Newspoll: 52-48

The Australian reports Newspoll has Labor’s two-party lead at 52-48, down from 53-47 and back to where it was a fortnight before, although both parties are up a point on the primary vote – Labor to 40 per cent and the Coalition to 41 per cent. Dennis Shanahan reports this is because “a slump in support for the Greens detracted from Labor’s second preferences”. More later.

UPDATE: Full results here, including nifty Flash display of results. Greens down three to 9 per cent. Tony Abbott is up three points on preferred prime minister to 30 per cent – the first time in the Rudd era it’s had a three in front of it, as noted in comments – while Rudd is steady on 55 per cent. Abbott’s also up four points on approval to 48 per cent, though disapproval is also up one to 38 per cent. Rudd has recovered a point from last fortnight’s approval low of 50 per cent, with disapproval steady on 40 per cent.

Today’s Essential Research has Labor’s lead at a new low of 53-47, down from 54-46 last week and 55-45 a week before. A question gauging Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott’s attributes records little change since December, while other questions find hostility towards population growth and support for means testing the private health insurance rebate.

Have I got news for you. From New South Wales:

Simon Benson of the Daily Telegraph reports Labor’s national executive is expected to abandon plans to impose its preferred candidate to succeed Bob Debus in Macquarie, instead allowing the matter to be decided by a rank-and-file ballot. This is a win for the Anthony Albanese Left over the Mark Arbib Right, as it is believed the former’s preferred candidate, Susan Templeman, has the numbers in the local branches. A national executive imposition would have installed Blue Mountains mayor Adam Searle, who in the past has been identified with the “soft Left” but is evidently backed in the current instance by the Right. Searle was previously thwarted in his bid to succeed Debus as state member for Blue Mountains when Debus drafted Phil Koperberg. Benson paints Templeman and Robertson nominee Deb O’Neill as part of a move to follow the Howard-era Liberal strategy of having marginal seats contested by “soccer mums” rather than professional politicians.

• Labor Right faction convenor Matt Thistlethwaite will quit his position as New South Wales party secretary after the federal election and seek preselection for the Senate. Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports Thistlethwaite’s current position has become untenable after he lost the confidence of Luke Foley, deputy secretary and member of the Left, plus many on the Right when he “moved against Mr Rees last December but then backed NSW Environment Minister Frank Sartor for the premiership rather than the eventual winner, Kristina Keneally”. He will be succeeded in his current position by 27-year-old Sam Dastyari, a protéegé of Employment Participation Minister and Right faction heavyweight Mark Arbib. The evident certainty that Thistlethwaite will secure second postion on the Senate ticket behind John Faulkner means Graeme Wedderburn will not get the Senate seat he was promised when lured from the private sector to serve as chief-of-staff to Nathan Rees. In either event, the seat was to come at the expense of one of two incumbents: Steve Hutchins or Michael Forshaw.

• Labor sources tell Imre Salusinszky of The Australian that Robertson MP Belinda Neal has suffered a blow in her bid to survive Saturday’s preselection challenge from academic Deborah O’Neill, as 2005 attendance and membership records from the Woy Woy branch cannot be located. The branch is considered loyal to Neal, and the records are necessary to establish that members have attended meetings for at least four years, as required of preselectors by party rules. The sources say this could cost her up to 40 votes in a ballot of about 150 preselectors.

Belinda Scott of the Central Coast Advocate reports Labor’s unsuccessful candidate for Cowper in 1998 and 2007, training consultant Paul Sefky, has expressed interest in running again. Sefky appears to harbour a grudge against the paper for its reporting of the manner in which he replaced local area health service worker John Fitzroy as candidate two months out from the 2007 election.

Ben Smee of the Newcastle Herald reports Health Services Union organiser and former ambulance officer Jim Arneman has won Labor preselection for Paterson unopposed. Arneman was also the candidate in 2007, when he fell 1.5 per cent short of toppling Liberal incumbent Bob Baldwin. The redistribution cut the margin to 0.4 per cent.

• State upper house member Robyn Parker has been confirmed as Liberal candidate for the lower house seat of Maitland. Michelle Harris of the Newcastle Herald reports rival candidates Bob Geoghegan and Stephen Mudd, of Maitland City Council, and Brad Luke, of Newcastle City Council, withdrew ahead of the preselection meeting last Saturday. Maitland mayor Peter Blackmore says he will decide soon whether to run again as an independent, after falling 2.0 per cent short of toppling the now retiring Labor member Frank Terenzini.

• Reporting in the aftermath of last week’s preselection win by upper house member David Clarke against challenger David Elliott, Andrew Clennell of the Sydney Morning Herald said Elliott’s supporters were aggrieved at moderate elements, in particular Fahey government minister Michael Photios, for encouraging him to stay in the race so as to give the faction leverage in other preselection battles. Such leverage was used to secure preselection for Greg Pearce in the upper house and Robyn Parker in Maitland, in exchange for moderate support for Clarke at the expense of Elliott.

From Queensland:

• Nathan Paull of the Townsville Bulletin reports the Labor preselection for Herbert will be determined in the normal fashion, by a ballot divided between rank-and-file members and a central electoral committee, apparently following the intervention of Right faction powerbroker Bill Ludwig. This comes as a blow to former mayor Tony Mooney, who has the backing of the Prime Minister and was looking set to take the position on the intervention of the national executive. Emma Chalmers of the Courier-Mail reports Townsville councillor Jenny Hill is “believed to have more backers” in the local party than Mooney. John Anderson of the Townsville Bulletin reports that the Left has been directed (by whom he does not say) to fall in behind Mooney, despite the faction’s long-standing antagonism towards him. The candidate from 2007, local McDonald’s franchisor George Colbran, is yet to decide whether to nominate.

• The Whitsunday Times reports former Whitsunday Shire councillor Louise Mahony has expressed an interest in Labor preselection for Dawson, which James Bidgood is vacating after one term as member for health reasons. Whitsunday Regional Mayor Mike Brunker has ruled himself out. The Liberal National Party endorsed Mackay regional councillor George Christensen in November.

• An “LNP insider” tells Russel Guse of the Central Telegraph that Ken O’Dowd, owner of Busteed Building Supplies in Gladstone, is expected to be a candidate for preselection in Flynn, following the withdrawal last month of Colin Bourke for “personal reasons”.

• Emma Chalmers of the Courier-Mail reports Labor preselection in Ryan loom as a contest between Steven Miles and Martin Hanson of the Right, the latter being favoured by Rudd but the former apparently having the edge in the branches.

From the Australian Capital Territory:

• James Massola of the Canberra Times rpeorts Jenny Hargreaves, a public servant with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and wife of former ACT minister John Hargreaves, is considered likely to win the Centre Coalition faction’s endorsement for Labor preselection in Canberra. His rivals are Michael Cooney, chief-of-staff to ACT Education Minister Andrew Barr, and Gai Brodtmann, who runs communications firm Brodtmann & Uhlmann Communications and is married to ABC reporter Chris Uhlmann. Massola says Hargreaves is a friend of the present incumbent, Annette Ellis, and is believed to be close to securing her endorsement. CFMEU industrial officer Louise Crossman has won the endorsement from the Left, and David Garner and Brendan Long are the main competitors for the endorsement of the Right, but it is the Centre Coalition which is believed likely to be decisive. Massola reports Hargreaves’ nomination points to a breakdown in relations between John Hargreaves and Andrew Barr, who are both figures in the Centre Coalition.

• In the ACT’s other seat of Fraser, to be vacated by Bob McMullan, Nick Martin is said to be the favourite after winning endorsement from the Left; George Williams has the backing of Labor Unity (not to mention Malcolm Fraser); and David Peebles and Chris Sant are the front-runners for the Centre Coalition. The preselection for both seats is likely to be determined in late April.

From Victoria:

• After a traumatic final term in parliament, ALP Victorian upper house member for Northern Metropolitan Theo Theophanous has made a surprise decision to quit parliament nine months before the election. His vacancy will be filled by Nathan Murphy, plumbers’ union official and ally of Bill Shorten, who had already been preselected for the election.

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.

4,092 comments on “Newspoll: 52-48”

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  1. [house prices, which are absurdly unaffordable, especially in Melbourne.]

    Ah, and Sydney, Perth, Darwin and Canberra.

  2. ruawake
    [What qualifications do you need to be an “economist” ? Plus why are they nearly always wrong?]

    If you didn’t get good enough marks in high school to do medicine, law or engineering… at least that was how it was when I went to uni in the 80s.

    As for why are they nearly always wrong? IMO the sort of market economists quoted in the media are often just salesmen, so I don’t listen to what they think. Serious academic economists have a much better record, but even then nobody does very well more than about 3 years into the future. Nobody can predict the future of markets reliably in economics, and the better economists will admit it.

  3. cybercynic 229

    Brilliant. And that from an Owens tragic!

    But i still say, trust Abbott & Barnaby as far as Macbeth should have trusted the Three & Oedipus the Oracle’s prophecy; for the same reaons. IOW, never take them at face/ the most obvious value. Treat them as QE I and her spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham did A & B’s Tudor Era predecessors – look for what lies beneath.

    In fact, make that A, B & C(hris Pyne), their SA equivalent.

  4. Hamish

    True, you could add Brisbane and even the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast too. Its just that Melbourne has seen the biggest recent rise. But it is a national problem, clealry indicating the need for a national policy response.

  5. [George Williams has the backing of Labor Unity (not to mention Malcolm Fraser)]
    Whitlam and Rudd both endorsed Williams before the last election. My memory is that his support back then was predominantly from the Left.

    I hope he wins this time, but I still think he would be better in the Senate.

  6. Mike Carlton in fine form …

    [”It’s all them noughts wot gets me,” said Barnaby mournfully, poring over a page of inky figures on the tall desk in the counting house at the grim old firm of Abbott and Hockey. He sucked at a goose quill he had finished sharpening but moments before. ”Millions and billions, and what’s the difference? Them noughts just goes on forever, columns of numbers which I adds up time and again but wiff never the same result. I am quite discombobulated.”]

  7. Glenn Stevens is an economist – and he is doing a pretty good job.

    Agree with Socrates – market-media economists are publicity hounds

  8. If negative gearing is removed what needs to be done to encourage investment in residential property – or do we accept higher rents?

  9. #249 Socrates,

    I’m impressed.

    This Newspoll result appears to have stunned all of the ALP supporters on this forum into silence this morning.

    Your post looks like the first that addresses the continuing trend towards a normalised 2PP.

  10. No 204

    Poss, pull the other one.

    That website is not correct. According to the CPA website:

    [To be eligible for CPA status, an applicant must meet all the below requirements:

    -hold a degree or a postgraduate award recognised by CPA Australia
    -have demonstrated competence in CPA Australia’s prescribed foundation level knowledge
    -have successfully completed CPA Australia’s professional level examinations
    -have successfully completed the practical experience requirement – comprising three years supervised, relevant work experience and covering technical accounting skills, broad business skills, leadership skills and personal effectiveness skills]

  11. Socrates
    [Reform to the silly negative gearing rules is required, and increased investment in housing construction (and transport), to counter the growing population….but some kind of cap on negative gearing is crucial.]

    Agree on the construction/infrastrucutre side to get the supply curve moving. Removing the first home owners assistance (sic) scheme/stamp duty abatements for existing dwellings would be well overdue (they just act to move the demand curve)

    But why a negative gearing cap? Would make investment in residential real estate relatively less attractive than any other form of investment.

  12. [Your post looks like the first that addresses the continuing trend towards a normalised 2PP.]

    You could almost say the honeymoon is over if it wouldn’t get you shot around here.

  13. GP

    Candidates may gain exemptions from the foundation level and/or the professional level electives if they can demonstrate that they have completed studies of equivalent content and depth. These studies may be:

    (i) tertiary degree studies (in the case of the professional level electives, the study must be undertaken at postgraduate level)
    (ii) professional qualifications

    Candidates may also gain exemptions from the practical experience requirement based on their prior work experience. ]

  14. A Good Lurk @ # 213

    I am an atheist. I do not follow any “creed” i.e set of beliefs. I can see no scientific or cultural justification for religion. But if people want to be religious, I extend to them the same courtesy I expect them to allow to me.

    I have no problem with that but people that hold views similar to what you espouse above wish to deny those same rights, that you rightly demand, to those that hold a different view.

    What I do not want is any “creed” or set of private moral convictions to affect purely secular matters – such as what we call politics. I don’t do it and I don’t want anyone else to so do.

    I subscribe to secular human rights as the cornerstone of the polity.

    So what you are arguing is that your “creed” gives you more rights that those who have a different “creed”. Just remember that a creed is “any system or codification of belief or of opinion” and in your case you have clearly stated your creed above.

    Please note that you above have expressed a “set of private moral convictions to affect purely secular matters” which no doubt you would expect to be able to express and base your judgements on if you were elected to Parliament.

    If you argue that you can act on the basis of your creed and that those who think differently cannot act in accordance with their beliefs what is you justification.

    In our society the way to sort out these differences is via elections. If you do not like the “creed” of your elected member vote for someone else or if no one fits your requirements stand for Parliament yourself. If you are fortunate enough to win you will have to decide issues on the basis of your creed and I would expect that you would not countenance anyone trying to restrict you doing so.

  15. vp:

    To be an economist you need someone to pay you to give an opinion about matters economic.


    An economist is an expert in the social science of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy.

    Barnaby does not qualify.

  16. No 264

    Your point? I don’t see anything there that says the equivalent of “dumb people can get exemptions”.

  17. Laocoon

    The evidence over a long period of time is that negative gearing for existing home owners has tended to force the price up for first home buyers. It was first brought in in the 80s mainly to resolve the Sydney rental market. Remember it doesn’t apply for owner-occupiers. So if it doesn’t increase supply in itself, and sees a lot of (tax subsidised) baby-boomer investors competing with first home buyers (not subsidised) then the latter group must lose out.

    This is neatly explained here:

    90% of negative gearing is for existing properties, so it harms more than it helps. The RBA cited it as a prime cause of house price inflation as long ago as 2003 (that report is no longer available on the internet). The 2004 Senate inquiry recommended it be capped too, but no action was taken during the GFC. Now that the GFC is over, action is badly needed.

  18. [Your point? I don’t see anything there that says the equivalent of “dumb people can get exemptions”.]

    Very true – but you do not need a degree to become a CPA.

  19. Stale news week!

    Insiders 28/02/10

    KEVIN RUDD: But it has always been my view that hospitals are best run locally.

    That has always been my view. I’ve had some experience of this over the years working at various levels of government and that is still my view

    The Australian, Tuesday 02/03/10 Doctors warn PM to put locals first in federal takeover

    DOCTORS have urged Kevin Rudd to go ?local? and respect the views of frontline medicos under any federal takeover of hospital funding.”

    Ethics in NewsLtd Journalism?

    No reference to in this TheOz article to Rudd’s statement on Sunday.

    No ethics!

  20. Mr Squiggle,

    Thanks, just trying to be fair 🙂 Abbott has done well so far, but I still think come election day his bover boy style will harm him badly.

    I really do think Labor has done a great job on the GFC, but with that now over, voters will still expect them to deliver on other things. So they must focus on that.

  21. No 269

    Yes you do. The exemptions to which you refer relate to the prescribed core studies that the CPA requires candidates to study as part of gaining their associate or professional accreditation. They do not state that candidates do not require a university degree.

  22. Laocoon

    Sorry that Senate inquiry was 2008 not 2004.

    Also saw your comment on my exec bonuses post yesterday. You are right it was an overreach to link in the Colonial fund to exec bonuses. Its bad regulation in both cases though. You can’t take a management fee and then fail to manage. If you do you should be liaible for the losses.

  23. [I have no problem with that but people that hold views similar to what you espouse above wish to deny those same rights, that you rightly demand, to those that hold a different view.]
    What people do this? Are you talking about historical figures, i.e. Chairman Mao and Joe Stalin?

    I’m yet to read anything by any atheist who says that people should be forbidden from exercising their religion. Of course many atheists eloquently argue that religious observance is pointless and futile, but that is completely different from saying that it should be banned.
    [In our society the way to sort out these differences is via elections.]
    Not really. Our constitution is a document of the Enlightenment that divides church and state and explicitly DOESN’T leave it up to elections.
    [116. The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth. ]

  24. ltep

    True enoguh, but in that case I think it was a very weak inquiry. If there was enough reason to recommend a change in 2003 and 2004, and the costs have gone up in real terms since, then it was a fairly weak response to say jsut refer it to an inquiry now.

    No doubt politicians who fear doing the unpopular will not want to cut negative gearing benefits to the middle aged. But if they don’t they will lose a lot of votes amoung teh young. Besides, it can be done in a revenue neutral way, so that negative gearing is simply capped and phased out over time, while deductability for mortgage payments fo rowner occupied is phased in. This assumes that:
    – people would claim one or the other but not both
    – a higher rate of deductability would apply for new homes
    – both would be capped at say average property prices plus one standard deviation in all cities. We don’t want to subsidise people building mansions.

  25. [stopped short of making any recommendation on negative gearing other than that it should be looked at as part of the Henry Tax Review.]
    We haven’t heard much about the Henry Tax Review. I’ve got a feeling the government is going to use some of the recommended Henry Tax Review reforms to frame the budget. The budget will effectively be their response to the Tax Review and the Health Reform study, and will form the basis of the re-election campaign.

    Of course this means the Government will unveil fully costed policies (i.e. the budget), which the opposition will have to immediately respond to.

  26. ltep #263

    You could almost say the honeymoon is over if it wouldn’t get you shot around here.

    2PP: 52% 48% – based on preference flow Election07 (ie very similar to Election07)

    Preferred PM: Rudd 55%; Abbott 30%; Uncommitted 15%

    “Almost say” might have been “almost right” had the MSM (Oz in particular) & L-NP not been carrying on about “Rudd’s honeymoon” & predicting its demise since Dec 2006.

  27. Negative gearing causes huge problems where investors mix it with first home buyers to get properties and it only adds to the cost of the properties. It’s a problem because when Keating tried to withdraw neg. gearing the voices were so loud that he had to backtrack to avoid a huge reduction in rental properties.

    Perhaps the Govt. should join with first home buyers in some kind of equity scheme.

  28. [True enoguh, but in that case I think it was a very weak inquiry.]

    Undoubtedly. The select committee was agreed to when the Coalition still had a Senate majority in early 2008. The Coalition also had a majority of members on the committee.

    [I’ve got a feeling the government is going to use some of the recommended Henry Tax Review reforms to frame the budget. ]

    I’m not sure personally. Framing it in light of the HTR would allow them to paint themselves as visionary for the future but they might face pressure to release the entire review report which could be used by the Coalition as a basis to mount a scare campaign.

  29. ruawake. @ # 245

    What qualifications do you need to be an “economist” ? Plus why are they nearly always wrong?

    Economics is one of “the social sciences that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services and with the theory and management of economies or economic systems.”

    Economics is an inexact science. It is very difficult to determine how people will behave given a certain set of circumstances.

  30. BH

    I disagree. Shared equity just means they don’t fully own the home and have to buy the rest later. It is the sort of scheme attractive to people who already own several investment properties and fear their value falling so want the market propped up. But that problem won’t go away, so the sooner we face it the better. The longer we leave it the greater the fall.

    Capping and phasing out will solve it. The cap I suggested was average house price plus one standard deviation. That should, by definition, cover 85% of homes and apartments in all capital cities. It might have an impact on supply of, say houses worth over $800K in Sydney or Melbourne. But we would be kidding ourselves to say that worrying about that has anything to do with equity, homelessness or rental supply.

    If we don’t fix this problem it could do jsut as much damage to us as it did to Japan in the 90s. Keating was right to oppose negative gearing in the late 80s. He got rolled by the populists and those with mates in the real estate industry, not the RBA or Treasury.

  31. Leaving the huge elephant of land prices out of the mix. The major reason houses cost more is because the median size has almost doubled in the past 10 years.

    This is due to covenants on new housing estates saying a house must be a minimum 250 sq mtr when the median size used to be 150 sq mtr.

  32. GP@163:

    [Which means punishing current generations for the “benefit” of future generations.]

    A completely amoral, selfish attitude.

    GP wants to punish future generations because of the acts and omisssions of current generations.


    [Well we all know the glacier nonsense has been retracted by the IPCC.]

    Wrong. Only one small insert, regarding the timing of glacier melting in the Himalayas has been retracted from the IPCC report. Glaciers around the world are generally receding, and at an increasing rate.

    This is exactly what I meant by GP and his pals “cherrypicking” the science. They take one mistakenly included aspect of a huge report, consisting of thousands of peer-reviewed pieces of scientific research, and try to debunk the whole thing.

    Incidentally, why should this kind of dishonest practice be rewarded with equal time and space in any reputable publication or web site like the ABC’s?

    They seem to have fallen for the Shanahan line that from now on Climate Change is just politics, therefore anyone’s crazy idea is as good and worthy as the most rigorously researched science. If it wasn’t so important to keep a level head on the damge this concept is doing, and to try to deal with it, you could spend the rest of your life weeping at the stupidity and sheer bloody-mindedness of the Coolists’ dishonest attacks.

  33. [but they might face pressure to release the entire review report]
    Of course they will eventually release the full report! If they use it to frame the budget, then it will be tabled as a parliamentary paper on budget night.
    [which could be used by the Coalition as a basis to mount a scare campaign.]
    ANYTHING a government does can potentially be used by an opposition as a scare campaign. It is the challenge of government to adopt policies that are superior to all alternatives, thus making it easy to win such a scare campaign.

  34. you all know things friends and not friends send you to open funny pictures etc.

    just got a very racist one so be on the out look returned it to the sender and told them what i thought.

  35. [GP wants to punish future generations because of the acts and omisssions of current generations.]
    Yes, conservatives don’t seem to believe in conservation anymore.

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