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. The baby bonus served the purpose of the liberal party’s porkbarrelling, and welfare for the rich – which is tax cuts for the rich.

    The budget record of the Howard /Costello government:
    Year 1. Tax cuts for the rich.
    Year 2. Tax cuts for the rich.
    Year 3. Porkbarrelling.

    Other forms of tax cuts for the rich:

    – Your tax paying dollars going to someone else richer than you for having a kid. You may not want to have a kid

    – Your tax paying dollars going to someone else richer than you for taking out private health insurance. You may not want private health insurance.

    – Your tax paying dollars going to someone else richer than you for sending their kids to a private school. You may not want to send your kid to a private school.

    That’s what the liberal party stands for – TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH.

  2. Whats with Christian Kurr getting a front page bit in the Weekend OO with a very long and labored piece on how the alcopop tax is a intricate consipiracy by Rudd which, after getting half way I skimmed in boredom. I think the whole thing could have been written in two paragraphs not twenty or so. Ex Liberal staffers running the stories now?

    Then there was the complaint of Rudd’s office trying to manipulate the media, ignorant naive dolts that they at the Australian must of course be. Really? a government trying to manage their news cycles, what a revelation. The press themselves wouldn’t be toxic to Labour would they?

    I find it really funny coming from the pages of the OO, Australia’s premier neocon flag waving paper and the temporary leader of the Liberal party while the Opposition try to get their act together.

    You only have to read the first few paragraphs of the OO editorial to know that some of these people are in genuine psychological denial over Howard’s defeat.

    Read this bizarre bit of school boy lashing out from the Editor.

    “…Labor has squandered an opportunity and played it safe, raising questions about whether it was ready for government or won office by default.”

    Talk about Downer style petulance and spite.

    These people are still fighting the election and think they still have to do everything they can to stop neoconism from losing. Oh how they must be suffering withdrawal symptoms of having no pats on the head from John Howard for every Liberal supporting piece they do. The write their stuff to pull down Labor and support the Liberals…but they get no fix from it, there is no Howard or minister saying ‘good boy’ to them anymore, they wag their tales, salivate in anticipation of reward…and…nothing. They have lost their drug.

    If they were a half way genuine paper they would be exposing a totally incompetent and incoherent Opposition.

    The only person to make much sense among them was Paul Kelly who seems to have slipped into political observer mode rather than partisan.

    AND to boot the OO seems to pitching for the neocons and doing an anti-Obama take on USA politics. I don’t know why they would bother here in OZ. Their 3 headlines on USA politics are:

    Hillary’s avengers to hit Obama
    McCain sets out lofty ambitions
    Media’s unholy rush to worship at altar of Obama

    Maybe they just hate Obama because they see too many similarities between him and Rudd or they are still supporting Howard’s memory and his attack on Obama.

  3. We have two pension systems both costing about the same. The Old Age Pension costs the Federal Govt about the same amount as the removal of tax on superannuation when people turn 60.

    Not a bad policy but ill thought out, if people have had super for 40 years they probably will not need the OAP but people now have only had super for about 15 years, not enough to live on.

    Costello and Howard forgot about these people and prefered to give tax breaks to people who had a lazy million bucks to put into super.

    If this “policy” was not put in place (the allowing for people to top up their tax free super) pensions could have been increased dramatically with no cost to the budget bottom line. 🙁

  4. Nelson is off his tree.

    [Government data showed consumption would continue to increase by 10 per cent over the next five years, making the plan a tax reap and not a health initiative, Dr Nelson said.

    “Instead of buying a measured, ready-to-drink dose of an alcohol mixer, they’re now buying full bottles of spirits.”

    The move by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to curb binge drinking, especially by young women, will only result in penalising others who enjoy pre-mixed drinks.

    “While it’s still a problem, it’s actually declined over the last six years,” Dr Nelson said.

    “And you have to ask yourself, what does Mr Rudd have against blokes who drink Bundy and bourbon?”],21598,23713327-5005361,00.html

  5. Yep, that’s it – he’s exposed the deep underlying motivation of the Labor party for many years now.

    I am willing to exclusively reveal to you, my fellow poll bludgers (on condition, of course, that you don’t tell anyone else, but hey? what trouble can I get into, posting anonymously on the internet??) that several years ago Labor decided that they wanted to get guys who drank Bundy and bourbon.

    No particular reason, we just have this thing about guys who drive utes with ‘Cobargo Pub’ stickers on the back.

    Deep in party HQ, we met to discuss how, if ever we won government again, we could get these guys good.

    Noone can now identify who cried out, in a moment of inspiration “Tax pre mixed drinks!” but all present can testify to the deep, almost spiritual silence that fell over the room.

    We realised then that we had it: the perfect plan.

    Win government, and then sneak in a tax – cunningly called an excise, just in case somebody was looking – specifically aimed at Bundy and Coke drinkers.

    Now, of course, having achieved our aim (and unfortunately been outed by the sharp, dare I say clinical, brain of Dr Nelson) we don’t give a stuff about staying in government and will hand it all back to the Liberals, to whom we recognise it rightly belongs.

  6. ruawake

    Super is about a lot more than the pension. Consider the poor rate of saving we had in Australia, and the advantage of giving pay rises that don’t put pressure on inflations, and then consider when it all started.

  7. Vera @ #316
    Jeez I am amazed at your figures for pensions. When I first looked I thought “Well that’s not too bad” then I saw it was ‘per fortnight’.
    That’s less than $30,000 a year for a couple. People can’t live on that.
    And the benefits should be automatic anyway.

    Those figures are disgraceful.

  8. Depends if you have to pay for accommodation. We live off about the same amount since I salary sacrifice almost my entire salary. Big difference if you own your place or not.

  9. Not wishing to get into a fight about who’s worse off, but spare a thought for those on DVA invalidity pensions (for service personnel injured in peacetime) who don’t get many of the extra benefits and concessions. Their payments are also subject to tax, unlike the civilian DSP. The only concession is that once they turn 60 there is a 10% tax offset.

    Those of a service super/pension also get fewer concessions than age pensioners.

    BTW- in 1977 the High Court ruled that the invalidity pensions should be tax exempt. The Fraser government amended the tax act specifically to nullify the HC ruling. Now I wonder who the treasurer was at the time?!

  10. Anyway you slice it there are a lot of people who are being neglected in this society of ours in what is claimed to be boom times.
    Not good enough, we could and should do better.
    Well past time for a change in societal values.

  11. 360 fred
    The other side of that coin is that there are a lot of people who are neglecting their responsibility TO the society.
    The net positive to society of owning 2 4wd’s, all the other ancillaries and living 1.5hrs travel from your place of ‘work’ is getting a little dubious, wouldn’t you say?
    Like most things, there’s a cost side and an expenditure side to the equation.
    There are a lot of costs to a lot of things we place under the banner of ‘freedom’, which look and sound nice when considered from the perspective of the individual, but don’t necessarily add up when considered from the perspective of the group.
    For (limited) example:
    It wasn’t so long ago that the elders in the community lived with, and were cared for by, their offspring in their later years, and in return provided other social services in return. Has the movement of seniors into their own separate accommodation been a good thing, for them and the rest of the community, culturally or economically?

    Hmmm – tough questions, with little black or white on either side.

  12. Just one comments on the financial and political aspects of the health insurance rebate. Swan should just say that any saving by government from departurs from health funds (eg in terms of less matching subsidies) will be made up by higher payments to public hospitals. That should eliminate any arguments from States, and improve the health system too.

  13. Mayo, all pensions are subject to tax. They’re income. Centrelink doesn’t withdraw tax up front (although it gives you the option to nominate a sum to be sent to the ATO) but you get a group certificate at the end of the financial year and are expected to file a tax return. (There’s even facilities for cross referencing Centrelink payments and ATO returns, to check you’ve done this).

    I actually think it’s a ridiculous situation. Either the taxable limit should be set higher than the pension, or taxes should be taken out of the pension before it’s paid.

    If I could reform the tax system, I’d look at ways of removing tax altogether from public service wages (that is, their nominal wage would initially go down, but there’d be no tax withdrawn. Expense claims could still go in at tax time) and pensions.

    This would save a lot of paper shuffling, for starters.

  14. Just had a look at Sky news They had clips of Allbull Brenda and Swanny, and questioned how the opposition would fund the billions of $s hole left when they blocked all that stuff in the budget.
    Brenda said it was all costed, Allbull said it was 2&1/2 years until the next election so there was no need to put out policy or costing until then and Swanny (looking more confident as each day goes by said about Allbull “His economic credibility is on life support,”

    Kina I reckon it’s great to see the OO writhing and screaming on the floor spitting bile and venom because nobody is giving a sh#t about any of the lies and crap the print anymore. Losers!

  15. The Private Health funds having a cry and stating increases are on the way, yep as if their have not been increases in premiums for the last five years… Time the Health funds disappeared and we were all in the public system. Next thing they should attack is the private health rebate and use the money for the public health system.
    The newspapers going to town on the issue possibly because the private funds are key advertisers.

  16. Brendan said we’d have the opposition costings before the next election and Barrie Cassidy didn’t even respond with a follow up – just hand balled the footy to him for the next opposition issue.
    Absolutely pathetic journalism.

  17. zoom @ 363 –

    No, civilian Disability Support Pension payments are not assessable income for taxation purposes until the recipient reaches Aged Pension age. The same applies to the carer allowance and payments. Payments to blind Aged Pension recipients are also tax free.

    I can’t find anything on the Centrelink site stating this, but this states the position as at 2001/2 and the tax provisions have not changed since.

    Some DVA invalidity pensions are tax free up to Aged pension age, but not classes A & B which covers most recipients. See:

  18. Vera 365

    Thansk for that ABC link on the Nelson – Turnbull contradiction. I liked this quote in particular:
    “All of our policies are and will be fully costed and budgeted,” he said.”

    So which is it – all of our policies ARE costed or all of our policies WILL BE costed? Unless my english teacher lied to me about present and future tense it can’t be both. If all the coalition’s policies really have been costed, then teh obvious question: can we see teh costings please? Where will you find teh extra $1.8 billion? What will you cut? or How much do you expect to put up interest rates?

    Zoom 363

    I recall a comment that there is now a plan to put the tax free threshold back to $16000 over the next few years. This will make a big difference, sicne anyone on part time jobs making less than $300 a week will pay no tax.

    However, as an ex public servant I have to say that your proposal for public servant tax and pay would not be workable. From an individual POV, people on different circumstances can get the say gross pay but via various rebates received different take home pay. Eliminating this would effectively also remove the value of any family tax breaks etc from public servants pay. From a government POV, it would make reliable comparison of doing work by public or private means impossible. (I’m not suggesting that I’m in favour of privatising everythign, but you ned ot kow where you stand to make correct policy).

  19. Price Waterhouse Coopers are running a mile from that study they did on the effect of the Medicare changes ie people opting out of private funds. They claim it was based on figures supplied to them by, guess who, the private health industry.

  20. [Does anyone know how much the 30% rebate is costing the Govt at the moment?]

    I think it is something like 5 billion a year.

    From the budget figures 500,000 less people claiming the 30% rebate would save the government $900 million. The lack of the 1% surcharge from those people would cost the government $600 million.

    [They claim it was based on figures supplied to them by, guess who, the private health industry.]

    It obviously assumed that every single person who gives up health insurance will actually need to go to a public hospital within the next, which is just an absurd absolute worst case scenario.

  21. Turnbull was absolutely spot on this morning. He said that “it will be several (note several) years before the liberals are in government again”.

    I would suggest to Allbull that he at the least gets with Brenda before press interviews to discuss tactics in future.

    What about the accounting firm wanting to distance itself from the report commissioned by the health insurance industry and the liberal party???

    The liberals are a shameful embarrassment. Poor Gerrard Henderson wanted to crawl under his chair on Insiders this morning. He can see the economic legacy of Howard/Costello heading down the gurglar big time.

    I would rate this current opposition as the worst I have ever seen. Maybe they could recruit Mark Latham. He couldn’t do any worse and at least he would make sure that they got their story straight. LOL.

  22. Economic legacy of Howard/Costello, sorry they had it good their was no economic legacy. Costello is the worst treasurer we have ever had.
    Nelson simply has no idea, he is an embarrassment and Turnbull well if he becomes leader what kind of team will he have.

  23. “From the budget figures 500,000 less people claiming the 30% rebate would save the government $900 million.”

    So there we have it. The Howard govt gave $900m to medical insurance companies to cover people who probably wouldn’t use or want it. Basically a direct gift to the pockets of his mates.

    No wonder they are squealing. Roxon should commission an investigation into the industry especially their reasons for upping premiums being the addition of more members (when the rebate was instituted) and, if they increase premiums because of a loss of members. They would have to be lying one way or another.

    Being given a billion to cover a population segment that would hardly use it then increase premiums because of it is a 1st class con job. That is if it is true what people are saying, that they got letters giving that reason for the premiun increase.

    SO where are the papers protecting the people’s interest on this, exposing the rort?

  24. [So there we have it. The Howard govt gave $900m to medical insurance companies to cover people who probably wouldn’t use or want it. Basically a direct gift to the pockets of his mates.]

    Check out this Private Health Insurance search engine that compares different insurance policies:

    Look at the options in the “I’m Interested In” drop down box:

    Top benefit cover
    Intermediate benefit cover
    Basic benefit cover

    The fourth one is the doozy

    “Cover to avoid tax & penalties” aka private health insurance for people that don’t actually want to spend money on private health insurance.

    Talk about corporate socialism…

  25. “Cover to avoid tax & penalties” aka private health insurance for people that don’t actually want to spend money on private health insurance.”

    Sound like the Mafia visiting the local shops looking for protection money. Pay us or we will do you, we will send the ATO around to get you.

    Go Rudd, fix these pricks up.

  26. Kina & Shows On
    Have a look at who was the first to make noise on the issue and you’ve got the next piece of the puzzle – that’s right, the AMA.
    When there’s that much slush flowing around, there’s enough for everyone.
    What’s the chances of a journalist looking further than the press releases on this one? I’m not hopeful. There’s a lot of advertising dollars to protect here.

  27. Claims made that by taking out private health insurance helps relieve pressure off the public system – is a furphy.

    According to that logic, you could take all the pressure off the public system in the world by making it that everyone had to take out private health insurance. No thanks. I would rather see all those profits reinvested into a public health system, instead of the coffers of private insurance companys.

    If you don’t believe me, just check the health system of the strongest economy in the world. The place is a DIVE.

    We should have a choice. You can have either public or private. The ones who choose public should not fund private and the ones who choose private should not fund public.

    If private health insurers can supply a superior product – then good luck to them – they should go for it!

  28. I don’t understand how the additional 1% tax for not having Private Health Insurance was ever justified.

    Being taxed extra for not wanting to give money to a private company???
    How is that a choice?

  29. 382
    spot on
    If the private industry can supply a superior system – infrastructure & personnel, then good luck to them.
    I have little doubt there is already a core clientele who will pay whatever it takes and require no subsidy. It sounds like the start of a niche business model; not like the large scale closed shop protectionism we’re dragging along behind us now.
    As per Possum’s position on an evolving policy platform without the colour-by-numbers instruction manual for dummies included, it’ll be interesting to see what the next move is.
    Just think of the money and negotiating that’s keeping Nelson up to the plate on the threatened Senate block. How much is a couple of months continuation of the status quo worth?

  30. [The accounting firm sent an email to Treasurer Wayne Swan saying its audit was based on health insurance industry assumptions, and should not be regarded as independent.

    Ms Roxon says the changes to the levy should be seen as tax relief for 500,000 Australians and not as a penalty on the private health system.

    “Let’s not get too worried about the impact of the changes beyond that,” she said.

    She says the government is confident it has got its calculations right.]

    Of course this means the industry is simply lying through its teeth.

    Would also be interesting to get the stats on hospital visits/procedures by age group.

  31. It is difficult to pinpoint the truly disgusting, but, as I mentioned, not long before the election, Ramsey Health comes to mind, was that Howard was funneling taxpayer dollars into any kind of private health, with no doubt that a part of that money, ours, would be immediately returned in the form of campaign donations.

  32. I suspect the biggest furphy in this health debate is the claim that people leaving the private funds will swell public hospital waiting lists.

    Two years ago I had half my left lung removed which is one of the more serious ops to have. Despite having a DVA gold card which would have paid for a private hospital I elected to have it done in the Royal Adelaide because I figured a large hospital that caters for all specialties would be the safest place to be if it went pear shaped.

    I wasn’t alone in thinking that. I was the only lung patient in the ward, the others were all in for heart surgery and 5 of the 6 had private insurance but had also sought the safety of a full equipped public hospital.

    Which begs the question, how many of the privately insured actually use private hospitals, especially for the reallu serious stuff? I’m guessing not a lot.

    BTW – the oncologist I got at the hospital’s chest clinic is one of the top lung cancer specialists in the country and the author of over 40 papers, the surgeon teaches the procedure to others not only in SA but interstate and he was assisted by the head of the thoracic unit. And all that expertise didn’t cost me a cent!

    Admittedly, the facilities weren’t up to private standards – Adelaide had a record heat wave that week and the primitive airconditioning system barely made an impression, but the staff were great and anyway I was doped up on so much morphine that I was beyond caring about the lack of gold plated taps and marble flooring, etc.

  33. Mmmh, MayoFeral. You are correct. Sure, the marble floor is lacking, the air could do with a refit, but the service is cool. Not that I have yet to endure any surgery.

    But I would put my faith in a public hospital, anytime.

    As, it seems that even private health holders do.

    Next on the hit list, as I have said, the Safety Net, which currently looks after the rich and self indulgent. Seems impossible to reach the Safety Net unless one goes in for hugely expensive procedures or examinations. Which, of course, if money is no object, falls right into the hands of those who can afford to reach the limit in the first place. A la the Mossmans. Figures are available.

  34. It seems there is a Galaxy Poll on the budget in the Courier Mail tomorrow and guess what, the pensioners are unhappy and the budget doesn’t go over well. Surprise, surprise. I wonder how they worded the questions.

  35. [It seems there is a Galaxy Poll on the budget in the Courier Mail tomorrow and guess what, the pensioners are unhappy and the budget doesn’t go over well. Surprise, surprise. I wonder how they worded the questions.]

    Ok, Which Nursing Home/Pensioner Club did they target ? 🙂

  36. “A total of 33per cent of people think they will be worse off after the Budget changes, far more than the 23per cent who think they will be better off.”
    By my reckoning that means no change for 44%. So 67% see the budget as being either neutral or beneficial to them. Not a bad result that for a tough budget.
    “A total of 41per cent of people aged over 50 believe they will be worse off, including 18per cent who think they will be “much worse off”.”
    Again, by my reckoning 59% don’t think they will be worse off. Not a bad result.

  37. One must always remember that if the Howard govt was still in power just how much further they would take us down their sick path, the many more millions of the Australian peoples money they would donate to private enterprise under some lie or other.

    I can just see some small company being given millions to advance nuclear power in Australia, or some other company being given millions to further ethanol in Australia….maybe medical insurance rebate would go up to 50% and insurance companies allowed to increase their premiums by a same amount – a direct transfer of taxpayer money to private business – but not the slightest benefit to Australia.

    We have to wonder sometimes who Howard thought he was PM for.

    Thank god the man and his insidious diseased band of men are gone from govt.

  38. I just wonder if Rudd has lead Turnbull and Nelson down his own path again. Rudd can deal with pensions and pensioner benefits – improving the lot of the needy but means testing those who are not needy. Increase pensions on one hand and reduce it from the big asset holders on the other hand.

    Means testing is such an equitable sounding thing that Nelson will be hard pressed arguing against it when Rudd wants to use it to take benefits away from the well off.

  39. This is a crack-up LOL Brenden the Booze Brother, love it!

    “THE kiddie-liquor tax debate is clearly taking it out of Brendan Nelson.

    Appearing on ABC1’s Insiders, the Booze Brother looked completely cream-crackered. His face, give or take the odd flap of the eyebrows, spent the bulk of the interview as bereft of movement as Nicole Kidman’s forehead. Perhaps the effort of coining the word alco-con had left him drained of energy. Perhaps it was former Howard minister John Herron’s helpful letter to Kevin Rudd, congratulating him on the alcopop tax hike, that had sucked the olive out of his martini. Maybe he’d caught wind of what new stunt Family First senator Steve Fielding has planned. Then again, it could have been the knowledge that his treasury spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, was busy on the Nine Network contradicting him on fuel excise cuts. Either way, Nelson looked like he could really do with a drink.”,25197,23718908-25090,00.html

  40. The right wing press are going to start getting a little impatient the closer we get to the next election without the LNP having a viable leader.

    Maybe they will start to assassinate Nelson to make sure there is no delay or to legitimise a change.

    Maybe we should expect Turnbull getting increasing praise, when he hasn’t got a hoof stuck in his mouth.

  41. I see Milne is placing his faith in Liberal Party focus groups. Strange how they are getting the results the Libs want.

  42. Galaxy Poll
    Of the 33% who think they are worse off I wonder how many are LNP voters. Of the 41% 0f over 50’s who think they are worse off how many are LNP voters and baised against anything Labor?

    I doubt it will make much difference to the ALP vote. it will be interesting to see.
    The LNP were hoping for a big swing back from the Budget as it was supposed to be tough.

    The Courier Mail is just a tabloid and is poor in quality. I cancelled my subscription to it a long while ago.

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