Taxes – the sexy side of Australian Politics

This week was a shortened Parliament sitting week with Parliamentarians only sitting from Monday to Wednesday. Despite the shorter week Parliament was still busy with both the Senate and the Lower House focussed on two taxes one the lowering of company tax rates for medium and big businesses and the Labor move to end refunds for investors who have excess imputation credits. I’ll give more information on the two tax credits but this week the Liberals have again shelved the tax cuts for medium and big companies as they could not convince Independents Deryn Hinch and Tim Storer to support the changes with Labor, the Greens and Nick Xenephon’s two senators already against the changes. On the imputation credits following a large backlash by retirees and other related interest groups Labor have now said they will grandfather the changes to the imputation credits to avoid affecting people on welfare (1).

Focussing in a bit further on the Labor policy to end cash refunds for excess imputation credits I think it is first worth noting what a imputation credit is. (2) gives a good explanation on what a franking credit is and essentially the goal is to stop the double taxation of the companies profits which allows the tax a company pays to be passed onto shareholders. The example below shows a company who pays 30% of tax on 100 dollars of profit which then leaves the company with a 70 dollar profit after tax, in this case the shareholder receives 70 dollars in dividends and is also available to a 30 dollar franking credit for the tax that the company paid. If the shareholders marginal tax rate is lower than 30 percent then they can receive the franking credit back as a refund and in indeed would get all of the money back if they have a marginal tax rate of 0 percent.

Labor in principal don’t have a problem with the original franking credit by Paul Keating in 1987 to stop the double taxation of companies and shareholders both paying tax on company profit. The problem they have is the John Howard and Peter Costello amendment in 2000 (3) to assist self funded retirees and low income retirees to lessen the regulatory and tax burdens of associated super funds. For the Liberal Party this is bread and butter stuff and is an example of people who have worked and saved hard in their life then being able to self fund or help supplement people’s retirement welfare and Labor’s changes is essentially stealing money from those who have worked hard to live more comfortably in retirement. Given Labor’s current push to attack the rich to help the poor Jeremy Corbyn Bernie Sanders push their policy announcement to end this credit fits form but has not necessarily been received well by older people or swing Liberal voters. With that in mind Labor’s original policy is detailed here (4). Labor have not been exact with costings however their plan to end the refund of franking credits who pay no marginal tax is worth 59 billion dollars. The revamped plan of Labor in the last week is the same as before but as I outlined above plans to grandfather the policy for anyone on pensions like Disability Support Pension or the Aged Pension. This policy flip would cost the policy $700 million which Labor says shows this policy is mainly going to hit the super wealthy rather than those who are poor. The Liberal Party would argue that the policy being grandfathered means that people who invest in funds from now on will not get a refund and that people who are getting the refund now may be paying little tax but this shouldn’t be a problem because they have payed a large amount of tax when they were younger so that makes up for it now. I think the Liberal have also focussed on taxable income but while that is low for a lot of the retirees that figure is misleading as most people’s main form of income in retirement is from Superannuation which is not taxed. The following article is used by Labor in their defence of their policy change (5).

Dividend & Franking Credit Cash Flow











Onto the company tax and this the second phase of the Government’s company tax reform push after the tax rate was lowered to 27.5% for companies earning under $10 million (6). As I outlined above the government was unsuccessful in cutting company tax for companies with a turnover up to 50 million dollars. The Government have continued to argue that such a tax cut would allow big businesses to spend the saving in tax on investing more in their company to make it more profitable and with those increased profits they could hire more staff and pay that staff more money. From a theoretical Economic point of view that makes sense as when a company makes more money and pays less tax they should then be able to spend more money on staff hire and better staff wages. In practice however companies tend to either pocket that money or spend that money on giving money to shareholders. Now I would argue that shareholders can also be general taxpayers not necessarily on large money but for some reason shareholders have also entered the realm of people to be despised. What makes the government’s argument a bit harder to prosecute is a leaked survey showing most businesses would not pass on tax cuts to staff wages (7). Indeed the headline figure from the linked survey is that only 16 percent of surveyed businesses would pass on tax cuts to increased employment and wages.

The Labor response to this company tax is at a time when company profits are rising at record levels (this is disputed by the government and ABS figures) companies do not need a 65 million dollar handout. They instead point to an apparent cut in funding for schools or hospitals by the Government as the more appropriate use for these budget amounts. Ironically the Labor Party also said this money is needed from the Imputation Franking Credits so I have a trouble with Labor scaring people that every government spend is impossible because otherwise Schools and Hospital Funding will be cut. They also disgracefully try and link the Big Company Tax to an increase in the Medicare Levy which was done by the Government to fully fund the NDIS as the Labor Party did not fully fund it. I also suggest it’s duplicitous of the Labor Party to say that money into Hospitals and Schooling is being cut, it is increasing just not at the level that the Labor Party would see it increased by. Again I think it’s worth debating on whether more money should go into Hospitals and Schools but a difference in money being invested into schools and Hospitals does not equal a cut. As a result of all this it is hardly surprising that the Labor Party plan to repeal the policy if it does eventually pass the Parliament.

On the bill I think the company tax is worth passing but I would have a similar setup to Japan who recently cut company tax and I would link the company tax cuts only if they guarantee a rise in employment numbers and wages for employees as wages growth has been too flat. (8) has a great article on what Japan have done. I think the government will keep trying to introduce this bill until the next election which I think will be held early next year and I don’t think the company tax is going to pass before the next election which will make this issue an election issue. This is particularly because Tim Storer the new SA Independent Senator and former Nick Xenophon Team member needs convincing of the merits of the company tax cut without wider reform to tax policy which with this government behind in the polls I don’t they have the stomach to tackle (9). In terms of Company Tax cuts as an election issue I don’t think the Government are ahead on this issue as it’s hard to excite the population on helping big banks out. They also do not see the economic benefits of increased company investment because Capitalism and trickle down economics is copping a hiding in the general population at the moment. In that sense invoking Donald Trump lowering company taxes in America as a good measure for why we should lower company taxes is questionable because Donald Trump is not popular and for some he represents the worst of Capitalism.












South Australia Election Results Summary

My state went to the polls on the weekend and the 16 year Labor Government were voted out of office. I decided to wait a while for the results to be a bit clearer and I think we are now at a clear enough point to give some analysis. At this point there are 2 seats still listed in doubt although I put that figure closer to 2 in doubt as Adelaide appears to be firming in the Liberal column which would mean Liberals have won 25 seats, Labor have won 18 and 3 Independents have won their seats. The seat left still in doubt is Mawson(1) which currently has Labor ahead however postal votes tend to favour the Liberal Party and so the projection by Antony Green on the night and (2) is that the Liberals will go on to hold the seat. Below is a table of the results and projections of seats that are close at this stage. The difficulty with assuming a Liberal win in Mawson at this stage is that absentee votes are still missing and they will likely favour the Labor booths in Aldinga. If that seat went to the Liberal Party as predicted the result would be Libs 26- Labor 18 and 3 Independents and Troy Bell has promised to back the Libs and may still rejoin the Libs if his fraud charges are clearing making the margin 27-18-2.


The interesting thing about this election is that some of the narratives for this election that have emerged from this result don’t necessarily marry up to the results. The big assumption is that this result marks the return of the 2 party system, this might be the case compared to last year when SA Best were polling 30 odd percent and projected to win 10+ seats but as Antony Green says (4) this is the second lowest Labor Primary vote of all time, their lowest being in 1993 after the state bank crisis (my mum always relays the story of on the day of the bank going under the Premier went and banked some money in an account to show that the bank was ok just as the bank was announcing they were collapsing) and it is the second worst result ever for the Liberals with their worst being in the Rann slide of 2006. Indeed in the current primary votes (5) the Liberals are down 7 percent from 2014 to 37.5%, Labor are down 2 percent to 34%, Xenophon have just over. 13.5%, the Greens are off 2% to 6.6%, Conservatives lose 3 percent off their old Family First vote to be 3.1% which is a disappointing result and Independents are up to 5.2% which may be partially explained by Francis Bedford and Troy Bells wins as Independents after being party members last time.

The second narrative I heard is that this is a great win for the Liberals and while winning after 16 years is no mean feat, the party actually strictly went backwards on a 2PP basis this time with a final 2PP figure being 51.5 to 48.5 a swing of 1.7% to the Labor Party. I think what that comes down to is Labor as much as they tried to say they were trying to win the election it looks like they were more trying to save the furniture which they have appeared to do with only one seat Labor outside of the notional Liberal seats with Labor members falling to the Libs and that was the seat of King which is a new seat so didn’t have incumbency. What might concern the Liberals is that there is still a wall of Labor seats that the Liberals can’t switch from Labor hands. Seats such as Lee in the Semaphore region that the Libs would have hoped to have picked up had a 2.2 percent Labor swing (6) and even Light which is in the Gawler region which really swung to Labor and is now held by more than 10% (7). I also think in the North there was some strategic voting by Liberal voters who wanted to push the SA Best party into second place which came at the expense of Liberal voters.

The last narrative though from the Labor Party is that the only reason Liberals lost this election is because of the it’s time factor and the seat redistribution. While the it’s time factor certainly had some factor in the election result and the seat redistribution meant that the Liberals were able to win the election this time by winning the 2PP vote I do think other things came into play. I think the Liberal Party learnt from the past in that it’s no point running up 70-80% 2PP seats and then not winning the marginal seats and I think this time the Liberal Party focused more on the seats they needed to win and less on some of their safer seats. Conversely I think the Labor Party had a campaign more focussed on their base to appeal to their voters and make sure they didn’t go off and vote for SA Best, now that worked in seats like Elizabeth, Playford in the Northern Metropolitan area and Giles in the far North but it possibly cost their chance of votes in the more marginal seats. I also think some of the controversies of the Labor Party came back to bite them. They were a visionary party that always had exciting new promises for the state but the process of governing and dealing with policy problems had an air of ignore until it became a crisis and then try and minimalise the effect they had on people. Good examples being the Oaken Aged care disaster which concerned me as one day I may be in an aged care mental health facility, the Chemotherapy bungle, Families SA abuse claims, RAH building delays and closing elements of minor hospitals. The last week provided another example of this when Labor refused to release a report detailing safety concerns in the new hospital.

One of the key talking points of the election night was the battle for Hartley with Vincent Tarzia and Nick Xenophon from his newly formed SA Best party. In the end the contest wasn’t close with Vincent Tarzia the easy winner of the seat and indeed there is still a chance that Nick Xenophon finished third in the seat giving Vincent an even clearer win(8). I think Nick’s night summarised a lot of the problems for SA Best on the night, there was a wide expectation when SA Best were travelling well in the polls last year that SA Best would finish second in every safer seat in the state and then preferences would push the SA Best candidate over the line. Indeed what looks like happening in a lot of seats is that SA Best will end up finishing third in seats or very close to third in seats and therefore be pushed out of preferencing before the final count. In the end SA Best finished 2nd in 10 seats of the 47 seats in the seat and of those seats only 2 were Labor seats which would have disappointed SA Best given polling through the campaign suggested the Labor Party might have struggles with SA Best in their Northern heartland seats where the Liberal vote was low enough for SA Best to finish 2nd and then catapult the Labor member. Indeed the closest the SA Best Party got to winning a seat is in Heysen where they picked up a 10% swing to get within 1.9% of the Liberal candidate.  I also think there was an assumption that the SA Best preferences would flow through similar to the Federal Election i.e favouring 60-40 to the ALP and while that hasn’t been confirmed as to what it is doing exactly yet it appears the preferences are flowing a lot closer to 50-50 between the major parties. That would make sense if you think the 10 percent that the Liberals and Conservative Parties lost to SA Best then probably flowed back in some form to the Liberal Party more so than the Labor Party who only went backwards a few percent to the SA Best expense. I think the other thing to take away with SA Best is that Steven Marshall refusing to make a deal with the SA Best Party has worked in that he has now got to majority Parliament and possibly avoided alienating other voters who would not want to see the Liberals doing a deal with a minor party, following Will Hodgman doing the same in Tasmania last week it might be a message to other states to not straddle the line of will they won’t they deal with minor parties like One Nation and say they will go it alone or not at all and they may be rewarded for that by undecided voters who then feel they need to back one way to win majority government.

Before I move onto the upper house there are a few more things to look at in the lower house, firstly how my predictions went vs the actual results and then I’ve always been intrigued by the safest seats in the country/state. So my final seat project was not far off with me predicting 23 Liberals, 18 Labor, 3 SA Best and 3 Independents. So I was wildly off on SA Best winning two Labor seats in Enfield and Giles, in Enfield SA Best’s fall in the polls over the last week meant they finished behind the Liberal Mathew and so John Rau comfortably held his seat on a 2PP basis and in Giles the SA Best vote tanked enough that while he finished 2nd the Labor vote was basically at 50 percent and almost didn’t need preferences. I also predicted that Liberals would lose Hartley to Nick as I assumed enough people would want to see him in Parliament even if they had cooled on his party as a whole but credit to Vincent who clearly ran a strong campaign and ended up comfortably winning the seat with a near 6% swing to himself.  I then effectively cancelled two seats out with my call of Liberals taking Hurtle Vale which had a nice swing to the Labor Party (The 2014 boundaries suggested this result was in play but the Liberals were making strong ground noises that they could take this seat) offset by the Liberals grabbing the new seat of King where I thought Labor had made a few more local  electorate announcements. I then called Adelaide as a gain to Labor and I was close on that seat where indeed a strong ground campaign by Labor has seen them nearly take the seat and Mawson I also called as Labor gain from the notional Liberal seat and I’m close on that ground in that the Labor or Liberal Party could still take this seat, indeed again Leon Bignell has got a swing to himself for the 3rd election in a row despite the pundits predicting the seat would fall to the Liberals. Now the safest Labor seat after this election is Croydon where Peter Malinauskas increased the margin of his 2PP lead from 71-29 to 76-24(9). Indeed it was joked that with Michael Atkinson finally retiring Peter Malinauskas could see the full potential of how Labor this seat was. The safest booth in Croydon was Woodville Gardens with an impressive 83!!!!% 2PP Labor result (10). With Jay Weatherill resigning as Labor leader the day after the election which was to be expected when he cited he could now spend more time with his family again, Peter Malinauskas seems the natural successor to the role given he was instrumental in the transition from Mike Rann to Jay Weatherill when he was head union representative. Amazingly Croydon is not the safest seat in the state that seat goes to Flinders which actually suffered a 3 percent swing to the Labor party this election but is still held on a 76-24 2PP (11). Flinders had the booth of Karkoo where Liberal had a 97!!!!% 2PP result (12) although to be fair that was from 67 total votes at the booth.

Onto the Legislative Council and the final results are not going to be known for another month but from the results we do have I think it fairly certain what the final results are going to be. The current Legislative results are given here (13): and from those results it looks like the Libs and Labor will keep their 4 seats, SA Best will take 2 seats and the final seat will go to the Greens. From my prediction I oversold the SA Best result by a seat and the Labor seat amount was undersold by a seat although there is some potential for the Conservatives to gain the last seat at the Labor’s 4 seat expense. This seems unlikely as with the removal of preferences flowing above the line with a just vote 1 result the Conservatives will struggle to pick up as many preferences. If the seats in the Upper House flow as I expect then the Dignity Party and SA Conservatives both lose a seat and we have 8 Libs, 8 Labor, 2 SA Best, 2 Greens and 1 Advance SA and 1 SA Conservative. With theoretically a Liberal President the Liberals would then need to negotiate deals with the Conservative and Advance SA who share a good amount of economic policy with each other and the SA Best senators who are more protectionist and share less in common economically.
















Seat by Seat Prediction for South Australian Election

With the South Australian Election tomorrow I will make my prediction of Lower House and Upper House seats, starting from the safest Labor seat and working to the safest Liberal Seat. See (1) for the current seat pendulum.

Safe Labor Seats and will hold

Croydon: Labor held currently by nearly 20 percent this seat has been held for Labor by Michael Atkinson since 1989. He has been speaker of the current lower house and is retiring along with partner Jennifer Rankine. The seat is now being contested by Peter Malinauskas who is switching houses from the Legislative Council and he will be a strong leadership candidate if Jay Weatherill decides to not stay in the top job after the election. This seat takes in the Regency Park and Croydon area and is Labor heartland. This will be one of the strongest holds of the Night.

Labor 1 Lib 0 SA Best 0

Ramsay: Formerly held by Mike Rann until he left politics and comfortably held by Zoe Bettinson by 17-18 percent. This seat covers the Salisbury and Paralowie area and is another strong Labor hunting ground. Will be interesting to see if there is any blowback for Zoe’s housing portfolio ministry which would impact on her electorate and I think SA Best will finish second in this seat but another safe Labor hold here.

Labor 2 Lib 0 SA Best 0

Cheltenham: Held by the current premier Jay Weatherill this area takes in the North West area of Findon, Cheltenham and Woodville. This is again Labor heartland and the fact that Jay Weatherill has always been well liked, indeed you could argue his popularity outflanks the popularity of the Labor Party itself, something that you could argue happens in reverse on the Liberal side with at times support for the Liberal Party outperforming the popularity of Steven Marshall. The interesting factor in this electorate is how will the Candidate Had Enuff will go as he has been able to frustrate the Labor Party at times in this campaign with his campaign van and successful protest on the SA Labor Bus. This will be a strong hold for the Labor Party.

Labor 3 Lib 0 SA Best 0

West Torrens: Another safe Labor seat held by the Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis. This area takes in the area of Thebarton and Mile End through to Brooklyn Park. This is the first seat that actually had Liberal voting polling booths at the last election (2). This was always going to be a safe hold for the Labor Party and the lack of an SA Best Candidate makes this an even stronger hold for the Labor Party.

Labor 4 Lib 0 SA Best 0

Playford: An interesting seat in that it’s redrawing to Mawson Lakes and more out into Para Hills has seen the end of the career for a Labor Stalwart in Jack Snelling who has been the at times controversial health minister. The Labor candidate now is Michael Brown a long term Labor backroom dealer. The redrawn seat is still on a healthy 11 percent  and while Mawson Lakes may be a more Liberal inclined area the rest of the electorate of Parafield Gardens, Para Hills and Parafield are all strong Labor voting heartland (3) that should more than make up for the loss of the strong Labor voting Pooraka and Ingle Farm area. The one interesting factor here is SA Best, can they make some hay out of Labor maybe taking the northern suburbs for granted for too long, I think that may take the margin under 10 percent but this should still be a strong Labor hold.

Labor 5 Lib 0 SA Best 0

Elizabeth: The seat has regained it’s traditional electoral name having lost the suburb of Little Para to the electorate of King which returns this seat to it’s traditional area of Elizabeth and surrounding areas. Since 2010 the seat has been held for by Lee Odenwalder. This is another seat where the inclination is a safe Labor hold but I am intrigued by how SA Best go in this seat with the recent closure of Holden now leaving a lot of people in the seat with uncertain working futures. Indeed it has been Nick Xenophon who has regularly pointed out the need for more to be done on youth unemployment in this area that has at times neared 30 percent. All that being said I would still rank this as a safe Labor hold.

Labor 6 Lib 0 SA Best 0

Reynell: Another safe Labor seat this one being held by Disability Minister Katrine Hildyard. This is the southern version of some of the northern seats I have been talking about with low socio economic background and typically very safe Labor heartland. This seat stretches from Reynella to Lonsdale and Christies Beach. Again I am slightly intrigued by the SA Best Factor although Kingston the subsequent federal seat was not their strongest result and the other issue that may cut through is some reports of bullying by members in her office (4) but I don’t think that is going to cut through even though for mine it’s a bad look for a bullying culture in the disabilities portfolio. Another safe Labor hold although we are now in the under 10 percent range.

Labor 7 Lib 0 SA Best 0

Kaurna: A rarity in this election in that only three parties are standing members in this seat, namely Labor Liberal and the Greens. The seat is now held by Chris Picton who entered the police ministry in 2017. This seat covers the southern areas of Port Noarlunga to Maslin Beach. While Law and Order is a typically strong area for right of centre parties it’s hard to see Liberal overcoming Labor on a 8-9 percent margin especially when Labor will get Liberal preferences. I expect a safe Labor hold.

Labor 8 Lib 0 SA Best 0

Safe Labor seats that will swing heavily but will still be held

Port Adelaide: A very safe Labor seat at 12.5% that is currently held by Susan Close who is the Higher Education and Skills Minister. Theoretically this should be a Labor hold however the Port Adelaide Mayor Gary Johanson has again entered the political fray as the SA Best candidate having previously run as both an Independent and Liberal in this area. I would note however that despite people being excited about SA Best doing well in the Port Adelaide Federal Electorate they ended up with only 19 percent of the vote. I think the 25 percent that Gary Johnson got in the 2012 Port Adelaide By Election (5) is doable and if the Liberals could then get 15-20 percent it might make things interesting. I am still predicting a Labor hold.

Labor 9 Lib 0 SA Best 0

Taylor: This seat was polled as part of the Mad March polls in the Advertiser on Monday and the 2PP vote was 51-49 in Labor favour. This seat covers the northern parts of Elizabeth all the way up to the more Liberal voting area of Two Wells. The seat is held by John Gee (6) who was in the abolished seat of Napier but has managed to seek a “safer” option in Taylor. The SA Best threat and it seems the outer northern area to rural northern area is part of that which is not necessarily expected at the campaigns start is taking hold in this seat. I think this seat will be line ball on the night of the election but my inclination is that Labor will just hold onto this seat.

Labor 10 Lib 0 SA Best 0

Safe Labor Seats that will swing parties

Florey: Florey is a heavily redistributed seat that once covered the more North East areas of Modbury, Modbury North and Valley View and now extends into the former safe Labor heartlands of Playford which was held by Jack Snelling. Jack Snelling argued that his home now fell into Florey and so he should switch to Florey. This angered Francis Bedford who said she would stand in the seat as an Independent, after a while it looked like Francis would win the seat and so Jack Snelling has announced he will stand aside leaving Rik Morris to stand for Labor. The polling that came out in the electorate in the campaign had Francis up over Labor 57-43 2PP and I can’t see her not winning this seat.

Labor 10 Lib 0 SA Best 0 Independent 1

Enfield: This is a once safe Labor heartland that in 2006 was held by Labor on a 74.5% to 25.5% (7). The seat has gradually been whittled down at the last few elections to the fact that the Enfield, Kilburn and Sefton Park seat now is only held by just under 6%. The reason this seat is at play is that the SA Best candidate Carol Martin has been very popular on the ground while John Rau as Attorney General has seeming made a lot of enemies during his time in the portfolio. This is particularly the case for the Greens who are preferencing Labor behind SA Best (8). It is for that reason that I think the SA Best candidate will cause a slight boilover and take this seat.

Labor 10 Lib 0 SA Best 1 Independent 1

Giles: This is the only non Metropolitan seat held by Labor that stretches up north and west to the WA and NT borders. The seat encompasses Whyalla as the main part of the seat which Labor heartland provides the margin of 5.7 percent that is otherwise is strong Liberal voting ground (9). This seat is another northern Labor heartland area that has been disrupted by a strong SA Best candidate, this time the former Whyalla Deputy mayor Tom Antonio who has been a Liberal in previous times. This seat was also polled in the Advertiser polls with a 2pp of 50-50 between SA Best and Labor, however I think the SA Best candidate will get a large amount of the Liberal preference given his former party ties and so I think SA Best will take this seat.

Labor 10 Lib 0 SA Best 2 Independent 1

Marginal Labor Seats

Wright: The former seat of Jennifer Rankine who was the long standing Education Minister her retirement now brings in the Labor candidate Blaire Boyer. This seat has been majorly redistributed to cover Brahma Lodge north to Salisbury East up to Wynne Vale and Redwood Park. My Inclination of this seat is that while it will be close I can’t see Labor not holding onto this seat, particularly given the voting patterns of people in this seat in 2014 (10).

Labor 11 Lib 0 SA Best 2 Independent 1

Badcoe: The former seat of Ashford this seat is a Labor seat on a margin of 4.2 percent having obtained a slight buffer from the redistribution. The seat encompasses the south west of the outer city going from Keswick to Edwardstown and Ascot Park. My read of this seat is that the seat is made up of more lower socio economic areas that I would be inclined to suggest would favour Labor and so I predict they will hold this seat.

Labor 12 Lib 0 SA Best 2 Independent 1

Light: The Labor seat that encompasses much of Gawler this seat has a growing demographic as the area continues to grow. While that growth may one day favour a Liberal win in this seat at the last election Tony Piccolo was popular enough to get a swing of 3.2 percent to him (11) taking his seat to a not so scary 3.9 percent. Given Piccolo has held this seat since 1985 my prediction is he will continue to hold this seat post election.

Labor 13 Lib 0 SA Best 2 Independent 1

Torrens: Somewhat surprising that this seat is marginal given that Labor have held this seat for all bar one year since it was first created in 1993 (12). This seat is now held by Dana Wortley the wife of Upper House President Russel Wortley. This seat covers mostly Labor strong areas such as Gilles Plains but a redistribution has seen it gain elements of Vale Park which is strong Liberal territory. What will hurt Liberals here is that both the Greens and Dignity Party will give their preferences back to Labor over the Liberals and for that reason I think Labor will hold this seat.

Labor 14 Lib 0 SA Best 2 Independent 1

Lee: Another seat held by a potential Labor future leader in Stephen Mulligan and he would have been worried by an early poll that had this seat on 50-50 2PP. This seat covers a wide range of the political spectrum from a high Labor vote in Semaphore Park to a safe Liberal area of West Lakes. I might of been convinced of this seat falling to the Liberal Party however the Conservatives in return for preferences in the upper house have preferenced Labor ahead of Liberal in this area, as a result my inclination is that Labor will just hold onto this seat. SA Best preferences in this seat will also be key.

Labor 15 Lib 0 SA Best 2 Independent 1

King: My electorate! A new seat that has been created to replace the abolished Napier that covers a vast amount of the North East of Adelaide stretching from Safe Labor in Salisbury East and Salisbury Park to the marginally Labor bits of Greenwith and Golden Grove to the very safe Liberal areas of Sampsons Flat and One Tree Hill. I have seen correspondence from all 3 major candidates from Liberal Labor and SA Best and they all seem like they would make good members. Labor seem to have gone for a bigger spend in the electorate which will impress some and so while I’m not sure who will win my leaning would be Labor to win this seat although SA Best will play a key in this seat.

Labor 16 Lib 0 SA Best 2 Independent 1

Hurtle Vale: The renamed election of Fisher which was held for many years by the charismatic and popular member Bob Such this seat was won by Labor in the 2014 by election after he sadly passed away from a Brain Tumor. The redistribution has taken what would be a marginal Liberal seat to a very marginal Labor seat (13). You now have the factors of a possible sophomore surge for this seat versus Liberal and SA Best making a serious run at this seat. In the last week of campaigning Liberals have gained some confidence in this seat and as such this is the only Labor seat I am prepared to give as a loss to the Liberals.

Labor 16 Lib 1 SA Best 2 Independent 1

Notional Liberal Seats

Newland: The North Eastern seat that takes in Tea Tree Gully all the way out into the hills of Paracombe has been held by Tom Kenyon since 2010 and he has impressively held this seat when the state swing would suggest he should lose the seat. A further redistribution this time to push some of the more Labor heartland areas of Modbury into Florey has made this seat notionally Liberal. Now if anyone could hold onto this seat then Tom Kenyon would be it but the word on the ground is that the Liberals are increasingly confident of taking this seat and so my thought is they may just take this seat in a result that could play a big role in deciding government.

Labor 16 Lib 2 SA Best 2 Independent 1

Mawson: An interesting seat that now sits on a margin of 3.2% notionally Liberal that is held by Leon Bignall the Tourism Minister. As part of the redistribution the seat gained the rural areas of Kangaroo Island and Fleurieu Peninsula which are strong Liberal voting areas (14). As Tourism Minister Leon Bignall has been able to pork barrel announcements for the strong tourism areas of McLaren Vale and now KI and that will help him in the seat. He also has been in dire straits in the last two elections but has however managed to hold his seat. This seat was polled in the last week of the campaign with a 50-50 margin and the Greens getting 7 percent in this area in that poll may help him get over the line if SA Best preferences favour Labor like they did in the 2016 Federal Election. My prediction is a lineball Labor hold.

Labor 17 Lib 2 SA Best 2 Independent 1

Colton: Was held by the Labor Party for many years under Paul Caica however his retirement and a strong redistribution has made this a Liberal seat of almost 4 percent. In the wake of that retirement Liberal have favoured a celebrity candidate in Matt Cowdrey Paralympic gold medallist. The seat takes in Fulham Gardens to Glenelg and West Beach which are strong Liberal seats. My inclination is that the Liberal Party will gain this seat.

Labor 17 Lib 3 SA Best 2 Independent 1

Elder: A labor held seat by Annabel Dignance in 2014 after she had 2 failed stints at winning the federal seat of Boothby. The 2014 Contest was controversial after Carolyn Habib had Labor flyers posted out saying no-one can trust a Habib which had clear Muslim slander at them. The seat is situated south of the city going from strong Labor area in Mitchell Park to strong Liberal voting areas of Grange. Annabel Dignance on hearing that this seat would become a strong Liberal marginal of 4.3 percent tried to seat hop but was unsuccessful and so had to return to Elder with her tail between her legs. I would hence suspect that Liberal will take this seat.

Labor 17 Lib 4 SA Best 2 Independent 1

Marginal Liberal Seats that they will lose to Labor

Adelaide: Adelaide is a marginal Liberal seat that was taken in 2010 by Rachel Sanderson a 13 percent swing against then popular Education Minister Jane Lomax Smith. Sanderson was then able to maintain her seat in 2014 and despite a redistribution will still go into this election as favourites. However as the campaign has gone on Labor have put large resources in this seat and Jay Weatherill has announced a further tram extension that will be popular in this seat. Add to that the New RAH, OBahn extension and Adelaide Oval Redevelopment and this is a seat I think the Liberals will lose tomorrow.

Labor 18 Lib 4 SA Best 2 Independent 1

Marginal Liberal Seats that they will lose to SA Best

Hartley: The seat that is the home of Nick Xenophon. An interesting election campaign where the Liberal incumbent has gradually become more confident of their chances of winning the seat. The seat covers the more Labor areas of Hectorville and Campbelltown stretching to the Liberal area of Athelstone and Magill. I think two factors are at play here, one Vincent Tarzia should get a sophomore swing from the electorate and as a rule Candidates who have run before don’t go well on the second time around which I think haunts the Labor Party where Grace Portolesi is trying to get her seat back. The poll published had Liberal ahead of Nick 51-49 but I wonder if there will be a late push to ensure Nick gets into Parliament.

Labor 18 Lib 4 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Marginal Liberal Seats that they will hold

Black: A marginal Liberal seat held by 2.6% by the Liberal party in place of the old seat of  Mitchell. The seat of Black stretches along the south beach coast from O’Halloran Hill to Hallet Cove. The Liberal candidate David Speirs has gone from winning the seat in 2014 to already in the Shadow Cabinet and in the wake of no SA Best candidate to split the Liberal and Labor vote suggests to me that the Liberals should keep this seat.

Labor 18 Lib 5 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Gibson: A marginal seat in the south covering Brighton to Oaklands Park this seat was gained by Corey Wingard in 2014 he has previous star recognition from being a sports journalist with Channel 10 and has again gone from being first elected in one election to now being a shadow minister. This seat I think would be a comfortable re hold for Liberals except you have the reentrance of Kris Hanna.  Kris Hanna was a Labor member for the former seat of Mitchell that I mentioned above and then a Green before quitting them due to annoyance at not getting the top spot of the legislative council ticket and then becoming an independent member before finally losing the seat to Labor in 2010. He is now the mayor of Marion and so has a local profile which will help him and Labor would help him preferences. This is definitely a lineball seat but my inkling is that Wingard will hold.

Labor 18 Lib 6 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Dunstan: It is an odd peculiarity in SA Politics that the seat named after the best SA Labor Premier is held by the Liberal leader and Playford the longest serving premier from the Liberal Party is a safe as nails Labor seat. Dunstan has previously been called Norwood and was long held by Labor despite being in a rich suburban area surrounded by safe as nails Liberal seats. Steven Marshall was elected in 2010 as a moderate Liberal from the Chris Pyne faction and has had some luck in getting a higher greens preference than most Liberals as a result. The seat was polled on Tuesday and had Marshall holding the seat 53.6 to 46.4 and while that’s closer than you’d want for a leader I think he will win that seat.

Labor 18 Lib 7 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Safe Liberal seats that will fall to SA Best

It wouldn’t surprise me if a seat were to fall to SA Best on the night in this category but my read of the land is that SA Best will just fall short.

Safe Liberal seats that will swing massively but be held

Morialta: Morialta is a traditional Liberal seat that only fell to Labor in the Rann Slide of 2006 before going back to John Gardner. It goes into this election with a rather meaningless 13% margin against Labor. The seat stretches east from Rostrevor to Lobethal and Birdwood in the hills. This seat falls into Mayo heartland and a lot of people thought would be one of the first seats to fall to SA Best at this election from the Liberals. The Liberals however I think have sandbagged their hills electorates well and while the 2PP taken in the campaign is close at 52-48 that is a better position than they were in and so I think they will hold Morialta.

Labor 18 Lib 8 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Heysen: Heysen was held by the former Liberal leader Isobel Redmond who is retiring at this election. Late last year with SA Best polling over 30 percent in polls and Isobel taking her personal vote with her it was thought this would be another hills seat where Sharkie’s federal vote would get another win. The area of Heysen covers Stirling to Strathalbyn and other rural areas surrounding that in the hills. The poll in the campaign had the margin at 51-49 Liberal over SA Best but I think Labor will get second in that seat on Independents and Greens preferences at which point SA Best preferences would get the Liberal Party over the line.

Labor 18 Lib 9 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Narungga: A safe Liberal seat that was held by Steve Griffiths before he retired and now is looking to be won by Fraser Ellis. The seat covers Yorke Peninsula and the area is strongly Liberal voting however the retirement of the member and the fact that Grey swung behind SA Best to the point where Rowan Ramsay nearly lost his seat makes this another seat to watch although I think it will be comfortably held.

Labor 18 Lib 10 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Chaffey: Chaffey is a Conservative leaning seat in the Riverland encompassing Berri Barmera and other surrounding areas. The seat gained notoriety in that from 1997 to 2010 it elected Karlene Maywald (15) who went against the Conservative leaning of the seat to back Mike Rann’s government and indeed became a Minister of the Rann government. In that sense the presence of the SA Best Member being an adviser for Maywald is intriguing in how much of a vote she might obtain. I think though the Liberal margin of 24.4% is too much to overcome although SA Best will far outperform what Labor could ever pull in this seat.

Labor 18 Lib 11 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Finniss: Finniss is a safe Liberal seat that loses it’s Kangaroo Island part of the electorate to effectively become a Victor Harbour and Goolwa seat. Again this seat falls entirely in the area of Mayo and as such there are questions as to whether the SA Best candidate can do damage in the seat. The former member Michael Pengilly retired and his replacement is David Basham who with no challenge from Pengilly who threatened to stand against a Liberal candidate without rural experience (16). I think Victor Harbor as it continues to be a growth for families and less of a retirement hub will change the landscape of the electorate but for the time being it’s hard not to see a Liberal hold here.

Labor 18 Lib 12 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Schubert: Schubert is a safe Liberal seat stretching into the north of Gawler covering Nuriopta, Tanunda and surrounding northern towns. The seat is currently held by Stephen Knoll who has quickly raised from first time candidate to a key part of the shadow ministry with Policing and Corrections. This is another country seat where SA Best will poll well but again I don’t see a circumstance where such a strong local candidate will lose his seat.

Labor 18 Lib 13 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Morphett: Another seat where some shenanigans at the pre selection level have caused what should have been a safe seat into a much tougher contest. Duncan McFetridge was the Liberal member for the seat however he lost preselection to Stephen Paterson a Holdfast Bay mayor and former Collingwood player (17). The seat covers Plympton down to Glenelg, Glenelg South and Somerton Park. The seat was polled during the election and had the seat at 55-45 to Liberals over Labor but the Labor party will probably fall to third and my guess is that Mc Fetridge will drop out first give half of his preferences to Liberal, some to SA Best and some to Labor and then that will push SA Best to 2nd but I don’t think close enough to win the seat. I think therefore Liberal will hold but again it’s a seat that could go either way.

Labor 18 Lib 14 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Davenport: A traditional Liberal seat from 1970 to current this is another Liberal seat that should stay in the parties hands although their current member has jumped across to Waite to try and take what was then Martin Hamilton Smith’s seat who jumped from the Liberal Party to the Independents spot in return for the Labor Ministerial role. Davenport stretches from Bedford Park to Aberfoyle Park in the South and out to the rural zone of Ironbank. SA Best did alright but not so well in the Federal seat of Boothby so my prediction is that Liberal hold onto Davenport with new member Steve Murray.

Labor 18 Lib 15 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Waite: An Interesting seat in that it has long been the hunting ground for Martin Hamilton Smith, a one time Liberal leader who as I alluded to earlier became an Independent in favour of obtaining Labor ministry. Waite covers from the edge of the Adelaide Hills to the south of the city which is nicely shown in a map here (18). Another interesting part of this electorate is that the former member of Davenport Sam Duluk has switched seats to stand for this electorate although in fairness to him he could claim that the redistribution has moved a lot of his electorate to Waite now. SA Best again are a good shot of winning this seat and their candidate is a renewable energy specialist, weirdly with that in mind however the Greens are preferencing the Liberal Party over the SA Best candidate in this seat and for me I think that pushes Liberals over the line.

Labor 18 Lib 16 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Kavel: A very safe Liberal seat that spans Mount Barker, Hahndorf, Nairne and other surrounding areas in the Adelaide Hills. The seat is famous in that it was the home of former Liberal Premier John Olsen who held the seat until he had to resign from parliament in disgrace in 2002 (19). Again this is another seat that falls entirely into the Mayo Federal Electorate and as of last year a seat the Liberal Party were very worried about losing to the SA Best party particularly with Mark Goldsworthy retiring from the seat having held the seat since 2002. I think this will be a close seat back I am backing Dan Cregan to pick up this seat.

Labor 18 Lib 17 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Hammond: Another very safe Liberal seat that covers the region of Mount Lofty to Tailem Bend, Murray Bridge and Mannum and all the way east to the Victorian seat. This has been held by the Liberals Adrian Pederik since 2008 election and so that incumbency will help stave off a SA Best push for this seat.

Labor 18 Lib 18 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Safe Liberal Seats that they will hold

Most of the seats above could end up easily falling in this category if SA Best tank on the night but I’ve classified the following seats as seats where SA Best $5 or worse at winning the seat and Labor will never win these seats

Unley: Unley is a very rich area that has been Liberal held since 1992 where prior to was actually Labor held between 1963-1992 ( I always joked that the union heavies would not be seen dead living in the poorer areas of their constituents were and so they’d live in rich areas and make them more marginal than they’d otherwise be). Unley covers the more Labor areas of Wayville and Goodwood to the high Liberal voting areas of Myrtle Bank and Glenside. Unley is currently on a margin of just a shade under 10%. David Pisoni has held the seat since 2008 and has been in the ministry ever since in first Eduction and then Transport and Infrastructure (20).

Labor 18 Lib 19 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Bragg: Bragg is a very safe Liberal seat held by the longstanding Liberal Deputy leader Vickie Chapman who has become the attack dog who really holds Labor to account allowing Steven Marshall to not always have to attack in Parliament. Bragg covers the south east of the city from Kensington Park to Glen Osmand and out towards the Cleland Recreational Park. Bragg might be a seat that SA Best could have done alright in but for some reason SA Best chose to not contest this seat and as a result this will be a comfortable Liberal hold.

Labor 18 Lib 20 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Stuart: A seat that was once a Labor seat has gradually become more and more safe Liberal terrain until last election it was a 20 percent Liberal hold. The electorate of Stuart covers Port Augusta and then north of there to the NT border. It is that geography that explains why the seat is being contested by only three parties namely the Libs, Labor and Greens. The current member is Dan van Holst Pellekaan who has held the seat since 2010 and has been in the shadow ministry ever since, he has also been touted as a potential leader replacement should Steven Marshall lose the election tomorrow. This will be a comfortable Liberal retain

Labor 18 Lib 21 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Mackillop: (21) gives an idea of just how safe Liberal held Mackillop last election with some booths recording a 2PP result above 90 something that is only repeated in the next seat I am going to mention. Mackillop covers all of the South East of the state save the corner of the state that falls into the electorate of Mount Gambier. SA Best are standing in this seat and Mitch Williams the current Liberal member is retiring but the seat won’t go from a 26.7% Liberal margin to a SA Best seat and so I think Nick McBride will comfortably win this seat.

Labor 18 Lib 22 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Flinders: Flinders is a VERY safe Liberal seat covering the Eyre Peninsula out from Port Lincoln to the Western Australia border. The seat at the last election had polling booths with a 93% 2PP for the Liberals versus Labor and with only 4 candidates standing with no SA Best amongst those 4 seats this will be a very comfortable hold for Peter Treloar who has been in Parliament since 2010.

Labor 18 Lib 23 SA Best 3 Independent 1

Notional Safe Liberal Seats that will return Independents

Frome: Frome is a notional Liberal seat if you looked at a Labor vs Liberal 2PP contest however the seat has long been held by an Independent Geoff Brock who took the seat off the Liberals in 2009. Before then the seat was held by one time Liberal Premier Rob Kerin who had a short stint as Premier before losing the 2002 state election to Mike Rann and then he quit Parliament after losing the leadership following the Rann Slide in 2006. The seat has a very distinct split to it which you can see in (22) where the mining town Port Pirie is very mining dependent and therefore heavily favours the Independent and Labor candidates versus the Claire Valley which is strong as nails Liberal Inclined. Geoff Brock comfortably held his seat at the last election but it is interesting to see how much skin he lost for backing Jay Weatherill in the last election in return for yummy Hawaiian Pizza and a ministerial role. Indeed the polling in the campaign has Geoff Brock leading the race 52-48 with Labor preferences helping him overcome a fairly hefty first preference lead by the Liberals. With all that in mind I think Geoff Brock will hold his seat.

Labor 18 Lib 23 SA Best 3 Independent 2

Mount Gambier: Mount Gambier is an interesting seat in that if it was a 2PP race it would be a comfortable Liberal seat vs the Labor Party but has a tendency to vote in Independent member. Indeed at the last election Troy Bell won the seat as a Liberal with a 24 percent margin over Labor however before then the seat was held by two independents who were screwed over by Liberal nominations (23) firstly by Rory McEwen from 1997 to 2010 who first backed a Liberal Government and then joined Rann’s cabinet from 2002 to 2009. The seat was then won in 2010 by Don Pegler who subsequently lost the seat in 2014. Troy Bell looked like he would get a chance to re contest this seat in 2018 however he is now facing several criminal charges that caused him to resign from the Liberal Party to become an Independent. Somehow despite these criminal charges a poll in the campaign saw him comfortably re winning the seat over the Liberals although I think Incumbency has served him well as was reported in a piece on him in (24).

Labor 18 Lib 23 SA Best 3 Independent 3

Final Prediction

So my final Prediction is 18 seats for Labor Liberals to fall one short of majority on 23, 3 SA Best candidates and 3 Independents. That Liberal number could dramatically change depending on how SA Best do in some of the Safe Liberal seats I mentioned but at this point my inclination is that Liberals will win office on the backing of Independent Troy Bell who in the above interview I referenced said he’d never see himself backing a Labor Government. The Liberals would then need a speaker and Geoff Brock or Nick Xenophon could then be used to prop up a majority in order to ensure all votes weren’t deadlocked 23-23.

Upper House Prediction

The Upper House in South Australia has 22 members with 11 members on rotation 8 year terms meaning each election 11 senators are up for re election. At this election 4 Labor, 4 Liberal and an Australian Conservative/ former Family First Party, Greens member and Dignity Party are standing for re-election. Now the Liberal Party have a strong ticket (25) with all of their 4 current upper house members recontesting this election so I’d back them to win re-election, Labor only have one current member re-running but I’d expect them to only drop back one member to 3, I’d predict SA Best will pick up 3 seats and they are running a pretty strong Upper House ticket (26). That then leaves a 3 way battle for the final upper house spot between the Greens, Conservatives and Dignity party. I’d love to see Kelly Vincent get back in as she has done a lot of work for the Disabled community but the Greens are running candidates in all 47 seats and what that allows is for candidates to hand out how to vote cards for the Upper House seats in all of these electorates, something that can’t be done by the other parties and as a result I would think that favours Tammy Franks from the Greens. So to summarise that’s 4 Libs, 3 ALP, 3 SA Best and 1 Greens for the Upper House.





























Tasmanian Election wrap-up and SA Election Polls

I have been hesitant to write anything on the Tasmania election up until this point as the results are still not final but with the SA Election coming up this weekend I thought it was worth writing something about Tasmania first. I will also add some thoughts on the last two weeks of polls to come out of South Australia and a preference deal between the SA Conservatives and Labor.

The Tasmania Election was held on the 3rd of March and as the polls predicted the Liberal Government were returned to power all be it in a slightly reduced majority. At this point there are two seats in doubt but the Liberal Party have 13 definite seats, Labor have 9 seats at this point and the Greens have 1 seat. The election was a bit of a return to a two party result as the Independents didn’t get close to a seat which is disappointing for Jacquie in that she couldn’t even match Clive Palmers vote in the last election and the Greens nosedived to only one seat and around 10 percent of the vote disappointing for a party getting close to 22 percent in 2010. Labor are spinning like crazy that they nearly won the election and managed to theoretically push Liberal towards minority government with potentially a one seat majority if they stay on 13 out of 25 seats but that ignores a few facts. Firstly while the Labor party increased their vote by 5 percent (1) most of that vote has come from the Greens which can be seen as voters who were sick of the Labor Party back in 2010 returning back to their Labor base. Also the Liberal Party managed to get 50 percent of the vote on their own, nearly 18 percent better than the Labor Party so the notion the election was close is dodgy. I think the fact that the Liberal Party lost 1 maybe two seats is because they had such a good result last time getting 4 seats in one electorate that was always going to be hard to replicate and with no Federal Liberal representation after the 2016 Federal Election the Labor Party should do better with more Federal Representation to implement national pressure for better outcomes. That being said I don’t think any Federal Implications can be made from this result because the Liberal Party are still in severe problems federally and with a Sophomore effect for some of their Tasmanian members it’s hard to see the Liberals winning any seats back in Tasmania in the next federal election.

Party Primary votes  % Swing Seats Change
Liberal 168,072 50.3 −1.0 13 −2
Labor 109,120 32.6 +5.3 9 +2
Greens 34,403 10.3 −3.5 1 −2
Lambie 10,565 3.2 +3.2 0 0
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers 7,628 2.3 +2.3 0 0
T4T – Tasmanians 4 Tasmania 984 0.3 +0.3 0 0
Independent 3,604 1.1 −0.2 0 0
Total 334,376 23

Onto the seat by seat results the results are clear in the Electorates of Braddon where it is 3 Liberals and 2 Labor a loss of one seat for the Liberal Party, Denison which has in the past been the Greens heartland and impressively the Liberals kept their second member with two Labor and 1 Green member and Lyons where the Liberals have kept the status quo of 3 Liberal and 2 Labor. That leaves the seats of Bass and Franklin as unknown seats where in Bass it is currently 3 Liberal and 1 Labor with the Greens and Labor in the fight for the last seat and maybe the Liberals in the hunt for 4 although that appears unlikely. Then in Franklin which is the home of Liberal Premier Will Hodgman it is currently 2-2 for Liberal and Labor and then the question is can Will Hodgman elect a third member off his 2 plus quotas he polled or will the Greens take the seat. See (2) for a good summary of the current state of votes but the leaning for me is that the vote will end up at 14-9-2. Below are the current vote statuses for each electorate:

Braddon (3)

Party Vote Swing Quota Members Elected
Liberal Party
3.36 3
Australian Labor Party
1.64 2
Jacqui Lambie Network
0.36 0
0.25 0
Tasmanian Greens
0.21 0
Shooters, Fishers, Farmers
0.15 0
Tasmanians 4 Tasmania
0.03 0
0.00 0


Bass (4)

Liberal Party
3.53 3
Australian Labor Party
1.58 1
Tasmanian Greens
0.56 0
Jacqui Lambie Network
0.28 0
0.06 0
0.00 0

Denison (5)

Australian Labor Party
2.51 2
Liberal Party
2.26 2
Tasmanian Greens
1.05 1
Shooters, Fishers, Farmers
0.11 0
Tasmanians 4 Tasmania
0.07 0
0.00 0

Franklin (6)

Liberal Party
2.90 2
Australian Labor Party
2.06 2
Tasmanian Greens
0.86 0
Shooters, Fishers, Farmers
0.17 0


Lyons (7)

Liberal Party
3.03 3
Australian Labor Party
1.98 2
Tasmanian Greens
0.39 0
Jacqui Lambie Network
0.33 0
Shooters, Fishers, Farmers
0.24 0
0.03 0

Switching up to the South Australian Election race and both today and last Monday there were more polls in local seats. The polls from last week focussed on the main independent seats at play this election. This was good to see as if Nick Xenophon does not do well on Saturday night both major parties could deal with Independent Parties instead to get them to the magical 24 seat projection. The seats polled were Florey in the North East of Adelaide where Francis Bedford was screwed over by Labor in preselection so she is now standing as an Independent/ proxy SA Best member, Frome where Geoff Brock holds the Port Pirie seat that would normally be Liberal inclined but Geoff Brock has favoured the Labor Party in dealings and Morphett which is a naturally Liberal seat in the South of Adelaide but some more pre selection shenanigans now has Duncan McFetridge standing as an independent. (8) has more specific numbers but in Florey Francis Bedford is leading 57-43 over Labor with a first preference vote of 36 to Labor’s 31, while the Liberals are on 21 percent vote and assumedly would preference Francis over Labor, the greens are on five percent which shows that SA is not a strong hunting ground for them. In Frome Geoff Brock is leading the Liberals 52-48 2PP but the Liberals are in a good position with a 44 percent first preference position that Geoff Brock would be nervous with 36 percent of the first preference vote, Labor are polling 15 percent and so you’d assume about 10 percent of that would favour Brock. In Morphett Duncan is in some trouble in 4th spot with the Liberal candidate leading Labor 55-45 on preferences, however order of elimination will be key here as the first preference votes are Liberals 38, Labor 22, SA Best 17 and Duncan on 16, however depending on how preferences go if SA Best or Duncan could pass Labor for 2nd after the order is eliminated then Labor Preferences might make the contest tighter than 55-45. The other Independent is Troy Bell in the seat of Mount Gambier, he is also a former Liberal member but resigned when it was revealed he was facing many criminal charges. For some reasons locals seem to be galvanising behind him and he appears favoured to hold his seat as an Independent. So on my read of the situation a win in Morphett and Mount Gambier for the Independents would probably then favour Liberal in hung parliament, Francis Bedford would seem inclined to back Labor and Geoff Brock is line ball and I think he’d favour the party with more seats on the night.

Today in the last release of polls before the election four more seats were surveyed. The article was paywalled so I had to note down the poll results on the Facebook live video this afternoon. The seats covered were the Liberal leaders seat of Dunstan where Steve Marshall sits, Hartley where Nick Xenophon is hoping to shake up the political system by winning the Liberal held seat, Mawson which is held by the Labor tourism minister Leon Bignell but has been majorly redistributed to be a notional Liberal seat of Mawson by 3.2% and the safe Labor seat of Taylor which is north of Elizabeth and is held by 8.8%. In Dunstan Steven Marshall appears to have seen off the Labor threat to take the seat with a 53.6-46.4 2PP lead over Labor with primaries of Libs 44, ALP 30, SA Best 15 and Greens 6 which you’d expect the Liberals to get enough preferences from SA Best to hold that seat. Hartley is a lineball result with Vincent Tarzia just favoured to hold on 51-49 2PP with Libs 38 SA Best 30 (they’d probably want to be closer to 35) ALP 22 and Greens 5 so this is close but with unfavourable preference deals for Nick Xenophon I’d expect enough Labor and Greens preferences to leak to the Liberal Party to hold that seat. In Mawson the Labor Party have managed to turn the notional Liberal seat into a dead heat on preferences with Liberals on 37, Labor on 30, SA Best on 20 and Greens on 7. Interestingly an earlier poll of this seat had SA Best on 38% so the SA Best party have definitely struggled to keep up their momentum during this campaign. I do think Nick as Premier candidate has struggled to show why he should lead the state and he has done best when he’s been able to act more as a negotiator and when he could hold a party to fault over an issue they slipped over on. SA Best preferences at the Federal election broke 60-40 to Labor and so if that happens that will help Labor in this seat. In this campaign the starting assumption was that Liberal would find a lot of their hills and eastern suburb seats at risk of being taken by SA Best candidates replicating the results of Rebekah Sharkie in the 2016 Mayo Federal Election. This appears to be possibly falling short but I’ve wondered and now experts are starting to wonder if the real battleground is in Labor seats where unemployment has risen and while voters would never vote Liberal they may be tempted to vote for an SA Best candidate. It is in that spirit that Galaxy Advertiser decided to poll Taylor a safe Labor seat just north of Elizabeth, the 2PP vote suggest I may be onto something as Labor are only leading SA Best 51-49 off Primaries of Labor 39, SA Best 29, Liberal 22 and Greens 6, now if SA Best get 60 percent of Liberal vote and 40 percent of Greens vote that puts them at a range where they could threaten this seat. Interestingly in Taylor is a 16% undecided vote and depending on how that breaks this seat is certainly still line-ball.

The big surprise to come in the last week is the SA Conservatives promising to preference Labor over Liberals in three seats in the Lower House in return for Labor preferencing the Conservative third on the Upper House how to vote card. This would seem weird on the face of it but the Conservatives have form in this area having preference harvested before in the Federal Senate under the Family First party which saw them suggest voters preference the Sex Party close to the top of their ticket in return for Sex Party voters doing the same with Family First. Some commentators have suggested that this move would help the Conservatives in their bid for the likely last Upper House spot in the Senate with most pundits saying Liberals will win 4, Labor 3 and SA Best 3 leaving the last spot between the Conservatives Rob Brokenshire and Greens leader Tammy Franks. I would have thought in most cases the fact that Labor are still suggesting voters put the Greens 2nd to the Conservatives would mean Labor votes would exhaust to the Greens before going to the Conservatives. This article that I am referencing in this paragraph is paywalled but can be found with this headline (9)










(9): Election 2018: Labor in unusual preference deal with Australian Conservatives to save three MPs


New Nationals leadership and polls polls more damn polls

Early this morning the Nationals voted for a new leader to replace Barnaby Joyce. As of late last night the assumption was that Michael McCormack the Nationals member for Riverina would win unopposed but there was a late entry from George Christiensen to also contest the leadership. Given however that George had made an unhelpful contribution to the political climate on the weekend suggesting the Nats end their coalition agreement and only support the Liberals on Confidence and Supply I don’t think his chances were ever high of winning much support. So while we didn’t get a vote breakdown Michael McCormack was announced the new Nationals leader and henceforth the new Deputy Prime Minister. I expect there to be a slight reshuffle soon to assign veteran affairs to another Nats member but for now Michael McCormack keeps that portfolio while also taking on Barnaby Joyce’s old role of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

(1) has a good amount of background on the new Deputy Prime Minister and some potential lines of attack for his political opponents which we saw today in Question Time when Adam Bandt attacked his previous views on climate change as being too skeptical. Michael McCormack entered politics in 2010 in the safe seat of Riverina, the contest was unusual in that it was three cornered seat as the Liberals and Labor both contested the seat (The Coalition Agreement allows Liberal vs National votes in an election where there is no incumbent). His former career as a Journalist caused some headlines when he posted an anti Gay message linking Gay people with Aids which he has since apologised for and he voted to change the marriage act late last year which too me means this attack should stay in the world it was written in 25 years ago. Among his many shadow assistant and assistant minister and ministry roles since entering Parliament one of his roles was minister for Small Business around the now infamous 2016 Census where he had to explain how the ABS had failed to transition from a Paper First to Online First approach to the Census. These critiques are valid however McCormack had only just taken over from Alex Hawke so it’s hard to criticise him too much for the Census debacle. Certainly there are criticisms to be made for the amount is expected from the ABS staff with ever dwindling budgets but that is to be left to another day. This leadership role will be the pinnacle of his career after 2 previous failed Deputy Leader tilts.

Apart from the Nationals federally there have been a number of polls released the last week in Tasmania and also South Australia albeit the SA polls are Advertiser seat polls as part of their Mad Monday poll pushes. Focussing on Tasmania first and I thought it was rather weird that going into the one week to go mark there was no polls out yet to determine what the election outcome might be. Internally the Liberals had pointed to polling which showed that the Liberals were confident of holding onto majority government, I think something that was unexpected because previous polling had a Labor slim majority or hung Parliament with a Greens balance of power as the most expected result. What made these internal polls slightly more believable though was Labor didn’t rush out with their own polling to suggest they believed that they were in front, rather they pushed polling that suggested that Rebecca White was preferred premier over Will Hodgman. That internal polling gave way to actual polling from ReachTel that backed up the internal polling with the following results (2):


Total Bass Braddon Denison Franklin Lyons
Liberal 48.0% 55.1% 58.7% 33.8% 42.6% 49.6%
Labor 32.2% 25.6% 24.7% 44.0% 36.0% 30.5%
Greens 12.5% 10.7% 5.8% 19.2% 15.3% 11.4%
JLN 5.4% 6.9% 7.7% 1.5% 4.7% 5.7%
Others 2.1% 1.7% 3.1% 1.5% 1.4% 2.8%
Sample 3179 641 636 624 633 645

The following website (3) has a good summary of what these results look like from a seat breakdown remembering that in Tasmania they use Hare Clark so each region gets 5 candidates.

So the likely region allocation is 3-1-1 for Libs ALP and Greens in Bass, 3-2 or 4-1 in Braddon, 2-2-1 in Denison which is the strongest area for the Greens and Labor in the state and is represented by Andrew Wilkie Federally, 2-2-1 in Franklin and 3-2 in Lyons, this means the likely outcome is somewhere between 13-10-2 and 14-9-2 for the Libs and some combination of those with an extra Greens involved. The main election issue now for the state is Pokies in that Labor are trying to remove all pokies from the state and the hotels association have started a strong anti Labor message that are being used as a proxy Liberal stance in support of the status quo on Pokies. For what it’s worth I think Pokies are known family destroyers and so anything that can be done to lessen their grip on vulnerable people is an honourable thing, it is politically risky though as the clubs are selling it as an attack on jobs and the Liberal Party can effectively keep their hands clean while letting an industry give the party line attack. The Poll would suggest that at this point the Labor Campaign hasn’t been effective not withstanding the fact that they have a Popular Opposition leader in Rebecca White

Starting last Monday and then continuing this week was the first of the Advertiser’s Mad Monday polls where they release two marginal electorates polling. Their first polls were in the Liberal held seat of Morialta and the Labor held seat of Lee. Now Morialta seems like a safe Liberal seat however it does fall in an area with a high SA Best vote in the 2016 Federal Election (4). The Liberal’s lead Morialta(5) 52-48. This is off a Liberal vote of 40%, Labor vote of 21 percent and SA Best vote of 25 percent. My first read of that vote is that SA Best would probably want to be closer to 30 percent to win that seat although by the same token the Liberal’s won’t feel great about only sitting at 40 percent. The other seat of Lee had a 2PP vote of 50-50 vote with the Liberals on 39% over Labor 34% and SA Best on 18 percent. I’ll be intrigued on that seat on how the SA Best preferences break because at the last federal election they favoured the Liberals 60-40 which would leave Stephen Mulligan the Labor Candidate in trouble. However if the SA Best voters here are disenfranchised Labor voters then they may still be more inclined to give their votes back to Labor on preferences. Today in their second round of polls the focus was on the Liberal seat of Heysen which as you see in the table below had the highest NXT vote at the last Federal Election and the Labor held seat of Giles which is in the far North (6). Heysen is strangely on 51-49 2pp Liberals over SA Best with Liberals at 39 percent, Labor 15 percent, Greens 16 percent and SA Best on 22 percent. I have a few issues with that poll, firstly I would thought in the order of parties being eliminated the SA Best Candidate would be eliminated by the combined Green and Labor vote and so it’d be Liberals vs Labor/ Greens at the final step at which point I’d expect Liberals to comfortably win. I also think it shows that SA Best might be struggling as this campaign goes on as they would of hoped for a higher first preference vote based on their federal performance. In Giles the result is 50-50 between Labor and SA Best with Labor on 37, Libs on 23, SA Best 31 and Greens and others on 9. On that seat the SA Best poll is stronger than their corresponding NXT vote at the last senate election and with a vote under 40 percent I would have thought the Labor Candidate is in some trouble as I’d imagine the Liberal Party would strongly preference the SA Best candidate particularly as he has strong business links.

Seat Party NXT vote
Heysen LIB 31.2%
Chaffey LIB 30.5%
Finniss LIB 30.4%
Kavel LIB 29.8%
Morialta LIB 26.9%
Giles ALP 26.5%
Mawson LIB (notional) 25.8%
Stuart LIB 25.8%
Mt Gambier LIB 25.4%
Narungga LIB 25.0%
Hammond LIB 24.3%
Davenport LIB 24.2%
Newland LIB (notional) 23.7%
Hartley LIB 23.7%
Waite LIB 23.5%

Not poll related per say but I actually think the seat of Giles has some interesting interpretations to be drawn for other races. I think Northern seats in Metropolitan Adelaide with a suppressed Liberal vote might open the door for SA Best to seriously challenge Labor safe seats on preferences. One such seat is Enfield and one bit of commentary that has frustrated me is the assumption that Labor will get all of the Greens preferences. In Enfield (7) the Greens are not happy with Attorney Generals John Rau’s performance and they are going to preference SA Best’s candidate over him meaning if people follow how to vote cards and the majority of people still do the Greens vote may produce a nasty shock to John Rau. Indeed there are 20 seats where the Greens are planning an open ticket between SA Best and Labor meaning that in twenty seats they will suggest voters either put Labor or SA Best 2nd, considering Labor tend to get 80 percent of Greens preferences over the Liberals in more traditional races so I really think that may play some role come election night. You might think from my analysis that it’s all doom and gloom for the ALP party but bookies have moved the Labor party out to more clear favourites to win a record fifth term and I think that’s because Labor are now a threat in some marginal Liberal seats closer to Adelaide. They are a real threat in Adelaide where a lot of Labor’s better policies have had effect such as the new RAH, Adelaide Oval, Tram announcements, Obahn extension and Food Trucks. They also are a credible threat in seats like Dunstan which would leave opposition leader Steven Marshall out of a job and Southern area Black.









What a week in Politics, South Africa Politics and Australian Politics

It has been another big week in politics both here in Australia and overseas particularly in South Africa. In this blog I will give my takes on now former South African president Jacob Zuma resigning as South African President and here locally the Murray Darling Basin disallowance motion and the Barnaby Joyce Political struggles.

On Wednesday this week embattled South African President Jacob Zuma resigned as president (1), this came amidst 18 fraud charges hanging over Zuma and with the ruling party looking to move against him with either a motion to remove him as leader or impeachment from Parliament. The fraud charges look worse for the former president when put into context of a poor economy with rising unemployment and real issues of water management with the ongoing Cape Town water crisis (2). Another story that shows the lack of empathy that Zuma had for the plight of his people is he spent six million dollars on the renovation of his house and his defence in part was his new swimming pool could be used to fight future fires. The interesting thing now will be will Zuma face any of the corruption charges labelled against him or was there a deal made as part of his resignation to drop those charges particularly as the ruling National ANC government has it’s own corruption problems.

The new president is Cyril Ramaphosa who as this article states (3) has links to Nelson Mandela and there is a spirit he can invoke to try and improve the living standards of the country. The key challenge for Ramaphosa as I alluded to earlier is the economy, as the article I have linked says South Africa have had their credit rating ranked as junk status, unemployment is at 27 percent and corruption is rife in all levels of government. South Africa also continue to be known for violent crime and have been labelled as the murder capital of the world. South Africa is meant to be the real jewel of the African continent so it is sad to see their struggles to get past the problems of apartheid and how to turn Nelson Mandela’s vision as president into a lived experience with better life outcomes. I also have seen their prowess as a sporting nation and they outperform in Athletics, Cricket and Rugby for example what their economic status might suggest so you hope they can have a leader who can bring some prosperity to the lives of their people other than looking to invoke the sporting heroics of a team.

Also on Wednesday but back here in Australia the Greens, Labour and crossbench members from South Australia combined to block a revision to the Murray Darling Basin that would see 70 gigalitres of water less saved from the north of the Basin (4). This would take the amount of water saved from 390 gigalitres to 320 gigalitres. This blocking of the plan angered farmers and Coalition members who said the move would open up more water for farmers and also would save irrigation jobs. Before I talk about why the Labor and Greens made this move I think it is worth reminding ourselves what the Murray Darling Basin Plan is. The link here (5) provides a good explanation of what the Murray Darling Basin Plan is but essentially it sets a limit to how much water can be taken annually from the Basin for Consumptive use, such as agriculture, irrigation, farming and other human use.The volume of water to be taken for consumptive use is set in such a way that there is not an environmental impact on the waterfronts such as our rivers, waterways and wetlands.

I think the key reasoning for SA being particularly anti moves to reduce the amount of water saved is because of the 4 Corners episode last year that put a blow torch on the theft of water from the Eastern States. This episode led to a quick move from SA Premier Jay Weatherill to call for a royal commission into water (6). There’s also a feeling from SA that as we are at the end of the river the rest of the states screw us over along the river and we get the leftovers at the end. The South also are just over a month from an election  and the need to get tougher on water to look good locally is also a factor. The Eastern states of Victoria and New South Wales have now threatened to leave the Murray Darling Basin plan as they think the water plan hurts their farming industry which places them in direct opposition to SA who believe that the Eastern States just want to make a better deal at the exclusion of SA(7).

The last issue I want to discuss in this blog post is Barnaby Joyce. Now this issue has been at large for a while now but I’ve been hesitant to discuss the issue as to me the affair is a personal matter and I don’t want to pass judgment on someone’s personal life. However as the issue has progressed there are now legitimate issues on a political front that may have broken the ministerial code of conduct and it has also influenced the relationship between the Nationals and Liberals which are issues that are worth writing about. So in Parliament this week Labor focussed their attack on two fronts. The first front focussed on the creation of jobs for Vikki Campion in Matt Canavan the Resource Minister and then when he was scuttled by Citizenship scandal a role was then created for her in the National’s whip office. I think the political attack on that front didn’t quite stick because there’s enough doubt as to whether Campion was Joyce’s partner at the time of the Canavan role coming up and then Drum wasn’t a minister so the ministerial code of conduct didn’t apply. There was another attack by Labor on that front that it’s unusual for roles to not have full application processes but having worked in government it’s not unusual for job roles to be advertised but the position is already filled by someone internally (8).

The second front of attack and I think Labor have better ground on this front is that Barnaby Joyce rented a house rent free from a business friend. Under the Ministerial code of conduct if Joyce approached the friend for a property then that is not allowed. Joyce claims that he was approached by his business friend Greg Maguire which is contradicted by a few journalism reports that said Barnaby Joyce approached Maguire. The further issue with Labor’s attack is that Joyce took up this offer while out of Parliament contesting his by election for the citizenship affair. I think the optics of Joyce still renting a house free now is the issue, when you see how housing affordability is an issue for people in the general public and rent is also an issue for a lot of people week to week.

Lastly is the strain of relationship between the Nationals and the Liberal Party, last night Malcolm Turnbull announced a ban for ministers having sexual relations with staff members (9). As well as announcing that ministerial change which I will later say why I’m not in favour of, Malcolm Turnbull also had a decent crack at Barnaby Joyce saying that Joyce had made a shocking error of judgment and that he had caused the woman in his life a world of woe. He also said that he hoped Barnaby Joyce used his leave which would mean he wouldn’t act as Prime Minister when Turnbull left the country (that role went to Senate Leader Mathias Cormann) to re-evaluate his future. That did not go down well with the Nationals as you could expect for a few reasons (10). Firstly the Nats as the junior coalition partner do not like being told how to run their party, they choose their leader not Malcolm Turnbull or any Liberals. Secondly Barnaby Joyce believes that there was nothing new in the comments from Turnbull last night and that it only hurt the involved parties more, indeed he said the comments were inept. These comments could without reconciliation cause a fracturing of the parties relationship to a point where the Coalition Agreement could become in jeopardy, now this is unlikely but such an occurrence would mean the Liberals would have to govern from vote to vote.

I said above I had reservations about the ban. I worry that if this ban occurs it will push a story hungry media to start making judgments based on gossip that may be unfounded and could lead to reputations being ruined for no reason. I think in these cases when an affair occurs in the workplace, it’s often the junior worker (often female) who is caused to lose their career while the senior worker still gets to stay in their workplace. Lastly I have heard too many stories of a corporate worker losing it all on a personal mistake and then committing suicide, I don’t think that’s a situation anyone wants to see.












US Government Shutdown aftermath and the Calling of the Tasmania Election

In my last blog post I wrote extensively about the US government shutdown and towards the end of my post predicted that the shutdown would last a while. It turned out that prediction was wrong as the shutdown only lasted the weekend with a deal brokered on the Monday (1). The deal allowed the US enough money to continue functioning until February the 8th in return for a debate in the Senate on immigration, in particular the fate of the Dreamers who arrived in America illegally but are currently placed on temporary work visas. I would comment immediately that while the Democrats did to avoid a full blown out shutdown by striking a deal having the funding only extended to February the 8th leaves me to think that we may be in the same situation in only a couple of weeks again arguing about whether the US should shutdown again. What won’t help these negotiations was Donald Trump ordering the White House to change their message system to a petty attack on the Democrats for shutting down government when the Republicans did the same thing in 2013 and Donald Trump at the time blamed Barack Obama for the shutdown. This article paints a good story of the balancing act that Democrats will be facing on this shutdown (2). My comment on the article is that while it would be tempting to lurch further to the left and try and out trump Trump at the next election there is a danger of further isolating the middle class worker who were the ones who voted more in favour of Trump over Hilary Clinton.

Moving back closer to home Will Hodgman has called the Tasmanian Election for March the 3rd which has long been pundits choice with the main alternative of March 17 meaning a third straight clash of elections with South Australia. The first read of the situation by ABC (3) and one I agree with is that the most likely result of the election is a hung parliament. This is because Labor are likely to gain seats from their starting base of 7 out of 25 seats and the Liberals will probably be the losing party of any such Labor gains with their starting base of 15 seats likely to shrink.

The latest poll and Tasmania have infrequent polling compared to some other states have Labor and the Liberals at 34 percent and then the Greens at 17 percent with Jacqui Lambie who is the unknown factor going into this election at 8 percent (4). It’s difficult to see in the Hare Clark system where 5 members are elected in each 5 regions that the Liberals are going to get 3 members off those base numbers. A mix of two Liberals two Labor and one Green or Jacqui Lambie member seems the most likely split and although both major parties have predictably ruled out any deals with minor parties it is hard to see the Greens feasibly working with the Liberal Party and I’m not sure if the Federal Governments experience of working with Jacqui Lambie has put her off side as a potential partner. A good explanation on what the potential party vote could look like in seat allocation is found here (5). A further explanation of the Hare Clark voting system can be found here (6).

I think on the election issues that will be fought in the campaign the ground has been set in Tasmania for a while. The Liberal Party will focus on the creation of jobs and a strong economy compared to an economy under Labor that was last in almost all of the key indicators. I think Labor will acknowledge that economic prosperity but will argue that that economic success has not been equally shared out to all Tasmanians. Along with that they will also focus on the usual Labor policy areas of Health, Worker rights and Education. I think it’s clear the Liberal Party have done a good job with the economy but people don’t seem to care about that as much at the moment, people want that prosperity to be shared around and for good public services to be prevalent which I think you see reflected in the Liberal wipeout federally in the 2016 election. This is also where you have to note that an unpopular Liberal Party Federally would have to have some drag on the state Liberal vote and a loss in Tasmania would see only New South Wales as the only state with Liberal representation with every other state and territory under Labor hands and I must not recent polling suggests the Liberal Party are in some bother there too.