Essential Research has produced its final weekly survey for the year, ahead of a sabbatical that will extend to January 12. It shows Labor’s two-party lead down slightly from 59-41 to 58-42. I might proudly note that they have taken up my suggestion to gauge opinion on the internet filtering plan, and the result gives some insight into the government’s apparent determination to pursue this by all accounts foolish and futile policy. Even accounting for the fact that this is a sample of internet users, the survey shows 49 per cent supporting the plan against 40 per cent opposed. Also featured are questions on the government’s general performance over the year, bonuses to pensions and families, optimism for the coming year (surprisingly high) and the target the government should set for greenhouse emission reductions (only 8 per cent support a cut of less than 5 per cent). Elsewhere:
The West Australian has published a Westpoll survey of 400 WA respondents showing 60 per cent believe the federal government’s changes in policy on asylum seekers have contributed to a recent upsurge in boat arrivals in the north-west. However, only 34 per cent supported a return to the Pacific solution against 48 per cent opposed. Sixty-nine per cent professed themselves concerned about the increased activity, but 54 per cent said they were happy for the arrivals to live on Christmas Island while they were assessed for refugee status. Fifty-one per cent were opposed to them being processed on the mainland. Westpoll also found that 62 per cent of respondents definitely supported recreational fishing bans to protect vulnerable species, with nearly eight out of 10 indicating some support. I suspect The West Australian commissioned monthly polling in advance expectation of a February state election, and has tired of asking redundant questions on support for the new government.
Imre Salusinszky on Bennelong in The Weekend Australian:
The experience of Labor in 1990, when Bob Hawke was mugged in Victoria by the unpopularity of former Labor premier John Cain, shows there are occasions when a Labor state government can throw an anchor around the neck of its federal counterpart. According to Newspoll figures published in The Australian yesterday, federal Labor’s primary vote in NSW is running at 41 per cent, nearly four points down on its level at last year’s federal election. Although this is still much higher than the 29 per cent primary vote recorded in a Newspoll last month for the state Labor government which, as it happens, was precisely the party’s primary vote in Ryde it certainly suggests Rudd has problems in NSW. Given Rees’s recent decision to scrap plans for a metro rail system linking central Sydney to the city’s northwest, some of those problems could manifest in Bennelong. And while Howard was a formidable adversary, it would be possible to argue his presence assisted McKew by encouraging every gibbering Howard-hater in the country including the activist group GetUp! to get involved in the battle for Bennelong.
The key, obviously, lies in the calibre of candidate the Liberals manage to put up. Two names that have been mentioned are former state leader Kerry Chikarovski and former rugby union international Brett Papworth. Chikarovski represented Lane Cove, which falls largely within Bennelong, from 1991 to 2003; Papworth is a son of the electorate who began his playing career there. But if there is one candidate who could give McKew a fright, it is Andrew Tink. Tink represented the state seat of Epping, which falls largely within Bennelong, from 1988 until last year’s state election. A true-blue local, Tink would be able to exploit a lingering perception of McKew as a celebrity blow-in. Tink appears to be enjoying his second career as a historian of NSW politics, but there have been approaches from senior Liberals who would like to see him make history of McKew.
Noting the difficult position of the Canadian Liberals as they pursue power behind an interim leader, Ben Raue at The Tally Room looks at differing methods used overseas for selection of party leaders and offers a critique of Australian practice (part one and part two).
Possum: ETS Why 5% in two charts. Even shorter version: it all comes down to the Senate.