Galaxy: 51.5-48.5 to Labor in Ashgrove

The Courier-Mail yesterday published a poll of the all-important electorate of Ashgrove from a thumping sample of 800, which confirms the findings of Thursday’s ReachTel poll: that the two-party result is within the margin of error and Campbell Newman is in very serious danger of falling short. Indeed, the published figure has Jones in the lead with 51.5 per cent of the two-party vote, with both major candidates on 45 per cent and the Greens on 8 per cent. The two-party figure has been obtained using the preference splits from 2009, with the Greens vote going 50 per cent to Labor, 15 per cent to the LNP and 35 per cent exhausting, and the negligible “others” vote neatly divided 25 per cent to each party with 50 per cent exhausting. Of course, whether this pattern will be precisely replicated under the highly unusual circumstances of the looming election remains an open question. Galaxy has found 63 per cent of voters intending to allocate preferences, but since nine in 10 of these respondents are supporters of the major parties, this doesn’t tell us very much. The poll also provides a huge boost for Jones in finding that Labor supporters were a lot more likely than LNP supporters to nominate “liking for party/candidate” as the reason for their vote choice (70 per cent against 44 per cent), and correspondingly less likely to nominate hostility to the opposing party (27 per cent against 55 per cent).

• Katter’s Australian Party has predictably failed in its bid to have its full name listed on ballot papers after it was embarrassed to learn electoral rules provided for the use of its registered abbreviation, which is merely “The Australian Party”. So weak was its case that it has been suggested the court challenge was merely being used as an awareness-raising exercise. In related news, Dennis Atkins of the Courier-Mail turns out to be a hip-hop enthusiast.

• Yet more candidate trouble for the LNP on the Gold Coast, it having emergeed that Albert candidate Mark Boothman was the administrator of a website which “displayed soft porn”. The website was in fact a forum for motoring enthusiasts, and boys being boys, some participants had uploaded “adult content” to it. This follows the party’s loss of two candidates in the nearby seat of Broadwater, one over a drink driving charge and the other over his attendance at a swingers party function. For what it’s worth, my view is that parties in general, and the Queensland LNP in particular, have become a little trigger happy in dispensing with candidates over minor indiscretions. In this case it was not an option, as nominations have closed and ballot papers have been printed. Perhaps for this reason, Campbell Newman is standing behind a “terrific young bloke” and “family man”.

• Police are investigating the firing of a “large-calibre bullet” through the office window of Michael Crandon, the LNP member for the northern Gold Coast seat of Coomera.

• The Greens have launched their campaign with a promise to reinstate the upper house, an understandable objective given the near certainty that they will yet again fail to win any seats (their traditionally strongest seats are occupied by the two most senior figures in the government: Anna Bligh’s seat of South Brisbane and Andrew Fraser’s seat of Mount Coot-tha) Though personally, I would have thought a system of proportional representation in the existing single chamber both an easier sell (or at least, a less difficult one) and more in their interests in any case.

• Writing in The Australian, Peter Beattie predicts:

Bob Katter’s Australian Party will only win two to three seats at best … if Newman loses Ashgrove and the LNP wins government, Lawrence Springborg will be premier with Tim Nicholls as his deputy. Depending on who wins their seat, the opposition leader will be either Andrew Fraser or Cameron Dick. A Labor victory will see Jeff Seeney fall on his sword and Tim Nicholls as opposition leader.

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.

127 comments on “Galaxy: 51.5-48.5 to Labor in Ashgrove”

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  1. Remember the last Lord Mayor of Brisbane that was a FIFO and full of hubris.

    [Sallyanne Atkinson was elected to the Lord Mayoralty in 1985, after defeating the ALP candidate William Charles Roy Harvey. She became the first female Lord Mayor of Brisbane, as well as the first from the Liberal Party.
    While popular with the media, Atkinson quickly began to receive criticism from the public for her expensive overseas trips, extravagant mayoral salary, and costly engineering projects.[4]
    She was eventually defeated in 1991 in a narrow upset election win by the virtually unknown Jim Soorley, who received preferences from the Greens candidate Drew Hutton. This result was unexpected, as Atkinson was perceived to be very popular at the time. As a result, it took Atkinson many weeks to actually accept the election results, and hand the mayoralty over to Soorley.]

  2. If LNP wins and Newman loses, how does the victory speech bit play out?

    And who does the outgoing Premier congratulate?

  3. I imagine Seeny would do the honours.

    Is the position of Premier decided by the party room after winning the election, or is Seeny automatically in line seeing as he is officially the Leader of the Opposition?

    I can’t imagine Seeny (or anyone for that matter) giving up the chance of taking that plumb job without a fight.

  4. You’d think Campbell must have run over Katter’s dog for such a vicious attack ad to be unleashed. Oh, that’s right Newman stated that Joh was corrupt. Katter is beyond feral, he’s going to own the bigot vote.

  5. Seeney has been leader of the rabble before when he took over from Springborg.

    When Springborg thought he saw an opportunity to be premier he rolled him stabbed him in the back and failed again.

    It is one big circus and maybe they will toss a coin again to see who gets it.

  6. Is the position of Premier decided by the party room after winning the election, or is Seeny automatically in line seeing as he is officially the Leader of the Opposition?

    I can’t imagine Seeny (or anyone for that matter) giving up the chance of taking that plumb job without a fight.

    It would be up to the governor, but I imagine the two realistic options are that Her Ex asks Bligh to remain on as caretaker Premier until it is clear who has the confidence of parliament, or that Seeney is sworn in on a similar basis.

    AFAICT there is no constitutional reason why the LNP – if they wholeheartedly went for Plan C – couldn’t ask Wensley to swear in Newman as Premier on the basis that he was actively seeking to enter parliament – but I think the entire sequence is fanciful.

  7. I wonder if James Packer had any input for the ads ? , as his $250,000 donation to Katter party would have had plenty of strings attached ?

  8. Why dont we bring back Brice Flegg with the new hair style and absolutely no farking idea. Recycling is a feel good thing.

  9. Martin@58, the mantle of Premier is bestowed on whoever can convince the Governor that they have the confidence of the Parliament, and the Governor can require a candidate to prove they have confidence before bestowing a commission. This was how the end days of Sir Joh were played, when he went to Fernberg to advise that Mike Ahern and others should have their commissions as ministers revoked, and His Excellency wanted proof of confidence before acting on the Premier’s advice.

    The Governor can take advice from whomever they wish, so in practice it should play out that:

    1. late on Saturday night, when it’s obvious that the Government has been defeated and Kate Jones has been returned as the Member for Ashgrove, the Premier goes to Government House, resigns and advises the Governor to send for Jeff Seeney (the Leader of the opposition)

    2. Jeff Seeney advises the Governor to… do something. What that something is, is the question on everyone’s lips right now, and will still be the question on Saturday night.

    Seeney can either accept the commission, or advise Her Excellency to send for someone else. I can’t (or more realistically ‘I won’t’) conceive of the ALP taking a ‘caretaker’ gig while the LNP get their shit together. Throw it to Seeney late on Saturday and let him work out what to do.

    In another forum, you’ve suggested the precedent of W MacKenzie King in the 1945 Canadian General Election. King had been PM since 1935 and his Liberal Party was returned with a majority, but he lost his seat. Nevertheless he was commissioned as PM on the basis that a Liberal member in a safe seat had resigned and King would stand as a candidate there. Which he ultimately won.

    The critical difference there is that King hand been an MP since 1908 (37 years) and so had enjoyed the support of his electors, and he’d been the commissioned PM for 10 years at the time of the ’45 election and his party had been returned with a Commons majority.

    Newman, on the other hand, has never held a representative position, has never been elected to the Parliament, and his party is coming to office from Opposition. None of the precedents apply and I can’t see that there’s any grounds for the Governor to offer Newman a commission until he has at least been elected as a member for somewhere.



    from earlier this evening, article & video link

    [Bligh, Gillard launch Qld Labor campaign
    Updated March 11, 2012 18:54:23

    Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh have received a rockstar reception at Labor’s state election campaign launch in Brisbane.

    Ms Gillard, who received a standing ovation when she took the stage, told hundreds of party faithful that Queensland faces a choice between going back to the past under the LNP and seizing the future with Labor.

    “I love coming and being with Queensland Labor when there’s a fight on, because you are great fighters,” she said.

    When Ms Bligh took the stage, she launched straight into an attack on the LNP’s leadership uncertainty and leader Campbell Newman’s financial dealings.]
    more in the article

  11. Hey, we are back online!


    #Newspoll NSW State 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 64 (0) ALP 36 (0) #nswpol #auspol]

    Looks like some things never change…

  12. 62

    What if the Katter Party win Callide as well as the ALP winning Ashgrove? Would the
    Governor go for the Deputy Leader Tim Nicholls?

  13. [GhostWhoVotes
    #Newspoll VIC State 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 53 (+2) ALP 47 (-2)]

    NSW result didn’t surprise me but wasn’t expecting this from Vic though…


    [Labor senses a hairline crack has opened in Queensland election
    March 12, 2012

    LABOR’S Queensland election campaign launch yesterday became a tribute to the woman who just might keep Campbell Newman, who expects to be premier in two weeks, without a seat in the Parliament.

    Anna Bligh went close to calling it, declaring Mr Newman’s grasp on the suburban seat of Ashgrove was ”slipping further and further away from him” every day because of the efforts of the local member, Kate Jones, and her team.

    Kevin Rudd tweeted it after catching up with Ms Jones at the launch: ”Kate’s army of supporters making a massive difference in Ashgrove,” he observed, before heading off to launch the campaign of one of the candidates, Phil Reeves, in front of the local media.

    Suddenly, Labor senses a hairline crack has opened in an election that, barely a week ago, was expected to be a one-horse race. Ms Bligh’s intention yesterday was to turn the crack into a compound fracture with a full-frontal assault on Mr Newman’s character and capacity to lead.]
    more in the article

  15. Tom 65 Nicholls isn’t the deputy, Seeney is. However I expect if Newman fails to win Ashgrove the either the LNP would immediately elect a leader or the governor would ask Seeney to form government. That of course assumes the LNP win sufficient seats.

  16. Has Cannot do’s “hands a bit too low” statement got much of a run in the South. Sure to turn of a few – especially women

  17. One option that could happen IF the LNP win but no Newman would be for the Governor to simply leave Anna Bligh in charge (until Parliament sits). By that time either another seat will have been found for Newman or someone else will need to to be selected.

  18. DTR if they loved him that much they would have found him a seat with a margin less than 7 percent and given all the problems with Newman they may just be glad to see him not elected. There doesn’t seem to be an abundance of either love or sane advice for him being shown.

  19. The Katter Party GAY attack ad on Newman is pretty low but given how this election campaign has gone not so unusual.

    I don’t think KP understands the difference between being against gay marriage and being against gay people.

  20. DavidWH

    The issue for me with the Katter ad is that Newman is saying he will repeal the civil union legislation while supporting gay marriage, hypocritical comes to my mind.

  21. Rua no different to any leader who has a personal opinion that is different to the party policy. It happens on all kinds of issues.

    At least Newman was upfront about his and his party’s position.


    [True believers dare to dream as Anna Bligh steps up the onslaught on Campbell Newman
    by: Jamie Walker From: The Australian March 12, 2012 12:00AM

    FOR 32 energising minutes, the True Believers of Queensland dared to hope: here was Anna Bligh telling them that a seemingly unstoppable Campbell Newman had picked a fight with the wrong woman in the wrong place. ]

    [Anna Bligh targets carpetbaggers and the LNP’s ‘lucky dip’

    by: Michael McKenna, Queensland political editor
    From: The Australian March 12, 2012 12:00AM

    ANNA Bligh zeroed in on Campbell Newman’s woes in his bid to win a seat in parliament, warning that voters could be stuck with a “lucky dip” pick for premier if the state opposition won the March 24 election without their leader, as she outlined Labor’s education focus in harnessing the spoils of the resources boom. ]

    [Anna Bligh fires up as she shows how it’s done
    by: Michael McKenna, Queensland political editor
    From: The Australian March 12, 2012 12:00AM

    ANNA Bligh delivered the sort of campaign speech that should have been given by Campbell Newman a week earlier. ]

    [Labor party can’t be underestimated, says Borbidge
    With just two weeks to go until the Queensland election, Rob Borbidge and Peter Beattie say the LNP can’t take anything for granted.
    10 March 2012 The Australian]


    [‘New man’ by name, but not by nature
    March 12, 2012 – 8:19AM
    Conal Hanna

    The reality of modern Australian politics is that every leader has a use-by date.

    Political capital is a finite resource, and after several years in office voters tend to remember your failures a lot faster than your achievements.

    Peter Beattie was one of the remarkably few to have recognised this fact, stepping aside as he approached the ‘danger zone’ after nine years in charge.
    Advertisement: Story continues below

    In fact, take a look over the past 40 years of political office in Australia and the tick-tock of the political clock keeps remarkably similar time.


    Federal Nationals leader Warren Truss may have labelled him a “new man” during the LNP’s recent campaign launch, but Can-Do Campbell is anything but that to the voters of Brisbane, where he was elected lord mayor in 2004.

    At the same time he’s being sold as the fresh alternative at a state level, Newman is on the cusp of approaching the standard political expiry date in the capital.

    It’s almost as though the LNP leader has two political faces, one fresh and attractive, the other bearing the scars of seven years of political office (plus his year campaigning outside parliament).]
    worth reading through

  24. [The Governor can take advice from whomever they wish, so in practice it should play out that:

    1. late on Saturday night, when it’s obvious that the Government has been defeated and Kate Jones has been returned as the Member for Ashgrove, the Premier goes to Government House, resigns and advises the Governor to send for Jeff Seeney (the Leader of the opposition]

    Not true!

    Did you learn nothing from what transpired after Federal Election 2010: the time it took to finalise the result, and the processes leading up to the Independents’ declarations of which Party/ parties had which Indie/ Indies’ support?

    Even if she seems to have lost the election, Anna Bligh remains premier in caretaker mode unless & until (a) she advises the Governor that she cannot guarantee supply (ie the budget’s passing) and the confidence of the Legislature OR (b) Declaration of the Poll clearly indicates that she cannot give those guarantees but the LNP can OR (c) neither ALP nor LNP can guarantee supply & confidence. If (c), then the Governor can call another election.

    Given the low number of seats currently held by the LNP (it has to lose 0 and win c11 – most of them in SEQ – to beat the ALP), the possibility Katter wins about the same number of seats as Hanson in 1998 (& they’re likely to be the same seats), probability that Independents and KAP hold the balance of power, and that, this far out from Election 2009 Bligh was being ‘done like a dinner’ by Springborg (even without the Katter/ Hanson effect) results are still, IMO, ‘opinion’ not ‘results’.

    One could chance a bet on a Qld repeat of Fed2010.

    BTW, the LNP ad starts with a lie after 20 years of …. As anyone old enough to recall the Q 1995 election knows, Borbidge & Sheldon formed government in early 1996 only to run into the Hanson effect in 1998. Airbrushed from LNP history, much to the fury of those who were part of it (inc a couple of Nats in this area)!

    Unless my arithmetic is worse than I think, 1998-2012 does NOT equal 20 years.

  25. [You would agree that the ad is pathetic though?]

    By personal standards, in a democracy he’s entitled to his own opinions & to voice them; though IMO he has no right to use them to force others to live by his prejudices.

    As a political ad, it’s by no means unusual. In 2012, however, it’s likely to be both productive (iow, vote for me of you’re an anti-gay bigot & there are many in his target seats – that’s why they voted for Joh & Hanson); and counter-productive (alienating the majority who support gay rights to equality; but they’re mainly urban & SEQ, where Q elections are won & lost).

    What little of his anti-gay spray I heard before the TV reacted to my punched ‘mute’ made me furious.

    BTW, reminding QLDers that Newman, since self-styled “Christians” got to him, intends to repeal the current legislation, even though he said he wouldn’t and claims he actually supports same-sex marriages. Yep! Newman’s version of the “No carbon tax”. Where are all the liberals screaming “LIAR” eh? Seems there’s yet again one rule for the ALP and the opposite rule for the LNP.

    The more people are reminded of what it was like to have fundo “christians” calling the morality shots as they did during the Joh era, the less likely they are to vote LNP – esp in the key SEQ seats Newman has to win!

  26. Darryl, I don’t see an awful lot of disagreement there with the one exception being that I wouldn’t completely rule out the Bligh continuing scenario.

    If it became clear that there was a live contest for leadership within the LNP post-election, and that Seeney was a candidate, then I can imagine it possible that the Governor might consider it an interference in the internal struggle to appoint Seeney in an interim. The political argument I don’t think holds much weight – the Governor would be explaining sternly to Bligh that her duties to assist the Crown in government formation were far more important than her duties to her political party.

    If Seeney was not a candidate for leadership then he would be appointed caretaker, and that might well happen in any case. So I’d certainly say it’s by far the more likely option.

    My main point was that there really is no-one else with standing for a caretaker role other than these two.

    The prospect of Newman being appointed Premier immediately I raised only as an interesting possibility that I don’t think is excluded constitutionally. But it won’t happen. Politically it would require immediate and unanimous support for Plan C from the parliamentary LNP, and it would also require constitutional daring from the Governor. It’s not realistic. But you’ll know that I do like to consider these unusual scenarios.


    [Katter admires gay half-brother’s candour
    By Nathan Paull and Darren Cartwright, AAP Updated March 12, 2012, 7:34 am

    Vocal gay marriage opponent Bob Katter says he admires his gay half-brother for speaking out against him.

    His comments come after the federal MP’s Katter’s Australian Party released a television commercial attacking Liberal National Party (LNP) leader Campbell Newman’s stance on gay marriage.]
    more in the article

  28. … and on that note, the other obscure Canadian precedent for this is even more fun. In the 1924 BC election, the Liberal Government was returned, but Premier John Oliver was defeated in his riding. So too was the Leader of the Opposition (and former Conservative Premier) William Bowser. As for that matter was the leader of the third party (a breakaway from the Conservatives) Alexander McRae.

    (Oliver continued on as Premier and re-entered parliament in an engineered by-election two months after the election.)

  29. Martin B that sounds like an election, do you know the reasons why both the government and opposition leaders lost their seats and where they safe seats.

  30. Katter may have accidentally changed the SSM debate for if the LNP were do win easily then Campbell will have a strong mandate to allow SSM marriage.

    This election seems to be trending away from the LNP with Katter gaining momentum in northern Queensland and the ALP seem to be holding in the South-East corner.

    My gut feel is that the LNP may make several gains only to see a similar number of seats slip to the Katter Party.

  31. [HUNDREDS of farmers have protested in Ashgrove against coal seam gas development in Queensland.

    The farmers chanted “Lock the Gate” as they threw their hats on the ground outside the campaign office of LNP Leader Campbell Newman.

    The farmers want guarantees from the major parties that they will protect precious farming land and underground water from the controversial CSG development.]

    Poor buggers, they were being ignored. 🙂

  32. This contest is shaping up like Dandy Andy v Vo Rogue.

    Vo Rogue the odds on favourite led by 20 lengths in to the straight at Flemington only to be run down by Dandy Andy at 50/1

  33. @88

    Sorry, no not really. The former Conservative government was still tainted with corruption and unpopular, hence the breakaway and presumably Bowser’s defeat. Not sure about the circumstances of Oliver’s defeat.

  34. As much as I love a good constitutional crisis, the mooted scenario is more farce than stand-off. Governor has broad powers, in Qld explicitly can consult who she wishes, and nothing but convention prevents ministers outside parliament.

    If Newman is to lose, that may take many days of postals to confirm. Premiers don’t visit the Governor on the night or even the Sunday. If LNP have a clear majority, Seeney is commissioned. It’s then up to his party room to endorse or replace him. If Newman has a (much denied) plan C, Seeney can stay on till then. McEwen did that for Gorton (who even served 3 weeks as PM without a seat).

    It’d all be odd, embarrassing for Newman, but the only fly in the ointment would be an unlikely hung parliament and Bob K – himself years out of QLD Parl – playing a veto card, vaguely like McEwen v McMahon.

  35. Thanks for the info Graeme.

    Seeing as Seeney had the numbers to install Newman there’s a chance he could hang on to the Premiership.

  36. The conspiracy theorist in me says that’s been Seeney’s plan all along. Dump Newman in a seat he had little chance to win while getting the city voters on board with the LNP. Bonus is that it takes all the heat off Seeney over the course of the campaign.

    Perhaps I’m being too cynical.

  37. Anna Bligh may have shot herself in the foot finally in her attempts to destroy Newman by announcing another tribunal to overview DA’s. All she has managed to do is to stir up organisations who have been silent to date like the Local Government Organisation and the Property Council who are in the press telling people what those of us involved in the construction industry already knew – the DA process at council level is transparent and robust whereas the state government process is more secretive and prone to approving variations and relaxations. These groups, while not coming to Newman’s defence, are shining some light on how state government approvals through the minister and ULDA often override local government town planning requirements by approving relaxations to things like height restrictions, GFA’s, density, parking etc. without any proper scrunity (the same things Labor has been accusing Newman of doing).

    Not before time focus is being put on how things really do happen in QLD.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  38. William,

    You know that quoting Vex as a source makes you a vassal of the pro Israel right wing gutter press.

  39. Who ever could you mean, GG. Further from Vex:

    [Another Boothman video has the future law-maker suggesting that “Beer Saves Lives” with the final offering showing Kari Wuhrer “showing her stuff.” A Google search of Kari Wuhrer “showing her stuff” offers a variety of programming probably not likely to feature at an LNP pumpkin scone afternoon.]

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