Newspoll: 55-45 to Coalition in Victoria

The Baillieu government’s second Newspoll shows a slight narrowing of its two-party preferred lead from 57-43 to 55-45, with Labor up two on the primary vote to 30 per cent, the Coalition down one to 47 per cent and the Greens steady on 15 per cent. Baillieu’s personal ratings are unchanged, with 52 per cent approval and 29 per cent disapproval. Daniel Andrews is up two on approval to 29 per cent and down one on disapproval to 33 per cent, and he has made up a small amount of ground on preferred premier, up three to 19 per cent with Baillieu down one to 56 per cent.

UPDATE: Stephen Luntz in comments with a point I was too lazy to make myself:

I never place much reliance on a single poll, but if I was to take this one as gospel I’d say it’s bad for the Liberals. It’s not just that they are way behind where Bracks was in 2000, it’s also that this poll was taken over two months, and the bad news for them was at the end of that period. It’s easy to imagine they sailed on at the level of the last poll (57% 2pp) until the Weston/Tilley/Overland stuff hit the media, at which point they dropped down to something like 52% to give this overall outcome.

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.

38 comments on “Newspoll: 55-45 to Coalition in Victoria”

  1. Curious result,,,,
    Living in Melb I have had a feeling for some weeks now that Bailleau was on the skids and the tide had turned against him on a number if issues…and the nurses dispute was a further taste of this

    How wrong I was.!!
    ..for to my surprise he seems to be going gangbusters…I can’t think why because he has been unimpressive in many regards
    Perhaps the voters are tired and want a rest from politics…or perhaps the ALP is really on the nose and that’s that for the moment

  2. Perhaps Victorians are thinking even a Liberal government is better than none at all, which is now essentially the state of play in Greece, Italy and Belgium. Meanwhile, the ECB has been the only buyer today of Italian bonds, effectively acting completely contrary to its charter and against its publicly-declared intentions.

  3. Whilst of course I’d like figures showing Labor trashing the pants off them, not really a surprise at this stage of the cycle. Still a honeymoon period, where problems are dismissed as part of the learning curve, or difficulties created by the previous government.

    The people he’s peed off so far – teachers, nurses, environmentalists – didn’t vote for him anyway.

    As with the federal sphere, a slow creep back to Labor is better than a headlong rush, because one is based on decisions made due to a series of cumulative events and is less easy to undo.

  4. I must say I am only half surprised at this, from an inside point of view the Government is doing pretty much the minimum and concentrating on election commitments so that is to be expected. I think the previous comment is right, the ones pissed off so far are public sector workers, greens and the comments from electorate land that I have heard are quite supportive of the Government and not at all sympathetic for the unions.

    However, i thnk the Govt has a short life span, the big items they spruked, e.g. transport will not be fixed quickly and when those suburban voters think they have failed then it is good bye. Another worry is apparent interventionist role of the Ministers in some key areas, e.g. police and planning.

    Big Ted is already being referred to as Kennet-Lite, if the response to the occupy movement was a taste of thing to come, and the way thing are going, by the second term we might have a full on Kennet revival – if rumors about public secor IR are true.

  5. For a first term Government that is still evolving and hasn’t really done anything to upset the public this is about what you would expect to see.

    The only issue that may upset the apple cart at this stage as been the handling of the Overland & Jones Police matter but again that is the sort of a event that a first term new Government usually makes.

    I think the public’s attention is currently focused on bigger issues dominated by Spring, the economy and carbon taxing

  6. I agree with a large part of Sir Humphrey’s comments except I couldn’t call this Government Kennett lite, it may be true that it has appointed to certain positions former Kennett staffers but I am not sure if that is necessarily a bad thing

    This Government has maintained many former staffers appointed by the former ALP Government

  7. @mexicanbeemer

    I agree, they have been treading carefully to not fell in to the Kennet mould, i think alot of that is down to big Ted himself, but there also some that gives a sence of how it could be heading, almost an undercurrent from the more reactionary members of the party. For instance DTF is running a general review of Government expendiature – a real razor gang style of production looking into all elements of government finances.

    My sence is they are still being overcautious at the moment, and if there is no percieved action by the public this could be run as a successful Do Nothing Ted campaign, of course you need a good opposition for that.

  8. The Victorian government is still at the stage where people are willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. The next election isn’t until 2014 afterall.

  9. The Victorian Government has done nothing in its first 12 months to convince those who didn’t vote for it last time to change their vote, and the opposition has done nothing in the first 12 months to convince those who voted for it at the last election to chnage there vote. This is a pretty poor result for the Government especially as the trend is all down for them. They were hopeless responding to the Victorian floods this year, they would have lost votes over the cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park and the undermining of Overland and the subsequent pay deal for the police have a whiff of corruption about it. The nursing dispute has all the indications of either blowing up or the Government backing down completely and giving in, while the blow out in their expenditure and squeezes on their revenues due to a declining property market will have a negative effect on the perception of their credentilals as economic managers. This poll reinforces last years election result but if i was the government I would be worried.

  10. To put this in perspective, Victorian Labor was leading the Coalition 60-40 at this point in the last electoral cycle (November-December 2007).

    Victorian elections tend to be decided in the last year of a term. Polling in Brumby’s time as premier was very erratic, ranging from 60-40 to 51-49 and not going below 50 until the last week of the election campaign. This might be the case here. Labor can still win with an effective campaign in 2014, but shouldn’t be complacent. Victorians tend to surprise those parties that think they’ve got an election in the bag (1999 and 2010 as recent examples).

  11. I am not at all surprised that the Baillieu government is so far in front. Whenever there is a change of government, there is a group of voters dissatisfied with the previous government but unable to trust the Opposition. When a new government is elected, those voters see that life goes on as normal, lose their fear and switch to the new government.

    The fact that the Baillieu government hasn’t done much is neither here nor there. Look at yesterday’s Herald Sun, in which the Baillieu government gets banner headlines for basically re-announcing the previous Labor government’s plans for Melbourne (City lifestyle out in the suburbs, John Masanauskas, 9/11/2011). Of course, if Labor had done a better job with Melbourne, it would still be in power.

    Then there is the blogosphere, in which all sorts of completely untrue claims can be made. I spent a lot of time correcting false claims when Labor was in government; e.g., that it had increased state taxation, that debt was unsustainable, that it would run deficits, that it was overly generous to the public sector, that it had done nothing about schools, that it had built nothing. The list goes on. Again and again, I would correct false claims regarding federal Labor’s promises re computers; e.g., that they were laptops, that every child or every student would be given one, that the ratio of 1:1 had been backed away from, that there was no money for replacements. Most letters to the editor to correct false claims are refused publication, so the false claim stands in the public mind. Most blog comments are published, but that does not stop the false claims being repeated.

    It is a full time job just ensuring the facts are known, and that job has become harder. Below are my most recent efforts:

    Andrew Bolt Forum 2011 10 22 1
    (Tips for Saturday, October 22)

    Actually, Bill, you do not have to get legislation for a constitutional referendum through the Parliament at all. Under Section 128 of the Constitution, you need only one House to agree to it. Given that referendum questions agreed to by both Houses and by both major parties (e.g., breaking the nexus and simultaneous elections, both opposed by the DLP and supported by the major parties) have been defeated by the people, getting only one House on side would probably ensure defeat, but nonetheless it is legal to do it that way.

    Anyone who wants to introduce a referendum to determine ordinary legislation would have to get a constitutional amendment up first, something that Tony Abbott does not seem to have proposed.


    Andrew, there can never be a real democracy while the ALP will not let us have referandums.
    Acushla (Reply)
    Sat 22 Oct 11 (07:37am)
    Bill O Tas replied to Acushla
    Sat 22 Oct 11 (10:34am)
    The ALP will let you have referenda, at least they did in 1984 and 1988 and many times before that. Trouble is you have to get the legislation for a referendum through the parliament first and that’s not easy for a minority government. Only 8 of 44 referenda in our history have been agreed to by the people, we don’t change the constitution without a lot of support. What in the constitution do you think Australians want to change?
    bruce of melbourne replied to Acushla
    Sat 22 Oct 11 (11:09am)
    You mean like the referendums the Liberals and Nats are always giving the people?

    (Not published.)

    Andrew Bolt Forum 2011 10 27 1
    (Tips for Thursday, October 27)

    Kevin Rudd never promised anyone a free laptop. He promised a computer at school for every year 9-12 student, the promise to be delivered over four years. When he held up a laptop, it was during his announcement of the education tax rebate.

    Here is the actual election promise yet again:
    ‘A Rudd Labor Government will invest $1 billion over four years to turn every secondary school in Australia into a digital school.

    ‘Federal Labor’s National Secondary School Computer Fund will allow every Australian student in years 9-12 to have access to their own school computer….

    (Kevin Rudd, Federal Labor’s Education Revolution – A School Computer For Every Student In Years 9-12, Media Statement – 14th November 2007)

    This promise will be delivered by the end of this year; i.e., within four years of its start in the 2008 budget.
    Schools on target to meet digital deadline, Fran Foo, The Australian, 18/10/2011
    Pupils to get computer by year end (print title), Fran Foo, The Australian, 25/10/2011)

    The article linked to shows that schools in Queensland are charging parents to take the school computers home, not to use them at school.


    Free Laptops
    So that’s what happened to the free laptops promises in Queensland.
    Another failure from saint Kevin
    MS of Q (Reply)
    Thu 27 Oct 11 (06:52am)

    (Not published.)

    Andrew Bolt Forum 2011 11 04 1
    (Tips for Friday, November 4)


    Labor never promised anyone a free laptop and it never promised a computer of any sort for year 5s or year 7s. It promised a computer at school for every year 9-12 student, the promise to be delivered over four years. When Kevin Rudd held up a laptop, it was during his announcement of the education tax rebate, which allows you to claim a rebate on the expense you incur in paying for your child’s laptop.

    Here is the actual election promise yet again:
    ‘A Rudd Labor Government will invest $1 billion over four years to turn every secondary school in Australia into a digital school.

    ‘Federal Labor’s National Secondary School Computer Fund will allow every Australian student in years 9-12 to have access to their own school computer….

    (Kevin Rudd, Federal Labor’s Education Revolution – A School Computer For Every Student In Years 9-12, Media Statement – 14th November 2007)

    This promise will be delivered by the end of this year; i.e., within four years of its start in the 2008 budget.
    Schools on target to meet digital deadline, Fran Foo, The Australian, 18/10/2011
    Pupils to get computer by year end (print title), Fran Foo, The Australian, 25/10/2011)


    What ever happened to the Labour’s pledge to supply free laptops to every child?
    Next year I have one child starting in grade 7 and they will get a new laptop – great – except I have to pay. 
Next year my other child will be in year 5 and they get an iPad – great – except I have to pay….
    so much for a policy.
    Rick of Croydon Hills (Reply)
    Fri 04 Nov 11 (08:15am)
    mike of the shire replied to Rick
    Fri 04 Nov 11 (08:57am)
    That money may be going to Europe Rick..?

    (Not published.)

    Andrew Bolt Forum 2011 11 05 1
    (Tips for Saturday, November 5)


    Your maths is wrong. The 18. 5 per cent the nurses want is for the next four years and has nothing to do with past inflation. Nurses were concerned under Labor and campaigned to get pay increases, which they won. The last Labor government gave them increases above inflation and a guaranteed nurse-patient ratio:

    “The union said nurses had won pay rises between 3.6 and 6.1 per cent depending on their classification.
    “Graduate nurses will gain a 23 per cent rise over the next four years to encourage more people into the profession.
    “A graduate’s first year pay will rise from $39,536 to $48,724 in 2011. Nurses with five years’ experience will see their pay jump from $47,315 to $56,289….
    “Before yesterday’s agreement, Victoria’s nurses had been Australia’s lowest paid.”
    Nurses’ pay tonic with pay rise, John Masanauskas, Grant McArthur and Ellen Whinnett, Herald Sun, October 26, 2007)

    Sorry to supply actual facts!

    The nurses want 18.5%, inflation since the Liberals got in 3.5%, which means they were underpaid 15% by Labor. Why weren’t the unions concerned then?
    old44 (Reply)
    Sat 05 Nov 11 (03:21am)

    (Not published.)

    Andrew Bolt Forum 2011 11 06 2
    (Yet the powerful must be open most to criticism)


    So when did you first have this sense of “déjà vu”. Was it when the Howard government passed essentially the same law, or did it remain dormant until Labor did?

    From John Howard’s IR law:

    “(5) A person commits an offence if:
    (a) the person publishes a statement; and
    (b) the statement implies or expressly states there was misconduct by a member (whether identified or not) of the Commission in relation to the performance of the functions, or exercise of the powers, of the Commission; and
    (c) there was not such misconduct as implied or stated by the statement; and
    (d) the publication is likely to have a significant adverse effect on public confidence that the Commission is properly performing its functions and exercising its powers.
    Penalty: Imprisonment for 12 months.’
    814 Offences in relation to Commission, Workplace Relations Act 1996, as of 29 March, 1997)

    I won’t ask if the Liberals and their National friends have also read “The Third Reich in Power” because such comparison are odious and have nothing to do with the issue. Laws such as those above are common in judicial and quasi-judicial bodies.

    Why are people on this site so ill-informed?


    Excuse me, but I’m getting a sense of deja vu here. Germany, October 3rd 1933, a new “Editors Law” was passed. It made editors personally responsible for the content of their papers, removed their powers of dismissal and laid down content rules. These rules included the inability to print anything “which is calculated to weaken the strength of the German Reich abroad or at home, the community will of the German people (a not so subtle catch all that one), German defence, culture or the economy……”. Membership of the “Reich Association of the German Press” also became compulsory; i.e., no membership, no legal right to write or publish. Perhaps the Labor party and their little Green friends have also read “The Third Reich in Power” by Richard J Evans ???
    The Silent Majority of Melbourne. (Reply)
    Sun 06 Nov 11 (11:51am)

    (Not published.)

    Now, there is a reason for this:

    MODERATOR NOTE: Use of surnames is now banned on this blog. Posts using surnames may be deleted automatically
    Tips for Sunday, June 26)

    However, maybe the rule has now ended or a moderator was not paying attention:

    Andrew Bolt Forum 2011 11 09 1
    (Tips for Wednesday, November 9)

    The US Federal Reserve is not privately owned. Like other central banks throughout the world, it is a government entity. It has a Board of Governors appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. No privately owned institution has its Board appointed by the executive government and confirmed by the legislature. Privately owned bodies have their boards elected by their shareholders.

    The 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks are privately owned (by other banks), but they do not own the Federal Reserve, and they do not choose the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. Even the owners of the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks do not get to elect the whole of their Boards: they elect six, while the Federal Reserve Board of Governors appoints the other three. Even the private ownership of the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks is not like the private ownership of a normal corporation because their shares cannot be freely traded and their owners cannot receive whatever profit is made. Only banks can own shares in them and the dividend is set at 6 per cent. The Federal Reserve itself pays its profits to the US Treasury, something privately owned bodies do not do.


    Today’s credit crisis is very similar to that facing Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s. In 1932, President Hoover set up the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) as a federally-owned bank that would bail out commercial banks by extending loans to them, much as the privately-owned Federal Reserve is doing today. But like today, Hoover’s ploy failed. The banks did not need more loans; they were already drowning in debt. They needed customers with money to spend and invest. President Roosevelt used Hoover’s new government-owned lending facility to extend loans where they were needed most – for housing, agriculture and industry. Many new federal agencies were set up and funded by the RFC, including the HOLC (Home Owners Loan Corporation) and Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association, which was then a government-owned agency). In the 1940s, the RFC went into overdrive funding the infrastructure necessary for the U.S. to participate in World War II, setting the country up with the infrastructure it needed to become the world’s industrial leader after the war.
    The RFC was a government-owned bank that sidestepped the privately-owned Federal Reserve; but unlike the Pennsylvania provincial government, which originated the money it lent, the RFC had to borrow the money first. The RFC was funded by issuing government bonds and relending the proceeds. Then as now, new money entered the money supply chiefly in the form of private bank loans. In a “fractional reserve” banking system, banks are allowed to lend their “reserves” many times over, effectively multiplying the amount of money in circulation. Today a system of public banks might be set up on the model of the RFC to fund productive endeavors – industry, agriculture, housing, energy—but we could go a step further than the RFC and give the new public banks the power to create credit themselves, just as the Pennsylvania government did and as private banks do now. At the rate banks are going into FDIC receivership, the federal government will soon own a string of banks, which it might as well put to productive use. Establishing a new RFC might be an easier move politically than trying to nationalize the Federal Reserve, but that is what should properly, logically be done. If we the taxpayers are putting up the money for the Fed to own the world’s largest insurance company, we should own the Fed.
    Proposals for reforming the banking system are not even on the radar screen of Prime Time politics today; but the current system is collapsing at train-wreck speed, and the “change” called for in Washington may soon be taking a direction undreamt of a few years ago. We need to stop funding the culprits who brought us this debacle at our expense. We need a public banking system that makes a cost-effective credit mechanism available for homeowners, manufacturing, renewable energy, and infrastructure; and the first step to making it cost-effective is to strip out the swarms of gamblers, fraudsters and profiteers now gaming the system. 
    why the banks are guilty of enfield (Reply)
    Wed 09 Nov 11 (12:01am)


    We will see via future attempts to post.

    This is just an illustration of how many people believe total rubbish and how hard it is to get them to look at basic facts. I’m not even dealing with opinions here.

    I am certain that Ted Baillieu will not “fix the problems”. However, his failure to do so will not automatically result in a return of voters to Labor.

  12. Really it’s three years till the next election so who gives a fig?

    But even so, I to am surprised. I thought that Bailleau was more popular than his party.

  13. I never place much reliance on a single poll, but if I was to take this one as gospel I’d say it’s bad for the Liberals. It’s not just that they are way behind where Bracks was in 2000, it’s also that this poll was taken over two months, and the bad news for them was at the end of that period. It’s easy to imagine they sailed on at the level of the last poll (57% 2pp) until the Weston/Tilley/Overland stuff hit the media, at which point they dropped down to something like 52% to give this overall outcome.

    Alternatively it should be noted that the shift from last time is within the margin of error, and they might really be on 57% if you had a larger sample size.

  14. The Baillieu government seemed to mark time and do the minimum until after the NSW election so that O’Farrell could get elected. But Baillieu, or is that National leader Peter Ryan, have annoyed the urban electorates big time with
    – grazing cattle in Alpine National Park
    – stopping wind farm development
    – cutting community spending to libraries, legal aid
    – installing more transport thugs to check tickets
    – threatening to put nurses on split shifts, replace nurses with untrained assistants
    – reorganising train timetables to penalise voters in Altona and on Frankston line
    – cutting spending on vocational education

    The Coalition has a 1 seat majority in Parliament and I heard that there is serious dirt on a member of Parliament. If there is a by-election there is a potential change of government.

  15. There is also a redistribution due before the next election.

    I read somewhere that one of the main things happening is the loss of 1 rural seat and a new seat in the Northern/Western Suburbs. This is bad for the Coalition.

    The redistribution would have been due before the 2010 election if the Electoral Commission`s had not decided that the Bracks Legislative Council Reforms definition of “general election” applied retrospectively to the 2002 election and thus made the 2002 election not a general election. Considering the close result this could have changed the outcome of the 2010 election.

    The ALP should run a “The Liberals neglect the North and West” campaign in Northern and Western Metro to take back a seat in each from the Liberals and thus the Legislative Council majority from the Coalition (putting the Greens in the balance).

    Will the Baillieu Government be the first one term government in Australia since the Borbidge Government?

  16. The damage to the Baillieu Government from the Simon Overland affair is if Peter Ryan is forced to resign at some stage – resignation (voluntary or forded being taken as guilt) and a scalp for the opposition – also Peter Ryan is by far the best media performer of the Baillieu ministers so it would be a double whammy.

    Tom is quite right that there will be a redistribution during this term – and because of the time elapsed it will need to be quite substantial. Northern Victoria will definitely lose a seat, there will need to be one or two in Northern/ Western Melbourne. Geelong and the Surf Coast are also about half a seat short. Besides Northern Victoria, there will be a seat lost in the Eastern Suburbs – one of Burwood, Box Hill, Mitcham, Forest Hill or Mount Waverley are likely to go as Kew and Hawthorn are under quota and need to grow eastwards.

    The Baillieu Government have an advantage in such a redistribution as they will have a higher number of incumbent MPs who have not been in Parliament long – the ALP members elected in 1999 and 2002 are more likely to retire – especially if the polls don’t look crash hot closer to the election.

  17. The next redistribution will be interesting

    If northern Victoria does lose a seat that may make life harder for the regional ALP MP’s around Macedon, Ballarat and Bendigo

    I think we may find a new seat in both north-west Melbourne and one in south-west Melbourne

    Seats like Keilor (north-west metro) are over quota as are a few seats in south-east Melbourne and the inner city seat of Albert Park is also over quota

    I think last time something like 15 seats were abolished or renamed. I expect a similar number this time around.

  18. 15

    The Frankston line is not penalised under the new timetable (Nor is the Government likely to do that because the voters on that line were key to its election). Trains were through-routed with the Williamstown and Werribee lines for more efficient running and higher capacity through Flinders Street.

    Williamstown trains were chosen over Altona trains to be through-routed with the Frankston line because of higher patronage. This is sensible.

    The Werribee trains were taken out of the loop because their lines have to cross other lines to get to a loop portal and this reduces capacity and amplifies and spreads delays. This is sensible. Loop passengers can change at North Melbourne or Southern Cross.

    There was a choice as to whether the Werribee line direct (not via Altona) or Werribee line via the Altona Loop. Was choosing the slight convenience of passengers of the Werribee line with major inconvenience for the Altona Loop the correct decision. I am not sure.

  19. Just today my friends on the Frankston line said that Frankston trains terminate at Flinders St. Frankston line passengers who want to travel through the loop change to any loop train at Richmond

  20. My apologies the Frankston trains do not run through the loop in evening peak hour, however they run through the loop in morning peak hour and given that the Frankston line voters switched their vote from Labor to Liberal they think the degradation in service is arrogant. there is also concern about Liberal backers trying again to develop land around Moorabbin airport.
    We are all pretty non-plussed about the Baillieu promise to remove the railway gates at New St, can’t tunnel because the water table is too close, could build the rail line up, no room to build a road overpass. So we expect it will be too hard or the Sandringham line will terminate 2 stops earlier at Brighton Beach – also solving the problem.

  21. The impact of the EBA bargaining and protected industrial action for nurses is just about to play out here. The Age has published leaked “advice” to health services about possible responses to same, including “Quantas” type responses, i.e., locking nurses out and other pretty extreme and invasive, intimidatory actions. The gov’t. has denied it and the peak negotiating body says it’s business as usual, just canvassing all the options, but this will not go down well.
    I agree with other posters about the rather smelly removal of Overland and the questionable relationship between the gov’t and the police, not to mention they have no hope of fixing the trains.

  22. The situation with the Trains is improving, the new authority will be up and running next year with the bill to set it up currently going though the Parliament

  23. The Overland saga will hurt the Government in the short term, but will be a wake up call to Peter Ryan, and the rest of both parties.
    Peter Ryan has been the stand out Minister in this Government, and has been virtually the De-facto Premier since the election.
    This saga has been a huge wake up call to Ryan, who is a very polished and hard working operator.
    Dont expect Ryan to make a similar mistake of handing over to much power to other close advisors again. Ryan will be a much tougher and more careful and discilpined Minister after this fiasco. This will become evident from now on.
    This fiasco will result in a more disciplined party and in the longer term should be of benefit to the Government. If they dont learn from this mess then of course they dont deserve to be in Government

  24. 20

    The Frankston trains do not generally terminate at Flinders St any more. They are through-routed with the Werribee and Williamstown lines (during the week) so they keep going (after a short layover at Flinders St) to Werribee or Williamstown (it alternates) or also Laverton via the Altona Loop during peak hour.

  25. 21

    Chopping 2 stations of the Sandringham line would cost the Government far more votes than breaking a promise of abolishing a crossing that was comparatively little used for a Melbourne crossing before it was closed 2 years (and counting) ago.

  26. Looking at the PTDA, I think the Government has it right. The claim by the opposition that it is not right for the authority to be answerable to the Minister and to operate with the existing departmental seems a strange position to take from otherwise experienced political operators.

    I believe we would find that all government agencies at some point are answerable to a department and a Minister and that Minister has a role to play in the appointment of senior people, maybe not directly but in a sounding sense the Minister would be in the loop.

    The Department of Transport already has below it several agencies that are independence but fall under its umbrella for example VicRoads is separate with its own management structure and policy processes.

    I would image that the PTDA will operate much the same as VicrOADS does and that is a good system to follow.

    Considering this new authority will be the public face of Public Transport, I am surprised that the opposition would have any objection to PT entities being branded with the new authority name.

  27. 30

    I believe you will find that the PTDA will actually have slightly less responsibility and autonomy than Vicroads.

  28. Looks like the ‘common knowledge’ vibe that the Liberal governments of NSW and Victoria were completely hopeless not showing up in the polling.

    Swings away from the ALP since election…

  29. Behind the daily hurly burly of politics is an ideological battle for the provision of decent public services to the community. One side in this battle, the side of the IPA and its adherents, seeks to exaggerate the burden of the public sector by irrational claims and the illogical use of figures. Sometimes, the exaggeration is overt; at other times, it is no more than a word inserted in long piece of writing, a subtle method that most people would not notice. I have responded to recent examples of each technique.

    It follows figures from the State Services Authority showing the number of Victorian public-sector workers swelled by 3165 to 264,233 over the year in 2010-11.
    (State aiming for surplus, Josh Gordon, The Age, 11/11/2011)


    So, the number of Victoria’s public sector workers “swelled” by 3165 to 264,233 in 2010-11 (“State aiming for surplus”, 11/11). That is a 1.2 per cent increase. In the same period, population “swelled” by 1.7 per cent, so we are 1305 below the increase in public sector employees needed just to maintain the same level of service for the increased population.

    Yours sincerely,
    Chris Curtis

    Emailed to
    As That’s not a swelling – this is a swelling

    (The letter was not published and thus the misleading claim has been allowed to seep into the public unconscious.)

    The only consistent theme for Labor has been its determination to reflect the will of the powerful unions; whether by re-regulating the federal industrial relations system, handing out public service pay increases…
    (Old Labor is labouring away, The Australian, 11/11/2011)


    Why is it that those who claim that Labor reflects “the will of powerful unions” by “handing out public service pay increases” (“Old Labor is labouring away”, 11/11) never produce any long-term figures to back their assertion? It’s because the figures don’t exist.

    A sub-division 14 teacher (the top unpromoted sub-division in Victoria, automatically reached after seven years) was paid $11,400 ($75,136 in today’s dollars) in 1975. A teacher with seven years’ experience is paid $69,946 today. That is $5,190 (6.9 per cent) less today than 36 years ago. However, a teacher was paid an additional 21 per cent of salary into superannuation, giving a notional salary package of $90,915 in 1975. A teacher is paid an additional 9 per cent of salary into superannuation, giving a total salary package of $76,241 today. That is $14,764 (16.1 per cent) less.

    In 1975, a sub-division 14 teacher was paid 166.2 per cent of male average ordinary time earnings. That would be $117,671 at the start of this year. A teacher with seven years’ experience is paid $69,946 today, $47,725 (40.6 per cent) less than if the relativity had been maintained.

    Whenever a Labor government makes some minor reversal of this long-term pay decline, it is assailed by the usual suspects with the usual rhetoric and the usual lack of evidence.

    Yours sincerely,
    Chris Curtis

    Emailed to
    As Any figures with that? Of course not!

    (The letter was not published and thus the misleading claim has been allowed to seep into the public unconscious.)

    Even though Labor put more than $3 billion into capital expenditure on schools and the Baillieue government has cancelled the program, Labor cops the blame on blogs for the schools not yet rebuilt.

  30. Chris – The size of the public sector is already a hot issue although I think the issue should not be how many are there but what are they doing and that question rest with what is the Government of the day doing.

    In business it is said that Labour cost should be about 50% of cost, keeping that number in mind earlier this year the Financial Review that showed that in

    “Victoria the cost of the public sector was about 40% of cost”

    To my surprise this is actually way lower than many of the major private sector companies, it is not uncommon for major companies to have 60% Labour cost.

    The point being that the public sector is in many cases more productive then the private sector

  31. mexicanbeemer,

    The size of the public sector is an issue, partly because those on the right make it one and partly because it is good practice to keep an eye on it. What those in the public sector do is relevant, as are the numbers. I think labour costs as a percentage of total costs must vary a lot from business to business, being particularly low in mining, for example. The same applies to government. Some fields are labour-intensive; e.g, education, under which more than 80 per cent of school costs are teacher employment and around 90 per cent are total staff employment. The education sector is highly productive when you factor in the long working hours of teachers

    My argument is with those who pretend that a 1.2 per cent increase can be described as “swelled”, with those who pick a start year for their comparisons that is immediately after previous big cuts, who ignore population growth, who ignore inflation, who ignore economic growth, the obvious relevance of that last being that pay in the public sector has to keep pace with pay in the private sector. I wish journalists would do a bit of thinking.

  32. Bit late on the debate so apologies, @Chris and @mexicanbeemer, it also deopends on how you define ‘public sector’. I am sure such swelling would not be critisised if it was all nurses, techers and police – the problem is when public sector is misleading portrayed as ‘public service’.

    It should be noted that VicPS numbers did well under Labor – for mostly good reasons too but there has been a significant decline since big Ted came in maily due to attitrition.

    I agree with the sentiments on public transport, it will take a while for any improvements to resonate with the public, however two big examples are the Regional Rail Link and Sunbury Electrification. Sunbury is due in 2012 and RRL should be doing something by 2014 – there would no doubt be a political milage if these were mostly up before the election.

    Re redistributions, while there is only a 1 seat majority amd the prospect of a new NW metro and loss of regional seats with a precarious position, we should consider the regional seats that remained Labor at the election. The liberals had an almost reverse 1999 result with metro swings but the regions staying put, my impression is some of the controversial policies that upset city voters (say Alpine nat park, wind turbines, NW pipeline) will resonate more in the regions and help the Liberals to pick up those regional seats that did not swing far enough and remain Labor (e.g. Macedon).

  33. 37

    The Sunbury Electrification was started by the ALP. The RRL was started by the ALP and slowed down under Baillieu to be finished by 2016 instead of 2014.

    It is likely that a seat that goes will be a rural seat held by the Coalition. The seat created will likely be in the Northern and Western suburbs where the ALP have all the seats. So unless the redistribution drags ALP voters out of both Eltham and Essendon tipping them over to the Liberals then the ALP will be the same (if only one is effected) or ahead (if neither is). The North South Pipeline will be a non-issue outside Seymour (possibly even in Seymour) at the election. Wind Turbines are a divisive issue and anger many voters who would otherwise vote Coalition but want wind turbines on their property. The Alpine National Park vandalism with cattle is being stopped by the Commonwealth.

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