The parliamentary year has ended with a striking result from Newspoll: Labor leads 59-41, up from 55-45 last fortnight, with Kevin Rudd leading Malcolm Turnbull as preferred prime minister 66 per cent (up three) to 19 per cent (down two). Kevin Rudd’s approval rating of 70 per cent is one point shy of his previous best from April, while Malcolm Turnbull’s approval and disapproval have both gone five points in the wrong direction, to 47 per cent and 32 per cent (The Australian offers a graphic and a nifty preferred prime minister tracker showing figures back to early 2006). Nonetheless, the leadership ratings suggest voting intention would have been even worse for the Coalition if Brendan Nelson was still leader. Turnbull’s approval rating is still seven points higher than Nelson’s best result, and the 47 per cent gap on preferred prime minister is roughly equal to what Nelson managed when Rudd’s approval was in the mid-50s. Elsewhere:
Essential Research also has Labor leading 59-41, up from 58-42 last week. Also featured are questions on the performance of Julie Bishop as Shadow Treasurer, the relative popularity of Julia Gillard and Julie Bishop and “global terrorism and international unrest”.
The Australian Parliamentary Library has published a paper providing statistical details from every election since federation, along with a precis detailing the circumstances of each election.
Sky News, Foxtel and Austar have announced that a public and political affairs television network called A-APAN, along the lines of the American C-SPAN, will be launched on January 20 next year. It will feature coverage of parliament and committee proceedings, industry meetings, and congressional and parliamentary coverage from the United States and the United Kingdom. It will be available on pay TV and digital free-to-air, the latter initially only in Sydney.
Colin Barnett says the proposal for fixed terms in Western Australia will feature a mechanism if there is some catastrophic behaviour of a government that you might be able to bring on a poll. It will also provide for flexibility in the announcement of a date in either February or March, rather than fixing a precise date.
Antony Green has weighed in on the recent criticism of New South Wales’ system of fixed four-year terms.