Galaxy: 56-44 to Coalition in NSW

What Linda Silmaris of the Sunday Telegraph describes as “the first major poll since (Kristina Keneally) became leader” (last month’s Newspoll survey was partly conducted on Nathan Rees’s watch) finds NSW Labor in familiar dire straits, trailing the Coalition 29 per cent to 43 per cent on the primary vote and 56-44 on two-party preferred. The Greens are on 15 per cent, up six points on the 2007 election. For all that, Kristina Keneally’s personal ratings are remarkably robust: she leads Barry O’Farrell as preferred premier 42 per cent to 34 per cent, 45 per cent are satisfied with her against 25 per cent dissatisfied, 73 per cent (including “more than 70 per cent of polled Coalition supporters”) think her likeable, and only 5 per cent say she should wear the blame when Labor is defeated next March. The survey was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday from the usual Galaxy sample of 800.

UPDATE: Antony Green observes intriguing congruity between Nathan Rees’s first poll results and Kristina Keneally’s.

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.

138 comments on “Galaxy: 56-44 to Coalition in NSW”

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  1. Hi Jas:

    – The NSW economy is the worst performing of all states in Australia.
    – Business are reluctant to invest in the state because of government uncertanty with practically everything.
    – Projects, under this government are announced, and then are shelved.
    – NSW Labor don’t know if they are Arther or Marther.
    – Three changes of leaders in the one term.
    – The current Premier is as big a lightweight as there has ever been.
    – The State needs a Premier who calls the shots.

    And yes, we are jealous because we are not resources rich. So how about giving us our real share of GST money back. You know, the money the people of NSW actually pays the federal government so other state’s can bludge of us. 😀

  2. Thanks centre, and you can have your share of the GST just as soon as we get all the PRRT and resources royalties from our projects. I’m pretty sure when you look at the revenues (other than selectively) you find we are more than carrying our weight. Also the GST was in part a bribe to payout the taxes it was meant to replace. So it was always more about a political compromise to get the States on board than for returning the GST each state pays. All part of Howies GST con job.

    And if those are the worst things about the Govt you should be pretty happy. I think you’ll find all govts chop and change projects. The first of your points has relatively little to do with the govt, the second has none at all, 4 – 7 are largely opinion irrelevant to what the Govt is delivering or failing to deliver.

  3. No-one here is saying a big loss in the past has been good for the Liberals in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. Please explain. So just how will it benefit NSW Labor?
    Thanks Centre you have stated my case well, even though you don’t necessarily agree with my conclusion. Much appreciated.

  4. So Anthony you suggest we should have caught one of the trains and have them be overcrowded with us pensioners. How silly is that argument.

  5. [If Gary wasn’t part of the Labor faithful (affectionately dubbed “hacks” on this blog of late), he may well think that it is indeed in the interests of NSW and NSW Labor for the party to receive the enema it needs in a landslide defeat in 2011.]
    Such an enema is respomsible for long term Labor governments in Vic, NSW and SA. Has that been good for these states? Will it be good for NSW to have a rampant Liberal Party for the next 12 years? Floggings satisfy those who want revenge and the victor’s supporters but do little for good government. Good luck friends.

  6. GB.
    It can be either good or bad for a party to lose badly. Some examples.
    -VIC 99. The Libs acted as if it was a protest vote went wrong, so they didn’t try and change anything till the drubbing in 2002. They are slowly learning what to do to win.
    -FED 01. While not a drubbing, the ALP was slow to respond effectively by choosing Crean and then Beazely again and then Latham. Eventually learnt their lesson when they picked Rudd.

    Jasmine. While I am Victorian, here is an example of whats wrong with NSW, Sydney in particular.
    My friend has just expanded his business interstate. There was a group of people in Sydney who would work free until it was viable there, as well as one person in Adelaide. He expanded into Adelaide because Sydney was not sensible decision on a business level. He also couldn’t rely on the transport.

    Thats just one business, but it is at least an example.

  7. No, the Liberals will receive the same advice the current government gets from the public service, which is to change the tickets to a zonal system. The question is only whether the new government will act on it.

    Actually Anthony, the advice from the public service will be be for a distance based charge coupled with a flagfall every time one changes transport mode (bus to rail, ferry to bus, etc). The policy is driven by Treasury with the aim of maximising fare box collections. Or as Michael Costa so pithily put it, every time someone steps on a train it costs me money

    This fare model was the basis of the failed T-Card project.

  8. Gary Bruce @ 54 – The best analogy I can think of for what is needed in NSW is a defeat comparable to those suffered by Japan and Germany in WW2; they served to discredit almost completely the beaten regimes, and provided the basis for the building of two post-war democracies. If the ALP is beaten so badly that Obeid, Tripodi and their contemptible mates and stacks are totally discredited, there is a chance that federal intervention will see the ALP turned into a viable political party which sees itself as actually representing people’s interests: a great contrast with the patronage network which it has become. (As much as anything, they remind me of Golkar in Indonesia: read the Jakarta Post some time and you will see what I mean.) It offends me deeply that the government which is supposed to be working for all of us voters spends so much of its time in introverted faction-fighting: if a group of labourers digging a trench in your garden behaved in the way Ministers behave in NSW you would sack the lot of them.

  9. Gianni, rubbish. I expect the Coalition to dig up its 1990 fare re-structurte plan and put it out to consultants who will come up with a timed and zonal based fare structure. No T-card will work with the current fare structure because the card constantly needs to know where you get on and off the transport. If they could do it in Melbourne in 1984 with paper tickets, they can do it in Sydney.

    However, it will take a lot of political will because some people are going to end up paying more.

  10. Muskiekemp, the passengers on a ferry would fit in one carriage of a passenger train. They run three ferries an hour in peak hour from Rydalmere and two eight carriage trains, so that’s 3 ferry carriages versus 16 by rail. You’re not going to crowd out the train, but Sydney Ferries has to issue boarding passes to the rivercats because of the tourist and pensioner usage. You might say they should run more ferries, but they’d have to build more of their specially designed boats and they cost a fortune. And if you have huge pensioner usage, you don’t get any extra fares to cover the extra cost.

    Fine if it’s a tourist service, but don’t pretend it’s part of public transport and shoe horm obscure subsidies into it. That’s the sort of decision that government’s have to make, what do you want to subsidise and how much are you prepared to subsidise it.

  11. Gianni, rubbish. I expect the Coalition to dig up its 1990 fare re-structurte plan and put it out to consultants who will come up with a timed and zonal based fare structure. No T-card will work with the current fare structure because the card constantly needs to know where you get on and off the transport. If they could do it in Melbourne in 1984 with paper tickets, they can do it in Sydney.

    Antony, I hope you’re right. But I’d like to refer you to page 45 of an IPART Transport Issues paper: “Review of fares for metropolitan and outer metropolitan bus services from January 2010” [1] which states:

    As noted in Chapter 2, the NSW Government is in the process of establishing an integrated electronic ticketing regime for Sydney’s public transport. It is government policy that electronic ticket fares will be distance-based – that is, their price will comprise a flagfall charge and per kilometre (or per section) charge.

    IPART considers that its fare determination should facilitate the transition to such a system. Moving away from a distance-based fare structure that is harmonised across regions would complicate the introduction and viability of integrated electronic ticketing and most probably delay its introduction. Ultimately a simple, consistent fare regime that includes integrated electronic ticketing should lead to more efficient public transport which will benefit both the users and taxpayers of NSW.

    This indicates to me that there is strong support for distance-based charging within the bureaucracy. I don’t think it can be so easily dismissed as “rubbish.” Unless the Liberals have been speaking to you, I’d have to be very sceptical of a suggestion that they’ll resurrect a 21 year old plan as the basis of a integrated ticketing and fare restructure for public transport in Sydney.

    A submission from David Caldwell [2] notes the above position statement from IPART and makes additional points about it.



  12. The Rivercats we caught were full and they were not all pensioners, the amount of people on board would have needed more than one carriage of a suburban train. Also the same cats did the Darling Harbour run and ferried people to both side of the Harbour. So these cats are on the go all day and carry many and varied passengers. Maybe Antony you should take a ride in one of these cats and see what a great transporting job they do in this wonderful city of ours.

  13. Have a Royal Commission into the Labor Party and its running of NSW for the last decade prior to having another election.

    After the findings are published, then have an election. I doubt the NSW Labor Party would be voted in again within the next 200 years or so.

    Atleast this mob have not been in charge during Sydney’s formative years, otherwise the Harbour Bridge would have been built with only 4 lanes. And there would be no rail network to worry about as it would not have been built. Rather we would have had 200 Premiers and an ever growing list of public servants bludging off the poor tax payers of NSW.

    Advice to NSW Liberals, don t comment or say anything and you should romp it in. After all we’ ve had the bottom of the barrell ( an empty one at that ) for the last 12 years.

    Siberia looks more attractive to me than Sydney at the moment.

  14. Garry Bruce

    Actually the NSW, SA and Victorian Liberals all lost close elections when they lost.

    The problem with all 3 were that they refused generation change and believe that they will be back in parliament within 1 or 2 term. They think the other mob will stuff up so badly that the public will forgive all they did wrong and they will waltz back quickly

    It did not happen in all 3 state, they went on to get hammered when the public figured out the previous “opposition” was not that bad.

    Sound familiar with your opinion?

  15. Gianni, I hope your wrong! The Caldwell letter is exactly my view. IPART ends up having to make its decisions within the policy framework of the government. Those comments on not wanting to change the fare structure because of the government’s commitment to the T-card are just cart before the horse stuff. That report you pointed to on bus fares is an amazing bit of plastering over the cracks, trying to resolve a fundemental conflict between the pass based system in the public system with the fare methods in the private bus companies. I can understand why Treasury doesn’t want a pass system on the private busses if it just becomes a money funnel like the school bus pass scheme where the private bus companies won’t measure patronage but still want the money.

  16. [The problem with all 3 were that they refused generation change]

    I’d agree with what you say Dovif, I think the fed libs are facing a similar problem too, a narrow loss that they don’t believe was justified and a step back instead of forward.

    NSW labor needs a good hammering

  17. Jasmine

    I said this in a earlier post

    1.The problem of the NSW ALP government is well known to anyone living in NSW, I know of a lot of people who will be voting Liberal for the first time in their life
    If you name something, they have screwed it up
    1. Cross city tunnell, they closed off city streets to force people to use the tunnell, leading to congestions in the city, government is being sue by developers for agreeing to close those street, and then reopening them. The operator has promise to never do business in Australia again
    2. Lack of rail infrastructure means gridlock in the north west – esp Paramatta road and Victoria road
    3. Lack of Power infrastructure means that electricity is expected to raise by 50% in 3 years
    4. Government agreed to new Orange (?) hospital, but the floors did not have enough support for medical machinery, some operation room was too small, plan and hospital will have to be remade costing millions of dollars more
    5. Hospital nurses had to buy their own hospital supplies
    6. Rail time table was changed so they can say more trains are on time, instead of solving the problem, they used spin
    7. Rail maintenance corruption cost state millions of dollar more, no one looked at it for 15 years
    8. Planning department problems (headed by KKK) did not release enough land for public housing, causing house prices to rise too high
    9. Links between donations and planning department approval for land grant

    and Rogan added this
    1. Hugely expensive desalination plant that wasn’t needed (designed only to counter Debnam’s proposal, which had a “yuck” factor, but was perfectly safe)
    2. Garling commission of inquiry.
    3. Department of Community Services failures
    (I interpose that IMO the practice of blaming the minister every time an abused child dies or someone is mistreated by a hospital emergency room is very unfair, but it’s grist to the mill of an opposition.)
    4. The power fiasco, the only enduring effect of which has been to destroy the government’s standing in the polls. In particular, the timing of the announcement was egregiously cynical. Particularly after going to the 2007 election attacking Debnam on the basis of “Ooh the Libs will privatise stuff”.
    5. Other cynical stuff, like the timing of the abandonment of the new Spit crossing (5 weeks after an election?).
    6. The total waste of funds on the City Metro that should never be built and few people want or will use. The Darwin to Alice Springs Railway (itself no shining example of proper transport policy) cost about $1 billion for 1500 km of railway. The NSW Government can give us 7 km of white elephant railway for a mere 5 or 6 times the cost.
    7. The northwest railway/metro, which has been announced and pulled 3 times now, by my count. But who cares about those idiots in their McMansions, they don’t vote ALP anyway.
    8. The trains more generally, slowing down all timetables by 10-20 minutes over the route, so that trains now run on time.
    Ultimately, state government is about quality of life issues. In my view, the one thing that REALLY p’s people off is sitting in traffic. Realistically, if you live and work in 70% of Sydney and your commute is greater than about 10 km, it is likely that you spend a considerable amount of time every week stuck in traffic or sitting on a bus or train going nowhere. Obviously it doesn’t affect Hamish Coffee and in fairness I wouldn’t have a clue where he lives, but I make the point that the swinging voters in the critical marginal seats surrounding Sydney (Miranda, Menai, Camden, Wollondilly, Blue Mountains, Penrith, Riverstone and Londonderry) do grapple with this issue. It’s not easy to get to Parramatta from Narellan or from Llandilo to Bankstown or from Lugarno to the CBD or from Blaxland to Uni of NSW. Unless you have a car and a high degree of patience.
    Transport is the real retail politics quality of life question – which affects more Sydney residents on more days than any other issue. And having completely stuffed up the last two transport PPPs (CCT and Lane Cove) and crying poor over the budget (help us Kevin, please!), the current government has shown no aptitude for fixing it.
    The few proposals they can generate seem, to say the least, politically motivated (the CBD metro could-have-but-now-won’t save Verity Firth, and the pie in the sky Western Metro extension of the CBD Metro, the proponents of which include identities not a million miles away from the NSW ALP).

  18. So, it seems there are a lot of people who are prepared to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire to teach NSW Labor a lesson. I just cannot see that Barry O’Farrel et al will be any better and may well be a lot worse. Besides, I may be wrong, but I feel most of the disenchantment lies within the city of Sydney.

    Out where I am, there is no such thing as public transport to get all stirred up about but people do whine about the roads every time some idiotic speedster comes to grief. It has been my opinion for many years that governments in NSW have wasted billions of dollars pandering to private road users who have been provided with freeways and tunnels that are congested with traffic immediately they’re opened. These same people whine and kick up a storm at the cost of fuel and road tolls yet they have avoided using public transport (which governments have allowed to decline because of lack of money,in favour of bigger and better roads because that is what the people tell them they want).

    IMHO governments should have been spending every cent that can be scrounged to provide public transport of the highest standard and attend to the needs of the private motorist when and if money becomes available.

    People whine and wail and want but few relish the idea of paying higher taxes. Every time Joe Public suffers a m/vehicle accident he blames the government and demands more money be spent on roads. Everytime someone suffers a discomfort or isn’t triaged quickly enough in a hospital emergency department the government is blamed. Joe Public blames the government for the scarcity of beds and long waiting lists in public hospitals but at the same time he demands 5-star hospital accommodation when he might well
    receive more prompt attention if he could be allocated a bed in a 10-bed ward.

    It is more reasonable to think that people’s expectations are too high for the public purse rather than the fault of governments failing to deliver the services to the standard of those high expectations.

  19. castle

    that is why I was happy with Costello and the others going … Abbott will follow them after the next election (hopefully)

  20. Janice

    It is not that they have not spend in the correct area of private road/ public transport …. I believe that most of the recent toll roads are privately owned – M5 east, Epping, Cross city etc

    It is the fact they have not spend on anything at all and are hoping the private sector and the public will foot the bill …… the bigger Qs is where has all the money gone

  21. “And yes, we are jealous because we are not resources rich. So how about giving us our real share of GST money back. You know, the money the people of NSW actually pays the federal government so other state’s can bludge of us.”

    Here here!

    We also take on the lion’s share of new migrants – especially the not-so-well-heeled arrivals.

  22. So #72 Dovif – just curious, how many of these things do you expect the Liberals (O’Farrell or Baird or whoever is leader by the election) to actually fix? And if so, by when?

  23. allegory

    There is no doubt that NSW ALP’s failures over the last 10 years will take decades to fix. The state were also first to enter into recession and budget deficit. So the Liberal will inherit a budget mess as well.

    The main question is that the since actual revenue from the GST end up 30% over budgeted and the state did not cut any of the land tax, stamp duty etc that was promised. Where has all the extra revenue gone. The Liberal will need to know how bad the ALP have left NSW before being able to fix it

  24. #79 dovif
    OK, I take that to mean “vote Liberal because they’re not Labor, not because they’re proposing to fix any of the big ticket items”.
    Maybe Barry should be more open about that? Everyone knows the budget is a mess. And if Barry leads people to believe he will actually do something about the infrastructure deficit/services failures etc, and he does not, he will be a one term wonder.
    I personally believe Labor should be turfed out but I do not think the Libs will actually do anything different. Your answer has kind of confirmed that.

  25. #80
    So the Greens will turn NSW into a services Nirvana (but no infrastructure because they don’t like cars). How big will the state debt grow under a Green government?

  26. [How big will the state debt grow]

    Yet another perpetuation of the strangely Australian misnomer that debt is a “bad thing”. Bad debt is a bad thing, but good debt is a good thing.

    You have to spend money to fix problems. Wishing really hard to get them fixed won’t make them fix themselves. Good management of the state’s economy means more than “how much is your state budget in deficit”. That’s a factor but not the whole story.

    Meanwhile hospitals and public transport infrastructure are falling apart, the city is collapsing at the edges, yet we’re all oh so concerned about keeping a ‘balanced sheet’.

  27. [no infrastructure because they don’t like cars]

    What an interesting assertion to make! I’m sure you can back that up. Greens like cars, however, they like cars as well as public transport that actually services the wider public, the idea of which both ALP and Liberal seem to find rather repellent.

  28. hamish coffee

    The 2009 budget was estimated to be a surplus, until when they did the review and found there was a 900 million in 6 month (before the GFC) and it was actually in a hugh deficit

    So their projection is that it will be a surplus again……

    If it is in surplus, they should be trying to fix some of the many problems the state is facing

  29. “The state were also first to enter into recession”

    Could this have anything to do with NSW’s disproportionate exposure to the GFC – due to the importance of the financial sector to the state’s economy (especially Sydney)?

    All this, and NSW still has an AAA credit rating. Yep, the NSW govt has dropped the ball on infrastructure, especially transport and hospitals. But it hasn’t gotten EVERYTHING wrong. And maybe if the Premier State got its fair share of GST revenue, transport and hospitals might fare a little better too.

  30. [You have to spend money to fix problems. Wishing really hard to get them fixed won’t make them fix themselves. Good management of the state’s economy means more than “how much is your state budget in deficit”. That’s a factor but not the whole story.]

    So how big a deficit do the Greens want, and how would a Green government pay it off over the long term?

  31. [So how big a deficit do the Greens want, and how would a Green government pay it off over the long term?]

    Wow, what bizarre questions these would have been years ago!

    Yep, the party has definately moved from the electoral fringes and in to the mainstream as the new third force in Australian politics! These sorts of questions just prove it!!!


  32. So we’re not listening to Treasury estimates now but you can assert that the Libs ‘will inherit a budget mess’ ? Clutching at straws Dovif. This Government, like all govs, has its flaws, but your statement that ‘the Liberal will inherit a budget mess as well’ is simply incorrect. The Libs, if they win, will inherit a budget surplus.

  33. Some one has asked “What is wrong with NSW – after all the trains run on time”.

    My view is simply this : Corruption. By that, I don’t mean corruption in its ordinary sense of taking money, but corruption of the system. Decisions are not made on merit, but on the basis of helping out mates or for perceived political gain. This corruption is insidious.

    The bloke who catches the train (which runs on time) to and from work is unaware of it, and thus doesn’t give 2 hoots about it….until it personally affects him. Interestingly, it probably does affect him because the train timetables were so arranged, and train services cut out, not for the public benefit, but in order that the trains would run on time.

    Those that have personally been affected by this corruption, might initially think it is a one-off – but as they look around they see this corruption is the pervading common denominator. Leave aside all the issues of the economy, public transport, health education etc, and this corruptin remains the central theme.

    NSW Labor has not been prepared to root this corruption out itself, indeed, the very nature of it means that it is hostage to it and cannot do so. Therefore, the only way it can be rooted out is by the electorate. Gary Bruce argues it is best for democracy if the 2011 election result is close. A close election will not root out the culture of corruption. Only a wipe-out will do that. Labor, hopefully, can then rebuild with people of goodwill who are not tainted by this culture. It is a long term strategy – but a necessary one.

    If you look at NSW Labor’s actions you will see this culture at work:
    * The preselection of candidates
    * The groupings of MP’s around some power-brokers
    * The electricity privatisation debacle
    * The 11 (or thereabouts) election promises re major infrastructure, made for political gain, but shelved and never proceeded with.
    * The move to centralising planning powers in the hands of the government, and taking it out of the hands of the people.
    * The sale of Currawong, where property developer Medich said he failed in his bid for it because the other developer “had a better in”.
    * Where the property development industry, rightfully or wrongfully, believed that it was necessary to make substantial donations at critical times during the development approval process.
    * The cynical dumping of Rees shortly after he had started to move in a direction to clean up the party, and the replacement of him by Keneally, once again in preference to Sartor.
    * There are plenty of lower level examples of this corruption at work.

    The Galaxy poll gives hope to the welded on Labor faithful through the personal ratings of Keneally, however the party rating is at 29%, up just 3 points from the previous Newspoll of 26%. This “hope” implies a wish for more of the same, for a continuation of the culture of corruption – to be achieved via the medium of a pretty face. The “hope” is clearly not based on an expectation that anything will change. Maybe the welded ones don’t want anything to change.

    Labor has caused the sickness in governance in NSW. It won’t itself take steps to cut out the cancer. The friendliest surgery that can be performed, to lessen the pain and make more comfortable the convalescence period, is to elect Green MPs in those seats where Greens are within striking distance.

  34. “NSW was in deficit and recession in March 2009, which was prior to the GFC”

    Really? I thought the GFC began in 2007. It escalated in Sept 2008, when Lehman Bros went bankrupt.

  35. Kakuru – #94

    If the GFC began in 2007 and escalated in September 2008 (which I accept) it makes even more peculiar the November 2008 Labor mini-budget which was contractionary, At the time all other governments were looking at or engaging in stimulus type moves. It is something I could never understand, but maybe someone can explain why NSW took the “contractionary” step in November 2008 (much of it was later reversed).

  36. Unfortunately niether the ALP or the COALition seem capable of tackling corruption. And when we say corruption our definition is to narrow. Lets look at gambling, they crack down on corruption in the racing industry by trying to get all the jockeys to at least try. Well the actual races are not where the corruption is. The corruption, and its the same in some casino’s, is in the laundering. Now why is this not being tackled?

  37. Barking – #99

    You are talking about corruption in the world external to government. Governments can work against it. That is something you believe neither of the mainstream parties in government are prepared to tackle.

    I am talking about corruption (as defined above) in NSW Labor. That can be tackled by Labor itself. Every sign is Labor will not do so. So the only choice left is for the electorate to tackle it. The only way the electorate can do it is to “wipe out” NSW Labor in 2011. It doesn’t get another chance to help Labor until 2015. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

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