Dec 1, 2009

Abbott – The Numbers Point to Grief

This vote won’t resolve the Liberal Party conflict, it will only send it into a sequel. The vote for the spill had 82 people vote, which was passed 48/34. This caused a three way lea

Possum Comitatus — Editor of Pollytics

Possum Comitatus

Editor of Pollytics

This vote won’t resolve the Liberal Party conflict, it will only send it into a sequel. The vote for the spill had 82 people vote, which was passed 48/34. This caused a three way leadership race between Turnbull, Abbott and Hockey where 84 people voted – Turnbull getting 26 votes, Abbott getting 35 votes and Hockey getting 23 votes. Hockey was eliminated and in the head to head there was 83 formal votes, with Abbott winning 42/41.

Someone in that final contest voted informal – making @timwattsau on Twitter quip “maybe someone just wrote ‘kill me’ on the ballot”. Apparently they actually wrote “No” on the ballot paper. “No” – WTF?

Fran Bailey was granted special leave from the meeting as she’s in Hospital in Victoria with some ear infection and couldn’t fly– however, Bailey wanted to put in a proxy vote but wasn’t allowed (there not being a capability for that apparently in the Liberal Party), yet she would have almost certainly voted for Turnbull.

Next week, two new members enter Parliament – Kelly O’Dwyer from Higgins and Paul Fletcher from Bradfield, both almost certainly Turnbull supporters.

If the vote was held at the end of next week rather than today, the result would almost certainly have been 44/42 in favour of Turnbull – where even if the goose that wrote “No” on the ballot paper managed to borrow a few extra neurons and cast a formal vote, it wouldn’t have mattered because of the margin created by these 3 extra Turnbull votes.

Already, the moderates in the party are threatening complete dissent – the conflict in the Liberal party hasn’t been resolved, it has just started. This vote gave Abbott a win which he couldn’t have achieved a week later and every single one of the moderates know it.

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81 thoughts on “Abbott – The Numbers Point to Grief

  1. PeCo

    Reading through these comments has been painful. Some have been insightful, but most have been daft, uninformed and worse.

    The anti-Minchin sentiment is particularly naive. Do people honestly think other parties don’t have equivelant powerbrokers? Robert Ray, Graham Richardson, Mark Arbib, John Faulkner. Do these names mean anything? And whoever suggested SENATOR Minchin should come out of the shadows and stand for leadership is a drongo. Leaders don’t come from the Senate (Gorton being an exception, but the PM he replaced went missing and a by-election occurred on that occassion).

  2. David Richards

    Venise – I would put Rudd firmly to the right – nowhere near the centre. So the choice is far right vs less far right or The Greens.

  3. Jean

    I bet Joe Hockey now regrets writing that anguished “NO” on his ballot 🙂

  4. David

    I was delighted to hear of an unguarded Tony comment reported in a Western district newspaper “climate change science is bullshit” perhaps he should have said bullshit that Margaret Thatcher paid for to cripple the British Coal Unions. Remember Maggie Thatcher who went to war at the Falklands and killed thousands to win an election? Perhaps Tony knows more than we think and might have a glimmer of intelligence, but does he have courage and a conscience.

  5. Dermot McGuire

    Venise you are absolutely correct. What now for the rest of us?

  6. David Richards

    Now that the deal has collapsed, will Rudd revert to the original ETS as it was last week, if the Turnbullised version is voted down?

  7. Possum Comitatus

    Cud, there’s been a generic downward trend over the last 60 days – that’s what the line is really responding to, of which that 52 Newspoll and to a lesser extent (because of the small sample size) that 52 Morgan phone poll make a contribution to.

    We’ve only had one full polling cycle (at least one poll from everyone) after that low point, so the trend still as a disposition to head downwards – but will change on a dime if the next full polling cycle stays around the 56 mark or above.

  8. LP69

    There’s a brilliant opportunity for a Progressive Liberal Party to emerge now which could occupy the middle ground falsely claimed by Labour. Turnbull and Hockey could justifiably claim that they represent the true liberals and not the Abbott/Minchin throwbacks. The electorate is crying out for a new viable political entity for years. The 35 members of the Turnbull team, even with a few quiters could form the core of a new party. These MPs could be assured of the Labour preferences in their seats thereby having a better chance of being re-elected. The coalition is not going to win an election in the near future anyway so why tie yourselves to a bunch of losers?

  9. cud chewer

    Hrmm.. the algorithm seems to respond to it all the same. With the other points I would have expected the trend to level or even have a small local minimum.

  10. Possum Comitatus

    Cud, there was a Newspoll on 1st Nov 09 and a Morgan Phone poll on the 12th Nov that showed the same – although the phone poll was so small in it’s sample size (<600) I only recorded it in the trend, not in anything else.

  11. cud chewer

    Possum, did I miss another 52 poll? There’s two 52s in PollyTrend.

  12. Tri$tan

    Aristotle, that is exactly what everyone I know wants.

  13. Malcolm Street

    [email protected] – no, the fringe right has elected one of their own. No way Abbott, Minchin and co are conservatives in any classical sense – they’re right-wing radicals.

    PS to a couple of others: I’m was also at Sydney Uni at the time of the Mad Monk (and, for that matter, in the first couple of years at the time of Malcolm Turnbull). I actually had the pleasure of attending a couple of SRC meetings when he was head deputising for a friend who was on the body. His letters to Honi Soit were classics.

    I wasn’t impressed then, and I’m not now. I thought he was a reactionary, misogynist, boorish thug who thought he was some sort of conservative intellectual. This impression has yet to be superceded despite thirty years passing 🙂

  14. Possum Comitatus

    For those reading comments by RSS, a new ALP ad has been released… already:


  15. Kevin Bonham

    From the basement, me on TA in 2005:


    “We should not even be discussing whether Tony Abbott is fit to be a future leader of the Liberal Party. The political inconsistencies he displays over the painful total farce that is his former private life make him simply unfit to hold elected office at all.”

    I welcome our new Opposition Leader. 😉

  16. cud chewer

    Is anyone keeping score on the Senate?

  17. JP

    All this reminiscing about Abbott’s Sydney Uni days reminds me of my own, when Joe Hockey was the up-and-coming Lib posterboy. And no, he wasn’t much chop, either.

  18. Heathdon McGregor

    So the conservative part elected a conservative as their leader.

  19. Hemingway

    I’m also a Sydney Uni grad (during the Punic Wars!) and fully share your sentiment here.

    During the ’07 election a bloke on the Poll Bludgers blog related to us the story of how Abbott at lunch times would gather his stormtroopers outside Fisher Library and harass the campus with bullhorns shouting their right-wing propaganda.

  20. Hemingway


    The Liberal advisor (Graham Morris, former Howard Chief of Staff, I think) sitting next to Speers on Skynews during the party room balloting this morning, totally agreed with your conclusion even before the ballot result was announced. He said unequivocally that only Hockey has any chance to broker peace treaty in the party.

    I assume that after the ballot, he would’ve been backpeddling with hilarious alacrity.

  21. Venise Alstergren

    Why doesn’t anyone get it? We have the conservatives over on the right (Nick Minchin’s mob), The left (Bob Green AND CLIVE HAMILTON. YUK YUK), the all things to all people mob (Kevin Rudd & Co) And a voting public which has been let down by all parties.

    The left, who always choose the dreariest candidates. The right, which consists of dreary old monarchists, and the centrists (Kevin Rudd). All of which leaves a huge amount of v unhappy voters who are dying to vote the way the want, instead of by default. What’s the use?

  22. lachness monster

    So begins the March of the Mad Monk. The backlash from the constituency will be interesting to watch, the numbers clearly showed Hockey as being by far the most preferred yet the party room goes hard right. The senate will be fun.

  23. deconst

    Aristotle, another centrist party won’t do well because there already are two centrist parties vying for power. The Greens are only seen as radical because the political sphere at the federal level has been dulled so greatly by the major parties by rust and disaffection. The Greens now are a less radical choice than the newly extremist Liberal party.

  24. scorge

    Thanks for this poss,

    I thought i was going to tune in for a Survivor Triple feature tonight with two of them being final episodes.
    Survivor : Samoa at 7.30 on Nine,
    Survivor : Tocantins at 8.30 on Go &
    Survivor : Capital Hill (Outspin, Outspill, Outlast) on ABC 1 at 7.30.

    Now you’ve said were only part way through the series, i can pickup Survivor : Capital Hill later on……

    I wouldnt go too hard on the informal voter. If I was in the Hockey position , I might cast an informal to make sure there was a result.

  25. Rod Hagen

    peach1: ” a failed father (child out of wedlock and abandoned it)”

    On that occasion, from memory he was a “failed father” in more ways than one, peach. He thought the boy was his child, but it subsequently turned out that he wasn’t the father.

  26. bob1234

    [A measured Democrat party]

    Tried and failed unfortunately. Any new party would continue to be shrouded under the eventual unpopularity of the old party.

  27. Aristotle

    I see there’s been some discussion about a possible Liberal split and also that Andrew Bartlett is lurking on this blog, so here’s my view.

    There is an opportunity for an alternative party to emerge here.

    If Natasha Stott-Despoja and Andrew Bartlett and one or two other disaffected Federal and State Libs got together to resurrect the Democrats, and made a really serious push for the Senate, they’d have a real shot at a balance of power role in a DD election.

    The extra polling support for the Greens indicates an unhappiness with Lib and ALP, but I’m not convinced the Greens are the solution to this disquiet – if they’re seen as too radical. A measured Democrat party might just prick the Green bubble.

  28. peach1

    I thought I have seen it all over the years but there is always a surprise in the offing.

    Now we have an opposition leader who is a failed priest, a failed father (child out of wedlock and abandoned it), a CC denier and to sum it up a nutcase. Nice choice for an potential alternative national leader.

    Should one consider emigrating??

    Just let me add another poignant note.
    When I was studying at Sydney Uni T. Abbott was SRC president and a young liberal party hack. Suffice to say he was a dud as SRC head honcho.

    IMO he has been a dud ever since and will continue to be so.

    He gives all Sydney Uni alumni a bad name. I won’t be wearing the Uni tie until he is gone.

  29. Alphonse

    “Just exactly what the country didn’t need a Jesuit-trained leader of the Liberal (?) party.”

    I’m sure horrified Jesuits would disclaim all responsibility for his post-grad Opus Dei and Pellian trajectory (that’s if they didn’t fail him at the seminary)

  30. Bolly Knickers

    Venise….believe it or not…..it’s not something everyone knows. Otherwise..why would they keep bleeting interviewing these vacuous headcases?

  31. bob1234

    [The split of left-wing Liberals to form the Liberal Reform Movement, and related events.]

    That wasn’t a split.

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