NEWS AND VIEWS
Monday, November 12, 2007
The Owl's Election Indicator : Coalition 27% Labor 73%
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Me Too is a Two Way Street
Labor promised young people a taxation incentive to help them save a deposit for their first house which sounded attractive so John Howard thought he had better have one of those. Pity that the Reserve Bank keeps muttering about the chance of another interest rate rise or we could really have outdone them. Better be responsible and dress it up as part of the transition from a welfare state to an opportunity society that the speech writers have started me talking about. Hold out the promise of doling out a bit more to first home buyers when those storm clouds on the horizon blow away and we don't have to pretend to be responsible with the money of taxpayers.
In the meantime, pinch back that stuff that Labor pinched from us about releasing surplus Commonwealth land. Show the homeless we really care. And put something in the speech about financing more child care places because that Rudd lot keep going on about that. And that business of the Opposition's about subsidies for laptops for school children, surely we can do better than that. Play a trump with money for school fees and uniforms and books and anything else you can think of. Education revolution indeed! Forget about that computer nonsense - pledge to teach 'em to read and write and spell and to add up. That'll bring a round of applause.
And it certainly did.
This policy speech you have after already announcing billions of dollars worth of spending proposals (see the Crikey Gravy Train for details) was applauded by the assembled party faithful in all the right places. Praise the Coalition with the Nationals - applause. Praise the Treasurer - applause. Give a rap to the local boy Mal Brough - applause. Even get applauded for praising Alexander Downer.
It was a very old fashioned, plain and low key event. Not even an orangutan to provide some light relief but the Ministry was all there sitting in a row at the front. It will surely be a day they will remember as it is probably the last time they will all gather together as a Government.
A Little Insider Trading
There's nothing like a little insider trading to keep a market efficient and so it was last night in the election betting business. For many days now there has been very little fluctuation in the probabilities assigned to the Coalition and Labor about an election win.
Since the release of Newspoll a week ago the Coalition has been between 29 and 30 on the Owl's Election Indicator which is based on the prices at the Betfair betting exchange. And then last night around 8pm there was a dramatic fall with the Coalition becoming a 25% chance. Within hours we had a new Newspoll showing the Coalition falling further behind.
This morning there has been a slight rally in the assessment of the Coalition chances but punters should be warned. There are no stewards or an ASIC guaranteeing equal access to information in this election betting game.
Signs of a Better Day Coming
There was an encouraging sign for two for the Government's campaign team in the newspaper and radio coverage this morning. The carefully planted previews of the announcements to be made by John Howard in his policy speech were featured prominently.
The good reception was not sufficient to outweigh the better coverage Labor received on television last night but it suggests that tonight the news will give the Coalition a much needed boost. Mr Howard and his team will be hoping for something like the lift they received right at the start of campaigning with the announcement of planned income tax cuts.
The policy speech offerings are unlikely to be as dramatic as that but a few days of people talking about Coalition plans will be a relief.
Celebrity Crime with Sex and Politics
It was the answer to a Sunday editor's prayer - a story about s-x and crime involving a good looking political celebrity. At last there was something about this damned election that people might actually read.
The Murdoch Sundays could not resist Glenn Milne's rewriting of an old yarn about Julia Gillard and her flirtation in her youth with a trade union official who got into a bit of trouble over an alleged misuses of other people's money. It was as if Glenn had faithfully followed the advice in Crikey 10 days ago that "'Give me some gossip please' should be the instruction to political journalists from editors interested in giving readers more of what they actually want to read."
The conclusion we reached back then was based on an analysis of news web sites that showed that stories about the habits, frailties and foibles of celebrities were what the visitors turn to. A similar study of stories over the weekend in the top five lists of the 10 sites we survey showed that little had changed.
Celebrity stories topped the list with Ben Cousins making a great contribution. If we included the four celebrity-politics-s-x stories involving Ms Gillard in this category the lead would be even more pronounced.
The SBS story gave an interesting insight in to the way politics actually works with Mr Nice-Guy, Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Joe Hockey, adopting his best holier than thou expression to bring up the issue, after no one asked him about it, to say he was not interested in it. Perhaps it was pure coincidence that the Coalition last night launched a new version of its anti-union influence advertisement featuring Ms Gillard and former ACTU Secretary Greg Combet. I wonder what Kochie thinks?