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. Bob Katter is having another week off – that makes it hard for Rob Oakeshott’s immigration amendment bill to be voted upon favourably if that was what was intended this week.

    Perhaps it will only be introduced

  2. Thank you all for your forebearance. We’re back (on this post at least – others to follow), but no, we’re not out of the woods. Further unannounced shutdowns can probably be anticipated. The “recent comments” widget is off for the time being because it apparently causes a lot of strain.

  3. William

    Any views on distinctions between recent Essential and Newspoll outcomes especially as to others and ALP primary?

  4. William,

    “The “recent comments” widget is off for the time being because it apparently causes a lot of strain’.

    You’ve been saying that for years!

  5. A bit more of the recent, Jeffemu. Apologies in advance for further unannounced shutdowns, but these apparently have to be done in response to unanticipated strains on the system with very short notice. Please note that the most recent Queensland election thread is now open for comments, for those wishing to discuss the looming bloodbath there.

  6. William

    I for one am grateful for small mercies and pleased to be back. You don’t realise how much you miss something until it is gone.

  7. William good to have you back

    I do not think the regulars will be visiting the Qld Election tred, you will be lucky to get 10 message and most will be the LP supporters

  8. Shellbell, if you plug the primary vote figures as published (i.e. rounded to the nearest whole number) into the 2010 preference distributions, you get 55.7-44.3 from today’s Essential and 53.8-46.2 from last week’s Newspoll, which isn’t as different as all that. The big difference on the primary vote is that Newspoll has the Coalition much lower (43 per cent against 48 per cent) and “others” much higher (14 per cent against 9 per cent). This was probably an aberration on the part of Newspoll, which only had it at 9 per cent a fortnight earlier. My best guess is that Essential hit a bad sample for Labor a week ago, and that Labor’s position will improve a little further when that result washes out of their fortnightly average next week (unless of course they hit another bad sample for Labor in this week’s polling).

  9. Lets hope the Essential doesn’t strike any more abnormalities then, gave me quite a turn. Fingers crossed all will be OK with PB

  10. William

    Are you aware whether David Coleman actually lives in Banks? Delezio didn’t but played on the fact that his mother lived in the electorate. He also ran a very poor campaign.

  11. Nice to have you back William. Although I post occasionally I do browse & read PB a lot. Quite missed my ‘PB fix’ I did. Fingers crossed. 🙂

  12. So if Essential’s weekly sample was 58-42 last week, that would make it 54-46 this week? Not bad news for Labor in that case, but last week might have just been a rogue.

  13. [ Please note that the most recent Queensland election thread is now open for comments, for those wishing to discuss the looming bloodbath there. ]

    Nah! They are just holding back their intentions to fool the LNP and Clive.

    Anna will slide across the line with a sliver of light to spare! 😉

  14. The level of support for the Unions is interesting. Provides a contrast and highlights how out of tune the Coalition have been with their line of attack against Swans criticism of the very rich where they claim that the Unions are ‘just as big a player’.

    It seems the majority think the Unions are generally ‘good’.

  15. Leveson this week:

    Various people from the Press and PR people from Police as well as three Chief Constables.

    Of interest might be –

    [Tuesday – Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe (MPS) & Chief Constable Chris Sims (West Midlands Police)

    Wednesday – Chief Constable Stephen House (Strathclyde Police)]

    (In Scotland they’re having their own investigation onto NI so CC House from Strathclyde might be interesting)

  16. I hope somebody has advised Slipper that BK is going to be there at Question Time tomorrow so that he can announce his presence! 😉

    It should be mandatory for the speaker to announce the presence of any PBér at QT. 😉

  17. Lovely comment from Erica Betz!

    What a grub he is, and after his part in the Auscar scandal too. You would think he would maintain a low (very low) profile after that little episode!

    He’s got more front than Buckingham Palace!

    [ Opposition Senate leader Eric Abetz on Monday said the real issue when it came to Mr Thomson was “whether he is a crook not whether he is crook”. ]

  18. Currently holidaying in Port Macquarie – my wife and I feel inclined to:

    1. Leave a message of support & appreciation at Rob Oakeshott’s office
    2. Tell every local we see reading the Australian or Telegraph that they are very lucky to have him as their local member

  19. [CO
    Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink
    Currently holidaying in Port Macquarie – my wife and I feel inclined to:

    1. Leave a message of support & appreciation at Rob Oakeshott’s office
    2. Tell every local we see reading the Australian or Telegraph that they are very lucky to have him as their local member]
    Think Lyne Lady Leonie and Oakeshott Country would agree with you there, I would love to be a little further south and be in his electorate and not in Prunefaces who got thrown out today

  20. [Bob Katter is having another week off ]

    Hawker Britton have an interesting report on their website about the voting patterns of the independents. One aspect of this the attendance of the indies in parliament for major votes. What is noteworthy is the high absence rate of Katter from key votes – sometimes for weeks on end so it seems. The others are absent sometimes – no problem with that but not anywhere near the level of Katter. The absence of Katter is not providing particularly good attendance value from the member for Kennedy.

  21. [QT Albo’s “unparliamentary phrase”. Hilarious moment!]

    Wasn’t it just. better still, the Speaker didn’t hear it above the Oppo’s din, so no withdrawal & it’s in Hansard! 😀

    Pyne chucking a more than usually petulant tanty over Slipper’s calling time on a matter, before the Oppo got the last word in – that ought to teach him not to waste time on POOs, though it won’t.

    All in all a very satisfying QT even if I had to watch it on the teeny weeny Live Broadcast screen because ABC24 was screening the Bligh v Newman debate.

  22. CO – welcome to paradise – tho a bit wet today… 100% agree about Rob O – sadly here in paradise 50% retired, mostly listen to shock jocks, most of other 50% workers on the job have shock jocks on their radios blaring away all day!! it was an entrenched national party electorate until Rob took over after council sacked. Sadly it may revert to type – outlying areas not so bad. we’ll see…. welcome anyway and enjoy your stay!

  23. [Lyne Lady
    Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink
    gigi 9 – is there a link to that anywhere – missed it!]
    Pleased you are back hope to get together maybe first week in May, will be in contact, also hope Oakeshott Country Leonie, Grantplant, BH and Lynchpin if he is down can think about it, also anyone else in the midnorth Coast area. Ask William for my email address
    BTW just been talking to my friend, her husband a week tomorrow morning after he got the liver transplant is sitting up, talking well, eating and giving cheek, his skin colour is back to normal as are his eyes. Amazing

  24. (Lucky) just checked in, good to see PB back in action, and may it well continue – somebody has to keep the Coalition and their main stream media cheersquad honest from its lies, diceit and distortions.

    (Unlucky) As soon as I went to watch QT today, what happens? That Wyne calls a sensure motion. It’s an absolute joke! I have truly had enough of Abbott.

    They should take that MONKEY round the back of Parliament House for a good belting!

  25. shellbell, NO!

    But I am down after losing a little on the Tigers, a little more on the Knights and plenty after the Bunnies, fair dinkum I can’t say it 😛 umm after Penrith lost.

    I never chase money, and always bet strategically, but I can get out on the Sharks tonight.

    My multi is still alive on Storm, Cows, Dogs and tonight Sharks, as well. 😐

  26. I thought this was a good longer term reform announced today. It’s been foreshadowed for some time, now we see some more details…

    [PM reveals HECS plan for TAFE students
    Updated March 19, 2012 16:58:23

    Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced details of her plan to give TAFE students access to HECS-style loans.

    Ms Gillard says up to 60,000 TAFE students could benefit from the $1.75 billion package, which she will take to next month’s Council of Australian Governments meeting.]

  27. mari
    great news about your friend. it all sounds good. first week in may fine with me – we can meet here – then we can be as rowdy as we like!

  28. I hope RU doesn’t mind, but I thought this comment on AFV was worth posting here.

    [ruawake says:
    March 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Sky News has

    SICK LEAVE SCANDAL as a headline.

    How f*cked are our media.]

  29. From this morning…

    [Windsor opposes forestry burning plan
    David Wroe
    March 19, 2012

    A CONTROVERSIAL push by crossbench MP Rob Oakeshott to allow forestry companies to earn renewable energy subsidies by burning native forest wood looks set to be shot down, with fellow independent Tony Windsor refusing to back the deal.

    Mr Oakeshott’s move, which infuriated the Greens and sparked a vigorous environmental campaign, appears likely to fall short of a majority when it goes to the Parliament this week, mostly likely today.]

    This bill just got voted down! 72-72 with Speaker casting deciding vote against! He’s sided with the govt in the vote, that will wind up the Coalition. Of course, it’s convention for the speaker to vote against changes to the status quo, but its still a sharp reminder of the post defection numbers.

  30. scorpio
    you can tweet pete at @PeterSlipperMP btw – paul bong claimed today pete was impeccable! i couldn’t agree more!

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