ReachTel: 50.7-49.3 to Labor in Ashgrove

The Queensland election is now less than three weeks away, which marks the point where I usually start to take state election campaigns seriously. In that spirit, here’s an overdue new post.

• The latest of ReachTel’s seven automated phone polls for Ashgrove, conducted last night from a sample of 742, has Kate Jones leading Campbell Newman for the first time, albeit with a lead well within the margin of error: 50.7-49.3 using the preference distribution from the 2009 election. On the primary vote, Campbell Newman leads 45.4 per cent to 44.4 per cent. Results for the other six Ashgrove polls conducted by ReachTel are outlined here. More on ReachTel polling from Antony Green here.

• Two big pieces of news from the Gold Coast electorate of Broadwater, which Labor’s Peta-Kaye Croft holds on a margin of 2.0 per cent. Firstly, the 75-year-old mayor of Gold Coast, Ron Clarke, has confirmed he will run as an independent. Paul Weston of the Gold Coast Bulletin reports that “senior Liberal (sic) sources” said Clarke’s entry meant it was “game over” for them, as they expected Clarke to “gather enough votes from older residents in the electorate” to win. Secondly, the LNP is now on to its third candidate in the electorate after the second, solicitor Cameron Caldwell, was disendorsed when photos emerged (innocuous of themselves) of him and his wife at a party staged by a swingers’ club. Caldwell was given the nod at the end of last year after the first candidate, Richard Towson, allegedly returned 0.07 at a random breath test. The new candidate is 26-year-old Verity Barton who, according to Henry Tuttiett of the Gold Coast Bulletin, is “still lives at home with her mum” (“saving to enter the property market”, Barton responds), “doesn’t have a university degree” (she has partly completed a law degree at Bond University), and “the two jobs she’s had were as a retail assistant and LNP electoral officer” (the latter gig is with George Brandis). That Barton is a woman is one bright spot for Campbell Newman, who was defied by the local party on this count when it preselected Caldwell. The LNP now has 16 female candidates from a total of 89.

• Another LNP casualty has been their candidate for Logan, police sergeant Peter Anderson-Barr, who withdrew a fortnight ago after media reports from 2004 were circulated concerning an incident in which he allegedly struck an offender who had spat at him. The LNP’s assertion that Anderson-Barr was the victim of a “Labor Party smear campaign” was rubbished by Matt Condon of the Courier-Mail. Anderson-Barr’s wife, Joanna Lindgren, is running for the LNP in Inala. The party’s new candidate is American emigrant Michael Pucci, who served with the United States Marine Corps and met his wife during a posting in Brisbane.

• Campbell Newman’s decision to denounce Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s government as corrupt while campaigning on his home turf of Kingaroy was seized upon by Bob Katter, who accused Newman of “spitting on the grave” of Bjelke-Petersen and insulting his elderly widow. Kingaroy is located in the electorate of Nanango, which former test cricketer Carl Rackemann hopes to win for Katter’s Australian Party in succession to retiring One Nation-turned-independent member Dorothy Pratt. As VexNews sees it, Newman erred in stating to Kingaroy voters what was “probably the correct view for St Lucia dinner parties”. Newman immediately went on to tell such a party – or at any rate, an LNP fundraising dinner attended primarily by prospective business donors – that Bjelke-Petersen had nonetheless run the state’ s last decent government. Among the ministers in that government was Bob Katter, who served during the last four years of Bjelke-Petersen’s premiership. In another curious link, the party’s campaign director is Luke Shaw, who secured a place on the jury in Bjelke-Petersen’s 1991 perjury trial despite his involvement in the Young Nationals, and was one of its two members who held out against his conviction.

• Katter’s Australian Party has initiated legal action seeking to have all ballot papers reprinted, after it dawned upon them that they would be identified merely as The Australian Party. This threatens to make life complicated for the Electoral Commission of Queensland, as pre-poll voting has already commenced: as Antony Green says, “the ECQ may have to make some provision to isolate pre-poll votes completed before the court hearing just in case the court grants an injunction”. However, Antony further explains that the KAP appears not to have a leg to stand on, with the Electoral Act clearly stipulating that parties are to be identified according to their registered abbreviation. Rosanne Barrett of The Australian reports that lawyers for the party argued before the Supreme Court that its own application for the abbreviation to be registered should never have been accepted, for reasons presiding judge Roslyn Atkinson found “bizarre” – so much so that in one case she had “difficulty understanding how anybody could make that argument with a straight face”. The party is also pleading that the difference between the federal and state acts is an “operational inconsistency” which somehow amounts to an “unpermissable burden on freedom of political communication”. Atkinson retorted she was “not satisfied that there is a prima facie case of any argument of direct or indirect consistency under the Commonwealth electoral act and the state electoral act”, while Antony Green, writing on this site, rated the argument as “crazy”. The application, it seems safe to say, will be formally rejected when the matter is determined in the coming days.

• Nominations closed on Tuesday and the ballot paper orders have been drawn. Antony Green relates that the 430 candidates comes second only to the 438 from the 1998 election as the highest number ever. No doubt the long lead-in time between the announcement of the election and the issue of the writs helps explain this.

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.

219 comments on “ReachTel: 50.7-49.3 to Labor in Ashgrove”

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  1. DavidWH
    [In relation to the family connection Newman is not responsible for the business ethics of his wife’s family.]

    David, he lied. He implied that the business was the business of his ‘brother-in-law’, when it was majority owned by his wife. As far as public service is concerned, your wife in the business of obtaining public contracts is a no-no. Theresa Rudd had to sell her Australian Operations before Rudd became PM.

    Newman has behaved in a sneaky and duplicitous manner with regards to his (His wife’s) business dealings.

    Suggesting that it only matters if the activity is criminal is also a red-herring. Things don’t have to be criminal for it to be shonky. Public service is about ethical behavior. Politicians treat it as if they are winning a huge contract to rort, and give jobs to their friends and family.

    Newman seems to be skating around the premier appointment of her husband to a juicy contract job. Perhaps they don’t want to sully the spoils of an electoral victory?

  2. JohD

    So Rudd being opposition leader while his wife owns a business is ok

    but Newman, who is not even in parliament, and his wide owns a business is fishy and dodgy

    The ALP are full of jobs for the boys or wife, be it Belind Neal, Carman Tebbett Ceryl Kernot …. those in glasshouses…

  3. [Premier Anna Bligh yesterday washed her hands of ongoing failures by the department, saying it was “frankly dysfunctional”]

    You get the feeling there isn’t a lot of love lost between Bligh and Queensland Health.

  4. [So Rudd being opposition leader while his wife owns a business is ok]

    Opposition leader is OK. But by the time the election came, Theresa had to divest herself of her Australian operations. Her Husband as PM while she was feasting on Federal contracts was a big no-no. IMV, premier Bligh’s husband working for the public service is also dodgy, but not in the same league as trying to rip-off taxpayers to the tune of almost $30 Million.

    You do realize that they tried to pull off what is referred to as ‘mail-fraud’ in the US?

    The LNP is not making big noises about jobs for the boys, I guess, because it is their turn at the through.

  5. [Theresa Rudd]

    Eek. You mean Therese Rein?

    [So Rudd being opposition leader while his wife owns a business is ok

    but Newman, who is not even in parliament, and his wide owns a business is fishy and dodgy]

    I don’t think anyone is criticising anyone for merely owning a business. That being said, the whole smear has always seemed like a desperate long bow attack.

  6. As JohD points out the crucial thing is he lied and continues to lie & dance around the truth of his own interests and those of his family.

    He has either something to hide or is so stupid he has no idea of what is going on around him. I’m guessing the first but either way he would certainly have been comforable on Joh’s cabinet, but not a person to be trusted with the reins of government.

  7. Rudd and his wife did the sensible thing and draw a line in the sand sooner rather than later. However they did reach that point after taking some heat on the press. Newman’s problem is he has let it run too long.

  8. [However they did reach that point after taking some heat on the press. Newman’s problem is he has let it run too long.]

    This is true, but she did get her contracts under a Liberal government, and it was an above-board , and it seemed that she took quite a beating business-wise from Joe Hockey cancelling her contracts whenever he could prior to the 2007 election.

    Newman’s problem is not that he let it run too long, it is because he has form, with a series of financial indiscretions. His problem is that he treats public service financial ethics issues as if they were tax minimization issues.

    Having your wife owns the shares is OK for tax purposes, not okay if you are trying to put an arms-length between you and the dealings. These are not arms-length transactions.

  9. dovif,

    I doubt many ALPers partners have businesses under FBI investigation that are registered to the wife and home address of the putative Premier.

  10. DavidWH

    You can add a couple more to your two dot points at 191.

    The dodgy Bros developers who were at the top of his advisory/campaign team just happened to become developers under his watch and it just so happens that , guess what, Scam Do Campbell Newman did not know about it. What a shame.

    Another day, another disgrace and there are still a couple of weeks to unload the skeletons from his cupboard to go.

  11. Psst!!! Campbell, wanna buy a Election Disaster Management Programme, got one cheap, Direct from Tea Baggers ltd USA, only $31mil, no guarantee.

  12. Gaffhook are those the staffers Newman has referred to the proper authority for review?

    Have a good weekend folks.

  13. [Gaffhook are those the staffers Newman has referred to the proper authority for review?]

    Come on. Newman is throwing them under the bus just long enough to take him past the election.

    Facts are: He employed someone as an advisor on the public purse, who then spends time moonlighting as his election fund-riser, is his bestest friend, and is busy doing developments that ‘double the driveways, double the cars, and half the trees (Newman boilerplate while opposing State Government planning policies.)

    Now he pretends that his advisor doing what his own family private companies do is without his knowledge. Is he trying to say that it would not have been a problem if it were the wife who owned the shares? Hypocrite!

  14. [So Rudd being opposition leader while his wife owns a business is ok]

    Not once the 2007 Election was called – or it could even have been before that when the Liberal-News assault on Therese Rein was launched, and it ensured she had to sell the Australian arm of her business.

    It was, if you two were being honest, a much nastier and more pointed campaign than the current Q one. Not only that, there was no history of possible conflict of interest unless he won the election and her firm tendered for government contracts. But then she was one of Australia’s wealthiest women (from memory, a 9 figure sum left of the decimal point), a former Bizwoman of the Year, so there was a great deal of bitchiness from the usual Tory suspects – of both sexes. BTW, if you archived jj’s old OzPolitics blog, 2007’s pressure on Rudd & Therese Rein is well documented there.

    So, dovif & David, blame the Federal Liberals for creating the petard with which the Newmans are currently being hoisted.

    And, no. That’s not the one to which I alluded yesterday; and yes, I did cross-check it. It may be the reason the CM, once Newman’s cheer-squad and Bligh’s most vicious enemy, has so obviously back-flipped politically .

  15. Why does cantdo suddenly say that he will divest all investments when for the past 8 months he has said he doesnt have any.

    Maybe he was just fibbing all this time. Well bullshit scamdo!

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