Essential Research: 61-39

The latest weekly Essential Research survey has Labor’s two-party lead steady on 61-39. As promised, there is also voluminous material on attitudes to the economy and stimulus package:

• 62 per cent are “concerned” about job security over the coming year, although 60 per cent are “confident” Australia can withstand the crisis.

• The opposition’s approve-disapprove split on handling of the crisis has widened from 31-35 to 35-44, while the government’s is little changed.

• Labor is more trusted to handle the crisis than the Coalition by 55-25.

• A somewhat unwieldy question about which leader’s approach to stimulus is preferable has Rudd leading Turnbull 51-33.

• Opinion is also gauged on five individual aspects of the package, with free ceiling insulation rated significantly lower than the rest.

• Perhaps most importantly, Peter Costello outscores Malcolm Turnbull in a head-to-head preferred Liberal leader contest 37-26.

What’s more:

• Last weekend’s Sunday Telegraph reported that Malcolm Turnbull is supporting preselection moves against former NSW Opposition Leader Peter Debnam in the blue-ribbon Vaucluse, which is wholly contained within Turnbull’s federal seat of Wentworth. Those named as possible successors are “restaurateur Peter Doyle, barrister Mark Speakman, UNSW Deputy Chancellor Gabrielle Upton, barrister Arthur Moses and former Optus spokesman Paul Fletcher”. Debnam quit shadow cabinet last May in protest against his party’s support for the government’s attempt at electricity privatisation, and was left out in December’s reshuffle despite reportedly angling for the Shadow Treasurer position. Also rated as a possible starter is Joe Hockey, who might have other ideas now he’s Shadow Treasurer. Alex Mitchell writes in Crikey that Hockey might also be keeping an eye on Jillian Skinner’s seat of North Shore, and muses that Tony Abbott might also consider the state premiership a more achievable objective than a return to government federally.

• Former Howard government minister Richard Alston has nominated for a Liberal federal electoral conference position, which is reportedly a gambit in the keenly fought contest to replace retiring Petro Georgiou in the blue-ribbon Melbourne seat of Kooyong. Described by The Age as a “patron” of long-standing hopeful Josh Frydenberg, Alston will attempt to gain the position at the expense of incumbent Paula Davey, who is associated with faction of Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu – which would prefer that the seat go to Institute of Public Affairs director John Roskam.

• Yesterday’s Sunday Times reported that long-serving Fremantle mayor Peter Tagliaferri has been sounded out by Labor as a possible successor to Jim McGinty as state member for Fremantle. The report raised the prospect of McGinty going sooner rather than later, thereby initiating what could prove a very interesting by-election in the Poll Bludger’s home electorate. While Fremantle has been in Labor hands since 1924, McGinty received an early shock on election night when it appeared Greens candidate Adele Carles might overtake the Liberals and possibly win the seat on their preferences. Carles was ultimately excluded at the second last count with 28.6 per cent of the vote to the Liberal candidate’s 32.1 per cent.

• Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett rates himself “extremely pleased” that Winnaleah-based school principal Brian Wightman will seek Labor preselection for Bass at the March 2010 state election. Labor narrowly failed to win a third seat in Bass at the 2006 election, being pipped at the post by the Greens for a result of two Labor, two Liberal and one Greens. The likelihood of a swing against Labor next time means Labor is all but certain to again win two seats: one seems certain to stay with former federal MP Michelle O’Byrne, while the other is being vacated by retiring member Jim Cox. Also in the field will be CFMEU forests division secretary Scott McLean, reckoned by The Mercury to be a “star candidate” despite having been “condemned by many diehard members of the Labor Party in 2004 when he backed Liberal Prime Minister John Howard over Labor’s then-federal opposition leader Mark Latham”.

• The Hobart Mercury talks of upper house disquiet over Tasmanian government legislation for fixed terms, a draft of which is “currently out for consultation”. The government wants early elections for the House of Assembly to be allowed if the Legislative Council does so much as block a bill the Assembly has deemed to be “significant”. This sounds very much like South Australia’s “bill of special importance” exception, which I gather has never been invoked since it was introduced in 1985. Independent Council President Sue Smith says there is concern that “the provision could be used as a threat to pass controversial legislation or as an excuse to go to an early election”. Another exception, according to The Mercury, is that “the Lower House would also go to an election if the Upper House blocks supply of funds for a budget”. This seems to suggest that 1975-style supply obstruction would produce an instant election, though I suspect it’s not quite as simple as that. Nonetheless, Greens leader Nick McKim has “foreshadowed an amendment by which the Upper House would also have to go to the polls if it blocked budget supply”. This would be a significant development for a chamber that currently never dissolves, as its members rotate annually through a six-year cycle. Less contentiously, the legislation also allows for an early election if the lower house passes a no confidence motion.

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.

1,646 comments on “Essential Research: 61-39”

Comments Page 1 of 33
1 2 33
  1. Apology if I misunderstand but are these figures the wrong way around?

    “The opposition’s approve-disapprove split on handling of the crisis has widened from 31-55 to 35-44, while the government’s is little changed.”

    To me a shift from from 31-55 to 35-44 is a narrowing, not a widening.

  2. You could have a lot of fun in Shanahans office sending him figures the wrong way around, making him think there was a narrowing. Then, just as he is halfway through gleefully typing his column, say sorry and give him the figures the right way around.

  3. ShowsOn, Rudd Labor has held their unprecedented Newspoll popularity since late 2006. It’s now early 2009.

    The delusional rants of the right, especially Bree, continue to be an hilarious source of entertainment.

  4. Interesting that the most popular stimulus measures were schoools funding (84% support) and public housing (&3%). Only 3 % opposed the schools funding.

    Also loved the last leadership question – 24% prefer Turnbull, 37% prefer Costello and 37% are undecided! Remember that Liberal Party support is only 32%. So Turnbull has at best 75% support from amoung Liberal Party rusted ons.

  5. Steve K
    Posted Monday, February 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    ‘His 8000 word essay was not intellectually disciplined…’

    “Gosh GP, I’ve seen FIVE word sentences from you at Pollbludgers that aren’t intellectually disciplined.”

    and you ar qualified to make that assesment , hardly
    Actualy Generic Person is one of our cleverest PB’s….and just at th moment trying to get him to buy my CBA bank & having all key public services Govt ownd & debate will on

  6. 84% approve of the school building construction and maintenance programme, yet last week a heap of Liberals (senators in particular) were standing up in parliament attacking it.

    I guess they must be part of the 3% who oppose it.

  7. So Julie Bishop thinks politics is tough in Australia. She aint see nothing yet:

    [KUALA LUMPUR – A PROMINENT woman opposition politician in Malaysia has been hit by a sex scandal, with nude photographs of her making its rounds here.]

    Yes, the prim and proper, sedate Malaysian politics.

    [Ms Wong, who is single, is expected to release a statement later on Monday. Police say they are investigating the matter. ]

    No, no relation to Ms. Penny Wong.

  8. Yes that 40% is obviously the 32% who are congenital Liberal voters and another 8% of Nationals, Family First etc for whom the Liberals aren’t far enough to the right!

  9. Finns @ 15
    things here in Oz could almost outdo your Malaysian Story
    [PM’s property searched for sex attacker]
    [Mr Rudd spent the night in Canberra.]
    thank god for that, otherwise the OO would of had Rudd in the slammer awaiting sentencing!

  10. This is interesting – the third attempt of a Chinese firm to buy a major stake in an Aussie miner in the past few weeks.

    In this time Baosteel has bought a stake in Centrex, Chinalco has bidded for 185 of Rio Tinot, and now Minmetals is seeking to buy Oz Minerals. The good news is it looks like Chinese banks are starting to supply credit again and this will help us too. But there is an underlying significance: after the GFC the US is an indebted wreck, and China still has cash. Now they are starting to flex that muscle. Hope our relationships with Beijing are in good shape Kevin.

  11. [KUALA LUMPUR – A PROMINENT woman opposition politician in Malaysia has been hit by a sex scandal, with nude photographs of her making its rounds here.]
    This seems to be the government’s M.O. in Malaysia, accuse any and all opponents of sexual impropriety.

  12. Those numbers about economic management must really hurt Lib supporters. It’s the one metric that the Libs have dominated since 1990. If that has gone south there is little wonder that Bishop was shot.

    One way for the Libs to regain credibility is for the economy to tank and the Government to be seen as the cause. A strategy built about being vultures picking over the bones of economic victims is pretty low politics.

    The other is for a new leader with economic credentials. Have the Libs got anyone hanging around looking for the gig?

  13. [The other is for a new leader with economic credentials. Have the Libs got anyone hanging around looking for the gig?]

    Er nope. 😉

  14. GG 21

    I haven’t seen any impress me on that score so far. Too many attack dogs, too few brains. We’ll call them the zombies.

  15. 12 years as Treasurer. Paid off Labor’s debt. Won the Great Asian Financial crisis. Left $20billion surplus.

    Exactly the credentials for a backbencher!

  16. [Costello has no economic credentials. ;)]
    What exaclty is he waiting for? Is he trying to “do a Howard”, you know, hang around for 8 years before becoming opposition leader again.

    At least Howard had to guts to stay on the front bench.

  17. GG I think the operative clause in your post (@21) is “and the Government to be seen as the cause”. Even if the economy tanks, everyone knows that we’re in the midst of a global financial crisis. Sure there will be a backlash against Labor, but I doubt there’d be enough people who believe it’s the government’s fault to actually win the Libs an election.

  18. [Paid off Labor’s debt]

    By selling $90 billion in assets.

    [Won the Great Asian Financial crisis]

    By handing down a deficit budget and stimulating the economy with tax cuts – thus making it harder to pay off labor debt. ( 😉 ).

    [Left $20billion surplus.]

    Left a $10 billion surplus but claimed the other 10.

  19. Tim,

    Agree. That’s why scenario 2 is more likely. Changing the players changes the dynamics. Labor surged once Rudd was elected Leader and have been consolidating ever since. The Libs will gamble that Cossie can do the same.

  20. ru,

    Perception is reality. You might be right but the punters think something else. Check out those Costello numbers.

  21. Ruawake @ 8,

    Posted Monday, February 16, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Permalink
    Looks like the undecided folk are abandoning Mr Turnbull.

    They are getting with the programs 😀

  22. [things here in Oz could almost outdo your Malaysian Story]

    Vera, what i want to know is what was Sen. Fieldings doing wandering the streets of Canberra late in the night. i just dont trust those bible bashing type.

  23. Costello could have been opposition leader at any time of his chosing since the last election. Now I doubt it.

    He has done none of the “heavy lifting” for the past year – has only appeared in the media to sell his book or to defend his legacy.

    He is just staying on because he hates the NSW division of the Liberal Party.

  24. If I was a Liberal supporter, the current team of Turnbull-Hockey would have been my preferred option after the 2007 election in terms of being competitive with Labor, once Cossie made it clear he wasn’t going to lift a finger. Unless Costello pulls his finger out, this is as good as it gets for the LNP.

    And I just can’t agree with Adam on this;

    [“If they are, their incompetence is soon detected and they are moved out of that position. Organisations which do not follow these practices fail to compete with those that do”]

    WTF? How do all the dimwits employed as bureaucrats in the public service get competed out? They’ve got jobs for life. You just can’t buy incompetence like you get in State departments. It’s ingrained.

  25. Ah, now the game begins again for Costello. He hears again the siren song of the “prefered opposition leader” polls. These polls are a snare and a delusion, as he probably knows, since they always show the incumbent opposition leader trailing whoever is being put up as the alternative de jour. But will ambition and vanity lead him into one last gamble anyway? I kinda like to think so 🙂

  26. RUAwake at number 40:

    [He has done none of the “heavy lifting” for the past year – has only appeared in the media to sell his book or to defend his legacy.]

    Ah, but that’s when he did the heavy lifting. Climbing out of a hammock is quite a feat when one’s body is conformed to the hammock shape!

  27. Adam

    You should be. It’s a huge weakness of the public service.

    And it’s not ignorant. I work with these people every day and they are absolutely hopeless (at least in SA Health). They rise to the level of their incompetence and cannot be moved out. The system festers around them and any of their colleagues with any idea leaves and goes to the private sector.

  28. Costello has made it blatantly obvious that he is not interested in helping to make the L-NP competitive.

    If by some miracle they do become competitive – who in there right mind would dump the leader in favour of a hammock dweller?

  29. In a short statement, Mr Hockey said he welcomed the challenges posed by his new job.

    “It is the responsibility of the Opposition at this time to put forward responsible and progressive policies that will help steer Australia through these difficult times,” the Member for North Sydney said.,25197,25062618-601,00.html

    Bwahahahaha. Doesn’t he realise that there’s nothing progressive about the Liberal Party of Australia since the dries began to dominate the wets? What a deluded fat fool.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 1 of 33
1 2 33