Idle speculation: late February edition

The previous thread was getting on the long side, so here’s a new one. Conversation starter: a Roy Morgan poll commissioned by Crikey shows the Prime Minister trailing Labor in his seat of Bennelong by 41 per cent to 40 per cent on the primary vote, and 55-45 on two-party preferred. The sample was 394, which is pretty good for an electorate-level poll. The fortnightly Newspoll will be published in The Australian tomorrow.

UPDATE: 54-46 to Labor in Newspoll; down from 56-44 last time, but Kevin Rudd has a headline-grabbing lead as preferred PM. Elsewhere, England’s finest blogger, Harry Hutton, has made his debut entry on Australian psephological matters.

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.

232 comments on “Idle speculation: late February edition”

Comments Page 5 of 5
1 4 5
  1. McKew to run against Howard. Brilliant. I don’t think she will win, she’s not meant to. But she will keep the pressure on Howard to campaign in Bennelong while Rudd flys about the country. This is a distraction that may prove costly. Can anyone imagine the sight of Howard doorknocking?

  2. I agree this is clever, but it unfortunately means that if McKew is a real talent, she will be wasted, because she will at best be the member for a very marginal seat, and more likely (IMHO) not elected at all. This is the same mistake Labor made with Kernot. If she was worth recruiting, she should have been given a safe seat. Plus it means she can’t used to get rid of either Irwin or Hatton, two totally useless backbenchers sitting in safe Sydney seats.

  3. bill weller February 25th, 2007 at 10:13 pm – hardly Bill. A bit of wishful thinking or unnecessary worrying?
    To all those who believe the WA problems will effect the Federal election result, remember the old saying -a week is a long time in politics, eight months is an eternity. Besides I just don’t buy this notion that people don’t distinguish between state and federal elections. If the federal government is on the knows in eight months WA will follow the trend.

  4. There is a long history of unpopular state governments dragging down their party’s federal vote – SA 1966, 1969, 1975; NSW and Qld 1987; 1987; Vic 1990. It seems to be a law of Australian politics that Federal Labor gets no credit for popular Labor governments, but gets blamed for unpopular ones.

  5. As an ALP member, I think it’s terrific. Celebrity candidates need to be used to win marginals, and McKew does not come with the baggage Kernot had.

    Hatton and Irwin need to be leveraged out, but best to do that via a good old-fashioned rank and file local challenge. The state election should shake a few branches, what with members who have lost their state seats deciding it’s time to realise their Federal ambitions and all.

  6. Just what we need – more failed state MPs installed in safe federal seats. Irwin for one will need to be blasted out, and a star candidate is one good way of doing it.

    But I agree running McKew in Bennelong has its merits. I’m just surprised that she agreed to give up the prospect of a safe seat for the dicey prospect of winning a marginal one.

  7. I have to disagree with regards to celebrity candidates, they are nearly always a waste of time, they draw few votes, and upset the branch members whose job it is to help them out.

    the only good celebrity candidate in recent times is ian mcfarlane, and his celebrity status is questionalbe

  8. I doubt that McKew was ever a viable option for Fowler. All the Libs would have had to do is repeat the ‘doesn’t like the smell of Labor voters’ line from the Diaries over and over. Wouldn’t be enough for her to lose the seat, granted, but not exactly desirable all the same.

  9. Adam says there’s a long history of unpopular state governments dragging down their party’s federal vote, citing SA in 1966, 1969 and 1975. In 1966, the Walsh Labor Government was certainly past its honeymoon period but the main reason for federal Labor’s electoral thrashing was its at that time unpopular opposition to the Vietnam war. In 1975, Don Dunstan hung on to office only by bucketing the Whitlam federal government. In both these cases, federal Labor was less popular than its state counterpart.

    In 1969 it is certainly true that there was a backlash against the state government. Steele Hall had benefited from the Playford gerrymander in 1968, winning office even through Dunstan’s Labor Party had polled 52 per cent of the primary vote to the Liberals’ 43.8 per cent. The voters punished the Liberals in the federal election the following year when Labor won eight of SA’s 12 federal seats. It was the last time Labor won Sturt.

  10. Whilst not as pessimistic about her chances in Bennelong, I share Adam’s concerns about this outcome.

    My guess is that McKew would have been given Fowler had she wanted it. But instead she shied away from the drama it might have caused. But Fowler is a safe Labor seat for a reason. A few local ratbags and the diary entry of a disgraced politician wasn’t going to make her un-‘viable’. The branches would wear McKew, just like they wore Garrett in Kingsford-Smith. Heck, just like they’ve worn Irwin for the past three elections.

    Back to Bennelong, I’m getting sick of reading that the boundary changes has made this a marginal seat. Yes, the redistribution has strengthened Labor’s position; but only slightly. Our esteemed host here did the maths, and calculated a 0.3% shift to Labor. The Parliamentary Library came up with a similarly modest 0.2%. The fact is that even on the old boundaries, it was the Coalition’s 14th most marginal seat in 2004, with a Lib tpp vote of just 54.3%.

  11. In WA there was an electorate given a chance to whack Labor straight away when Marlborough resigned – and it gave Labor a swing to it, not away.

    There are any number of Coalition people involved as well (led by the infamous Hyphen himself, Noel Crichton-Browne, who might not be a member of the party any more, but is still pretty much associated with them in the public eye). Crichton-Browne’s dragged Troy Buswell into the whole thing, and he’s the deputy Liberal leader.

    All in all, the Coalition aren’t going to want to make a song and dance about this, because it will just result in “a pox on both your houses,” and a strengthening of the protest vote, and thus to minor parties from both sides. The last thing they’d want to do would be to leak votes themselves to the Greens, particularly in the Senate.

  12. Phil: I was wrong about 1975 – it was federal Labor that nearly dragged Dunstan down, not vice versa. But I am right about 1966: true Labor did badly everywhere except WA, but notably worse in SA than elsewhere because of Walsh’s unpopularity. They lost Adelaide and Grey (both good Labor seats at that time) and nearly lost Bonython and Hindmarsh (almost unthinkable at that time).

    I am reminded: whatever happened to Andrew Jones?

  13. Can no-one believe that she “chose” Bennelong? That she may have been offered a safer seat but turned it down because she relished the chance to take up the fight to the person that has (by their own deliberate actions) come to personify the government as a whole?

  14. I would like to put across that i dont have a problem with the ALP candidate in Kingston just the union she belonged too and i hope she will be good to work with on issues that the left AND the Greens hold dear. It came as a shock when the ALP member i was expecting to be the candidate [changed her mind]??. If Rishworth can oust Richardson all the better. The areas of Hackam West and Huntfield Hights will feel the IR, Social issues and rises in the cost of living first and like a nuclear bomb radiate outwards taking in Morphettvale Reynella etc. Successive State and Federal governments have let these areas go to pot. People are suffering greatly, just go for a walk down the bike track that runs through theses areas and u get the feeling you are in the Bronx. These people need to be uplifted and helped not have either another Lib government or an ALP one that forgets its roots. Those roots are not multinationals , banks or “upper class” snobs that think wanting to go to university is a privilege.

  15. It would appear to me that the ALP have done some long term strategic planning. They are bring out policies a regular basis This has been enhanced with the MCKew announcment as candidate for Bennalong .

    The problem for the Liberals is that they don’t know where or when the next announcement will come.

  16. I’ve just looked through Labor’s National Curriculum Policy. Kevin Rudd will retain the initiative all year. He is absolutely determined. He will hit hard and fast and without warning from every direction under the sun. He will keep the government on the run, and he will win. If I’m right, I’ll claim bragging rights. If I’m wrong, I hope you will all forget I said this – I will.

  17. Rudd’s admission today that he met with Brian Burke three times in 2005 will hurt his chances, especially in the west where the prospects of holding Cowan and Swan are under threat and the prospects of reclaiming Stirling and Hasluck are slim-to-none.

    The honeymoon is over.

  18. I think it’s a bit early to say that. The situation in WA is very messy and the mess is splashing both sides. I agree that Rudd has taken a hit this week, but it may all be forgotten by October.

  19. Sorry, Adam, for my delayed response. I think that both federal and state factors were responsible for Labor’s bad performance in SA in 1966. In Sturt, Labor had one of its best candidates ever, former Norwood footballer and future psychiatrist Keith Le Page, yet polled just one third of the 2PP vote – its worst performance in the seat.

    As for Andrew Jones, he was a meteor who quickly fell to earth, never to be heard of again. A mate of mine saw him in the pub the other day.

  20. The whole Brian Burke thing.
    Could go either way.
    Graham Edwards wasn’t that specific.
    It’s up to the next polls to see the result and what the public think of this.

  21. I would say the Burke thing is only the start. Its like the tortoise and the hare Rudd running on full steam, Howard taking it slowly methodically reeling him back in. Like is said before the ALP has peaked to early and unless Rudd and co can keep the pressure up 100 percent then i can see a small Lib win.

  22. Things like this below does not help the ALP cause or am i being too leftist in wondering what millionaires are doing in a workers party. After a poor start by Howard i think he would be saying now GAME ON!

    >From Crikey: Peter Garrett: healthy, wealthy, unwise?
    Christian Kerr writes:

    Opposition environment spokesman Peter Garrett went on ABC Radio in
    Adelaide yesterday to talk about Ron Walker, Robert de Crespigny and
    that nuclear power plant – only to suffer some nasty fallout of his own.

    “A caller says: ‘Fair’s fair, we’ve talked about these other
    millionaires, and we should mention that Peter Garrett is a millionaire
    as well’,” host Matt Abraham said.

    Garrett got a little coy about that description – so Abraham and his
    colleague David Bevan went nuclear on the Oil’s former front man:

    BEVAN: Are you a millionaire?

    GARRETT: Well, anybody who owns a house in Sydney or around Sydney
    probably qualifies for that but I’d say I’m a person of moderate means.

    ABRAHAM: But hasn’t being a rock star made you a millionaire?

    GARRETT: Well, to the extent that I’ve been able to buy a house and
    live in a comfortable way, yeah, there’s no question about it that I
    had a successful career as a musician but I’m a man of moderate means.

    ABRAHAM: Where do you live when you’re in Canberra?

    GARRETT: (laughs)

    ABRAHAM: Are you in a shed like Brendan Nelson?

    GARRETT: Oh, I stay with a mate.

    BEVAN: Okay, but is it correct, putting aside your house, because we
    don’t want to get these things wrong and it’s been thrown around a
    lot, Malcolm Turnbull’s described as a multi-millionaire and people
    ring up I suppose from the conservative side and say “well, hang on,
    what about Peter Garrett?” Peter Garrett, putting aside your house
    which is a moderate house, can we call you a millionaire?

    GARRETT: Well, gentlemen, if you want to you certainly can. I think
    a person of moderate means, not to the extent of Mr Turnbull’s
    wealth, but frankly I don’t think that’s the key issue…

    ABRAHAM: But, we don’t want to call you a millionaire if you’re not.

    GARRETT: Well, feel free to call me what you will.

    ABRAHAM: No, well…

    BEVAN: Well, we’re just trying to be cooperative.

    ABRAHAM: If you are a millionaire, putting aside the value of your
    house, then you’re a millionaire because as I said Malcolm Turnbull
    and others targeted Kevin Rudd and yourself as being millionaires
    effectively because he was. I just… if you’re not, you’re not, and
    that’s fine and that’s the end of it and if you are, you are.

    GARRETT: Yep, and I’m quite happy to say I am.

    ABRAHAM: Okay, well, Peter Garrett we appreciate you coming on the


    Fourth WA minister falls to commission inquiry

    Reporter: Hamish Fitzsimmons

    KERRY O’BRIEN: And now, to the latest political drama from the West, and
    the fall of yet another State Government minister. This afternoon John
    Bowler became the fourth minister sacked or demoted from the Carpenter
    government in the past year – the third connected to the Brian Burke
    scandal – as the Corruption and Crime Commission juggernaut continues to
    pound the Government. On Sunday, Environment Minister Tony McRae
    resigned over his links with former Labor minister turned lobbyist
    Julian Grill, a business partner of Mr Burke’s. Premier Alan Carpenter
    was forced to act today after the CCC played tapes of Mr Bowler
    discussing sensitive Cabinet information that it secretly recorded at
    the home of Mr Grill. By late afternoon, Mr Bowler was dismissed by his

    John Bowler had been caught on tape talking about a proposed railway
    line through an Aboriginal heritage area in the Pilbara. Mr Grill and
    his business partner Brian Burke were representing the mining company,
    Fortescue Metals, which was proposing the line. Cabinet initially
    rejected the railway plan but here Mr Bowler reveals the Aboriginal
    Affairs Minister, Sheila McHale, had opted to reverse the decision.

    JOHN BOWLER (TAPE): Now, Woodstock Abydos, apparently Carps said he’s
    happy in the way it’s going, that although they said, you know, the
    decision of the, of that committee, ACMC, Sheila, Sheila understands
    that they have to say that and that she will now overturn it.

    JULIAN GRILL (TAPE): All right, so if I can just take a note on this, er –

    JOHN BOWLER (TAPE): So it’s expected that, um, Sheila will overturn the
    ACMC decision.

    JULIAN GRILL (TAPE): So Carpenter just told you that, um, Sheila should
    overturn the decision?

    JOHN BOWLER (TAPE): I think Sheila says that she will…she will, she will.

  23. I think in all the discussion about Burke’s impact on ALP’s vote in the West ignores what happened in the Peel byelection just a few weeks ago.

    Remember, Labor got a swing to it in that byelection, after the sitting member was sacked for his connections to Burke. It may look strange on the East Coast, but it appears so far that WA voters have a different approach to Burke/Grill and his links to both sides of the political fence.

    The story on Ian Campbell’s meeting with Burke just illustrates that the ALP and Liberal Party have links to the former premier of WA.

  24. Ian Campbell’s resignation from the cabinet is disastrous for Rudd. It now sets a precedent that Rudd must distinguish himself from. Whether or not Rudd’s dinner / breakfast / coffee / with Burke was innocent or not, it’s going to start ticking over in people’s minds that if a Govt minister had to quit over a 20 minute meeting with this odious character, then what does this say for Rudd and his rendezvous with Burke?

    Anyway, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Howard knew full well Campbell met with Burke and went ahead savaging Rudd anyway He knew Campbell would find his position untennable, especially after Costello’s remarks that “ANYONE who meets with Burke is morally and politically compromised”, and so Campbell had no choice but to submit his resignation. This ramped up the pressure on Rudd and damages him further. Poor Campbell was the sacrifical lamb in Howard’s bloodthirsty pursuit of Rudd.

  25. shit was flinged, it splattered back, they are all covered in it.

    Federally, in the long rung, the Burke thing will probabbly mean didly squat. WA is not the rest of Australia. We are VERY insular…

    Any from both Howard and Rudd its war already.

    This will be facinating

  26. Yes, Bill Weller, I think you see the current Labor Party through eyes turned back at several decades ago.

    Pollies are pollies are pollies. That Garrett has made millions through Midnight Oil and any other means does not indicate his political and philosophical leanings.

    He has always wanted to make a difference – through Oil’s lyrics, his public comments etc and now he has got himself into federal politics. He still has enough of his earlier ideals to believe he can make a difference. His personal dosh is of no consequence. What is of consequence is that he is becoming more pragmatist than ideologue. And that happens to all of us as we grow up and weigh our beliefs against reality.

    There is no way anyone could call me poor, however neither could anyone call me a right wing conservative. Them’s the breaks.

  27. The preselection for the seat of Brand will be decided tomorrow night.

    The ALP has a stark choice between myself and Gary Gray.

    I was an organizer of the Walk Against Warming last November that saw 5000+ concerned Western Australians march through the streets of Perth demanding action to prevent global overheating. Gary Gray is a greenhouse sceptic.

    I have been a lifelong campaigner against the uranium industry and have written a review on the effects of “depleted” uranium – the bulk of mined uranium, on current and future generations. My work is a contribution to the global effort to ban uranium in armour-piercing shells that become mutagenic dust.

    Gary Gray supports mining of uranium in WA, contrary to Party policy.

    I have proposed democratization of the Party by inviting all members of affiliated unions to accept one year free membership of the Party, after which they can choose to opt in as full voting individuals. This would break the power of certain factional leaders and produce a democratic Party.

  28. Hi Veronica can you explain what you mean when you said “I think you see the current Labor Party through eyes turned back at several decades ago.” As for Peter Garrett I love his music and his ideals from those long lost years, but now we have a Government and opposition that are right wing with religious overtones and big business supportive at the expense of the worker, community and THEIR environment. I work in a factory, I live in a working area bordering on a massive unemployment suburb which tears at the heart. Kids with little clothes and if they have it’s so old that op shops would not sell them. Single mothers in abundance each with horror stories of abuse, drugs and prostitution. I have seen women getting out of a clients car and buy food with the little cash they have aren’t. These residence cannot afford luxury’s let alone buy things that will help with global warming and the lack of water in our State. It is about time the soon to be elected government brought change to even out the wealth and give these ‘battlers’ some worth. I would love to see unions get involved in social issues and community actions to give back something that the community gave in support of YR@W. My point is how would people of higher means relate to this? How would Richardson and Rishworth (Kingston) even know how the above feels let alone Howard, Rudd , Garrett and co? I can hear people saying “yeah I knew how it felt, I was in that same boat years ago”. The thing is the people of this community haven’t, won’t, can’t get out, and mostly not from lack of trying or from no fault of their own, but rather through social determinants & being forgotten (or more likely- down trodden).

    Hi Geoff Although I am not in your electorate or in your party I think you are on the right track with your environmental beliefs. I don’t know what faction you belong too but Gray seems to be of the rightist variety. Good luck Geoff

    Bill Weller
    Greens for Kingston

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 5 of 5
1 4 5