Highlights of week two

With polling day less than a fortnight away, a journalists’ thoughts turn to preference recommendations. Today we have Greg Roberts and Michael McKinnon reporting in The Australian that the Greens will not recommend a preference to Labor in "key marginal Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and southern Brisbane seats". This is apparently significant because "a similar strategy by the Greens in the 1995 poll helped force the Goss Labor government from office". However, this is only true because the Goss government’s fortunes were decided by one seat, and the Greens’ preference decision cost Labor Mulgrave by a margin of 0.5 per cent. An article in Saturday’s Australian Financial Review by Peter Brent of Mumble covered the familiar topic of Greens voters’ reluctance to follow how-to-vote cards, but noted that the same did not appear to be true of Family First voters – according to a South Australian Parliamentary Library analysis, their votes split 65-35 in electorates where preferences were directed to Liberal, and 39-61 where directed to Labor. By Peter’s reckoning, that could have made the difference in four seats at the federal election. Consequently, Family First’s direction of preferences to Labor in Burdekin, Glass House, Mudgeeraba, Logan and Ipswich West is likely to be more consequential than the Greens’ decision, despite their smaller field of candidates. Family First preferences will be directed to the Coalition in Gympie, Ferny Grove, Sandgate, Toowoomba North, Toowoomba South, Cunningham and Lockyer, and to independent member Dorothy Pratt in Nanango. UPDATE: Antony Green notes there are special circumstances in South Australia which partly explain Family First’s capacity to influence preferences at the state election.

A few more Campaign Updates to be added to the election guide when I get my act together:

Currumbin (Liberal 3.2%) and Mudgeeraba (Labor 1.9%): Suzanne Lappeman of the Gold Coast Bulletin writes that while Labor has "all but written off" Dianne Reilly in Mudgeeraba, the party is increasingly hopeful its 2004 defeat in Currumbin will prove to have been an aberration born of the Tugun Bypass and the troubles of defeated member Merri Rose. Dennis Atkins of the Courier-Mail also refers to "wild talk" about Labor winning Currumbin, and concurs that Labor sources describe Mudgeeraba as "next to hopeless".

Noosa (Independent 8.7%) and Kawana (Labor 1.5%): Dennis Atkins also reports from a "Labor insider" that the Sunshine Coast looms as a "wipe-out" for Labor, with Noosa returning "quite strongly" to its traditional Liberal-voting ways. The only other Labor-held seat on the Sunshine Coast is Kawana, where the government has been having ongoing troubles over the location of a new hospital. Atkins notes that "deep antagonism to the Mary River dam" is also damaging Labor in the region.

Clayfield (Labor 1.2%) and Indooroopilly (Labor 2.1%): Dennis Atkins one more time: contrary to other reports elsewhere, "Labor strategists" quoted by Atkins are pessimistic about Clayfield – "the party hasn’t bothered to poll the electorate" – and "not confident" about Indooroopilly. Labor’s other Brisbane seats are believed to be safe.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

14 comments on “Highlights of week two”

  1. I’m expecting Beattie will win again, but his majority will be slashed – maybe down to 52 seats from 60 last time. I think Labor will lose all its Sunshine Coast seats, a few on the Gold Coast and a few in Brisbane, but maybe they’ll win back Chatsworth and Currumbin.
    Maybe the surprise on the night will be the ALP retaining Bundeburg against the odds.
    William, an informative and interesting site for the political junkie!

  2. Pardon my cynicism, but I’m wondering if the the Kate Molloy break with Team Beattie was engineered by ALP HQ as their best chance of preventing the seat falling to the Libs, given the anger over the Mary Dam. I think it will prove to be a smart move and she’ll coast home on ALP preferences…somehow I can’t see them issuing a “just vote 1” card here.

  3. Seat to watch- Kuwongbah. A politcal party’s polling showed this may be a huge upset. ALP leading 41-39 primary but if the conservatives step their campaign up a gear, this seat may switch. From what I can gather the National party candidate is pretty popular in the area and obtained one of the biggest swings last election.

  4. Interesting, Steve. Kurwongbah is undergoing a population explosion and now has the second highest enrolment in the state, and in 2004 it swung to the Liberals by 10.3 per cent. I’ll be very surprised if Labor’s 12.4 per cent margin isn’t enough, but the swing at least will be worth keeping an eye on.

  5. if the blue collar working class electorate of kurwongbah swings away from labor then all i can say is wow.

    what has the world come to when inner city indooropilly votes labor and blue collar kurwongbah votes conservative!

  6. If further to my comments posted yesterday, I have done a little background checking, and found out that the Nationals candidate, a local butcher, has had involvement in many community organisations (Bowls Club, Community Bank) and “has donated countless meat trays to sporting organistaions”, this may push his vote higher in what could be described as safe Labor seat.

    Surprisingly, in the polling I mentioned yesterday more people were familiar with the National candidates name than that of the Labor member (who is also a minister), who it seems since this polling has been running a higher profile.

    This seat may be one of the ones decided on prefences, or lack of them, given by the Greens. Definately one to watch.

  7. Seems to me that “Steve” is either the Nationals candidate for Kurwongbah or working on the Nationals campaign. I am more than a little suspicious when people start talking about safe seats as “bolters”. Furthermore, given the electoral tide is not moving to the Coalition at this election, it strains credibility to suggest that an Opposition candidate could get another 13% swing on top of a 10% swing at the previous election. Such a thing would happen if the local member were caught, say, rooting a sheep (think Currumbin at the last Qld election) LEGAL NOTE: Merri Rose was not caught rooting a sheep – PB lawyers. Furthermore, Nats in urban areas aren’t a good combination. If it was a Lib running you’ld have a stronger case.
    Keep talking it up Steve, it’s good to add colour to the blog, but talk of the Nats winning the seat (or even coming close) is bollocks.

  8. One more things, now I’ve done more homework!
    – The Nat is the same joker as ran on 2004. Where’s the extra 13% coming from this time around? Why is he more wildly popular than last time?

  9. Fred,
    I am certainly not the National party candidate, I don’t live in Kurwongbah and in fact I am more likely to vote Labor than Liberal/ National. The poll I refer to was primary vote and I presume a small number of people polled. Also the only other candidate running in Kurwongbah is a Green who I presume will give preferences to Labor, which will still most likely result in a healthy majority for Labor.
    Also I checked the ecq figures from last time, the National candidate polled 31.5% so this is only a increase of 7.5%(Give or take error). Not 13%.

  10. Thank you Dave. Seats are, of course, won on the two-party vote (notwithstanding the impact of optional preferential) therefore Steve may need to be more precise in his electoral postulations. 13% was the tpp movement last time.

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