Tuesday, January 30, 2007

MOOPing along

There is an interesting turnaround on the Australian political scene. With an election due later this year the decade long rule of Howard’s Liberals looks to be heading for the rocks.

The latest indicator is that “the business elite are swinging behind a resurgent Labor Party, with strong corporate interest expected to deliver a sizeable windfall for Kevin Rudd's campaign.

A worried Liberal Party believes Labor and the union movement will have a combined total of $50 million to spend this year - an unprecedented amount to win over voters.”

Business Council of Australia (BCA) chief executive Katie Lahey confirmed business leaders were keen to find out more about Labor's policies and were backing a "strengthened" Opposition. "We are interested in what the policy agenda is," she said. "A lot of the reform issues (pushed by the BCA) are on the table now."

Rather than focus on policies the Liberal Party federal director, Brian Loughnane, claims that while the Liberal Party will spend less than $20million, Labor and the ACTU will spend a combined amount of "at least $50 million".
“This disparity in spending has ... the potential to change the Government of Australia," he told the Young Liberal national convention in Melbourne on Saturday.
“This disparity in spending has ... the potential to change the Government of Australia," he said.

In truth, whatever Labor spend on their campaign the Liberals will match it, even going into debt to do so. But in the process of creating a scare campaign he forgot to mention the contribution from the Australian people.

Total election public funding paid for the 2004 federal election was $41,926,158.91.

At the top of the tree: Liberal Party of Australia $17,956,326.48. Next was the Australian Labor Party $16,710,043.43

The formulae for this disingenuous MOOP (money out of politics) attempt is as follows:

“The amount of election funding payable is calculated by multiplying the number of formal first preference votes received by the rate of payment applicable at the time. This rate is indexed every six months to increases in line with the Consumer Price Index.

The public funding rate from 1 January 2007 to 30 June 2007 is 210.027 cents per eligible vote.”

This is a little deal cobbled together by the major parties some years back. It was meant to take the money out of politics, but instead merely supplements it. But on current figure the Liberals already have a potential $18 million in the chest, as do Labor.

It is peanuts compared to the US probably somewhat comparable on a per capita basis.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I think that it would be *very* interesting to know if it compares per capita. Australia's population is about...what...1/10 that of the US? Hmmm...

But I also found this intriguing:

...even going into debt to do so.

Who would lend money to a political party, given their fluctuating fortunes?

Cartledge said...

I'll do the sums one day kvatch. 20 million here against 300 mill?

The parties do like to buy fancy real estate when their fortunes are up. I guess they hock them, they certainly sell them off again down the track.

Cartledge said...

Enumerating: At $40 mill for 20 mill pop Australia comes in at $2 per head
Estimate for US 2006 $2.,600,000,000 ($2.6) Billion for a population around 300 million is less than $1 per head
Of course there is a scale of economy issue there and perhaps even the issue of value against actual ballots cast.

Praguetwin said...

No matter how you slice it, Australians are paying more per capita or per vote than their American counterparts (or as Howard would say, big brothers).

Cartledge said...

PT, no argument there. But for an economist mind I'm surprised there is no allowance for some weighted index in relation to scales of economy...