Borg’s Brisbane blues

A dedicated thread for Queensland election speculation would seem in order. Despite previous false alarms, the state’s press corps remains convinced Bligh will visit the Governor sooner rather than later. Greg Roberts of The Australian suggests the catalyst will be a “gloomy state budget in May” (UPDATE: Mark Bahnisch of Larvatus Prodeo notes the budget is actually brought down in June). He also reports on sobering internal polling for the Liberal National Party:

The polling indicates that Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg, an ex-Nationals farmer who led the coalition to two election defeats, is failing to connect with Brisbane voters … The western suburbs electorate of Indooroopilly, which was once a blue ribbon Liberal stronghold, is regarded as a must-win seat for the LNP. But the polling puts support for the LNP candidate – Scott Emerson, The Australian’s former Queensland political reporter – at 5 per cent behind the combined Greens-ALP vote. The Indooroopilly contest is complicated by the defection last year of Labor MP Ronan Lee to the Greens. Mr Lee is likely to swap preferences with Labor, even though Labor has yet to nominate a candidate after Mr Lee’s defection. The LNP is 5 per cent behind Labor in the bayside seat of Cleveland, which needs a swing of 1.5 per cent to the LNP for the Government to lose. In the inner-city seat of Clayfield, which returned to the LNP fold at the 2006 election, the polling suggests a lineball result, with shadow treasurer Tim Nicholls struggling to hold on. The only bright polling spot was in the northern suburbs seat of Aspley, where the LNP was one point ahead of Labor.

This squares with the perception of Paul Williams of Griffith University:

Brisbane’s progressive Liberals will not vote for a party headed by a National. Lawrence Springborg’s LNP might suffer a devastating loss … I’m told by a senior Labor figure that internal ALP polling shows a remarkable pattern: the so-called “Beattie Liberals”, those middle-class Brisbane voters who loyally voted for John Howard federally (and the state Liberals until the mid-1990s), are sticking with Labor and Premier Anna Bligh … Labor’s polling allegedly shows Brisbane’s progressive Liberals – despite anger at major public infrastructure failings in health, water and roads – still cannot bring themselves to vote for a conservative party headed by a National.

UPDATE: As has been noted in comments, Greg Roberts is wrong to indicate the LNP might have something to fear in Indooroopilly if they were “5 per cent behind the combined Greens-ALP vote“. The take-up of the exhausted vote option in Queensland is high enough that preferences will not flow tightly between Labor and the Greens like they do in compulsory preferential systems, as is presupposed by talk of a “combined Greens-ALP vote”.

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.

71 comments on “Borg’s Brisbane blues”

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  1. The problem the Liberals have is that they did not combine with Labor in 71 to introduce one vote one value instead of just rejecting the government bill. If they had done that QLD would probably have the liberals as the biggest non-Labor party and they would not be in the current mess.

  2. Yay, a QLD thread.

    The Aspley result doesn’t ring true to me – Labor’s vote should be naturally increasing with the generic population growth in Aspley due to lower middle class, dual income housing growth in new estates on the one hand and the entry level first home owners growth on the other.

    There isn’t much growth happening in the (now) older top end McMansion suburbs like Bridgeman Downs – which was where the LNP were relying on to stop the seat moving to Labor demographically for years.

    The growth is now in places like Bald Hills and east of Bray Park – with young dual income families making up the higher dollar end and cheap first home buyer/cheap investment properties dominating the lower.

  3. I know SFA about QLD politics but I can recognize a ‘self fulfilling prophecy’ [“Greg Kelton of OO suggests the catalyst will be a “gloomy state budget in May”] that will be described as such whether correctly so or not.

  4. How do you guys reckon the (likely plethora of high profile) Lib Independents will play out in the urban seats? Given the latest surveys above, not very well for the LNP I’d say. It’ll muddy the waters a lot in giving somewhere to go for the natural Lib voters without going to Labor. I guess it will be a seat by seat thing depending on the quality of the Ind.
    Polling can’t possibly take these factors into account at this stage so it’s going to be a fun ride.

  5. What’s happened to Chief Spokesperson Nicholls this week? Last weekend they couldn’t keep him popping up whenever a camera or newspaper was in sight to explain all about suing people and now he has crawled back into obscurity.

    I’d have thought that by now with his deep insights into Palmer’s court cases we would all know who was sued by Palmer for what reason in the past, how many people have been sued and what he is trying to achieve politically by this behaviour which the press have described as a hobby.

  6. Any independent liberal candidates in their traditionally strong electorates could be very disruptive. The anti-nat lib voters could exhaust after their first independent liberal preference.

    But I haven’t heard of any likely independent candidates putting their hands up yet. Would Brough’s ego drive him to do such a thing?

  7. The LNP vote in Indooroopilly does not have to equal the combined ALP + Green vote for them to win that seat.

    With OPV a vote of 40% might be enough, depending on how the other 60% is split. I would expect a large exhaustion rate in the seat.

    In any case, have the Greens indicated that they will preference the ALP in this seat? Or vice versa?

  8. i.m intrested in what you all think will be the wash up from the inevitable loss the lnp in the next election. Will they stay as one with the borg and try again?
    Split up again and become a coalition?
    split up and go it alone?
    Jabba (aka palmer) try and buy everyone?
    And if the borg goes who replaces him?i
    m sorry but the tories will be out for a while . Anna is not great but no one on the other side is better.
    possum can you do a federal fisher comparison outlook when you get a chance . ty.

  9. If the LNP were to pickup 0 seats in Brisbane is there a possibility they could pickup enough outside of Brisbane to get government?

  10. steconone #15: No way in hell. Unless the LNP turns in a creditable performance in Brisbane, they do not have a hope in hell. The Nationals basically had most of the seats in the countryside that the conservatives can conceivably win already under control prior to the merger, but they have a huge shortfall of seats in Brisbane that is basically the reason they’ve been so far behind for the past decade or so.

  11. Assuming that the LNP would have the support of the four independents (or that they win those seats in the election), they need to win another 18 seats to have 45 of the 89 state seats, according to a post redistribution pendulum, based on the redistribution analysis of Mr Antony Green.

    That would require a uniform swing of 7.6%. To achieve the same result without winning any ‘Greater Brisbane’ seats, requires another eight non Brisbane seats, and increases the required uniform swing (excepting Brisbane) to 9.8%. That would require the LNP to win, amongst others, Mulgrave, Townsville, Mt Isa and Cairns. I can not see that happening.

    If anything there is probably more potential for dissatisfaction with the Gov’t in Brisbane then there is in those areas, over issues arising from large population increase, such as roads, transport, hospitals etc. As far as I am concerned if the LNP don’t win the eight Brisbane seats they would need to win with a 7.6% swing as outined above, then they simply will not win.

    I also think that Chatsworth and Cleveland (sophomore effect) and Redlands (heavy mortgae belt area influenced by contemporary federal isues) may even swing to ALP or at least be ‘sticky’.

  12. OOPS!

    [“I don’t discuss details of donations, but the money was received by the Liberal Party in Queensland and should have been disclosed as required by law,” Mr Greene said.

    But the money was not declared in the party’s 2007-08 annual disclosure to the Australian Electoral Commission, released publicly earlier this week, and which was prepared and signed off on by LNP state secretary Mary Carroll.

    The apparent omission follows the failure of the LNP to initially disclose a $100,000 personal contribution to the Queensland Liberals by billionaire and mining magnate Clive Palmer in the same 2007-08 return to the AEC.

    LNP director Michael O’Dwyer yesterday confirmed that the party had been forced to make an amendment to its return earlier this month after the AEC picked up the $100,000 donation through a personal declaration made by Mr Palmer.],25197,25019155-5013871,00.html

  13. “behind the combined Greens-ALP vote”. Ridiculous analysis. Due to OPV half the greens vote will exhaust. It sounds as if the LNP is way ahead on primary and the analysis is trying to make it sound bad by fiddling with the Greens vote.

  14. Inspired by The Peeps, let me throw this out into the ether to get the cogs turning over. Queensland will never again have a National Party premier. “Ummm….Duh..!!” say you all, wondering whether I missed the entirety of last years LNP news. What I mean by that is – a National Party person by any other name – your Springborgs, Horans, Johnsons, Simpsons and the like – looking through and ignoring the splashes of LNP decorative whitewash. The next conservative Premier of Queensland will be Campbell Newman, who will probably arrive at the same time as the first ever Liberal majority (over the Nats I mean) in state politics. It’s entirely up to the two conservative machines as to how quickly they can get him there.

  15. Given the ad campaign has started I would expect to see the government call an election very soon. Does anybody think there could be a backlash because of an early election? Remember this will be the second time in a row and there is not a reason for an early election like there was last time. Also what reason do people think the government will use?

  16. Agree steconone probably September with the novel excuse that the Liberal National Party is a hopelessly divided party who are not fit for opposition, let alone Government. Lack of Opposition policy would be another good line. Now they have a vexatious litigant in their midst they will be even longer in opposition than they once thought on Freedom of Speech issues.

  17. Parliament has its first sitting day tomorrow so hansard will soon tell us how the parties are traveling. I’m sure that the Liberal National Party would want to see a significant lift in it’s disastrous parliamentary performance of last year if they are going to be competitive in an election whenever it is called.

    The weird thing is that if the Liberal National Party won the election this year, nearly all the non performers of the current opposition would get a ministerial jersey purely on the basis of time served and that is a very scary thing when their parliamentary record is so dismal.

  18. “the weird thing is that if the Liberal National Party won the election this year,.. ”

    what you posted you were then worried about (Nats in power) won’t happen , as I believe th LCP merger is a politcal disaster idea expectin Libs brissie voters to flock to a Nats run Party & so making even Lib current seats not givens , although wish some ‘name’ independent Lib candidates were standing as may reely make some Brisbane Lib seats vunerable

  19. Ross Fitzgerald has a go at the second leg of repeating the Newscorp Western Australia template. First bay for an election nonstop for months and then lash out if they think there is a risk the government will go to an early election. Hopefully the election will be in September and the baying hounds of Newscorp ignored.

    [There will be many excuses given by the Government for the early election but none will stack up. The ALP Government has a large majority in the one-house Parliament and there are no Queensland-specific reasons for a poll. Indeed, the latest Newspoll suggests that the Government would be easily re-elected.

    So there is a strong argument that, at a time of world economic and fiscal crisis, the Bligh Government should be getting on with the business of governing, fighting to save jobs in industries such as mining, rebuilding a flood-damaged North Queensland and generally looking after health, education and transport instead of worrying about its political hide.],25197,25031391-5013999,00.html

  20. Sean Parnell mainly on Springborg’s economic pronouncement yesterday.

    [While Mr Fraser maintained that the legislation would not be fast-tracked — a move that would otherwise point to Ms Bligh calling an early election — he has already asked Treasury for a budget update, taking into account revised federal Government and Reserve Bank forecasts, which he hoped to deliver in parliament.

    “There is a lot of speculation put forward by members of the Opposition that the timing of the budget is the relevant consideration for the election,” Mr Fraser said of the budget being prepared for June.

    “We are committing (under this legislation) to providing an update during the election campaign. Therefore, the low-rent campaign that they’ve put forward, that somehow this (budget) is somehow connected to the timing of an election, is both illogical and false.” ],25197,25032712-5006786,00.html

  21. I did hear some talk Bligh was having factional support issues and may go to an early election to secure her leadership. At the moment she has not won an election and there is enough time for labor to change leaders if they wanted. If however she went to an early election and won, it would make it almost impossible for her leadership to then be challenged.

  22. steconone, was it the Courier Mail or the Liberal National Party that whispered that little secret to you? I heard another whisper that she might go to the polls in September and win with the backing of all the factions.

  23. steve, I heard it from neither, but I also don’t know where it originated, so it could have been started by the LNP. It would seem like a strange rumor to start. It does little damage to Bligh if she goes full term and I dont see any other reason for her to go early.

  24. steconone, I can think of plenty of reasons for going early to an election:

    It increases the chances of a good showing by the Liberal National Party. The longer to the election the more chance of the merger unraveling.

    It would increase advertising revenue for News Ltd and we all know that it is badly needed.

    It would give the Conservative Independent candidates less time to get organised against the Liberal National Party.

    It would delay the development of the ‘True Liberal Party’ to get organised against the Liberal National Party to win Brisbane seats from them.

    It would not look like Labor could not handle the difficult economic climate which they actually can handle well.

    It would hide the lack of policy development by the Liberal National Party while a long hard year leaves them exposed.

    It would rob the Queensland public of watching this rabble known as the Liberal National Party have their triennial fun and blood sport of brawling in public.

    Who would want an early election under these circumstances? The other good reason is that Voters don’t like early elections unless there is no other option.

  25. Ryan, It is not very likely. The bailout would have to be knocked back twice which would take an minimum on 3 months. By that time the economy is likely to have changed up or down and a new plan will be needed. Also it will be about time for the budget and the handout can be added to it. The senate would then need to block supply to stop the bill. An early election would also be unlikely because the senate would not change until its term is up.

  26. Steve, this one may have a bit more to it. The AWU a few years back lost parliamentary members including Kaiser and Elder due to electrol fraud on their part. This fraud was not done to win elections but rather pre-selection. If this story is true and the CMC is investigating it could have major repercussions for Labor internally.

  27. Bligh will not call an election while 60% of the state is underwater and she is plastered all over the news on claims of corruption. No way.

    It is coming, though.

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