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Sunday, September 19, 2004I have a feeling that there is an ALP landslide in the air. At the moment the media cannot be a true barometer of how the electorate are thinking and this is actually skewing debate in the favour of the opposition. The reason for this is the ongoing dispute regarding the ALPs private schools funding policy. Remember only 67 schools at the top end of town will have their funding reduced. The vast majority of the rest of private schools, and public schools will have an increase of funding. So in cold terms you would think that this would cost the ALP a relatively small amount of votes and perhaps gain a few. But if you read the newspapers, watch TV or listen to the radio, commentary is filled with hatred of this policy. Obviously the rich have decided to make as much of an issue of this as possible. However because this is "disguised" as a mass view the pollies are responding. Brendan Nelson is finding himself in the position of sticking up for rifle range training academies (thereby agreeing with mass media and talkback), and Latham is not. The Libs have long had a policy of dividing the population and picking the biggest slice. This time the ALP have caused the split by taking a principled stand and the Libs are being fooled into picking the smaller slice. So we have the perception that the public is against funding cuts for Hogwarts, but the reality may be somewhat different. The difference will be whether the smaller independent, and state schools rally the parents as much as the Latham 67 schools have. The electorate can from time to time deliver one heck of a surprise, and just maybe this could be it. Labour by 17 seats.
If you are under any doubt as to whether the current funding arrangements are fair, look at this article. Once you add the amount of tax deductable donations to the government funding figures, the result is that the tax payers are being obscenely shafted.
My head is saying coalition by 4.
But I do se so many similarities with 96 that it's starting to give me heart. The key to Howard's win in 96 wasn't so much winning the existing marginals, but the swing of the labor "heartland" away from keating, created many new marginal coalition seats. I'm still hopeful that there will be a widespread protest vote that will cut away lots of previously safe Liberal seats and will sweep away one or two high profile Libs in the process (like Turnbull, Abbott, Ruddock or Downer). Unfortunately, just as in 96, the polls won't give any warning of it until the first booths start coming in on Oct 9.