Idle Speculation: budget bounce edition

The following should be old news for the type of person who visits this site, but I will reiterate it for the record. The post-budget Newspoll has produced a surprise 2 per cent two-party shift in Labor’s favour, despite strong support for the budget itself, while another post-budget poll from Galaxy has Labor leading 57-43. There is slightly better news for the Coalition from a Galaxy poll of 800 voters in the Prime Minister’s electorate of Bennelong, which puts Labor’s lead at a not-insurmountable 52-48. Other developments of the past week:

• Gerard McManus of the Herald Sun gives some background to ALP state secretary Mark Arbib’s bid for Senate preselection in New South Wales:

Arbib reportedly wants to take over from Victorian senator Stephen Conroy as Labor’s Senate deputy leader – a contest that will cause serious internal ructions. However, under the original plan Arbib was to have taken the place of Michael Forshaw, a senator since 1994, who had himself taken the spot of another Labor head office chief, Graham Richardson. Senator Forshaw is not up for re-election and therefore his resignation would have created a casual vacancy for Arbib to step in. The problem was Senator Forshaw refused to go, demanding a promise in writing that he would be “looked after” in a similar way to the way Senator Amanda Vanstone was recently taken care of when she quit the Senate. But when the NSW powerbrokers declined to oblige, Forshaw decided to stay put, forcing the party to tip another woman, Senator Ursula Stevens (sic – should be Stephens – PB), down to the precarious third spot on the Senate ticket at the coming election. Senator Stevens is a former party president and possibly the only Labor senator who did not come straight from a union or an MP’s office into parliament.

• Don Farrell, the powerful state secretary of the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, has announced he will run for Labor Senate preselection in South Australia. It would appear that he is set to take the faction’s reserved position from incumbent Linda Kirk, who fell from favour after backing Kevin Rudd’s leadership bid in December and defying the conservative union’s opposition to the RU486 abortion pill. Farrell had earlier denied having designs on the seat, leading to a consensus that Kirk would be replaced by Adelaide lawyer Tim Stanley. According to Greg Kelton of The Advertiser, “Mr Farrell last ran for Parliament 20 years ago in the seat of Adelaide but was defeated after a particularly vicious campaign with racist overtones”. This refers to a 1988 by-election held upon the resignation of Chris Hurford, at which Labor lost a seat it had held since 1943; perhaps this site’s South Australian readers can provide further detail on the nature of the campaign.

• John Watson, a Tasmanian Liberal Senator since 1977, was dumped from the party ticket in Saturday’s preselection vote. The ticket will be headed by incumbent Richard Colbeck, followed by two political staffers, David Bushby and Don Morris.

• Colourful Melbourne libertarian Prodos Marinakis, whose endorsement as Liberal candidate for the state seat of Richmond was overturned by the party on the grounds that he was too interesting, has withdrawn his nomination for the Melbourne preselection citing “personal reasons&#148.

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.

262 comments on “Idle Speculation: budget bounce edition”

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  1. Fantastic, just what South Australia needs – an intelligent, progressive female academic with successful career experience outside unionista dumped for a socially conservative male union hack. Hopefully Labor and the 21st century will meet up sometime soon.

  2. “Don” lives three houses down from me. “racist overtones”? I can’t think about what that would have been, other than something directed towards his Asian wife.

    My father–roughly the same age as him–used to jog up and down the suburbs around here with him every morning. (until both grew lazy, stopped exercising, and grew fat)

    Don regretted even attempting to enter parliament so early and held off another go because he wanted to watch his three daughters grow up. The last one is around seventeen now so he’s finally having a go. Makes sense.

  3. I don’t have any of Michael’s local or personal knowledge, but my recollection is that the 1988 Adelaide by-election was notable for a scare campaign over timed local phone calls. That particular kite’s failure to fly, led to the the idea being dropped like the proverbial hot spud, ironic considering the extent of timed calls through mobiles these days.

  4. Don Farrell, the powerful state secretary of the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association.

    Might be a powerful faction but what a p*** w*** union. This really is a job for the boys. The union cant even look after their members how the hell can its leader look after the voters . What a joke !

  5. Sam: That is why an ALP victory now would be a bad thing – it hasn’t adapted to changed times like British Labour did.

  6. But we’re all workers, aren’t we Gary? Arguably, then, that means the return of a coalition government is bad thing for all of us (hmm, another thing for JWH to ponder when he sits down with Janette to discuss his political woes).

  7. Family First has announced its endorsement of Tony Bates for the number 1 Senate spot in SA. He is an executive manager from General Motors and has been in and around the scene as a voluntary community worker and a TTG counsellor. He was the running mate for Adrea Mason’s almost successful bid in 2004, and polled exceptionally well as the FFP candidate for Little Para in the SA State election.

    It sounds as though the social conservative views of Don Farrell may resonate with Tony, who also has a good understanding of manufacturing unions.

  8. The FF vote will rise–inevitably–but its chances of getting a seat in SA depend on how much the ALP vote also does.

    I think SA is the only state where FF (as a minor party) pars with the Greens.

    So it’s really going to be an interesting contest!

  9. Good point Stewart.. But what the Coalition Government is doing is taking us back One Hundred Years.. At the moment it is the wages and conditions of the poorest workers who are affected but slowly it will work its’ way up the chain and affect professionals such as Nurses and Teachers…
    It is about redistributing income from workers to owners.. And when you say how bad do workers have it I ask one question how much is a person worth? Thus the over 50 million a year Mr Fletcher at Coles gets or the over 30 million Mr Moss gets at Macquarie Bank.. it is absurdly gross and it is workers who give these people their wages… So Stewart if your comment is in reference to comparisions with other countries fair enough but do want to outbid India and China and have more multi millionaires and more people living in the street?
    I ask why do Tooraks and the Double Bays’ of this world have employers and multi million homes living in them and the Footscrays and Marrickvilles generally consist of working people.. who give these people their salaries is this fair?

  10. Mark, Please leave postcode’s out of this debate!

    The reason I make that comment is pure and simple, the Howard Government is in real danger of losing seats to the ALP that contain a large number of these higher income groups, so if you wish to see that happen leave class based envy at the door.

    Lets take a seat like Higgins (Toorak) on paper a very rich seat, but dig a little deeper and there is no shortage of people on $30,000 – $60,000 these people have difficulty with property prices, and are exposed to the nasty parts of Workchoices.

    While I’m not tipping Higgins as an ALP gain, but a swing against Costello if the ALP stick to the issue of what Workchoices could do to incomes, along with Howards other policy errors.

    Howard would want the ALP to repeat the Latham mistake of “US” against “THEM”

    I read a poll which found the higher the income, the more against workchoices, which was interesting but not totally a surprise.

    For the ALP to obtain 57% TPP you will win seats you’re never won before nor dreamed of winning, but that went for Carr, Beattie and Bracks, and I will repeat what I’ve written many times before the biggest critices of Workchoices that I know all live in seats like Goldstein, Higgins, Kooyong (opps Howard)

  11. I think we also need to remember that Howards problems have been building overtime, the Voters have been sitting there waiting for the ALP to get its act together which they have done under Rudd, sure there are some areas that need attention, but nothing is perfect.

  12. Labor will win three seats in both NSW and SA so Stephens and Kirk will both be OK.

    Bill when will you stop bagging the SDA? They are not pissweak, they work hard for their members. They are not militant as amateur bolsheviks like you would like, but that’s because their members are not wharfies but mostly white-collar women in precarious employment in low-skill jobs.

  13. david charles Says: ” Arguably, then, that means the return of a coalition government is bad thing for all of us.” Actually David I don’t really believe it is bad for all workers and should have chosen my words more carefully. What I do believe is that the average person is more inclined to associate with the possibility of losing wages and conditions under these law (and Howard, by his backflip, has acknowledged this possibilty) than the possibility of becoming one of the beneficiaries of them. Rightly or wrongly I think that is why these laws are unpopular and why they will not be popular 6 months down the track.

  14. Adam, how can you say that when the SDA seeks to limit women’s rights and votes against gay equality that they are working hard for their members? The SDA deserves the flak it gets.

  15. True, I just don’t see the relevance of messing around on RU486 and same-sex registries with working hard for your members. If I were an SDA member, I’d be outraged my union dollars were being spent this way. Btw, lots of gays in retail… so could be quite contradictory.

  16. I didn’t entirely agree, there was a caveat. In any case, I was only asking a question relating to an ongoing dispute between Adam and Bill….

  17. My recollection squares with Peter Fuller – the issue was timed local calls and the libs made a big running on it. The ALP lost the by-election and timed local calls were off the agenda and Labor then won the seat back in 1990 (before losing it in 1993 I think).

  18. Did anyone see Hockey on Lateline last night? Not one of his finest performances I thought. Am I being too harsh?

  19. There certainly are lots of gays in retail! Makes the SDA’s position on registers for same-sex relationships interesting.

  20. As another of the Greens on this list, I find it equally fascinating that Galaxy should have Greens “steady on 9%” while Newspoll has Greens on 4%. This places it at the edge of margin of error. My question is then – what’s creating this disparity? Is there an inbuilt bias in the polls (question structure, calling time differences), or is there something else going. I also note that Morgan splits the difference with Greens on 7%. If the ALP does have to rely on preferences this could be important. But then maybe they wont…

  21. Yes, I thought Hockey was just awful. It seems pretty clear to me that he doesn’t really buy into the policy that he has been charged to sell, and it shows. I must say, I had my doubts when Howard first appointed him to IR, back in January. Yes, he has an “avuncular” and good guy persona, but he’s pretty lazy and rarely seems on top of his brief. Last night was the third or fourth interview over the last month or so where it’s looked like he isn’t really on top of the portfolio he’s meant to be running.

  22. stewart:

    There are a number of theories behind the Greens polling disparity.

    Theory 1 – Newspoll don’t provide a list of parties to vote for, you’ve got to make up your own (is this right?), this lowers the minor party vote. Morgan provides a list to people which increases it, because people hear the name ‘Green’.

    Theory 2 – People in country/rural areas don’t get polled as often for obvious reasons, especially by morgan’s in-person technique. Also there are working/business people who aren’t at home to be polled. This means some demographic groups are under-represented and some over-represented in their samples. All polling companies deal with this using a formula to adjust their numbers to match the demographics of the actual population. Their formulas are different, so their results are different.
    Newspoll’s formula pushes the Greens vote down. Who knows why – the formulas are secret.

    Theory 3 – A mixture of the above.

    I think the Greens will get more than 4%, so don’t get stressed, however I’d brace myself for a disappointing election if I was a greens supporter ie only Bob Brown re-elected and the loss of Kerry Nettle. Everyone can smell Howard blood so disillusioned labor lefties have stopped deserting ship to the greens, plus the Climate Change issue is being championed by everyone now so the environmental vote is being diluted by the extra competition.

  23. Mr Hockey definitely seemed slightly out of his depth, however, lets not forget the ‘quality’ that sits on the crossbenches:

    – The Shadow Treasurer’s (Mr Swan) performances have been inept to say the very least,
    – Ms Gillard has proven once again that she is a liability,
    – The Shadow Health Spokesperson, Ms Roxon seems to have gone MIA
    .. and well Mr Albanese is painful in so many respects..

    The only talent I see on the ALP front bench, aside from the leader, is Lindsay Tanner. Why he is not the Shadow Treasurer I’ll never know. He has a good grasp of his role, is a competent, straight-foward talker and whilst confident, doesn’t display arrogance..

  24. Stewart – I’ll concede Swan has his moments, however I do not accept Gillard is a liability. She has consistently won debates against Hockey and I believe she is reasonably popular in the community. I’ve heard Roxon a number of times on radio debating Robert Doyle and she is impressive. Albanese is nothing special but I don’t think he is a negative. I like Tanner and tend to agree with you. Where are the coalition henchmen? Boy, have they gone missing in action. It couldn’t be because they are as popular as you – know – what in a swimming pool could it?

  25. Most probably, however I have a belief that the Coalition ministers in particular, are keeping a fairly average profile until closer to the election. Polls aside, it still a competitive team, and it will be very interesting in the lead up to the campaign proper how they handle themselves.

  26. I doubt the relavence of the speculation about Rudd & RU486 for Kirk’s fate, the Right have one Senate place so if Farrell wants to enter politics she has to go. Kirk is a former SDA industrial officer anyway. I am sure that retail workers are better off because they are on EBAs negotiated by the SDA rather than AWAs, but the SDA leadership’s weird moral poses are an embarassment, like how the AWU clung to White Australia for so long.

  27. Swan is not so much inept or hopeless but kind of weak or soft when debating.. Sometimes it seems to not have a grasp of issues… I thought on Budget night he was awful.. agreeing with everything that the Coalition had done in the Budget.. especially on Education. Their is only one person i like and that is Gillard she comes across as honest, compassionate and visionary someone who knows how to structure policies and put together ideas.. Tanner to me is smart and well spoken but i don’t know if he has any ideas or has gone out and developed policy alternatives..
    i also loved Carmen and Duncan Kerr but unfortunately they are going.. but at least spoke their mind and did not get lost in the mumbo jumbo of using politics as spin and form judgements.. Albanese does this all time and Macklin how she was deputy for so long amazes me.. it must have been the money as to why she liked the spot so much.. other than that she contributed nothing.
    Roxen she is another who like Albanese puts the faction first before people and policy.. Roxen may speak well but at the end of the day she is in for the faction and number crunching..
    Oh the worst person has to be Conroy.. looks like someone you kind trust and really that is the type of individual he is..

  28. Polls are stupid for measuring the Greens because the Greens support widely varies across the electorates… their support is mainly concentrated in two places: the inner city and the rich suburbs. Support for Liberal and Labor is, on the whole, much less concentrated.

    I’d say their support would stay where it always has been… just under 10%.

  29. Adam said: They are not militant as amateur bolsheviks like you would like,

    Adam where do you get the idea that i am a communist? Militant Unionist Yes but i cant see where i have actually stated that i am a communist.

  30. Arrogant and downright nasty. Howards gettin all angry looking lately. Then we have the no AWAs some AWAs Rudd merry go round. The Democrats wanting AWAs ( very strange as i thought they where moving left) Rudds no show at the CFMEU national conference. The strange rush by both Rudd and Howie to meet the Dalia Lama and as usual no mention of the Greens in the Australian

  31. Oh and Adam what Union is the biggest motivator and contributor to the YR@W campaign??? The campaign that will win the election for Rudd if he stays on track.

  32. I recall some comments that 5% of Australians were bludgers and leeches – this 5% partly comprised of CEOs of multinational companies. No evidence for this at all, though.

    Continually writing comments on this website will barely help the Greens in Kingston. I think that it’s not a very productive activity, electorally speaking.

  33. I note they have taken the “Choices” out of “WorkChoices” – honesty in advertising I guess. Will this have any effect in gaining the government votes? No.

  34. I think the government are finally waking up that their Workchoices is “a bridge too far” for the average voter. What next can they jettison from it?

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