Ok, I’ve always said that elections are a bit like grand finals. While the result may look like a foregone conclusion, it’s always worth remembering that both sides are starting on zero and it’s all about what happens on the day. Of course, as someone is bound to point out, in elections there is early voting, so one side is already in front even if we don’t know which side that is.
Whatever, given the number of people who make up their minds on the day, I’m always intrigued that people conclude that they can predict the result based on polling. Yes, on the balance of probability, they’ll be right but it’s a bit like backing odds-on favourites at the races: One may be right, but it’s best not to bet the house on it. Unless the house is negatively geared, and then one can take one’s losses off one’s tax.
Notwithstanding my reluctance to predict the future, I’ve learned over the years that predicting the past doesn’t impress anyone, and it’s better to make a big, bold prediction about the future because when you’re right you can remind everyone, but if you’re wrong nobody seems to care. After all, how many financial experts lost their jobs by failing to predict the GFC? How many football commentators still get asked their opinion, in spite of having about as much success as random chance? How many people stood down from their position as a result of incorrectly predicting the Brexit vote… All right, David Cameron, but that was just because he was having a sook because Boris won, not because he got it wrong.
With that in mind, I’m giving you the next six months of Australian politics, so be ready for some surprises:
1. July 2nd. Turnbull will scrape back in with just enough seats to avoid a hung Parliament. He’ll say that this is a victory for stability. Nobody will ask Turnbull how it can considered a victory for stability when the Deputy PM’s seat is still too close to call.
2. Peta Credlin, working on Sky News Election coverage, will agree and say that it’s thanks to Tony for not behaving like Kevin Rudd and that really this victory belongs to all of the Liberal Party and not just to Malcolm, so he’s really being very ungracious in not thanking every single Liberal MP personally, by name, in his victory speech.
3. Turnbull will be asked about the plebiscite on same sex marriage. He will be evasive and suggest that it’s something that he’s committed to, but there are many, many details that need to be worked out and he doesn’t want to rush into a plebiscite which may not be supported in the Senate.
4. Eric Abetz will suggest that it’s a shame that someone as talented as Tony Abbott is languishing on the back-bench, when less deserving people are in the Prime Ministry. When asked if he meant the Ministry, he will suggest that the reporter cut him off before he had a chance to finish what he was saying and that he’s being taken out of context.
5. Turnbull’s new government will be sworn in, before being sworn at. He will make mention of the fact that nearly every female Liberal MP has a ministry and brush off suggestions that this is because there are so few of them.
6. Andrew Bolt will write an opinion piece lamenting the election of such a left-wing PM, when Tony Abbott is wasted just serving his electorate. He will add that he doesn’t say this because Tony is a friend, he is saying this in a totally objective way because everything he writes is perfectly objective, and, objectively, Tony was the best PM we’ve ever had and he just wasn’t appreciated because he had the terrible job of trying to make us understand that Australia would be better off closing its borders to illegal immigrants without everyone becoming all racist when it came to people coming over here to work on 457 visas or under free trade agreements.
7. Parliament will be recalled. Someone will ask when the joint sitting will be. After a look of confusion on the faces of nearly all the Liberals, someone will explain that the double dissolution was called so that the ABCC legislation could be voted on in a joint sitting if it failed to pass the Senate again. At this point, everyone will realise that it hasn’t been reintroduced and voted down by the Senate, because everyone forgot all about it.
8. Abbott will announce that he has no intention to challenge Malcolm Turnbull.
9. Richard Di Natale will announce that he has an agreement with the Liberals not to mention the environment in return for them actually doing something unspecific about it.
10. The government will announce that it’s outsourcing several of Medicare’s functions to Australia Post.
11. Three weeks later they’ll announce their intention to sell Australia Post, and any suggestion that this is the same as privatising Medicare is as ridiculous as suggesting that the NBN is behind schedule!
12. Tony Abbott will announce a challenge – not because he wants to be PM – but because it’s the only way to stop the speculation.
13. Turnbull will point out that Abbott has never run a business and isn’t a millionaire, so clearly that’s why he lacks the qualifications to be a leader and, in one speech, alienate the few supporters he has left.
14. Tony Abbott will be re-elected PM and in his first speech, declare our support for England and suggest that not only should knighthoods be re-introduced but that we should offer to become part of the new United Kingdom.
15. The first boatload of English fleeing after the Brexit vote will be intercepted. They’ll be sent to a detention centre near Canberra.
Ok, I may not get it 100% correct…
But, I may get closer than Laurie Oakes!