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Batman by-election

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David Libra

Rose with a violent heart


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
Location: où surréal côtoie

PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:12 pm
Post subject: Batman by-electionReply with quote

With David Feeney resigning amid the ongoing Section 44 shenanigans, Batman is now up for grabs again. I’m not sure when the by-election will be held (likely late Feb or early March), but the conventional wisdom is that the Greens (who fell just 1% short in 2016) are a very strong chance of picking up their second ever federal seat. This, it’s worth noting, was once the safest Labor seat in the country. So what’s happening?

I found this blog post on the issue, which seems to suggest that it’s all about changing professions: the emergence of a growing “knowledge class” (to use the term adopted by Guy Rundle and others) and the collapse of manufacturing jobs. I think people might find this interesting:

http://kossamaras.blogspot.com.au/2017/11/northcote-industrial-revolutions-and.html?m=1

Quote:
Just as the last remnants of Melbourne’s manufacturing community were leaving suburbs like Brunswick a new generation of employees were beginning to populate the once single-terrace worker’s cottages.

Designers, artisans, information-based professionals and technologists slowly replaced textile and manufacturing workers. The transformation was indeed stimulated by the technological revolution but government infrastructure investment also played a significant role in providing the future tech economy with a conducive environment to ‘set up shop’.

[...]

If you were looking at the world through a 1990s lens, suburbs like Brunswick should have turned conservative. Replace that lens with one that is focused on the digital revolution and a whole new class reveals itself.

Highly educated, mobile professionals may arguably have the same earning capacity as the managers of the 20th century but that’s where the similarities stop. This new class has grown up in a world where information is readily available, where reliance on the mainstream media is no longer as important. News and information is not filtered by news barons but instead harvested by the Individual.

Freedom and how it applies to information and education has never been greater and it has had a significant impact on shaping this new generation’s politics.

The result? A suburb like Brunswick is now wealthier and more socially progressive. An obvious point but a phenomenon that up until recently was completely missed or ignored by the established parties.

As the Greens vote steadily increased, Labor looked for solutions to combat this rise by reaching for its 1990s campaign handbook. It treated this new class as if it were a detachment of their existing support base; progressives not happy at Labor’s social policy positions on refugees and the environment.

It was a mistake and one they kept on repeating for over a decade. Like the UK Liberal Party, Labor looked for solutions within itself, failing to grasp the reality that part of the electoral landscape had simply moved from under their feet.

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stui magpie 

dum nei, sakte ja


Joined: 03 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:09 am
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The Northcote state electorate is indeed tumeric latte central. i'd want to see some decent real demographic figure before I buy into the "highly educated technology professionals" bit, as there's a lot of artistic types in there now who are all as green as a 4 leaf clover.

Couple of interesting things though.

1. Apart from incorporating the Northcote seat, it also includes Bundoora, Thomastown and macleod which are very different demographics. It neighbours jagga jagga (where I am) which is a safe Labor seat despite the Liberal candidate winning the primary vote in each of the last 2 elections. labor only win with Green preferences. The stuff that appeals to those in the south of the electorate won't appeal to those in the north.

2. Shorten is in a bind. he's rolling out another union official as candidate, which won't appeal to the tumeric latte brigade, but he can't afford to pander to them in an attempt to hold the seat without compromising Labor party positions on issues.

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David Libra

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Joined: 27 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:58 am
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stui magpie wrote:
2. Shorten is in a bind. he's rolling out another union official as candidate, which won't appeal to the tumeric latte brigade, but he can't afford to pander to them in an attempt to hold the seat without compromising Labor party positions on issues.


^ They seem to be doing that with Adani, which may not play well for them up in working-class electorates in Queensland.

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Pies4shaw 



Joined: 08 Oct 2007


PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:12 pm
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stui magpie wrote:
The Northcote state electorate is indeed tumeric latte central. i'd want to see some decent real demographic figure before I buy into the "highly educated technology professionals" bit, as there's a lot of artistic types in there now who are all as green as a 4 leaf clover.

Couple of interesting things though.

1. Apart from incorporating the Northcote seat, it also includes Bundoora, Thomastown and macleod which are very different demographics. It neighbours jagga jagga (where I am) which is a safe Labor seat despite the Liberal candidate winning the primary vote in each of the last 2 elections. labor only win with Green preferences. The stuff that appeals to those in the south of the electorate won't appeal to those in the north.

2. Shorten is in a bind. he's rolling out another union official as candidate, which won't appeal to the tumeric latte brigade, but he can't afford to pander to them in an attempt to hold the seat without compromising Labor party positions on issues.

It's certainly diverse. I grew up in Batman and even in those days there was a strong divide between the Northcote/Fairfield/Alphington/Clifton Hill portion and the Preston/Reservoir part. I suspect that the changing demographics in the southern area (driven largely by house prices - plenty of people who wanted to live in Melbourne with those of us who own and run the country Wink have been buying for the last 15 years in Wills and Batman) mean that some people who aspire to being able to read and write and count have possibly moved out to Batman.

It is, of course, a simple rule of contemporary western politics that the higher the number of people who can read and write and count a bit in an electorate, the higher the Greens vote. Laughing
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stui magpie 

dum nei, sakte ja


Joined: 03 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:51 pm
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Pies4shaw wrote:
stui magpie wrote:
The Northcote state electorate is indeed tumeric latte central. i'd want to see some decent real demographic figure before I buy into the "highly educated technology professionals" bit, as there's a lot of artistic types in there now who are all as green as a 4 leaf clover.

Couple of interesting things though.

1. Apart from incorporating the Northcote seat, it also includes Bundoora, Thomastown and macleod which are very different demographics. It neighbours jagga jagga (where I am) which is a safe Labor seat despite the Liberal candidate winning the primary vote in each of the last 2 elections. labor only win with Green preferences. The stuff that appeals to those in the south of the electorate won't appeal to those in the north.

2. Shorten is in a bind. he's rolling out another union official as candidate, which won't appeal to the tumeric latte brigade, but he can't afford to pander to them in an attempt to hold the seat without compromising Labor party positions on issues.

It's certainly diverse. I grew up in Batman and even in those days there was a strong divide between the Northcote/Fairfield/Alphington/Clifton Hill portion and the Preston/Reservoir part. I suspect that the changing demographics in the southern area (driven largely by house prices - plenty of people who wanted to live in Melbourne with those of us who own and run the country Wink have been buying for the last 15 years in Wills and Batman) mean that some people who aspire to being able to read and write and count have possibly moved out to Batman.

It is, of course, a simple rule of contemporary western politics that the higher the number of people who can read and write and count a bit in an electorate, the higher the Greens vote. :lol:


Seemingly at the expense of the Labor vote. Razz Wink

It is a changing area though.

Preston, Reservoir and even Heidelberg west are becoming trendified. Thommo still has a way to go. I'd love to see an inner city green candidate do a booth at the thommo Sunday market, they wouldn't know WTF had hit them. Laughing Laughing

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Last edited by stui magpie on Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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stui magpie 

dum nei, sakte ja


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:00 pm
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David wrote:
stui magpie wrote:
2. Shorten is in a bind. he's rolling out another union official as candidate, which won't appeal to the tumeric latte brigade, but he can't afford to pander to them in an attempt to hold the seat without compromising Labor party positions on issues.


^ They seem to be doing that with Adani, which may not play well for them up in working-class electorates in Queensland.


Yeah, walking a fine line there, could end up with his nuts on the high wire

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David Libra

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Joined: 27 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:01 pm
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Some murmurs that this could be a big blow for Shorten’s leadership if Labor loses this. Sounds a bit over-the-top given that a loss in Batman doesn’t really improve the government’s position and the Greens tend to vote with Labor anyway, but I think they’re terrified of the long-term consequences – of inner-city Labor seats falling to Greens candidates permanently, not just in Melbourne (where Melbourne Ports and Wills are the next cabs off the rank) but in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth too (thus entrenching the Greens’ position in federal politics and adding to their credibility). So perhaps it’s a bit of an existential crisis for Labor.
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stui magpie 

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:17 pm
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Unions and Greens aren't compatible. They have some shared things, and points where they diverge, seriously.

The fact the Libs decided not to even bother putting a candidate says something.

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David Libra

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:33 pm
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Yep, not a friendly electorate for the Libs at all. They might still run, though – it’s not a totally foregone conclusion that they won’t (I hope they won’t, though, as it apparently helps the Greens’ position if they choose not to).

It’s not strictly true to say that the Greens aren’t ideologically on the same page with unions – some unions, like the NTEU, are more or less Greens-aligned nowadays, and most Greens voters would be broadly supportive of unions; certainly, most of the MEAA members at my workplace are staunch Greens voters. But it is true that the social conservatism of some of the more traditional unions on the one hand, and the more technocratic/small-l liberal Greens voting demographics on the other, do mean that they’re far from always on the same page. Labor’s problem, then, is likely less about the prospect of unions defecting to the Greens (they’ll always have the AWU, CFMEU etc. on-side) than dwindling union memberships full stop.

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Pies4shaw 



Joined: 08 Oct 2007


PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:40 pm
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The ALP’s problem is that it doesn’t stand for anything, anymore. You could win Batman against the Greens with a proper left candidate but too many people on the left are deeply suspicious of the present-day neo-liberal version of ALP-lite. It’s been gradually happening since Keating was treasurer.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:36 pm
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I'm voting for Robin... he never let Batman down!
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Culprit Cancer



Joined: 06 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:54 am
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Unlike the State Seat of Northcote, the Federal seat of Batman has more people from very diverse backgrounds. Many who can't afford smashed avocado with their latte and many who would rather spend their money on champagne and Duck. I think the ALP won by 1% and now Turnbull has come out and stated the LNP won't run a candidate. Given those two factors the Greens should shit it in. Going to be an interesting the result that's for sure. You have two candidates that can't deliver shit as they are not in power. Yes one could hold the balance and one could be in power. I think the result will come down to how smart the Batman voter is or isn't.
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David Libra

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:51 am
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This voting trend graph seems to suggest that the Greens will romp it in. But the ALP’s secret weapon this time is that David Feeney isn’t running – he had a truly disastrous campaign last time, and (as a much-loathed right-wing factional powerbroker in a left-leaning electorate) was undoubtedly partially personally responsible for the drop in the Labor primary vote in both 2013 and 2016. It will be interesting to see the extent to which his absence can stop the trend, or even reverse it – which is more or less what the ALP need to do if they’re any chance of winning this seat.

Much has been made of the sharp divide between the north and south of the electorate, as marked on the map by Bell Street. The Greens dominate the southern side, made up of Brunswick, Coburg, Northcote and Thornbury, whereas the northern part (Fawkner, Reservoir, Coburg North, Preston) is much more working-class and falls heavily for the ALP. Kind of fascinating, given that this is the area I used to live in – anecdotally speaking, the demographic shift has been quite visible even just in the past five years, as 20- and 30-something renters move further and further north.

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Culprit Cancer



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:25 am
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Ged Kearney V Alex Bhathal. Bethal is already being attacked by the LNP and Kearney is perceived as Left Wing due to her history with the ACTU and the Nurses Union amongst other things. It's a better left wing look than Feeney's. The about face by Shorten on Adani is a winner, it worked in Queensland and will work in Batman. We will see both the major parties along with Murdoch and Fairfax attacking Bethal for previous "anti-Semitic" links.
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David Libra

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:03 am
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^ Wonder whether that’ll backfire, if so, in an electorate with a large Middle-Eastern and North African population (many of whom ordinarily would be staunch Labor as opposed to Greens voters). Reheating old criticisms of Israeli occupation may play well for her. Of course, the LNP are likely happy to play both sides on this – they probably want the Greens to win to embarrass Shorten and weaken his position, but on the other hand would be happy to destabilise the Greens’ long-term credibility.

Of course it’s all just muckraking as the Greens have always taken an equivocal stance on Israel (with the exception of hardliners in the NSW branch, some of whom are affiliated with the BDS movement). But this will be a dirty campaign, have no doubt about it.

Kearney’s candidacy seems confusing to me. In some ways, she’s a natural choice as a big gun, future party leader and so on, and Labor really want to win this seat and feel like they need someone with a profile to do so. On the other hand, I’m not sure another careerist is really a good choice for a seat that’s probably a little hostile to party machine types. Also, what if she actually scrapes over the line and wins? The Greens will get another crack in 12-18 months, and losing a first-term seat would be something of an ignominious start for someone with party leadership aspirations. More likely that she’s willing to lose this and turn up in a safe seat in 2019.

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