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. [At the time, I think they thought every seat was a safe seat.]

    Likely so. The Reachtel poll data may not be conclusive, but I think we can safely say they were W_R_O_N_G about that ‘un.

  2. I think the LNP has a few contingency plans depending on which party wants the leadership. Assuming they win and Newman doesn’t it will likely depend on how many Brisbane seats they pick up and where the balance of power ends up.

  3. Sorry individual rather than party. There is likely to be a few with their eyes on the leadership if Newman misses out.

  4. ruawake, the press should press him into giving a definitive response. Anna Bligh too. But politicians in campaigns never like to countenance losing. That’s why Newman just keeps saying they need to win electorates “like” Ashgrove to win the election. I did hear him drop the “like” in a clip today. He was sounding exasperated at the questions (he often does, doesn’t he?) and responded that if he doesn’t win Ashgrove then the LNP won’t win.

  5. The thing is Newman is wasting precious media space having to talk about who will be what, instead of talking about his latest election bribe.

  6. [I doubt Newman is in a position to declare an alternative leader triton.]

    The fight between Nicholls and Seeney would be close, but I would be backing Nicholls and the Santo faction.

  7. [It will be enough that he declare that it won’t be him.]

    Newman has said if he loses Ashgrove he will leave politics and move to the private sector.

  8. Hope you are right about Nicholls Rua although there are still one or two others who may covert the role. Anyways the LNP has to win first and Newman not get elected.

  9. @ruawake/61

    Sounds like he’s trying to live an easy life, considering his past dealings with his family & relatives.

  10. Can’t say I have any great insight (or interest) in Qld politics, but I’d be grinning like a split watermelon if Can-do Can’t and the LNP ends up governing in minority with the ever reliable assistance of the KAP peeps.

    I reckon 18 months of that farce will swing half a dozen Federal Qld seats to Labor come the next Federal election.

  11. [Can’t say I have any great insight (or interest) in Qld politics…]


    It appears many in Qld share your view. This election is weird, people aren’t talking about it, don’t seem to care. I think people are sick of politics.

  12. DWH , I am a QLDER and there is no way i would vote for Clive’s brown paper bag party ! They are just like their Federal Party , very Dodgy and loose with the truth. Swannie’s bagging the Gina, Clive and Forrest Billionaires at the press club has set the bait and they took it and run straight to the papers. Hockey called it picking on the “Middle Class ” ? That will go down well with the real middle class. Campbell Newman is sounding very dodgy with his answers about his dodgy family deals and when you have the FBI looking at them ? That’s a really bad look. Living through JBP days were enough for me, don’t you worry about that .

  13. [Like all governments, Labor in NSW was a mixture of the good and the bad. No-one doubted that in the end it had been there too long but its near-wipeout at the polls, though understandable, was not such a good result for a competitive democratic process.]

    Well I for one doubted it had been there too long, the opposition was lazy and inept because they were assured a win, and THAT was bad for democracy, whereas the elected Gov has just been really bad.


    I am pretty sure that the rejection of the NSW government in March 2011 has never been described as being the result of stupid people being bored with a good government.]

    You have now, and if you hadn’t heard words to the same effect you should get out more often.

  14. According to rumour, the cannery in Shep is following the lead of Can Do who Can’t do Ashgrove.

    Someone appears to have forgotten to order the cans, and a cannery without cans cannot can a thing. The cools stores for miles around are already chocker, so if you have got fruit ready to be harvested you are in strife. And anyway, some farmers who can get the fruit off the trees cannot get their fruit to cool stores anyway.

    Coz the bloody roads are flooded.

    Who would be a bloody farmer?

  15. It would be nice if canned doos owners could pick up after him..look what he did to Brisbane ! … seriously contemplate letting him loose on Queensland is lunacy …he’ll ruin your lawn, front and back.

  16. Hmmm Wonder if Newman is heading down the same track as that other lieberal clown who was going to take Qld by storm because of the overwhelming popularity as Brisbane Lord Mayor. I think her name started with Sally and ended in Atkinson. That was another good experiment.

    mr Newmans hubris could quite easily make him an Oldman very quickly.

    There are still a lot of us voters who aren’t comfortable with brown Paper Bag political parties and the more Can’t Do tries to hide his shonky family attempts to rip off Queenslanders with the Disaster Management system that was to be sold to the Qld Govt for $31mil when the Americans who owned the system said they would only charge $250k.

    Wouldn’t that have set he and his extended family very nicely. $31mil to do dodgy developments with no checks or balances.

    A top rogue is Can’t do. he should go back to Tasmania and grow potatoes.

  17. [he’ll ruin your lawn, front and back.]

    As well as undermine it then let his mate Clive open cut it looking for coal.

  18. Yes Kate Jones got top spot on the Ballot

    Kate’s vote may not necessarily reflect the rest of the state. She is running a very effective “keep Kate” campaign and has a strong sympathy effect as a result of an outsider dumping on her.

    Additionally Kate is a very very hard working member so in any ordinary campaign you would expect her to to do 2% or so better than your average sitting MP.

    Also the campaign team are working hard and effectively.

  19. [As well as undermine it then let his mate Clive open cut it looking for coal.]

    Does Clive actually mine, I thought he flogged it off to foreigners while it was still in the ground?

  20. [Wwp making observations on what NSW people think from where? WA?]

    Definitely WA, but stupid is a bit harsh, unwise and regretful would probably be more appropriate.

    And it isn’t a statist thing we foolishy gave the keys to Colin well before you went for the self inflicted pain in NSW and Vic.

  21. [Plan B has been raised – there are lots of newbies coming in this term. It is proposed that one of them will give up the spot to let Newman in if he does not win Ashgrove.]

    Gee, it’s perfect ok for the Tories to treat democracy with total contempt.

  22. I think a voter in a by-election would be rather pissed off at having to vote again because Newman couldn’t win the seat he chose to run in. There would be a huge protest vote.

  23. They could always find a spot for Newman in the upper house if only we had one up here.

    DTR my son moved to Ashgrove a short time back so visit there regularly.

  24. Campbell Newman is very likely just keeping the LNP leadership position warm for Clive Palmer.

    When CantDo loses Ashgrove, I doubt Clive would bother to get into Parliament – a waste of time for a busy man. He’ll just issues dictats from his home office like any self-respecting plutocrat.

    This will be a model for 21th century democracy. Once again, Queensland is leading the way…

  25. If can do, actually can’t and the LNP has the numbers to form a government of course they wouldn’t because the only possible ‘legitimate’ LNP premier is Can Do, guess there’d have to be another whole election immediately. They wouldn’t have a double standard I’m sure.

  26. I stated last week that I would not vote for the lnp and will vote for the alp.
    It is becoming increasingly clear that Newman is dodgy and palmer inc. will be the one’s calling the shots.
    i hope the good people of ashgrove re-elect Kate Jones as I have heard from people who have had need to deal with her that she is a great local member , as well as a team player. giving up a ministry to concentrate on beating Newman will see her go a long way

  27. just saw another LNP ad, very boring and doesn’t talk about Labor much other than like 2 things about waste.

    however, saw Labor’s ad of LNP, much better, goes directly at Campbell’s web of family fortunes.

  28. [just saw another LNP ad, very boring and doesn’t talk about Labor much other than like 2 things about waste.

    however, saw Labor’s ad of LNP, much better, goes directly at Campbell’s web of family fortunes.]

    Fingers crossed.

  29. [Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman says he will clarify his plans for the public service later in the election campaign, after appearing to change his tune on the size of the public sector.

    In an interview with late last year, Mr Newman said he would work with unions to achieve “a reduction in the overall headcount” of the public service over time.

    But in an interview published by The Courier-Mail today, Mr Newman said the size of the public service would be larger in three years’ time than it was now.

    Read more:

    More Liberal double speak, oh no we will not cut the PS. Crap they will not announce cuts during an election is the truth.

  30. Labor hasn’t won a state election in Queensland for a decade. The LNP has lost them. The LNP have another couple of weeks to keep their record intact. If the LNP succeed it’s going to make life very hard for federal Labor, the voters will be looking for somewhere to vent their spleen.

  31. [But in an interview published by The Courier-Mail today, Mr Newman said the size of the public service would be larger in three years’ time than it was now.]

    The extras and most redeployments from unnecessary depts like education and health will be in dept of mines, so Clive can get his approvals before he lodges the applications to plunder.

  32. Lachie’sNow ‏ @lachiesnow

    Centrebet now has a new market on who will be Premier if LNP win – unsurprisingly Jeff Seeney is rocketing up the charts #number1withabullet
    Retweeted by Andrew Fraser

  33. @ steve

    the punters still believe Newman will be premier as he is $1.19 in that market you mentioned.

    IMO Newman will win Ashgrove with 53% 2PP

  34. I taught Peta-Kaye Croft – she wasnt quite one subject into a law degree (at the uni where she worked, still in her late 20s) when she was swept in. One day she was asking for an extension for an assignment to do a bit of token campaigning; next week it was an extra extension as she’d been elected! Became an extraordinary local member.

  35. Aaronkirk, betting on Newman in Ashgrove is the definition of lunacy. Learn to invest your money not divest it. Never run down stairs backwards and odds on look on.

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