Newspoll part two

The Australian today brings us a second round of figures from the weekend Newspoll survey. It shows that in spite of everything, the Prime Minister is rated the leader “more capable of handling Australia’s economy” by 48 per cent to Kevin Rudd’s 33 per cent, while Peter Costello leads Wayne Swan as “most capable of managing Australia’s economy as federal treasurer” by 53 per cent to 21 per cent. The Prime Minister is also rated the leader “most capable of keeping interest rates lower”, although his lead over Rudd has narrowed since last month.

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.

693 comments on “Newspoll part two”

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  1. By health economists, the State premiers and Rudd – with the quite good arguments that were given wide coverage on the news and on Lateline and the 7.30 report;

    1. it is an old idea, has already been tried and created a mess
    2. it won’t add another bed
    3. it adds another layer of bureaucracy – Fed, State and Local
    4. that what really is needed is more funds

    These arguments being intuitive as they are would have been picked up by many of the general public.

    The AMA supported it publicly is true and they have the habit of supporting anything the LNP say.

    Far as I can see it didn’t turn out to be much of a positive, especially when it comes sometime after Labor’s effort.

  2. 596
    Howard Hater Says:

    Labor will be doing well to get 80 seats:

    That only pushes the swing labors way as far as things are now pushed towards the Liberals. A sound principle to follow but it is not what the polls are saying. Your predicting a narrowing.

  3. Kina… it depends on what the point of the whole exercise was. I imagine that it wasn’t so much an excercise of policy from the Federal Government but more of an exercise in pointing out that the Labor States are unable to manage Health, and particularly health finances. What’s really at play in this case is whether people trust Labor with wall to wall power in relation to Health.

    The AMA do not always support what the LNP suggest. It may appear so to someone as partisan as you, but if you step back a bit you’ll see it’s not true.

    In this case I think Rudd’s hands are tied a bit, because although to a lot of people what is obvious is that the Commonwealth have failed to provide enough doctors/nurses/health professionals for hospitals (you only need to look at the Haneef case for more examples of how bad off we are in this regard) he has himself said he wants to end the blame game. This means in any case of States v Commonwealth, to take one side over the other is taking part in the blame game and an example of hypocrisy.

    In any event, I think it’s a complete non-issue. It’s a state issue, and if the Liberal Party wants to argue the Federal Government has no responsibility for the state of hospitals then rationally it makes no sense to say we should not elect Labor federally on this issue. It’s either the Commonwealth owes some responsibility, in which case they are partially to blame for the so-called poor state of hosptials, or they have no responsibility and we shouldn’t hesitate to vote Labor federally.

  4. I just read the transcript of the 7:30 report interview with the Minister for Turd Polishing.

    What a goose – why doesn’t he try basic logic for a change?


    If Labor want to end the government’s senate majority as soon as possible, why don’t they put the Green candidate at the top of their senate tickets for N.T. and the A.C.T.

  6. Showson… possibly because they want their own candidate to be elected?

    If a Greens candidate is elected along with the Liberal/CLP candidates then it makes no difference. What’s needed is for the Greens to win the seats over the Lib/CLP candidate.

    In this case, the most important thing will be getting the Lib/CLP primary vote significantly below a quota for preferences to even signifcantly come into play. This won’t happen in the NT and will probably not happen in the ACT (although more likely).

    A more interesting suggestion would be for all the minor parties to band together in this Senate election and agree to preference each other over the ALP and Coalition. Being elected means absolutely nothing if one of the majors has a majority in the chamber so they should bury the hatchet against each other for the sake of democracy. Is this going to happen? Not a chance…

  7. 608
    Call the election please Says:

    A more interesting suggestion would be for all the minor parties to band together in this Senate election and agree to preference each other over the ALP and Coalition.

    And Green and Democrat voters shouldn’t get upset if this happens, however the should vote below the line and put family first a little lower.

  8. Until such time that the powers that be realise that the problem with the health system is not who is running it but the lack of resources there will be no improvement in our public hospitals.

    This lack of resources is not only money but includes such things as nurses and doctors. Without these resources, no matter how many buildings or beds are “opened”, there will be no improvement. No matter how many beds you have unless you have the nurses and doctors to attend to those in those beds then you might as well give out ice creams to help sick people.

    A lot of the comments on health seem to assume the Federal Government’s policy for Hospital Boards is something new. However this is a system that was tried before and failed. My wife, who is a nurse, did her training under that system over 30 years ago.

    I had cause to attend an emergency department of a major metropolitan hospital (Sydney) recently. I was lucky in that I was attended to immediately as there was no one else waiting. However after my wife parked our car and got back to the waiting room it was full (I mean it was standing room only). The staff were working their ring off and there was no such thing was walking around – running was the normal speed. When I asked they said it was not “extremely busy”!!!!

    It takes a lot of money to train and keep staff like this and to think that somehow it can be improved by “paying” for Hospital Boards is a sign of either ignorance or a deliberate attempt to mislead.

    Our health system needs a massive and continual input of both money and skilled staff. Anything else is just bulldust.

  9. Regarding Rudd’s comments on Iran… apparently they appeared in the Australian/Israel Review, so were obviously targeting the Jewish vote. Still a silly thing to say though IMO.

  10. Rudd has been quite good on the health issue of late. Abbott’s reponse was to start blaming people on the day the bad story broke sounding every bit cynical. As the issue developed in the media Rudd went on a hospital tour – showing a positive proactive response – continuing to really own the issue.

    Abbott tried to reclaim some of it but I believe it probably failed to win to many hearts given the logical nature of the criticisms.

    The same again today, Labor bought forward their additional health policy to match the Govts. This keeps the Govt from getting too much clean air in which to promote themselves. A smother tactic stopping Abbott etc getting a kick to their forward lines. :]

    Labor has to keep the Govt getting too much clean air and need to stay positive and avoid too much of the negative tactics.

  11. Nah. Rudd’s setting himself up to contrast with the US (and therefore Howard’s) idea to bomb the shit out of them. It’s a smart move, it points back at the UN as the appropriate body to deal with Iran, rather than the Pentagon.
    Nothing at all to do with the Jewish vote

  12. Several people have argued that Rudd has erred in calling for Ahmedinejad to be put before the ICC (and I’m not talking about the cricket ICC, a body with even less clout….). I’m not so sure it was a mistake. What Rudd is doing is contrasting the ALP way of dealing international crises (using multi-national, not warring processes) with that of the government (sending the bombers in). By arguing this, he is distancing Labor from any further military misadventures/ disasters, but still demonstrating that Australia can be ardline against Iran without going to war.

    Of course, it’s just talk – Ahmedinejad will never appear before the ICC – but it’s a comment not really aimed at Iran anyway.

  13. Nothing at all to do with the Jewish vote

    I disagree, given the context of where his remarks appeared. Keep in mind there’s a significant Jewish community in Wentworth, which would generally be pleased to hear Rudd say this sort of thing.

    But you may be right about the UN also being a factor.

  14. I still think the whole Ahmedinejad thing is an incredibly dumb idea. I have no problem with the Government of Israel trying to charge Ahmedinejad and the Australian government supporting them in that endeavour but for Australia to go front and centre is idiotic. We need to get away from this Deputy Sherriff mentality where we roam the world looking for bad guys to pick fights with. We are not a Super Power and should not pretend we are. Ahmedinejad probably doesn’t even know who Rudd is. The Iranians would hardly be shaking in their boots to hear Rudd is going after their President. Downer already said Australia wasn’t interested in going to war with or attacking Iran and then Rudd comes out and says he wants to arrest their President. What next? Austalia, the International Policeman of Planet Earth. Instead of Deputy Sheriff to the USA, we are now to become the Deputy Sheriff of the UN.

  15. Increase in retail spending double market expectations.

    If this isn’t off-set in other parts of the economy, then that means inflation will increase, and so will interest rates.

    Of course Costello is out there saying inflation is fine:,23636,22524460-31037,00.html

    However, he said that a couple of weeks before the previous inflation announcement as well! Either treasury is giving him bad advice, or he is just making things up as he goes along.

  16. I heard a bunch of health policy experts on Radio national last night. Up shot of their shared conclusions was:

    1. Abbott’s idea is the dumbest they’ve ever heard of
    2. Rudd’s is the 2nd dumbest they’ve ever heard of
    3. What we need is more money (not different management), and more community based services including preventative health to stop the stampede and overload.

  17. I don’t think the detail matters. The average voter thinks Labor will do a better job in health. The average voter will think the government’s plan is similar to Labor’s, but that Labor is better at health.

    The government would be better of spending more time talking about economic policy, of defense and security, and other things that voters think they are good at.

  18. ShowsOn… also in that story:

    “Our internal inflation rate, which we do share with the Reserve Bank, has shown that in July and August we’ve had very low inflation,” he [Woolworths CEO Michael Luscombe] said.

    “In fact less than 2 per cent, so on the basis of food prices at Woolworths, I wouldn’t consider that a rate rise might be likely.”

    Here’s hoping interest rates don’t go up again.

  19. Of course, it’s just talk – Ahmedinejad will never appear before the ICC

    If the ICC had anyone who speaks farsi then a inciting genocide charge would get short shrift. The supposed “wipe [Israel] of the map” statement is a distortion of what he actually said. Yes, the guy is a grade A fruitcake, but probably no more so than Shrub and Cheney.

    If Rudd wants to charge someone with international crimes there are plenty of suspects much closer to home. He probably wouldn’t even need the ICC as some of the crimes are also covered by our federal laws as I’m sure both a former ADF Judge Advocate General, and a former Commonwealth Solicitor General will be delighted to confirm. Heck, they’ll probably offer to run the prosecution for nothing!

    But that won’t happen either because when it really comes down to it no politician wants to limit their future options, even illegal ones.

  20. Adam at 317 you’re absolutely right. The reduction in labour unit costs in real terms was actually the crowning economic acheivement of the Hawke Govt and entirely appropriae in the macro-economic circumstances.

    I’ve said it before but Glen would benefit from cracking open an HSC economics textbook

  21. 621
    ShowsOn Says:
    October 3rd, 2007 at 2:57 pm
    I don’t think the detail matters. The average voter thinks Labor will do a better job in health.

    Yes, Labor OWNS this issue, always has. The more health stays in the forefront of the media and current events, the better off Labor is. Because Labor owns the issue, whenever the Libs talk about it, it only reminds voters that Labors plans are better. It is the same dynamic as what is operating with Work Choices but on a milder level.

  22. Glen, of course. However, the issue raised here is not the policy itself but the election. We are (called or not) in campaign mode, talking about these issues does your side no favours.

  23. Julie: A very shrewd observation. Labor owns health, Work Choices, education, climate change – and, increasingly, leadership. Every time Abbott or Hockey or Bishop or Turnbull talk on these issues they remind voters of Labors values.

  24. Back to the topic (these threads always go astray), interesting strategy by the Australian. If we cant get those dastardly 2PP or PPM figures to go our way, what other questions can be ask to get a good headline for the government? Arent they really worried about looking completely out of touch if/when the election goes Rudd’s way. And when is Rupert going to show his hand, or is he backing the govt (he tends to turn when the political tide does eg. Blair, Clinton)

  25. RGee Medicare Gold didnt do Mark Latham many favours either just another nail in the coffin so i dont think its a complete loss to talk about Health for the Coalition.

  26. In very close seats, the donkey vote is still important. In SA last time, it probably won Hindmarsh for Steve Geoganas and lost Kingston for David Cox. It helped the Liberals in Makin, Wakefield, Boothby and Adelaide but advantaged Labor in Sturt. Who will have the luck of the draw this time?

    Optional preferential voting in Queensland and NSW state elections can lure voters into bad habits for the federal poll. It would seem that informal voting cost Labor victory in Greenway last time and probably didn’t help in a couple of close Queensland seats.

  27. 628
    Glen Says:
    October 3rd, 2007 at 3:38 pm
    Julie just because people trust Labor more on health doesnt mean that Labor’s plans/policies are better than the Coalition’s.

    No, I realize that and I don’t think I said that, if I used those words, I am sorry. However, what I *meant* was that it was the perception that people have that Labor has the edge on Health. That perception has always been the case. I think Possum did a piece awhile back about who owned what issues and I don’t know if you read that piece or not.

    It is a bit like real estate. The one thing about whether or not your property will sell is location, location, location. If you have a good house in a not so good location (traintracks across the street for example), it automatically detracts from what would otherwise be a great place. Same analogy here.

    With this and other issues which Labor owns, all that needs to happen is for people to talk about health and the average voter thinks “right, Labor is good on that”. It is the *perception* and *image* that has built up over the years in the electorate. It isn’t for me to say what the facts are or aren’t behind that perception/image, but nonetheless it exists.

    If Liberal folks disagree with that , they can try to put the arguements out there and change perceptions, but it doesn’t work. It is a vicious circle as the more the Libs talk about health and what is wrong with Labor plans, the more people think about it (refer back to the previous paragraph).

    Oh, and go back to reread that story about the issues owned by which party too, I’m pretty sure it is somewhere on Possum’s site. If it isn’t, perhaps someone who knows of the article that I am speaking of can repost a link to it.

  28. [We are not a Super Power and should not pretend we are]

    I agree, however Howard has made this his cornerstone, so for Rudd to do anything similar (although I would hardly compare suggesting the Iranian president be charged with genocide is in the same ballpark as co-invading Iraq without UN approval) is not going to make Rudd look at all bad when Howard has already paved the way in spades.

  29. As predicted, Chaser trial has been adjourned till December, no doubgt saving Howard from any poll embarrasment.

    [MEMBERS of the ABC satirical TV show The Chaser’s War on Everything will not face court tomorrow as expected, with the case adjourned until December.

    Ten men and one woman, aged between 25 and 47, were charged with entering a restricted area without justification after breaching the multimillion-dollar APEC security operation on September 6 by driving a fake motorcade through security checkpoints.

    The convoy of three black cars, decked out to resemble an official Canadian motorcade, came within metres of the Sydney hotel where US President George W. Bush stayed.

    Among those arrested was Chas Licciardello, who sat in the back of one of the cars dressed as Osama bin Laden. ],21598,22524633-5005361,00.html

  30. 638
    Bobby Horry Says:
    October 3rd, 2007 at 4:17 pm
    Looks like Howard is back to his old tricks again –,23600,22524310-2,00.html

    Some of the user comments on that story are sickening.


    Howard will get his on election day, no worries there. Yes, some comments are really bad. You would be surprised though at the attitudes of some people out there. Even people you think you know. I play lawn bowls. I have been at the club now for a year. One lady in particular I have always thought was really nice. The topic of conversation turned to immigrants one day recently and I simply couldn’t believe what I was hearing out of her mouth. (comments not dissimilar to some on that story). I thought prudence was the better way to go and not ruin an otherwise good friendship by calling her out on it. I will never look at her the same way again though. Howard can’t have it both ways on immigration. He has put middle eastern and other refugees into detention camps, yet in this story they are the supposed “new refugee wave” to take over the numbers of Africans that they are refusing now. Well what is it? As I said at the top of the paragraph, the piper will be paid next month :):):). I have no doubt that a Labor government will fix up this mess pretty quickly.

  31. I have no doubt that a Labor government will fix up this mess pretty quickly.

    I hold no such optimism. The ALP’s history on refugee processing is hardly what I’d call glorious.

  32. I don’t see why its racist to take people from particular countries instead of others and if Australia has fulfilled its quotas why should we burden ourselves with more refugees when we have enough problems in the country to fix…and money that needs to be spent on our own struggling members of society…Australia’s immigration was fine up until 1972 we brought in some wonderful people many of whom assimilated but since then things got a little out of hand hence why we changed the name to Immigration and Citizenship…

    Julie you’d be surprise at how many people would support strict immigration controls even more than my beliefs…

  33. 638
    Bobby Horry Says:
    October 3rd, 2007 at 4:17 pm
    Looks like Howard is back to his old tricks again –,23600,22524310-2,00.html

    Some of the user comments on that story are sickening.

    It is interesting to see that the sick comments come from Howard supporters who are hoping he will use full blown racism as an election issue. They see this as their last hope.

    Frankly it is a minor issue in the scheme of things and probably Labor will play it quietly to ensure they get through the election and, can then really address the refugee issues without the concern of wedge politics.

    I would be surprised if the issue of racism and xenophobia hasn’t been dealt with by Rudd’s strategists – knowing that Howard would most certainly try and play the race card.

  34. This is not an election issue Kina its a matter of policy and a good one at that…unless you are prepared to call the Japanese racist for their immigration policy (Japan for the Japanese) i would refrain from calling Howard a racist over this…it is just a beat up by the tabloids…

  35. I will be interested to hear how The Australian deals with this. Previously they have hated Andrews intensley and done all that they can to get him sacked without missing an opportunity. This is another prime opportunity to go him again.

    If they let him go free on this one you can be sure it means they have decided to go into ‘support Howard’ mode for this election.

  36. Julie (640) – you should say something to your lawn bowls companion next time the opportunity rises. I’m always quiet shocked when racists just assume that everyone agrees with them, like their views are nothing more than reasonable. However, they only think that because no one says anything. So pull her up on it, Julie – at least she’ll think twice before mouthing off in front of you again.

    To be fair to that article (638) though, there were a heartening amount of non-racists contributing. This gives me hope that 2001 was the low point of the racist backlash, and that JWH’s latest foray into race politics might not be as effective as it was six years, recalcitrant One Nation voters notwithstanding.

  37. 642
    Glen Says:
    October 3rd, 2007 at 4:40 pm Julie you’d be surprise at how many people would support strict immigration controls even more than my beliefs…

    No, I wouldn’t be surprised at all. One of the multiple reasons we need to ditch the current government. Leadership starts at the top and true leaders lead by example (take a sports analogy, Ricky Ponting for example).

    Howard has not set a good example with immigration over the years which is why people parrot his views (your point – people want stricter immigration controls – they are just parroting the PM’s views).

    If we have a good strong Labor government in who sets sensible, compassionate immigration policy and fixes the Pacific solution mess, we will have society turning their views in time to follow the new leadership. You will find a totally different perception [enough people over the whole country will change their views] on immigration in the equivelent 11 years time.

  38. Rudd may be a star diplomat, but he fails Legal Process 101. You can’t be guilty of genocide merely by spouting an anti-Israel ideology, however ugly that may be.

    The UN Convention on Genocide only applies to ACTS of genocide, at a minimum a conspiracy to commit genocide or incitement of it. Rudd talks about an incitement charge. Ahmedinajad (and others) is inciting something, including anti-Semitism. But it has to be incitement to others to kill the Jewish people in whole or part.

    I don’t mind him using law talk rhetorically against such miscreants. What worries me more is the kind of disavowal of legal process/civil liberties he showed in say the Haneef matter.

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