Advertiser poll: Maywald on 11 per cent in Chaffey

The Adelaide Advertiser has published a poll showing Nationals member Karlene Maywald has suffered a disastrous collapse in support in her Riverland electorate of Chaffey. Taken from a sample of 460 voters, it shows Maywald on just 11 per cent after distribution of informal and undecided, compared with 53.2 per cent at the 2006 election. Maywald holds the cabinet posts of River Murray and Water Security under a highly unusual arrangement which began when Labor was in a minority government position during its first term. The poll puts the Liberal vote at 51 per cent compared with 28.2 per cent at the election, with Labor up from 9.8 per cent to 19 per cent. Fifty-seven per cent think Maywald “hamstrung” by her cabinet position against 34 per cent who think she “represents the best interest of the electorate”, and 50 per cent believe the state’s National Party (such as it is) should merge with the Liberals.

This thread may be used for general discussion of South Australian state political matters.

UPDATE: Matt Sykes, David Walsh and Adam Carr in comments makes the pertinent point that respondents appear to have been asked only which party they would vote for, which can’t have done Maywald any favours. Carr goes so far as to say that “a poll that didn’t put her name in the question is a fraud, and knowing the Advertiser probably a deliberate one”.

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.

34 comments on “Advertiser poll: Maywald on 11 per cent in Chaffey”

  1. “50 per cent believe the state’s National Party (such as it is) should merge with the Liberals.”

    I suppose that is one cunning trick for the Libs to buy themselves the only current Liberal Minister spot available in all of Australia. Same as the Nationals in Queensland buying their very own Lord Mayor of a major city by takover bid.

  2. Conservative rats should be punished just as Laborite ones are. When there’s cheese (government, cabinet position, whatever), you can’t get it without the trap smashing you to bits in the end.

    On a related note I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie Briggs (lib candidate for Mayo) the other night. A generally pleasant fellow with no doubt a good brain on him, but I do not feel compelled to support or vote for him. Why? A champion of the free market who has never held a career position in it, neither having finished his university degree.

  3. I think frankly this poll is an illustration of the political genius that is Mike Rann. Karlene Maywald arguably holds the toughest ministerial portfolio of any government in Australia – so what does Rann do – have a National party member as the minister. She takes all the political hits – and the Advertiser are getting increasingly personal with their attacks. It’s Karlene that’s taking the hits – much more so than the government. And personally, I think she’s doing a pretty good job – she actually has limited scope to do little, if anything to help her constituents.

    One small point though – sampling these rural areas must be fraught with danger due to its diversity, and must have a higher margin of error – even so – it’s hard to see much positive out of this for Karlene Maywald.

  4. Oh there is one other small thing that i wish to add that MAY affect the reliability of this poll – and it might be worth mentioning it in your preamble William – that is namely that NO candidate names were mentioned during the poll.

    And I quote from the paper article: “In the Advertsier Poll, names of candidates were not mentioned to ensure an equal playing field because neither the Liberals nor Labor have selected candidates for the election”.

    Does this help or hinder Karlene? I can think of arguments in both directions.

  5. If she was unpopular and she start from a base of 11%, and the electorate is already liberal leaning, I fail to see how she could even get 20% primary

  6. It’s worth noting that the voting intentions question just gave the generic party options and doesn’t mention Maywald by name.

    Perhaps it indicates that Maywald is really a de facto independent, and the National Party label carries no particular worth.

  7. I don’t know if she’s popular but Karlene Maywald spoke at an official function I was at last year and I thought she came across reasonably well – clear and down to earth but not stupid. But I agree its a tough portfolio – she’s basically Minister for the problem without a solution. The Murray problem simply can’t be fixed in SA, because of over allocation upstream.

  8. Karlene maywald is part of the problem, as is the Rann government.

    I live next to her electorate, its pretty densely populated, not a lot of scattering and the last I heard was that the locals, in their infinite wisdom, still thought she was wonderful.
    She may be tainted by her association with the ALP, its something that sits uneasily with the locals, they like her but not the government.
    I’m fairly sure that she would score much higher at an election than this poll suggests, she got 53% primary last time IFRC, and the ALP would have to preference her.
    Its a natural Lib/Nats seat nowadays and I think that, despite the Advertiser’s open antagonism, she is generally considered to be giving the locals [read irrigators, they are the noisy ones] as much as is possible.
    Can’t get blood out of a stone or water out of this river.

  9. If the poll only asked people their generic party voting intention and didn’t give them the option of voting for Maywald by name, the poll was meaningless and this discussion is pointless. Given the near-non-existence of the Nats in SA she is in reality an independent and holds the seat by name and face recognition. A poll that didn’t put her name in the question is a fraud, and knowing the Advertiser probably a deliberate one.

  10. Adam

    The Tiser has unquestionably targeted Maywald for elimination. She has been on the front page more than 50% of the time in the last fortnight, inevitably in a bad light. They have started a petition to go to Rudd and Wong, asking them to step in and squash Rann/Maywald. Obviously, Federal Labor is their next target.

    Water is going to be a key factor in the next State and Federal elections in SA.

  11. Whilst people in the Riverland. Maywald’s electorate would read the Advertiser and watch metro TV they also have local radio, local TV and, most importantly, more than one local newspaper.
    I haven’t read any of the local rags for some time but in the past their line was that Maywald was considerably better than sliced bread.
    I’d be surprised to see them be unduly negative about her, she and they have the same constituents, business and irrigators.

  12. #3 “It’s Karlene that’s taking the hits – much more so than the government.”

    Maybe it’s in her best interests to quit the ministry and return to the cross benches, using that as her reason. Blaming Labor for setting her up would shore up the votes in her electorate as well as offering an excuse for her (real or perceived) lack of progress on the Murray.

  13. Diogenes (12) is on the money. Maywald is one of the Rann Government’s best performers, but the Murray will them all undone. Rudd will suffer too. They’re paddling up the creek in that uncomfortable canoe. No-one will care that the Libs and Nats have been even more culpable over a very long time. There will be blood.

  14. A poll that didn’t put her name in the question is a fraud, and knowing the Advertiser probably a deliberate one.

    Minor quibble, but by definition a fraud is a deliberate, intentional act.

  15. Phil Robbins @16 Looks to me like Maywald is the sacrificial lamb, and I like your reference to paddling the proverbial canoe up the proverbial creek.

    The long-standing Qld, NSW, Vic and SA state labour governments have much to answer for with respect to the following: inadequate monitoring of the quantum of, and connections between, MDB surface and underground water; salinisation of the water, and over-allocation of the water. They failed to foresee that climate change, with its increase in temperatures, was going to lead to reduction in inflows. They failed to do anything effective about it once it became obvious that temperature increases were actually affecting inflows to a significant extent. They failed to work co-operatively to stop the various problems from becoming worse once they started to become apparent.

    They succeeded in the disorderly and so-far partial destruction of the irrigated farming systems of the nation’s foodbowl. They succeeded in contributing to saltier and saltier river waters and the huge personal, social and political stresses this has placed on riverside individuals and communities. They made a successful contribution to: the closure of the Murray mouth, the near total destruction of the Coorong as an ecosystem, and the death of thousands of River Red Gums. They contributed successfully to annual waterfowl counts which are now at about half a percent of the long term average. They contributed to total salinisation of many of the MDB wetlands, destroying them completely. While they were at it, they contributed to a fish fauna that is now about 90% european carp.

    At one level, the whole vicious thing represents one of the biggest failures of federation as a style of government. It is a broken system that generated a broken outcome.

    To some extent the state labour governments inherited these problems from previous conservative state governments. To some extent they were dealing with the usual sorts of issues which happen with divergent interests, depending on whether you are the top or the bottom of a catchment. To some extent they had difficulties with a Fed govt that had divergent political and sectoral interests. To some extent state labour governments are simply urban and/or capital city governments, more or less out of touch with the bush, in the same way that the bush is more or less out of touch with the cities. To some extent they were, and are, either in conflict or in bed with politically savvy pressure groups which have strictly limited financial and geographical horizons.

    But those duck-shoving governments must cop some of the responsibility. Bottom line, governments are expected to lead and manage, not to prevaricate and pander to special interest groups while keeping their heads firmly in the sand until it is too late.

    If the labour state governments get belted electorally for their individual contributions to this state of affairs, so much the better. Maybe it will sensitize political survivors and political newcomers a bit better to the issues and to that quaint old notion, accountability for the big picture.

  16. With the Greens and Mr X holding the balance of power, there must be some hope that Rudd can be forced to do something in exchange for passage of legislation.

  17. Nicely written, Boerwar, but the problem is that if State govts get belted for those policy failings, the succeeding adminstrations will almost be forced to become more partisan and more parochial in their efforts in this area.

  18. Diogenes @ 21, is Mr X likely to trade thus?

    L @ 22

    Well, you have me a bit confused here! Trying to think through what you are saying and pushing it a bit further:

    1. If the policy failings are sufficiently large, and affect the interests of sufficient number of electors, then state governments will get an electoral belting.
    2. One approach to avoiding the belting is to pursue parochial outcomes.
    3. But, when the policy issues are cross-border and regional practical solutions need to be cross-border and regional.
    4. So, if the state governments pursue purely parochial issues, they are almost bound to generate large, cross-border, regional policy failings – which is about 6here we are at.
    5. So, electorally, they are sort of buggered if they do and buggered if they don’t?
    5. And so, it is not the problem of the governments but of the system of governance?

  19. Unless it rains big, we are arguing the toss over nothing much really. All we can sensibly do is try and make better use of the water when it actually does rain.

    This problem has been a long time coming, and no cheap fistful of dollars is going to make much of an impact. There aren’t going to be too many winners out of all of this when the dust eventually settles – but there will be a lot of losers. The blame squarely rests at the feet of successive commonwealth governments over many decades for not managing the system better. The state governments are only doing what they are elected to do – do what’s best for their respective states. It’s the commonwealth that needed to take control – and they never have done.

  20. William, further to your update, you really should change both the title of this thread and your comments on it. If the poll did not ask people whether they would vote for Maywald by name, but only a generic party choice, then the heading “Maywald on 11 per cent in Chaffey” is factually false and misleading. So is the comment that the poll shows “Nationals member Karlene Maywald has suffered a disastrous collapse in support in her Riverland electorate of Chaffey.” It doesn’t show any such thing. What it probably shows is that most Chaffey voters don’t know that Maywald belongs to the Nats, which is actually to her advantage locally.

  21. It’s very easy for the Advertiser for taking populist potshots at Karlene Maywald and the Rann Government but what practical action can anybody take to alleviate the situation without some drastic action being taken by the Federal, Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian Governments. Todays Advertiser named six sites in the Murray-Darling system that should be bought back, among them Cubbie Creek. As much as I’d like to see that occur I can’t see it happening. Changing one’s vote won’t see it happen notwithstanding that Martin Hamilton-Smith is making all sorts of announcements (as he is prone to do) as to what he would do to see the river flowing again.

    I find it ironic that those making the loudest noise at the moment are of a liberal persuasion and if there was a change of government in NSW (very possible), Queensland (improbable), Victoria (unlikely) and South Australia (unlikley) but if there was, these same people would find themselves having to deal with liberal/LNP or coalition governments as all of the seats in the Murray-Darling catchment area both federally and statewise have non-labour sitting members.

    Can you imagine those governments doing anything about how water is allocated in the upper reaches of the M-D system. It would be electoral suicide on their part if they did. For that reason alone I can’t see how things are going to improve in the future unless we have a flood of biblical proportions (if such an event indeed did happen).

  22. Adam

    There is some more evidence for your recent post. Mike Rann was just on Channel 10 news, which is usually pretty fair, commenting on the Chaffey poll. His comments were exactly the same as yours and he claimed that the Tiser got the result they wanted by rigging it. Channel 10 interviewed quite a few voters in her electorate and it was clear that she has a lot more than 11% support.

    The Tiser is having none of it. They don’t report Rann’s criticism of the methodology of the poll. Their comment is that Rann is blindly backing Maywald.

    But Mr Rann said the poll was simply wrong.

    “I think Karlene has enormous respect in her area as someone who is fighting for the River land at every turn and that will be demonstrated in the next election,” he said.

    “I think Karlene Maywald is seen as an outstanding MP who is working overdrive to assist our state.

    “Without Karlene Maywald, people would not have that direct voice in the government and that direct voice into the highest level of debate in the nation.”

  23. It’s true that state governments of various hues have been remiss over a long time, but rank hypocrisy for the federal Libs to to banging on about failed policy when they watched the Murray-Darling go down the drain over the past dozen years.

  24. Matt (3) is on the money, Rann was smart to give Maywald the water portfolio. I think she’s done a pretty good job under the circumstances, and I suspect most of her electorate think the same.

    What threatened to hurt her more was the Country Health Plan, which she supported in Cabinet.

    Her electorate arguably benefited, along with Mount Gambier, Whyalla and Port Lincoln, but the rest of country SA was staring down the barrel of reduced services.

    The government has backtracked on the plan, which might save Karlene.

    The Nats will be hoping to win Flinders and possibly Stuart at the next state election. Being seen as having endorsed the Country Health Plan would have killed them.

  25. Disclosure: I own water rights and make a handy profit out of them. Perversely, the drought has been particularly good for me because of the enhanced prices I have been getting.

    L @ 25

    Thank you. Taking it a step further, if the states realize they can’t handle it, isn’t it time for them to own up and say something like: ‘Sorry, the system is broken, it really requires the Commonwealth to do something systematic when we face a cross-border, regional problem, therefore we will hand over constitutional responsibility to the Commonwealth.’

    Matt Sykes @ 24

    I accept that the situation has gone past the point of no return for lots of players and that there will be lots of losers. But stating that doesn’t get over the fact that it didn’t get that way by accident, and the state labour governments were significant contributors to this situation.

    I don’t understand why you are blaming just the Commonwealth. Isn’t the constitutional responsibility for land and inland waters a state responsibility? If so, why should the Commonwealth be blamed? Apart from Keating’s bag full of dollars, what scope does the Commonwealth have? And if the states don’t want to play, like Victoria didn’t, what can the Commonwealth really do? On Murray water, Victoria rolled Howard, and then it rolled Rudd. Rather than blame one or the other players, isn’t it time we all recognised that for cross-border issues and regional issues, it is the system of federal governance that is busted?

    Enjaybee @ 27

    Exactly. The South Australians are at the cloaca end of a busted system. No wonder it smells. South Australian Governments have two choices: Buckley’s, or making the best of a bad deal. Socking it to a South Australian Government when the governance system is busted makes no sense. Shuffling governments in South Australia will not make an iota of difference. The Tiser should know this. If the Tiser really wants to play in this game it should spell out some practical alternatives.

    Phil Robins @ 29

    I accept your point about rank Lib hypocrisy on Murray Darling policy, but do you really think the libs have a monopoly on hypocritical duck shoving? Would you accept the general proposition that the amount of hypocritical duck shoving by governments of all levels and all hues is in inverse proportion to the actual number of ducks left in the Murray Darling system?

  26. The poll is certainly way off the mark and mischievous. In SA the Nationals get about 0.5% or less of the vote in general upper house votes. In the few country seats where they get any support they haven’t got close to winning in recent years except Chaffey. The Nats in SA haven’t been in coalition with Libs for years and barely relate to the Federal Nats although they are affiliated. So for 11% of people to say they support Nats as opposed to Maywald would be about average.
    Maywald is like an independent.
    Lets hope the Greens and Xenophon can force some change because clearly both major parties have lost the plot over the Murray Darling with profligate issuing of water licences beyond capacity of river and leaving environmental flow/river health as last option for many years. Its a dsigrace what is happening in the lower Murray, lakes and Coorong and some bravery is required from the Rudd government to fix it quick.

  27. When the National Party lost its sole representative in the South Australian parliament in 1993 (losing the seat of Flinders) everyone wrote them off as being finished in South Australian Politics. Four years later Maywald claimed Chaffey for the Nationals and the party returned to SA politics. This current poll conducted be the Metropolitan newspaper in Adelaide with a small sample of less than 500 is meaningless. The Nationals have a big future in South Australia and at the next election will not only retain Chaffey but pick up Flinders and Finnis.

  28. I remember a friend of mine during the Dunstan days going up to Canberra to collect the 220million dollars when Don handed the railways over to the Commonwealth (I think he was just swapping bank account details). Could South Oz hand over the Murray to the Commonwealth and let them deal with the states- this would encourage the Commonwealth surely to act justly and make hard decisions.?

Comments are closed.