Essential Research: 61-39

Newspoll seems to have taken the week off, but there’s always Essential Research, which has Labor’s lead up to 61-39 from 60-40 last week. Also featured are questions on becoming a republic within the next few years (52 per cent support, 24 per cent oppose – the latter sounds a bit low), whether Australia should agree to allow Japan to conduct whaling if it limits its activities to the northern hemisphere (10 per cent agree, 81 per cent disagree), “how would you rate your loyalty to your employer” and “how would you rate your employer’s loyalty to staff”. Furthermore:

• The silly season endeth – Kerry O’Brien and Lateline are back, and parliaments federal, Victorian and South Australian resume today.

• The Australian Workers Union has released a comprehensive survey of workers’ attitudes to the global financial crisis, derived from 1016 interviews conducted by Auspoll. The headline finding is that 40 per cent fear losing their jobs in the next year.

• Parties’ disclosures of receipts, expenditure and debts are available for perusal at the Australian Electoral Commission, at least so far as donations of over $10,500 are concerned. Siobhain Ryan and Imre Salusinszky of The Australian and Bernard Keane of Crikey sift through the evidence; the latter also opens fire on the Coalition over its obstruction of legislation reversing the 2005 disclosure threshold hike. Keane notes that one travesty can’t be pinned on the previous government: that we have had to wait until February 2009 to find out what went on at an election held in November 2007. Anyone who imagines this has something to do with logistics should consider the practice in New York City, where donations have to be declared before election day and “made public immediately on a searchable, online database”.

• Antony Green returns from a fortnight in the wilderness (literally) with a belated post-mortem on the Liberals’ defeat in South Australia’s Frome by-election. As I suspected, independent Geoff Brock owes his win to a peculiarity of the state’s electoral system that saves ballot papers with incomplete preferences by assigning them the preferences officially lodged by their favoured candidate. Without this provision, 258 ballots that were thus admitted the day after polling day would have been informal, leaving Brock 38 votes behind Labor at the second last count rather than 30 votes ahead. Another issue has been brought to my attention by Kevin Bonham, who points to the fact that a certain number of Liberal voters harmed their candidate’s chances by voting Liberal rather than Labor. If 31 such voters had tactically switched to Labor, Brock would have been excluded and the distribution of his preferences would have given victory to Liberal candidate Terry Boylan. Public choice theorists call this flaw in preferential voting “non-monotonicity”, which is elaborated upon here (although Bonham reckons “some of their worked examples are wrong”).

• Antony also gets in early with a preview of Western Australia’s May 18 daylight saving referendum, which combines customary psephological insight with a keen eye for the state’s lifestyle peculiarities.

• Former Labor MLA Kathryn Hay will run as an independent for the Tasmanian upper house division of Windermere (extending from the outskirts of Launceston north to the proposed site of Gunns’ Bell Bay pulp mill), challenging independent incumbent Ivan Dean at the poll likely to be held on May 2. Peter Tucker at Tasmanian Politics reports that one of the the other two seats up for election, the Devonport-based division of Mersey, looms as a clash between Latrobe mayor Mike Gaffney and Devonport mayor Lyn Laycock. Mersey is being vacated by retiring independent Norma Jamieson.

• Staying in Tasmania, a recount has confirmed that the last remaining Labor candidate in Franklin from the 2006 election, Daniel Hulme, will assume the lower house seat vacated by former Tourism Minister Paula Wriedt.

• Mining magnate and former National Party director Clive Palmer is making himself visible as the Queensland state election approaches, having been profiled last week on The 7.30 Report and in a cover story for The Weekend Australian Magazine. The latest salvo in Palmer’s charm offensive is a demand of $1 million in damages for defamation from Anna Bligh, who said there was “something just not right about one billionaire owning their own political party” (the annual financial disclosures discussed previously list $600,000 in donations from Palmer to the Liberal and National parties). Sean Parnell’s Weekend Australian piece describes Palmer as a “notorious litigant”, who “once listed it as a hobby in his Who’s Who entry”. Palmer’s 18-year-old son Michael has been preselected as the Liberal National Party candidate for the safe Labor seat of Nudgee.

Rick Wallace of The Australian reports that Nationals-turned-Liberal Senator Julian McGauran will face a number of challengers in his bid for one of the two safe seats on the Victorian Senate ticket, with other incumbent Michael Ronaldson “widely expected to claim top spot”. The field includes prominent Peter Costello supporter Ross Fox, barrister Caroline Kenny and solicitor Cate Dealehr. Other names mentioned by Andrew Landeryou’s VexNews are Terry Barnes, a “former Tony Abbott adviser”, and Owen Lysaght, who ran as an independent in Chisholm in 2004.

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.

1,780 comments on “Essential Research: 61-39”

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  1. Fielding just asked PM&C exactly the same question he asked Treasury yesterday. (What do unemployed people get specifically from the package).

  2. Pyne debated Feeney on Sky yesterday and didn’t do too badly. He has learned not to sound so much like an upper-class prat.

    Andrews is an intelligent man but very ideologically rigid and totally lacking in communication skills. It was a very major error on Howard’s part to give him the job of selling WorkChoices.

  3. No way! Xenophon, as well as the Liberals are still going on about tax cuts, even though treasury explained yesterday that a one off payment, and a one off tax cut have EXACTLY the same effect over the LONG term. But one off payments have more effect if you want a QUICK stimulus.

  4. Diogenes,

    It’s not what they say, it’s what they do. Where pyne sits on the notional scale of left or right is largely irrelevant.

    Costello is apparently a Liberal in the traditional Menzies Liberal mold. The only reason we might believe that is that it has been the media narrative re Costello for years and years.

    Show any decison in Government or his personal life that would support such a notion.

    Costello is and has always been a big C Conservative.

    I think people confuse Peter with his brother Tim.

  5. Yes Bree I espeically like the part where he says
    [$42b… and at the end of it you will have some better facilities for schools, which by the way should have been done anyway]

    So true…

  6. Pyne and Abbott certainly aren’t stupid but Kevin Andrews must be getting awfully close. Pyne and Abbott both had a Jesuit education and the Jesuits certainly train their students well to be critical thinkers, except for that elephant in the room that they don’t comment on so much. 😉

  7. [Costello is apparently a Liberal in the traditional Menzies Liberal mold. The only reason we might believe that is that it has been the media narrative re Costello for years and years.]
    Relative to Howard, I guess it is true. But the enjoyment I get is that this just demonstrates how in the long term Labor positions are right. For example the reason Costello is considered a moderate is because he is a republican who supports reconciliation, and his opposed to discrimination against gays. Well, these are all Labor positions.

    In the long run, on social issues, more progressive opinions become mainstream. You can say that about anything really, women’s rights, indigenous rights, gay rights.
    [$42b… and at the end of it you will have some better facilities for schools, which by the way should have been done anyway]
    So he just admited how incompetent he was for failing to fund this during the boom years.

  8. Costello probably thinks of himself as a moderate or progressive or Deakinite Liberal. But he is so careful not to offend the right-wingers who might not vote for him in the party-room that he has hardly lifted a Deakinite finger throughout his career. His only progressive gesture has been republicanism. His defining moment was when he was too scared to join the walk for reconciliation or whatever it was called.

  9. Pyne won by 1700 votes or so. I fear that that is Labor’s high watermark in that seat. I don’t think they could ever do better than in a government changing year. Plus if Handshin did win it it would always remain a marginal seat.

    Incidentally she is now a staffer for Kate Ellis.

  10. Adam

    I’m reliably informed that Pyne has had speech therapy to improve way he comes across so he can appeal to a wider proportion of the voters. I haven’t heard him speak for ages but it sounds like it’s paying off. There are still plenty of rumours that he will move back to State politics if MHS gets done in the next election, which is looking increasingly likely.

  11. [Not quite as good as his appearance on Lateline on Tuesday but excellent performance by Costello on 3AW.]
    You have got to be joking. He ducked and weaved and basically was saying, “Look at moi, look at moi.”

  12. [So he just admited how incompetent he was for failing to fund this during the boom years]

    Yes… and that at least $14.7b of the package is worthwhile (which doesn’t leave much room for Turnbull’s tax cuts if he wants to keep under $15b!)

  13. Yes Bree I like him trying to defend the indefensible dim wit Bishop too. And as my local member in higgins he has done jack. The laziest indolent treasurer and local member now too!

  14. Hmmm Costello seems to be doing alot of late, i wonder if Malcolm Turnbull is allowing this to happen or whether this is Costellos doing…

    It appears as though they have brought out Costello to back their economic position (because of Costello’s credibility being the longest serving Treasurer) to offset Bishop’s percieved non-credibility…

  15. Costello shot Shanahan’s lastest argument to shreds in that 3AW interview. He “no” when asked if he wanted to become Shadow Treasurer. Been there, done that he explained. He also said he didn’t want the leadership but that “no” was not as definitive as the Shadow Treasurer one.

  16. #1063

    [If he gets to talk on RN he can’t be called a failed commentator]

    On the contrary, most of commentators that appeared on RN, Insiders and SkyNoooooos are failed commentators.

  17. Gary i guess he would only take over the leadership if they all came to him on their hands and knees and said they were wrong for not pushing Howie out back in the early 2000s…then maybe he’s take it.

    Anyway at least Turnbull is showing some gumption of late…

  18. Shows on said

    A one off payment and a once off tax cut have the same event

    But Xenaphone and the Liberals are not talking about a once off tax cut

    A once of payment will not increase economic movement and will not help the economy. If you are an employer and you know everyone will have $1,000 to spend, would you increase your staff? No, you might increase your part time staff to get as much of this money as possible, you might delay laying off staff this money, but long term the passimism and economy have not improved, and you have blown 20 billion.

    If you cut tax rate, people have more to spend, and they will be able to spend it when their wage is paid (much quicker then giving it to the government, who then give it back to you to spend). If you make this permanent, there is more money in the economy to increase jobs and encourage employer to not lay off people, and employ more staff

    The first stimulus plan was made in November, but it was reported in the Telegraph yesterday, that from November to December, there was an 8% increase in people apply for social benefits.

    The more people who are out of a job, the less people are spending money, the quicker we head toward a recession, the job of the government at the moment is to create as much job as possible. An one off payment will not do this, as everyone know it is a one off, and won’t employ more staff because of it. This is what happened with the first stimulus plan

  19. Is Obi channeling Rudd? he is LIVE now on Faknews & CNN talking about his stimulus package. I say one thing about OBi, he is a great communicator, Rudd should learn from him.

  20. Glen,

    Don’t worry just like courage, intellectual rigour and persistence, the Libs will have beaten this “gumption” thingy out of him real soon.

  21. [But Xenaphone and the Liberals are not talking about a once off tax cut]
    Yes they were, you obviously didn’t watch the committee proceedings, or perhaps you were off in Barnabyfieldingland at the time.
    [A once of payment will not increase economic movement and will not help the economy.]
    I trust people who have Ph.Ds in economics, and who work at the treasury department. I don’t trust your opinion on this issue.
    [If you are an employer and you know everyone will have $1,000 to spend, would you increase your staff? No, you might increase your part time staff to get as much of this money as possible, you might delay laying off staff this money, but long term the passimism and economy have not improved, and you have blown 20 billion.]
    Utter rubbish, and I have a document that proves it, right here:
    http://www.budget.gov.au/2008-09/content/uefo/download/Combined_UEFO.pdf

    [If you cut tax rate, people have more to spend, ]

    If you give people a hand out people have more to spend. Except cutting taxes means giving smaller amounts spread out over a longer period of time. Whereas a hand out is a lump of cash given in a short space of time.
    [and they will be able to spend it when their wage is paid (much quicker then giving it to the government, who then give it back to you to spend).]
    This makes no sense! In April millions of taxpayers will get $950 all at once. Some who have kids will get even more. How is that less stimulatory than giving people say $950 spread over 52 weeks?
    [The first stimulus plan was made in November, but it was reported in the Telegraph yesterday, that from November to December, there was an 8% increase in people apply for social benefits.]
    And if there was no stimulus plan in November, it would’ve been a bigger increase.
    [The more people who are out of a job, the less people are spending money, the quicker we head toward a recession, the job of the government at the moment is to create as much job as possible.]
    And that is why the Governmetn plans to spend an extra $42 billion in the next 3 years.
    [An one off payment will not do this, as everyone know it is a one off, and won’t employ more staff because of it. This is what happened with the first stimulus plan]
    How exactly is it that you know more than Treasury? Treasury said yesterday that the first stimulus plan DID work, and stopped thousands of people from losing their jobs.

    You can’t hand out tax cuts QUICKLY, that is why one off payments are BETTER if you require a quick stimulus. They are also less damaging on the budget in the long term than permanent tax cuts.

  22. Adam, supporting Turnbull is not an act of stupidity. His policy stance is a sound one in respect of the government’s attempts to recklessly ram through the biggest spending increase in decades. Thursday’s AFR was particularly scathing of Rudd’s approach and even Mark Latham, lo and behold, criticised the likely “tax-and-spend” legacy of Rudd/Swan

  23. yes Joyce just got taken down a peg or two by jacinta collins for badgering the public servents and he kept trying to interupt her while she was doing it. Then when he went back to questioning he was stammering and all shook up lol.

  24. No 1684

    ShowsOn, your Keynesian zealotry is bordering on outright insanity. Bureaucrats are the last people you should trust given that they are directed by partisan governments. Further to that, even if we accept that the last stimulus package Rudd announced had a positive effect on growth, retail sales only increased $1 billion in the December quarter, in the face of a an $8.7 billion welfare injection. As Costello and other coalition members have said, the spending is poor value for money.

  25. GP

    Keynsian zealotry?!?

    Opposed to your Austrian School zealotry I suppose.

    The point is that conservatives in glass houses…

  26. [Treasury estimated when the package was released that around 30% of it would be saved, 30% would be spent in the first quarter of 2009, another 30% would be spent in the second quarter of 2009 and only 10% would be spent in the run up to Christmas. 7 to 9% plus a smidgen more for what inevitably flowed through into the informal economy (that part of the economy that can’t really be measured properly) is as close to 10% as you’ll get. Treasury was spot on.]

    http://www.crikey.com.au/Politics/20090205-Comitatus-Economic-Security-Package-worked-Shock.html

    Poss, from your Crikey article. 30% is saved, that means $3.12B. So where the punters put this money? Under the bed? In the garden? in the cookies jar? or in the Banks. If it is in the Banks, at a very low interest btw, i can only assume the Banks will lend this out to business and consumers for circulation. I have not seen or heard this point being made.

  27. GP the left still think the New Deal was successful when they had 17% unemployment throughout the 30s and things only got better thanks to WW2 for the USA…

  28. In addition, ShowsOn, the $42 billion package is of dubious value in terms of long-term economic growth and jobs prospects. Of all the pressing infrastructure needs of the nation, Rudd is prioritising home insulation and school libraries when we can’t even keep the national transport and power grids online in a heatwave, as the AFR editorial emphatically highlighted.

  29. No 1688

    Adam, can you explain your anti-democratic tendencies? Surely ramming through such an enormous appropriation of money without a scintilla of scrutiny is an affront to democracy.

  30. That’s because WW2 was the biggest Keynesian stimulus package in history. It kept the US economy healthy until the 1970s. The lesson is that really big stimulus packages work better than small ones.

  31. [His policy stance is a sound one in respect of the government’s attempts to recklessly ram through the biggest spending increase in decades.]
    This is untrue. The Howard government increased spending by 2% of GDP in a single financial year in 1999/2000. The fact this coincided with a slow down in the economy is what caused the following year’s budget to go into deficit.

    THAT is an example of the tax and spend legacy of Howard/Costello.

  32. The stimulus package has had extended debate in the Reps and the Senate, and is currently before a Senate enquiry. It will be voted on by people’s elected representatives. How is this undemocratic?

  33. [Yep. When all else fails, declare war on someone.]
    Yep, it sure helped the US when they declared war on Iraq. There economy is booming now. Wait on …..

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