Road to nowhere

The past few days have seen a lot of discussion in the media about the state of play in all-important Queensland. On Monday, Michael McKenna of The Australian reported that the Liberals’ internal polling was worse in blue-ribbon Ryan than in any other Coalition-held Queensland seat, apart from Bonner. Liberal member Michael Johnson reportedly blames this on the government’s determination to solve western Brisbane’s traffic problems by building the Goodna bypass rather than upgrading the Ipswich Motorway, a decision made with a view to shoring up the Ipswich-based seat of Blair. As Graham Young puts it at Online Opinion: “People in Ipswich refer to the current motorway, which serves as their major link to Brisbane, as a carpark, and people in the western suburbs of Brisbane are happy to live in a quiet cul-de-sac and don’t want another link road with connections to them put through their area”. The Australian report also brings us the surprising news that Liberal polling has Gary Hardgrave leading in Moreton, held on a margin of 2.8 per cent.

Elsewhere, Labor strategists quoted by Dennis Atkins of the Courier-Mail say polling in regional Queensland points to “two party preferred votes north of 55 per cent”. Presumably this refers to the target marginals of Blair (5.7 per cent), Herbert (6.2 per cent), Flynn (7.7 per cent) and Hinkler (8.3 per cent). Also in the Courier-Mail, Madonna King says Liberal insiders “struggle to dispute” Labor talk that Bonner, Moreton, Blair, Herbert, Flynn and even Leichhardt (margin 10.3 per cent) are “in the bag”, although Labor is apparently less confident about Longman and Petrie. King says three-cornered contests in Leichhardt and Flynn are an “electoral gift to Labor”, while Lisa Allen of the Financial Review quotes a Liberal source lamenting the departure of Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch and his “98 per cent name recognition in that electorate”.

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.

378 comments on “Road to nowhere”

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  1. Just because an area gentrifies doen’t mean they vote liberal. From memory the biggest liberals are in southbank. city exec types rather than the middle park area.

  2. Had to larf at Rodent claiming the Mclelland speech was cleared by Rudd’s office.

    How many times has Rodent claimed that didnt mean he’d seen it? At least a dozen.

    After 11 years of BS, its just petard city out there for J Ho.

  3. 252 Nath i live in Melbourne Ports and there are a lot of apartment buildings up St.Kilda Road that fall into the electorate the Liberals probably do very well out of those voters…

    But Melbourne Ports wont fall because whenever the Greens poll 15% and the Labor Party get about 35,000 votes the Liberals struggle even if they are ahead on primaries…

  4. Possum:”We all have our inner bogan, I drive a 350 hrspower Commodore, have a taste for bourbon and often have Appetite for Destruction blaring out – I’m not one to throw nasty stones!”

    That’s it, Poss, I have to withdraw the previous offer of a marriageable daughter or two…

    On ‘When Good Seats Turn Bad – Shocker of the Night’, could we include Mayo pretty please? Isn’t there just a slight chance? It would be like, I mean, whoa, so cool. (To quote the now unobtainable daughters.)

  5. Howard has such an amazingly refined interview technique where he can completely contradict himself within the space of 15 seconds, but no one seems to mind

    HOWARD: “No, that they [The N.S.W. Labor government] are playing politics on this issue between now and the election.”

    LAWS: “Isn’t that dishonest?”

    HOWARD: “… I haven’t come on to sort of run a character ruler over the New South Wales Government.”

    What a master… When he retires he should run a finishing school for aspiring politicians.

  6. Melbourne Ports needs some more Housing Commission towers to stabilise the ALP vote there. Mr Brumby, you know what to do with Fishermans bend.

  7. If we want to discuss Ports seriously – yes the area is gentrifying, but the gentry are if anything more pro-Labor than the old working class was. Southbank is only a small booth. Albert Park and South Melb have got better for the Libs, but St Kilda and Elwood have got steadily worse and are now solid Labor territory. Paradoxically the strong Liberal vote in Caulfield keeps Labor safe from losing the seat to the Greens, since the Greens can’t get ahead of the Libs to get their preferences. So although the Labor margin in Ports has been slowly declining it’s not in any real danger, particularly with Danby’s base in the Jewish vote in Caulfield.

  8. [Howard must have upset Laws somewhere along the line – thats the first proper examination I have heard him give Howard.]

    Howard is down in the polls, so Laws may as well jump on the Labor bandwagon before he retires.

  9. [Howard must have upset Laws somewhere along the line – thats the first proper examination I have heard him give Howard.]

    I wonder if Howard’s Friendship with Alan Jones – who Laws Loathes, has anything to do with it ?:-)

  10. If we want to discuss Ports seriously – yes the area is gentrifying, but the gentry are if anything more pro-Labor than the old working class was. Southbank is only a small booth. Albert Park and South Melb have got better for the Libs, but St Kilda and Elwood have got steadily worse and are now solid Labor territory. Paradoxically the strong Liberal vote in Caulfield keeps Labor safe from losing the seat to the Greens, since the Greens can’t get ahead of the Libs to get their preferences. So although the Labor margin in Ports has been slowly declining it’s not in any real danger, particularly with Danby’s base in the J*wish vote in Caulfield.

    William please stop blocking the word “J*w” it’s most offensive as well as annoying.

  11. I wonder whether the Parliament will increase in size there are some seats with over 90,000 voters that’s alot we could probably increase the size to have 75,000 per seat i dont see how 1 person can really represent almost 100,000 people…

  12. Howard must have upset Laws somewhere along the line – thats the first proper examination I have heard him give Howard.

    Laws had lunch with Rudd a week ago and a picture was captured by an enterprising photographer. I wonder what they were discussing.

    Considering Laws is about to retire maybe he wants to exert political influence one last time.

  13. Yes, Howard is very careful. How often has he committed himself to anything? His MO is to make a strong statement on something, then qualify it in the next breath. If he’s ever challenged, he points to whichever statement turned out to be the winner and that’s what he always meant. A master politician yes, a conviction politician, I’m afraid not.

  14. Adam,

    Ha !!!!

    I read Anthony Green’s profile of Melbourne Ports…he made it sound like the ALP has always held it..perhaps I wasn’t concentrating enough

    I actually did deputy polling officer gigs at Sth Melb town hall for every state/federal election from 86-96, plus I think there was a referendum in there somewhere… so I’ve always kept an eye on it

    From what I can see, ALP have had to rely on preferences for the last two elections to get first past the post. Granted they were S11/tampa followed by L*th*m elections, but the place is changing, my tip is to watch that space

  15. can’t remember gusface but i do see the need for more seats we are what 20m 21m people and to have just 150 seats doesnt seem quite enough 200 seats could probably be better with smaller electorates…i dont know whether it would benefit one side over the other but the fact is 1 person representing 80,000 is bad enough 90,000 and higher is just stupid like Canberra who has 100,000 people in that seat…

  16. I wonder whether the Parliament will increase in size there are some seats with over 90,000 voters that’s alot we could probably increase the size to have 75,000 per seat i dont see how 1 person can really represent almost 100,000 people…

    Good point Glen. However the parliament can only increase in size if:

    1. The Nexus between the Reps and Senate is broken – this is unlikely because it requires a Referendum to pass.

    2. The size of the Senate is increased by an act of parliament. The size of the reps must be approximately twice the size of the Senate. Again this is unlikely to happen, the public would have each state getting an extra couple of Senators. For example, can you imagine Tasmania having 14 Senators?

  17. also glen
    the senate would have to proportionally increase in size

    maybe bipartisanship will prevail-this is not apolitical issue and surely it would add more relevance to individual seat polls in terms of statistical uniformity

    personally 70000 should be max number per seat

  18. {thats the first proper examination I have heard him give Howard.}

    But Kina, Laws let him off the hook on AWB. He absolutely had him on toast there and Howard ducked and Laws let it through to the keeper and let Howard set the agenda for discussion again.

    It just degenerated into a mutual admiration society small talk about the RAAF and “the gasket”.

  19. ESJ at 245

    The ALP should win Robertson – I think it all depends on how Belinda Neil plays out in the electorate.The key demographic questions look like being just how much of the 55+ age group the ALP can wrest off the Libs (that group is 40.5% of eligible voters), and the 34% of the electorate that are couples with dependent children.If Workchoices or the fear of the consequences of Workchoices are hitting that latter group, particularly the second income earner in the household, then it should fall if the ALP could pick up a 5% swing in the oldies.

    But with that type of age demographic, a lot depends on how Belinda Neil plays to the electorate (rather than the journalists – the two shoudn’t be confused).

    If they grab a 5% swing in the oldies the ALP will win, if they dont, they probably wont get over the line is my guess.

  20. It’s hardly surprising that Labor holds Ports only on preferences. It’s a very wealthy area. Caulfield is solidly Liberal apart from the Jews William I said the J E W S, bless them and their cake shops which I can’t resist, and there is a big Green vote. Once Danby retires it might be in danger but not this year.

  21. [can’t remember gusface but i do see the need for more seats we are what 20m 21m people and to have just 150 seats doesnt seem quite enough 200 seats could probably be better with smaller electorates…]

    It’s a tough sell trying to convince Australians they need more politicians… Maybe you could do it if it was agreed to pay them less. But I can’t see many Liberals agreeing to that. Recall that Costello and Abbott were two of the most vocal opponents to Latham’s superannuation ammendments.

  22. It’s hardly surprising that Labor holds Ports only on preferences. It’s a very wealthy area. Caulfield is solidly Liberal apart from the J e w s William I said the J E W S, bless them and their cake shops which I can’t resist, and there is a big Green vote. Once Danby retires it might be in danger but not this year.

  23. Well you should be able to increase the size of the lower house without having to increase the Senate i know you’d need a referendum but if it was bipartisan it would probably pass so long as it got good press…

    The Senate quotas could just be increased perhaps…

  24. Boys,

    all this conjecture is great fun, but I’m ready for some more statistics

    When is Galaxy out?

    Please god, don’t say I have to wait until Monday 15th

  25. Would someone please give me a profile of a liberal supporter.

    We have a couple of fluffers like ESJ and Glen.

    But, none is raing the bar at the moment.

  26. The 1967 nexus referendum was bipartisan and it still failed. But of course if a Labor government tried to pass a nexus referendum to enlarge the House the Liberals would oppose it on a spurious populist “no more politicians” platform, as they oppose everything Labor governments ever do.

  27. The main problem Glen is that there are 72 Senators for the six states. Therefore there needs to be as close to 144 House of Reps seats as possible for these States.

    The population in all states is increasing. But QLD’s population is increasing more than every other state. The result is that QLD are slowly increasing their parliamentary representation at the expense of all the other states.

    Sooner or later the Nexus will have to be broken. Electorates will become so populous that they will be truly unrepresentative.

    I agree, about 70,000-75,000 electors is the ideal number for each electorate.

  28. Adam if it was expanded to favour one party id be against it but if it generally was about increasing representation then id support the move regardless of who put it forward.

    “as they oppose everything Labor governments ever do”

    But Adam the ALP have until this year opposed everything Coalition governments do…lol couldnt help myself…

  29. GG

    Your arguments are so profound and convincing you scare away any alternate point of view. There we were all sitting around a box of pizza at Senator Nick Minchin’s office and no one was prepared to be tonights “Glen” for the 11pm to dawn shift when the Senator’s COS asked for a volunteer to do blog duty for tonight, so you will just have to put up with me for the rest of the evening.

  30. Adam,

    Despite all the old fashioned disdain for the “Founding fathers”, you got to give them credit for getting the whole Australia thing together.

    The founding fathers Rock.

  31. [But Adam the ALP have until this year opposed everything Coalition governments do…lol couldnt help myself…]

    That’s untrue, the government SAYS the opposition opposes everything, but it is a lie. It is a standard tactic used to exagerate policy differences.

  32. Adam,

    Melbourne Ports also includes a chunk of South Yarra and Port Melbourne, which is the first place mentioned to any well paid young managers who aren’t sure where to house-hunt when they have to come and live in Melbourne.

    Throw in the ongoing changes to St Kilda and….oh well maybe not this year but I think its going to happen one day

    Galaxy, anyone? 54-46

  33. Mr Squiggle, following the regular pattern, you would infact have to wait untill monday the 22nd for the next galaxy. Following normal procedure, newspoll should be out next tuesday.

  34. Everyone is getting in on it! From the HBO (I think) show, ‘Rome’:

    Mark Antony: You seem to forget that our war is not over yet. Cato and Skippy are still at large, given time they will raise another army.

    Caesar: And when they do I shall crush them.

    Mark Antony: I’m glad you’re so confident … some would call it hubris.

    Caesar: It’s only hubris if I fail.

  35. Ted,
    One seat the ALP will not win is Robertson. Not with a lazy, time-serving galoot like Belinda Neal, anyway. How in God’s name did she find her way into the Senate? Oh, I remember. She’s married to Della Bosca. Ordinarily, Labor would have walked this one in, but not a chance with Belinda, more’s the pity…

  36. Ports only has a small part of South Yarra, west of Punt Rd. Port Melb still votes pretty solidly Labor despite the influx of rich people. As I said above, many of them are left-wing rich people – arty types, IT workers, professionals, rather than business types – plus of course gays and lesbians – we tend to be very leftoid no matter how rich we are, for obvious reasons.

  37. [ a profile of a liberal supporter ]

    Is there such a thing? In my work I speak to hundreds of people every week and I am constantly amazed at the number of highly paid professionals and even small business people I meet who feel uncomfortable with Work Choices and are tired of Howard. Rudd’s picked up a lot of the typical Liberal Supporters.

  38. More strife for the WA Libs.

    [The Chief Executive of Western Australia’s peak business lobby has delivered a blunt critique on the performance of the state’s Liberal Party and its leader, Paul Omodei.

    While John Langoulant from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry would not be drawn on renewed speculation about Mr Omodei’s future, he says the community needs to know what the leader stands for and that the Liberal team is 100 per cent behind him.

    There is renewed speculation that the party’s deputy, Troy Buswell, could take over the leadership after the release of a Corruption and Crime Commission report which contained no adverse findings against him.]

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/10/2056081.htm

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