Essential Research: 50-50

The latest Essential Research survey has the two parties locked together on 50-50, suggesting Labor has not received a dividend from its success in forming a minority government. The more recent part of the rolling two-week survey was conducted from last Tuesday, when the rural independents’ made their announcements, until yesterday, and it has dragged Labor down from the 51-49 recorded in the previous survey. However, the primary vote figures suggest there is unlikely to have been much in it either way: the Coalition is up a point to 44 per cent and Labor steady on 39 per cent, with the Greens down a point to 10 per cent. Approval or disapproval of the independents’ decision was predictably split on party lines, for a total of 41 per cent approve and 45 per cent disapprove. Respondents were asked to rate the performance of the parties since the election and for some reason the Coalition rated better than Labor, recording a net positive rating of 9 per cent compared with 4 per cent for Labor. However, Julia Gillard was thought to have shown “more leadership abilities during the period since the election” than Tony Abbott, 47 per cent to 35 per cent. Forty-five per cent of respondents rated the increased strength of the Greens as good for Australia against 38 per cent bad, which goes against other polling conducted earlier. Conversely, 44 per cent agree the independents will hold too much power, with only 36 per cent disagreeing.

Elsewhere:

• Anna Bligh has raised the prospect of a return to compulsory preferential voting in Queensland, with The Australian reporting the matter is likely to be considered by a (Labor-dominated) parliamentary committee. Bligh notes concerns that the operation of different systems at state and federal level causes confusion and a higher informal vote, and it is indeed the case that the optional preferential states of New South Wales and Queensland generally have a slightly higher informal rate at federal elections than other states. However, that hasn’t been the case this time – in Queensland the informal vote was 5.45 per cent, against 5.55 per cent nationally (the national total admittedly having been pulled up by a 6.82 per cent rate in New South Wales). It is clear that Labor’s sudden enthusiasm for compulsory preferential in Queensland is due to their parlous electoral position, and the very high likelihood they will bleed votes to the Greens that might not return to them, as they mostly did at the federal election. As an opponent of electoral compulsion in all its forms, I would much sooner the confusion be resolved by a move to optional preferential voting at federal level – though Labor is most unlikely to be keen on this, as it would have cost them three seats at the federal election. UPDATE: As Kevin Bonham correctly notes in comments, it would also have saved them Denison. Note that Peter Brent at Mumble has expressed sentiments almost identical to my own.

• A by-election looms in the Western Australian state seat of Armadale, which Alannah MacTiernan vacated to make her failed run for Canning. Armadale is Labor’s safest seat, and the by-election will not be contested by the Liberals. Labor’s candidate is Tony Buti, a law professor at the University of Western Australia. Also in the field are Owen Davies for the Greens, Jamie van Burgel for the Christian Democratic Party and independent John D. Tucak, who polled 298 votes as an upper house candidate in 2008. The by-election will be held on October 2.

• Another by-election following from the federal election is for the Brisbane City Council ward of Walter Taylor, vacated by newly elected Ryan MP Jane Prentice. Emma Chalmers of the Courier-Mail reported on August 18 that even before his defeat in Ryan, dumped Liberal Michael Johnson was sizing up the seat. The Liberal National Party will hold its preselection tomorrow. The by-election will be held on October 23.

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.

682 comments on “Essential Research: 50-50”

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  1. [I disagree. For example, they could have ranted about the media bias all though the campaign and the post-election but that would have only lost more votes.

    instead they waited until the PM was clearly in charge, then waited for BB to go out on a limb and then softly said -you need to look at yourself – and its working. Journalists are reporting that and thinking it through.]
    I don’t think the govt should complain about media bias. I DO think they need to address falsehoods and misinformation that is thrown out there by the Opposition because it goes pretty much unchallenged by the media. The govt cannot rely on journalists asking Libs probing questions – the media simply rely on the govt telling one side and the opposition telling the other (except for NewsLtd which has a clear agenda).

    A prime example was on the World Today (1pm ABC Local Radio) – Scott Morrison was on there spouting the same old drivel about stopping the boats. He was not challenged on how long it took the Howard govt to process refugees (years in some cases), and nor was he challenged on the fact that the vast majority of refugees that went to Nauru ended up in Australia anyway.

    The govt need to directly address claims made by the opposition, because the media sure won’t. If they don’t then the public mostly hears what the Libs have to say and hear hardly any of the govt message. That was a key problem in the govts last term – they seemed to have vacated the field and let the Libs rant away without being significantly challenged. That MUST stop in this term. Unfortunately the govt don’t seem to have caught on yet.

  2. [This was supposedly crack number 1 last week with Windsor.]

    Confession – obviously you are not a goldfish. you got good memory 😀

  3. I don’t think you need a science degree to understand the concept of climate science. I think you need an open mind. If you can only see units of profit and loss, you’ll never understand.

  4. From the last thread:
    [C I is proper set up , its under UNHCR , boat people is proper processed for health , security and complianse to convention , 4% get sent hokme , 86% pass all 3 tests

    what Abbott/MSN did is zap into fact boats is still coming , well yes , but hey did NOT claim any got to our mainland cause none EVER did They got processed in CI as abov]

    Christmas Island is no longer a detention centre, it’s now a transit centre for the mainland because Labors wreckless policy has lead to overcrowding there.

    Australia NO LONGER does offshore processing. Labor promised offshore processing would always be part of it’s border protection policy, but it is now obvious they have lied about that too.

  5. So now we’re into the business of creating memes just like the worst of them!!!!!

    The meme of the day has Combet, Ferguson and Emerson as climate change sceptics……….FFS I came on here to get away from such unsubstantiated twaddle.

    Put up some FACTS or SNIP: See article 2 of comment moderation guidelines – The Management!!!!!

  6. [Agreed, Fiz. Who IS in charge of media strategy?]
    Lizzie, I’m not sure that there is anyone actually coordinating all the media advisers and coming up with specific strategy. Does anyone know if there is?

  7. [What, apart from whinge and attack the indies, have the coalition done to be rated as performing better? ]

    They aren’t Labor would be a good bet.

    I don’t know if the punters in here have noticed but Labor lost a ton of seats and almost lost the election.

    I’m not buying this line that people are disenfranchised with both major parties, it’s pretty clear that Labors the one on the nose… you can’t lose 16 seats and then say all is hunky dory, you just can’t.

  8. Here’s the definitive rebuttal by Emerson that he is NOT a climate sceptic 😉

    He’s a science based guy 😆

    [KING: Is climate change the big threat that we’re being told it is? Do
    you, there seems to be two sides developing, whether it’s in the Catholic
    Church or business and unions, politics that there’s the climate change
    advocates, this is serious and we must do something and the climate change
    sceptics. Where do you both sit?

    EMERSON: Well I’m a science based guy. I want to see the actual science
    and I’m interested in argument from both sides. What I don’t like is scientific
    evidence being selectively used by one side or the other. So let’s get the
    science in, let’s evaluate the science. In my view, there’s compelling
    evidence that there’s a problem of climate change.]

  9. Diog
    My own experience of pure scientists (inter alia, I live with one) is that they would make terribe politicians.

    Fiz
    That’s my point, really.

  10. I don’t know if the punters in here have noticed but Labor lost a ton of seats and almost lost the election.

    One side almost lost. The other side did lose.

  11. I think that climate change policy and government in general
    is best kept well away from the kind of failed scientists
    or engineers who, like Jensen and Fielding, end up in
    parliament.

  12. [The meme of the day has Combet, Ferguson and Emerson as climate change sceptics……….FFS I came on here to get away from such unsubstantiated twaddle.]

    I never said that Combet or Ferguson was a climate sceptic. I said that Emerson is know for being one though. I said that Combet made some protectionist comments about the coal industry and again obviously placed his and the govts faith in unproven and expensive technology in CCS.

    I also despair with many about the clear decline in govt emphasis on the role that tertiary education and research can play in Australia.

    And as for unsubstatianted- I thought I provided links to the Combet comments and the Craig Emerson quote is from his website.

  13. [Diog
    My own experience of pure scientists (inter alia, I live with one) is that they would make terribe politicians.

    Fiz
    That’s my point, really.]

    yeah imagine putting a scientist or a doctor in charge of defence…

  14. I don’t think you need a science degree to understand that the science of AGW is compelling, so much so that almost every other country is introducing mitigation strategies.

    Just remember: Dennis Jensen has qualifications in science.

  15. Lizzie,

    I actually think that the Emerson quote is so obtuse that I still do think he is a climate sceptic. I also have heard this from those that have worked with him.

    Its a big worry seeing he is in trade.

  16. DIOG – I thought that Windsor had a little seniors moment and forgot that he and Oakeshott had agree the mining tax would not be going to the summit.

    Can’t think why the govt would want to put it back on the table AGAIN and give Twiggy a chance to do some more scare mongering. That really would be nuts.

  17. MM

    [Dio, wouldn’t you class Combet’s engineering degree as science based?]

    Can you find a reference to Combet having an engineering degree?

  18. [it’s pretty clear that Labors the one on the nose]

    If you were being honest you’d acknowledge this isn’t the case in Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT or South Australia. You could even say the Coalition are on the nose in those states.

    In any case, the elections over and Labor clearly have their work cut out for them over the next 3 years to convince people to get back on board.

  19. DIOG – Further, the only deal that the Labor party does seem determined to keep is with BIG DIRTY – so what would the point be sending it to the tax summit.

  20. The meme of the day has Combet, Ferguson and Emerson as climate change sceptics……….FFS I came on here to get away from such unsubstantiated twaddle.

    They should, as Diog said, be judged on what they actually do.

    However, when Combet specifically talks about supporting jobs in the coal industry followed up by mentioning the boondoggle of carbon capture, it’s not a good start.

    I defend Labor a lot against the unwarranted attacks made by the MSM and opposition, but if they’re heading in the wrong direction on climate change it needs to be pointed out vigorously. They/we can’t afford to screw it up any longer.

  21. Also the issue is not only one of climate science, sure this science informs the debate one would hope but there is also a very big economics, legal and social science elements. Scientists are well known for pursuing obsessions in their particular field that don’t always have the best outcomes for society at large.

  22. [Mauler, does Combet have a degree in Mining Engineering. He’s profile says he studied mining engineering and then graduated with a degree in Economics.]

    Umm. An economics degree is not a mining degree.

  23. Combet’s comments for those who havent read them. They read straight of the coalition playbook.

    [“You do not take the back of the axe to the fundamentals of the Australian economy,” he said.

    “I have got a responsibility to support those people’s jobs.

    “The coal industry is a very vibrant industry with a strong future.

    “What you have got to do is look to how we can achieve in the longer term things like carbon capture and storage for coal-fired power stations.”]

    Although even McFarlane wrote off CCS and he’s pretty brown in the Ferguson mould.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/11/10/2738075.htm

  24. Diogs,

    I notice you are still lying about Martin Ferguson and his attitude to Climate Change. You really are pathetic.

    “TONY JONES: Let me ask you this directly. Do you personally believe in the science that says that human-induced greenhouse gases are the cause of dangerous global warming and climate change? Do you personally believe that?

    MARTIN FERGUSON: Not only do I believe in it, that is the view of Government, but perhaps more importantly I am actually more focussed on actually how you make practical progress to reduce emissions”.

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2010/s2842402.htm

  25. BLUE-GREEN – Of course he’s got to say that. You expect him to say that we’re going to decimate the coal industry and toss everyone out of their jobs.

  26. Actually Combet has a B Eng and a B Ec so he does count as having a science-based degree. (I’m refusing to count any economics degree as a science-based degree if anyone is wondering!)

  27. [Part of the confusion about the MRRT seems to be there are two possible reviews; the general tax review and the Argus review.]

    If there’s any confusion, it’s because people didn’t listen to the Treasurer when he very clearly, and unambiguously said in his news conference that the MRRT would not be in scope for the tax summit.

  28. GG

    You don’t understand about denialism. The most common form is that they pretend to believe in the science but won’t actually do anything about it. That is also a form of denialism which is widespread in the Labor party and Coalition.

  29. Thanks William. I must admit that I hadn’t realised that the exhaustion rate had become so high in recent elections in NSW and Qld. And yes, at least two of the three seats that you mention , on the votes recorded this time around, would probably have provided different results even if the exhaustion rate was significantly lower than in recent state Qld and NSW elections when I look at them. Not so sure about Robertson. There were a fair batch of prefs from conservative minor parties flowing to the Libs there.

    I guess Wilkie would have lost out to Labor in Denison with such an approach.

    I still think it is a bit of a furphy, though, to estimate what the result obtained using one system would be if a different one was in place. Parties adjust and adapt to such things. (As a side note, it certainly helps to explain why the Liberal National amalgamation took place in Queensland!)

  30. And for those who think CCS is not a pipe dream. IF it works, and IF we can find sites for it in Australia it still will be more expensive that most renewables.

    From wiki.

    [Although the processes involved in CCS have been demonstrated in other industrial applications, no commercial scale projects which integrate these processes exist, the costs therefore are somewhat uncertain. However, some recent credible estimates indicate that a carbon price of US$60 per US-ton is required to make capture and storage competitive,[78] corresponding to an increase in electricity prices of about US 6c per kWh (based on typical coal fired power plant emissions of 2.13 pounds CO2 per kWh).

    This would double the typical US industrial electricity price (now at around 6c per kWh) and increase the typical retail residential electricity price by about 50% (assuming 100% of power is from coal, which may not necessarily be the case, as this varies from state to state). ]

    I have read elesewhere that it is more likely $80-100 per tonne. So it is protectionism at its worst and would rely on massive subsidies and/or a punitive ETS to be economic.

    Combet is picking winners and it is simply bad policy and irresponsible.

  31. Diogs,

    Oh, I understand the pathology of denialism. We’ve got you here every day.

    Jones asked a straight question and got a straight answer. Of course you see that as spin.

  32. [I’m not buying this line that people are disenfranchised with both major parties, it’s pretty clear that Labors the one on the nose… you can’t lose 16 seats and then say all is hunky dory, you just can’t.]

    If that was the case, why isn’t Abbott PM?

    Any respectable opposition should’ve been able to romp that election home. Abbott made the fatal flaw in thinking you just had to turn a country against its government to win, when he ended up tainting his own brand too and bring the seat count to a draw. Definitely a positive feat for an OL, no doubt, but considering there weren’t that many seats to topple in the first place, Abbott’s performance was rather underwhelming. Peacock and Hayden would’ve both managed it…

    ps. nobody’s pretending things are “hunky dory”

  33. Oh, and I predicted that Garrett would have a fun time trying to get the states to implement the new curriculum during this term. It didn’t take long after the election for the first round of salvos to be shot at him:
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/new-curriculum-slammed-by-studies-board-20100912-156ze.html

    Mind you, the curriculum is still in the consultation phase, but this will be just the beginning. Implementation is currently slated to begin in 2013. I have a feeling that it may be moved back.

  34. GG

    [Oh, I understand the pathology of denialism. We’ve got you here every day.

    Jones asked a straight question and got a straight answer. Of course you see that as spin.]

    Umm yes, because you are in denial just as you were for two years of Rudd being the most wonderful and successful and PM in history. And where did all that denial get you?

  35. Of course what Combet should have said was –
    [“You have to take the back of the axe to the fundamentals of the Australian economy,” he said.

    “I have no responsibility to support those people’s jobs.

    “The coal industry isn’t a very vibrant industry with a strong future.

    “What you have got to do is ignore how we can achieve in the longer term things like carbon capture and storage for coal-fired power stations.”]
    That’s how it’s done Greg. Of course Greg you realise that the next job to go will be yours but well done.

  36. Australian climate change domestic policy is a side-show.

    The work to be done is to convince China and US to get serious.

    Hopefully Rudd will be on the case.

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