Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Unusual World Of PUP's Mark Grewar

Please explain!

(Note: Some additional items have been added through this article since it was first released.)

Running a large slate of candidates in a state election from scratch is never easy.  When the Palmer United Party (PUP) decided to run a full slate at this year's state election, I wondered who they might find to fill all the spots, having fielded only seven candidates in the state at the federal election.   When I saw PUP's Tasmanian Senator-elect Jacqui Lambie stating that she had 22 "really good" candidates ready to roll but had held back another seven I started to wonder what might be to come.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Andrews' Phantom Welfare Spending Crisis

Advance Summary

1. An "unsustainable" level of welfare spending has been asserted by Human Services Minister, Kevin Andrews, in flagging a review of the system.

2. However, the number of people on welfare has not increased over the past decade when it is measured on a per capita basis rather than in raw-number terms.

3. Furthermore, when the age pension is excluded the proportion of people receiving welfare payments was consistently lower under Labor than in most of the second half of the Howard Coalition government.

4. Recent increases in the number of people receiving Newstart are explained largely by classification changes through the forcing of parents off parenting benefits, and increased unemployment.

5. While it would be more productive to investigate other areas of the welfare system, unemployment and disability benefits are a more politically convenient target.

6. Any investigation of whether "perverse incentives" are encouraging potential jobseekers to apply for disability support instead should consider whether the conditions under which Newstart allowance is made available, rather than just the disparity in payment amounts, might contribute to the problem (if it even exists.)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 Tasmanian State Election Guide And Candidate List

POST-ELECTION NOTE: The election has been run and won by the Liberal Party. Check the sidebar for links to post-count threads for specific electorates (updated nightly.)


The time has come to put up some general Tasmanian State Election content on this site. This page will serve as the "hub" page for my state election coverage and will contain general big-picture stuff, lists of candidates and links to all the specialised articles.  It will be updated very frequently.  Most likely each poll will have its own article and there will be separate articles for detailed projections.  Links to articles will appear in the space below.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Wrong In Both Directions: Richo On Labor's Chances

 Advance Summary

1. An article by Graham Richardson in The Australian argues that Labor has no real chance of winning the next election because the swing required to win on the Mackerras Pendulum is too large.

2. However, the comparisons Richardson makes disregard the relationship between a prior election result and the swing to (or against) Labor at the next election.

3. Indeed there is actually little if any historic relationship between the 2PP result at one federal election and the next.

4. Considering only the problem of gaining a swing of the size suggested by the pendulum, electoral history gives Labor a substantial (28%) chance of winning.

5. However this chance may be reduced if swings against first-term governments are usually smaller than a given base vote implies.

6. Furthermore, because Richardson relies on the Mackerras Pendulum, which is not adjusted for the personal votes of new sitting members, the target swing for Labor is probably higher than he thinks it is, and this reduces Labor's chances.

7. While it is therefore unlikely on paper that Labor will win the next election, it is unrealistic to assess it as a "virtually impossible" event on the basis of past electoral data.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013 Ehrlich Award For Wrong Predictions

Not much going on in the world of pseph with all the polls still asleep (though Morgan is showing some signs of waking up soon) so not much to report lately.  I am hoping to soon publish a review of Cory Bernardi's oxymoronically-titled "The Conservative Revolution" but this depends on me being able to obtain a copy without paying for it. (If any readers can help out with this, that would be great.  I promise to take appropriate medical precautions prior to opening its pages.)


This article unveils the second annual Ehrlich Award, which at or about the start of each year will be given to the "wrongest" published prediction I observe relating to (or made in) the previous calendar year. 

There are a few groundrules - for instance the predictions need to be meaningful (in terms of being able to assess objectively whether they have happened), and secondly predictions that carry a stated assessment of chance of falsehood are not included unless that assessed chance is ludicrously low.  After all, even odds-on favourites do get beaten sometimes.