Idle speculation: 59-41 Newspoll edition

Noteworthy developments of the past however-long-it’s-been:

• For the second time in as many months, Newspoll has defied conventional wisdom that Kevin Rudd’s political difficulties were set to take the shine off his opinion poll dominance. Despite bad press over the Sunrise/Anzac Day affair, today’s poll has Labor’s two-party lead widening to 59-41 from 57-43 a fortnight ago, with Rudd’s lead over John Howard as preferred prime minister up from 48-38 to 48-36.

• The NSW ALP’s decision to delay opening preselection nominations in Charlton, Fowler, Blaxland and Chifley is reckoned by Michelle Grattan to spell trouble for their respective members, Kelly Hoare, Julia Irwin, Michael Hatton and Roger Price. The decision was reportedly made so that turf wars over these seats would not interrupt this month’s national conference. Andrew Landeryou talks of a deal in which Charlton will go to the Left (Greg Combet, if he wants it, which it seems he might), with the others used to accommodate aspirants from the Right, possibly including Warren Mundine and Mark Arbib. Grattan, Landeryou and Adam Carr all concur that Price, an early Rudd leadership backer, is unlikely to be toppled. Carr writes in comments: “I can only guess that he is intending to retire, and the preselection is being held over so the right has time to find a candidate”.

• Bruce Baird, factional moderate, Peter Costello backer and one-time NSW government minister, has announced his decision to retire after nine years as member for Cook. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Baird’s decision was partly motivated by “the possibility he would have been challenged for preselection”, after branch stacking by the Right reportedly swelled numbers at the Miranda branch from 200 to 600. However, the widely rated front-runner for preselection is Scott Morrison, former Tourism Australia boss and state party director, with whom Baird appears to have been on good terms. Morrison has also been mentioned as a possible successor to Alan Cadman in Mitchell. Potential rivals to Morrison reportedly include PBL Media executive David Coleman, Optus executive Paul Fletcher, “consultant” Peter Tynan and barrister Mark Speakman. The Liberals hold Cook with a margin of 13.8 per cent.

• The Queensland Liberal Party has preselected Sue Boyce to replace outgoing Senator Santo Santoro, in what The Australian described as a “comfortable” win over former state party leader Bob Quinn after the “third round of voting”. Boyce has also been promoted from number four to number two on the ticket for the imminent half-Senate election, over the head of number three candidate Mark Powell. This would appear to be a double victory for state party leader Bruce Flegg over the Santoro faction, which switched its backing from Powell to Quinn in its determination to thwart Boyce. Powell will most likely have to compete with the Nationals for a third Coalition seat.

• Laura Anderson of The Advertiser reports that South Australian Senator Linda Kirk has rejected Kevin Rudd’s offer of preselection support for the lower house seat of Boothby, offered as a consolation prize after she lost Right faction support for Senate re-nomination. The Right is reportedly backing Adelaide lawyer Tim Stanley to take the factionally reserved second position at the expense of Kirk, who “broke ranks” with the faction in supporting Rudd’s leadership bid in December. The top position will remain with rising star of the Left, Penny Wong.

• Comments thread barfly Adam Carr has turned his hand to the federal election guide caper, in typically fine style. All the electorate links above lead to the relevant entries in his guide, which I will continue to do until my own effort is up and running (which won’t be for a while).

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.

333 comments on “Idle speculation: 59-41 Newspoll edition”

Comments Page 3 of 7
1 2 3 4 7
  1. Edward O says: “Adam, Sandra knows very well that he wouldn’t pass the assessment process, so why would she worry if he were put forward for consideration? It’s a hypothetical, he’s not a member and won’t be any time soon. It’s as much a beat up as the Sunrise thing – there’s about as much truth in both of them (i.e. not much beyond the odd word that signifies absolutely no action whatsoever).”

    What she should have said was: “David Hicks has expressed anti-Semitic views and support for terrorism, and went to Afghanistan to train with terrorists. While the Democrats supported the campaign to have Hicks given a fair trial and brought back to Australia, that does not mean we have any sympathy with his extremist views. Until he renounces those views he will have no place in a mainstream political party such as the Democrats.”

  2. Bowman: pretty good on current polling, especially given the inflated swing from 2004. Ditto Blair, Bonner, Longman and Petrie (and maybe Forde).

    Dickson: probably not. On the new boundaries it seems alot more naturally conservative, and more rural, so may be harder to budge.

  3. I agree with you Marcus. As much as I’d prefer to see Dutton booted out over Laming, I think Dickson is fairly safe and Bowman quite precarious.

  4. GST

    Scare campaign is just that, lack of facts that scared the living daylights out of people, a tax that is in 100 other country could not have been that bad. Labor only got such a high vote in 1999 because it was willing to put a chance at office in front of the well beings of Australian. noone complains about the GST today.

    Sounds like something else labor is compaining about at the moment

  5. Time to take on that (fast becoming tired) argument that the campaign against WorkChoices is the same as that run against the GST. There are some fundamental differences here. The GST was flagged at the previous election and its introduction was preceded by 18 months of modelling, analysis and debate. WorkChoices was only brought in once the Coalition relaised that they had control of the Senate, and largely at the behest of the vested interests who bankroll the Liberal Party. There was no debate and little justification. Furthermore, The GST had clear upsides for just about everyone – tax cuts, welfare increases and so on. WorkChoices doesn’t really give any concrete benefits (leaving side the astract arguments about it being “good for the economy”), which is why it has been such a difficult sell politically.

    If you want an analogy, the run-in to the march to the Iraq war would be a beter fit – and I’m sure I don’t need to remind you how that’s worked out.

  6. Anyway the Coalition can’t complain about scare campaigns after the truly appalling one they ran against the Native Title Act – the most shameful pack of lies in recent political history

  7. I really have to take issue with the commenter who said:
    “Yeh Adam, I saw Ruth Russell.. ugh what were they thinking. “Iraq Human Shield” might play well with socialist alliance types, but in the suburbs where the former-democrat liberal voters lurk, thats as popular as R&B at an ACDC concert.”

    How the hell can Ruth Russell be criticised for being a human shield? She was 100% right that the Iraq war was going to be a disaster and disproporitantely bad for civilians. No matter which way you look at that war – left or right – it is a disaster for Australia. Economically – we have lost billions in wheat contracts, cost of wear-and-tear on military equipment, global security and also law suits when in 15 years the courts decide we were culpable for some of the cost of rebuilding.

    And Russell was so determined to stop Australia making such a terrible mistake SHE PUT HER OWN LIFE ON THE LINE. That’s fcsking amazing!!! No sitting in her ivory tower sipping champagne and reading Quandrant like people at the Institute of Public Affairs. She put up so you should shut up.

    Ruth Russell’s courage is completely in the spirit of the Anzacs and I think it would be fabulous if she was in parliament. She would put the rest of those lilly-livid arm-chair warriors in parliament to shame.

  8. Hugo: from memory the coalition introduced similar IR laws to workchoices but they were blocked by the senate on numerous occassions ?

    There was alot of talk at the time Howard would use a Double Dissolution to get them through.

  9. Yes, Speaker, that’s true, but rather beside the point, which was to say that the average voter had a pretty fair idea of what the GST would hold for them long before it was introduced. This cannot be said of WorkChoices. Voters would have been under the impression that a re-elected (in 2004) Howard government would basically be the same government that they had before that. Instead, Howard has used the unexpected Senate control to push through a raft of rather radical legislation compared to what they had passed in the previous eight years. Moreover, the drafting of the WorkChoices was much more rushed and much more secretive than what happened with the GST.

    The vibe out there in Voterland seems to be that Howard has “gone too far”, and I suspect that this is the reason that Labor has been so far ahead in the polls for so long. It seems that the electorate has alreday made up their minds, and, barring the unforeseen, there’s probably very little that the government can do about it.

  10. That Isabella is a fraud by the way.

    An attempt to discredit me and those of us that might have views that are slightly to the right of the majority here.

    William, please delete this gibbering imposter’s account.

    A really poor way to try and frame and belittle one of the few people here that isn’t somewhere to the left of the ALP Federal Parliamentary Party.

    Dr Carr is a nasty piece of work but I can promise you that previous Isabella is pathetic, illiterate imitation.

  11. Speaker, I would actually be quite surprised if Howard tried to water down WorkChoices – much of the Act contains many articles of faith on the Right. However, Howard has shown in the past that he can be pragmatic when he needs to be. His problem now is that it might be too late – he’d basically have to throw most of it in the bin, and Rudd has probably stolen a march on that front anyway. I suspect that whatever Howard does now won’t be enough.

    To make any difference, Howard would need to massively water down the unfair dismissal exemptions (say, to employers of less than 20 workers, as per the long standing Liberal policy) and reinstate some of the powers of the IRC to set the minimum wage and to arbitrate disputes. I can’t really see that happening.

    THe other problem the Coalition has is that because they didn’t flag WorkChoices before the last election, I’m not sure many would believe that he wouldn’t reintroduce all the nasties after (an increasingly unlikely) re-election.

    On another matter, I’m highly intrigued about the real/fake Isabella debate. Even the so-called “real” Isabella seems to think that anyone to the left of her is a raving communist, so I for one can’t really tell the difference.

  12. To clarify the above comment from Isabella, who I shall henceforth refer to as Isabella I: the earlier comment from Isabella appears to have come from a different person using the same name, who I shall henceforth refer to as Isabella II.

    I do not intend to delete Isabella II’s comment as per Isabella I’s request, but I do ask this of him or her: if you are going to parody Isabella I, please be a little less subtle. Apart from a few capitalisation and apostrophe issues, the comment was utterly indistinguishable from the sort of thing Isabella I would normally say.

    While I have you, Isabella I: I notice you were never able to identify any examples of “leftist abuse” that Adam Carr levelled at Coalition MPs at Wikipedia, as per your allegation here. As Adam pointed out subsequently, you should have had no trouble locating such incidents here, had they really occurred. If you were worth anything at all, you would acknowledge your error.

  13. Psephophile Says:

    April 19th, 2007 at 3:46 pm
    A totally new question. What are peoples’ thoughts on the chances of Labor taking Dickson and Bowman?

    My take:

    Neither should seen as be top tier targets for the ALP. But both would fall in a landslide of 1983 or 1996 proportions.

    I don’t think Bowman is as vulerable as the other seats Marcus lists.

  14. In answer to Adam’s question of some days ago re Greens (WA) Senate candidates: Scott Ludlam has been preselected #1. I don’t know about the rest of the ticket. Scott works in Senator Siewerts office as a researcher, having previously worked in Robin Chapple’s office when Chapple was a state MLC. He is also well know around Fremantle as a spokesperson for FANG (an anti-nuke group). More can be found at:

    As to The Speaker’s comment re Ruth Russell: I didn’t think he was necessarily being disparaging about Russell, more that those people who previously voted Democrat with a Liberal bent were not necessarily going to switch back. Not many would doubt her courage, although some may question her judgement. If The Speaker’s comment is correct re her political views (‘waaay left’) this will probably alienate some of those who might otherwise have supported her, without much to come from anywhere else (unless they’ve its now only a competition between the Greens and the Democrats for the same small patch of space on the left of the ALP).

  15. Hugo

    A. Coalition did flag workplace reform at the last election, they just did not give the details
    B. does all government need to call an election everytime it makes a decision, and if I remember labor fully supported going into Iraq at that time, and choose to change it mind only when public opinion changed.

  16. Dovif – a little disingenguous to claim that the Coalition “did flag workplace reform, but did not give details” – I think it’s safe to say that most people had no idea that WorkChoices was coming. In contrast the GST was front and centre of the 1998 campaign.

    Labor did not “fully support” the Iraq misadventure at any time, though it’s true that it took them a few weeks to get theit story straight. I can clearly remember Simon Crean telling troops that the ALP “didn’t think they should be going”.

    At any rate, you’ve missed my point of the political similarities between the two issues, namely that the government made little attempt to sell either issue to the electorate, unlike the GST.

  17. howardhater, I can understand that if you are a Green voter you would find a deal between ALP and FFP in the Senate hard to stomach. It would mean the only support the Greens would get is from the Democrats and BTL Labor voters, which would make it difficult for the them to achieve a quota in most states.

    But as a Labor supporter, it is clear to me that this is the ONLY way the ALP can hope to form a Senate that they can work with.

    As The Speaker points out, if only this approach had been adopted in more states in 2004. The Coalition would not have control of the Senate and Work Choices would have remained Howard’s wet dream. Family First did not support WC as it is clearly anti family policy. Where are the Family Impact statements that Howard promised he would run over all legislation??

  18. The average Australian voter (correctly) eschews extremism on either side of the political spectrum be it workplace relations legislation skewed to the interests of the employer or self serving complaints about the funding of private education (both are examples only). Well you might say that is a trite comment (and it is) but perhaps (and I say this respectfully) it is one to be kept in mind by some of the ideological warriors who regularly share their opinion(s) with the rest of us on this excellent website. Kevin Rudd, to date, is demonstrating that he knows this about the average Australian voter (evidence his recent policy announcement on workplace relations laws). I believe he will continue to do well provided he stays on that course (a significant proviso, I accept).

  19. Stewart J : I think you’ll find it was Adam who described Ruth Russell as waaaay left. However I agree with him 100% (as I usually do).

    Ruth Russell is electorally unappealing and by pre-selecting her the Democrats have reduced their already microscopic chances in the state that’s their best hope. They should have chosen Max Baumann.

  20. Mr Speaker: I stand corrected. And if Sandra Kanck has indeed argued for the preselection of David Hicks I can only think the Democrats have now decided to go for the far-left vote (even we Greens don’t go that far!). I believe Mamdouh Habib was linked with one of the various trotskyist/ socialist factions, but maybe the Dem’s will look towards him in NSW given this? He did poll almost 4% (3.85%) in Auburn in the recent state election here…

    Actually I don’t think they will. As electorally unappealing as Ruth Russell may or may not be, I do think there is an attempt in recruiting her to capture whatever vote exists amongst the soft-left of the Libs (the so-called ‘Doctor’s wives’) as much as the left of the ALP. I think its a dubious strategy and could come unstuck – certainly she will be a polarising candidate (although that at least generates media…) and may leave the Democrats open to suggestions that they are not being serious about government/parliament/politics but are engaged in stunting (Mr Xenophon again).

  21. Well snow .. it certainly puts the drought firmly into peoples minds .. and while I don’t think any real blame can be attributed to the government for not taking earlier water infrastructure steps they still happen to be in “the wrong place at the wrong time”. Whether or not they deserve it they’ll more than likely be punished at the election.

    Their only possible recourse would be to take a leaf out of Beattie’s book and say “yes .. we know there’s a problem .. but we’re the only ones who can fix it” A harder sell for Howard because he isn’t up against a crap opposition like Beattie was.

  22. I have said it before on this site and I will say it again.. it should definitely be John Winston Howard praying for rain because the longer the drought continues the more the focus will turn to global warming and the Howard governments non – resposne to the issue.

    Even if the drought has nothing to do with global warming the two will be inextricably linked in voters minds.

  23. Hugo at 12.05 am raised the question of nasties.

    It could be useful to construct a list of so-called nasties that could be pushed through before July 2008, in the event of the Government being returned. For the purposes of discussion, it may be convenient to restrict the list to measures that would affect the majority. Here is a start:

    1.Abolish sick-leave, and allow employees to buy appropriate insurance instead;
    2.As a further boost to productivity, make two weeks the new norm for paid annual leave;
    3.On the grounds of equity, shift the burden of funding employees’ compulsory super from the employer to the employee, where it naturally belongs;
    4.Shift Medicare to a social security mechanism, covering only the lowest paid and welfare beneficiaries. Our private health insurance industry, with its renowned world-class efficiency, would be open to everyone else.

    All these reflect very long-standing Liberal ideas.

    Could they be sold to the electorate? Possibly, provided that compensation were offered, and over-compensation in the case of sensitive groups – like those Lucky Duckies, as the Wall Street Journal once so accurately described them, whose incomes are too low to attract net tax.

    Just like the GST.

  24. Blackjack: Interesting idea!

    – A dole cutoff period eg one year
    – A social security payback scheme that works similar to the current HECS arrangement ie once you get a job you begin paying back the money the government gave you in social security.

  25. I am curious if anyone has any comment to make on an article written by Clinton Porteous published in today’s “The Courier Mail” regarding the results of a union commissioned poll with 1052 respondents in four Queensland marginal electorates. The results show that Labor is leading the Coalition by 62% to 38%. In the electorate of Moreton the union poll relied on 241 respondents and the results show that Labor is leading the Coalition by 67% to 33%.

  26. And do we think the lovely Julie Owens can keep Parramatta and does anyone have any goss on the other ‘man in the hat’ Roger Price in Chifley retiring?

  27. I’d think Greenway is safe for the Liberals on the new boundaries. Much more rural and conservative than other outer Sydney seats.

    Given current polling I would expect Labor to have no trouble retaining Parramatta.

  28. Have any other queenslanders noticed that the ALP is going hard for bowman already

    advertising on the side of buses, and

    there were also ‘for sale: your rights at work signs in the front of every yard in a couple of suburbs’

    Does anyone have any extra info

  29. Does anyone in the hunter feel thats somethings changing there.

    is there an anti labor sentiment growing (though not necessarily a pro liberal one)

    it was just something playing on my mind after the state election there

  30. Re Hunter:

    I suppose there’s the possibility the coal miners could revolt over Labor’s “green” policies, as with Tassie’s timber workers in 2004. But I’d imagine the CFMEU would be backing Labor to the hilt this time because of the IR issue.

    Longer term, with the (probable) decline of industry in the Hunter, demographic change may favour the conservative parties, or possibly the Greens.

  31. I think Howard could go the whole way and reintroduce the much and unnecessarily maligned Master and Servant Act. Paul Keating used to say this was the Liberal aim back in the early 90s. A copy of the act for those interested:

    Labor and the Hunter. Certainly my reading of the Newcastle Herald was that the editors (Fairfax) were pushing for change prior to the NSW election, particularly as Sussex St and Iemma had made a number of blunders and there was the sniff of scandal. In the end the seats apparently at most risk were easily retained. Port Stephens was lost by ~100votes but it had become more marginal for Labor due to the loss of much of Mayfield and the pre-selection was difficult. I was surprised by Lake Macquarie being lost by ~100 votes. However, Jeff Hunter was one of the biggest logs in the caucus and I feel his indolence over the last 15 odd years was a factor. I doubt if any of this is relevant to the federal election – I can’t imagine Howard being the pin-up boy of Novocastrians.

  32. I rate Labor a chance in Kalgoorlie (6.3%) if former Kalgoorlie Mayor Paul Robson wins pre-selection. It’s a very transient voters’ roll so previous results should be discounted.

    Here’s an extract from the front page of tomorrow’s Kalgoorlie Miner (April 21):

    By Georgia Loney
    THE fight for the Federal seat of Kalgoorlie is set to begin in earnest after the ALP State executive announces on Monday night who will run against Liberal MHR Barry Haase.
    The Labor pre-selection is set to be a close tussle between former Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor Paul Robson and Newman woman Sharon Thiel, who has the support of the powerful Left faction.
    Kalgoorlie ALP branch member Jane Truscott is also a candidate.
    Political analyst Peter van Onselen said factional deals within the ALP meant a candidate could lose out despite substantial local support.
    “Often these things can be done deals, even before the State executive meet,” Mr van Onselen said.
    But political sources have said Monday’s vote will be “genuinely close”.
    While Mr Robson has sought to separate himself from factional alignment, he is known to have the support of the Centre and Right.
    Ms Thiel is an electorate officer with Left-aligned Fisheries Minister Jon Ford.
    The Left has increased its influence in the wake of revelations at the Corruption and Crime Commission which resulted in the sacking of three State ministers from the Centre and Right factions.
    Mr van Onselen said the votes from ALP branch members could ultimately decide whether Mr Robson wins his bid to be endorsed.
    “The Left has more members in the State executive, so it could still be the votes from party members which are the deal breaker,” Mr van Onselen said.
    “But it will depend on how strongly disciplined each faction is within the State executive.”
    ALP State secretary Bill Johnston said the selection of a candidate was a two-step process.
    “First there is a postal ballot for all the ALP branch members in the electorate to cast their vote,” Mr Johnston said.
    “This is followed by delegates from the State executive who will vote on Monday night.”
    But votes of the 200-strong ALP State executive hold stronger sway than the votes of ordinary rank-and-file members, Mr Johnston said.
    “The votes are weighted, with 15 per cent given to local members and 85 per cent to the State executive,” Mr Johnston said.
    Kalgoorlie ALP branch president Garry Campbell said the branch’s 70 members had cast their votes late last month.

  33. In these times of uncertainty and sedition, I think John Howard would be very justified in bringing back the Unlawful Oaths Act of 1797.
    The last time this was used the number of unionists in the Hunter Valley increased significantly.

  34. No, but at least he’s not out of sync with the Newspoll and AC Nielsen polls. Who commissions Morgan polls anyway? He doesn’t seem to be contracted to any newspaper…

  35. On Kalgoorlie, I’d actually think the Liberal stronghold areas (around Merredin in particular in the eastern wheatbelt, Esperance and Kalgoorlie itself) would actually be fairly non-transient, while the traditional Labor strongholds in the north (Karratha, Port Hedland and the assorted mining towns) are much more so, while the indigenous vote – quite large in this electorate – would be probably the most unpredictable of the lot.

    Labor putting up a Kalgoorlie based candidate would certainly help, because it’s in the south of the seat where name recognition may help; certainly more so than in the vast northern areas.

  36. Adam,

    Enjoy your time in Berlin. I’d be interested in your thoughts on Germany’s second grand coalition, particularly on whether it is the SPD or the CPD/CSU which is winning the policy debate. Strangely, in Australia, the Liberals are losing the policy debate on IR big time, but Labor seems reluctant to push home its advantage, with Kevin Rudd proclaiming support for secret ballots of unionists before industrial action by employees but apparently not of shareholders before industrial action by employers. It still did him no good with The Australian, which has run a series of “the sky will fall in” and “I love my AWA” articles.

  37. Interesting quote from Adams smh link.
    “More pleasing for Greens senator Bob Brown, the party polled 26 per cent in Tasmania which would almost certainly give it two Senate spots from the Apple Isle.”

    The result:
    The Greens barely managed a single quota with preferences, pipping Family Firsts Jackie Petrusma by a mere 350 votes. Saved by BTLs.

Comments Page 3 of 7
1 2 3 4 7

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *