Morgan: 61-39

Nobody believed the size of Labor’s lead in last week’s Morgan poll, but it’s now widened further, from 60.5-39.5 to 61-39. Both parties are down fractionally on the primary vote, Labor from 54 per cent to 53.5 per cent and the Coalition from 36 per cent to 35.5 per cent. For what it’s worth, the balance has gone to the Australian Democrats, up from 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent. This was a face-to-face poll with 894 respondents.

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.

377 comments on “Morgan: 61-39”

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  1. the ALP need to overturn legislation in the Senate, not block it.Labor will be in Government. And FFP won’t help them get there. as i have explained before, the number of votes FFP can/will deliver to Labor are infintesimal and matched by votes they could get from dissaffected Green/Socially Liberal Libs and ex Libs…of which there are many this election.

    workchoices has to be overturned or we are off to a DD.

    37 is an irrelevant number for the Labor Senate number as far as FFP is concerned.

    Labor are purging their left base to the greens in exchange for the moderate Libs.

    The Greens will grow a bit as a result.

    Labor will be dominant but they are going to have to deal with Greens in the Senate , not FFP.

  2. Albert Ross,

    There is no guarantee of “at least 6 Green senators” in a double dissolution, though that result is plausible. There is an extensive discussion of the Senate, including double dissolution possibilities, at so to avoid repetition I refer new posters there.

    The ALP could not regulate WorknotcalledChicesanymore out of practical use because legislation cannot be countermanded by regulation. There may be some room to move, but the abolition of AWAs, the return of collective bargaining and the implementation of the ALP’s list of minimum standards all require a change in the law. The ALP Left has been amazingly accommodating in the watering down of Labor’s IR proposals. I cannot imagine its accepting Labor giving up on the issue just because it lacked a Senate majority.

  3. In this week’s Adelaide Hills Courier, Downer refers to some of his constituents as “Green, lefts and ferals”.

    Nice to know he took Dear Leaders “For All Of Us” rhetoric to heart.

  4. Post 247; Adam, the Democrats have a thorough, democratic (and lengthy) preselection process. So, sorry but you’ll have to wait a little longer for the names of the outstanding Democrats candidates – seriously, some young Democrats candidates are stars by any standards. Look out for Laura Chipp, Tim Wright and Richard Grossi.

    You describe the image of yours truly on the Vic. Democrats website as ‘scary’. Hey, that’s the most flattering photo of me ever taken, so I’m crestfallen. I realise that political animals shouldn’t be precious. The way our party has been treated over recent years we should be thankful that such as esteemed commentator as your good self even noticed. I absolutely love your brilliant website !

    With the Senate polls, Albert Park and the explosion of positive publicity (recent features on the role of the Democrats, Lyn Allison, Ruth Russell, Jenny Williams, young candidates, letters and radio interviews, etc), some experts, notably Nick E., are revising their early predictions about the end of the Democrats.

  5. I’m a rusted on Labor voter, but I was furious that Labor preferenced Family First. So I’ve decided this election I’m putting Green first in the Senate, then I’m preferencing every independent nut-case out there and Labor is just going in front of the Libs. I know quite a few people responding in like manner, so explain to me Adam, how offending your core constituency so deeply, that they’ll never vote for you again is good politics?

  6. Adam and co.
    hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but I am being told constantly that people who are voting Labour (who want Howard out) are voting Greens in the senate because :
    1) they never want to see any party have controkl teh way the libs have
    2) the democrats are dead in the water
    3)climate change, environment, the war, pulp mill, refugees, indiiginous affairs, IR reform etc etc are the domain of the Greens.

    So they want balance in the Senate.

    You guys are too cynical for the average voter

  7. Forgot to mention:
    4) they don’t want an extremist right wing religious group setting the agenda either, so Family First is not an option.

  8. I always vote below the line in the senate in any case. It’s the only way you can guarantee your preferences are allocated the way you want them to be.

  9. Thanks for your views at #334, Chris. I enjoy your posts.

    It’s funny how time seems to heal all wounds. In the 50s and 60s, when I was learning politics, I hated the DLP with a passion. Yet there seems to be a mellowing over time. One of my favourite writers these days is Robert Manne, who was originally part of the Knopfelmacher group.

    And in the years just before his death I heard Santamaria interviewed by Phillip Adams and was surprised how much we had in common, especially a hatred of the Economic Rationalism fad. My view on that has even changed over the last decade. We were wrong, or at best only half right. While it is madness to let the market decide everything, there are limits to what the state can do.

    Striking a balance is the trick, and it does indeed required dedicated political leadership.

  10. Great stuff Liz (at 356) and Jen ( at 357). Denial by Adam about the massive error of the FFP Senate prefs deal in Victoria in 04 is akin to climate change denial.
    A number of Labor Party people have publicly advocated a vote for the Greens in the Senate. John Robertson ( Unions NSW Sec) was even questioned on Meet the Press this morning about the Unions’ attitude – looks like Your Rights at Work Campaign is seriously considering a how-to-vote card advocating at least a second preference for the Greens in the Senate in NSW, though Robbo wouldn’t confirm it.
    And with the Get Up! ad playing and Labor’s decision to back the pulp mill, Greens are in the box seat.
    ALP is not going to get 57% of the vote in the Senate in NSW to get a fourth Senate seat. Quota is about 14% at half-Senate election. Restricting the Coalition to two Senators in NSW from this election will go some part of the way to wresting Senate control from the Coalition in the next Parliament.
    It’s a no brainer in my view – if the Greens get Kerry Nettle back in NSW and win an ACT Senate seat, Rudd Government just about gets its Serf Choices repeal bill through the Senate, as the Government would lose its one seat majority. Don’t hold your breath on a DD either – it’s a pretty risky strategy. Howard only just got away with it in 1998 and next year could see a Rudd Government presiding over a US-led slide into recession.
    If the likes of Malcolm Turnbull are to be defeated, then it will be on Green’s preferences, especially in a seat like Wentworth, which is turning politically greener all the time. The Greens candidate in the State seat of Vaucluse, David Shoebridge, even beat the ALP candidate for second place behind Debnam in the State election!
    I think Rudd’s made a big mistake on the Pulp Mill, out of fear of another ‘Latham’ episode – the pulp mill is not popular with a whole range of groups in the Tamar, not just the Greens e.g. the vignerons, tourist industry. Rudd has nullified any possiblity of ‘soft’ Greens turning to Labor in electorates outside Tasmania and made Garrett look like a hypocrite in the process. But he wants to be a Minister in a Rudd Government, so has to toe the line. What price he won’t be the Environment Minister?

  11. Baz
    been out on the hustings today as Greens senate candidate – I am really surprised at the impact the pulp mill decision is having on both side of politics. I have had so many people pledging to vote for us who are anxious about a change to IR reforms and don’t want labour to get in (small busiiness employers worried about weekend penalty rates etc). Despite the Greens position on tearing up workchoices they are still backing us because of their disgust over the pulp mill. Feels a bit like another Franklin Dam in the making. And this is in a very conservative electorate.

  12. Dear ‘the Chinster’ and ‘Ian’

    Hey, we live in the same area. I too have the Mount Barker Courier as my local paper, notice how here in the last bastillion of the Democrats they managed to get an article devoted to their candidate in the paper . Ian am I right in thinking you are the same Ian who has a letter to the editor this week? Rather a conspicuos last name wouldn’t you think? You don’t have a vested interest in the outcome of the Mayo election do you?

  13. RE: 360 Mr Wigan – that sounds like advocacy of a ‘mixed economy’ with a balance between public and private spending – could any sensible person argue that billowing private expenditure based largely on high personal debt levels and huge mortgages combined with the ‘public squalor’ of running enormous budget surpluses hasn’t left us in a much more vulnerable economic position, with crumbling infrastructure, in spite of 12 years of economic ‘good times’.
    To that extent Costello is correct about the economy being delicately poised, though an absolute smirking bastard about workers rights ( remember Dollar Sweets?). Capt. Smirk must never be rewarded with the PM’s job!

  14. The no. 1 concern for the Greens should be getting their message heard. Alot of people want change and dislike the way things are going on IR, Climate Change, Health, Education, etc. and so vote Labor, assuming they will improve these things when in fact they are more the same as ever. If everyone knew where the various parties stood and how the electoral system works the Greens vote would hit 15-16% or so and if everyone knew how serious an issue climate change is then they’d be in with a shot at government, probably with a conservitive yet environmentalist party in opposition.

  15. If voters knew about the electoral system and cared about “IR, climate change, health, education, etc” I believe the Democrats would outpoll all other parties – particulalrly if voters wanted honesty, compassion and tolerance, cooperation with the properly elected government and balanced objectives including prosperity, an excellent environment, social justice and human rights.

  16. “The no. 1 concern for the Greens should be getting their message heard.”

    Nah, I think it’s finding better candidates than Kerry Nettle. Now if Andrew Wilkie was the #1 candidate in NSW…

    And the Dems – who are they again in NSW? I can understand running a firewall strategy for other states, but it’s not going to make me vote for you.

    The NSW Senate race is an uninspiring one. I might have to resort to the unthinkable…

  17. Paul, it certainly would be a lot higher. I heard Natasha speak the other day and was most impressed and now see the Democrats in a higher light, not high enough to vote for them but perhaps to give them quite a high preference. I think a lot of people, be them Liberal, Labor, or Greens supporters like the Democrats enough to give them 2nd preference but not enough to give them 1st. If for some reason the AEC went silly and decided all 2nd preferences should be counted as 1st preferences and all 1st preferences should be counted as 2nd preferences then the Democrats would clean up! But they wont and the Democrats have too much ugly baggage. Besides a lot of people (though not I) would say ‘I want a small ‘l’ liberal and these days I can sort of find that with Labor so I don’t need the Democrats’. In a way its sad to see you guys go, and go you will.

  18. Molotov (369) – Nettle may well be a “fantastic activist”, but that is not her job – she is a NSW Senator. Your terminology gives an idea of the mistake that many minor party parliamentarians make, which is to continue to behave as an activist (media stunts etc). Nettle’s job, as chosen by the voters of NSW, is to make law in the Senate. Of course, she’s perfectly at liberty to use her high profile position to further her (and the Greens) wider agenda, but that is not why she is there, and I think the general feeling on Senator Nettle is that she has not been an effective parliamentarian – she hasn’t especially left her mark on any given piece of legislation.

    All of this raises the further question of how the Greens might behave were they entrusted with the balance of power after the forthcoming election. Will they assume the mantle of Democrats, and cut deals on legislation, even if the legislation on the whole is something that they are uncomfortable with? Or will they take the “high ground”, and hold the government to ransom, in pursuit of the “perfect outcome”?

    Some confronting decisions ahead for the Greens, methinks.

  19. Bob Brown hinted on lateline a while back that they would rather comprimise with the ALP on IR then see the current laws remain. But I think sometimes you do have to play hardball and if the ALP is seen to be standing in the way of workers rights its not a good look for them. Still I suppose the Media would paint the Greens ‘red’ if they put up too much of a fuss so comprise is probably always going to be the inevitable outcome.

  20. Hugo, at 370, you’ve forgotten, or don’t know, that Senators sit on Senate Committees, particularly the Estimates Committee. John Faulkner is still very useful on that Committee and I understand that M/s Nettle at least asks some questions on such Committees in an attempt to hold the Government to account on administrative issues and on legislation like WorkChoices when she gets a chance – when the Government and Opposition vote together in the Senate of course they render minor party votes irrelevant and can’t do much if the Government, supported by Labor, ‘moves the gag’ to stifle debate.
    The Greens actually seem to believe in ‘gender balance’ in their parliamentary representation. What a novel idea!

  21. Molotov, thank you for your reasonable response. I agree with much of your analysis about the Democrats being a popular second choice.

    Someone astutely refered to the Democrats as the political equivalent of Fitzroy (sorry non AFL enthusiasts) – often a second favourite team, appreciated but not enough to keep them alive, and when its too late, remembered fondly.

    Personally I think it’ll cause irrepairable damage to Australia and the chance of ever having a progressive government should the Democrats be annihilated. It will be an insult to the Democrats who have worked their guts out over thirty years to improve legislation, only to be usurped by door-stop one-liners by other disengaged Senators.

    The pressing question when voting this time is which party is the most suitable to have the Senate balance of power ? Would the Howard Government be so unpopular had reasonable Democrats like Aden Ridgeway been re-elected ?

    The end of the Democrats would represent a success for the powerful media families and gung-ho military interests.

    Regarding NSW, now that the exceptional Peter Andren has withdrawn from the Senate race (every good wish/ thanks to him) check out the NSW Democrats candidate’s You Tube.

  22. Hugo,

    There is no doubt Labor and The Greens should be able to co-operate in the Senate to provide outcomes welcomed by a majority of Australians.

    The Australian voters ARE going to elect a Labor-Greens majority in the Senate to overturn workchoices and deliver intelligent outcomes in the face of Climate Change.

    This co-operative spirit can only be enhanced by mutual preference deals and can only be imperilled by antagonistic stunts like FFP pref deals.

    Greens have advanced a straight prefs swap plan and publically stated they will be realistic and aware of Labor’s electoral mandate.

    Why are Labor still wavering?

  23. “The Australian voters ARE going to elect a Labor-Greens majority in the Senate to overturn workchoices and deliver intelligent outcomes in the face of Climate Change.”

    Barring an astronomical rise in the ALP or Green primary, I don’t think this is likely. In the “most likely to happen” scenario, the ALP wins half the Senate seats on offer (which would be a good effort, though I think the third Tasmanian seat is shaky) and Bob Brown gets re-elected, this still leaves the ALP/Green pair two Senate seats short of a majority. Maybe the ALP could win a fourth Senate seat somewhere (unlikely), or the Greens get a Senate seat off the Liberals (even more unlikely), but I think the likelihood of either of these events happening TWICE is quite low.

    I would like to be wrong. Then again, if the Coalition retains control of the Senate, it is likely we will get to experience the joys of a Double Dissolution election and I wouldn’t want to pass that opportunity up.

  24. KT,

    yes my argument is whether it happens at this election or soon after ,via a DD, there will be a Labor + Green senate because of the absolute mandate of overturning workchoices and the Climate Change imperative.

    The Green senate Primary will grow considerably because of these 2 things.

    Green Liberals and Green Laborites will vote Green in the Senate.

    Also more and more Labor Lefts will vote Green in the Senate led by the Unions.

  25. “Green Liberals and Green Laborites will vote Green in the Senate.”

    I think they already do.

    Barring a more centrist outlook (economically at least), I can’t see the Greens primary senate vote climbing too much higher. I think they have done fairly well for a party who’s wedged themselves into the far left.

    I’m also not quite feeling why an ALP/Green detente is implied to be the natural pairing. While the Greens and the ALP are closer on the climate change and Workchoices at the moment, I am sure the ALP would use the Coalition as a partner in certain policy areas (economy for starters)

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