Morgan: 61.5-38.5

Morgan has released the first federal opinion poll of the new year, showing the two-party honeymoon gap widening to 61.5-38.5 from 60.5-39.5 from the previous survey in early December. Labor’s primary vote is up 2 per cent to 51.5 per cent, and the Coalition’s down 1 per cent to 33 per cent.

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.

178 comments on “Morgan: 61.5-38.5”

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  1. The best thing the Nats could do is go back to calling themselves the “Country Party” and focus on rural Australia. They might even be able to lure back some disaffected Nats-turned-Independents. AC is right – there will always be a calling for a rural party, even as the number of rural electorates declines.

    Antony Green once wrote an article about how many rural conservative voters couldn’t tell the difference between the Libs and the Nats. If they were happy with the way things were going, these voters often went for the Libs in preference to the Nats. But if the voters were a little cheesed off at the Coalition (and thought both parties were pretty much the same), they’d opt for a rural Independent. The Nats are caught between a rock and a hard place.

    To BMWofVictoria: the reason why the Libs hold Indi (and so many other rural seats) is that the Libs are very good at winning rural seats. Good candidates, hard work, better politicking… Much better than the Nats’ moribund political machine. The Libs pose the greatest danger to the Nats over any other political force. But because some rural seats will probably never go Lib (and certainly never go Labor) they’ll always be room on the political spectrum for a dedicated rural party.

  2. Jen

    They are supportive of what I am trying to achieve, which is a good thing.

    I believe they would have more success if they promoted this policy as the main thrust of their platform.

    The Wilderness Society has a good network for sourcing of relevant information in the future.

    I was a member, but let it lapse due to the fact it could come back and bite me in the short term.

  3. This has been a very interesting debate so far, and I’m glad that we have been able to maintain a (relatively) respectful and measured tone; the political relationship between the Labor government and The Greens is going to be incredibly important in terms of producing the best, politically feasible policies to develop sustainability and environmental conservation in this country (especially considering the make-up of the Senate after July).

    The reality of Government is that policies need to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability. The fact that our capital cities are running out of water requires a solution. The realities of politics requires a solution that is acceptable to the greatest number of people (some of whom don’t like the idea of drinking poo-water).

    Personally, I think that we should have been harvesting storm water and recycling waste water for the last 20 years (at least), but the short-sightedness of state and federal governments has precluded that. Desalination has to be part of the solution (there is no reason for desalination plants not to use renewable energy, however, like the technology currently under development by Carnegie Corp. in WA).

    The fact is that environmental fundamentalism simply won’t work, politically or economically, in this country. The Greens fundamentalist policies are restricting their growth potential in terms of enticing new members and voters, as well as their involvement in policy implementation. Effective policies and politics is about compromise in order to find the best practical solution which is acceptable to the most people. Unfortunately, the ‘pure’ will always be impotent in real terms. Peter Garrett joined the Labor party, because he knew that the only way to achieve real change was to have the chance of being in Government.

    Apologies for the length of this rant, but I have one more (controversial) point. If Greens joined the Left of the Labor party, then they could really be involved in formulating some progressive policies, instead of the party (and Government) being dominated by the Right faction. However, this would involve some degree of compromise which Greens seem to be highly allergic to…

  4. Jen

    A national infrastructure and rehabilitation project that I have been working on for the last eight years.

    This is a fifty year project that is concentrating on sustainability rather than climate change.

  5. Scaper –
    would love to know more.

    Andos, re: the Greens joining the labor party-
    you need to remember that many Greens supporters (including me), were one-time labor voters. It is important that we can vote with our feet when a party we have supported does something we really disagree with (in my case Tamapa). If the Greens did join Labor another left wing progressive party would develop as a response to the conservative positioning of current Labor.
    This then influences policy development in the major parties: They want us back, they don’t want to lose anymore votes. They also want our preferences, so it puts us in influential position.

  6. Jasmine – “you may well be right about global warming”. This is now the line Andrew Bolt takes. Our change in federal government has meant we have traded in the Hummer for a Ford Explorer.

    I am tired of politicians using the arguement of balancing economics and environment. In this country, when governments use this rhetoric, it is always pro-economy, anti-environment and loaded with tons of spin.

    There are many countries that have thriving economies, a high standard of living and HALF the per capita emissions. Reducing our emissions is simply not that hard.
    What we do know is, courtesy of the Stern report, it will be disastrous for the economy if no action is taken. Signing up to Kyoto is easy – putting out good policy and effective change seems to be Labour’s stumbling block.

    If you wish to know how to address global warming just check out the Greens website

  7. I disagree with that, Jen. By more left-wing people joining the party, the power is shifted from the Right faction to a more equal footing. This is what influences policy development. A left-wing progressive party can pull government policy to the left, especially in the case where they hold the balance of power in the Senate, but only in a very superficial way.

    If the ideological balance within the party/government is shifted away from the Right, then this has a huge effect on policy development from the very beginning of the process; the most that The Greens can hope to influence from their position is a couple of late-term amendments in the upper house. Surely it would be better to have that influence from the very beginning?

    Frankly, there is a huge spectrum of ideological belief within the Labor party, which is one of the reasons why they appeal to so many people as a party of government. It all goes back to the realities of implementing policy as a government. At the moment The Greens are practically impotent in terms of implementing any of their policies, simply because they don’t hold any seats. You would have much more influence on the development and implementation of policies from within the government, by shifting the ideological balance, than from without, by playing on issues like you have mentioned, Jen. I can’t see the Labor party ever forming a coalition with The Greens, simply because of their (somewhat) extreme policies.

    This is turning into a bit of a circular discussion, but unfortunately that’s one of the attributes of arguments between strong political idealists, like us!

  8. Deano at 59: I agree. The consequences of not mitigating and adapting to global warming and climate change are far worse for the economy (and our lives) than the consequences of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Most companies can even see the opportunities for growth presented by finding effective ways to reduce our emissions.

    Unfortunately, the current political situation in Australia in regards to our response to global warming is a hang-over from the ‘Howard Government’. It will take significant time to shift the prejudices in our collective consciousness in this country left over from the last 11 years of conservative inaction, in regards to many issues.

    I hope that we will see a rapid acceleration in the governments response over the next 12 to 18 months, especially after the delivery of the ‘Garnaut Report’. By being involved in politics and by petitioning our government members, we can try and ensure that our response is both adequate and responsible. This is definitely about evidence based policy to best mitigate and adapt to the effects of global warming and climate change.

  9. While I undersatnd your position Andos, I think you have more faith than I do in the capacity of the Labor Party to move to the left, when they have been moving further and further to the right .
    And as discus insed former posts re: envirnmentally disastrous decisions they are making, no amount of internal lobbying will change this as it is the connection with the corporate world that is the real reason behind them.
    At lesat The Greens policies are based on best outcomes, not keeping sweet with the business boys.
    (And exactly which policies are extreme?)

  10. Andos the Great and Jen

    I have not really released it to the general public as yet, I’m still in the process of exchange with the relative people.

    It’s more or less about networking infrastructure along three major rail lines that transverse the nation, native rehabilitation, inland settlement (metropolis), establishing plantation forests, rehabilitating marginal food cropping land and establishing new industries that would benefit from these actions.

    The key is water, hence a hydraulic network is paramount.

  11. Can anyone explain what the Greens policies are in regards to solving the problem of not being able to get these new container liners through Port Phillip Bay to the docks in Melbourne?

  12. Thanks Jen, geothermal might have some success in the future as a contributor to a percentage of baseload.

    Water is needed for this process but has it to be fresh, or could the technology be duel purpose?

    Lake Eyre could become a source in the future.

    The Great Artesian Basin will be looked at as a transfer system.

  13. TurningWorm 66 , I suggest you put your question in writing to any or all of the Green Members for Western , Southern or Northern Metropolitan , but then again by doing so you would have to reveal who you are????? It is easy to hide behind nicknames on here! God forbid , you might even work for the Labor Party?

  14. Tim W @52

    I have been saying this for ages. The National Party needs to reposition itself as the Country Party again and give rural people a clear choice. Their environmental policies are often very sound, they know the real issues for rural people, and Australia needs its rural people increasingly. I’ve been derided for this view, but I think it’s sound.

  15. TW-
    can you explain what will happen when the next generation of even bigger container liners won’t get through either?
    And should that be the only consideration: ie what about the impact on existing businesses dependant on the bay, recreation, and the ecosystem of marine life that will be affected. or is increasing revenue the only consideration?
    In which case no development is inappropriate if money is to be made – a dangerous and foolish rationale.

  16. Scaper
    I like your plan
    ever heard of bradfield (harbour bridge etc) or perhaps burley-griffen (canberra,toronto etc)
    both proposed some pretty amazing stuff using water,dams and natural hydraulic pressure (grav feed,inclinator motors,waterwheels,persian windmills,etc) all totally carbon free/non polluting

    unfortunately the Electrical/coal industry was at its peak then the nuke nutjobs derailed any further planning/research.

    hope something comes of your work

  17. Just to add a little for BMWofVictoria waaay back at No. 7.

    The story is that the Australian Navy do not have a ship with ice-breaking capabilities hence the reason for accessing the customs ship the Oceanic Viking. The Oceanic Viking however is fully armed and so prior to departure all arms needed to be stowed below deck. Given that the OV would be approaching Japanese ships, this was the diplomatic and sensible course of action. To unfit a ship takes time, hence the hold up in Fremantle. Some in the press had a wee bit of a whinge stating that they didn’t know where the OV was – the reason turned out to be bleedin’ obvious, they were tailing the Japanese whaling fleet, the evidence being that the OV was able to be alongside a Japanese vessel almost immediately to collect the two activists.

  18. To Glen;

    If the Liberals and Nationals were to merge, who’s to say that some of the now National-held rural divisions wouldn’t elect populist conservative independents (a la New England and Kennedy)?

  19. gusface

    Everything needs to be looked at…as a nation, we have not developed at all!

    What was the last large scale project that was undertaken?

    Lake Argyle?

    I’m setting up a foundation that will be the property of the Australian people with possibly senatorial oversight.

    Politicisation of a project of this length has to be prevented.

    By the way…”The Great Southern Cross Project.”

  20. TurningWorm, Port Phillip Bay does take on the biggest ships in the world now, they are just not loaded to capacity.

    The costs of having goods delivered by underloaded ships is very small. I do understand and sympathise with consumer concerns wanting to ensure cheap consumer goods made in China be made even cheaper to satisfy our societies’ need to buy even more stuff.

    Melbourne Ports argue that importers and exporters will use other ports if the dredging doesn’t go ahead. This is not true as truck and train freight costs make this financially unviable. It will cost close to a billion dollars, assuming no major project blow-out, to make 1.2 billion over 30 years. This doesn’t include the loss of income many of the bay industries will lose.

    The Greens want to maintain the status quo – no dredging and operate the port as it stands now.

  21. 73
    Karma Policeman – for the same reason that when the Canadian Alliance (Reform Party) and the Progressive Conservative Party merged they held all their seats and increased their numbers in the Canadian House of Commons at the following election under the one banner the Conservative Party of Canada.

    Look the fact is the Nats represent what 10 lower house seats in regional Australia now the Liberals hold out of their 55 seats 29 rural and semi-rural electorates that’s a fair % IMHO! The fact is that if you removed the Nats and put Liberals running in their 10 seats we’d win the lot of them except for perhaps Cowper but to the ALP not independents. Might i remind you all that Windsor and Katter were Nationals MPs before they became independents.

    The fact is that most western/european countries have only 1 conservative party do you think it hurts the Republicans in the US or the Tories in England to have just 1 right wing party!

    The Nationals are irrelevant and while they have some policy differences on economic/trade issues they are ideologically close to the Liberal Party and thus constructing a new single Conservative force would not create many problems. The fact is the Liberal Party holds the majority of rural seats on offer, we are more representative of the bush than the Nats considering we hold 29 rural-semi rural seats and the Nats hold 10, we also win their seats often when we contest them after a sitting member has retired. And if a new Party was formed it would stop me from continually pointing out how undervalued the Nats vote is by Morgan and AC.

    Tassieannie – the Nats are not the Country Party after all they hold just 10 rural seats ill bet the ALP holds more Rural seats than them and clearly the Libs hold more than them. They are an irrelevant conservative Rump in Parliament and State Parliaments that weaken the Conservative side of politics. We need 1 voice 1 party 1 leader im sick to death of the Nats and Libs squabbling they’ve got to start up a new Conservative Party now look how successful the Nationalists were when Hughes set them up or the United Australia Party which Lyons set that up or the Liberal Party which Menzies set up. Once we are able to redefine ourselves and unite we more often than not provided a credible alternative to Labor and are often electorally successful.

  22. Thank you for you response to my question Deano, I was beginning to think Greens policies were top secret.

    It is true that the Port can take larger ships at the moment if they are not fully loaded. However infrastructure investments must look to the future as well as the present. How do we handle the even larger ships being produced which cannot physically fit into the channels?

  23. Glen “And if a new Party was formed it would stop me from continually pointing out how undervalued the Nats vote is by Morgan and AC.”

    That alone would be reason enough! 😀

  24. Glen @ #79 says

    Might i remind you all that Windsor and Katter were Nationals MPs before they became independents

    You are correct about Katter, but wrong about Windsor.
    Tony Windsor has never been a Nationals MP.
    He was elected as independent member for the NSW state seat of Tamworth in 1991. He remained an independent member of NSW Parliament until October 2001, when he resigned to contest the Federal seat of New England.
    He won the seat of New England as an independent and has remained an independent since.

  25. If I’m correct Tony Windsor sought National Party pre-selection for Tamworth but was unsuccessful therefore ran as an independent.

  26. One solution for the Nats is to go independent as the WA ones did a couple of years ago, which seems to have worked for them. That being said though, I doubt it will happen on the eastern seaboard states, as WA had a culture of Country Party separatism emanating from two big splits in 1923 and 1978 (essentially the Nationals in WA today are the rebel side of the 1978 split, as most of the other side joined the Liberals.)

  27. 83
    Barry – absolutely correct my snafu there 😉

    I believe that it would be folly to have separate amalgamated Conservative political parties in one State QLD and not have a separate Conservative force established nationally.

    Clearly if its to be done you need to find a small preferably country centre get every Nat/Lib MP and the hierarchy of each Party and have a pow-wow for a few weeks on how to sort out forming a single conservative party. Though i fear ego, parochialism and factionalism will spoil any meaningful attempt at forming a single strong conservative party for Australia atm. But if we dont and we get a further belting in 2010 which is on the cards, perhaps then they might have the guts to do what needs to be done IMHO.

    Andrew i don’t doubt the parochialism of the Nats in WA especially but clearly it must be said that united we stand a better chance of becoming electorally viable to the people of Australia of course with improved policy and leadership but divided as we’ve have been although in Coalition we shall continue to fail as we face a single major Centre-Left Party in Parliament.

    The benefits of establishing a single Australian Conservative Party far outweighs the dangers of not doing so IMHO. The trick is getting consensus, bloody hard with the current system of organisation for the major Right Wing parties. After all we’re 6 divided State based organisations as Keating aptly noted and thats a bad way to run any national political party. We ought to copy Labor’s national structure in any future Conservative force established as clearly it has benefited them.

  28. Aussieguru01 at 60, Says: 60, January 18th, 2008 at 5:23 am

    ‘Crikey. I have read your post with interest always. But what are you doing? If your neighbor pisses you off that much why dont you just film them watering & show it to the council. No need to play ‘mission impossible’’

    The problem is, Aussieguru01, at the ‘Siege of Troy’, ironically appropriate given my name, which is Helen, that the neighbour is acting legally. He is watering with bore water. This practice is permitted for bore users.

    Unfortunately, the SA Government applies prohibitions to the use of bore water only to Primary Producers, as far as I have been able to divine, NPI. My issue is that this watering is done at full tilt for up to four hours a day. Every day. Midday and night. And for what? A lawn. The lawn owner has already needed to have the shaft redrilled, because the water level dropped. Funny that.

    Whatever my problem with anything, including Philips head screws, it soon enough occurred to that a larger part of the problem would be solved by ensuring that the timer was no longer available, for misuse. That whatever watering was done would at least need to be monitored. And not activated automatically at whatever hour of the night.

    Yes. This action could be considered controversial, if I may put it like that.

    However, I have sought time and again an address of these matters, from the Rann Government.

    Admittedly, I have developed a certain obsession. But there I go.

    I worried for 24 hours that I may be called to account. Nothing happened. I stopped chewing my fingernails.

    None of this makes me feel fantastic, by any means.


  29. Hi BWM, the ship we sent down to Antarctica was the Oceanic Viking, the refitted customs ship, manned I believe with customs personnel rather than naval personnel as this would have been seen as an aggressive action by the Japanese government. The OV’s job was to monitor the Japanese whaling fleet (hence the reason why the government didn’t broadcast the OV’s whereabouts)which is most definitely needed as although Greenpeace have done an excellent job in the past what is necessary is a governement as well as activitists to collect data. For example, the whalers are permitted X whales of X type but how many whales do they actually harvest?

  30. Lets not get carried away, folks.

    So Labor has increased its lead. So what? That’s to be expected.

    Every new Government gets a bit of a free ride for a while. That free ride lasts only as long as long as its first significant stuff-up.

    The sort of triumphalist “end of history” tosh that AC spouts is nonsense. It has also previously been penned by others.

    I recall it doing the rounds in 1983 and again in 1996. All hailed the then new Governments as political sea changes, too. In each case those pushing the Labor New Jerusalem and Liberal Everlasting Dominion were dead wrong.

    As for the assertion that Aussies are somehow higher beings with an innately progressive and compassionate nature, well, does anyone around here remember the Tampa election of ’01?

    I sure do. The Great Aussie Unwashed didn’t show much evidence of their compassionate nature then, did they? They were all for locking-up what they perceived as unwanted refugee scum.

    Sorry, folks, but the Aussie electorate is about as compasionate and faithful as my cat.

    It’ll turn-up to be fed or to cop a pat or two, but that’s about it. The rest of the time, it’s happy to mooch about maiming and terrorising anything weaker than it is.

    The Libs are in disarray, to be sure. And It may well take them years to flush-out the sado-monetairsts and religious fanatics currently infesting their ranks, but flush them they will (if they want to regain Government).

    Australia will not become a one party State.

  31. Life can be so ironic. Kim so wanted to be PM, now he will go one step better. And a republican at that!

    Brenton, i’ld prefer Dame Edna as the Queen

  32. Jen and scaper, One simple question for the referendum, Should Australia become a republic , yes or no? None of the doomed to fail process of last time. Looking forward to fighting the ‘Moanachists’ once again.

  33. I’m still willing to give Rudd/Wong/Garrett the benefit of doubt on the environment, but I was flabagasted that one of the first decisions they made was to cap the solar cell subsidy at only 3,000 homes per year. Not only shouldn’t this be capped but the subsidy per household should be doubled to cover at least 2,000KWh.

    As for Melbourne’s desal plant, I don’t know what the hydrology of Melbourne is, but Adelaide could get at least as much water as our proposed desal plant will produce annually by diverting storm runoff to aquifers in winter for summer reuse. Not only better environmentally but cheaper to set up and run.

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