10

March 2014

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I wrote a blog on Saturday night looking at the odds for the Tasmanian election.  You can find it here. 

There has been a significant development in Braddon.

Braddon

After having been taken down on Friday, put up on Saturday morning and taken down again on Saturday afternoon, this market finally reappeared on Monday afternoon.

Adam Brooks has now moved from $3.50 last Friday to $1.05 today. 

That is absolutely amazing.  I'm not sure I've ever seen a market move like that in three days.

The Market

Candidate

Friday 7 March

Saturday 8 March

Monday 10 March

Brooks

$3.50

$1.75

$1.05

Rockliff

$1.75

$3.50

$5.00

Historically Speaking

Candidate

2010 Primary Vote

Green

11,221

Rockliff

10,994

Best

7,087

Brooks

6,072

O’Halloran

5,718

Rumours always circulate about Adam Brooks' spending.  We know he's a successful businessman and we know he is happy to spend big. 

To win the electorate, Brooks needs to make up almost 5,000 primary votes on the Liberal Party's high-profile, popular Deputy Leader Jeremy Rockliff.

And Rockliff isn’t mucking around either.  He put together the mother of all election ads that could have been directed by James Cameron for this campaign and his signs blanket the North West Coast.

He also polled a massive 11,000 votes last time around.

That’s why I can’t comprehend this plunge on Brooks. 

While I think Brooks is still the most likely outcome, I don't think it's a $1.05 chance.  $1.05 is almost as short as Hodgman is in Franklin. 

As I explained previously, this is a two-horse race that no one but Rockliff and Brooks can win.  If they were greyhounds you would have to say Rockliff's been given the best box with his longevity and status as Deputy Leader.  But Brooks is training out of the best kennel, with the best trainer courtesy of his financial largess.

I think Rockliff is now worth a speculative bet.  I said previously that if he got out to $4.50+ I’d have a nibble. 

Better whip out the wallet…

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10

March 2014

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It is amazing that Tasmania's media allows the Liberal Party, in this State election campaign, to get away with fiscal fraud.  The media has accepted that the Liberal Party will find $500 million in savings and that they will be able to fund around $300 million in populist goodies. 

Why is the media accepting this fiscal lie?

And a fiscal lie it most definitely is because the expenditure outlined by the Liberals fails to take account of cost blow outs, running costs and the consequential and indirect cost to the economy and budget.

Take the $33 million of taxpayer funds to be spent on 're-establishing an international shipping link to Tasmania.  There is not a hope in hell that $33 million will see out this fantasy.  Subsidies for shipping companies or any other form of transport get bigger as time goes on because they become powerful rent seekers who threaten to walk away unless they get what they want from government.

Ditto the tourism industry which, like the car industry of yesterday, continually has its hand out for funds.  The Liberals $16 million to reach a goal of 1.5 visitors by 2020 will be double that within 3 years.  That is what the history of tourism spending in this State shows to be the case.

And let's not forget the new red tape layer, called the Department of State Growth and an Office of the Coordinator-General, based in Launceston.  This is an empire designed to grow like topsy because it will claim credit for every job created or business opened.  If only we had a bigger budget Minister, we could do so much more, will be its annual budget plea.  And which Liberal minister will say no?

The major fiscal lie is in the promise to put additional police and front line health workers on the payroll.  This will cost the state dearly.  It will be boosting numbers in the public sector for no purpose other than it is politically opportune to do so.  It will mean no efficiency gains, make work schemes and a bloated public sector.  In the meantime doctors' rorts in the public health system go unchecked.

The filling of the prison system with those who are convicted of offences that require mandatory jail terms has proven an expensive disaster in Victoria and it will here.  It costs around $120 a day to house a prisoner.  And then there is the social cost of a prisoner losing his or her job, families needing support and increased recidivism which also costs in dollar terms.

One would not mind if Mr Hodgman were going to sell government assets.  But the Liberals expect you to believe they can spend like drunken sailors, impose new layers of red tape, increase the public sector, blow the prison budget and hand out largess to businesses without raising taxes!  In fact, reducing taxes.

This is the stuff of Alice in Wonderland.  Yet the Liberal Party is getting away with it?  Why isn't the media critiquing Will Hodgman and his Magic Pudding club as it peddles fiscal fraud during this last week of the election campaign?

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10

March 2014

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Dr John Tooth is a celebrated medico who established the ground breaking ADARDS in Tasmania some years ago.  Tooth believed in treating people with dementia in such a way so as to enhance their declining sense of being an individual.  Unfortunately politicians killed off ADARDS despite it winning plaudits from across the globe.

This week Tooth released a plea to Labor, Liberal and the Greens urging all of them to deal with the looming dementia crisis facing this fast aging state.  According to the ABS at "June 2011, there were 82,100 people aged 65 years and over in Tasmania, making up 16.1% of the state's total population. This was an increase from 13.8% in 2001. Tasmania had the highest proportion of people aged 65 years and over among the states and territories, just ahead of South Australia (15.9%)."

Calling it the "elephant in the room" in this election campaign Tooth paints a daunting picture of the increasing impact of dementia on Australia.

"The figures quoted by Alzheimers Australia in July 2013 are alarming. There are presently more than 321,600 Australians living with dementia. Unless international research finds a prophylaxis for the onset of dementia within the next few years, this number is expected to rise to 900,000 by the year 2050, that is, an increase of 1,700 new cases per week. Modern societies such as Tasmania will not be able to cope with this number of people with dementia. Most of these will be able to be accommodated in Commonwealth-funded nursing homes but the 2% who have difficult behaviour which has traditionally been the responsibility of the State Government, have (as usual in Tasmania) been neglected," Tooth says.

That 2% Tooth says are the people who need the most care and support from our community." The Commonwealth government will not accommodate them and as far as I am aware neither political party in Tasmania has any plan for their management.,' Tooth argues.

According to Tooth; "It is important that we now start planning for the accommodation of people with dementia who have difficult behaviour."  He is working on a new ADARDS on land at St Johns Park in Hobart.  This accommodation will house around 40 older Australians for whom Dementia has meant an undignified slide into problematic behaviour.

Tooth's new facility - essential health infrastructure-will cost about 20 million to build. Whichever party wins government on March 15 will have to face to rising cost of dementia care.  John Tooth's ADARDS reborn would be a wise investment and a good place to start.

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9

March 2014

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I’m a rare breed.  Two of my favourite things are gambling and politics.  So when the two come together I get very bloody excited.

Sportsbet is taking bets on the outcome of the Tasmanian State election and electorate-by-electorate results.  Specifically, the odds for each electorate are for which candidate will get the highest number of primary votes.

The electorate-by-electorate betting on candidates is interesting because there is no (at least publicly available) polling about specific candidates.  I’m not sure Sportsbet will want to do it again because I think it made a number of errors when it set the initial odds.  Those have largely been rectified as astute #politas followers have taken the bookie on, extracting excellent value on candidates like Brooks, Ferguson, White and Bacon to top the poll.

But there’s still some value around, so let’s make some money.

 

Party of next Premier

The Market

Candidate

Friday 7 March

Saturday 8 March

Liberal

$1.05

$1.05

Labor

$7.50

$7.50

Green

$15

$21

PUP

$51

$51

Historically Speaking

We all thought Will Hodgman was going to be Premier this time four years ago.  But no one counted on David Bartlett reacquainting himself with his bike and racing Nick McKim up Mt Wellington.

But this time the stage looks set for a big Liberal win of over 13 seats, majority and no need for Governor to do too much work.

The Movers

When this market originally went up in early January the Liberals were at an incredibly juicy $1.15.  That quickly shortened to $1.08 and now to $1.05.  It was briefly listed at $1.04. 

The only move in the last 24 hours is the Greens out to $21.  But you may as well give your money to charity if you’re thinking about taking that up.

The Value Bet

If Hodgman has a bad final week and secures less than 13 seats, it will be an open race to form government.  I’d like to be holding a Labor ticket at $7.50 in those circumstances given Hodgman has said he won’t govern in minority.

I’d like to meet anyone who has placed a bet on Greens or PUP and tell them about my friend in Kenya who needs help to move $1,000,000 out of the country…

The Tip

I wouldn’t bet on this.   All the polling shows the Liberals winning 13 + seats which is reflected in the short odds.

 

Bass

The Market

Candidate

Friday 7 March

Saturday 8 March

Ferguson

$1.75

$1.45

Gutwein

 

$3.75

M O’Byrne

 

$9.00

Booth

 

$11.00

Wightman

 

$21.00

Historically Speaking

Candidate

2010 Primary Vote

Ferguson

15,911

O’Byrne

11,380

Gutwein

9,060

Booth

8,853

Wightman

3,191

The Movers

Friday’s odds aren’t all there (because they are off memory only) but I thought Ferguson was very good value at $1.75 at the time, but he’s come into $1.45 today which I think is about right.

In 2010 Ferguson was the former Federal Member for Bass who easily topped the poll with almost 16,000 primary votes.  There is no reason to think he won’t do it again.

The Value Bet

This candidate who tops the Bass poll will be from the Liberal Party.  The total Green vote will be below the top Liberal personal performance and Labor’s vote be well down overall and split between two strong candidates in Michelle O’Byrne and Wightman. 

That leaves Peter Gutwein as the only possible chance the beat Ferguson.  I think that’s very unlikely.  He was 7,000 votes behind Ferguson in 2010 and there’s nothing to suggest he could make up so much ground.

The Tip

Ferguson is a safe bet and at $1.45 you can still get a decent return on investment.  As shadow education spokesperson he’s had a strong four years and used the threat of school closures to further boost his profile. 

 

Braddon

10/3/2014 - note I have updated this Braddon analysis here

This betting has been taken down for the second time into two days.  The bookie seriously stuffed this up, offering the outrageously good odds of $3.50 for Adam Brooks.

When the market briefly reappeared on Saturday morning Brooks had been crushed into $1.75.  If he was a horse you’d be throwing accusations of a fix..

I’d love to know how much action this market has seen since it went up online (and then got taken down, and up and down).

The Market

Candidate

Friday 7 March

Saturday 8 March

Brooks

$3.50

$1.75

Rockliff

$1.75

$3.50

 

 

 

Historically Speaking

Candidate

2010 Primary Vote

Green

11,221

Rockliff

10,994

Best

7,087

Brooks

6,072

O’Halloran

5,718

The Movers

Brooksy is the hot favourite among #politas types.  One Labor doorknocker in Braddon claimed he was more popular than David Boon and David Foster combined up on the Coast.  That’s impressive.

There’s nothing wrong with Rockliff.  He’s been electoral gold for the Liberals in the past.  But there’s just something about Brooksy, and it’s not hanging off his ear.

He spends big and he loves a good event.  It was an incredible effort for him to finish fourth at the last election, first time up.  Especially as he outpolled the high-profile, then sitting State Liberal MP Brett Whitely. 

The Value Bet

Brooksy was value at $3.50 and probably still is at $1.75.  Rockliff isn’t without a chance, but I’d like to see him go out a bit further than $3.50 before I had a nibble.  If he gets to $4.50 he might be worth a sneaky speculative bet simply because he finished so far ahead of Brooks last time.  Brooks has to make up over 5,000 primary votes to catch Rockliff.  That's a massive task.

Don't go near any other candidate.  Green and Best will split a declining Labor vote and the Greens will lose this seat to the PUP.

The Tip

Brooksy (if Sportsbet ever reopens the market).

 

Denison

The Market

Candidate

Friday 7 March

Saturday 8 March

Matthew Groom

$1.50

$1.95

Scott Bacon

$4.00

$2.50

Cassy O’Connor

$5.00

$6.00

Julian Amos

 

$8.00

Elise Archer

 

$9.00

Historically Speaking

Candidate

2010 Primary Vote

O’Connor

10,336

Bartlett

10,169

Groom

9,602

Bacon

7,356

Singh

3,833

The Movers

Another candidate crushed here.  Bacon has gone from juicy $4.00 odds to the more realistic $2.50.  That’s led to Groom and O’Connor drifting a little.  They are the only three candidates capable of topping this poll.

The Value Bet

The value was Bacon, but with his drift into $2.50 O’Connor becomes the value at $6.  She will pull 80+% of the Green vote again and I consider Burnett last time to have been a stronger running-mate than Harvey this time.

O’Connor won this last time and if the Green vote really is as strong in Denison as polling suggests, she could top the poll again.

The Tip

Bacon.  Labor has struggled with its preselections and failed to attract a high-profile second candidate to Denison to support Bacon.  That might be bad news for the party’s prospects of winning two seats, but its good news for Bacon’s chances to top the poll as a very high percentage of Labor votes are set to go his way.

Groom is a very strong candidate, but so is Archer.  While the Liberal vote will increase, Archer is set to increase her vote and eat into the Groom vote.  Liberal candidates for Denison Mallet, De Williams and Kling are also running solid campaigns, taking more potential first preference votes from Groom.

 

Franklin

The Market

Candidate

Friday 7 March

Saturday 8 March

Hodgman

$1.03

$1.03

Giddings

$17

$19

McKim

$19

$17

O’Byrne

$26

$26

Petrusma

$34

$34

Historically Speaking

Candidate

2010 Primary Vote

Hodgman

20,032

McKIm

15,462

Giddings

9,642

O’Byrne

4,846

Petrusma

2,500

The Movers

Minor changes with Giddings moving out to $19 and McKim coming into $17.

The Value Bet

None really.  Although if you could convince Sportsbet to let you put $1m at $1.03 on Hodgman you could go on a nice little holiday with the winnings.

McKim at $17 might not be as silly as it sounds.  The Liberals have another strong ticket in Franklin.  Petrusma has spent a lot of money, Harriss will take Huon Valley first preferences off Hodgman and Street is a popular first term Kingorough Councillor who outpolled Bernadette Black 2-1 in that election.  He is also one of the only new candidates to have managed to get media attention, with the Mercury covering his call for Bellerive to host an Ashes test and his sock delivery stunt having a subtle dig at Harriss.

If Petrusma, Harriss and Street can take enough votes off Hodgman, McKim (who has no real competition for Green votes) could sail on through for the win. 

Giddings and O'Byrne are set to split the Labor vote making neither a chance to top the poll.

The Tip

Hodgman should win this easily.

 

Lyons

The Market

Candidate

Friday 7 March

Saturday 8 March

Hidding

 

$3

Barnett

 

$3.75

White

$6

$2.95

Shelton

 

$7

Morris

 

$9

Historically Speaking

Candidate

2010 Primary Vote

Morris

9,108

Polley

8,302

Hidding

7,608

Llewellyn

6,612

White

6,450

The Movers

Again, the punters didn’t agree with the bookie and have taken Sportsbet on.  White has moved from $6 on Friday 7 March, into $3.50 early on Saturday and was the favourite at $2.95 by Saturday night.

The Value Bet

Tim Morris won this last time and it’s been pretty much business as usual for him since then.  At $9 he is excellent value.  To top the poll he’ll need the Liberal team to again poll pretty evenly and for David Llewellyn and Bob Gordon to take most of the Polley vote (as opposed to those votes going to White).

I don't believe any of the Liberals can win this.  Considering how long Hidding has been around, he has never really polled very well.  In 2010, his personal vote actually went down from 8,500 to 7,600.  Shelton hasn't had a huge impact on the Parliament since he arrived.  The smokey could be former Senator Guy Barnett who's into $3.75.  But remember, the Liberals also have popular local Mayors Cadart and Evans stealing first preferences.

The Tip

I think White is the most likely, providing former Polley voters don’t decide to switch over to Llewellyn or Gordon.

Have a little something on ever-consistent Tim Morris just in case.

 

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4

March 2014

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When the Tasmanian state election campaign kicked off in late January the lobby group that represents local government, LGAT, issued a media release which was breathtaking in its arrogance.  

The January 21 release by LGAT President Barry Easther argued that there should be no mention of local government reform in the State Election
campaign.  "There are enough issues for the community to ponder about the way State Government services and functions operate without trying to confuse the issue by bringing Local Government into the State election debate," Easther said.

In other words, let us pretend that having 29 local governments and the red and green tape factories that each houses, has zero impact on the costs of
doing business in Tasmania.  Let us pretend that it is an optimal state of affairs for a State of 510,000 people to be saddled with local governments, many of which are barely functional and in some cases are broke.

If the Liberal Party were serious about economic reform in this State then it would be talking about local government.  It would be planning its merger
strategy now.  It would be committing to slashing this inefficient tier of government so that only those councils which are relatively efficient - Burnie, Hobart and Brighton spring to mind - survive.

But the Liberal Party, like the ALP in Tasmania, is not a genuine economic reform party.  It throws around trinkets and baubles; its leader Will Hodgman puffs out his chest and big notes himself with a first 100 days in office plan.  But where is the structural reform?

Local government is the obvious place to start.  Business in Tasmania has rightly been calling on political parties to commit to reduction in the size and scope of local government.  There are horror stories about local government red tape in planning and development.  

It is incumbent on the media following this election campaign to apply the blow torch to Mr Hodgman.  He has been getting a dream run from the media - today's front page story in The Examiner on Spirit of Tasmania fares reads like an advertorial - because no one is questioning him on the serious economic reform issues.  How can Mr Hodgman sail through this election campaign without being grilled about local government reform?

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