The Puddle Of Urine Around Wayne Swan’s Shoes

The breaking news this afternoon that the Gillard government is abandoning its surplus commitment comes as no surprise whatsoever; I have been watching the live coverage of Wayne Swan on Sky News, and the self-important bubble looks so frightened I wonder if he’s wet himself.

This is a short post on account of the fact I’m busy for the rest of the day, but I will post again this evening, but whichever way you cut it today’s development was foreseen by everyone except the Treasurer himself.

It underlines how much political hot air has been expended by Gillard and her Treasurer in the face of what virtually everyone else — including this column — called, months ago, as a likely financial year deficit of between $12 and $15 billion.

And it vindicates shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey’s line that this government will never produce a balanced budget.

A $3.9 billion deterioration in corporate tax receipts is officially the pretext for the abandonment of the Labor pledge, and Swan says the government will revisit its forecasts early in 2013.

But the bird has flown — not just for this financial year, but for the life of the Labor government, given the likely drubbing facing the ALP at next year’s election.

And Swan knows it, and he knows this is a battering ram handed to the Coalition that will be ruthlessly used against Labor in the months ahead.

Further, it’s happened on one of the self-important bubble’s cherished stints on watch as the “Acting Prime Minister.”

No wonder he looks like he’s peed himself.

I’ll comment again later tonight.


13 thoughts on “The Puddle Of Urine Around Wayne Swan’s Shoes

  1. Well at least they are endeavouring to minimise the amount of the deficit. Don’t think that Phoney and the NO Coalition would have done much better in the same circumstances, but then again we would have been in a recession had they been in power. The general consensus in the populace appears to be that in the current conditions a surplus is not the real issue and most people are not fussed if we don’t get one. TA and the NC had better be careful how they use their battering ram on this one given the success of the Ashby/Slipper and Thomson one’s, both of which seem to have run out of steam — funny that.
    Given that some 97% of the voting public dislike Phoney the Libs would be better served in looking for another leader to redress the 52:48 Labor:Lib poll conveniently not reported by the conservative media recently. Could I suggest Joe Hockey or Malcolm Turnbull?
    TA not fit 2B PM!

    • OK Deknarf, it’s time put up: a) post a link to the survey to which you refer, and b) it had best be something reputable. If it’s “internal ALP polling” then obviously you can’t, firstly because it shouldn’t be available in such a format, but secondly because it doesn’t exist; even ALP strategists privately concede they’re slipping again.

      If you have this poll, post it — it does sound rogue if it exists, but let’s be fair about it.

      If not, no bulldust, eh?


  2. deknarf, you are too funny! I think the decision to abandon the deficit is the right one. But the central issue here is why it’s taken Gillard & Swan so long to come to this conclusion? Everyone (and by ‘everyone’ I mean leading, and not so leading, economists and political commentators) saw the elephant in the room months ago. Joel Fitzgibbon (Labor party Whip) said LAST WEEK that the surplus should be abandoned, and Gillard rebuked him – saying that ‘We don’t jump at figments of people’s imaginations’. So why is it that everyone, including members of her own party, came to the salient realisation much earlier than the esteemed leader did? Gillard and Swan have been made fools of – a fact of which they must be aware, judging by how nervous Swan appeared in his press conference. And Gillard was nowhere to be seen (on holidays, is she? Swan is acting PM. Talk about leaving someone else to face the heat!!).

    deknarf, here’s another little nugget for you to chew on. It’s true, the vast majority of the voting population don’t like Tony Abbott. But a sizeable majority are still prepared to vote for the Coalition regardless. You may CONTEND that Tony Abbott is not fit to be PM, and you may be right. But we certainly KNOW that Gillard isn’t. Experience has told us so.

  3. CJ well said. The unfortunate realism is that when the Liberal party take office they will have an uphill battle to balance the budget thanks to the massive borrowings of the Labour government to fund there ill conceived schemes, some 52 odd that have hit the cutting room floor so far but who is counting? The people of Australia that’s who!!!!!!!!!!!

    • PS: Hope that’s satisfactory and that Roy Morgan’s credentials are appropriate.

      And my suggestion still stands LOTO should be either Hockey or Turnbull. My druther would be Turnbull!

      • OK, now we’re having fun! Thanks for posting that — I will try to be brief.

        You tend to find Morgan’s findings are often well out of kilter with everyone else’s (I remember driving past their offices in Collins Street the day before election day in 2004 with the ticker on their building claiming a Latham win 57.5-42.5, for instance) but having said that, there is always the possibility that one poll in isolation can catch something the others don’t — it has happened before — although at present, Morgan is the only one with Labor ahead on primary votes and showing anything other than at least a ten-seat gain for the Coalition.

        Morgan uses different methods (face to face as well as over the phone) and different preference count options (respondent-allocated as well as a general split based on the last election’s actual distribution patterns). A better person to comment on the vagaries of this is William Bowe at @pollbludger (this is the area he really specialises in) or even Peter Brent over @mumbletwits.

        Even so, where I do see some real value in the Morgan findings is in the size and direction of the movements they “find” — you will have heard me say often enough that polls really only have value viewed as a basket of opinion sampling rather than in isolation, although we all get a nice tingle when an individual survey produces a stunning result, especially if it seems to be running in our favour.

        In terms of the actual result you mention (and thanks for posting the link — I did wonder after commenting last night whether it was a Morgan survey you were mentioning) I would have to say it’s a rogue: it is so completely out of kilter with the other four main surveys (Newspoll, Essential, Galaxy and Nielsen) as to stand out a little too conspicuously. However, as I said, it might have picked up something the others haven’t — which is why we’d need to see other results to validate one way or the other, probably in January, but I tend to think yesterday’s events are going to kick a sizeable hole in the ALP vote unless there is some major political own goal from the Coalition over Christmas.

        In terms of the Liberal leadership — and I have had a bit to do with all three of the gentlemen you mention over the years — I do think Tony Abbott will lead the Liberals to the election and win it quite resoundingly. If he does so I think a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised that he makes an excellent PM. That’s a personal opinion of course, and I am happy to focus on leadership if readers wish; perhaps over the break when the daily flow of events slows to a trickle, and I have more time than I have had these past few months.

        Turnbull really is a splendid (and impressive) fellow, but he lacks support in the party room (the episodes last year of being a one-man band and running off at the mouth didn’t help him) and he represents a brand of Liberalism that some Labor-ish types find appealing, but which doesn’t really represent the mainstream of the party’s core vote any more. It has often been derisively said of Turnbull that he is the Prime Minister of Wentworth; I don’t mean this derisively at all, but there is merit in the assessment: he is a genuinely moderate small-L liberal in an electorate perfectly attuned to such a philosophy.

        The rest of the country is either looking for an authentic conservative party — which, whilst some in the blue corner won’t/don’t like it, is what the Liberal Party has evolved into — or a genuine social democratic party (which, post-election, I see some sort of shakeout on the Left producing, perhaps through a rapproachment between the ALP and elements of the Greens’ base).

        Joe Hockey is a really good guy (who I hold in great personal regard), but aside from also representing the more moderate side of the party — which is where a minority of its vote derives — he probably isn’t quite there yet in terms of his readiness for the role. Again, that’s obviously a personal assessment but, hey, the whole point of this column is to get people talking about their opinions on politics and current events and, just as importantly, the underpinnings for them.

        I tend to think the guy to keep an eye on is Scott Morrison. Remembering I think Abbott will not only lead the Liberal Party to the election and win it, the real cheese is on who might be the heir apparent in 5-8 years’ time. I tend to think Morrison just might be the long-term answer to that question.

  4. Roy Morgan poll probably not widely commented on because the results are significantly different from the other major polls out there (including Essential Research and Newspoll). From memory, I think they do tend to fluctuate significantly. Anyway, it’s one poll, and one poll can’t be viewed in isolation. I suspect the media has ignored it because it so obviously does not meet trends consistently reported by other polls, over a long period of time.

    I will concede, however, that when the election comes around, the final margin will likely be closer than the 53/47 result that seems to be the common denominator these days. But I still think Labor will lose.

  5. Yale, why am I not surprised that there would be a general poo-poohing of the Morgan results, given that it is contrary to the leanings of this blog. It would seem from the data that the Morgan Poll has been running pretty much in trend with other polls. So I won’t bother even debating the issue because ultimately the only poll that will matter is that on election day. Some time in November I suspect.
    I still consider that with Phoney as LOTO the NO Coalition is heading for a defeat, or a situation, that they may need to form government with Independents. Now that would be interesting given the ‘*rse selling’ comments last time we had an either party could form government situation.
    I’d certainly agree with the viewpoint that the ‘Liberals’ have shifted to the right — far to far to the right in my view. And that may be another reason why the voters will reject the NO Coalition — better the devil you know than ultra-conservative extremists. And the NO Coalition will be painted as exactly that during the campaign I suspect.
    I don’t really rate Hockey as leadership material, he has an air of bluff and bluster that make him look pompous and foolish. I consider Turnbull, despite your comments about the party room, as the sure fire winner of the next election should he be LOTO. By the way didn’t he lose the leadership by just one vote, Slipper’s I believe? (smug aside). From a left wing, latte sipper point of view a NO Coalition with Turnbull as Leader will deliver Labor the biggest defeat of its history — a massacre more like. So I’m more than happy if you keep Phoney where he is. Although as a long term Labor supporter (doesn’t mean I don’t change votes from time to time) I’d consider that a significant loss might be the trigger to force necessary change in the party. But a change of government to one of the level of conservatism currently expressed by the NO Coalition would see this country back in recession in the current global economic climate — so I won’t be changing my vote in 2013!
    Scott Morrison? Sorry but you have to be joking. I’d rank him slightly above par with Abbott!

    CJ: The Morgan poll was not commented on by the MSM because it is contrary to the perception that the media wishes to put out — that the NO Coalition is the only government for this country. I’m disappointed in the level of bias displayed by the senior papers in this country.
    In that the 2013 election will be a close one, I suspect that you are right on the money. Once voters actually start taking an interest in what they might be voting in we’ll see more of a 49:51 vote. While I’d like to see Labor with the 51, I won’t be putting money on it because I suspect that it will be too close to call. So I’ll pluck at a straw and say that generally, the Federal governments are the opposite of the party who holds the majority of State parliaments. So it looks promising for Labor in 2013!
    You have a nice Xmas! And I’ll leave you with the Chinese curse: “May you have an ‘interesting’ New Year”. Which is, incidentally, the Year of the Snake. I don’t know whether that’s auspicious or not! 😉

    • Deknarf, you said it yourself — Morgan’s poll wasn’t reported in the mainstream press either.

      It isn’t hard to see why — Gary Morgan’s comment that it’s “an early Christmas present for the Gillard government” beggars belief.

      Nobody — NOBODY — thinks Labor is four points up at present.

      And look, all these Labor supporters whose “preferred” Liberal leader is Turnbull smells suspiciously like a hankering for the time when Turnbull was leader, trailed by an average 8 points, tried to be bipartisan on everything (thereby marginalising the Coalition) and ultimately self-destructing.

      Little wonder ALP voters “prefer” Turnbull. He’s their best hope.

      There will be a conservative government in Australia by this time next year, and I use the term “conservative” advisedly. You keep the sloganeering up — the electorate has other ideas, methinks!

  6. deknarf, even reporters sympathetic to Labor have not latched on to the Morgan poll, so I don’t think that adds weight to your argument. And I think you’ll find Labor’s own internal polling has them heading for defeat too. Otherwise, it’s hard to understand why Labor has not latched on to this poll – particularly given the current situation vis a vis the surplus. If the Morgan poll matched Labor’s own internal polling, then sure as god makes little green apples, Labor would have been trumpeting loudly.

    As has been previously said, Morgan’s polls are erratic at best. I remember the Latham/Howard election, when Morgan was predicting a Labor victory. But if you saw Latham’s face as the exit polling results started to trickle through, he knew damn well that he wasn’t going to win (and as it turned out, the Coalition not only won the election, they swiped another 4 seats off Labor). If the New Year’s polls show any favourable movement towards the government, I’d be very surprised – the timing of the announcement regarding the surplus was pretty transparent (let’s throw out the trash before Christmas and hope that no one really notices), and the press has resoundingly spanked the government for it as a result. It will be interesting to see whether or not the electorate will view it as a broken promise, or the realisation (albeit belated) that pursuing a surplus would do more damage to the economy than good. But given the bluff and bluster of both Swan and Gillard in recent weeks/months regarding delivery of a ‘surplus or bust’ (and I reiterate my earlier point regarding the treatment given Joel Fitzgibbon), it’s hard to imagine the public viewing it as anything other than yet another black mark for Labor.

    I like Malcolm Turnbull enormously, and his position on many issues accords with my more centrist views. But he doesn’t have caucus support (something which is widely reported by the media), and I’m not convinced he would make a good leader.

    I also believe that the issue of independents will not arise at the next election. The public did not appreciate the obfuscation and carry on by the likes of Oakeshit et al, particularly in holding the country to ransom for 17 days (I think it was that long). As a result, it’s likely protest votes against both major parties will be quite low next time, and certainly Oakeshit (and Thompson) will lose their seats.

    As to whether Abbott would make a good prime minister, well, only time will tell, if he’s given the opportunity. It’s easy being in opposition. Much harder being in government. After 10 years in opposition during the Howard era, that’s been a most bitter lesson for Labor.

  7. Yale, I think we are both sloganeering but then again that’s what we do, don’t we? No I’m not wishing for Turnbull for that reason, I’m actually pleased he’s not there because Phoney Tony is providing Labor with its best chance at re-election. And, we’ll see who’s right in November 2013 I guess.
    CJ, As I said previously, it’s my view (and that of a lot of others) that there is a deliberate bias in the MSM. I’m pleased that Turnbull doesn’t have caucus support because he is the NO Coalition’s ‘killer app’ if he becomes LOTO but I’m pleased that you are staying with Phoney. Both sides of politics are making promises that they cannot fulfil in regard to surpluses. You are probably right about the Independents (they’ll still be there but not the force that they are now). Phoney will never make a good PM, he hasn’t the capability and he’s clearly shown that lack. Though I intensely dislike Howard you have to give him the credit of being an astute politician and good conservative PM. Abbott just hasn’t got what it takes.

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