Monthly Archives: February 2014

New Coalition attack ad in Victoria

There’s a new Victorian¬†Coalition attack ad doing the rounds online (well, it was new a few weeks ago when I first planned this post).

The production values are amazing. Very good for a State campaign nearly 10 months from the due date of the next election. I’m not sure how effective it would be, though. Can you get away with pinning the alleged mistakes of a previous government made four years or so ago on the current party leadership? I think the question most voters will be asking themselves would be, is my life better now, and should the current state government receive the credit/blame for this? And is the government pursuing policies I agree with, or that will make my life better.

I spoke with two other people with State-level political experience about this. They thought voters are still unhappy about myki (a digital public transport ticketing system that ran well over budget and time) and the water desalination plant (that still hasn’t been used to supply water – although in part due to a decision by the current Coalition government), and they remember it was Labor that was responsible for them. As a result, they think the Coalition are taking the tactic that you might not like us either, but you can’t afford to bring Labor back in.

However, I’m just not sure that many voters would be swayed by this argument. Labor partisans will generally vote Labor (almost) no matter what. The previous government, whether you liked it or not, was not a disaster. Perhaps a few swinging voters will be swayed. Maybe. But I’m not convinced.

The second person I spoke to agreed the production values were high quality, but they didn’t think the ad would be effective. They believed the bad press the Government has been receiving lately (January-February 2014) with its inability to control Parliament and get its agenda through the Legislative Assembly would result in voters believing the ad was a smokescreen and discount the messaging.

I think this is an insiders view, and probably doesn’t reflect what most voters are thinking (how many pay attention to what is going on in Parliament?). However, I do agree the messaging is unlikely to move many people to change their votes. It appears too remote from the lived experiences of most people.

Coming back to where I began, my opinion (and it is just an opinion) is the majority of voters who are likely to change the party they support will probably decide to do so based on whether they feel their life has become better or worse under the current government. This ad does little to address that. A more effective approach for the Coalition would be to outline what they have done to improve the lives of the people of Victoria, and what they would do in their next term in office (if they won) to continue to do so. Any alternative thoughts are welcome, though.

The (apparently) never ending ponzi scheme

An interesting article on news.com.au on whether Australian house prices are too high. I thought the last section needed a little work, so I’ve fixed it.* Here it is, for your reading pleasure:

An industry spokesperson with absolutely no vested interest in growing property values said Melbourne and Sydney house prices were not a bubble, the very same day his organisation released figures revealing Melbourne home values rose 11.9 percent in a year.

Only Sydney recorded greater growth, with a 13.4 percent increase for the same period, substantially faster than incomes grew.

A real estate agent representative who was entirely unbiased on the topic said predictions of a decline in property prices were heavily focused on particular markets, like the vast majority of the metropolitan areas Australians live in, and paid far too much attention to logic and reality, such as people’s ability to pay down their mortgages during a single lifetime.

However, he was concerned first home buyers were illogically staying away from a property market much more expensive to buy into than 20 years ago.

“First homebuyers are nearly half of what they have been and that’s a major concern for those who have a vested interest in the market,” he said.

“Our ponzi scheme requires new suckers… I mean buyers… to keep the scam going… property market growing.

“Without a continued supply of fresh mortgages, prices will eventually stop growing and start to decline.”

In a pre-budget submission to the Australian Government, his organisation has called for first homebuyers to be allowed to access part of their government mandated retirement savings to keep the bubble growing.

“Since property has become too expensive for people to realistically buy into, retirement savings should be redirected into the market to prop it up,” he said.

“What safer place is there to invest your retirement savings than a bubble that has been growing faster than income for more than a decade?

“It’s not like bubbles ever burst.”

* This is satire and should not be mistaken for real commentary. All individuals and comments made by individuals in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to the comments of real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.