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. Oh well, there you go. On the face of it, it looks credible, as the Coalition PV hasn’t risen to anything weird. Why on earth Labor would be losing any votes to the Greens right now isn’t easily explained though. Not green enough? Who would be thinking that right now?

  2. [LATIKAMBOURKE | 25 seconds ago
    Most interesting. RT @PhillipMHudson: Newspoll: Do you support price on carbon: in favour 42, against 53]

  3. [Should I keep watching?]

    Didn’t set the world on fire for me, cw, though it was good to see a bit of discussion of gender based pay equity / women on boards etc. Such things all too often just get ignored these days.

    Gail Kelly (from Westpac) was interesting. So was Kate Ellis at times (never seen much of her before) and Mike Carlton added a bit of useful leavening at times.

    Hockey was in “hail fellow well met” mode and Albrechtsen was Albrechtsen.

  4. These numbers are actually excellent because they are going to lull the Coalition into a false sense of security.

    You know it makes sense.

  5. Why can’t Hockey be as reasonable as that all of the time?
    Kate Ellis was great also!
    But the star of Q&A for me was Mike Carlton! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 46-54 is ok considering the last week and thats as bad as it’s going to get. It’s going to get better from here I believe.

  7. Dr John,

    You’re a long way from being the only one who has posted that particular statement.

    Nice response to a post that wasn’t particularly even directed at you.

  8. [Stanny:

    Howard was in from 1996 to 2007 During that time what policies of his did Labor support could you advise of any bilateralism from the opposition?]

    I’m pretty sure they didn’t oppose a single one of the special tax levies Howard introduced (6 of them). Labor’s only introduced one in 3 years and guess what position Abbott’s Liberals took?

  9. I think the approvals/disapprovals tell the story.

    This is the “Julia lied” poll. It is also, you will note, a “we don’t like Abbott either” poll.

    Make no mistake, as I said earlier, there are those in the party who won’t be happy with this, because they see Abbott as being a drag on their vote.

    Will get very interesting in the weeks ahead, I think.

  10. [Gillard: Approval 39 (-11) Disapproval 51 (+12)]
    mmm…. and we keep telling politicians they should be brave.

    Some cognitive dissonance going on there.

  11. That is why Joe was looking glum. Abbott gets to stay longer. Still can’t see how this is going to win in the long term though.

  12. If the Greens vote went up then it can only be that Abbott’s message about Julie ‘lying’ got all the attention.

    It’s not good so now is the time for all the Labor pollies to pull together and get out into their electorates and WORK and earn their money. Might just give them a little nudge.

    I vote that any labor pollies who leak and rat on the Party now should lose preselection.

  13. “Keep watching if youโ€™re interested in equal pay for women or quotas for females into parliament. Else not. Gail Kelly took up 50%”

    Okay, I will.

    I well remember being denied my application for a classified job in the Public Service, simply on the grounds that I was female. Aged 21.

    Fortunately, between the application and the result, Don Dunstan changed the rules.

    So I applied again.

    I got the job. Notwithstanding the heartache. First female to obtain a classified job in the Public Service.

    And never, never, speak to me about equality.

  14. What a strange poll. Reminds me of that Nielsen 3 weeks ago. Disappointing approval rating for Gillard. Abbott approval rating is pretty bad too considering the Coalition is leading.

  15. Get real!

    It’s the Greens – they are bad news!

    People want to see their compensation first. They don’t trust politicians with new taxes.

  16. 46/54

    I don’t believe it. The fix is in.

    No effing way that Labor can be this low with CC action support so high. NO WAY.

    Call me a tinfoil hat. This is a crock.

  17. At the very least, Kevin Rudd deserves a hell of a lot more respect from his party colleagues, and I’d happily have him back as Labor leader again, but I know that it ain’t gonna happen.
    And this poll does matter a great deal, but no doubt the Gillard loyalists here will dismiss it as a one-off, and delude themselves that everything is fine and dandy.
    Much as I hate Abbott, any opposition leader in his shoes would be nailing Julia for her about-face on the Carbon issue.

  18. Poll bad. Check.

    Labor still in government. Check.

    Libs still in opposition. Check.

    Some will panic. Check.

    TP to post that Gillard is bad leader. Check.

    Libs on way to gloat until told still not in government. Check.

    “Unsellable” carbon price backed by 47%. Check.

  19. What is the biggest 2 week TPP swing in Newspoll?

    Does anyone know? I would think that this poll must come pretty close.

  20. Newspoll: Better PM. Gillard 45 down 8, Abbott 36, up 5

    Even after Jules told a whopper Phoney’s numbers are still terrible this the low point of that I am certain.

  21. Gillard chose to announce the framework now. It could have been put off until Abbott’s leadership was weakened, as was already happening in the party, but for some reason they chose this strategy. There must be a method to the madness.

  22. crikey

    [I well remember being denied my application for a classified job in the Public Service, simply on the grounds that I was female. Aged 21.]

    That would have been about the same time that female nurses had to resign if they got married. It’s amazing what happened not that long ago.

  23. Actually, this poll tells me that if Hockey or Turnball were leading the Liberals right now, Labor would be completely screwed.
    Abbott is the best thing the Gillard Government has got going for it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. Goshome@2810

    Itโ€™s not the price on carbon, itโ€™s the โ€œlieโ€. Greens always wanted it and get small boost.

    I too believe it is the backflip that is hurting Gillard. That is reflected in her personal approval dropping so markedly. If only she hadn’t dumped carbon in April and again in after June last year. If only she had listened to some of us here.

    However, the coalition government means she has no choice but to go hard. I just hope she and her advisors realise it will not be sufficient for her survival if they stick with something equivalent to 5% by 2020. She has to by guided by Garnaut as her chief advisor, and satisfy the Greens thereby.

    But most importantly she has to start to appear like real leadership material. A conviction politician who has been convinced by Garnaut of the urgency. If she can’t do it, then she should stand down. These are now very big stakes on this issue.

  25. It’s pretty much what I expected.

    Just to put things into perspective I think Beasley had even better figures than that against Howard at one stage.

  26. [Newspoll: best to lead Labor Rudd 44; Gillard 37]

    Music to my ears! ๐Ÿ™‚
    And this man is supposed to be a political hasbeen? ๐Ÿ˜€

  27. [
    This is indeed a new record primary low for Federal Labor in Newspoll.

    James J

    Yes, my memory was right for once. Previous worst in 1993


    Labor falls to historic lows: Newspoll Dennis Shanahan, Political editor

    JULIA Gillard’s carbon tax plan has sent Labor’s primary vote support reeling to its lowest level on record, with the Prime Minister also suffering a significant slide in her personal standing.

    The latest Newspoll survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian, reveals Labor’s primary vote has fallen from 36 per cent two weeks ago to 30 per cent, below the 31 per cent record when Paul Keating was prime minister in 1993, as the Coalition rose four points to 45 per cent.


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