Essential Research: 59-41

The latest Essential Research survey has Labor’s two-party lead at 59-41, up from 58-42 last week. Also featured are approval ratings for the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader (both up solidly from six weeks ago), respondents’ self-perceptions of their employment and salary outlooks, Kim Beazley’s appointment as ambassador to the United States (54 per cent approve, 18 per cent disapprove) and Brendan Nelson’s appointment as ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg (49 per cent approve, 22 per cent disapprove).


• Newspoll has published its quarterly geographic and demographic analysis breakdown of federal polling results. Possum notes it shows up an intriguing divergence between city and country, which he says “could well be explained by the Coalition line on the ETS”. I might suggest that the largely forgotten Gippsland by-election of last June offered a premonition of this.

• About 200 local Liberal National Party members will vote for a candidate to succeed the outgoing Margaret May in the Gold Coast seat of McPherson on Saturday. Noses have been put out of the joint by the fact that the position was advertised on Thursday, one day before the closure of nominations, which has been universally interpreted as an attempt to assist Peter Dutton in his bid to move to the seat from notionally Labor Dickson. Glenn Milne in The Australian reports that May urged Dutton to nominate for the seat, somewhat deflating the notion that federal divisional council chair Karen Andrews might benefit from being her reported ally. Another of Dutton’s three preselection rivals is Minna Knight, a former staffer to Joe Hockey and Julie Bishop. Milne says Knight has the backing of state Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey, whose husband Richard Stuckey withdrew from the race last week. Rounding out the field is Wayne Black, of whom nothing seems to be known. Despite earlier reports, twice-unsuccessful state Burleigh candidate Michael Hart has not nominated. Tanya Westthorp of the Gold Coast Bulletin reports local members are “threatening to revolt” if the state executive overturns the result of their ballot, as seems likely if Dutton doesn’t win. Andrew Fraser of The Australian notes the local party’s history of rebuffing imported candidates with reference to the 1998 preselection, when former Brisbane lord mayor Sallyanne Atkinson finished sixth in a field of 23.

• The ABC reports that Queensland’s conservatives will soon reach a decision as to whether their federal election candidates will stand as Liberals and Nationals, Liberal Nationals, or the “LNP”.

AAP reports speculation that Jodie Campbell, federal Labor member for the ultra-marginal Tasmanian seat of Bass, might not contest the next election. Campbell has been in the news recently after her partner was charged with assaulting her, and two of her staff members abruptly and mysteriously resigned. The AAP report notes she “has been moved from her much-televised seat in parliament behind the prime minister”. Geoff Lyons, electorate officer to Senator Helen Polley and an unsuccessful state candidate from 2002, is mentioned as a possible replacement.

Michelle Grattan reports in The Age that former tennis star John Alexander, who made the final six in Saturday’s Bradfield preselection, is “volunteering” to take on Maxine McKew in Bennelong. Others who have been mentioned in the past are Melanie Howard and former state MPs Kerry Chikarovski and Andrew Tink, all of whom have been ruled out, and former rugby union international Brett Papworth.

Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports Pfizer executive David Miles will challenge Bill Heffernan for the second position on the New South Wales Liberal Senate ticket. Incumbent Connie Fierravanti-Wells is expected to hold the top position. The third will depend on whether the state Liberal and Nationals can smooth over tensions and reach their usual joint ticket arrangement, in which Nationals Senator Fiona Nash would take the third position.

• Phillip Coorey also reports it is “rumoured” that Noel McCoy has nominated for preselection against Philip Ruddock in Berowra, despite announcing in late July that he would not do so.

Sue Neales of The Mercury reports Tony Mulder, police commander and Clarence council alderman, has emerged a surprise winner for Liberal preselection in the state division of Franklin. The Liberals are considered all but certain to increase their representation in the five-seat division from one seat to two at the election next March, with incumbent and party leader Will Hodgman assured of re-election. The party hierarchy is apparently keen that the second seat be won by Jacquie Petrusma, who was Family First’s Senate candidate in 2004 and 2007 and came close to winning a seat on the former occasion at the expense of Christine Milne of the Greens. Also on the ticket are Clarence City Council building inspector David Compton and Huon Valley small business owner Jillian Law. Vanessa Goodwin was earlier considered to be in the box seat, but she has since found a place in the upper house after winning the Pembroke by-election on August 1.

• In a short but eventful article, Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports that Mark Sheridan, neurosurgeon and director of surgical services at Liverpool Hospital, has nominated for Liberal preselection in the outer-southwest Sydney state seat of Menai, held by Labor’s Alison Megarrity on a margin of 2.6 per cent. It is also “understood” that National Rugby League chief operating officer Graham Annesley has again nominated for Miranda in southern Sydney, where he fell 0.8 per cent short of defeating Barry Collier in 2007; that Hawkesbury mayor Bart Bassett has again nominated for the north-west Sydney seat of Londonderry, where Labor’s Allan Shearan defeated him by 6.9 per cent in 2007; and Randwick mayor Bruce Notley-Smith has nominated for the inner eastern Sydney seat of Coogee, held for Labor by Paul Pearce on a margin of 7.3 per cent.

Ben Raue at The Tally Room is constructing what promises to be a superbly comprehensive guide to the federal election post by post.

• Keep following the action at my regularly updated posts on the Bradfield federal by-election and Willagee state by-election in Western Australia.

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.

983 comments on “Essential Research: 59-41”

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  1. [ROFL: so far it is Phar Lap by a length from Hockey.]

    I’ve cracked up, Polyq. But seriously they need Turnbull’s money for the election and Hockey ain’t going to step up yet. So Turnbull’s media mates will praise him.

    Noticed a headline on breakfastpolitics that Shanahan has a piece re Labor losing the bush over the ETS. Sounds like he is back to interpreting the polls so we should send him Possum’s link to help with his education about polls.

  2. [I doubt that Turnbull would be challenged. Who would it be?]

    No, he won’t be challenged. He will simply resign if he doesn’t get his way. Then they won’t have a choice but to find someone else.

  3. Polyquats
    Thanks for that poll. I needed a good laugh 🙂
    Phar Lap is way ahead of Joe, but then again Joe is carrying the most weight.
    Phar Lap 56.9%
    Joe Hockey 27.7%
    Tony Abbott 12.3%
    Andrew Robb 3.1%

  4. Puts on curmudgeon’s hat…

    [NewsRadio is doing a Liberal leadership poll, the options are Turnbull, Hockey, Abbott, Andrew Robb, and – I kid you not – Phar Lap]

    Surely newsradio can do better…

  5. Go Phar Lap Go! I never thought I would get a chance to cheer the big red horse to a win. You’ve got my vote 😀

    Phar Lap could be a great leader for the coalition – able to unite the rural and urban consitituencies, able to appeal to the common man, and not overly intellectual. Policy development could be a challenge, but that is hardly news.

  6. Polyquats

    Thanks for the link. I couldn’t help myself, I voted for Phar Lap. He seemed the ideal candidate as he is completely stuffed just like the Liberal Party. :))

  7. [Phar Lap is way ahead of Joe, but then again Joe is carrying the most weight.
    Phar Lap 56.9%
    Joe Hockey 27.7%
    Tony Abbott 12.3%
    Andrew Robb 3.1%]

    Vera, Tony Abbott will catch up when they get into the straight (and narrow).

  8. Senior journos covering this leadership speculation should do the responsible thing and sort out the wheat from the chaff in Turnbull’s internal detractors.

    How many, if any, of those making comments (anonymously or otherwise) voted for Turnbull in the leadership ballot? That’s the real story here. If there are former supporters who are now detractors there’s a problem, given the tightness of the previous contest.

  9. Glad everyone enjoyed that as much as I did, but the link came originally from ShowsOn. Square bracket fail on my part.

  10. Turnbull has been living on borrowed time since Emailgate. If he doesn’t go after this they’re stuck with him and they’ll get all they deserve. 😀

  11. [ vera
    Posted Friday, October 2, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Re the Morgan Poll, looks like 2% of the Greens voters have switched to their Senate co-alition partners :evil:]


  12. [Surely newsradio can do better…]

    Yep, I succumbed too and voted for Phar Lap – a bit of fun but it might just show them how silly their poll are.

  13. Even if Turnbull does manage to “stare them down” and have them go along with him, the image of the Coalition being divided over the issue of climate change / ETS will be difficult to budge. … And easy for Labor to exploit, whatever the outcome of this latest leadership crisis.

  14. [“You can’t help being swept away by her charm,” said Coates, the Australian Olympic Committee president, after his 20 minute meeting.
    “She is obviously very proud of her city and its people and believes Chicago can stage a spectacular Olympic Games”.
    Coates presented Mrs Obama with two Boxing Kangaroo soft toys for her daughters Malia Anne, 10, and Sasha, 7.
    “The first lady stressed the importance of engaging in sport internationally.

    “She emphasised the close friendship she and her husband share with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his wife Therese Rein.

    Gosper was also highly impressed.
    “She is an astonishing lady,” he said. ]

    I’ve surprised myself and had a look at the OO’s front page – can’t seem to copy the link but this was re Obama’s bid for Chicago.

  15. Greensborough Growler, I believe that term was used as an apt description for Colin Barnett’s proposal to take Kimberley water to Perth.


    Tony Abbott has once again shown himself to be one of the most disciplined members of the Liberal Party.

    [“The leader has a right to expect party room support for decisions he has arrived at after careful consideration of the interest of the party,” he told The World Today.]

    He probably should have said something by way of preface, such as, “For so long as he enjoys the support of the Party, the leader…”

    I’m sure that he will demand exactly this level of discipline under his stewardship.

  16. [“She emphasised the close friendship she and her husband share with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his wife Therese Rein.]
    Might be a bit of sweet talking to get the Oz votes 😉 Can’t blame her for that.
    Apparently she and Sarcozy’s wife were inseperatable in the US last week, spent most of their time together and even kept the other G20 wives waiting for the group photo to be taken.

  17. This comment by Bernard Keane says it all, really:

    [The strategy to use climate change primarily as a political weapon is surely succeeding beyond their expectations.

    This morning John Hewson posed the question “why is the Government so determined to use this to destroy Malcolm Turnbull?—?are they that worried about him?” The answer is not that they’re worried about him ?—?they haven’t worried about him since the Godwin Grech disaster – but simply this: because they can. Labor doesn’t give anyone a break. Never has, never will.

    What they probably didn’t count on was Turnbull’s propensity to do their work for them.]

  18. [I don’t read it that way. He’s just gone into I’m-not-going-to-lose mode.]

    That’s right. Stop hyperventilating everyone.

  19. I would prefer it if he said that he is determined to get his own way, and if he doesn’t, he will quit.

    Saying it like that is a demonstration of leadership, it is something that would resonate with voters who want an ETS passed before the next election.

  20. [Labor doesn’t give anyone a break. Never has, never will.]

    Nothing’s changed then, between the previous government and this one.

  21. [Labor doesn’t give anyone a break. Never has, never will.]

    Which turned out to be a big mistake in the case of Alexander Downer, though they might not have been able to save him even if they had tried their hardest.

  22. OK wowsers, ready to be outraged?

    How dare the Tate Modern even think about displaying a nude photo of Brooke Shields as a 10 year old?

    [The picture, taken by American artist Richard Prince and called Spiritual America, was removed from display by gallery officials after a visit from the police Obscene Publications Unit, according to The Guardian newspaper.]

    As a close friend of mine once (well, repeatedly) observed, pretty soon we’ll be hanging a fig leaf over Mannekin Pis.

  23. [ABC staff have been told they will have to develop “thicker skins” under a new system for handling complaints, which lays a heavy emphasis on encouraging audience members to make their gripes public by using online forums and social networking platforms…..

    The report, which has been “signed off” by the ABC board, says that the internet allows audience members to “swiftly air … their grievances, suggestions or praise. They can do this direct to the responsible content-makers and to other members of the audience on the program’s website. They can assert that the ABC is in error … and provide what they believe to be the correct information.”]

    This will be helpful in all areas. They won’t be able to keep on repeating inaccurate information sourced from elsewhere.

  24. […audience members… can assert that the ABC is in error … and provide what they believe to be the correct information.]

    No guarantee that anyone’ll take any notice of them, however.

    On the rare occasions when emailed or texted submissions by the public are given an airing – usually during lightweight morning and drive ABC radio shows – it is always presented as just another opinion, even if it clearly and accurately corrects a misrepresentation by the announcer.

  25. [Julie Bishop didn’t get a guernsey. Perhaps the old grey mare ain’t what she used to be.]

    GG (how appropriate). She’ll be happy with her usual photo finish.

  26. Apparently the U.S. Senate climate bill being developed by John Kerry and Barbara boxer aims for a 20% cut on 2005 levels, which is more than the House (Waxman-Markey) bill that aims for 17%.

    As usual the Republicans are playing obstruction, they don’t want it voted on until next year, i.e. after Copenhagen. Where have we heard that line?

  27. Re Sarah Hanson-Young, I had not previously appreciated how remarkable her victory was.

    With 6.4% of the primary vote, South Australia was by that measure the worst state for the Greens in 2007. After the distribution of surpluses, the vote was thus:

    Perry (ALP#3) 7.0%
    Chapman (Lib#3) 6.7%
    Hanson-Young (Grn#1) 6.4%

    With nearly a full quota between them, Labor and the Greens were always likely to shut the Libs out. It was just a matter of who would be preferencing who.

    Here the Greens were fortunate because a number of minor parties preferenced them ahead of Labor, including the Democrats (0.9%), the Climate Change Coalition (0.3%), What Women Want (0.4%) and Xenophon’s surplus (0.5%). All small but ultimately crucial portions of the vote.

    Perry’s problem was that the anti-Green parties – Family First (2.9%), DLP (0.9%), Nationals (0.4%), One Nation (0.6%), Fishing & Lifestyle (0.6%), Shooters (0.4%) – all went to Liberal ahead of Labor. In essence, Labor was everyone’s second choice but nobody’s first. So after the distribution of minor party surpluses, the count was thus:

    Chapman 12.6%
    Hanson-Young 8.7%
    Perry 7.3%

    So Perry was eliminated and Hanson-Young surfed home on Labor prefs.

    Apologies if I’m going over old ground…

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