crapped on by the ALP Community Destruction at La Trobe Close in the name of Nation Building.
    Cath Bowtell has the opportunity to stand up for her community or lose the seat of Melbourne that has been ours for 100 years.
    Where do you stand Cath on ALP Community Destruction?

    Posted by Roger | July 19, 2010, 16:11
  33. I will be the candidate for Isaacs.

    Posted by Junior Inga | July 19, 2010, 18:29
  34. We have a family of four women who wil all vote for Tony Abbott
    its nonsense Tony has a problem with women the only person who has a real problem with women is Gillard she thinks they should all be like her
    well no thanks Gillard we dont want to be
    see there is nothing wrong with say being a stay at home Mum they work too there is nothing wrong with knowing how to cook well isnt Master Chef popular
    Australians so need a Master PM and you dont measure up Ms Guillotine!

    Posted by MASTER PM | July 19, 2010, 18:50
  35. We really should supplement the Pendulum with a new graphic. The fact is the Swing is not uniform It would be better if we showed a string of electoral pendulum balls representing the crucial marginal electorates. Each one resonating at a different frequency and magnitude. We can calculate the centre point by determining the average vote over the last five elections for each elctorate and note the direction that the ball was swinging in the last election in coarsion to the previous election before.

    Until the polls provide a breakdown into States, if not individual electorates, we can only make secomnd guess assessments based on limited information and limited data on the assumption that the swing is applied evenly. In some cases there is a greater swing in the so called safe seats which leaves a lessor swing in the marginals.

    A multiple swinging balls pendulum graphic would provide more information.

    Its a bit like measuring the temperature fall and rise of the Worlds oceans. the more information we have the better the reflection of the cause and effect.

    Posted by democracyATwork | July 19, 2010, 22:30
  36. Conrad French what a fuckwit!

    Apparently this clown is running the marginal seat campaign out of Vic Head office. If this is idea of marginal seat strategy god help the Vic ALP


    Posted by Anonymous | July 20, 2010, 0:12
  37. Conrad French what a f@#kwit!

    Apparently this clown is running the marginal seat campaign out of Vic Head office. If this is his idea of marginal seat strategy god help the Vic ALP


    Posted by Anonymous | July 20, 2010, 0:13
  38. Is VEXNEWS censoring reasonable political comment from real ALP supporters?
    I notice that you are still moderating my comment of about 24 hours ago, about the Melbourne Community Destruction at La Trobe Close & Cath Bowtell, putative ALP member for us.
    Basically does Cath Bowtell support:
    1. The eviction of Social Housing Tenants
    2. The sale of valuable family Social Housing to a Private Developer
    3. The destruction of a kiddies park
    4. The clear felling & destruction of about 50 matures trees.
    This ALP planned community destruction is scheduled for the election month of August at La Trobe Close North Melbourne.
    Cath were do you stand in support of your community against the ALP heavies?
    Will VEXNEWS cover this destruction of the body politic?
    We have written to Cath Bowtell for her to state her case.
    She remains strangely silent.

    [VEXNEWS: Sorry, Roger when you cut and paste the same comment in unrelated stories about an issue then our spam filter catches it and assumes you are selling Viagra or something. I have read your website on the issue and also found this letter by Kevin Chamberlin informative on the issue. Beyond the planning issues though, the social housing on the site seemed in dire need of an upgrade when I visited there nearly ten years ago so that is to be welcomed, even if it does unfortunately disrupt the lives of people currently living there during the construction phase. I hope they are offered somewhere close by to live.]

    Posted by Roger | July 20, 2010, 8:44
  39. Go get em Conrad thats my boy, I might get my Queen Pauline Fegan to put a bikini on next

    Posted by Sir Les Butler HSAM OAM | July 20, 2010, 10:24
  40. VEXNEWS, thanks we are in furious agreement.
    I was brought up in Housing Commission Accomodation and what we wanted almost above all else was to have homes like those around us and that is what is currently existing on the site, plus a kiddies park and a derelict building. The current built form looks like the surrounding housing with a fabulous stand of trees.
    Now what the ALP proposes is to:
    1. Sell off all existing social housing to a private developer.
    2. Build over the kiddies park.
    3. Clear fell the site of all trees.
    4. Build a Ghetto that will stand out like dog’s balls.
    Now all of the ALP goals could be achieved at a fraction of the cost by re-furbishing every building on the site. This would give:
    1. Very Good social housing to cater for families & single people
    2. Retain a kiddies park that integrates the site with the community
    3. Retains the beautiful trees
    Now I am not a Greenie & have voted ALP all my life but this wanton destruction and waste of money shits me to the back teeth.
    We all want Social housing on the site that respects the social housing client and the community.
    This has been drawn to Cath Bowtells & the ALP’s attention yet she and they remains silent. Have they been captured by private property developers?
    Would VEXNEWS like to do a story on this?
    It could be called “How to Destroy Social Housing Supporters, Treat Public Housing Clients as Third Rate and Lose an ALP seat”
    It has nothing to do with inner city trendies going Green but it is all about pissing off the ALP voter for no known reason.

    Posted by Roger | July 20, 2010, 10:48
  41. Madam Lash Sounds like Dean Mighell wont be “backing” anyone other than his usuals like Suzanna and more recently LLoyd of London.
    If Symon treats his staff like shit He probably learnt that off the master in the she-mile when he worked at the ETU so maybe it is just deserts.

    Posted by Everyone in the ALP cheer. The ETU has finally dissafilliated | July 20, 2010, 13:14
  42. Sir Les, took me a while to realise it was THAT CONRAD FRENCH, the moron that has his marks all over Australia’s most disfunctional union – HSU -and the same union that helped Michael Williamson bring Rudd down. Now I think there is a better person to put in a bikini, Fegan has not a big enough gut, perhaps Seymour would be a good choice, after all it was her, and her along who destroyed the HSU and put the Victorian branch in the hands of the NSW branch – and where is she now, certainly not in the promised job – National HSU will destroy anyone, so Kathy be afraid be very afraid

    Posted by Anon | July 20, 2010, 13:22
  43. The state government should look into the idea of developing the land compulsorily acquired for the Footscray rail project and use it for public housing. There is significant benefit to be gained from developing the land overhead of the rail lines. The State Government MUST do more towards sound attenuation near rail lines if they are to see higher density development take place adjacent to public transport. Sound attenuation is a common feature with freeways but little is done to protect the amenity of inner urban precinct when developing rail infrastructure.

    Much more can and should be done to fix the current problems. increasing rail movements without providing better amenities of surrounding neighbourhoods is not the way forward.

    Posted by More Public Housimg | July 21, 2010, 1:42
  44. La Trobe Close community destruction. No messages from Cath Bowtell, she is obviously gutless & the scum of the middle class.
    Hang in there as at the North & West Melbourne Association meeting the other day there was talk of civil disobedience. People may chain themselves to the trees as the bulldozers approach.
    Does VEXNEWS want an exclusive or will it be upto Rupert to protect the community again?
    How could the ALP be so farquing stupid & destructive?

    Posted by Roger | July 23, 2010, 11:17
  45. I’m so glad someone in the media is well aware of the deception of the ‘so-called’ Greens. Thank you for outing them as ultra-left – this is soooooo true! They are deceiving the Australian people badly into believing they are some middle of the road environment party. What a load of bollocks. The Australian Greens are just the newly formed Communist Party with ultra socialist views. Why is it always a surprise that the Greens form preference deals with Labor? because they are brothers of the left. I voted Green once until I learned they were not even willing to stand up and be counted as the Socialist Party they actually are. Until they publically admit their true beliefs and stop feeling ashamed, the Australian Greens need to be voted out of any representation. Shame on you Reds…I mean Greens or should that be Yellow? Cowards.

    Posted by Roger | July 28, 2010, 22:55
  46. Roger, I bet you still vote the labor party or their mates, the Greens, in. It will serve you right because you have reaped what you sewn over your years of voting Labor. Every labor government has advanced their aim towards dictatorship by talking one step towards destroying the economy, and 2 steps back to let the coalition fix up their mess. Meanwhile more and more of the deliberately uneducated young gain voting rights, and like sheep vote the ALP in again until the time will come that they achieve their ultimate aim of making us servants in our own country. In the meantime live in the style which you helped create.

    Posted by Molly Daveson | July 29, 2010, 21:10
  47. Who cares who leaks well the ALP is such a leaking boat now such a sinking ship that they make the Titanic ship look safe
    a vote for ALP is a vote for Gillards rabble and all the raucous undiscisiplined infighting that goes with them so votes should exexcise thie CHOICE like Gillard does who is always for CHOICE! CHOOSe to get rid of this now get real ALP nonsense team
    so wake up Australian voters stop Sonambulating
    ALP need the boot stop the leaks vote the ALP out !

    Posted by SONAMBULATOR! | August 3, 2010, 18:55


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