Steady as she goes

Roy Morgan has released results from a face-to-face survey of 1723 respondents conducted over the past two weekends, which has Labor’s primary vote down from 51 per cent to 48 per cent from the previous such poll a fortnight ago (which had only 909 respondents) and the Coalition’s down from 38 per cent to 37 per cent. Labor’s two-party lead has increased from 58-42 to 58.5-41.5 based on how respondents said they would vote; on the basis of how preferences went in 2004, it has narrowed from 58-42 to 57.5-42.5. The face-to-face results are distinct from the two smaller-sample telephone surveys conducted by Morgan in the interim, both of which had Labor leading 55-45.

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.

154 comments on “Steady as she goes”

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  1. Strop said:
    I note Mr. Speakers claims that none of these 3 MPs will be charged over the affair- You may have to good oil on this one Mr Speaker.

    And maybe I don’t. If they were definitely going to be cleared they would have been already.

    I notice Andrew Landeryou was also reporting the same thing.

    However, as I said, keep an eye on Lib director Geoff Greene.

  2. The prosecution of Greene would be unpleasant for Howard but no more. State Directors are not his direct resposnibility and can be cut loose in need be. The prosecution of Hardgrave and/or Laming would be a disaster – resignations and by-elections in the worst possible circumstances.

  3. Greene is as much of Howard as anyone. His prosecution will be a disaster. Remember he was also Howard’s choice to run the “No Case” in South Australia in 1999 and was rewarded with hospitality at Kirribilli. I fear this is the begining of the end. Rudd is Australia’s Blair. Conservatives should prepare themselves for a long period in the wilderness. Page 31 of Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald is proof enough of that.

  4. If it goes to court then it will be interesting to see the documents and hear the evidence and testimony and cross-examination. Who know where the links might lead! All the way to Canberra? Where did they get the idea, who els is doing it. There will be a million journalist at the show if it happens.

    If they get charged it might be safer for the Govt if they plead guilty.

  5. The Parliament doesn’t actually expire until next February, so if there was a death or resignation now, there would have to be a by-election. There was a Flinders by-election in December 1982, you will recall, only a few months before the 1983 election. But if there were two resignations, say, next month, Howard might be tempted to throw in the towel and dissolve at once.

  6. Does anyone have stats on Morgan when it was the Gallup poll, and the only real poll in town? My family took the Bulletin when I was a kid, and I don’t recall there being comment back then that face-to-face polling routinely overstated Labor’s vote as against actual election results. Has something changed in the nature of people’s willingness to admit to voting conservative since then?

    On the ‘Crusade’ (The Australian’s term) the PM at a minimum will win back some of his manna. Forget that it owes nothing to his disinterest in indigenous affairs, and everything to a rather zealous Minister. With Rudd cornering himself by a sanctimony towards union officials, Howard looks decisive etc and the more people point out his plans are very racially discriminatory, the more he will reap political benefit.

    The Feds of course have and always have had the power to do what they like in/to indigenous communities: under the ‘races’ and territories powers. Yet the PM keeps saying he doesn’t have the power in the States: this is either pragmatic (there are consequences for white communities/businesses integrated with black communities in the states) or pure politics (he wants a few weeks to berate the States, then he will use the ‘races’ power to take over).

    The issue has already been sown in its essence of one of a fight against ‘paedophilia’. A moral of all this is you can vilify indigenous peoples/communities as much as you like in Australia.

  7. I think the Government will lose Bonner and Moreton, regardless of whether or not Vasta and Hargrave are cleared of possible wrongdoing.
    Bowman has a much bigger margin, although it’s probably a rather inflated one, due to Latham’s poor performance in 2004.
    On another matter: the preselection for Cook has been delayed, because of action in the N.S.W Supreme Court. This is turning into a very nasty Liberal faction fight.

  8. Section 28 of the Constitution says “Every House of Representatives shall continue for three years from the first meeting of the House, and no longer, but may be sooner dissolved by the Governor-General”.

    This means that the House automatically dissolves on 15 November 2007.

  9. The Government are pumping the ’emergency’ for all its worth. e.g. Abbott will have crack medical teams in the NT next week – if you believe this is going to happen, I have a bridge to sell you. However, looking at the most popular articles on the Fairfax site, I don’t think it has traction – I will be surprised if it still in the headlines at the end of the week.

  10. Funny how The Stolen Generations report was lambasted for relying on untested oral testimony, but the Sacred Children report is not. Either we’ve learnt a lesson, else the political imperative has been inverted.

  11. What I would like to see is when the Rudd’s ALP win the election that he could appoint Brough as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
    As he has done all the hard yards and has been out there in the communities, unfortunately (until now within 6 months from an election)) has been hampered by ideology.

  12. Several folk comment above that there are no votes in indigenous affairs.

    Tell that to Pauline Hanson…

    Yes, no mileage in difficult, constructive policy.

    That’s why the Feds’ response had to be framed as one of ‘discipline’.

  13. Adam Says …

    “The Parliament doesn’t actually expire until next February, so if there was a death or resignation now, there would have to be a by-election. There was a Flinders by-election in December 1982, you will recall, only a few months before the 1983 election. But if there were two resignations, say, next month, Howard might be tempted to throw in the towel and dissolve at once.”

    In 2001 Peter Nugent died on 24th April and the by-election for Aston was held on 14th July, a timeframe of almost 3 months. If the MPs from Moreton or Bowman were charged by police would the MPs concerned resign? They are presumed to be innocent unless they plea otherwise.

    If they resigned their could resignations involve:

    1. Resignation from parliament, or
    2. Resignation from the Liberal party but not from parliament.

    If something happened next month (July) and they resigned from parliament Howard could stretch any by-election out until early October. By then the election will have been called. In both by-elections the Liberals would probably suffer a reasonable swing and would be in grave danger of losing both.

    There will be no by-election before the next general election.

  14. I’m yet to be convinced there are votes in this NT intiative for Howard. Most people, including the opposition think it is a good idea and will now want the government to just get on with it and stop talking about it. I’m happy with it but I don’t want it filling up my papers and TV news every night. I really think it has as much interest and relevance to the average voting Australian as the productivity debate.
    As for Pauline Hanson, where is she now? It got her a long way.
    Does it really ring true to you that people wanting to see Howard go for various reasons will see this happening and think “Oh good, Howard is going to try and do something about the problems in NT. I will vote for him now. All is forgiven.” Sounds silly doesn’t it, particularly when they ask the question “Why didn’t you do this years ago instead of just before an election where you find yourself in trouble?” Mr Clever at work again.

  15. Politicians don’t seem to get the benefit of any “presumption of innocence.” If they are charged with anything more serious than a traffic offence, they have to resign at once. This might be called the “Orkopoulos standard.” If Hardgrave and Laming were charged with corrupt practices, they would have to quit.

  16. Adam, I don’t know about federally but you may not sit in Victorian Parliament if you are facing charges for a criminal offence that carries a potential penalty of more than one year. A conviction itself is not required to force MPs to resign.

  17. I agree that there would be pressure for them to go, especially with the election so close. But would they?

    The MP for Moreton has been particularly vociferous in proclaiming his innocence. I don’t reckon he’d resign if he believed in his own innocence.

    He would be aware his political career was over anyway. Resignation is virtually a concession of some sort of guilt, or at the least, of very tricky and dubious behaviour.

  18. My feeling is that if Howard went to an election with Vasta et al charged and not appearing to be ‘punished’ by JWH, he would be looking like a very weak and indecisive leader and it would cost the libs big time. It may not be as bad if only the state director is charged because, as Adam says, he can be cut adrift – will still cost votes though. Reason for a quick poll?

  19. Parliament expires in November, Adam. Though the election can be held as late as January. (research note here)

    I was thinking of a different precedent. Phil Cleary’s by-election win was declared void on 8 December 1992. The seat remained vacant until the general election on 13 March 1993.

    Only in retrospect was the Flinders by-election “only a few months before” the 1983 general election. Fraser went to the polls early that year.

  20. Reason for a quick by-election or 2 if you ask me- but bad enough for JWH to take a visit to the GG and go to the polls ‘early’ ? I would have thought Mr Clever (JWH) is still feeling about in his hat for the elusive rabbit and his minders will be saying going to the polls earlier than expected (October-November) would be suicide. Please JWH, go for it !!

  21. Neil –If JHW wanted to look good with the electorate he would sack Laming and Hardgrave before they had a chance to resign or demand their resignations, whatever his option (?) is, the moment they are officially charged by the Commonwealth DPP. There goes at least 3 QLD seats for the Coalition (a by-election in gives Labor 2 bites at that seat in one election period). Wleg up for Mr nine lives, Kevin Rudd.

  22. In regard to Muskiemp’s comment (at 11am-ish):

    So. OK. Just for a minute I’m taking the possibility of a minister drawn from the ranks of opposition seriously. We’ve seen it, albeit in a “different democracy, with GWB’s appointment of Norman Mineta, and presumably it’s happened at other times with other governments. Is there a precedent in Australia for this sort of arrangement? Is it a sensible idea? Can it happen?

  23. Am I the only one who finds a delicious irony in the fact that the PM calls on the Country to address indiginous issues in the week that Alex Hawke is quoted as denying the Stolen Generation? The Libs can’t think we seriously believe that they care about the blacks?

  24. Is there not some effect on superannuation entitlements for Members who are found guilty of a criminal offence? I was of the opinion that there is and so members tend to resign rather than wait to be expelled.

  25. Quiz question: I came to Australia as a Baptist missionary, was a founding member of the Communist Party, Secretary of the Sydney Trades Hall, and a federal Labor MP, and finished my career doing two years for fraud. Who was I?

  26. Yes. He was very young when appointed Speaker in 1883 of the NSW Parliament and it was claimed he made good use of the dining room and its cellar. But I think it was notious drunk AG Taylor who made the claim. Taylor was a bush lawyer who was suspended by Barton from the service of the House, and took his case all the way to the House of Lords, who found Barton had been wrong in his ruling.

  27. As for ‘Lemonade’ Ley, he led the wowser wing of the Progressive and then the Nationalist parties in the NSW Parliament between 1920 and 1925. They claimed Labor was totally in hock to the hotel owners (nothing ever changes in NSW politics) and was a strong advocate of local option prohabition without compensation to licence holders. Hense the nickname lemonade Ley.

  28. Adam,

    Any idea if Kusala Sujatha Fitzroy-Mendis who contested Wentworth in 1984 is male or female?

    That’s not a general knowledge. It’s just one of the ‘unknown gender’ candidates cluttering up my index of women who have contested the NSW Legislative Assembly.

  29. Antony you are barred from these quizzes, ‘cos you know too much.

    I don’t know Fitzroy-Mendis’s gender, but it is strange that there was a sudden spate of Sri Lankans contesting Wentworth in the 1980s – no-one has ever explained why.

    George Warnecke (1983), George Warnecke, Kasula Fitzroy-Mendis and Yvonne Jayawardena (1984), Yvonne Jayawardena (1987)

  30. It would be an interesting question, how many federal MPs have ever been in prison for whatever reason. I can think of four offhand – John Curtin in 1917, briefly, for draft evasion; Garden for fraud; Keith Wright for sex offences; Andrew Theophanous for corruption. Plus of course William H Groom, the only transported convict elected to federal parliament.

    Any others?

  31. Adam, you left out Bob Brown for various forest protests – famously going from Risdon Prison to being sworn into the Tasmanian Parliament on the same day. I believe George Georges also went to jail a few times for holding street marches during the Joh days.

  32. Adam and Antony,

    Being Sri Lankan I thought I might be able to help you… but can’t identify Kusala as a Sri Lankan name. (It’s a budhist term). But Sujatha is a female name.

    How many points do i get?

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