Essential Research: 54-46 to Coalition

Essential Research’s rolling fortnightly average continues to swing between 54-46 and 55-45, this week’s move of the pendulum being in Labor’s favour. Labor is up a point on the primary vote to 35 per cent, with the Coalition down one to 47 per cent and the Greens down one to 9 per cent. Also featured are questions on the outlook for 2012 for the economy, the parties (good for Liberal, very poor for Labor and the Greens), political leaders (poor for Tony Abbott, very poor for Julia Gillard, about neutral for Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull) and respondents personally. Most interestingly, only 26 per cent expect Julia Gillard will still lead the ALP in 12 months’ time against 55 per cent who think she won’t. The respective figures for Tony Abbott are 41 per cent and 34 per cent. Thirty-two per cent expect a federal election in the coming year, against 42 per cent who don’t.


• Newspoll reports that supplementary questions in its December 2-4 poll had 14 per cent expecting their financial position to improve over the next year (up two from last year), 57 per cent expected it to stay the same (up six) and 28 per cent thought it would get worse (down seven). Coalition voters were solidly more pessimistic than Labor supporters.

• A Liberal Party preselection vote on Saturday for Craig Thomson’s central coast NSW seat of Dobell was won by Gary Whitaker, former Hornsby Shire councillor and managing director of a local educational services company. The Sydney Morning Herald’s Diary reports this as a defeat for Chris Hartcher, state government minister, Terrigal MP and local powerbroker, as his preferred candidate had been WorkCover public servant Karen McNamara. Also reportedly in the field was Matthew Lusted, managing director of a Central Coast construction company.

Michelle Grattan of The Age reports Russell Broadbent, the Liberal member for the western Gippsland seat of McMillan, is likely to pay for his ideological moderation with a preselection challenge. However, Broadbent is thought likely to prevail, as the conservative forces being marshalled against him (“local Catholic members” apparently featuring prominently) will largely be ineligible to participate in the preselection because they have not been party members for two years. Any preselection vote is likely to take place in February and involve 300 local branch members.

• Brett Worthington of the Bendigo Advertiser reports Greg Westbrook, director of legal firm Petersen Westbrook Cameron, has nominated for Labor preselection in Bendigo, to be vacated at the next election by the retirement of Steve Gibbons. Lisa Chesters, a Kyneton-based official with United Voice (formerly the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union), is also rated a possible starter.

• There is mounting talk that Lara Giddings’ tenure as Tasmanian Premier is in jeopardy just a year after she replaced David Bartlett. Matt Smith of The Mercury has reported that David O’Byrne, who entered parliament at the March 2010 election, fancies himself as the apple isle’s answer to Kristina Keneally, and has secured backing from party room colleagues Michelle O’Byrne (his sister), Scott Bacon, Graeme Sturges, Brian Wightman, Craig Farrell and Brenton Best. This leaves only Michael Polley and Doug Parkinson in Giddings’ corner, while Bryan Green and Rebecca White remain on the fence. Bruce Montgomery, a former state political reporter for The Australian, writes in Crikey that public sector unions have been angered by Giddings’ pursuit of job cuts to balance the budget, and are hopeful of a more sympathetic hearing from O’Byrne, a former state secretary of the LHMWU. Kevin Harkins of Unions Tasmania, Chris Brown of the Health and Community Services Union and Tom Lynch of the Community and Public Sector Union are identified as critics of Giddings by The Mercury. However, O’Byrne has more recently denied any plans for a challenge.

• With former SA Treasurer Kevin Foley officially resigning from parliament, a by-election in his seat of Port Adelaide has been set for February 11. There is an expectation that Mike Rann’s resignation will follow shortly so that a by-election can be held for his seat of Ramsay on the same day.

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.

2,596 comments on “Essential Research: 54-46 to Coalition”

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  1. [Gary I would be happy to swap with you if we could.]
    You probably will have your own dud. Don’t expect wonders David and forget the promises made.

  2. [Victorian economy moving backwards as they slash public service jobs and destroy sustainable industry.]

    I always thought the Public Service was a sustainable industry…

  3. Bilbo, i spoke too soon:

    [Thefinnigans TheFinnigans天地有道人无道
    Ah, my FAV NK TV Reader has just appeared. There is no one like her #DearLeader
    35 seconds ago ]

  4. [I think this poll shows that the BS the MSM is going on with re the leadership is working.]

    Agreed Gary. It is damned infuriating.

  5. Maybe it’s just me that finds it interesting William.

    I agree with the the possible alternative you suggested which sort of confirms what I was saying that the Nats primary muct have fallen by around 0.5% which, when you only have a primary of around 3%, is a significant change.

  6. [Perhaps the govt really do want Abbott exactly where he is atm!!!]

    Good afternoon, Bludgers!

    Victoria: I reckon you’re right. Give it time. It’ll eventually seep through to the electorate that Abbott is a wrong ‘un. Probably mad. Like Latham. That knowledge will slowly dawn, and Abbott is gorn. (This is hush, hush, by the way. And don’t call me Michelle! Leaking stuff and supplying advice to the enemy is a capital offence, in my book.)


    Glad to hear that My Say swung the Essential result! My Say: Take a bow!


    Also glad to hear all is well in Tortoise World.


    Saw Sarah Hanson Whatnot’s (sp) press conference on ABC24. Um. Nice dress.

  7. Thefinnigans TheFinnigans天地有道人无道
    Kim Jong Un will be known as the Near Leader until he proves himself by giving USA a 2 finger salute
    10 seconds ago

  8. “Looks like the abc’s gonna have to update that 2011 list to 32 key events”

    And some poor suck will need to deflate the beachball and head for the feckin archive.

  9. Currebtly reading The Latham Diaries. (picked up from an op-shop for $1.00). I’ve avoided this in the past because Latham had seemed to become so bitter about his fall, and of course because the MSM and Liberal shonks concentrated on cherry-picking the anti-Labor bits.

    I’m only a little way through and have to say that it’s a seriously good read. Latham’s true calling may be as a writer, where he can be both funny and perceptive.

    I might have a bit more to quote as I get further into it, but a couple of little serves of the NSW Right is not a bad place to start. MTBW and JV, enjoy:
    [Talking of conformity, what about the NSW Right? The reality is a long way removed from its public reputation. It strikes me as a strange mob without strike power, ambling together for a social chat every second sitting week. I can’t find a policy agenda at any of its meetings. 1995]
    [Talking of storming the citadel, it was a different topic of conversation at today’s meeting of the NSW Right. The main agenda item was the government’s move to reclaim frequent flyer points from MPs. The complaints went on forever as if the world was ending. I chipped in facetiously, “Gee this must be a bad government”. But the rotten rotters agreed, they thought I was being serious!

    This is what the Bourbons must have been like on Bastille Day – self-indulgent and arrogant. A thousand cuts in the budget affecting the poor and disadvantaged, but the NSW Right is only worried about one thing. This is not a political organisation. It is a pocket-lining society. August 1996]

    And a final bit on Keating (whom he adored) after the election rout in March 1996
    [He reckons the result is not as bad as 1975. The result, in fact, is only marginally better – another wipeout.

    But what the hell, he’s been a magnificent reformer, running the gauntlet and only getting caught after thirteen years of a nation-building Labor Government. Sounds all right to me. But the media jokers don’t get it – Laurie Oakes on Channel Nine wonders how the Caucus could possibly give him two standing ovations. Because he did great things for the movement and the country, often at great personal cost. That’s why. He didn’t spend his public life vegetating in a little cubicle in the press gallery, trying to fit his head onto the TV screen every night with smart-arse commentary. That’s why. March 1996]

    Obviously Laurie and Mark go back a long way. What magnificant prose that is!

  10. Scringler

    I have had the belief that the electorate will come to their senses and see Abbott as a wrong un. As per a popular shampoo commercial catchcry…

    It wont happen overnight, but it will happen! 🙂

  11. [1 per cent shifts in polls are intrinsically uninteresting, never mind 0.5 per cent shifts.]

    0.5 per cent shifts is getting down to the Boson particle level…

  12. No worries William. I am sort of interested in stats and often see things that aren’t really there. My brain is wired to expect numbers to add up precisely which is likely a good thing given what I do.

  13. [My brain is wired to expect numbers to add up precisely which is likely a good thing given what I do.]


    in that case forget Hockey and Robb asking you to vet their budget estimates…

  14. Thefinnigans TheFinnigans天地有道人无道
    Big news events always happen at Xmas time while #MSMhacks are away and we dont need them anymore to tell us about them events #auspol
    1 minute ago

  15. Thefinnigans TheFinnigans天地有道人无道
    ASX fell 2,3% in anticipation of the Dear Leader’s death. As the market has to look for a new Leader to hate
    55 seconds ago

  16. Is this tax-exempt? Tax exemption is supposed to be for supporting the charitable works and helping keep the local vicarage etc going so the local flock can be looked after, as far as I am concerned (and speaking as a christian, of sorts.)

    [The 2011 music compilation, which features traditional Christmas songs as well as a number of tracks written by Hillsong musicians, is distributed by Hillsong Music Australia, the Church’s own music label and sells for $15 online.

    Hillsong Music Australia has sold more than 12 million records across the globe, following its first release in 1991 out of what was then known as the Hills Christian Life Centre in Baulkham Hills. While it predominantly relies on a team of volunteers, it employs 17 full-time staff, making it arguably one of the most successful independent music labels in the country. Its ultimate goal is to lead “people into an atmosphere of dynamic, powerful, and personal praise and worship,” according to its mission statement online.]
    And I am not happy when they get involved in politics other than to lobby all sides equally on behalf of the poor and downtrodden, not to push dogma.

  17. [Scarpat my budgets always balance however in recent years they have seldom been achieved.]


    you shall be the Federal Treasurer one day my son.

  18. [Hillsong Music Australia has sold more than 12 million records across the globe]

    Puuufffyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, the Hills are alive with the Sound of Moneys

  19. Finny,
    Yeah, and it wasn’t the xtianity I signed up for. I remember a story about the camel and the eye of a needle.

  20. [MattCowgill Matt Cowgill
    The news about Kim Jong-il just won’t seem real until someone from the press gallery explains what it’ll mean for Gillard’s approval rating]

  21. Bang on cue, press gallery hack David Speers interviewing someone about Dear Leader’s death.

    How long until the interview turns to what it means for Julia Gillard?

  22. Puff it probably depends on what the profits are used for. However religious and charities are generally exempt from most taxes where the income is used for charity or to promote religious activities. Based on that article Hillsong is carrying on a retail activity. The ATO tried unsuccessfully to capture retail activities of religious and charity organisations s few years ago but I think were forced to back-down.

    It can be a bit of a grey area.

  23. Scarpat re 77 it would be nice to have Swannies support base but I don’t think I could stand the politics and spin that goes with the job.

  24. [Obviously Laurie and Mark go back a long way. What magnificant prose that is!]

    GD – I bought it when it came out and also enjoyed it. He does have a way with words. Pity he can’t control other aspects of his personality. Like Abbott he is a spoilt son in a family of daughters.

  25. [How long until the interview turns to what it means for Julia Gillard?]

    It would have been better managed by Kevin Rudd, clearly. 😉

  26. [sspencer_63 Stephen Spencer
    Aus Editorial writer compares ABC to Nth Korean TV @chriskkenny .. another world exclusive for DPRK State television. #publicbroadcasting]

  27. Puff

    Hillsong isn’t a church, it’s a money-making machine. What is preached there is the usual pentecostal line that God will make you rich. Someone is certainly making Bobbie and Brian Houston rich, but it ain’t God.

    I’ve ventured into the Hillsong website, the first link on Bobbie and Brain’s page is a link to their online shop. Says it all really.

  28. [mumbrella Tim Burrowes
    2GB informs us that Kim Jong The Second is dead (But of a numerals vs letters mixup by the looks of it)]


  29. rishane:

    I bet Rudd is kicking himself that he’s away while Kim J.I has died. AND the PM is on leave as well! A grandstanding opportunity well and truly missed.

  30. Why are the bulls are so Mr Ronery today?

    I wonder whether the regime change will be accompanied by the hitherto obligatory missile rattling and the incidental murder of some stray South Korean civilians?

    For that is how Mr Ronery’s family do peace mongering…

  31. leone,
    I cannot remember coming across anything in the NT, during my occasional forays into it, that said anything about accumulating wealth or getting rewarded with material things. We need these wangkers in Oz like we need another hole in the ozone layer.

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