Waiting for Kirribilli House

Photograph of Craig Gill wearing a Kevin07 t-shirt at Kirribilli House

The meme on teh intertubes this week was some wag placing a for-sale ad for Kirribilli House on a real estate website. I must admit, though, I do prefer my photo of Craig Gill in his Kevin07 t-shirt (above) at Hyacinth’s open day.

Thanks to Royaltech (and many others!) for the pointer. And in case the advert vanishes, there’s a PDF version.

I’ve already committed democracy today. Now it’s your turn. Remember, vote early and vote often.

The Narrowing, (not) by Dean Koontz

Graph of two-party preferred preferences since the campaign started

The Narrowing. The idea that during an election campaign voters return to the incumbent government. Supposedly the reality of an actual vote, as opposed to mere opinion polls, triggers voters’ fear of the unknown. As this graph shows, if there is a Narrowing, it’s bloody tiny this time around.

The Narrowing is nothing but mythology.

In the 2001 campaign, Kim Beazley started from behind and gained 5% before voting day — not enough to win, but enough to give him hope for next time. That’s a shift against the incumbent party, of course.

Of course that loose-mouthed thug Mark Latham went and screwed all that up. But this time we can see what the electorate really thinks of Howard now that they’ve got a credible alternative.

As the graph from Possums Pollytics shows, yes, you can sort of see a little sign of The Narrowing. But that gentle glidepath has to cross that line marked “50”.

Yes, the Coalition might be able to claw back enough support to win. As long as the election is on 28 July 2008.

I gather the election is sooner than that.

Rediscovering the language of moderation

I’m a big fan of joined-up thinking. You know, not just looking at each individual piece, but looking at how they fit together (or not) and what that tells us about The Big Picture. But there doesn’t seem to be much joined-up thinking in contemporary Australian politics.

Take, for example, “economic management”. Senator Andrew Bartlett wrote about this very point yesterday:

The battle for bragging rights about which party is supposedly the best economic manager is faintly ludicrous, given that both sides at various times have made a point of emphasising how similar their basic tax and economic policies are to the other – with the partial exception of workplace relations. The posturing about supposedly conservative good economic management is even more absurd – and indeed somewhat alarming – when one realises that these almost identical economic policies are neither conservative nor even very coherent.

Yes. I don’t understand how these facts all fit into one coherent picture:

  • Lots of money coming in from big mining boom.
  • Schools, hospitals, roads, trains, ports all in need of “urgent” fixes.
  • Reserve Bank worried about inflationary measures.
  • $34 billion in tax cuts! Spend, spend, spend!

Bartlett quotes a piece from George Megalogenis in The Australian which ends:

The task for Australia’s political class is to rediscover the language of moderation. Leadership at this stage of a 17-year growth cycle means telling voters that they can’t have it all.

But how do you tell Howard’s Battlers, the Kath & Kims of Australia, they they can’t have it all, and that the world isn’t just about them repeating the mantra of “I want! I want!”? The answers, it seems, is that you don’t. You just stay in your state of denial and hope for the best.

The Coalition launches its re-election campaign today — yes, I know that the entire year so far therefore has not been a campaign, just some sort of cheese grater. So it’ll be interesting to see whether they’ll propose a coherent plan for Australia’s future that actually addresses these core economic issues. My money is on the “No” vote for that one.

PodCamp Perth 2007: Social Media and the Federal Election

Here’s a video of my presentation from PodCamp Perth 2007.

Thanks to Stewart Greenhill for the video work. As Stephen says:

I’ve put them on Viddler because it supports long videos and has some nifty tagging and commenting features. Feel free to be social: if you see something fun or interesting just click on the green “+” button and add a comment. That way, if people don’t have time to watch the whole thing at least we can check out the highlights. If you see the word “PROGRESSIVE” in the bottom left, click on it to switch to STREAMING mode. You can skip to any point in the movie by clicking in the seek bar, or on a comment point.

Alas, the very end is missing thanks to a flat camera battery. Mind you, Stephen wasn’t the only one to “experience technical difficulties”.

[Update 15 January 2007: I believe I have a complete audio recording of the session. If there’s enough interest I’ll combine it with my slides and this video, and/or generate a transcript.]