Morgan: 58-42

That non-existent Morgan poll discussed in the previous post has now shown its face four days behind schedule. The phone survey of an unusually small sample of 618 respondents supports last week’s Newspoll finding that some of the gloss has come off Labor’s lead, which is at 47 per cent to 37 per cent on the primary vote and 58-42 on two-party preferred. This is down from 62-38 at the Morgan face-to-face poll published the previous Friday and 62.5-37.5 at the previous phone poll from mid-April, and is on both measures Labor’s weakest result since the election.

In other news, News Limited reports that Alexander Downer is “expected to quit Parliament within days”, having “delayed his departure until after Treasurer Wayne Swan tonight outlines Labor’s first Budget in 12 years, so as to avoid distracting from the Coalition’s response to it”. This of course will mean a by-election for his South Australian seat of Mayo.

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.

424 comments on “Morgan: 58-42”

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  1. I hate to lampoon the befuddled and bewildered, but did anyone else think that Gerard Henderson on the Insiders today looked and sounded like a little boy who just discovered that Father Christmas doesn’t exist? Has there ever been a more crestfallen, pouting panelist on an Australian televion program?

    I thought for a while he was going to cry at the realization that his lifelong heroes have feet of clay.

    I fear that Nelson is soon going to discover the intrinsic truth in the saying that hell has no fury like a woman (or true believer) scorned or disillusioned.

  2. Regarding the Galaxy poll, even if true (unlikely) it is not surprising there will be a negative reaction to a budget that had to introduce unpopular measures. But by doing the difficult cuts now (except for wimping out on climate change) Swan has put Labor in a position to win in a year or so.

    The real test of this budget will be after July, when the delivered tax cuts kick in, and even more so in a year or twos time, when hopefully inflation will be under control and the governmetn has a surplus it can (responsibly) invest on needed infrastrucutre, health etc.

    Also, when this budget hits the senate, if the Libs vote against the cuts to the measures like the health rebate, or cuts that are there to reduce inflationary pressures, they will suffer a further drop in the polls.

  3. The children are squabbling again – can someone go and give them a smack please?

    “Opposition treasury spokesman Malcolm Turnbull has denied leaking an email which reportedly said Brendan Nelson’s plan to cut the fuel excise was a bad idea.

    The Australian newspaper says Mr Turnbull sent an email to Dr Nelson’s staff before the speech, saying he thought it was bad policy.

    In a statement this morning, Mr Turnbull says neither he nor anyone acting on his behalf released the email, and he supports the policy measures announced by Dr Nelson.

    But Mr Turnbull’s statement did not deny the email’s reported content.”

  4. I can’t let the comment by Crikey Whitey at 388 go unchallenged. I usually agree wit CW and like her style. But we reached the safety net last year by July and will do so again this year in a couple of weeks. And it is not by having indulgent tests and procedures.My spouse has advanced cancer.

    We have private health insurance. When the cancer was diagnosed 4 years ago we opted to have treatment immediately rather than go through the public system. To be honest I don’t know how long we would have had to wait if we had gone public. But it was very comforting to be able to see a named specialist within days.

    One of the reason we are so close to the safety net is that my spouse is having an aggressive set of radiotherapy sessions. These are palliative and hopefully will give good quality life for several months if not longer. They will not give a cure. The advice I have had from manager nurses in public oncology is that we would not have been offered so many treatments in the public sector, given the stage of the disease, and we would have had to wait for the treatment to start.

    We feel very privileged that we have the option. I am a great supporter of public hospitals. I was lucky enough to be born to (poor) parents who taught me that education was a liberator, and who gave me an excellent education with the result that for some of my life I was able to earn a very good salary. Not every one is so fortunate. But when you find yourself in a situation where life is short and treatment options are limited you make decisions in that framework, and timeframe.

  5. This from Malcolm Farr – “Nearly 70 per cent of households with children fear they will end up being worse off or are unsure about the Budget, Galaxy Research found in weekend polling.
    Less than a third of households with children – 31 per cent – believe they will be better off from last Tuesday’s Budget, while 25 per cent said they would be worse off and 44 per cent were uncommitted.
    Just 23 per cent of all voters said they would be better off and a third said they would be worse off.”
    Let’s put it another way – 75% of households with children were either uncommitted or thought they would be better off under this budget. Of those that did commit more thought they would be better off.
    Overall 67% were either uncommitted or thought they would be better off.

  6. 404 Constant
    This is tough, because I definitely feel for you, and perhaps it’s best we don’t talk about specific circumstances, so I’ll phrase my question this way (and this isn’t a rhetorical question I already have the answer to):
    Is there any evidence for reduced waiting for treatment of serious illness in the private vs public system?
    It’s quite a common meme to suggest that if we’re paying then we’re entitled to better treatment, but the threads over at Lavartus suggest that if you’re prepared to put up with dust under the bed then equal or better treatment is available in the public system.
    I’m certainly not suggesting that you’re not receiving the best treatment Constant. I’d just like to make an informed choice in the future if I have to.

  7. Onimod

    I really don’t know the answer to your question. I don’t think anyone knows. I do know from my experience of one private hospital that does a lot of chemo and radiotherapy is that it is not flash. The surroundings are decidedly shabby. I am sure the nursing is no better than public and is maybe inferior.

    As a family we are spending quite a bit of our limited savings on health care. In our experience the benefits of the private system have been twofold. One is the immediacy of admittance to hospital for pain relief. The second is that when in hospital we have a private room – shabby but ours. As a family we can be there at any time, often with a friend. We don’t have to worry about disturbing other people. It is our home away from home. I saw both my parents in public hospitals for end stage cancer. They had fantastic care. But sharing rooms with 5 others means you have to be so much more circumspect e.g. bringing little children in to visit, not being there after a certain time. With our circumstances I have been able to visit after I finish work at 9.30pm ans stay for an hour.

    For us time is the key factor. Treatment in the long run is not going to make that much difference. But the time we have together with our family and friends is very precious.

    I don’t feel any sense of entitlement to ‘better’ treatment. My experience is that health professionals give of their best all the time, no matter what the system.

    BTW we are involved in palliative care – public system – and it is very good.

  8. I imagine the cost of the medical insurance rebate that ends up in private company pockets is the billion that Howard took away from public hospitals?

    The winfall to the private companies must have been enormous. 400,000 extra customers making payments but unlikely to make a claim for a decade.

    I am waiting and hoping that Rudd will pump those and other billions back into private hospitals.

    Generally the media is attending to its usual misinformation regarding Labor.

    Pity they don’t reflect where we would be at if we had the likes of Abbott, Bishop and Nelson let loose on society. Kyoto would not be ratified, we would be still discussing nuclear, taking the next stage in WorkChoices, States would still be starved of funds for being Labor, Aboriginal land would be in the process of being handed over to mining companies, the ‘intervention’ would most likely to have been starved of future funds, the Democrats would still be terryorists best friends in the USA and of course Hospitals would still be a non-issue with the Federal govt, preferring to reduce their funding percentage to the States…..oh and the Pensioners would have got what in the budget? Inflation would be a non-issue to be dealt with and interest rates would still be aimed at the sky.

    So the magnificent media prefer not to reflect and the general population will forget the Ogre that was the Howard govt….for to even complain about any of the above would recieve their condemnation.

  9. On the petrol rebate thing – I did some back of the envelope research this morning on the 5 cent rebate – a barrel of oil is 159 litres. Today the price of a barrel of oil is US$127, which is US$.80 cents a litre. [AU$ is almost at parity at $.96 cents today]

    The so called rebate would be swallowed up in about 6 weeks if the oil price continues to rise at the same rate it has done for the first 4 months of this year, and if the petrol companies decide not to profiteer, which would be somewhat unlikely. 6 weeks.

    What a waste of time.

  10. They would be better off keeping the petrol excise and having an official standard Petrol Invoice that people could then submitt for refund by the govt at 5c per litre.

    Though the cost of setting that up and maintaining it would waste any net benefit to the taxpayer. It would be one way however to guard against petrol companies swallowing any excise reduction.

  11. and it just gets funnier….,25197,23723056-601,00.html

    “Mr Turnbull has denied leaking the email to The Australian newspaper today but has not disputed its contents.

    “It’s our policy and that makes it a good policy and we are all supporting it. It was in Brendan’s speech last week and we’re all behind it,” Mr Turnbull said in Sydney.

    “I support it because I’m part of the team and it is our Liberal Party, Coalition reply to the budget. And it is a good policy and I do support it personally.”

    After reading that I’m still not sure who thinks it is a good policy and who doesn’t, and who supports it publically and who does privately…..and …oh….I give up…

  12. Constant Lurker @ 404 –

    My best wishes to your wife, yourself and your family. The big ‘C’ is a real bugger! 🙁

    onimod @ 405 –

    No doubt there are variations depending on the illness and your location, but FWIW, this was my experience:

    From the date of the x-ray that picked up a problem to surgery was 7 weeks and 1 day. While that may seem a long time the thing about lung cancer is that for most surgery is a waste of time because the cancer will already have spread and it only complicates treatment. So you get subject to a battery of tests to determine whether you’re a suitable candidate. An added complication was that I’d had a lot of asbestos exposure so the docs needed to be sure it wasn’t a factor. Unfortunately, getting all the boxes ticked takes time. From passing the last hurdle until surgery was only 18 days and this included Christmas and New Year.

    Only once did waiting times become an issue The oncologist decided that the delay in getting a CT guided needle biopsy done through the public hospital was too long so he arranged for it to be done at a private hospital (not sure who paid for it, but it wasn’t me).

    OTOH, none of the private hospitals have a PET/CT scanner which is an important tool in determining whether surgery is worthwhile.

    Now it is possible that instead of doing all the tests one after the other they might have been done in one hit without waiting for any results if I’d gone private. This might have sped things by a week, maybe two, but whether this would have made any difference to me is debatable. However, I’m sure it would have cost the taxpayers a lot more though.

  13. On the public private hospital thing. I have incurable leukeamia, no private health insurance, yet I go to The Mater Private Centre for Heamatology and Oncology in Brisbane to see a clinical heamatologist that I trust. It cost me $75 a visit (the consultation can last upto an hour).

    He co-ordinates my treatment with the Oncology Dept. at Nambour Hospital – they do what he says. I need regular tests (bone marrow biopsies etc.) these are done by QML because they bulk bill – if I had the same tests done at The Mater they would cost me $750.

    Florescence in situ hybridisation genetic tests are also done by QML at no cost.

    I have never experienced a problem with Nambour Hospital when I have required hospitalisation about every 3-4 months (this may be due to the fact that I have cancer of the immune system and always get a room by myself – because of infection problems).

    Would I consider private health insurance? NO. Of course every case is different but in my case the system works well.

  14. Was anyone aware there was a Tony Jones love fest going on at the OO? This is in regard to the new ABC Q+A show on Thursday night……,25197,23691650-5015662,00.html

    This is perhaps the choicest quote…

    “He is also the suavest presenter on the box, with a James Spader kind of insouciance. Many women of my acquaintance tell me they admire his polished assurance and dextrous articulateness. As a performer he certainly embodies a sense of the authentic mind, something we rarely see on local TV. ”


  15. Constant Lurker, MayoFeral and Ruawake, My best wishes as well to you and your families. The private versus public health care thing is, I think as Ruawake says, a matter of horses for courses, in terms of actual service delivery. The public domain is where people are trained, and while that has its risks, it’s also where there is most expert supervision by the people who are doing the training. It’s also where there is most accountability, for example, in the Vic. health system, when there is what’s called a sentinel event, there is the most excruciatingly rigorous forensic systemic examination of what went wrong and why – not to blame anyone individually, but to find the systemic problems, and fix them. The recommendations of the outcome of such examinations are binding and the implementation of same must be reported, who’s responsible, by when and so forth.
    Chino, my very, very favourite bit from Senor Allballs was the bit you quoted – “It’s our policy and that makes it a good policy and we all support it”. Despite the fact just about everyone who actually understands anything at all about these things, thinks it’s a dud, garbage, rubbish, not worth the oxygen. And, where I might ask, does the MSM get the idea from, that somehow the Opposition were somehow gaining some traction last week with the Budget Reply?

  16. With all due respect and much sympathy, Constant Lurker and wife, I apologise sincerely for any distress I may have caused. (Types 500 times, I must not make unqualifed statements or rash generalisations). There are always exceptions, and clearly you are among them. The issue is about equity and fairness.

    In that light. The truth about Abbott’s safety net, September 25, 2004 The Age.

    The evidence shows it is the rich who are benefiting most from MedicarePlus, writes Charles Livingstone.

    “This is a slightly surreal election campaign for many reasons, but one of the more diverting is the spectacle of the Howard Government trying to outspend the ALP on Medicare.

    Enter the Government’s MedicarePlus Safety Net, whereby families or individuals who experience high out-of-pocket costs for doctors’ fees are reimbursed 80 per cent of the fee charged above the normal Medicare benefit.

    Tony Abbott says the scheme protects ordinary Australians from high fees, and argues that it’s very popular. Certainly, someone out there likes it. Last week, Treasury advised that the original cost estimates of $440 million for this program over four years had increased by $142 million in the first year alone. And the evidence is that the lion’s share of this funding has gone to support the access of the most affluent members of our society to medical specialists, with likely serious inflationary consequences for the health-care system.

    Abbott has told us that about 80 per cent of the safety net expenditure so far has been to reimburse people for specialist costs. Even though bulk-billing has declined among GPs to around two-thirds of consultations, this is way ahead of the bulk-billing rates for specialists, who on average bulk-billed only about 27 per cent of services in the June quarter this year.

    If you see a specialist privately, you can expect a hefty up-front payment. This is because specialists are in a powerful position. Their skills are highly valued by people who need them. It’s fair that they be adequately remunerated, and by and large they earn far more than GPs. This is partly why GPs have felt left out in the income stakes and why bulk-billing has declined so markedly in recent years.

    Abbott also provided data last week that sets out the level of funding the new safety net has provided on an electorate-by-electorate basis.

    Has it been equitably distributed? Thanks to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we have a reliable locality-based indicator of the relative socioeconomic status of Australians. The ABS uses a range of census data to prepare an index of comparative disadvantage, known as the Socio-Economic Index for Areas, or SEIFA. Governments use SEIFA for all sorts of things – indeed, the Federal Government uses it as the basis for its funding arrangements for private schools – so it’s a reliable measure of how well-off particular local areas are.

    If we plot the SEIFA value for each federal electorate against the amount of money spent under the new safety net in each electorate, it becomes blindingly obvious that the most affluent parts of Australia have consumed most of the safety net payments.

    The largest aggregate payment up to July 31 under the safety net was $911,828, in the nation’s most affluent electorate, Bradfield in Sydney. The smallest payment ($22,222) was in Australia’s third most disadvantaged electorate, Lingiari in the Northern Territory. Between these two poles, there is an unambiguous and statistically significant relationship between relative advantage and greater access to safety net dollars.

    Further, the 25 electorates with the lowest SEIFA scores (the most disadvantaged) have averaged payments so far of about $148,000. The 25 electorates with the highest scores have averaged payments of about $448,000. Rural electorates have received an average of less than $150,000; inner metropolitan electorates, $326,000.

    The reasons for this are straightforward. First, specialists are most accessible in urban areas. Second, it’s generally the more affluent who can afford to pay the fees that specialists charge. The less well-off have to queue to see specialist consultants and registrars at hospital clinics. Those with money enough to pay big up-front fees, however, can jump the queue.

    The safety net thus provides a perverse incentive for specialists to increase their fees further, safe in the knowledge that the Government will pick up most of the tab. This is indeed inflationary (as exemplified by obstetric out-of-pocket costs, which rose by an average 17 per cent between March and June this year, the first full quarter of the new safety net) and makes it unlikely that the scheme will survive for long in its present form regardless of who wins on October 9.

    Which is not to denigrate doctors. What, for example, would happen to the price of panel beating if the government agreed to pick up 80 per cent of the tab for any work the panel beater decided to do on your car?

    On the evidence Abbott has so far provided, the safety net is unsustainable, inflationary, inequitable and directs money almost exactly where it is least needed. It may even reduce the supply of specialists working in public hospitals, since they can now expect to make vastly more income from private practice.

    It would be pleasant indeed if the ad hoc “bidding war” over health care could be replaced by a serious commitment to much-needed reform of the system overall. But that would probably be too surreal”.

    Charles Livingstone is a senior research fellow in the Faculty of Health Sciences at La Trobe University.

    There is much available and more recent on the subject. For example.,22049,22255850-5001031,00.html

    “A study by the Centre for Health economics, Research and Evaluation in 2006 found pregnant women using private obstetric services get back an average of $42 for every medical service from the safety net.

    Chronically ill cancer patients get back just $18.65 from the scheme”.


    My selection purposely excludes articles originating from politicians.

  17. Where were the nightly news services political stories. Neither 9 or 7 covered the Liberals problems tonight.

  18. Christian Kerr adds his words of wisdom to the current discourse on the Liberals current predicament.

    [A shadow minister told me a joke last week. “What do the Liberals stand for?”

    “So Troy Buswell can sniff their seats.”

    It’s not funny – it’s not even grammatical – but you have to get your jollies wherever you can when you’re in opposition. Particularly when you’re in as big a mess as the Liberal Party post-Budget. ]

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