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. Oh Dear looks like Mr Luke Shaw is going down in Queensland political and legal history for two important reasons, the 2nd is here:

    Par 30 and 40

    [On 24 February 2012, Mr Shaw, styling himself as a Campaign
    Director for the second applicant, sent a copy of a “How to
    vote” card to the respondent Electoral Commissioner for the
    approval of the Queensland Electoral Commissioner setting out
    under the name of the candidate for Katter’s Australian Party
    (Qld Division) on the proposed ballot paper, the abbreviation
    “The Australian Party” as provided by the Act. Those proofs
    of “How to vote” cards were approved by the Electoral
    Commissioner, subject to certain conditions which are not here

  2. However, section 73(3) of the Queensland Act, unsurprisingly, provides that the Commission must not take any action in relation to an application to
    register a political party during the election period in
    relation to an election. The election period commenced the day
    after the writ was issued, that is on 20 February 2012.

  3. If Katter loses in the Court of Appeal and takes it to the High Court, would he have to pay all the QEC’s costs if/when he loses?

    That could bankrupt his party if it stuffs up and delays QEC’s election planning.

  4. I had to laugh at Timmy Nicholls not wanting to rule himself out as Premier when Newman loses Ashgrove. A man who is so worried about the state debt that he is prepared to add $7.5 billion of unfunded promises to the tally is not Premier material.

  5. [11.32am: The LNP’s Tim Nicholls has also refused to rule out he’s the party’s ‘plan B’ for leadership, AAP reports.

    It comes after yesterday’s poll showing Campbell Newman was no longer the favourite to win the seat of Ashgrove, though the party is on track to win the state election on March 24.

    Asked today if he would rule himself out of leadership contention, Mr Nicholls replied, ‘‘I’m ruling in fighting to make sure Campbell Newman wins Ashgrove.

    ‘‘There are no sure things in politics, you’re right, and that’s why we are working every day.

    ‘‘We are putting the message to the people of Ashgrove that if you want change in Queensland, they do need to support Campbell Newman.’’

    LNP parliamentary leader Jeff Seeney has ruled out taking the top job if Mr Newman doesn’t win his seat.]

    Read more:

  6. Dennis Atkins:

    [POLITICIANS today must hanker for the days when you could fudge before lunch and lazily slouch through the afternoon with something white and chilled.

    Treasurer Andrew Fraser was out on the stump yesterday demanding the LNP come clean about where the money was coming from – the first refuge of the dateless and desperate in the campaign.

    Here’s how we got to where we are. Campbell Newman, who has some trouble with funding and numbers as we’ve seen with the Clem7 tunnel, terrorising inner-city residents with apartment super rates and parking meters outside homes, has released a slew of big-ticket promises all with a vague footnote.

    It has been either that funding will be revealed in the fullness of time – code for 24 or 36 hours before polling day – or it comes from that magic pudding called mining royalties.

    Almost every opposition that has left its costings until the campaign’s death knell has followed it with an admission the Budget was so blown it was all bets off.]

  7. If the LNP were to win clearly but ashgrove has to wait on postals would the LNP have to get an interim premier sworn in to form gov quickly?

  8. Good morning, Bludgers!

    [GG – Is that comment *tongue in cheek* ?]

    Dave 😀

    PS: Willie S’s famous Kiss me Kate dialogue in Taming of the Shrew comes to mind. Very popular with Industrial lads, who tended to teach themselves its every inuendo – and yeah, a divergent meaning for that, too!

    BTW, Bet youse Southerners didn’t believe me a year or more back when I as good as said There’s no sleaze like SEQ LNP sleaze; though I see a few candidates from NQ have since appeared. Been notorious since well before ABC’s The Moonlight State hit TV screens back in the late 80s.

    How slack/ arrogant/ dumb/ etc NOT to do due diligence on candidates before nominating them!

  9. The Katter court action has reached its logical conclusion and the election will go ahead without Katter’s name appearing. It always seemed that this action was just one more crazy distraction in a campaign of many crazy distractions and issues.

  10. Katter just wants everyone to know that the party is his party. One way to do that is to get lots of publicity for taking it to court. In that regard the strength of his case is irrelevant. He probably will take it the High Court next just to keep it in the news.

  11. Triton someone yesterday mentioned that the party may be required to lodge costs in those circumstances which would be a disincentive to further pursue what always seemed to be a weak action.

  12. Little old moi, DWH

    Not costs but give an undertaking to pay the EC damages caused by delaying the election if they want an injunction to stop the election from proceeding. They would have to apply to the Court of Appeal for this to happen but I cant see it happening.

  13. Shellbell you always seem to be knowledgeable in these areas. Wouldn’t the court require some form of security acceptable to them such as a bank guarantee?

  14. Victoria the reason I am confident still but less confident is that Newman and the LNP have poorly handled what has been Labor’s obvious strategy for months to put doubt in people’s minds about the integrity of Newman and uncertainty about who will lead the government if the LNP wins and Newman loses. That strategy has gained traction and should have been able to be dealt with at least reasonably. The fact they haven’t is hurting.

    I still think the LNP will win although it will tighten up quite a bit.

  15. DavidWH

    I suspect part of the issues with the LNP, is that they are not really a united party to begin with, and that is one of the reasons why they dont seem to project a cohesive message.
    Anyhow it is only two weeks before you will know the outcome

  16. [Not costs but give an undertaking to pay the EC damages caused by delaying the election if they want an injunction to stop the election from proceeding. They would have to apply to the Court of Appeal for this to happen but I cant see it happening.]

    Bob may pay them himself; he’s hardly in the cash-strapped class.

    But if, as I suspect, the aim of the whole kerfuffle was Great Big Free Media Attention, he did achieve it.

  17. [I still think the LNP will win although it will tighten up quite a bit.]

    I don’t think you’re wrong and that’s the point – if it tightens, then Can Do doesn’t, and LNP will again be a rabble of back-block inbreeds. This will sink in over the next two weeks, and many brisbane and south coast seats will really ‘tighten up’. Hopefully this will mean another single-term tory Qld government. I’m really hoping people flock to Katter, greens and indies so the labor loss is sweetened by a weak LNP.

  18. It was an injunction hearing people. The case wasn’t strong enough to stop the election. It can be (but won’t be) pursued afterwards as a constitutional case if anyone was interested, but it couldn’t then undo the election.

  19. It’s a conspiracy!!

    [BOB Katter has alleged a conspiracy is under way to prevent a third force entering the political scene after a court ruling this morning went against his fledgling party.

    The state election is free to proceed as scheduled after the Supreme Court this morning dismissed Mr Katter’s Australian Party’s application to have its founder’s name included on ballot papers.]

    And it just gets better

    [The Australian Party must also pay the ECQ’s legal costs.]

  20. [Victoria the reason I am confident still but less confident is that Newman and the LNP have poorly handled what has been Labor’s obvious strategy for months to put doubt in people’s minds about the integrity of Newman and uncertainty about who will lead the government if the LNP wins and Newman loses.]

    And the ALP is still sitting on the real gem in the doubt in people’s minds about the integrity of Newman saga; has been for years, waiting for the inevitable tilt at Premiership. Wednesday of the last week – after the last polls are published – perhaps? Though if polls have turned around, it could wait until an inevitable tilt at federal politics, most probably in another state.

    Also explains why NP members & hopefuls, esp on The Downs, were (& still are) so incendiary re Cando’s coup: their interests meant they knew about it at the time.

    Another good reason Q Libs should over-do due diligence esp in the Life-/ Employment-Before-Politics areas.

  21. OPT the problem I have with what you have posted if it is as bad as you inferred is that Labor have sat on information while a person was lord mayor of a major city which should have been put in the public domain for people to judge the person on. I have a real problem with the ethics of that regardless of the political advantage or the fact I may be a very naive person. It’s that reason I could never be a member of any political party.

  22. If the ALP had dirt on Can-do when he was mayor, I’m sure they would have used it then. The more likely explanation is that there isn’t much in the way of dirt on can-do, its just that the ALP have done a great job in framing their advertising

  23. Why worry my post was in response to the suggestion Labor has been sitting on information for years that is worse than the information that has already been made public. I find the ethics of that disturbing if it is true.

  24. An obsevation: by someone else!.
    Phillip Tullio
    It really amazes me, NO dumfounds me, that people have just forgotten that , not only did we survive and prosper, through the worst economic disaster the world has seen in a 2 generations, our state, Queensland , has endured MAJOR flooding and total destruction of communities state wide, for 3 consecutive years, with 2 majors in one year and we are whinging that we can’t get ahead? Sometimes I wish that perhaps we did get run over by the GFC and then maybe the blind morons might see what a great job these governments have done.

  25. david

    [Labor’s obvious strategy for months to put doubt in people’s minds about the integrity of Newman]

    Labor’s obvious strategy for months to put doubt the truth in people’s minds about the integrity of Newman.

    There you are fixed it for you

  26. William and/or Anthony do you think it’s possible NewsPoll will do one of their quarterly QLD analysis two weeks early in conjunction with this weeks poll?

  27. Vote LNP and we will send you a brown paper Show- bag , with a xxx porno movie and some cash. Hurry limited stock.

  28. i heard from a good sauce that Newman will pay for his election bribes from putting Parking meters outside everyone’s house in QLD. Newman has lost every Tradie ute driver , Bike riding , Heavy vehicle driver vote with his stupid rego deal . Guess the truck drivers will pass on the extra tax to the products , every Tradesman will jack up the quotes and bike riders will just be so pissed off , they will vote Labor or Green. Will buse rego go up too? Another Great Big Tax. No wonder under the Liberals (25%) you pay more Tax than under Labor (21.9 % )Party. Taxes will always be higher under the LNP.

  29. [I guess it depends on what you use the car for.]


    It seems that you’d vote LNP even if all of their candidates were revealed as child abusers.

    That’s very sad.

  30. Tom that’s offensive and untrue. However we don’t have any candidates accused of those types of low act so it’s not something I have to think about. What we do have at this time unless something further comes out is:

    1. A opposition leader who’s wife’s family appears to have been involved in some ethically questionable although legal business dealings and Labor trying to link the opposition leader to those business dealings; and

    2. A local candidate who appears to have been involved in a legal although once again ethically questionable business operation. If this had come out earlier the LNP would likely have cut the bloke loose and selected another candidate. Probably they still should dis-endorse the person however it’s pretty well meaningless because the person has little chance of being elected now in any case.

    We also have Labor inferring that electing the LNP to government will be a return to the Jo era of corrupt government when we all know 2012 is a much different state than it was pre-Fitzgerald. For starters we now have a very powerful anti-corruption body in the CMC in addition to other legislative bodies and controls at both state and local government level to deal with corruption.

    Labor had referred Newman to the CMC already and the CMC cleared him. The onus is on Labor to refer any matters they are aware of to the CMC for proper investigation. Failing this people are entitled to believe this is more about politics than a genuine want to see justice served.

    And no I wouldn’t vote for someone I had a belief was corrupt and definitely would never vote for anyone involved on child molestation. I have four beautiful grandchildren and that type of behavior is as low as it gets.

  31. DavidWH @ #183, Newspoll published results about a fortnight ago, so they’re not sitting on a quarterly accumulation. They may choose to conduct a state poll this weekend, or we may have to wait until the end of the campaign.

  32. [and Labor trying to link the opposition leader to those business dealings]

    Husband and wife – sacred bond – no link there.

    [the LNP to government will be a return to the Jo era of corrupt government when we all know 2012 is a much different state]

    Yeah but is the LNP a much different party – will can do and Palmer take the state in the right direction? That is so funny ….

    [more about politics than a genuine want to see justice served]

    Yeah like Thompson – what is good for the fibs is good for Labor.

    [The onus is on Labor to refer any matters they are aware of to the CMC for proper investigation]

    The only onus on Labor is to convince the good folk of Queensland to vote for them the LNP is helping nicely …

  33. We want Paul I disagree with your last point. I there is an onus on all of us that if we are aware of possible criminal activity to refer that to the proper authorities to be investigated. The fact Labor hasn’t referred anything to the CMC is an indication its more about creating an impression rather than a matter of substance. That is why I believe Tom’s post went too far.

    In relation to the family connection Newman is not responsible for the business ethics of his wife’s family. Having said that he should have draw a clear line between himself and his wife and his wife’s family immediately he took on the role. The fact he wasn’t prepared to do has cost him and probably the LNP a lot of skin. We will find out how much skin in two weeks.

  34. DavidWH, I agree with your sentiments.

    But to take them a step further in my view the fact that Campbell hasn’t been able to distance himself from these dealings says something about his character.

  35. DWH at 168.

    When you give the undertaking the Court would have to regard it as real but I doubt security would ordinarily be ordered.

    Sounds academic anyway now.

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