Essential Research: 56-44 to Coalition

Essential Research has Labor recovering a badly needed point on the two-party preferred vote, with the Coalition’s lead back to 56-44 after rising to 57-43 last week. On the primary vote, Labor is up one to 32 per cent, the Coalition down one to 48 per cent and the Greens up one to 11 per cent. The survey also finds opposition to Australian’s involvement in Afghanistan little changed since November at 64 per cent, with 21 per cent wanting the current presence to be maintained and 4 per cent wanting it increased. Forty-four per cent agreed women were not “respected and treated fairly” in the defence forces against 31 per cent who thought they were, with a strong gender gap recorded in the expected direction. A timely question on Wikileaks had 53 per cent supporting its release of material against 26 per cent opposed, with 36 per cent believing the government had failed to provide sufficient support to Julian Assange in his legal travails, 22 per cent believing he had received appropriate support and 41 per cent saying they didn’t know. The survey also found strong support for unions, with 48 per cent saying they had been good for workers against 17 per cent bad, and 56 per cent agreeing they remained important for working people against only 19 per cent who disagreed.

Plenty of further recent news to report, most of it involving preselections, and most of it involving the Liberals.

• Patrick Secker, who has held the rural South Australian seat of Barker for the Liberals since 1998, has been defeated for preselection by Mount Gambier lawyer Tony Pasin. Sarah Martin of The Australian reports Secker received only 78 votes in the local ballot, despite personal endorsement from Tony Abbott and moderate SA powerbroker Christopher Pyne, against 164 for Pasin and 40 for a third candidate, Millicent real estate agent and Wattle Range councillor Ben Treloar.

• No such difficulties for Boothby MP Andrew Southcott, who trounced former state party president Christopher Moriarty in a late February preselection ballot by 195 votes to 35, with also-ran Mark Nankivell gaining nine votes. Rebecca Puddy of The Australian reports that “much of the support for Mr Moriarty had disappeared after the federal Labor leadership challenge became apparent”. Like Patrick Secker, Southcott has come under fire within the party over his poor fundraising efforts.

Krystyna Pollard of the Blue Mountains Gazette reports that Louise Markus, the Liberal member for Macquarie, had little trouble seeing off a challenge from Charles Wurf, state division chief executive of the Aged Care Association of Australia, at a ballot held on February 25.

• The Liberals have again preselected marketing executive Fiona Scott, who also ran in 2010, as their candidate for Lindsay. The ABC’s Mark Tobin related on Twitter that Scott won the ballot held last weekend with 62 votes to 42 for Robyn Preston, a Hills Shire councillor. Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports that teacher Margaret Brand was also in the field.

• David Coleman, director of strategy and digital for Nine Entertainment, won a Liberal preselection ballot on the weekend for the Sydney seat of Banks, where Labor’s Daryl Melham had his margin cut from 10.4 per cent to 1.5 per cent in 2010. The Australian’s Media Diary describes Coleman as a factional moderate and “one of David Gyngell’s closest lieutenants”. Mark Tobin of the ABC announced on Twitter that Coleman won 60 votes at the local preselection ballot against 33 for Ron Delezio, a businessman who came to public attention after his daughter Sophie received horrific injuries in separate accidents in 2003 and 2006.

Chris Paver of the Illawarra Mercury reports that five candidates have nominated to succeed the retiring Joanna Gash as Liberal candidate for the south coast NSW seat of Gilmore: Shoalhaven Deputy Mayor Andrew Guile, former Kiama councillor Ann Sudmalis, Ulladulla resident Grant Schultz, Nowra businessman Clive Brooks and Meroo Meadow marketing consultant Catherine Shields. Guile, a one-time staffer to Gash who has since fallen out with her, was rated as the front-runner in a report in the Mercury last October.

• Michael Burr, described by the Burnie Advocate as a “high-profile Devonport real estate business owner”, has won Liberal preselection for the Tasmanian seat of Braddon, which Sid Sidebottom holds for Labor on a margin of 7.5 per cent. Also in the field were Glynn Williams, a North Motton farmer and lawyer described by Chris Pippos of the Burnie Advocate as “ultra conservative”, and Jacqui Lambie, described in the local press only as a “Devonport woman”. Sean Ford of the Burnie Advocate reports that Burr’s backers included Senators Richard Colbeck and Stephen Parry and state MP Adam Brooks. It was thought that Brett Whiteley, who lost his state seat in Braddon at the 2010 election, might be another contender, but he announced in the week before the preselection ballot that he would instead focus on a return to state politics.

• ABC Television reported last night that Joe Bullock, the powerful state secretary of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, is eyeing off Mark Bishop’s position at the top of Labor’s WA Senate ticket. Bishop, who was a number-counter for Kevin Rudd in his recent leadership challenge, says he is still considering whether to seek another term. The other Labor Senator up for re-election is Louise Pratt; there have been suggestions that Labor’s position in Western Australia is so parlous it might only return one Senator, which would be an Australian electoral first.

John Ferguson of The Australian reports that a complex factional realignment in the Victorian ALP might yet save the career of Senator David Feeney, who at present is stuck with the highly precarious third position on the Senate ticket and is up for re-election next year. Feeney has been adrift of the dominant Bill Shorten-Stephen Conroy grouping in the Victorian Right since early 2009, when the former established a “stability alliance” which excluded Right unions the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, the National Union of Workers and the Health Services Union. However, a deal was reached last month which brought the SDA back into the fold and allowed one of its members in the state parliament, James Merlino, to succeed the outgoing Rob Hulls as deputy leader. Sources quoted by Ferguson say that another aspect of the agreement was that if Feeney “failed to gain a winnable seat at the election, he would be accommodated after the poll, probably via a by-election”.

• The federal redistribution of South Australia’s electoral boundaries has been finalised with no amendment to the draft boundaries proposed in August, which were summarised thus by Antony Green.

• The NSW government will introduce legislation to prohibit members of parliament from also serving as councillors, which if passed would require independent Clover Moore to choose between her gigs as lord mayor of Sydney and state member for the Sydney electorate. The move would take effect when local government elections, including the election for the lord mayoralty, are held in September. Newly elected members would be obliged to relinquish council positions within 18 months. The legislation is supported by the Shooters Party but opposed by the Greens, leaving the swing votes in the upper house in the hands of the two Christian Democratic Party members. The Daily Telegraph reports the government is waiting on Fred Nile to be discharged from hospital before pursuing the matter with them, as it presumably does not have high hopes for his party colleague Paul Green, who is also the mayor of Shoalhaven. The Sydney Morning Herald relates that 29 current members of parliament would be affected by the change, among them 17 Liberals, four Greens, four Labor, two independents and one each from the Nationals and the Christian Democrats, although few doubt that a desire to target Moore has been high on the government’s list of motivations. While it is true that the move will, as Barry O’Farrell says, bring the state into line with Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, it is altogether unclear to me why it should not be left to voters to decide if they want a member of parliament serving them on council. Moore has indicated she would abandon her seat in parliament if forced to make a choice. She held off a strong challenge from Liberal candidate Adrian Bartels at last year’s election (which was mostly down to the huge swing from Labor to Liberal), surviving by 3.1 per cent after preferences. When asked by the Wentworth Courier, neither Bartels nor Liberal councillor and lord mayoralty candidate Shayne Mallard ruled out seeking preselection in the event of a by-election for Sydney.

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.

1,237 comments on “Essential Research: 56-44 to Coalition”

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  1. ratsak @ 1188

    Do you think Swan would be ‘Happy as Larry’? to answer a question from the Leader of the Opposition?

    You evil man ratsak 👿 Love it!

  2. bemused, ratsak: yes but perhaps he might also need to ask the Speaker to give him a “mo” to think about it …

    really am going back to work now.

  3. [The only way the states could have prevented much of the slide in powers to the Commonwealth]

    The states’ key mistake was to agree to hand over income tax powers to the Commonwealth during WW II. Thereafter, their ability to raise money was limited, and has since been further eroded (eg by GST, now MRRT). Menzies’ Central Power in the Australian Commonwealth though old, is still the best foundation text.

  4. If there is to be a tax concession on superannuation then it should be in the form of a flat concession rather than a flat tax rate.

    There should be member elected directors for industry super funds.

    The total tax concession for withdrawing money from super must end.

  5. Kezza2

    Might be a bit late to respond to you in regard to your e-book situation. I have installed Calibre to both manage my e-book library and to convert from one e-format to another. Additionally Calibre will let you read the different formats on your own computer without putting the book on an e-reader.
    Calibre 8.41 is now available with additional capabilities including searching for covers, searching for books and being able to modify or add to the metadata.

    Hope this helps, if others have offered the same apologies.

  6. Interesting

    [Latika Bourke
    LNP MP Stuart Robert in Question Time asks about impact of carbon price claims made by CEO of Zarraffa’s Coffee:

    Latika Bourke
    Election night 2010, Stuart Robert is photographed with the aforementioned CEO at his election party:

    Latika Bourke
    I have asked Stuart Robert’s office if the CEO is a donor to the LNP. Will let you know the answer.]

  7. 1203

    The states did not agree to handing over the tax power. They challenged it in the High Court and lost on the grounds that the original sections 51ii and 96 gave the Commonwealth the power. A majority state appointed High Court may have ruled differently. They had earlier handed over their tax collection records as a wartime cooperation measure.

  8. Time for a Dorothy Dixer:

    My question is to the Treasurer, this government has steered the country through the most severe financial downturn since the great depression ………………….. good news and asks for more good news

    The Treasurer. Thank you Mr Speaker: Woe that is a Curly question and I thank the member from xxx, I will be happy to answer as quick as Larry if you would just give me a Moe to get my thoughts in order.

  9. [And speaking of tawdry, what about Christa Hughes whose sole contribution to society seems to be to lower its tone?]

    Is this ex-MGF Christa Hughes? If so I hope they get Pinky Beecroft (Matt Ford) on at some stage.

  10. Diogenes

    While you are around, given his symptoms, would Craig Thomson ordinarily be recommended for a colonscopy? If so, he has my every sympathy.

  11. CTAR1 , its her turning up late ( 5hrs + ) for court TWICE and walking out of court. She has said that she could get better treatment in North Korea and has wanted the judge to stand down etc etc. Her husband Sean Black (ex Labor dodgy ) now dodgy LNP and ex real estate agent doesn’t know where she is when the plod came to arrest her. She is making Sophie Mirabella look sane . She is dumb as a brick .

  12. Marrickville Mauler @ 1202

    bemused, ratsak: yes but perhaps he might also need to ask the Speaker to give him a “mo” to think about it …

    really am going back to work now.

    Go back to work with good conscience after that contribution. 😀

    I am actually trying to get some work done myself.

  13. Government really going hard on the Libs’ big end of town friends. And it’s working too, it’s a bad look seeing them jump up trying to defend the lining of Clive’s Coffers at the expense of everyone getting a small tax cut. I can’t help but think this has to play well for the government, provided they don’t overdo it.

    Of course, Palmer’s own outbursts in the past couple of weeks have not hurt one bit.

  14. @ Lord Barry Bonkton 1190

    Cr. Hajnal Black bears an uncanny resemblance to another unhinged Tea Partier, birther extraordinaire Orly Taitz… also a Russian immigrant turned “self trained” lawyer.

    Both have the hallmarks of botched plastic surgeries that have damaged both their physical appearances AND their intellects.

    What’s with that?


  15. From The Pulse:
    [4.00pm: The Shadow Special Minister of State Bronwyn Bishop is hopping mad about Gary Gray choosing to highlight Mr Palmer’s donations to the Coalition in Question Time.

    Having been booted from the chamber, she’s now issued a statement.

    “The Special Minister of State tried to criticise the Coalition for receiving donations from Mr Clive Palmer whilst failing to mention the West Australian Branch of the Labor Party, the Minister’s home state, taking a donation of $160,000 from the same Mr Palmer,” Mrs Bishop said.

    “The Special Minister of State barely mentioned taking donations from the trade unions and of course failed to itemise specific donations including from the Health Services Union, of Mr Craig Thomson (Member for Dobell) fame.”

    “This is the union that first filed a return with the Australian Electoral Commission showing no political expenditure for 2009/2010 and then amended its declaration to show it spent $24 million, which makes Mr Palmer’s donations pale into insignificance,” Mrs Bishop said.]

    Read more:

  16. Ed Husic has been quite witty answering the MPI. Satirising the Oppn’s constant MPI’s is better than getting steamed up about them.

  17. Tom and OPT

    I always thought that before WWII BOTH the states and Comm levied income tax. It was voluntarily handed over.

    Are you now saying that the states COULD NOT levy income tax if they so chose???

  18. When Peter Slipper ascended to the speakership, Mr Abbott said: “Mr Slipper is now the PM‘s problem.”

    He may have erred in that assessment.

  19. CTAR1 , the Courier mail and Brisbane times have a big articles about her history. I have a farmer friend that has a property on the road that Russell(the old man ) owns at Greenbank .He had a long contract on the property and i think he was waiting for Ms Ban , now Black to find out about the Ripley Valley , which backs onto the property, when she was in planning process. Its the extension of Springfield Satellite city and will have electric rail and duel highway running though it. She got the Public trustee sale of it stopped. He had lost the plot ages ago and when he stopped to talk to my friend, he had not washed for a long time and had a bad smell about him, other than being a Barrister smell.

  20. [The states did not agree to handing over the tax power.]

    Oops, my bad (& aged brain)!

    Of course it should be 1928 & the resulting 1929 referendum, near the starting point of Menzies’ cogent arguments. . Always worth buying if you find a cheap copy; eg in Lifeline book sales & book stores. Hard-back, deep bottle green cover. My copy’s still in storage (due to insurance stoush, with which so many Summer of Sorrows victims are still contending).

    The wartime provisions removed the 2-tier Federal/ state income tax regime. From memory, with the new level of federal wartime taxation, Qlders would have to pay something like 93% income tax

  21. It is an interesting question, one that I have been pondering since reading it.
    Are we more divided by class or nationality?

    I see the L/NP trying to divide be nationalism. This appeal to racial solidarity and fear of outsiders has worked well for the conservatives in Australia for a number of years. The ALP is re-focussing the debate on class, and equity of access to social and economic resources and political influence across the class divide.

    It will be a major shift in the political debate in Australia, and it is the debate the conservatives fear. That is the fear at the root of the L/NP accusations of Labor encouragement of ‘the politics of envy.’

    By the way, I happen to think we are more divided by class than nationality.

  22. Lord Barry – I was in Brisbane a few years ago and must have picked up a local paper and read about her and her husband and Russell and remember it all being about as sus’ as it could get.

    Intrigued that it is still going on!

  23. Dr , must be the Botox ? She has had her tits done (they didn’t move when she bent down in front of me ) and her lips get bigger and smaller over time. She was a party girl when young and visited the valley in Brissie and the goldcoast a lot.

  24. BH @ 1224

    Ed Husic has been quite witty answering the MPI. Satirising the Oppn’s constant MPI’s is better than getting steamed up about them.

    Agree 100%. Ridicule is a devastating weapon as PJK proved time and again and before him Gough Whitlam.

    Who could forget Whitlams jibe at McMahon about ‘Tiberius on the telephone’ or, when the Fib’s forgot to update Billy Snedden’s age on a publication, ‘The Peter Pan of Politics’. And many more like those. Once the voters are laughing at your opponent, you have them beaten.

  25. [Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) documents show the 33-year-old famous for her leg-lengthening surgery …]

    Lord Barry and DRinMelb – I just googled. I’d forgotten about this bit. Bionic woman!

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