Newspoll: ??-??

Following last week’s surprising and almost certainly rogue Newspoll result, The Australian sent its pollster out into the field again over the weekend for an eagerly anticipated follow-up survey. However, when the results were published yesterday, all that was offered was attitudinal results on asylum seekers – although breakdowns by party support made clear that voting intention had also been ascertained. This sent Gary Morgan on the offensive:

Newspoll should have conducted another poll as soon as possible when they saw the dramatic change in their results – and if different, released the data to correct the misconceptions caused by their “rogue” poll … A statistical analysis of the data reported on Australians’ attitudes to “boat people” issues – specifically the breakdown by “Political support” – suggests the ALP vote in that poll was very strong. The percentage supporting each political party clearly should have been released. Polls and their publishers should not seek to set the agenda by selectively releasing polling data. Polls and their publishers are powerful but with that power comes responsibility.

Queried by Andrew Crook of Crikey, The Australian’s editor Chris Mitchell explained that “even Crikey” should be able to understand that a non-fortnightly set of voting intention figures would cause a disturbance in the force. Mitchell further invoked a Beatles-and-the-Stones style arrangement between Newspoll and Nielsen in which they have agreed not to step on each other’s releases. Yet just one month ago, on the same day that Nielsen produced its regular monthly poll, The Australian published a “special Newspoll survey” on the Liberal leadership in between its regular fortnightly polls, and was not in the least bit shy about informing us that the sample produced the same 58-42 split in favour of Labor as recorded the previous week. In fairness, it should be noted that Crikey “understands that on Sunday morning, Newspoll chief Martin O’Shannessy contacted his Nielsen counterpart John Stirton and agreed not to release the two-party preferred vote to The Australian”.

My own concern with all this is that I was hoping for a new poll result to hang my regular set of electoral updates off, and didn’t get one. Here they are:

• The saga surrounding the YouTube Downfall parody aimed at Mitchell MP Alex Hawke over his feud with former Right ally and state upper house MP David Clarke has lifted a rock on preselection manoeuvres for safe Liberal state seats. Hawke-Hitler is portrayed in the video castigating himself for having backed Hills Shire councillor Andrew Jefferies to depose incumbent Wayne Merton in Baulkham Hills. The Clarke forces have been hoping the seat might instead go to Damien Tudehope, who has a not inconsiderable public profile as spokesman for the NSW Family Association – and whose son Thomas has just resigned as Malcolm Turnbull’s media adviser after being linked to the aforesaid YouTube video. The infamous episode where 40 Clarke supporters showed up at a Young Liberal branch meeting at Hawke’s office, prompting Hawke’s staff to call the police, reportedly occurred as part of efforts to secure Baulkham Hills for Tudehope. In Castle Hill, Clarke faction operative Dominic Perrottet (whose brother Charles has just resigned as Clarke’s chief-of-staff after he too was linked to the YouTube video) has been plotting to depose incumbent Michael Richardson. On the other side of the pendulum, Hawke is apparently backing another ally, state Young Liberals president Scott Farlow, for the seat of Drummoyne (which Labor’s Angela D’Amore holds by a margin of 7.6 per cent), while Clarke man Kevin Conolly hopes to again contest Riverstone, where he ran against Labor’s John Aquilina in 2007.

Stephanie Peatling of the Sydney Morning Herald reveals the identity of the abortive Right challenger to Philip Ruddock in Berowra: Richard Quinn, a Hunters Hill councillor. A Ruddock supporter specifically identifies Quinn’s backers as “the Taliban faction”, meaning the forces associated with David Clarke. Quinn has “now expressed interest in Bennelong”, which would put him up against former tennis player and unsuccessful Bradfield preselection aspirant John Alexander, plus another previously unheralded entrant in “businessman Mark Chan”.

Lisa Carty of the Sydney Morning Herald explains Labor’s recent western Sydney preselection shenanigans in terms of a deal in which the Right will retain its hold on Fowler following Julia Irwin’s retirement at the next election, despite the numbers in local branches being finely poised between the two factions. The Right’s favoured candidate for Fowler is Ed Husic of the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union, who was defeated by Louise Markus when he ran in Greenway at the 2004 election. In return for not pursuing a claim in Fowler, the Left will be awarded Werriwa at the expense of Right incumbent Chris Hayes. However, state secretary Matt Thistlethwaite is quoted in the article saying there is “no deal to shift (Hayes) to Macarthur”. That hasn’t stopped an avalanche of reports about whether Werriwa will go to Reid MP Laurie Ferguson, as proposed by Julia Gillard and the soft Left, or Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union organiser Damien Ogden, the candidate of Anthony Albanese and the hard Left.

Andrew Clennell of the Sydney Morning Herald reports claims Labor internal polling of 650 voters in Robertson shows Belinda Neal set to be dumped by a swing of “about 20 per cent”, although this has naturally been denied by state secretary Matt Thistlethwaite. The report also quotes Labor sources suggesting recent talk of a run for the premiership by her husband John Della Bosca has been raised for use as a “bargaining chip” to protect Neal’s position.

• The Queensland Liberal National Party has preselected Hajnal Ban, Logan councillor, Nationals candidate for Forde in 2007 and recipient of an eye-watering Russian surgical procedure to lengthen her legs, as its candidate for the new Gold Coast hinterland seat of Wright. Unsuccessful candidates included Cameron Thompson, the former Liberal member for
Blair (who was presumably handicapped by an understanding that the seat was the domain of the Nationals), and Gold Coast councillor and former children’s television presenter Bob La Castra.

• Former Senator, one-time Democrats leader and blogosphere identity Andrew Bartlett will run for the Greens at the federal election in Brisbane, which Labor’s Arch Bevis holds with a diminished post-redistribution margin against the LNP of 3.8 per cent. Antony Green explains why he won’t win.

Peter Kennedy of the ABC reports Labor preselection nominations for Canning, Cowan and Swan will close on December 1, and candidates will be chosen by mid-December.

• The Macquarie Street blog of Poll Bludger regular Oz informs us that NSW upper house MP Gordon Moyes, long estranged from the Christian Democratic Party from which he was elected, has announced he is joining Family First.

Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail reports that Anna Bligh will respond to the state’s review on accountability by moving to impose a $1000 cap on political donations unless the federal government does likewise before July 2010, as well as imposing a ban on “success fees” to lobbyists.

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.

1,656 comments on “Newspoll: ??-??”

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  1. entre nous

    Smuggler’s sales pitch:
    “The last boat who went to Australia, everyone got asylum in Australia from the Australian government, eventhrough they were picked up outside Australian water, and we have letters to prove it”

    “We can gaurantee you get to Australia, you will also be settled in Australia within 6 weeks”

    Because Kevin Rudd and Labor said so

    I would expect a flood

  2. No doubt Turnbull will deliver the asylum seeker policy as well as the other Coalition polices ie not very well. His political instincts are not good and for the life of me I cannot understand why they’d want to swing the spot light back on themselves at this point. But that is the nature of this beast and it will be a good show to watch. Pass the popcorn and a Coke Zero.

  3. Obviously Liberal focus groups are showing that the line “We’re not the government” is a negative for them. People expect the opposition not just to criticise but to provide an alternative solution. “We’re not the government” just doesn’t cut it.

  4. 1502 dovif – You left out the part “but first you have to be picked up by an Australian boat in Indonesian waters and end up in Indonesia”.

  5. Dovif

    The pitch may work to get the people on the boat but its the next part of the argument I’m questioning. In order for the smuggler’s claim to be reality the boat a) has to remain floating b) an Australian vessel has to be in Indonesian waters c) the ship has to pick up the boat people d) the ship has to dock at an Indonesian port.

    I’d imagine that people smugglers would say anything that they believed would get their cargo to part with cash and that this would be the case whomever was in government. If that were not the case then there would have been zero boat arrivals during Howard’s tenure.

  6. Gary Bruce

    What did you think the boat was going to do …. stay in Indonesian water? Or do you think they are slowly moving into Australian water

    If only getting to Indonesian Water means they get into Australia, what happens when they get into Australian Water?

    I think it is a great sales pitch

  7. Entre nous and Garry Bruce

    That boat was going to Australia, Smuggler tells people, we can get you asylum in Australia… they succeeded in getting everyone asylum into Australia…. they have letter from Australian Government proving this.

    This boat did not even reach Australian Water

    What makes you think the next boat won’t get into Australian Water?

  8. Great sales pitch? Pretty much all of the AS’s off the Tampa ended up being resettled in Australia, despite Howard acting all ‘tough’. Where was the outcry then, eh?

  9. [I too have concerns about the political fix, sorry special deal.]

    That’s politics – the art and science of the ‘special deal’. As the Ruddster says ‘life is an imperfect institution’.

  10. enter nous

    because boats has been coming to Australia regularly since the end of the Pacific Solution, I think there has been about 55 boats.

  11. [because boats has been coming to Australia regularly since the end of the Pacific Solution, I think there has been about 55 boats.]
    I dare Turnbull to have that as his policy.

  12. Gary Bruce

    I think the solution is for Master Rudd to say he was wrong …. I am not holding my breath for that one

    Rudd through he would do a populist thing to close detention centers and the pacific solution, thinking that AS was not a problem now, since almost noone had come to Australia for 5 years.

    He was wrong

  13. dovif, that’s because they didn’t count them as arriving – that was the key part of the “solution”, as Possum pointed out some time back:
    [If we adjust the 2002 number to account for boats that not only attempted to make the voyage, but ended up detained within the Pacific Solution system using the numbers provided by the Select Committee for an inquiry into a certain maritime incident 2002, we can add 1546 to the 2002 number]
    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2009/10/19/push-vs-pull-asylum-seeker-numbers-and-statistics/

  14. A simpleton argument dovif. To say the Pacific solution stopped the boats and the removal of it brought the boats back is just not sustainable. Even the Libs don’t argue that. There are many other factors involved.
    Howard has taught you well.

  15. Has anyone mentioned Downer’s confession to Fran Kelly today that many boats came but were pushed back by the Navy and left with just enough fuel to get to Indonesia. How many may have sunk?

    So the Libs’ lies that no boats came near us after the Pacific Solution is untrue.

    Downer said they kept it quiet and, although Indonesia knew what they were doing, nothing was publicised. Why. Where were the media then. Can we get info from the Navy as to how many they pushed back.

    The Howard Govt. had to be one of the most dishonest and secretive we’ve had.

  16. dovif

    I thought we were discussing this: does the fact that SLs have been rescued by an Australian ship in Indonesian waters and disembarked off that ship at an Indonesian port mean that in the future hordes will successfully emulate that result? My contention is that they will not. The reason I believe this is that those particular set of circumstances in their entirety will not occur again.

  17. [“Arrivals dropped from a total of 5516 people in 2001 to only 1 arrival in all of 2002 after implementation of the policy”]

    You should look at what happened in 2007. The boats started again BEFORE Rudd was elected. What caused that?

  18. Gary Bruce and entre nous

    Fact: The increase in Boat people came directly after the end of the Pacific Solution by Mr Rudd

    Fact: Mr Rudd now see it as a problem, or else he would not have introduce the Indonesian Solution

    Fact: More people are drowning at sea since the end of the Pacific Solution

    Fact: The turning back of boat people, means less people try the journey on unseaworthy fishing boats… meaning less people die trying to make that journey

    It is as simple as that

  19. [Has anyone mentioned Downer’s confession to Fran Kelly today that many boats came but were pushed back by the Navy and left with just enough fuel to get to Indonesia. How many may have sunk?]

    Seriously? Thats tantamount to piracy if they did it on in International waters, and a blatant breach of the Refugee Convention (of which we are a signatory) if it was in Australian waters. FMD that’s incredible.

  20. [Fact: The increase in Boat people came directly after the end of the Pacific Solution by Mr Rudd]

    Actually, that’s fiction. The boats started before he was elected. Try again.

  21. [Fact: More people are drowning at sea since the end of the Pacific Solution]

    Pffft. How would we know, if Downer hd the Navy push boats back out toward Indonesia? Boatloads could have drowned on the way back! Seriously, you’re having a shocker.

  22. Dario

    Labor was going to win the election by about 2006, the expectation was that Kevin Rudd would be soft on border protection and will end the Pacific Solution (Labor Policy). Smuggler was using that on selling point.

    Then Rudd di end the Pacific Solution

  23. [Labor was going to win the election by about 2006, the expectation was that Kevin Rudd would be soft on border protection and will end the Pacific Solution (Labor Policy). Smuggler was using that on selling point.]

    Oh please. What utter tripe. Go and have a lie down.

  24. dovif

    I’m not wedded enough to this issue to keep arguing the generalities. My initial response was in reply to Diogenes’ post which more specifically addressed the OV situation.

  25. Dario – I wanted to hear more and I wonder if Downer was just bragging or made a big booboo in saying it. He definitely intimated that it was all done in secrecy.

    Rudd & Smith should ask more questions. Downer said they set up a blockade, made sure they had enough fuel to get back to Indonesia and then virtually tailed them to make sure they went back. So a lot more questions can be asked.

  26. I cannot believe how many people commenting from the left does not even understand the issues

    Australia accept a certain amount of refugees every year, if we accept more people smuggling, it means people on detention camp wait longer to get to Australia

    People using people smuggler does not affect how many refugees get into Australia, they just jump in front of other people from detention camp

    By allowing people smuggler to operation, we are offering a system, where the rich Asylum seeker gets into Australia, while the poor one wait their turn

    So the more wealthy get to choose where they go!

    Also people do drown in this fishing boats, meaning the more boats, the more people drown -Dario that is based on fact

    There had also been many case of females being raped by people smugglers

    I would have through the progressive side of pollitics would want a fairer refugee accepting system, rather then a if you are rich you come to Australia system

  27. dovif

    I’m guessing, from your writing, that you came here from foreign shores yourself. It’s easy to advocate closing the drawbridge when one has already got what they wanted.

  28. Now I know why I no longer listen to Fran Kelly on Radio National!
    Sadly ABC local radio is no better! Who on earth thought it was a good idea to hire Deborah Cameron?

  29. Cuppa

    Have I ever said I want to close the drawbridge?
    This issue DOES NOT AFFECT HOW MANY REFUGEE GETS INTO AUSTRALIA A YEAR, if the quota get filled by boat people, it just mean less people get to Australia through official refugee settlement

    I think this is a progressive issue, this are my view

    a. rich should not get better treatment
    b. people smuggler are scums
    c. people should never have to risk their lives in boats not seaworthy

  30. Funny how the media have boats to sit alongside the OV for weeks publishing messages from AS but they never knew about any of those boats that Howie was sending to Indonesia?
    Must have been phantom boats?

    Malcolm’s “policy” is another diversion, an excuse for his ABC and Rupe’s stooges to keep the asylum seekers on the front page.
    The ETS vote is next week, he doesn’t want any mention of that for goodness sakes!
    We’ll be lucky if it is mentioned at all on their nightly news!

  31. Rudd’s actions over the past 4 weeks have been entirely consistent with the steps he set out on day 1. He said that the ship would go to an Indonesian port – it did. He said that the refugees would disembark from the ship and that is partly underway. Essentially, he said that we would get pork sausages and pork sausages is what we are getting. The fact that many thought the sausages should have been ready a week ago, or that the workers who made them should have been paid less, or that the packaging could have been different is irrelevant.

  32. Dovif, perhaps you don’t get it, but the reason the boats are arriving here now is that more boats are coming due to international factors, and our navy isn’t forcing them back as they did under Howard. That’s a big red ring you’ve got round your neck…

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