Betting on Beattie

As serendipity would have it, I was presenting a workshop on program evaluation to a Queensland Government group yesterday. When the election news broke late in the morning, there was much rejoicing.

The Australian goes to the betting markets:

Centrebet has listed the ALP, which has a 16 seat majority, as $1.05 favourite to retain office.

The Nationals-Liberal Coalition are rank outsiders at $8.

A friend writes “When was the last time your saw odds like these?”. Sounds like Springborg and Flegg have about as much chance of toppling Beattie as the Singaporean opposition have of bringing about a change in government.

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11 Responses to Betting on Beattie

  1. derrida derider says:

    That’s extraordinary odds in a two horse race. Upsets in elections are common enough (ask Jeff Kennett) that I’d bet on the outsider here, especially as the polls don’t show Labour much in front.

  2. The problem with this market, Andrew, as I said yesterday is there’s no option to bet on a hung parliament. There are currently 6 independents in the house of 89 (7 if you count disendorsed Labor Noosa MP who will run for re-election as an independent and has a chance of winning). Labor hold 59 seats. Thus a hung parliament is a more likely eventuality than a Coalition victory (they hold 26 seats). But you can’t bet on it.

  3. Andrew Leigh says:

    Mark, the conditions read “Pay on the party that provides the premier following the next election. Coalition refers to the Liberal Party and the National Party.” Unless you think that an Independent will be Premier, there’s no omitted option here.

    DD, as you implicitly predicted, the gap has closed – now $1.12 & $5.50.

  4. Geoff R says:

    If Labor’s majoirty was 6 seats would it attract the same odds with the same opinion polls? It wouldn’t I think but it should. Why? I blame Plato and poor readings of Neal Blewett.

  5. can you bet for a place?

  6. I know, Andrew. But politically, a hung Parliament is an interesting possibility. Yes, one of the major party leaders would be Premier but the entire dynamic is different from a majority. As Beattie would know, having served most of his initial term as a minority Premier.

  7. Corin says:

    From a long distance – the QLD and NSW ALP governments look ripe to fall to a competent opposition – will it be presented. They don’t look like particularly good Governments – but then drovers dog could govern in Oz now and be a hero to the “little man” …… oh how dull those State governments are – who will remember them? Beattie to win and to be well and truly forgotten (except among ALP staffers) in 5 years. My memory of Beattie is swimming with sharks – that was his cool mo .. but who else really knows anything they’ve done that was great??

  8. Well, in some areas of policy, Beattie’s government has been a very good one. But there’ve been some big stuff ups too – though health is a dicy issue because it’s hard to sheet home ultimate responsibility because of Commonwealth-State overlap.

    I think there is a mood for change in the electorate, but the Opposition are totally hopeless.

    This is the problem with betting markets – odds are that Beattie will be re-elected, but either a very narrow majority (likely) or a hung parliament (possible) would deliver a completely different political dynamic – and probably lead to an early exit for Beattie personally. But a “win” is a “win” according to the wager.

  9. Corin says:

    Mark – I accept that Governments only talk about delivering these days and do little persuasion. I mean I always thought Carr was at his best he he spoke beyond his Premier brief. Working for Red Ken means I see a lot of this – but I’m not sure its all bad. Even though I probably disagree with most things Livingstone does – he is pretty interestingand innovative. Surely there is some middle path … and if your interested I think (whilst many of the ideas are impossible to implement) many of democratic reformsin Imagining Australia are as good a place to start as any. Who in the ALP is actually going to talk about renewal of a centre-ground popular party with a large base support: well only primaries deliver that. Why can’t Beattie or anyone else push a few boundaries and see where it gets them. Devolution, devolution, devolution – the MP who on the Labor side who actually devises policies that deliver more power back to people – will be the intellectual hub for the next 50 years on the ALP side. Emerson has gone close on his views on education vouchers and health – but he’s still too traditional on Party reform in my view.

  10. Corin says:

    Mark – subscript – in Britain you can bet on the size of the margin – not sure why you can’t in Oz? I bet on Blair to win by between than 70-80 seats on which the odds were great (8 or 9’s I can’t remember) – and was hopelessly crushed by the flippin Labour Independents and random abberrations that pushed the margin below 70 to 66. That was only two flippin Labour Independents!

    Further subscript I had a side bet with a friend – I said they would win by more than 65 – he said 65 or less: so I got my money back there. It was a brilliant statistical abberration and indeed that dead politician had it in the balance for a time before another close race went to labour and they got 66 in any case.

  11. Peter Tucker says:

    Andrew’s friend: “When was the last time your saw odds like these?”.
    Me: A few months ago when Centrebet put up $9.00 Labor majority against $1.03 hung parliament/Liberal majority for the Tasmanian election.

    By election day the odds were $1.85 each or two.

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