Highlights of week four

As the Queensland election campaign enters its death throes, momentum is building behind the idea, if not the reality, of a late Coalition revival. Centrebet has received a last-minute flood of bets on Labor losing more than 10 seats, bringing its shortest price Labor seat outcome down from 59 to 55. AAP reckons "internal party research from both sides shows the Labor vote softening, albeit in patches across a range of safe and marginal seats". Peter Beattie is predictably disinclined to scotch the idea, warning of "movement against the Government in the last week". But unless you count Tuesday’s unconvincing Roy Morgan poll, the only evidence anyone can point to is party polling which might well be, as Lawrence Springborg would have it, "constructed research from the Labor Party … to try to blunt what they would perceive as a protest vote".

This morning brings yet another published poll to give credence to Springborg’s claim. According to the Courier-Mail’s Galaxy Research poll, Labor’s primary vote is up 1 per cent from the 2004 election to 48 per cent, with the Coalition also up slightly from 35.5 per cent to 38 per cent. The slack has been taken up from the ongoing decline of One Nation and its splinter groups, while the Greens have reportedly made late gains. It may still be true, as many have said, that the picture across the state is "lumpy", with Labor holding up in some areas and fading in others. Two assessments of the situation are worth quoting at length, the first from Dennis Atkins in Tuesday’s Courier-Mail:

The Nationals went into this poll confident they would pick up at least seven more seats than the 16 currently held and senior strategists for the Opposition still believe they are looking at an outcome with a "2" in front of it. High on their list are the Labor seats of Bundaberg, Toowoomba North, Hervey Bay and Keppel and a pair of Independent-held electorates, Gympie and Nanango. There is also optimistic talk of taking Mulgrave in the far north and Kallangur in the metropolitan northeast. Putting those last two seats aside, the other four Labor seats are certainly in play and a case can be made for Labor losing one or all of them. Toowoomba North’s local hospital story is shocking and water issues are as hot there as anywhere, while Bundaberg is the epicentre of everything horrible about Queensland Health. In Hervey Bay there is a bad hospital record and Keppel is a seat Labor never expected to win in 2004 and could easily lose.

The second comes from Greg Roberts and Andrew Fraser in today’s Australian:

The seat of Pumicestone is at risk because of the water issue and troubles with Caboolture Hospital … Labor seats within Brisbane that are marginal, such as Indooroopilly and Clayfield, appear safe. But supposedly safer seats on the city fringe are at risk, such as Cleveland and Everton, which is held by senior minister Rod Welford. Labor research suggests the two seats picked up by the Liberals in mid-term by-elections – Redcliffe and Chatsworth – could be returned, while outside Brisbane, Labor could lose Toowoomba North and the Gold Coast’s Mudgereeba.

All of which might yet prompt one or two revisions to the Poll Bludger’s election guide, but it is unlikely more than one or two seats will be shifted out of the Labor column. Some final Campaign Update additions:

Currumbin (Liberal 3.2%): The government has effectively scotched a controversial housing project in Currumbin Valley linked to former Labor heavyweight Terry Mackenroth. The Devine Group’s Hideaway development, which had been approved by Gold Coast City Council and upheld by the Planning and Environment Court, will now be called in for "review" after the election. According to Greg Stoltz of the Courier-Mail, "Labor sources said the project was ‘dead’". The project had been opposed by both Liberal member Jann Stuckey and Labor candidate Michael Riordan.

Bundaberg (Labor 5.3%): The Liberal campaign to tar Labor candidate Sonja Cleary with the Jayant Patel brush went all the way to federal parliament yesterday, where Health Minister Tony Abbott called for her disendorsement. As a local nurse, Cleary served on the District Health Council when its chairman signed a supportive letter to Patel after allegations were first raised against him. It also discussed efforts to identify those who had released information concerning Patel, which Abbott portrayed as a "witch-hunt against whistleblowers".

Gaven (Nationals 3.4%): Former Liberal vice-president and Gold Coast party identity Jim MacAnally has made a well-timed repeat of his criticism of the Coalition deal that allowed the Nationals to take Gaven. MacAnally claims the Liberals had "five times the electoral support of the Nationals in Gold Coast seats", which will come as no surprise to anyone who looks at the corresponding federal election results.

Caloundra (Liberal 1.3%): Lisa Allen of the Australian Financial Review reports on local anger that Caloundra’s Tripcony Hibiscus caravan park has been exempted from the government’s promise to cease selling parks for development.

Before I go, allow me to promote the fact that I will as usual be live-blogging the election count from 6pm EST tomorrow. Do come along.

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.

17 comments on “Highlights of week four”

  1. The latest Morgan TELEPHONE Poll shows just how absurd that previous poll of his was. With a sample of 600 it has Labor winning two party preferred 53 to 47.

  2. I don’t live in Queensland, so I’m probably not qualified to comment, but I’ll take a punt anyway and give you my prediction:
    Labor loses Bundaberg, Keppel, Clayfield, Noosa, Mudgeeraba, Kawana,
    Toowoomba North, Barron River and Pumicestone. Labor wins back Chatsworth and Redcliffe.
    The Nationals also take Gympie back from the Independent.
    Labor majority of 19.

  3. Labor was always going to do badly on the Sunshine Coast.

    I think they’ll hold Toowoomba North and Hervey Bay though – which are two of the more plausible seats mentioned in these stories where they might be in trouble.

  4. Can anyone help me please. What time will the Leaders debate be on today/tonight? I’ve looked in the usual places and can’t find the answer. I suppose being in Victoria I won’t be able to watch it anyway unless it’s on pay TV. Thanks

  5. I live in the Qld seat of Mudgeeraba and have been a support of the incumbent Labor pollie Dianne Reilly, but I have to say she has been a no-hoper.

    I will be more surprised if she wins than if she loses

  6. Question about TV coverage of the QLD election night count for those living outside QLD: is there any chance it might be on ABC2, the digitial channel? I haven’t got Pay TV. Otherwise, I’ll be hanging out on the various election web sites.

  7. Hang out here Evan… it was very entertaining last time 🙂 I think a good 100 comments or so were cracked if my memory serves me correctly. I’m sorry I will be out tomorrow night and won’t be able to watch the commentary, but thems the breaks I suppose.

    Otherwise you could try the ABC site… at the very least there should be a direct radio coverage?

  8. I watched the debate on Sky News. I thought the watered down format made it a bit of a bore.

    The first half was simply the moderator asking questions in turn to each leader. Generally the next question had little to do with the previous question; so we basically had the two leaders discussing different topics. At this stage I was ready to turn off the television.

    But the second half was a little bit more interesting. There the leaders each got to ask the questions of their opponents in turn. This meant that the questions were more challenging. But it still suffered from the same problem as the first half: there was no room to respond to the answers given. The leaders could give evasive answers and their opponents couldn’t take them up on it. For a so-called debate there wasn’t much debating.

    I can’t be bothered going into the actual content covered. Hopefully a transcript will appear at some point. Suffice to say that Springborg probed at the govt’s apparent weaknesses of health and water, whilst Beattie focussed his questions on Coalition disunity.

    Overall I think Beattie came across as smoother and more relaxed. But Springborg didn’t look out of his depth. Both successfully dodged tough questions (aided by the format). No clear win for either leader.

  9. Thanks all! I’ll definitely check in here tomorrow night – great site for all political junkies!
    Do election debates really make that much difference anymore?
    It’s probably come too late in the campaign to affect the outcome too much, and I doubt too many in QLD will be watching.

  10. Everyone has forgotten the seat of Burnett, home of Rob Messenger who took the Dr Death stuff to Parliament. Well lucky he had his day in the sun, cause it will cloud over very quickly tommorow and he will lose his seat. He has concentrated so much on trying to be the pretend member for Bundaberg that the rest of Burnett have turned on him and it will bite him hard tommorow. It is the sleeper in the election and I will be proven right, let me tell you, he is on the nose!

  11. “Bundaberg (Labor 5.3%): The Liberal campaign to tar Labor candidate Sonja Cleary with the Jayant Patel brush went all the way to federal parliament yesterday, where Health Minister Tony Abbott called for her disendorsement. As a local nurse, Cleary served on the District Health Council, on which she seconded a motion to write a supportive letter to Patel when allegations against him were first raised, and to ascertain who had been leaking information about patient deaths at Bundaberg Hospital.”
    This whole statement is incorrect and I would suggest you correct this right away.
    Sonja Cleary did not second a motion to write a letter of support to Dr Patel or tried to ascertain who had been leaking information.
    She did second a motion to have the District Health Commission try to get to talk to Messenger (National member for Burnett) to get more information so that further action to rectify the problems that were occurring, as apparently no one else had any information but Mr Messenger.
    Sonja Cleary did not join the Health Council till after the problems occurred and before she was elected as an ALP candidate by the ALP branches in Bundaberg.
    This is a complete fabrication of the truth and all this is on the Commissins web site (sorry I don’t have a link).

  12. Mick, after reading the transcripts and minutes on the inquiry site, I concur that the media reports I was regurgitating were insufficiently skeptical of Abbott’s interpretation of events. I have reworded my entry accordingly. You might be interested to know that I reached a similar conclusion about the Courier-Mail’s reporting of earlier Coalition attacks on Cleary over the DHC letter to Patel: link.

  13. There was a large potiential swing on offer (as I believe there is in Victoria) but it looks like it won’t be realised tomorrow. Looks like ending up a pretty much status quo – an excellent result for Labor.
    Predictions….An ALP 2 Party vote of 53%…the Nationals will build fat in their heartland seats and the Libs to make more modest inroads in middle ring and outer Brisbane. ALP to lose Kawana, Indooropilly, Clayfield & Mudgereeba whilst gaining Chatsworth (easily) and Redcliffe (closer). Bundaberg won’t fall or even be particularly close. Kate Molloy to win comfortably. Clear win for Dolly Pratt in Nanango, leaving Gympie as the nats only gain, though I’ll be watching Mulgrave.
    That makes it: Lib 9, NP 17, Ind 5, ONP 1, ALP 57.

    Seats to watch:
    Mt Isa – expecting a 10%+ swing. Remember 1986 and Cook in 2004.
    Tablelands – ONP hold but much closer than last time.
    Mulgrave – Warren Pitt seems far to much like a member from central casting, to ever be completely comfortable here.
    Currumbin – one to watch but Jan Starkey likely to hold.
    Broadwater & Aspley – should be very vulnerable but ALP to just hang on due to strong sitting members.

Comments are closed.