Morgan: 60.5-39.5

Two polls from Morgan, which as ever moves in mysterious ways. Without question the headline finding is the face-to-face poll of 1832 respondents conducted over the previous two weekends, showing a healthy spike in Labor’s two-party lead to 60.5-39.5 from 57.5-42.5 at the previous such poll. The 574-sample phone poll was probably conducted to get more bang from their buck out of some other survey they were conducting for some other reason. It shows Labor’s lead at a more modest 57-43. Furthermore:

• Northern Territory MP Alison Anderson, on whose whim (along with fellow independent Gerry Wood) hangs the future of Paul Henderson’s floundering government, has advised that Tuesday will be nothing less than “the biggest day in Territory history”, which should alarm survivors of Cyclone Tracy and the 1942 air raids. Tuesday was to be the day Anderson would make known her attitude to the government’s future, but it’s presumably been brought forward a day now that Speaker Jane Aagaard has agreed to a request from Anderson, Wood and the CLP for parliament to resume on Monday. Notice will then be given of a no-confidence motion on Friday, which if successful – and given the pitch of Anderson’s rhetoric, any other outcome would be an enormous anti-climax – will result in either a new election or an immediate transfer of power to the Terry Mills-led CLP. The procedure for such a motion was established late last year in legislation establishing fixed four-year terms, which like similar legislation in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia provides for an escape clause in the event of no-confidence or blocked supply. As Antony Green explains, it thus marks a test case for the aforementioned states, which have never experienced such a situation in the fixed term era. If the motion passes, the parliament will have eight days to back an alternative government, after which the Administrator will have the authority to issue writs for an election which the Chief Minister will be obliged to advise. The government’s ongoing crisis reached its current pitch on Tuesday when Anderson quit the ALP – not as she foreshadowed due to dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of an indigenous housing program, but because she blamed Henderson for an allegedly racist article about her and other indigenous MPs in Saturday’s edition of the Northern Territory News. The same day saw Arafura MP Marion Scrymgour return to the Labor fold after two months of independence, leaving the numbers at Labor 12, CLP 11, independents two. While Anderson’s tone of certainty might be taken as a clue, Wood’s precise attitude remains unclear: although of presumably conservative sympathies, he has expressed concern at the CLP’s readiness to govern, and was quoted this week saying an election was “certainly an option”. Anderson tells The Australian her gauge of the public mood is that there is “a push for an election so that they can teach Hendo a lesson”.

• Talk of John Della Bosca challenging Nathan Rees for the New South Wales premiership has focused attention on the theoretical prospect of a leader sitting in the upper house. While dismissive of the rumours, Imre Salusinszky of The Australian muses that Della Bosca “could serve a symbolic first 100 days in the Legislative Council and hope to have gained sufficient traction by that point to make the switch feasible”. He also notes that in the current environment, no lower house seat is so safe for Labor that Della Bosca could be guaranteed to win a by-election even if a sitting member agreed to make way. The Sydney Morning Herald reports party operatives hope Della Bosca can assume Bankstown from Tony Stewart by forging a deal in which Stewart receives an apology for his sacking over an incident involving a staff member last year, for which he is suing the government. Another Herald report mentions Riverstone, where John Aquilina has said he will not contest the next election. Della Bosca’s home patch, Gosford, is deemed unsuitable in part due to the lingering local unpopularity of his wife Belinda Neal following the Iguana’s episode, but also because it is too marginal and sitting member Marie Andrews would be unwilling to make way in any case. The Herald reports that a move to Bankstown “could pave the way for a graceful exit from politics for Ms Neal”, who is unlikely to retain preselection in her Gosford-based federal seat of Robertson. It will be recalled that when Barrie Unsworth was parachuted into Rockdale at a 1986 by-election to assume the premiership upon Neville Wran’s retirement, he suffered a 17 per cent dive in the primary vote and came within 54 votes of defeat. In May, Malcolm Mackerras wrote an article in The Australian decrying what he saw as the outdated convention that places leaders in the lower house, complaining that “New South Wales has Nathan Rees as Premier when John Della Bosca should be premier”, and suggesting the federal Liberals “should replace Julie Bishop as its federal deputy leader with Senator Nick Minchin and explicitly not ask Minchin to transfer to the House of Representatives”.

Christian Kerr of The Australian notes the British Conservatives have “turned a PR disaster into a triumph” by conducting an American-style open primary to choose the successor to one of many MPs disgraced in the country’s expenses scandal. Having done so, the party has given “everyone in the constituency a stake in the success of their candidate”. The New South Wales Nationals have decided to hold such a vote in one yet-to-be-chosen seat for the next state election.

• Antony Green comments on the potential availability of various double dissolution triggers, and on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme bill in particular, where the Coalition appears to be playing a good hand with its apparent plan to oppose it at the second reading.

• Danna Vale, Liberal member for the southern Sydney seat of Hughes, has announced she will quit at the next election. The margin in Hughes was cut from 8.6 per cent to 2.2 per cent at the 2007 election, and by Antony Green’s reckoning the redistribution proposal unveiled yesterday will further reduce it to 1.1 per cent – less than a sitting member’s personal vote is generally reckoned to be worth. No word yet on who might be up for the tough task of keeping the seat in the Liberal fold.

• The Victorian Parliament’s Electoral Matters Committee has published a report recommending that consideration be given to adopting the weighted inclusive Gregory method for surplus transfers in upper house elections, as opposed to the (non-weighted) inclusive Gregory method currently employed both in Victoria and for the Senate. Under weighted inclusive Gregory, which was introduced in Western Australia at the last election, the system achieves mathematical perfection of a sort with every individual vote cut up and distributed among the final quotas at equal value. The inclusive Gregory method saves time, but it means individual votes which are used in surplus transfers more than once in the count are inflated in value on the second and subsequent occasions. Usually only small handfuls of votes are involved, but like anything these could be decisive in the event of a close result.

• The abolition of Laurie Ferguson’s Sydney seat of Reid threatens an interesting Labor preselection for one of the seats which have moved into its turf: Parramatta, Blaxland and McMahon, as Lowe has been renamed. Antony Green has composed what promises to be a headline-grabbing post noting that the New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australian redistributions (only proposals in the first two cases) have between them given Labor a notional boost of five seats. Those wishing to discuss these matters are asked to do so on the New South Wales redistribution thread.

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.

777 comments on “Morgan: 60.5-39.5”

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  1. [So are canada , Nz et al undemocratic in awarding their indigenes “special seats”?]
    Yes I think so, because New Zealanders who aren’t Maori or their descendants can not vote for the representation of those seats.

  2. [Doug Nicholls was the first Aboriginal Governor in SA]
    and from all accounts a fine pastor to both his people and his church.

  3. [Frank,

    Neville Bonner was from Queensland.

    Doug Nicholls was the first Aboriginal Governor in SA.]

    Thanks for the correction GG, got those two mixed up. But my point still stands that it shouldn’t be automatically assumed that indigenous people are by and large left leaning.

  4. Shows On – the fact that you cannot vote in the US (or anywhere that you are not a citizen) does not mean that that system is undemocratic. Maori are accepted as a particular internal national minority in NZ with a defined community (within the wider nation) and rights and responsibilities attached to this. The electoral system stems from this fact.

  5. HSO

    [What would you recommend to a surgical registrar practising their micro surgery skills, wanting your opinion on the reversal of a tubal ligation]

    Can you get a tubal ligation reversal done in the public hospital system? We don’t do vasectomy reversal, so why is tubal ligation reversal done?

  6. [Shows On – the fact that you cannot vote in the US (or anywhere that you are not a citizen) does not mean that that system is undemocratic.]
    But if I was a citizen of New Zealand I would expect to have a say in the representation in parliament, and according to their current system there are seats where I have no say. I don’t think that is fair, especially if in rare circumstances that those seats decide who is the government.

  7. But you are not a citizen of the Maori nation. The fact that this structure and concept does not exist in Australia does not mean it is undemocratic. It is an accepted difference, and part of how the system works in NZ.

  8. [But if I was a citizen of New Zealand I would expect to have a say in the representation in parliament,]

    fair point.
    but ‘tangi and subsequent events confirmed that a SOVEREIGN people had a treaty with another SOVEREIGN people.

    from that certain inalienable rights and bequests were confirmed.

    as a citizen of (insert mature,guiltfree name of country) you accept that these rights extend to a SOVEREIGN people, and that your countries constitution recognises thsese rights as inalienable.

  9. [But you are not a citizen of the Maori nation.]
    Do you mean they have their own courts and laws? Or is the term “nation” used figuratively?

  10. I mean nation as it is used in political theory – a historical community, occupying a given territory sharing a distinct language or culture. In this case, again, it is an internal national minority.

  11. 759

    You only have a say in the seat in which you live (and in NZ with MMP the list seats too) and not the seats in which you don`t. The Maori seats are awarded based on the proportion of the population on the Maori roll and this has been so since 1996 when MMP was introduced. Maori were given the right to chose to be on the normal roll or the general roll in 1975 (the number of Maori seats was floated at the time but the number did not change but the government did and Muldoon fixed the number at 4 again) but before that the number of Maori seats was fixed a 4 despite the proportion of Maori being large enough to justify more than twice that. The Maori seats were also late in getting the Secret Ballot, electoral rolls and redistribution.

  12. shows on and Gusface

    Sorry I missed most of your discussion, I was watching the cricket…

    ..but, if I had been watching, I would have wanted to say…

    the basis of democracy is “one person = one vote”…any distortion of that is a distortion of democracy –

    this is one of the key reasons I am against accelerated levels of immigration in any country

  13. 1. What has indigenous voting rights got to do with immigration? All foreigners?

    2. 50% of Australia’s population growth since WW2 has been immigration based. We haven’t had any accelerated level of votes per person in this time have we?

    3. Is preferential voting a slippery slope, seeing as I can register my vote for, say One Nation, then have it flow on and count for a major party?

  14. Newspoll?

    [EVERYONE knew today’s Newspoll would be a disaster for Malcolm Turnbull, and it is.

    Even the Liberal leader himself was expecting his second crash since Godwin Grech and OzCar delivered him the biggest fall in personal support for a leader of the opposition in Newspoll’s history.

    Turnbull’s satisfaction and dissatisfaction levels now add up to a negative 31 percentage points, just shy of the official record at the end of June of 33 percentage points.

    Kevin Rudd leads Turnbull on preferred prime minister, another key leading indicator for political polling, by 48 percentage points. ],25197,25906738-17301,00.html

  15. Omg Shanahan is learning!

    [Satisfaction with Mr Rudd fell slightly in the past two weeks, from 63 to 60 per cent, and dissatisfaction went from 26 to 28per cent, both movements within the margin of error in polling.]

  16. Oh well, Parliament resumes sitting and all the big questions will be answered:

    Will Turnbull survive ?
    What will Bronwyn Bishop wear next?
    Will Stephen Fielding chuck a tanty and cry like a girl…again?
    Will the Member for Bass return to her rightful place in front of the camera in question time?

  17. [2PP is the same at 57-43.

    PPM 65-17.]

    Figures like this at this time in the election cycle are the Liberals worst nightmare, and occurred just when things were looking a little better for them.

    Rudd’s ‘honeymoon’ was starting to get a bit stale until Turnbull spiced things up for us.

    There is a difference between Rudd’s high figures before the election and now. No Howard and Rudd is the incumbent – thus probably no narrowing in the last weeks.

    The Libs need to get within non massacre distance before the election campaign starts.

    How do they actually get back from here? With these sort of figures I would be petrified by a DD too.

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