Highlights of day three

Peter van Onselen offers the following on internal polling in The Australian:

The Australian understands that Labor’s track polling shows its support is lifting in all states except Queensland, where the combinations of the toppling of Kevin Rudd (a local boy) and the deep unpopularity of the state government and Premier Anna Bligh are stifling support. The numbers suggest Labor could lose a host of seats in the Sunshine State. Attempts to arrest the decline include efforts by candidates to localise campaigns, along with sending Julia Gillard to Queensland for the early part of the campaign to break down the growing angst against her for tearing down an elected prime minister. Labor sources point out the irony is that during Rudd’s leadership, Queensland had been a problematic state where dissatisfaction with the job he was doing was high.

Perhaps surprisingly, the dip in support for Labor in Western Australia has been contained and a small upsurge has occurred. The same results have been seen in NSW on the strength of Labor’s changed border protection policy under Ms Gillard. The Coalition is facing financial constraints and is not doing anywhere near the amount of expensive track polling it did at the last election, or as much as Labor is doing now, according to one senior Liberal source. But the quantitative research the Coalition has done is said to have buoyed Tony Abbott and Brian Loughnane about their chances of a competitive result or even an upset victory. The Coalition is apparently tracking better in key marginal seats than published polls with wider samples such as Newspoll might suggest.

Around the grounds:

• Labor and the Greens have confirmed a preference deal in which the latter will receive Senate preferences across the country, and the former will get lower house preferences in 44 of 50 marginal seats. The Sydney Morning Herald reports local Greens in six seats have refused to abide by the deal: Lindsay and Gilmore in NSW, Herbert, Blair and Dawson in Queensland, and Sturt in South Australia.

• While Tony Abbott was having a rough ride in Melbourne, Julia Gillard spent the first weekday of the campaign targeting the Townsville seat of Herbert, where Liberal member Peter Lindsay is retiring and redistribution has nudged the seat from super-marginal Liberal to super-marginal Labor. Gillard spent the visit spruiking the Better Regional Cities policy which was unveiled the on Sunday, which will commit $200 million to affordable housing in regional cities.

• The Australian’s Samantha Maiden and Dennis Shanahan have both written today of a slick and efficient early campaign performance from Labor’s media unit that is leaving the opposition in its wake. According to Maiden, “media organisations are being carpet-bombed by an ALP campaign unit on steroids that is racing out media alerts, audio files of Coalition gaffes and interview transcripts via the social networking site Twitter”. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Liberal campaign headquarters will not be operational until today.

• The ABC reports police have ruled out a firearm being responsible for damage to the home and campaign office of Brent Thomas, Labor’s candidate for Hughes, with a slingshot deemed more likely.

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.

1,348 comments on “Highlights of day three”

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  1. Why didn’t Gillard get a Double Dissolution instead as she did ..just get a half-Senate election?
    She would have flushed all the opposition blockage away and got a Senate with a Green balance of power
    Was she frightened she might have to pass Rudd’s ETS ??

    Anyway if she wins she will still have a hostile senate till mid 1011..so what is the point ?

  2. deblonay@1

    Why didn’t Gillard get a Double Dissolution instead as she did ..just get a half-Senate election?
    She would have flushed all the opposition blockage away and got a Senate with a Green balance of power
    Was she frightened she might have to pass Rudd’s ETS ??

    Anyway if she wins she will still have a hostile senate till mid 1011..so what is the point ?

    If there is a Greens ACT Senator, their term starts immediately, so Fielding will be impotent.

    PS William – sent you an article from the Midland Echo re the First Nations Candidate for Pearce.

  3. it’s a very big “if” re a Green senator in Canberra ??? Frank

    It has been forecast in the past but never comes to pass !

  4. If Gillard wanted to call a DD election it would have had to be on the ETS, as that was the only available trigger for it (I think), and fighting the election exclusively on that when the climate change waters have been so muddied especially given her urging to Rudd to delay the ETS to 2013, would present all sorts of problems.

    Labor at this stage will be happy just to scrape through with a bare majority, it’s not thinking about a sort of Coalition wipe out that seemed likely the end of last year.

  5. From the politics section of the OO:

    # Australian Politics aus_politics

    Viral ad to go creepy on Abbott: ELECTION advertising has moved into new territory with the union movement presen… http://bit.ly/9VAkFu 21 minutes ago via twitterfeed

    # Australian Politics aus_politics

    Timor talks are ‘going nowhere’: NEGOTIATIONS for an offshore refugee processing centre in East Timor appear to ha… http://bit.ly/aQdmKS 21 minutes ago via twitterfeed

    # Australian Politics aus_politics

    Climate heating up on Gillard: JULIA Gillard faces new pressure over the failure to develop a credible response to… http://bit.ly/cyz1Iy 21 minutes ago via twitterfeed

    # Australian Politics aus_politics

    Preference deal a game-changer: Abbott: THE preference deal between Labor and the Greens has injected a radical ne… http://bit.ly/aHlPlc 21 minutes ago via twitterfeed

  6. You can mention the election, but just dont mention Tony. You can almost hear the cackle:

    [LIBERAL MPs are airbrushing Tony Abbott from their campaign material amid concerns the Opposition Leader is a turnoff with some voters.

    Former leader Malcolm Turnbull is one prominent Liberal distancing himself from Mr Abbott as he tries to retain his marginal Sydney seat of Wentworth.

    Other Liberal MPs – and first-time candidates – are also chasing votes with little or no reference to Mr Abbott in election pamphlets.

    According to one Liberal MP, the reason is simple: “There is a big baulk factor with Tony.”

    The move to conduct “local” campaigns is particularly strong in city electorates and outer-metro areas with a strong Greens presence.

    Liberal MP Jamie Briggs has cut all references to Mr Abbott as he tries to win his seat of Mayo in Adelaide’s outer suburbs.

    In Victoria, two first-time candidates – Dan Tehan in Wannon and Cameron Caine in McEwen – are distributing pamphlets with barely a mention of Mr Abbott. It is understood private Liberal polling shows Mr Abbott is a liability in some seats, with his approval rating in heavily negative territory.]


  7. The fact of the matter is, it is in Abbott’s DNA to make it as easy as possible for the empolyers to sack the employees. Pig with Lipstick.

    [Betrayed by a lack of belief, LENORE TAYLOR, July 20, 2010

    TONY ABBOTT can’t explain his pledge to keep the Fair Work Act for the same reason Kevin Rudd couldn’t explain his decision to delay emissions trading: it doesn’t make sense and he doesn’t believe in it.]


  8. When do Liberal leaks start gushing? And a bit more on Green-ALP deal…Greens want to keep Pyne in Sturt do they??

    [CONCERNS about Tony Abbott’s ability to withstand the rigours of an election campaign are rippling through Coalition ranks after the Opposition Leader struggled to get his lines straight on his promise that Work Choices was ”dead, buried and cremated”…

    The Greens will direct preferences to Labor in more than 50 marginal seats.

    Greens officials in six seats refused to abide by the deal. These are Lindsay and Gilmore in NSW; Herbert, Blair and Dawson in Queensland; and, in South Australia, Sturt, held by the Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne.]

  9. [Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop says the Coalition will set population growth caps if it wins the election.]

    Bad move Julie. Morrison got himself in an awful mess over this a few weeks ago. 🙂

  10. Jules’ slogan: “Moving Forward”

    Tony’s slogan: “Dead, Buried and Cremated”.

    Who is flogging a dead horse here?

  11. La Grattan has gone feral over Abbott: “Mr. Abbott, have you stopped beating your wife?” – “hmmmm, arhhhhh, uhhhhhh, yes, ahhh, no . she is dead, buried and cremated”

    [The ACTU immediately wrote to Abbott saying there were at least 198 separate sections of the legislation that allowed the minister to make changes by regulation. One involves modifying the small business unfair dismissal code to reduce the protections for employees. But Coalition sources stressed there were no plans to change the unfair dismissal provisions.

    The Abbott industrial relations saga, in several appearances yesterday, has given the government and the unions a lot of ammunition.

    While it’s a fine line that Abbott is trying to walk, it is still surprising he’d get himself into such a mess. After all, he’s a former workplace relations minister. It was only last week that the shadow cabinet signed off on the guarantee; maybe the confusion is a product of haste.]


  12. Didn’t the Coalition claim in the last election that their internal polling put them in a better position than the published polling? I even recall Howard claimed it showed them in front in Eden Monaro.

  13. Tony Abbott says Work Choices is “Dead Buried and Cremated” – How it is possible to be buried then cremated is beyond me. I think the gospel truth is that he intends Work Choices to be “Dead Buried and Resurrected”

  14. [The Prime Minister is in Sydney today, while the Opposition Leader will continue campaigning in Melbourne.]

    Abbott in Victoria again. Very strange in my opinion.

  15. Speaking of bizarre campaigning, I don’t know who Conrad French is, but after this stunt, the greatest contribution he could make to a Labor victory would be to join the Liberal Party:

    An embarrassing photo splashed over the front page, with Labor, not Abbott embarrassed. What was he thinking? Go back to student union politics, please Conrad. Did somebody else approve this? Did my tax dollars pay this clowns wages? Nobody likes narcissists, least of all female voters.

  16. [One involves modifying the small business unfair dismissal code to reduce the protections for employees.]

    The libs need to explain why they want small business exempt from unfair dismissal laws, there is no real sense to it.

    A small business is not exempt from occupational health and safety laws, OH&S laws enforce a legal obligation to provide a safe work place same as the unfair dismissal enforce rights to be fairly treated in the workplace.

    To give employees no rights in a workplace just because of the number of employees is a regression to the master servant relationship of early last century.

  17. Pressure on Liberals for dismissals move
    July 20, 2010

    SMALL business groups said they expect a Liberal government to ease unfair dismissal restrictions, despite a pledge by Tony Abbott not to change workplace law, because a dismissal code could be changed instead.

    Retailers have meanwhile demanded ”something else” after the opposition backed away from an industrial relations overhaul.

    The Opposition Leader told Fairfax radio yesterday: ”I can’t give an absolute guarantee about every single aspect of workplace relations legislation.”

    As the Workplace Relations Minister, Simon Crean, accused Mr Abbott of using ”weasel words”, industrial law experts said a narrow interpretation of Mr Abbott’s pledge not to change the Fair Work legislation did not rule out changing regulations.

    The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive, Peter Anderson, said although small business could be exempted from unfair dismissal rules only with a law change, there was ”room to move” in regulating what steps small employers needed to take before firing a worker.


    It didn’t take long for employers to state their claims for a return of work choices in substance if not name. Even if the electorate are promised one thing by abbott – they emplorers KNOW they will get what they want from abbott.

    You wouldn’t expect anything else from former peter reith staffer, peter anderson.

  18. I think the gospel truth is that he intends Work Choices to be “Dead Buried and Resurrected”

    Yep – will be back the sunday after the election if abbott gets up.

  19. I think the gospel truth is that he intends Work Choices to be “Dead Buried and Resurrected”

    Yep – will be back the sunday after the election if abbott gets up.

    Of course, it could only be a Sunday resurrection

  20. ruawake

    My point was not to praise Abbott, but this sort of stunt raises sympathy for Abbott. Cheap schoolboy pranks are not the way to make your side look professional, let alone take any (high?) moral ground. The best way to highlight character flaws in the opposition is ot present yourself as the opposite. gillard does that. Conrad does not.

  21. “…cremated and buried” works okay, but “…buried and cremated” doesn’t.

    [Is Abbott the only person allowed to parade in public in budgies?]

    No, but this guy is apparently paid partly by tax dollars. As the article says, it’s an opportunity for a Liberal ad: Your tax dollars at work.

  22. So now Abbott has invoked Latham’s signing pledge, and Howard’s never-ever GST pledge, can he do much worse. Christian Kerr from the OO quite anti-Abbott this am.

  23. Grattan described Abbott’s writing on a piece of paper as ‘mad’.

    That really does not leave a whole lot to be said.

  24. Despite the disaster of yesterday, Abbott goes even further on Sunrise- NO aspect of WC will EVER be reintroduced. Ever? Not even unfair dismissal provisions??

  25. Sure enough someone in the OO is on about ‘gravitas’. Bluey beat them to it on PB, however, so you got it first on PB.

  26. victoria

    Sorry I haven’t seen it yet. I have been quite busy on my thesis lately and haven’t followed much of the election coverage except at times like now. However I think that hitting issues like Workchoices is a far better method of attack. If anything, I’d broaden it to point out just how many of the Shadow Cabinet have spoken in defence of workchoices since the 2007 loss. Julie Bishop certainly comes to mind. That would show it isn’t just a “gotcha” and that even if Abbott were replaced, the threat woudl still remain.

    Also, the Liberals have few if any new policies, so it is in Labor’s interests for this election to be about policy as well as the gillard/Abbott leadership contest. Labor will win the latter contest, as long as there aren’t too many Conrad French’s out there making them look just as nasty as the Libs.

  27. Even the idiots at News Ltd are finally realising that they’ve been essentially flogging a dead horse since Phoney assassinated Turnball and got the leadership?
    Radio Liberal – 2GB in Sydney – is sounding very glum, all of a sudden. 😉

  28. ruawake

    Thanks 🙂 The graphics were great, the fitting of the faces was very good. Hockey was almost scarrily appropriate. The lyrics were a bit mean, but the Workchoices lines were a bullseye.

  29. rua

    I am no expert at analysing comedy but I suppose my only caution would be that its better to go for humour, parody and satire rather than sarcastic or mean spirited.

  30. Joe Hockey interrogated on IR by Jon Faine. He also struggled, giving the need for business certainty as the reason for the U turn on policy.

  31. Joyce on ABC this morning. Doing his retail politician stuff. I imagine his style would be very effective in the regions.

  32. Quote from “The Age” editorial regarding Tone’s performance yesterday on Workchoices.

    ” His remarks yesterday……….suggest that he is willing to say anything he believes will deliver a momentary advantage…..”

  33. No surprise to see Dean Mighell popping up in an election campaign. Now he’s on the radio complaining about Labor’s IR.

  34. [No surprise to see Dean Mighell popping up in an election campaign. Now he’s on the radio complaining about Labor’s IR.]

    He’s a drop kick but always good value in achieving the reverse of what he sets out to do. His criticism of Labor’s IR policy will improve the Labor vote.

  35. From the previous thread but in the dead of night – generic person @1321

    [The key failure of your argument is that you chastise the ABC about alleged right-wing bias yet you are implicitly happy for a left-wing bias to exist. You can’t have it both ways.]

    On the contrary, I neither imply nor state that I am happy for any bias at all to exist in any part of the media, but especially in the taxpayer funded ABC. For your benefit let me state now that I am opposed to any bias in the media in any form. The very name ‘media’ implies a conduit for information to be passed through, not a megaphone for amplifying any individuals, or the media owner’s political biases.

    I work in social research, and our business is to eliminate, or at least minimise bias in our research, so I am only asking for the ABC to report the news without fear or favour, and refrain from ill informed, or biased commentary. The current state of the ABC news and current affairs reporting, where they parrot the news feed from AAP, or even worse from News Ltd, is not the work of an independent and unbiased broadcaster, and we deserve better value for our tax dollars.

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