Keeping it holy

… with some God-fearing Good Friday news nuggets to tide you over until the pubs re-open.

• Senate polls have consistently proved themselves to be pointless endeavours, but let the record note that Roy Morgan has produced one from their last three months of surveys. This might be of at least some use if Morgan gave South Australian respondents a chance to indicate support for Nick Xenophon, but they presumably don’t because he is not up for re-election next time (unless there’s a double dissolution of course). Nonetheless, South Australia shows an “others” result of 19.5 per cent compared with 8 per cent nationally.

• The Tasmanian Liberals have preselected three candidates for the Hobart electorate of Denison for next year’s state election, after earlier delaying the process due to concerns about a “lack of high-profile talent”. The nominees are 70-year-old incumbent Michael Hodgman; lawyer Elise Archer, who polled a solid 3.2 per cent at the 2006 election; and Matt Stevenson, state president of the Young Liberals. No sign of contentious Hobart alderman Marti Zucco, but two positions remain to be filled.

• Yesterday’s Crikey Daily Mail had a piece by Malcolm Mackerras noting the looming by-election in New Zealand for Helen Clark’s seat of Mount Albert, and the absurdity of such a thing in a supposedly proportional representation system. If it loses, Labour will be deprived of one of the seats entitled to it by its national vote share at last November’s election. New Zealand’s mixed-member proportional system is modelled on Germany’s, but departs from it in that vacated constituency seats in Germany are filled by unelected candidates from the party’s national lists – which New Zealand was obviously loath to do as it would randomly match members to electorates with which they had no connection.

• Mackerras also notes that the May 12 election in the Canadian province of British Columbia will be held in conjunction with a second referendum seeking to replace its first-past-the-post single-member constituency system with “BC-STV” (British Columbia-Single Transferable Vote). I take this to be identical in every respect to Hare-Clark as it operates in Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory (complete with Robson rotation and optional preferential voting), except the number of members per region will range from two to seven. A referendum was also held at the previous election in 2005, but it received 57.7 per cent support while requiring 60 per cent to be binding. Get funky with the official website of British Columbians for BC-STV.

UPDATE (11/4/09): The West Australian carries a second Westpoll survey of 400 respondents on the May 16 daylight saving referendum, showing 47 per cent supporting and 51 per cent opposed compared with 42 per cent and 57 per cent at the poll last month. The West’s report says this means “community support for daylight saving has climbed steadily over the last month”, but I don’t need to tell you all what a load of bollocks that is. Taken together, the surveys suggest the proposal is most likely headed for defeat by the same narrow-ish margins as in 1975, 1984 and 1992.

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.

1,465 comments on “Keeping it holy”

Comments Page 29 of 30
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  1. Just checked the Sky News homepage. There’s the story about QANTAS cutting jobs accompanied by a picture of Julia Gillard. I don’t understand. Why is SHE being asked to explain / account for this? Surely the company’s CEO should be the one under the pump. They axed the jobs, not the government.

  2. [ The Greens have a really good member in SA called Mark Parnell. I’d like to see him move into the Federal Senate. ]

    As long as he doesn’t quit mid-term (long, long SA 8 year term)… Nick Xenophon already did that not so long ago. It might start to annoy the SA-ites if upper house pollies there use the state as a launching pad for federal careers.

  3. Essential Research’s weekly survey found 54 per cent of Australians approve of the public-private partnership to build a national broadband network, with 16 per cent of those strongly approving.

    The online survey found 24 per cent disapproved of the project, of which 10 per cent strongly disapproved.

    Bye Bye Malcolm. 😉

  4. I would not think it would be a good idea for the Greens to move their only SA MLC to the Senate. Although there will probably be another Green MLC by the next federal election they will be new (March 2010) so another new MLC to replace a sitting member so soon after would not be a good idea.

  5. The current system sees only federal MPs have a vote on the Greens leadership (like the other Australian parties, but quite an anomaly internationally). As far as I can see, the only possible contenders are Milne, Siewert or Rhiannon if she can get elected. I personally think if it’s Milne vs. Siewert then Milne wins easily, but I could see a scenario where Rhiannon pulls out ahead of Milne.

    The leadership election won’t happen until after the March 2011 state election, and if the NSW Greens do as well as polls now are suggesting, Lee Rhiannon will be in a much stronger position. But at the moment you have Christine Milne as the clear frontrunner.

    As far as the NSW Greens Senate preselection, the candidates haven’t all announced yet, but I would be very surprised if Lee Rhiannon loses. She will have a massive name recognition advantage over her rivals amongst the 2000+ Greens members voting.

    Also we have a preselection at the end of 2009 which will fill Lee’s seat in the Legislative Council as well as preselect 2-3 winnable seats in the Legislative Council for the 2011 election. At the moment it is very possible that both Ian and Sylvia will retire, which would leave four open winnable seats. Most of the Greens talent will focus on that, and will either skip the Senate race or simply use it to raise their profile.

  6. [Essential Research’s weekly survey found 54 per cent of Australians approve of the public-private partnership to build a national broadband network, with 16 per cent of those strongly approving.

    The online survey found 24 per cent disapproved of the project, of which 10 per cent strongly disapproved. ]

    Well far be it from me to point out how inherently flawed any poll conducted using the internet is when the subject of the poll questions are to do with the internet…

  7. Dario

    You may well be right, but Essential has acheived a pretty good reputation in their short existence. (Despite my inital doubts).

  8. It is likely that many of the Rudd Government initiatives will come sort of cropper, minor or major. Something as big and as expensive as the NBN will almost certainly have cost overruns, unions playing silly buggers, and engineers and managers cocking various things up. It will come in late. It will cost more to run than people thought and it will cost more to use than people thought. For a big project, that is all par for the course. Rudd knows it. Turnbull knows it. Ditto the ETS. Ditto the cash and splash response to the GFC.
    The problem for Turnbull is that he has to get these points across now when punters are besotted by the hope of it all and the prospect of spending the $900. By the time they become obvious to the punters, Turnbull will be long gone.

  9. [Something as big and as expensive as the NBN ]

    If you take the 8 year construction time and the five years before the Govt. starts selling off its share – the Qld State Govt will have spent $41.6 billion on road projects over a similar time frame.

    If you take all state and federal govt. spending on roads, it would be close to $120 billion. If you look at the nations GDP it would be $15 trillion.

    Heck its half of the Future fund that was accumulated in 8 years, its peanuts for what it returns.

  10. Rhiannon might be toast in a Senate election – she would have to get votes state wide including rural areas and I’m pretty sure other parties will be more than happy to let people know of her past associations with the Communist Party of Australia and that her mother was a Central Committee member and notorious Stalin sympathiser

  11. ruawake
    There are a couple of big differences. Highways, bridges, tunnels and the like are well worn engineering events. They are repeated many times and the wrinkles are obvious to all the participants.
    NBN is a huge one off. It will be learn as we go. (Nothing unusual about that, but my point is that Turnbull will not be able to gain much traction from it by pointing out the problems before they actually appear, and that he will be gone by the time they become obvious to everyone.
    There will also be the irritation factor. I assume that landholders and home owners will find that the fibre in some way may affect them negatively – for example, they may have to lop trees for the fibre to fit… I don’t know what-all, but I would predict that there will be people who become irritated or annoyed…

  12. Further to the irritation factor, I assume that will be when really, truly serious MSM shock jocks start ‘getting it’. They will interview single parents whose children can’t sleep because of all the humming and other such-like horror stories. They will also apply their standarded tactic: Step 1: look for somebody, anybody to blame. Then blame them and they’re off. It saves on thinking.

    Turnbull needs them now, not then.

  13. “As long as he doesn’t quit mid-term (long, long SA 8 year term)… Nick Xenophon already did that not so long ago. It might start to annoy the SA-ites if upper house pollies there use the state as a launching pad for federal careers.”

    The elected Democrat retired, so too did one of the Family First members though neither is heading federal. 3 replacement appointees including Xenophon’s replacement plus his silly runnng mate, the SA upper house is an odd place.

  14. I’ve given my first prefs to the Greens for a long time and am happy for them to get some BOP in the senate. But if the Greens are going to start declaring war on Labor MP’s well they can forget my vote and I dont think I’m Robinson Crusoe on that. I think the Greens fail to take into account just how much of their primary vote comes from ALP voters who dont mind giving the Greens a leg up.

  15. In most cases the fibre will be dragged through the exisiting pipe where the copper is already, Telstra and Optus will swap their existing fibre networks for equity in the RuddNett.

    Many new housing developments already have fibre to the home (it is cheaper than copper – my parents new house in Caloundra has a fibre connection).

  16. reawake
    I agree it will not generally be nasty.

    My point was that someone, or some group, will be irritated for some reason… they are the last cabs off the rank, the copper was rotten. It will happen. It will be publicized. Turnbull will not get the benefit.

  17. Labor and the Greens are separate parties that are not in any coalition arraignment. So it is only fair and natural that they compete for seats especially where there is real competition between them. Like in Melbourne and various Legislative Council seats. To not challenge Labor in such seats would be wrong, stupid and anti-competitive. The Labor party is wrong on many issues where the Greens are better and it is our democratic duty to try and win to improve things.

  18. Boerwar

    The big problem will be the wireless stuff – no towers in my backyard – brain tumors. I do not have GSM mobile phone coverage because of tower phobia.

  19. The Greens aren’t “declaring war” on any MP. They are a political party and want seats, seats must come from somewhere. The Greens would take North Sydney or Wentworth from the Liberals if they could. An ALP seat converted to a Green seat is a zero sum game in the battle against the tories. But it would mean an end to the duopoly on power and it would promote the Greens’ ideals and their party, which they obviously want to do.

  20. ruawake
    Yeah… interesting. Are you likely to be in line for the NBN? The other unknown is whether the tekkies come up with something faster, cheaper and better half way through…

  21. [The big problem will be the wireless stuff – no towers in my backyard – brain tumors. I do not have GSM mobile phone coverage because of tower phobia.]

    Especially if they are near a school, kindergarten or other place where children congregate – but you don’t hear the parents complain when there are Wireless hotspots at their local Maccas.

    And watch the Greenies kick up a stink when the fibre will be passed in an area with an endangered plant or animal is located.

  22. The Greens can’t declare war on any Federal seat. They can’t even win a Senate seat in the larger States. (Something the Democrats achieved).

    How do you expect to win Senate seats in Qld, NSW and Vic by scrapping the coal industry? They can’t win HoR seats in Tasmania – why?

    Why is the Green HoR vote higher depending on the amount of concrete and bitumen in the seat?

  23. [Why is the Green HoR vote higher depending on the amount of concrete and bitumen in the seat?]

    Because the voters there are insulated from the mortgage belt and outer suburban seats where things matter.

  24. The latest 3 month drought report on the MDBA site. Hanrahan would enjoy it.

    Bugger-all water in the system. Bugger-all flowing into the system. Record low inflows. Met forecasts are not too flash for the next three months. Algal blooms from Hume to Swan Hill. Some wetlands are being wetted for biodiversity purposes. (The Report does not give an estimate of the % of Red Gum forests that are dead or dying). Acidification of the two big lakes in SA being staved off. Standards for Winter minimum flows will be breached deliberately. Water has been set aside for town drinking purposes next Summer.

    The report has an interesting graph showing peak storage, long term average storage and the actual storage over the last 9 years or so. There is another graph showing inflows. This year’s inflows have been appropriately red-lined.

    http://www.mdba.gov.au/system/files/MDBA_Drought_Update_April_2009.pdf

  25. Boerwar

    Yes 30,000 people in my bit of LNP paradise. 😉

    Can’t get ADSL 2+ because Telstra says there is not enough room in the exchange for the equipment.

  26. Frank @ 1428

    One suggestion would be this.

    There is a bit of a correlation between Green voters and lack of green in the environment. Where there is absolutely nothing left of the environment but introduced pigeons and sparrows, plants in pots, tainted water flowing through concrete drains and poor air quality, the Greens presumeably get to thinking about it all…

  27. [Can’t get ADSL 2+ because Telstra says there is not enough room in the exchange for the equipment.]

    Which can be solved by building a largerr exchange, or even better building smaller sub-exchanges which would solve the problem of distance. Oh and other ISP’s won’t put in their own ADSL2+ infrastructure unless Telstra puts theirs in first so until then you are stuck with either the big T, or an ISP which resells Telstra Wholesale.

  28. Diog

    The Greens almost won lots of stuff, the Democrats almost won Mayo. They almost won Indooroopilly in Qld, they almost ….

    They did not. 😛

  29. [The Greens almost won the Mayo by-election and there’s plenty of green in the Adelaide Hills.]

    but I wonder how many of those voters were Greenchangers, who had moved to the Hills from the inner city (rather like those Hills residents who are in Mundaring and Darlington in WA ) 🙂 You know, Doctor’s wives and others who think the Greens are Trendy.

  30. There’s no greenery in Byron Bay either…

    I’m not sure why everyone is in a state of “shock horror” over the fact The Greens get a lot of votes in inner-city areas. So does Labor, and they’re hardly full of blue-collar union folk.

  31. [I’m not sure why everyone is in a state of “shock horror” over the fact The Greens get a lot of votes in inner-city areas. So does Labor, and they’re hardly full of blue-collar union folk.]

    But the Union Movement also covers a lot of White Collar workers as well 🙂 Such as Teachers, Office Workers etc.

    Oh and note that a lot of the “Blue Collar Unions” such as the ETU, and the CFEMU in WA are now turning a shgade of Green 🙂

    Talk about Pots and Kettles Mr Oz

  32. Diogenes,

    The Greens almost winning a seat is like a bloke who claims to have sex almost every night. He almost had it on Monday. He almost had it on Tuesday………..

  33. Frank Calabrese if you think any major proportion of people in inner-city areas are unionised, regardless of the colour of their collar then you’re on crack.

    There’s two simple points: 1) “Where green stuff is” is not, has never been, any criteria for voting Green or even supporting environmentalism.
    2)Younger, more affluent people in the inner-city are neither historical Labor voters or what some here think are “historical” Greens voters. They’re just progressive, so they vote Labor or Green.

    [Talk about Pots and Kettles Mr Oz]

    Not really. I wasn’t ragging on unions, just showing it’s completely stupid and a waste of time to attempt to make any connection with the numbers of shrubs in an area and what people vote for.

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