Stuff and/or nonsense

Antony Green blogs on three developments in electoral and parliamentary reform so I don’t have to. To cut some long stories short:

• An all-party agreement to revert the Tasmanian Legislative Assembly to 35 members, from which it was cut to 25 in 1998, has fallen through after Opposition Leader Will Hodgman withdrew support in a riposte to government budget cuts.

• After flirting with a self-interested reversion to compulsory preferential voting, which was ditched in favour of the superior optional preferential model in 1992, the Queensland government has confirmed no such change will occur before the next election.

• The Australian Electoral Commission’s submission to the parliamentary inquiry into last year’s election has called for the federal parliament to follow the lead of New South Wales and Queensland in allowing enrolment to be updated automatically using data available from schools, utilities and such, thereby relieving voters of the bureaucratic annoyance that is currently required of them in discharge of their legal obligation. Antony Green also reports “rumours the Federal government plans to legislate on the matter”. Given the standard of discourse from some elements of the media in recent times, this could get interesting.

On a related note, British voters go to the polls on May 5 to decide whether to replace their archaic first-part-the-post electoral system with the manifestly superior “alternative vote”, or optional preferential voting as we know it in Australia. Antony Green has been working overtime lately responding to the avalanche of tosh being disseminated by the “no” campaign in its efforts to deceive the voters into making the wrong decision.

With no Morgan poll this week, here are some reports on Coalition internal polling which you can believe or not believe according to taste.

The Australian reports a poll conducted for the Nationals in the wake of the carbon tax announcement had 40 per cent of voters in Lyne taking a favourable view of Rob Oakeshott, against 52 per cent unfavourable. This is said to compare with a poll conducted before the 2008 by-election that brought him to federal parliament which had his approval rating at 71 per cent and disapproval at just 8 per cent.

Simon Benson of the Daily Telegraph reports a Coalition poll conducted for the NSW election shows 62 per cent “firmly against” the government’s carbon tax proposal, with only 18 per cent in favour.

UPDATE (7/3/11): The first Essential Research poll taken almost entirely after the carbon tax announcement has the Coalition opening up a 53-47 lead. Considering Labor went from 51-49 ahead to 52-48 behind on the basis of last week’s polling, half of which constituted the current result, that’s slightly better than they might have feared. The Coalition is up two points on the primary vote to 47 per cent, Labor is down one to 36 per cent and the Greens are steady on 10 per cent. Further questions on the carbon tax aren’t great for Labor, but they’re perhaps at the higher end of market expectations with 35 per cent supporting the government’s announcement and 48 per cent opposed. Fifty-nine per cent agreed the Prime Minister had broken an election promise and should have waited until after the election, while 27 per cent chose the alternative response praising her for showing strong leadership on the issue. Nonetheless, 47 per cent support action on climate change as soon as possible, against only 24 per cent who believe it can wait a few years and 19 per cent who believe action is unnecessary (a figure you should keep in mind the next time someone tries to sell you talk radio as a barometer of public opinion). There is a question on who should and shouldn’t receive compensation, but I’d doubt most respondents were able to make much of it.

Tellingly, a question on Tony Abbott’s performance shows the electorate very evenly divided: 41 per cent are ready to praise him for keeping the government accountable but 43 per cent believe he is merely obstructionist, with Labor-voting and Coalition-voting respondents representing a mirror image of each other. Twenty-seven per cent believe independents and Greens holding the balance of power has been good for Australia against 41 per cent bad, but I have my doubts about the utility of this: partisans of both side would prefer that their own party be in majority government, so it would have been good to have seen how respondents felt about minority government in comparison with majority government by the party they oppose.

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.

2,939 comments on “Stuff and/or nonsense”

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  1. [I too believe it is the backflip that is hurting Gillard.]

    Yep. When JG actually said there wouldn’t be a carbon tax this term before the election I thought it was a mistake (I’m talking tactically here, not in terms of the rights or wrongs of the policy) , and the fact that the Oz gave it far, far more prominence than one might have expected given the context etc at the last moment in the campaign made me suspicious.

    “Never say never” is not a bad rule in politics. All too often sets you up for a later beating all too often if circumstances change unpredictably. I doubt that she won a single vote as a result at the time of the comment itself.

  2. [quite a few in 2007 did – and then switched to Abbott in 2010 ]

    Yes…….why Labor lost a fair few seats in QLD, because their local boy got rolled by those hacks Shorten, Arbib & Farrell.

  3. Gillard is gorne. she’s screwed, her career is nailed to a sinking mast

    the alp and greens just haven’t learnt the lesson of Copenhagen, Rudd or Turnbull

    Carbon tax is bad policy, its the third rail of Australian politics, step on it and you die.

  4. evan14 said:

    [Mod Lib: Note that they’re all ignoring the important poll figure…………Gillard isn’t the first choice to be Labor leader.
    This is more devastating for her than the 54-46 lead to the Coalition.]

    With all due respect what do you expect with Labor having a PV of 30% and the Coalition at 45%. What do you expect Coalition voters to say to such a question? The important question is who do Labor and Greens prefer to lead Labor, not the other side that wants to defeat Labor.

  5. [Get real, the election is 2.5 years away.]

    Of course Finns 😉

    The point is that the Greens here should finally realise that their policies are not electoral nirvana like they wish to believe.

    They are basically unelectable!

    You want to go with Green policies, you have got a real fight on your hands.

    They are bad news!

  6. [evan14

    Posted Monday, March 7, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    quite a few in 2007 did – and then switched to Abbott in 2010

    Yes…….why Labor lost a fair few seats in QLD, because their local boy got rolled by those hacks Shorten, Arbib & Farrell.

    You mean those same Hacks who installed Rudd over Beazley ??

  7. evan14@2880

    …………Gillard isn’t the first choice to be Labor leader.
    This is more devastating for her than the 54-46 lead to the Coalition.

    That’s right, the message from this poll is about statesmanship. They want some. Merely announcing a price on carbon is not enough. Gillard will languish until she erases the memory of her backflip with some brilliant, imaginative, intuitive, gutsy baton work at the front of the parade. I hope otherwise, but fear that she is only really suitable as a back row drum majorette.

  8. Frank

    It’s loaded but it’s not that bad. The reality is that some people will have to pay more for some carbon-intensive products to stop global warming.

  9. [2904

    Mr Squiggle

    Posted Monday, March 7, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Gillard is gorne. she’s screwed, her career is nailed to a sinking mast

    the alp and greens just haven’t learnt the lesson of Copenhagen, Rudd or Turnbull

    Carbon tax is bad policy, its the third rail of Australian politics, step on it and you die.

    Ahh Circle Jerking by the LIbs 🙂

  10. I have been sharing my view for sometime that I thought the greens decision to ‘not negotiate’ climate change with Rudd was at best foolish at worst diabolically evil. The tide has turned and a minority now support action on carbon change, sadly some of that minority is inside the liberals and might well just vote liberal anyway.

    I always thought the backlash being strictly anti labor for failing to call a DD was a bit of a pipe dream.

    I can’t think of anything that would turn this around. Hopefully the PM can.

    Was talking to my mother the other day and frankly she is a very intelligent person, but heading fast towards a limited fixed income (like a whole bundle of baby boomers) and is scared of the costs to her of climate change.

    I can’t blame her, and now it seems quite clear she is with a majority of Australians, although the ‘accept it is true + scared of paying for it with money they don’t have’ class might be relatively small.

    Politics is about grabbing the small windows of opportunity to do good, and frankly the greens last time slammed the window shut. I’m sure they thought they would have more influence and could make up for the three year delay and do even better. The lesson is never shut a window that might get stuck shut.

  11. Squiggle,

    Gillard is PM. Gillard will stay PM until 2013 because the only people who can out her are the indies and they because they can’t guarantee they will still hold the balance of power if they switched sides (because we all know Rabbott wants an election) it aint going to happen.

    So Mr Squiggle as much as you would like it this poll aint an election and things are not going to change until the election in 2013 and maybe not even then!

  12. [A serious question is: How can Rudd’s popularity be harnessed to the overall benefit of the Govt?]

    Maybe the rest of the front bench stops treating the man like he’s a leper and gives him the respect he deserves?
    But Foreign Policy doesn’t win elections, it’s really up to Gillard and her senior economic & climate change ministers to sell the Carbon Tax, it’s no longer Rudd’s baby.

  13. Well, anybody still wants to sell it as “Carbon Tax”, you have your wish with tonight Newspoll.

    It’s “Pollution Tax” stupid.

  14. [Some of you are completely deluding yourselves if you think that this isn’t a bad poll for Labor.
    I’d advise you to avoid tomorrow’s media – Radio Liberal will be gloating, so will News Ltd, & even the ABC.
    Julia’s in trouble, & there will be nervous Labor backbenchers out there.
    I think the only Labor figure who’ll be happy about this poll is a certain Foreign Minister currently travelling across the Middle East – the idea of forcing a byelection in Brisbane ain’t looking so good now!]
    Evan you are nothing if not predictable. Firstly the poll is bad but means nothing as far as the next election goes. There is plenty of time to overcome the fear camapign.
    If, as you say Rudd will be smiling at this then Rudd is not the man I thought he was and that is a Labor man through and through who has the best interests of the party at heart. You have a pretty poor opinion of the very person you say you support.

  15. [

    tospeakofpebbleCarey Moore

    Not rationalizing or claiming Lab definitely have what it takes to win in 13 but I remember Howard’s dismal numbers in 00 & Ryan by-election

    6 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply]

  16. Space Kidette,

    [But one thing it has driven home is the media support of the coalition needs to be reigned in and I am going to take every opportunity to write, complain, correct every misleading statement by the media.]

    Good to hear because that’s what we need. May I suggest a couple of lines of complaint to pursue with Their ABC?

    1) Ru posted this earlier:

    [I almost forgot, early this morning 3.30 Qld time, Trevor Chappell had a chat with the producer of the ABC24 brekkie show.

    Her first comment was “It was good to see Julia meet with Kim on the first day of her HOLIDAY in the US” 🙁 ]

    2) They ran a headline today:

    Abbott finds sympathetic audience in Adelaide

    And the reason he got a “sympathetic audience”? The forum was full of Liberals!! Adelaide Now:

    […the attendees had been invited by the office of Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham]

    Any excuse to put up a pro-RAbbott/pro-Lieberal headline.

  17. [It’s loaded but it’s not that bad]

    No mention of compensation, just prices up and you will ‘pay more’. The benefits to the planet are almost a footnote at the end of the question. It’s a right royal shocker.

  18. [Note that they’re all ignoring the important poll figure…………Gillard isn’t the first choice to be Labor leader.]

    I wonder if that could be because we have moved on, Evan. Kev will NOT be leader of the Labor Party again. We cannot go back to the ADHD approach to policy. We have to bed things down properly. Ask any public servant – I have 2 in the know.

    Here’s a little piece from crikey today

    [Undiplomatic response on Rudd visit. Which senior Australian diplomat was heard slamming Kevin Rudd during his speech at a recent function, describing his own personal “misfortune” of not only having to deal with the foreign minister twice in the previous few days, but that he’d have to suffer even more when Rudd was back in the Middle East twice more in the coming couple of days? And then apologised for his colleague’s absence because said colleague was dealing with the “Rudd onslaught”?]

  19. [It’s actually polls like this that will ensure Labor will keep the indies on side.]
    Also the Oops’ slagging of the indies.

  20. The Greens here are so unreal and deluded!

    They think it’s Julia’s lie backflip 😆

    What a joke!

    It’s the carbon tax.

    People will not trust politicians that tax their cost of living.

    They must see the money and be guaranteed of it first.

    They don’t give a rats about climate change.

    That’s the REAL reason I have continually reminded everyone “Oh global warming it’s good it’s going” when the weather would seem normally fine.

  21. That should read at 2930 “Oh global warming it’s going good”.

    By the way magnificent autumn day here in Sydney. Women are already starting to wear boots out.

    Oh it’s going good alright. They’ll be able to sell it easy 😆

  22. [It’s Time
    Posted Monday, March 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Abbott 36 (+5)

    What would explain that?]

    Absolutely nothing. Suggests the whole thing is a noise reaction, though the Libs will take some comfort from Gillard taking a hit on the “Lie” issue.

  23. Toorak Toff and Frank are right. A loaded question had a lot to do with the result and perception. All the more reason to keep the nerve and stick to the plan on climate change.

  24. Well Frank, I concur! Talk about loading a poll. 😡

    [The question:

    Under the federal government’s plan to put a price on carbon, the price of energy sources, such as petrol, electricity and gas, may become more expensive. Would you personally be in favour or against paying more for energy sources, such as petrol, electricity and gas, if it would help to slow global warming?]

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