Thursday, October 18, 2007

Alex Deane: Report from the Aussie Election Day 4

CAMPAIGN DAY 4 – 37 TO GO

In the run-up to this election, Labor deselected several sitting MPs for this election, replacing them with union activists. I should say that (1) I have no view on the respective merits of various lefties, so I’m not criticising; and (2) I’ve got no problem with parties deciding to get rid of dead wood: longevity of occupation alone is no argument for future selection. However, Labor’s problem is that some of the wood is refusing to stay dead. Gavin O’Connor, sitting ALP member for Corio, was deselected last year in favor of Richard Marles, despite holding the seat with a reasonable margin in 2004. It has been known for a while that he was pretty unhappy about it. There have been rumours about his position for a while, and he has announced today that he will run as an independent. Evening news shows today lead with the story – as a well-schooled pollie, he knows how to turn out a good line, and his thumping attacks on the party that made him and gave him a career were all replayed: “there’s no renewal if they’re all union officials and factional hacks” [the “they” being the candidates the ALP are parachuting into the seats of members they’re axing]; “you can’t betray the community and then represent it”; “you can’t be part of the solution if you’re part of the problem”. A pleasing opportunity to sit back and watch the left bash itself – rare, in these days of the impressive discipline of the Rudd era.

When it’s all said and done though, it’s probably just a sideshow. Whilst under the first past the post system his candidacy would mean that Corio – where the Coalition was 5,000 votes behind at the last election – would be in play in no uncertain terms, given Australia’s preferential voting system, it seems likely that O’Connor’s preferences will flow straight back to his erstwhile ALP colleague Marles – presuming that O’Connor finishes behind him…

10 comments:

Howard said...

Why did you not mention that the coalition has union officials as well. Tony Abbott is one and lead a strike once!

More important than this is he polls have predictably narrowed and more so in the important marginal seats in TAS and Qld. Also no mention of this.

Anonymous said...

Alex

Of course, the newly Independent candidate could direct his preferences to the Liberals by putting them second oh his how-to-vote card.

In Oz, because of the preferential voting system, parties hand out how-to-vote cards at polling booths. This allows voters to list their preferences as their favoured political party would like them. Most voters follow the preference set down on thei favourite party's card. thus if the new Independent in Corio directs his voters to vote 2 for the Liberal candidate, most of them will. And the seat would then probably go to the Liberals.

verity said...

CAMPAIGN DAY 4 – 37 TO GO

Oh, please! No!

Anonymous said...

How come you aren't reporting on Harlow's election day today - and every day for the next month - Iain?

Alex Deane said...

howard - you're quite right. the polls are narrowing. I have an aversion to blogging about polling - a political participant, not a political observer, and all that - but you're right.

anonymous - thanks. I had a bit of an idea about that already. But thanks. I would have thought that most of the O'Connor vote will track back to the ALP because they're ALP voters, regardless of what he puts on his HTV card.

verity - quite.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous 1.56am, probably because I haven't got the faintest idea what you are talking about.

verity said...

Oooooh! Lofty!

Alex Deane said...

Verity,

Yeah, fair call - it didn't sound so poncey in my head before I wrote it down...

poohbear said...

The BBC are itching and panting for a labour win! I want Howard to win just to wipe the grin/smirk off the faces of the BBC commisars!
I mean, how dare those despicable selfish Aussies put their own economic interests above the global warming/we're all doomed CONsensus freedom fighter taliban heroes? Oooh the cheek of it! And how dare Howard bar immigrant criminals/benefit addicts/Islamists/fake asylum seekers? Is'nt Howard aware that the BBC commisars have decided that unlimited immigration from the third world is a great idea? Well I never did! It really is about time those colonials started doing what the BBC elite has decided is good for them!

Anonymous said...

Has any one noticed Rudd looks like the Milky Bar kid?
He could even be Benny Hill if they stuck a slightly askew cap and specs on him.