Thursday, 30 June 2016

The power of a ratings downgrade - the UK example

A peripheral issue in the Australian election campaign is the danger of a downgrade by those dreaded ratings agencies. Listen to some of the political talk and you would think that the danger of the Australian government losing its triple A status would send us to debtors prison because of higher interest rate.
I was intrigued this morning to look at what has happened in the UK since the post-Brexit downgrading of its credit rating. From London's Financial Times:

A decline in rates across the range!
From memory the same pattern of a government being able to borrow at a cheaper rate following a downgrading occurred in the United States.
The power of the ratings agencies indeed.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Opinion poll of the week

The NT News does it again.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The political speculator's diary: Punters losing faith in the pollsters - the Brexit...

Believe the opinion polls and the punters would have the choices in the UK's Brexit referendum at even money take your pick. For several weeks now there has been nothing between stay and leave in the measurements of public opinion. If anything, leave is ever so slightly in front. But over at the Betfair betting exchange the stay option is the clear favourite.

The punters, probably influenced by the media pundits, clearly have no faith in the predictive power of polls. The memory of how wrong the polls were before the last British general election must be strong.
From my far away distance it just seems strange to me.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

The political speculator's diary: Strange gap between polls and betting markets

The political speculator's diary: Strange gap between polls and betting markets: An interesting tweet this morning showing how the betting odds on the federal election have been fluctuating. Probability of a Coalit...

Monday, 13 June 2016

Xenophon threatens massive retaliation against any Lib-Lab deal against him

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Labor is heaving a sigh of relief after Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement that the Liberals will put the Greens below Labor everywhere.

In particular, the embattled Labor MP for Batman, David Feeney, under serious threat from the Greens, has been given extra life support, although it remains to be seen on July 2 whether he will survive politically. The Liberals' action gives the ALP an incentive to put extra resources into the area.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said he was still “very confident” about Batman, arguing voters would be “outraged” at the Liberal-Labor deal.

Victorian Liberal president Michael Kroger had been keeping the ALP on tenterhooks with the prospect the Greens might get Liberal preferences in inner-city seats in Melbourne.

But directing preferences to the Greens would have sat badly with Turnbull’s oft-repeated message that a vote for the Greens or other minor players is a vote for instability. It would also have gone down very poorly with many in the conservative wing of the Liberal Party.

Turnbull said he had made a call against preferencing the Greens in the national interest. “The big risk at this election is that we would end up with an unstable, chaotic, minority Labor-Greens-independent government as we had before.”

Labor has been worried about the Green threat in several seats – Batman and Wills in Melbourne and to a lesser extent, the NSW seats of Grayndler, held by frontbencher Anthony Albanese and Sydney, occupied by deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek.

ABC electoral analyst Antony Green told The Conversation: “In those inner-city seats the Liberal preferences will probably flow about 70% to Labor. So the Greens would have to outpoll Labor significantly on primaries to have a chance to win.” But Green did add that “if Batman is as bad [for Labor] as people say” the Greens could still have a prospect there.

The decision about preferences brought a furious response from Di Natale. He accused Bill Shorten of telling “appalling lies” in Labor’s earlier claims of a Liberal-Green deal on preferences. Di Natale said he had called Shorten and left a message telling him to take down billboards and any other material suggesting such a deal. Shorten should also apologise, he said.

Sunday’s preference announcement from Turnbull comes ahead of the opening of pre-poll voting on Tuesday.

Labor will preference the Liberals ahead of the Nationals in the three-cornered contests in Murray in Victoria and the Western Australian seats of O'Connor and Durack. Green said Labor’s past record in controlling preferences in seats of this type was poor, largely because it didn’t campaign much in them.

Turnbull declined to be drawn on the Liberals' position in relation to the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT). The NXT is polling 22% in South Australia, according to an analysis published by The Australian on May 30 of Newspoll figures from the previous two months.

In a pre-emptive attack, Xenophon told Sky he feared the major parties were about to “get into bed with each other” to exclude his party, despite it being in the political centre.

The NXT needs Labor preferences to have a chance of taking the Adelaide Hills Liberal seat of Mayo from former minister Jamie Briggs.

A ReachTEL poll in the SA Liberal seat of Grey taken last Thursday produced a surprising result, suggesting a win for the NXT candidate.

Xenophon said that NXT intended to run open tickets but if the Liberals and Labor preferenced against him “one option might be [for NXT] to preference against incumbents” of whichever party. That could cause huge problems in marginal seats on both sides where NXT came third on first preferences.

Labor has had talks with Xenophon. But it is frustrated that while he seeks preferences he also wants to run an open ticket himself. Sources said the ALP at this stage had done no preference deal with either the Liberals or Xenophon in SA and is having an open ticket for the start of pre-polling.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter told Sky on Sunday night that those who voted for a Xenophon candidate for the House of Representatives would be “wasting” their vote.

The Greens and the NXT had in common that they could not get productive outcomes for their electorates, Porter said. Neither the national interest nor local electorate interests would be served by having Green or Xenophon members in the lower house, he said.

Green says that if Xenophon carried out his threat against sitting members “he would cause havoc”, making South Australia even harder to read than now.

As if he isn’t causing plenty of havoc already.

The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

What a difference a boundary change makes

That it pays to live in the right electoral parish was made delightfully clear today to the commuters to Canberra from across the ACT border in Murrumbateman and Yass. After years of pleas for federal help in upgrading the Barton Highway being ignored by politicians, the pump is now well and truly primed. Both Labor and the Coalition are promising the millions necessary.
And the reason for the change of heart is easy to understand. For years the Barton Highway led to the electorate of Hume which the Coalition could not lose and Labor not win. Now the Commonwealth Electoral Commission has changed the boundaries. The oad now leads to Eden Monaro - one of the nation's traditional marginal seats.
Democracy is a wonderful thing if you live in the right place.

And yet another Green's promise they will never be in a position to deliver

Promises are easy to make when you will never be in a government that has to keep them

When it comes to promises it must be great to be Green

A Green version of all care but no responsibility - promises you will never be in a position to fulfil

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Election policies - much ado about nothing

I'm not sure which is more annoying: attempts to analyse opinion polls showing markedly different results or pontifications about the future impact of policies that will never pass through the Senate. The Saturday papers are full of both of them.
I'll settle once again for quoting Paul Kelly. He gives this common sense advice in The Australian this morning:
As the campaign advances, it becomes doubtful whether Turnbull, if he wins, will be able to legislate in the form he has proposed the corporate tax cuts that are the centrepiece of his election and the heart of his pitch for growth and jobs.
Labor, unsurprisingly, refuses to concede any policy mandate for a Turnbull victory. Nor do the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team or most of the independents. The mandate theory, once applying to an elected government’s program, has been corrupted to mean every party and independent has a mandate against the government.
This year’s policy contest may prove a charade, with politicians and media debating each other into exhaustion for an agenda that is never fully realised.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Scomo goes off. Lock up your super

The Treasurer decales war.

Thoughts from a real insider - the Mark Textor column

It's unusual to find a real insider giving some thoughts on an election campaign but this year we have one. Mark Textor, a researcher into the views of the public for the Liberal Party, is providing a weekly column for the Business Insider website and his latest gives some interesting views on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Now I would not expect pollster Textor to provide us with anything critical of his Liberal paymaster's leader but intelligent readers who make allowance for that will surely learn something.
The Turnbull Textor writes of knowing for 30 years does not seem much different than the one I knew and worked with under Kerry Packer the same number of years ago. I agree with the conclusion of today's Business Insider  piece:
Ultimately Malcolm’s and the Government’s success will be determined on how effectively he and they embrace his long established values and focuses his considerable talent on making our economy stronger and growing jobs with tax and other incentives, not by fulfilling the projected fantasies of the chattering elites on left or right. But he requires at least three clear years to do that and in financial terms if he is loaned a vote his past successes suggest that he will pay this loan back to people with considerable interest.
Read the whole proper insider's thing and make up your own mind.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Wasted words of analysis on the campaign trail

A couple of reminders this morning that most of the learned analysis of competing policy ideas during this election campaign is a waste of words.
First up this from Paul Kelly writing in The Australian:

And as if on cue Senator Nick Xenophon, asked on the ABC's AM if he would support the Coalition's proposed tax cuts, expressed his reservations. Government spending to preserve manufacturing jobs, he argued, would be a better use of scarce resources.