Morgan: 63.5-36.5

The latest Morgan face-to-face poll has Labor’s lead at 63.5-36.5 – down from the record-breaking 65-35 at the previous such poll early in the month, but up from 61-39 at the phone poll conducted a fortnight ago. Other conversation starters:

• Special Minister of State John Faulkner has announced a package of electoral reforms confirming moves to cut the campaign donation disclosure threshold to $1000 (which the Howard government outrageously lifted from $1500 to $10,000 in 2005), along with bans on donations from overseas companies and various other measures. It is also announced that the government will “kick-start a green paper process to reform and modernise our electoral processes”. The first part of this, to be released for discussion in July, will look at “disclosure, funding and expenditure issues”; the second, to be released in October, will examine “a broader range of options aimed at strengthening other areas of our electoral laws”.

• Morris Iemma has taken talk of reforms to campaign donations a step further by suggesting they be banned altogether, perhaps in conjunction with caps on electoral spending. Jack Waterford of the Canberra Times presents the case against.

• A big week for the New South Wales Liberal Party: charges laid against five over the Lindsay pamphlet outrage, rising star Scott Morrison deemed too civilised for membership of his local branch, and suggestions that Peter Phelps might emerge as a contender for the party’s state directorship. Would it be overdramatic to suggest that the forces of respectable conservatism in the state should abandon the whole rancid operation and start again from scratch?

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.

318 comments on “Morgan: 63.5-36.5”

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  1. [Would it be overdramatic to suggest that the forces of respectable conservatism in the state should abandon the whole rancid operation and start again from scratch? ]

    Not just in NSW, what about QLD, WA etc.?

  2. Disappointing that there is no PPM included in the poll.

    Probably to allay the feelings of total despair that is permeating the Conservative movement at present.

    It’s probably back to 7% again anyway.

  3. [Morgan doesn’t do leadership satisfaction/PPM in its normal polling.]

    William, I bet the Libs are very glad of that. lol

  4. The Libs must be starting to think that with regard to the honeymoon period, that each poll is like living through Groundhog Day all over again.

  5. JP #8,

    Let them be. I care little for their feelings, and it’s time that they got their grubby paws out of our electoral system.

  6. [The Americans will be pissed off at the ban on foreign donations]

    Who I’m sure will find some kind of creative way of beating the band, via a blind trust or somesuch mechanism.

  7. Hi Guys, I thought people in this forum might appreciate Guy Rundle’s take on Tony Blair “New Labor”

    Special. So f-cking special: The Blair decade

    “Maureen wants to use the backroom later, so the press will have to clear out and move into the hall,” the flat-vowelled voice said. Noon, and the radio feed was coming from Sedgefield, Tony Blair’s northern constituency, and the man himself was being introduced by his agent, a man he said had shown total loyalty to “me, the party, and Sunderland football club, not necessarily in that order”.

    Cue the sound of laughter in a regional hall. Pure political theatre, a man with his own nuclear arsenal announcing his resignation amid lace curtains and a steaming urn on a trestle table.

    “Sometimes the only way you conquer the pull of power is to set it down” he said, mixing metaphors, as he passed through the formalities. “On 27 June I will tender my resignation to the Queen,” he said.

    What? June? Another month ? Bob Carr was out of the building while the TV journos were still doing their reaction shots after his tender of notice. We’ve already had the longest lame-duck premiership in history, one which has drained support from his successor, and Blair’s still hanging around?

    Well, at least we have a date. And, until the doorstopper memoirs arrive, the most direct apologia pro vita gubernator that we’re likely to get.

    “I’ve never put it this way before” he said, explaining that as he came to political maturity in the ’80s and ’90s (’90s – a bit tardy?) the country presented as something where you had to be in favour of EITHER aspiration OR compassion, EITHER tolerance OR conservatism, etc etc, and that the country was now a place where aspiration AND social justice, tolerance AND traditional values, etc etc …

    There followed a defence of the domestic record, oddly couched in a rhetorical and defensive “ask when you last heard of people waiting a year for an operation, ask when you last heard of pensioners freezing to death in their homes …” and so on.

    But it’s a measure of the disastrous path the Blair Government has taken that all this felt like a warm-up to the main act, which was, of course, a defence of Iraq. We got everything we thought we would — the deaths of hundreds of thousands defended on the grounds of sincerity: “Believe this — I truly believed in what I was doing” etc, etc.

    What was extraordinary was the political justification:
    “In Sierra Leone and Kosovo I took the decision to make our country one that intervened … and then came 9/11 and I thought we should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our ally…”

    And so Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Read that again. Iraq. As a consequence of 9/11? Or as unquestioning support of US war-making? Or as both? In other words, a country destroyed for reasons that had nothing to do with either clear and present danger to the UK, or the sufferings of its own population.

    Let’s remember again the lead-up to the war. The weapons-inspection process was terminated early, the “proof” (copied from Phd theses online) was an obvious farrago, and Saddam’s regime was a tinpot, nasty dictatorship with about 1000 deaths and disappearances a year — less than US/UK allies such as Uzbekistan. The decision had already been made.

    For defenders of Blair, the focus on Iraq is simply a way of baiting a PM more centrist than they would have preferred by way of focusing on one among many policies.

    And the record on domestic and social reconstruction policy is not insubstantial, but the point is that where you stand on such a question is an absolute test of your politics, and whether you focus on the narrow terrain of national politics or, in the last instance, have some sense of responsibility to human beings per se.

    For the fact is that, under Tony Blair, Labour cut all ties not only with anything resembling democratic socialism, but also with social democracy, and even the most centrist notion of a left. It became a war party, buttressed at home by piecemeal social market programs and authoritarian control. Foreign and domestic policy were interconnected since the will to do what Labour governments should do — introduce irreversible progressive change — was never there. Instead, what was wanted was a disciplined population, increasingly subject to market forces, capable of serving Britain’s role of ongoing greatness.

    Thus — and this is the other side of Blair’s failure — social mobility in the UK has decreased over the last 10 years. Under John Major, a kid from below the poverty line had more chance of getting out of it, of getting into university, to Oxbridge, to the professions.

    Without increased opportunity, social welfare programs actually become regressive — they’re a sop to the poor, a consolation prize for their permanently shrunken chances. Because people start to get a bit angry about that — expressed these days in crime, booze ‘n’ drugs, violence etc rather than political activism — a huge surveillance apparatus has to be put in place.

    So, Blair’s Government has become the one which has seen not merely millions of CCTV cameras, but now cameras with microphones attached to pick up conversations in a 20-metre radius, and, most recently, loudspeakers which bark at you if you commit “anti-social behaviour”. It’s the Government of the “foetal ASBO” in which children of criminal families are marked from before birth as potential criminals, to be tracked throughout life by social workers, probation officers, psychologists etc. The cumulative effect of these measures is simply to rot a free society from within. Public space becomes a place not of citizens, but of suspects. Trust and solidarity are undermined; fear and separation are enthroned.

    It’s the Government which has turned primary education into a bizarrely over-regulated regime of testing so that by the age of seven, every kid is poked, prodded, metricated by 129 different benchmarks, and the actual process of education is lost. It has handed over control of education to “city academies” run by private companies — who are building schools without playgrounds because they see children as part of a “business enterprise” who should not have unstructured time.

    Yet, it didn’t have the guts to legislate changes to the Oxbridge entrance procedure, to break the hold of the public (ie. private) schools on elite learning. In civil liberties, it has banned political protest within a mile of Parliament, and mooted a multibillion-pound ID card that will do little against serious crime, much less terrorism, but which may be denied to those without addresses — in other words creating a class of non-persons. The visible corruption around cash-for-peerages, dodgy dossiers, BAE arms deals with the Saudis has been as bad and more frequent than under the Tories. And overarching it all is gravity’s rainbow: the replacement of the nuclear Trident system has been authorised, contrary to prior non-proliferation agreements, committing the UK to an imperial future, rather than one as a citizen-nation of Europe.

    In all, it has deployed the ideas and language of social democracy — using the coercive powers of the state against wealth, to improve lives through lessening inequality — to the practice of coercion directed against the poor, to maintain order in a market-dominated society. The surveillance state treats the population as guilty until proven innocent — whether in Iraq or Bermondsey. And I have no doubt that a Rudd government would not be substantially different in many aspects.

    For what? For what? When I first came to Britain in 1997, I lived in Hackney, one of the poorest boroughs in Western Europe. When I go back there these days, the unbelievably shabby, dilapidated high street has had a new music centre built, a couple of rundown housing blocks have been rebuilt with better fabric, and the hospital has a bigger casualty department. The kids are going to Sure Start early learning centres, and while the schools aren’t “failing” as they were hitherto, the students still aren’t going through to GCSE (the year 12/year 13 equivalent), or even levels below. Why? Because they feel there’s no point. The fix is in. Blair never really inspired them to believe that a fairer society was on its way, one that would repay their efforts to find a place in it.

    Social democracy means nothing if it is not about freedom — real freedom, the material freedom to make a meaningful life, rather than an existence in the surplus labour pool — as well as equality and security. Blair’s supporters continue to point to the myriad of piecemeal programs and accuse critics of being unrealistic. This is simply limbo-politics, always making you bend over backwards further, to go lower. There are other stories to tell about the Blair era — about economic stewardship, managerial competence, etc etc. But I’m of the left and Blair claimed to be of the left, and I can only judge him on those standards by which he himself asks to be judged.

    In 1945, the Attlee government had a country that was broke, exhausted, faced the worst winter of the century, and was feeding a country — Germany — that had recently tried to annihilate it. And still they established the NHS, free education, a welfare state, nationalisation, decolonisation and much more.

    The Blair Government came to power in 1997, on the wave of a Western global economic boom, with a majority of more than 160 seats. It entrenched privilege, reduced the poverty rate from 14% to 12% — before it started to climb back again – and helped cause hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths in a former colony. That is the Blair decade.

    So, if Blair didn’t really believe in “irreversible progressive change”, what did he believe in? His parting words in the draughty room in Sedgefield say it all: “The British are special. The world knows it. In our hearts we know it. This is the greatest nation on earth.”

    What a thing for a social democrat to say. What a thing. Not an expression of left patriotism, of love of country and community, of a hope that its virtues had been strengthened, that it had contributed to the greater human good. Instead, a braying chauvinistic triumphalism, a mixture of Kipling and cod-Americanism.

    So vale, Caesar. Some have suggested an EU post is in the offing. God speed your passage to the new Rome, Brussels. May you sojourn there in a glass box listening via headphones while the Iraqi maimed testify against you.

  8. C’mon you conservative media type …not not doing enough for the cause!!! May be some digitally enhanced fangs & a black cape on KR might bring him down Or maybe if you put them on BN it might be an improvement! LOL 😀 8) !!!

  9. There is only one way to explain the polls at the moment, the Liberal brand is in dire straights right now but don’t be fooled that this will last forever. Clearly there is a possibility of the Coalition going backwards in 2010 or a DD election. There is just nothing going for them right now give em a decade and they’ll be back in power.

  10. These high polls for Labor are good for democracy.

    May encourage the Libs to make some real changes and we really do need a decent Opposition party with decent policies and decent shadow ministers.

    Then again we know it wont happen until they lose two more elections.

  11. [So what spin will Dennis Shanahan put on this poll?]

    It’s a Morgan, and the OO don’t comment on them.

    But Tuesday is Newspoll day, and THEN will see how the Shamaham spin things.

  12. Glen,

    There is no ‘possibility’ of the Coalition going backwards in the next election. There is certainty.

  13. Kina, have no grounds on which to comment on your daughter’s beauty, but after having read many of your posts, I’m sure “smart” would be a modest understatement.

  14. Glen at 18

    “There is just nothing going for them right now give em a decade and they’ll be back in power.”

    There is an inherent assumption in this thinking that implies that the things that are not going right for them are external factors beyond their control and that the coin which seems to keep landing on heads at the moment will eventually come up tails.

    But the Libs issues are not the product of random external variance but an inherent instability and directionlessness that comes out of trying to maintain two increasingly ideologically opposed constituencies.

    There are two main axes to the Australian political landscape Glen, the economic left-right axis and the social conservative-progressive axis. There used to be an assosciation between economic liberalism and social conservativism but it is weaker by the decade and increasingly it is those on the economic right that represent socially progressive agendas and those on the economic left that represent conservative agendas. This means a separation of core constituencies that is getting ever wider – and Nelson et al are trying to straddle both.

    They will do themselves an injury that will not be fixed by random variations in the sentiments of the electorate. By trying to do so the conservative parties exposed the middle ground on both axes which Rudd expertly took. This being the case, the conservatives need to do one of two things to become a viable opposition and real alternative government.

    1. Abandon the economic right, leapfrog labor on the economic axis and attack them from the sure footing of the single constituency base of the economic left / socially conservative quarter. Some of the federal front bench seem to be giving it a good shot – carer bonuses etc – but lets face it, its not going to happen and nor does it make any real sense to in that they would clearly cease to be the party the espouse to be.

    2. Abandon the socially conservative agenda, leapfrog labor on the social axis and attack them from the sure footing of the single constituency base of the socially progressive / economic right quarter. Turnball could do this but can the party as a whole?
    Unless one of these things are done no random variation in voter sentiment will save the Libs as they will forever be undermining their own mutually exclusive agendas and will always look stupid for it.

  15. Cool, Kina, About the girl.

    Most irritated this morning listening to Fran empanelled with Peter Hartcher. Professor Hugh White, Andrew Shearer, Lowy Institute, former advisor to the Howard Government.

    Criticism all round for the length of the trip, the duration of which was described accurately as firstly 17 days, then three weeks and at another point 18 days.

    Then it was compared to Gough’s long trip, which happened to coincide with Cyclone Tracey. An apparently atrociously long absence. Maybe some memories are too long.

    Peter Hartcher sets it up as, once a fortnight has elapsed, Kev will be in for severe criticism over his prolonged absence. So, we are prepared.

    The next level of attack, Kev’s failure to visit Japan. Perceived insult. Not real, perceived. Therefore, a media event waiting to be trumpeted.

    Then, attending NATO, Kev, according to the speakers,will find himself allegedly bearing a message from the USA. Purportedly to challenge to the Europeans over their troop contribution.

    For which Kevin will find himself confronted, by the Europeans. Given the smallness of our own troop contribution. Supposedly.

    Good to hear Kevin defending himself, since.

    None of this taken up in any meaningful sense by Fran, of course.

  16. Any comments on the cast of 1000? Some areas seem quite okay (not that I recognise all the names or have spent time googling them). Governance was an interesting mix of people, as was indigenous, but the environment seemed quite low key in who was actually on it (Of course, Tim Flannery or Graham Pearman are not low key!). Did note a few ex-MP’s – Michael Lavarch, Christine Sharp amongst them.

    Also a spate of justices – Mary Gaudron, William Deane, Anthony Mason?!?!

  17. All this twaddle re the length of the PM’s overseas trip. Does anybody know how long Ming was out of the country during his reign on one of his overseas junkets. I seem to recall him making visits to Lords for test matches on more than one occasion. Did he fly or go by ship? If the latter he would have been away for considerably more than 17 days. Even if he flew, a flight to the old blighty in those days was quite lengthy (three days or so I think – making 6 both ways).

  18. Kev’s a control freak – ooops no he’s not he is neglecting the budget – he’s overseas for too long – but he is ignoring India and Japan – he’s going to CHINA (get the canine whistles blowing) – will he raise Kyoto with Bush?

    Shock horror he’s going to the UK when there is no Test Match. He’s meeting the Queen (Australia’s head of state) oh dear – the poor people with MS or Crohn’s will miss out on drugs – ‘cuase Julia won’t be Dept PM – the CSIRO will lose all its scientists – and a meteorite is about to hit Kirribilli.

    And its only day one. 😛

  19. [This nonsense about Kev’s trip is not even worth a response, is that the best the MSM can do. Pathetic!]

    The SBS Documentry on Whitlam where he is interviewed by John Faulkner includes a clip from the original A Cuurent Affair when it was a serious program and the TV version of New Idea, which ran a “story” mocking his extensive travel.

    So it’s really nothing new at all.

  20. [ includes a clip from the original A Cuurent Affair when it was a serious program and the TV version of New Idea]

    That should read “and NOT the TV version of New Idea”.

  21. Kev’s trip is foolhardy, as he is undertaking it before the balance of the ABC Board has been brought into equitable balance.

    ABC News, just viewed, managed to highlight, not the intention for good, on the part of the PM, but any negatives it was able to find.

  22. Crikey Whitey @ 29 [Most irritated this morning listening to Fran empaneled with Peter Hartcher. Professor Hugh White, Andrew Shearer, Lowy Institute, former adviser to the Howard Government. Criticism all round for the length of the trip, the duration of which was described accurately as firstly 17 days, then three weeks and at another point 18 days.]

    Well their criticism is a joke of course and they know it. This is just another go at trying to help out their Liberal party. We know where they are coming from and I guess it makes them feel good about themselves venting a pointless attack on Rudd.

    They seem to think that the country is not run by government formed by Cabinet of Minsters but is a Dictatorship run by one person without whom all will fail. Well they don’t think that really they are just spruiking this nonsense to help the Liberal party along, IMO. These are supposed to be good journalists?

    But while they think they have been so clever all they are doing is holding the Liberal party back from a much needed crash to the bottom, blood letting and repair. Wonder what Hartcher thinks of the bizarre state of the Liberal party in NSW, QLD now – where it seems like a competition between the ‘rightness’ of the hard-right.

    And I notice today Nelson sprouting an Industrial relations position sounding pretty similar to Workchoices – cool more suicide stuff for them.

    A some of rusted on uncritical Liberal party journalists won’t face reality. It must dawn on them soon that people like Turnbull, Nelson and Bishop are no where near the quality needed to win or run government.

  23. Yes, Kina. Though I was somewhat surprised by Hugh White’s response. Perhaps he is in the nervous mode as I, among other, spoke of regarding Kevin’s early days.

    The panel did seem to agree that the administration/country would fall apart in the absence of the PM. Despite the criticism that Kev is ‘too hands on.’

    Why, though, they imagine the country is not left in good hands, ie Julia’s, is beyond belief.

    That harks back to the incompetency of the former government in ensuring and enabling that no one, but no one was in a position to appear as ‘competent’ as the PM of the day.

    Well, that worked.

  24. Whilst i agree with everything said about Rudds’ trip, i have one criticism,
    what is attending to achieve? Politicians and their trips, they tend to be costly and tend to provide little in the way of results.
    Nonetheless, much of criticism by the media is silly and lacking thought. The media as usual tend to get together as a group and say the same thing.

  25. Well I think the Liberal party is in the grip of terminal stupidity, terminal denial or simple arrogance of Australians. Having been beaten at the election where WorkChoices was the central issue they have again a policy which is basically WorkChoices over again.

    The all pronounced this dead after the election…but now they have revived the rotting corpse.

    Nelson in new U-turn on AWAs
    Dr Nelson will today tell The Australian and Melbourne Institute’s New Agenda for Prosperity Conference that the Coalition will champion a form of individual agreement that has no reference to a collective agreement, such as an award or enterprise bargain.,25197,23443873-5016654,00.html

    However they have admitted this type of IR is bad…..
    We got it wrong: Nelson
    The Opposition Leader’s frank assessment yesterday came as new figures show many employers continued trying to use individual AWAs to slash entitlements right up until last year’s federal election.
    The sample shows half the rejected AWAs sought to cut employee entitlements by up to $49 a week while 39 per cent would have cut entitlements by between $50 and $199 a week. Just over 10 per cent of the failed AWAs tried to cut the workers’ entitlements by between $200 and $499 a week, while 1 per cent sought to slash pay by more than $500 a week.

    AND Nelson said they had listened to the Australian people….

    Life extinct: Nelson pronounces Work Choices dead
    BRENDAN NELSON has pronounced Work Choices dead as the Coalition abandons the policy that cost it the federal election.

    “We’ve listened to the Australian people, we respect the decisions that they have made, we’ve listened and we have learned and Work Choices is dead,” the Opposition Leader said yesterday.

    Well I might pronounce the Liberal party dead if they take this to the next election.

    A brief history of WorkChoices

  26. It is about time the Reserve Bank of Australia pulled its head out of the sand,
    stopped propping up the four big banks to the exclusion of all other smaller banks and nonbank mortgage lenders. They should immediately begin forming an Australian mortgage market based on equity and fairness instead of cowering before it’s four powerful mates in the major banks. Swan needs to haul them in and give them a week to get their act together.

  27. Who cares what Brendan Nelson has to say, he is the leader of a party supported by 29% of the population (according to Morgan) – why does he get so much media coverage? He and his party are an irrelevance.

    When will the MSM wake up and realise that he is a peripheral player in Australian politics?

  28. So the Dr thinks that businesses like Mitre 10 are right in stiffing 17 year olds by paying them a flat rate of $10 per hour for any hours worked whether it’s a weekday, weekend or public holiday.

  29. On Sportsbet its $1.20 for an ALP win in 2010, vs. $4.05 for any other party…sadly, no odds on Horatio being the Admiral at that time.

  30. Same old same old. Smooth sailing.

    However, there does appear to be a very dark cloud in the distance. It is not ever day a stockbroker goes broke and has the client’s shares sold from underneath them. Given the Trillion dollars that Australian workers have tied up in super funds, this could became a much bigger issue than it is already is.

    But even if there is a storm, the Liberal boat is sinking fast and is not looking like it could even mount anything more than a token election campaign at the moment. They can’t seem to object to anything now without looking like they are so far out of touch it is not funny.

    If I was in charge of the Liberal party (I thank god I am not), I would try to out flank the ALP on a single issue that is going to cause Labor a headache. The main one I can see at the moment is the issue of Gay Marriage as the SDA faction (right of the Right) in ALP would have a fit. Plus a slim majority of the public support it (55% last time I noticed the Morgan Poll on the issue, with only 25% strongly objecting). But there is no way, the Liberal back bench would go for such a plan.

    As for the Liberal National merger, it ain’t going to happen. I think the Nationals would be extremely smart to get out of coalition as quick as possible. If the Liberal party plans on eating you, don’t get into bed.

  31. I think Kev is looking and sounding pretty cool on the overseas trip number. Every sound bite has been a Kevenish encapsulation of why it is needed in terms of worldwide economic problems, blah, blah. However, I suspect he’s up to establishing himself as a player. This guy doesn’t do anything without reasons, plural.
    The Morgan result. Well, who would be surprised?
    Demoralised and depressed? Glen, how are you holding up?

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