Newspoll: 59-41

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.

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.

1,313 comments on “Newspoll: 59-41”

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  1. [And here you’ve just doubled the cost of the plant, which means the power produced would be extremely expensive.]

    No, ShowsOn.

    Baseload solar thermal plants are already in existence around the world and there are dozens more in development.

  2. Polyquats @ 1145

    The issue may be that people only get to experience one global catastrophe every century or so, or even less.

    There are simply no people around who can say, ‘B*gger me, the last time we had catastrophic climate change the beach house disappeared, the crops failed, food prices rocketed, and we got swamped with the survivors of the billion or so people whose land disappeared along the coasts, estuaries and flood plains of the folks in the Pacific and the folks up north.’

    Both the probabilities and the severity of the consequences have yet to be experienced. The issue for humans is that this time there may not be much of an opportunity to apply the learning.

  3. [Baseload solar thermal plants are already in existence around the world and there are dozens more in development.]
    Do they use this system of moving water around to store the energy?

    This page says that the ADVANTAGE of the system is that it leaves the energy as hot water:
    http://cleantechnica.com/2008/03/27/solar-thermal-electricity-can-it-replace-coal-gas-and-oil/

    Pumping water around would be a complete waste of energy, renewable or otherwise.

  4. Boerwar #1152. Possibly. The lack of precedent is one of the things that scares me though. Too many unknowns, and we don’t even cope well with much less catastrophic change – increasing salinity, for example. I take some comfort from the success of the Montreal Protocol.

    Another ‘head in the sand’ position that riles me is the ‘we will find something else to fuel our cars when the oil runs out’. Do people realise what we use that stuff for – pharmaceuticals, plastics, fertilisers, etc. If oil starts running out, fuelling motor cars will be the least of our problems.

    Maybe people would get the message if we could convince them that they could well be the refugees doing the swamping.

  5. Australia as a nation with vast deserts close to the equator is well positioned to have lots of solar power meaning that the power is likely to be cheaper than other places so we will still have an advantage. Although we are too far from anywhere likely to need big clean power imports to be an exporter of electricity like various North African nations and Mongolia (even though it is quite far North).

  6. [Says that at the end of 2007 WORLD WIDE there was 457 megawatts of solar thermal power being produced.]

    It also says that many thousands more of megawatts are in development.

    So your argument is “Because we don’t have very many solar plants there can’t be any and we shouldn’t build any”.

    On that logic we should build more coal since that’s where we get most of our electricity.

  7. one of the sims I saw many years ago was a classic ‘what if’

    Effectively the three teams were given one imperative

    10 yrs till some utter catastrophe obliterated the earth

    develop the most efficient technology that would be sustainable both space and planetary

    the most viable:solar
    the most popular:prayer

  8. There have been lots of plans to store collected solar energy as heat in fluids. The problem has always been energy density, getting temperatures that are useful to drive established technologies (like turbines), and covert the heat to electrickery has been difficult in anything but local, remote area type contexts.

    That said, I really like this idea for industrial scale, base load potential.

    http://solar-thermal.anu.edu.au/high_temp/thermochem/index.php

    Given that CSIRO (best bloody value we ever get out of our tax dollars!!!) are already reliably getting 500kw and 1200 degrees C out of their solar collectors its not going to surprise me if this kind of tech takes off. If the fossil fuel / nuclear mafia want to kill anything off it will be this as it makes the not always available argument look pretty sick. Yup, ammonia is not a nice substance, but its better than plutonium, and there is wide experience with handling it industrially.

    All we need now is a room temp superconductor (one can dream) we can use for long runs of cabling and a few of these type of stations in the sunny outback and energy probs solved.

    Oh, and hydrogen storage that is energy dense (bound up in a matrix, not pressure) and doesn’t leak.

  9. Reckon instead of talk instead start building those solar farms ala US solar plan , solar photovoltaic cells with xcess daytime energy stored as compressed air in underground caverns to be tarpped during nighttime hours (US alsready store LPG there) , knock some larg solar concentrator power plants and construct a direct-current power transmission backbone to deliver solar electricity throughtout oz

    Cost about 32 billion , but supplies about 35% of needs at about 32 billion cost and higher cost for greater penetration , but takes “time” to build

    CC seems to hav two problams…politcal will , and “time” to implement whatever by 2020 (and even fusion via my earlier post and ITERP plan is mid 2030’s best)

  10. [Ah, but look at the projections ;)]
    So in four years from now they are going to have as much as 6 or 7 big nuclear reactors.

    Again, I’m not saying it isn’t a good idea, I just think we need some perspective about how effective it is. It maybe good for a few hundred megawatts for a big installation, but nuclear can give you over a thousand megawatts for each big installation.

  11. Polyquats @ 1156

    On climate change refugees, ah, yes, of course. One of the great ironies of the Howard Government was the smugness with which they decided that Australia was not going to be a haven for climate change refugees from submerging pacific island countries. But who were the first climate change refugees in our region? National Party-voting irrigators who are being forced out of the Murray Darling Basin as we speak.

    In the past civilizations have risen, flowered and reached their peaks before dwindling and disappearing. Usually these have been regional events. They have nearly always been connected to environmental issues – either to the benefit of competing civilizations (eg good pasture years for adjacent horse-bourne warrior nations) or to their own disbenefit. So, with the great Euphratres civilizations nearly all did well while they were chopping down their forests and building up their irrigation systems, but nealy always declined when the forests were gone and the salinity built up. This is the first time the environmental issues with civilization-destructive capacities are not regional but global, and it looks very much as if the earth’s governance systems will be inadequate to manage the problem. It looks very much as if the whole earth will do a Euphratres civilization cycle.

  12. Shows, 1155, it was a good story, but don’t tell Adam, he’ll want to nuke the school.

    As for energy, I know at the moment wave energy isn’t stacking up against some of the other renewable sources, but (cliché alert!) they can put a man on the moon, surely they can think of more efficient ways to harness this ceaseless, relentless, throbbing energy source that envelopes this land girt by sea? It’s a potential base load that every coastal town could run off if we get the engineering right.

  13. Glen
    Only too true. You would be thinking about how the Liberal Parliamentarians for once had a fully united view on that one:

    ‘Nucluear Power Stations Will Be Built In Someone Else’s Electorate.’

  14. The Liberal Pary won’t be in a position to decide anything except what to have for lunch for a looong time, Glen.

    Mayor John V Lindsay of New York. He was a member of the Kerner Commission into the causes of urban unrest set up by LBJ in 1968.

    The moon isn’t being used for anything. Why not cover the whole side of the moon that faces the sun with solar panels, then hang a big cable from the moon to the earth to bring the power down? Just an idea.

  15. Glen, if the Fibs make nuclear power a part of their platform then they will lose the next election in an even bigger way than if they fail to rid themselves of the “Party of SerfChoices” tag.

    Nukes are the most expensive option over their life cycle, and i find it curious that someone from the “right” of politics could support an option that is only viable if the government and taxpayers underwrite the total risk??

    Nuke power stations are really about privatizing the profits, and socializing the losses. If one goes pear shaped the magnitude of the disaster is such that only governments can even consider covering the risk and thats only because ultimately they can legislate their way out of trouble and use taxpayers money to clean up the mess.

    Actually, the Fibs doing this to themselves is quite a pleasing prospect as apart from the bloodsport aspect, that combination would mean they would be so unelectable they may finally die off and maybe be replaced by a real liberal party.

    Still, could any party be, collectively, so stupid??

  16. Even if things don’t go “pear shaped”, it’ll be governments and communities bearing the cost of the waste, as happens in other industries.

  17. Nuclear Power is only political posion here for some stupid reason!

    It isnt in the UK, USA, Canada or France or Germany and yet Australians are so thick minded and take in all the bulldust from anti-nuclear groups…it really gives me the red ass.

  18. Why are the Liberals so reticence to nominate where besides Bribie Island are they going to be constructed? Do today’s talking points nominate any locations ,Glen, or is a just a general command to float the idea in the usual Liberal Party broad terms?

  19. Every nuclear power station in Europe is subsidised. There’s only one new order for one in all of Europe and that one is a “loss leader”. Nuclear is pretty dead.

  20. Dio Nuclear Power is actually economical in Europe even without an ETS.

    Nuclear is being kept alive in Germany and the UK (actually they are going to build more)…and France has 80% of their power from Nuclear…

    Nuclear aint dead Dio!

  21. Adam @ 1178

    Indeed.

    While there are the inevitable nimbies, there is competition between regions for the placement of new nuke power stations because of the huge boost they give to regional economies.

  22. [none of these disasters have befallen the European countries which get large parts of their electricity from nuclear power]

    There have been plenty of leaks in Europe and Asia.

  23. Yes, they are subsidised, but if the alternative is relying on gas supplied by the charming Putin, which comes with a political price tag, state subsidised nuclear may still be the better option. Of course the issue is different in Australia, since we have so much carbon fuel of our own, but if we really decide to stop burning carbon, can we really avoid nuclear? I’m genuinely agnostic on this.

  24. [it really gives me the red ass]

    all I’m seeing is a baboon with Menzies head on it, please don’t create such disturbing images Glen. 🙂

  25. Pumping water around would be a complete waste of energy, renewable or otherwise.

    It all comes down to the ease of converting the stored energy back to electricity. Pumping water up a hill is actually much better way of storing energy than storing it as heat.

    They actually have a very large pumping/generation station in the snowy system. It generates to supply electricity at peak load and pumps the water back up the hill overnight because the “wonderful” base load stations can’t be switched off. Very large and very impressive system.

  26. Glen

    I am pretty sure that France does not get 80% of its power from Nuclear Fission. It is in the process of replacing its ageing nuclear plants. The first cab off the rank has increased costs by 20%, which indicates that various costings in the debate above may be out by significant amounts. A major difficulty for any of the alternatives being discussed is that people rarely compare whole-of-life costs. In Rumsfeldt-speak, decommissioning nuclear power stations is a bit of a known unknown.

  27. [While there are the inevitable nimbies, there is competition between regions for the placement of new nuke power stations because of the huge boost they give to regional economies.]

    Something hardly unique to nuclear power stations…

  28. If we actually built the Jervis Bay Reactor in the 70s we’d already have by now a substantial nuclear capacity and we wouldn’t be debating whether we needed it but whether we should build even more nuclear power plants…ever since that plan to build our first reactor failed we’ve got nowhere and gone backwards…

  29. [but if we really decide to stop burning carbon, can we really avoid nuclear?]

    Yes, Adam.

    [Yeah and they still have it and it doesnt make political party’s lose elections Oz your arguments are misguided!]

    Glen, political party’s not losing elections has nothing to do with the fact that there are no safe, long term ways of storing waste.

    I refuse to concede any point you may make on this topic until you go back, read and accept that your past attempts to demonstrate “facts” collapsed.

  30. Another stupid bloody scare campaign!

    There is NOTHING wrong with us having Nuclear Power, people are just gulable and take in all that crap the environmentalist sprout about it…the average person knows nothing about the technology and so when they think nuclear they think something negative.

    Low road arguments may win here steve but they dont in Europe/USA/Canada at least they’ve reduced carbon emissions from Nuclear…we havent!

  31. Yes it’s very easy to mount nimbyist scare campaigns about Chernobyl in everyone’s back yard, but it might not look so clever if Stern et al are right and we actually have to stop burning carbon in the next decade, as seems quite possible. We can’t generate electricity from sand, you know.

  32. I don’t even think Europe comparisons are justified.

    Australia has huge untapped resources when it comes to solar, wind, geothermal and tidal.

    Germany has an enormous solar industry and they’re in darkness for half the year.

  33. [We can’t generate electricity from sand, you know.]

    Silicon is in sand… silicon is used to create solar panels… deserts have a lot of sun…

    [Low road arguments may win here steve but they dont in Europe/USA/Canada at least they’ve reduced carbon emissions from Nuclear]

    None of those countries have seen a reduction in carbon emissions.

    Please just accept you don’t have a clue about what you’re talking about and move on.

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