Who’s the least unfairest of them all

No proper Roy Morgan poll this week, but they do provide results on preferred Labor and Liberal leaders. Kevin Rudd scores a surprisingly modest 51 per cent as Labor leader, weighed down by contrary Liberals and a telling preference for Julia Gillard among the small sample of Greens supporters. Among Labor supporters, his rating is 70 per cent. Joe Hockey leads a crowded Liberal field with 30 per cent (up five since July), while Malcolm Turnbull is second on 21 per cent. Possum weighs in with a post on the various Liberal leadership polls conducted since the 2007 election. A separate Morgan release puts Rudd and Turnbull head to head, finding little change since July.


• Liberal MP Fran Bailey has announced she will not contest her Victorian federal seat of McEwen at the next election. Bailey retained the seat in 2007 by a court-determined margin of just 27 votes, but the Liberals would have hoped her local popularity in the wake of the February bushfires might help her hold on at the next election. As it stands, the Liberal preselection is unlikely to be keenly sought. Labor’s candidate from 2007, former state upper house MP Rob Mitchell, was said by Rick Wallace of The Australian to maintain “strong local numbers”. However, the Labor national executive’s suspension of the preselection process a fortnight ago has prompted talk its newly acquired powers might be used to install a candidate of its own choice. Rick Wallace subsequently reported that Andrew MacLeod, a “former soldier and UN disaster expert”, had also emerged as a contestant (UPDATE: Greensborough Growler informs me he was also Labor’s candidate in 2001).

Linda Silmaris of the Daily Telegraph reports senior Labor sources say it is now unlikely Belinda Neal will be forced out of Robertson, an outcome so very recently seen as a foregone conclusion.

Alex Easton of The Northern Star reports local Nationals are hoping Stuart George, Richmond Valley councillor and son of state Lismore MP Thomas George, will be the party’s candidate for the federal seat of Page. Labor’s Janelle Saffin won the seat in 2007 on the retirement of Nationals incumbent Ian Causley with a margin of 2.4 per cent, picking up a 7.8 per cent swing. The redistribution proposal shaves 0.2 per cent off the Labor margin.

• Robert Ellicott, architect of the Coalition’s constitutional strategy in 1975, has written an article for The Australian in which he muses on the prospect of a Governor-General refusing a Prime Minister’s request for a double dissolution. This has prompted a most informative discussion in comments.

• The Australian Electoral Commission has released approximate figures on the age breakdown of the 1.2 million Australians not on the electoral roll, which progressively falls from 30 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 to 4 per cent of those aged over 65.

• The New South Wales Greens have listed nominees for state upper preselection and the vacancy to be created by Lee Rhiannon’s bid for the Senate. Both incumbents due for re-election, Ian Cohen and Sylvia Hale, are retiring. High-profile Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham is reportedly well-placed for a spot, being an ally of the locally based Cohen.

• The Australian Democrats have lost their last remaining parliamentary member after South Australian upper house MP David Winderlich quit to sit as an independent. The party is now registered only in South Australia and New South Wales.

• Keep following the by-election action on the regularly updated threads for Bradfield, Higgins and Willagee.

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.

240 comments on “Who’s the least unfairest of them all”

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  1. Quoth Pyne: “Malcolm .. is as tough as old boots. I’m absolutely confident that he will fight it out to the end, to the election.” So he admits that the election will be “the end” for Turnbull.

  2. The latest Lib polling must be DIRE! They have clearly just adopted a total ‘harm minimisation’ strategy for the next election with Pyne essencially saying to those in marginal – and not so marginal – seats ‘Were stuck with Turnball till the election, let’s all shut up and do what we can to survive’.

  3. [The latest Lib polling must be DIRE!]
    They could save their money and just read the publically available poll which has been telling that story since the last election. Maybe they’ve stopped believing in the honeymoon.

  4. yes it’s time, the internal polling thing is such a crock. just an excuse to back down on the ETS

    On another note, did anyone notice that today’s “scandal”- Rudd staying a night with Stokes (fully declared of course) was written by a Paul Lampathakis and NOT Glen Milne?? Stung by the JOC tag, maybe???

  5. Eratosthanes
    I liked Kev’s reply in that article 🙂
    [“How the Liberals conduct themselves is a matter for the Liberals,” he said outside church in Canberra on Sunday.

    “I have had a truckload of work to do this week, working my way through a whole series of policy matters for the government.

    “That is what I have been doing. It has been for me, I have got to say, a fairly standard working week.”]

  6. This is the first thing that Turnbull has done in his whole life at which he has completely and undeniably failed. It must be a severe psychological strain for someone of his vanity and egotism.

  7. [ Has anyone noticed how grey Malcolm is looking lately? Not just his hair either which has just about turned white!
    He doesn’t look well at all in this photo. ]

    Check the photos of him in the opening splash screen of the 7:30 Report. He looks
    as him someone has just told him all his money has been lost and is gone, totally unrecoverable.

    Saw a clip of him the other day from the spycatcher court case with a shock of thick black hair. The comparision is stark.

    Guess the years does it to us all, but its very obvious in his case.

  8. Vera

    The best bit is “… he said OUTSIDE CHURCH IN CANBERRA ON SUNDAY!”. That’s genius! It’s the kind of moment that – coupled with the Libs current problems – can dislodge rust – economic and social conservatives that are looking first and foremost for stable, sensible social and economic government.

  9. His biggest failure was taking the leadership at the point he did. Arrogance got in the way of pragmatism. Loved all the stuff about Nelson “damaging the brand” to justify Turnbull’s move. Now with similar poll numbers, why arent we hearing about Turnbull damaging the brand

    And, the OO have slept on it and decided that Turnbull “won concessions” and “avoided embarrassment” at the WA Lib conference. Bad spin, and a day late anyway

  10. [This is the first thing that Turnbull has done in his whole life at which he has completely and undeniably failed.]

    He completely and undeniably failed to get a republic up, although he had more people to blame for that.

  11. [ That’s all I took in on Insiders, I was continually distracted by Annabel who looked stunning. ]

    Isn’t she due to have her second (?) child very soon and then start work with their abc.

  12. I don’t think, even with what I know about Turnbull now, that he deserves the blame for the defeat of the 1999 referendum. I blame that 75% on the lying direct-electionists and 25% on the lying monarchists. I certainly don’t think he himself saw it as his fault, so I don’t think the whole ARM experience did any damage to his ego.

  13. [There’s that story about unrequited love and a dead cat.]
    No one’s pussy will be safe if we don’t make Malcolm PM
    I’m working out a disguise for mine as I type!

  14. [Vera, with all due respect, you’re a cow. I think you’ll be fairly safe.]

    Thank God for that. I was worried for a minute there, Vera. Loved the piccie the other day from Broome, thanks.

    I’m so glad Kev & Co. have kept quiet over past few days. Early last week I thought Albo might lose it and keep on harping about them but even he saw the light pretty quickly. There’s a time to shut up and they have done well.

  15. BH after seeing that photo of Kev with all the lovely young ladies (Therese included) in Broome, it’s no wonder he goes over to the west so often 😉

    Rudd said he has been working all week on govt policy etc, truckloads to use his words. This in comparison to the Libs who have been fighting and backstabbing and looking a rabble all week.
    Steady reliable Labor hard at it to keep the country running smoothly
    Liberals can’t even agree on a policy let alone implement it if they were in charge.

  16. Hats off to Adam:

    [They still have to get past the idea of autarkic national economies.

    (my emphasis)]

    I’ve learned a new word today:

    autarkic: of countries; not relying on imports

    Fascinating what we can learn reading the Poll Bludger!

  17. [Kev with all the lovely young ladies (Therese included) in Broome]

    Vera -He’s got plenty over this side of Oz as well. Just look at the two of us!!

    Is Kerry Stokes changing his mind about Kev & the Govt by letting Kev & Therese stay at his place? I thought Ch7 were well and truly in the Lib camp. Has Mark Reilly improved his nitpicking over the Govt.? I don’t get to see Ch7 at all.

  18. [Liberals can’t even agree on a policy let alone implement it if they were in charge.]

    They all slavishly agreed with SerfChoices, and no doubt still do, it being Howard’s lifetime policy dream, and him still defending it.

    As the Sydney Morning Herald, 21 March 2008 reported:

    [{… In 2005} star-struck Coalition MPs and senators rose as one to give John Howard a standing ovation when the Work Choices legislation was presented to the party room.]


  19. Cuppa , how could I forget workchoices! I should have said they can’t agree on any NEW policies
    but then again to be fair they did release a 4 point plan on something or other last week didn’t they? 😉

  20. [autarkic: of countries; not relying on imports]

    It’s sometimes spelled “autarchic”, as though it came from the Green verb archein, to lead (as in “monarch”), and thus meant “self-ruling”. In fact it comes from a different Greek verb, arkein, to be reliant upon, so it means to be reliant upon one’s self.

  21. Vera, I guess they feel they don’t need new policies because they’re still covertly intent on realising Howard’s SerfChoices dream.

  22. Psephos

    [In other words, 90% of everything in NSW is just fine. As to the remaining 10%, the people of NSW will give their verdict on schedule in March 2011, and who knows what may have happened by then?]

    Obviously I have a different view, but as you say, all will be revealed in due course. Of concern (to me) is that one could have mounted the same arguments back in 2007 (and I did), but the alternative was pereceived to be so bad that Labor was returned. I dont see much (anything?) to inspire me that the NSW state Liberals are in much a better place than they were 3 years ago.

  23. Cuppa, one of them, Tuckey? said the only thing wrong was the name, so you could be right they’ll dress Workchoice up in a spiffy new disguise to fool us, give it a people friendly new name and hey presto! centrepiece for their bid at retaining their rightfull place on the government benches after the next election.

  24. [I dont see much (anything?) to inspire me that the NSW state Liberals are in much a better place than they were 3 years ago.]

    As much as I am unhappy with the likes of Tripodi your statement is pretty well on the money, Laocoon.

    Things have quietened down in NSW a bit but only for so long as the shockjocks and the Daily Terror allow it.

  25. Vera, yes, that was Tuckey.


    And he’s not alone.

    [“… something like half of the Coalition is instinctively clinging to aspects of the Howard Government’s positions on {WorkChoices}]


    Michael Keenan, the Liberals’ IR spokesman, says the party still holds “a philosophical position” on workplace relations.


    Malcolm Turnbull has described WorkChoices as “the most important reform to industrial relations in the history of Australia”

    [The federal Coalition may re-introduce individual workplace contracts should it win government, Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull said yesterday.]


    Julie Bishop, is one of the staunchest “defenders” of SerfChoices.


    Tony Abbott says they should “revisit workplace relations laws for the next election”


    [A high-profile foe of the Rudd Government’s industrial relations policies has entered the battle for Bradfield.

    John Hart, CEO of Restaurant and Catering Australia, will contest the Liberal preselection for the blue-ribbon North Shore seat.]


    [Mr Costello said the global financial crisis meant the Government should abandon its planned industrial relations changes.]

    [… The Government says Mr Costello’s comments show he still supports the former Coalition government’s WorkChoices legislation.]


    [Individual workplace agreements will be part of a new industrial relations regime in Western Australia, Treasurer Troy Buswell says.]

  26. [Things have quietened down in NSW a bit but only for so long as the shockjocks and the Daily Terror allow it.]

    There is a surfeit of excellent copy federally without needing to go to state issues… 😀

  27. If ministers can keep their dicks in their pants and their hands out of till for 12 months (not a lot to ask, surely), two facts may start to reassert themselves: (a) there is a natural demographic Labor majority in NSW, and (b) the NSW Libs are a collection of complete crazies who are not fit to run a church cake stall. The odds will still be against Labor winning, but the contest won’t be quite so one-sided as it appears at present.

  28. Hear, hear, Psephos.

    [There is a surfeit of excellent copy federally without needing to go to state issues]

    But in NSW the Daily Terror and the redneck media like to have little State issues to beat up. Makes good headlines and sells.

  29. Psephos

    [their hands out of till]

    Have there been any explicit accusations of misappropriation? Or is this a general rubric about NSW planning processes and electoral funding?

    [The odds will still be against Labor winning, but the contest won’t be quite so one-sided as it appears at present.]

    I actually think the numbers dont look all that one-sided…7.6% swing required for coalition to govern in its own right (Antony’s pendulum); a reasonable challenge

  30. Psephos – I believe “Juche”, the North Korean official ideology, can also be translated as self-reliance. (Although it also means anything the DPRK wants it to mean, including 2+2=4 and at the same time that 2+2=5)

  31. The natural Labor demographic didn’t stop Howard winning a majority of NSW seats four elections running. Nor did it prevent Unsworth being tipped out in a landslide when voters were sick of the last long serving state Labor govt. I think we’re looking at a repeat of 1988.

    I tend to think the Rees govt should behave like a term limited president rather than strive impotently for an impossible re-election. (Same goes for Gordon Brown.) Sadly the axing of Iemma showed that long term reform is the last thing this lot are interested in.

  32. Psephos@83:

    [It’s sometimes spelled “autarchic”, as though it came from the Green verb archein, to lead (as in “monarch”), and thus meant “self-ruling”. In fact it comes from a different Greek verb, arkein, to be reliant upon, so it means to be reliant upon one’s self.]

    autarchy is a variant spelling, now rare, of autarky.

    It comes from the Greek autarkeia, from autarkes meaning self sufficient, from auto and arkein to suffice, or to have or to hold.

    The prefix and suffix arch, as in “archbishop” and “monarch” comes from arkhein to rule.

    Though that doesn’t seem right, as there is no “h” in the greek alphabet. You’ve got Kappa, and Chi, but those are english spellings.

    suffice is ?????

    Maybe arkhein is spelt with a chi.

  33. As Psephos says, a lot can happen between now and mid 2011. It’s always hard to make predictions but it seems to me as though it is particularly hard to make predictions right now when you consider the realignment of international relations, the unprecedented politics of climate change and, as some may argue, the dawning of a new political epoch.

  34. What will Australian politics look like in 2 years? We regularly predict that the federal Liberals will be polling poorly but not much else.
    Let us suppose that the ALP gets its ETS through by whatever means, DD or otherwise. Obviously people like me won’t just give up on trying to prevent the massive economic/environmental damage caused by a weak target. Will there be unrest? How would the government respond? Will the ALP give in and improve its targets later? If so, how will business reply after having been promised that they could continue polluting? Would they demand (further) compensation?

    Similar questions could be asked on other topics such as industrial relations, etc.

  35. The next NSW election will probably see a huge combined vote for the Greens and ‘Other’. Both Majors might well go backwards.

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