Newspoll: 56-44 to Labor in Victoria

The latest bi-monthly Victorian Newspoll shows the state Labor government losing some of the support it attracted in the wake of the February bushfires, while still retaining a commanding lead. The two-party figure May-June is 56-44, down from an unsustainable 60-40 in January-February (evidently there was no poll in the interim). John Brumby’s approval rating is down four points to 48 per cent while his disapproval is up six to 37 per cent, but Ted Baillieu is also down four to 33 per cent and up three to 42 per cent. Brumby retains a lead over Baillieu of 54 per cent to 21 per cent as preferred premier.

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.

146 comments on “Newspoll: 56-44 to Labor in Victoria”

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  1. [ Cleary is not going to win Brunswick party because of the same demographic change that is undercutting the Labor vote. Cleary would do better in Wills ]

    Surely you mean Pascoe Vale? That’s the state seat…

  2. Dave,

    The one thing Greens and their supporters despise is the sunshine being directed at their shady little secrets. It’s amazing that their whole campaign disappears in a cloud of smoke as soon as the first grape shot of reality is directed at them.

  3. Patrick (74),

    Thank you. We live in world in which if X believes A, it is assumed he also believes B and must therefore be a Y. We don’t all fit in that world. I did not support Joan Kirner’s education policies, but I regard the following Liberal Government’s education policies as far worse and the current Labor Government’s education policies as far better than those of the Liberals and better than those of the Kirner era.

    I think that the steps the previous Liberal Government took to deal with the undoubted financial difficulties of the state at the time were excessive, while others of their policies had nothing to do with the financial situation but were ideologically motivated and also damaging.

    While Labor can be criticised for problems in transport and health for example, people also see the benefits: they walk into a brand new $45 million school (Dandenong) and see the work that has been done. They see their children in smaller classes. They drive on the Deer park by-pass. I take my dog for a walk past the new CFA station, the new school and the new police station in my town. Others do similar in their towns and suburbs. The achievement is real and it is outweighing the problems.

  4. Prahran’s existing bountary is St Kilda Road not Punt Road for Punt Road is the federal boundary between Higgins and Melbourne Ports.

  5. Cleary actually lost Wills before the AEC added areas around Fawkner and Thomastown these areas are rock solid ALP and are not Phil’s strong areas.

    Can Phill win Brunswick, I think not if it contained all of Coburg then I would give him a change and while Phil is well liked amoungst older residents of Coburg and Brunswick I suspect many people under 35 will struggle to know who he is.

    I like the look of Jane Garrett as the ALP candidate and if I lived in Brunswick I would mostly like give one of them the 1 and the other the 2.

  6. Growler, the pugnacious reaction you exhibit toward Green gains in the inner-city is tangible evidence of what Heysen mentions in #100; The ALP does not know how to deal with such a threat as posed by the Greens (who, by the way, love sunshine, thank-you-very-much!).

  7. 101

    Compared to Brunswick Cleary would do well in Wills. I suspect that one of the reasons that the seat he suggested he might contest is Brunswick is because he probably lives there. If Cleary ran in Pascoe Vale then he would be open to criticism that he was running in a seat because it is better for him demographically but having better connection to another.

  8. Chris at 103

    Victoria is in the strong financial position it is today because of the actions of the Kennett Government and the very prudent approach taken by the Bracks and Brumby governments. Jeff was arrogant and in retrospect politically hamfisted but hey, the place was a basket case – 1991 Sydney joke: What’s the capital of Victoria – About 27 cents). There was probably too much public service slashing but the system was unsustainable as nothing had been done – there was a huge backlog of reform and managerial improvement to be made – Nick Greiner had started in NSW and Wayne Goss in QLD- but there was also a lot of cultural investment in that time – Federation Square, Melbourne Museum (though a previous project had been canned), Jeffs Shed, National Gallery. I am not disputing that there should be investment in public infrastructure but in could be said that the current government was making up for not only Kennett but Kirner and Cain as well.

    Your examples aren’t great – you have a new school in your area as the old one burnt down! and the Deer Park bypass was 80% funded by the feds – despite the huff and puff from Peter Batchelor (one of the greater oxygen thieves ever to grace ministerial benches anywhere).

    Anyway, what is the matter with a a bit of ideology every now and then – only a problem when you don’t agree!

  9. I think that one of the reasons that Greens did not have a big improvement in Victoria between the 2002 and 2006 elections is that they had no parliamentary representation to show what a good party they are and officially represent them in the media between election campaigns. This has been fixed with the new PR system (A good reform by the Bracks government except for a few things like abolition of the power to block supply).

  10. Tom the first

    noone outside of the Greens party knows anything about their reps in the Upper House, other than they vote with the Libs (I’m not talking fact, but perception).

    I’m a politicial tragic and I can’t even NAME them, let alone tell you which issues they voted on/promoted.

    Enlighten me: what are the positive contributions they’ve made, which will persuade people to vote for them in the future?

  11. Zoomster

    I disagree with your assertion that “no-one outside the Greens party knows anything about their reps in the Upper House”. Greg Barber, Colleen Hartland and Sue Pennicuik have doggedly perused legislative action in line with core principles of the Greens party, including: Peace and Non-Violence, Grassroots Democracy, Social Justice and Ecological Sustainability.

    Just recently, a private member’s bill authored by the Greens for a 10c deposit for drink bottles, cans and cartons passed the upper house with a substantial majority. It was designed specifically to encourage responsible recycling practices within the community, and was passed at a time when over 94% of Victorians support a container deposit system. Whilst hailed as progress towards more sustainable environmental practices, the legislation was indefinitely paralyzed in the Lower House by a Government reliant on legal technicalities to achieve their ill-supported ends.

    Also, as recently as a fortnight-ago, the Greens introduced a bill for an act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 [Residential Tenancies Amendment (Housing Standards) Bill]. Barber stated: “The purpose of the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Housing Standards) Bill 2009 is to empower the minister to set minimum housing standards for rental properties and rooming houses through regulations; and resolve disputes between tenants and landlords arising from these minimum standards not being complied with.”

    And who would argue with the emergence of climate change as a major political issue in this country? And who were the main proponents of such policy initiative and debate? Yep – you guessed it…

    I would contend that in spite of this tangible legislative progress, the main asset the Greens carry into future elections will be the concept of a sustainable future itself. This vague but undeniably potent policy area has captured the public’s attention in spite of the blatant hand-wringing of both major parties, and this, together with real community focus and involvement -not just the soundbyte employed to this end by other parties – places the Greens in a favorable electoral position for the future.

    Wow. Sorry for dragging on, everybody – sometimes I just get carried away… 🙂

  12. Alex Campbell

    you know this (and I assume you’re a Greens member) but the general public doesn’t and I didn’t (despite the fact that the issues you refer to are ones I’ve been involved with in the past).

    I was arguing against Tom’s assertion that the Greens having members in the Upper House has raised their profile in a way which will lead to swings electorally.

    It hasn’t (if anything, it’s been portrayed negatively).

    Thanks, anyway – now I know what their names are!!

  13. There were the ads by the ALP about the Greens voting in divisions with the Liberals when the figure for the ALP was 76%. The Greens do need to counter ALP propaganda better.

  14. I received a letter about a forthnight ago from Sue Pennicuik after not hearing anything from her is nearly three years, I hear from my lower house MP every three to six months and the ALP ones don’t seem to deliver mail my way would that because they have nothing to say or is that a result of a low membership base or don’t members help out with mail outs.

  15. Zoomster, Tom

    Certainly, the Greens could be more assertive in their approach to media and public relations. But I think that as community attitudes towards the party change, perceptions regarding the organization as a fringe entity will fade, forcing the majors to accept (grudgingly) the presence of the Greens as a viable force in Australian politics.

    This will likely not be achieved in the short term, but as the media begins gearing up for the state and federal polls next year, more and more column inches and air-time will be devoted to the looming battle between Labor and Greens in inner-city Melbourne. It is in this way that the public will be exposed to the nuts, bolts and personalities of the Greens’ platform – as well as the actions of a besieged ALP, under threat where there were no such threats before.

  16. [perceptions regarding the organization as a fringe entity will fade]

    They were a fringe entity from the 80s until 2001. From that point on their vote demonstrates they have taken up the vacuum the Democrats left, and are now the third force in Australian politics.

    As much as people like Frank and GG can’t bear to admit 🙂

  17. Bob

    I completely agree.

    My comments re the organization being seen as a fringe entity apply more in a policy sense.

    Looking forward to commentary by Frank and GG regarding the electoral fortunes of the Greens’ next year! 🙂

  18. mexican beamer.

    The most likely reason you have only heard from Sue once is that she has 2 paid office staff to deal with sending stuff out to 11 Lower House Electorates. Your LH Memeber can get 4 paid staff and deal with one electorate.

  19. blackburnpseph (109),

    I’ve heard the joke about Victoria, though I don’t think any NSWelsher should be making any jokes at our expense now when what their state needs is not a Jeff Kennett but a Steve Bracks.

    I saw the Kennett Government from inside the education system, and there were no redeeming qualities in it, none at all. It cut secondary staffing, not just below what it inherited but way below what the Thompson Liberal Government had supplied way back in 1981. The 1981 secondary PTR was 10.9:1; the 1992 one was 10.8:1 (a figure inflated by the addition of integration teachers and student welfare co-ordinators to school staffs and not an increase in classroom teachers); the 1999 one was 12.6:1. It basically dismantled the system by imposing marketisation on schools. This has been as dismal failure (see the work of Stephen Lamb and Richard Teese), which the current Labor Government has finally started to reverse.

    There was no real “reform” or “managerial improvement” in education. It was just spin to disguise the cuts to staffing, the imposition of highly bureaucratic, inefficient and ineffective accountability requirements and the shift in power from the profession and school communities to conformist, supposedly entrepreneurial principals on short-term contracts with bonuses for obedience.

    The old school did burn down, but it does not take away from the solid construction of the new one or the new police station (the old one did not burn down) or the new CFA station (the old one did not burn down) or the combined ambulance/police/CFA station in Diamond Creek or the Austin Hospital or the new science labs at Hampton Park Secondary College. I agree that the Bracks and Brumby Governments have been making up for infrastructure neglect going back decades, but it is still to their credit and it is till an electoral plus.

    Your point on ideology is half-right. The changes made by the last Liberal Government were of no practical benefit but came from a particularly nasty ideology rather than a nice one. The current Labor Government is not big on ideology though you can say that all political beliefs are ideological to some extent. Perhaps I could put it this way: there are those who seek their solutions in theories, and there are those who seek them in what works. To that extent the previous government was ideological in a way that the current one is not.

    The public view is supportive of Labor. While it is too much to say that Labor is the natural party of government, I believe that as long as it remains a moderate, centre-left party and governs competently, it will be almost impossible for the Liberals to beat it. While every year that passes means that the memory of the previous Liberal era fades in relevance, the current Liberal Party has shown no evidence of doing the work that is required to make it electable again. It’s not just that Victoria has a sound government, but also that, even if it did not, the Victorian Liberals have not established themselves as an alternative, though they are nowhere near as lost as the NSW Liberals are.

  20. Thanks Dave!!

    In light of that why don’t MP’s write colums in the local papers but in all fairness I was actually praising Sue for writing letter for an earlier comment was that they were completley invisiable.

  21. 120

    It is just silly that an MLA gets 4 staff but an MLC who has an electorate 11 times larger gets only two.

  22. Will Baillieu last until the next election? (I realise that this is not as messy and interesting as the SA leadership discussion on the SA thread but I am just doing my bit for Victorian politics).

  23. 126

    A minimum of 11 seats across both houses.

    (The Vic Nats nearly lost their third party status at the 2002 state election, holding just 7 seats in the Legislative Assembly and 4 in the Legislative Council.)

  24. But there is a requirement for 2 MLCs (it was 4 MLCs but changed around the time of the last election and the Nats gained 2 MLAs and lost 2 MLCs at that election).

    Is there a requirement for a minimum number of MLAs?

  25. 129

    I have actually searched the website of the Victorian Parliament as well as some Victorian acts of Parliament. Nothing found.

  26. Well, I typed in ‘party+status+Victoria’ and this was from the first article listed:

    ‘Victoria provides another interesting example of parliamentary party status, where the
    requirement is for 11 members of the parliament (both Houses).’

    which would mean at least one MLA.

    Can’t be bothered doing any more than this, suggest you try.

  27. [‘Victoria provides another interesting example of parliamentary party status, where the
    requirement is for 11 members of the parliament (both Houses).’]

    I would presume this means that the total of 11 can be made up from numbers in both houses (e.g. 5 MLAs and 6 MLCs; or 0 MLAs and 11 MLCs)

  28. OK, I don’t have the time to download it, but the information is contained in the Parliamentary Salaries and Superannuation Act 1968 (Victoria).

    You can access this by going to, clicking on the ‘Legislation and Bills’ cookie thing on the upper left. That will take you to a site where you can access the relevant Act.

    (for future reference, I googled as above, the article quoted referred to the relevant Act as the source of its info, so I went to the parliament website. I found the Act fairly easily but don’t want to go to the trouble of downloading it…)

  29. Itep
    haven’t read the Act, but would assume the reference to ‘both Houses’ would mean just that – or the article would read ‘either’ House.

  30. No because the word ‘either’ would make it appear that they have to have 11 members in one of the two houses, rather than 11 members across both houses.

  31. ….and you didn’t even use the ‘if you didn’t see the thank you in the previous post it’s because you didn’t look properly’ line!!

    Any time. But seriously, learn how to google.

  32. 140

    The problem was not lack of googling but that I had missed that particular definition when reading said act previously.

  33. 11 does seem too high. 5/6 would be appropriate.

    I suspect if The Nationals ever fall below 11 members they will rejig th numbers.

  34. Labor could pass any bill it liked in Victoria between 2002 and 2006. After 2006 the Greens could have voted with the Government to pass a bill (provided it was a good one). Reforming the definition of a third party helped the Nationals (thus not annoying them) but it would have been good to cut the number from eleven to five (like federally and in WA).

  35. There is also talk of Les Twentyman running in Footscray. I would think that he is likely to get Green and Liberal preferences again. Would he get the preferences of the Catherine Cumming if she ran again? I suspect that the had the ALP not got the 2.5% less primary vote it did and won one preferences then the result might have been ALP versus Catherine Cumming. How did the preferences flow last time?

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