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. Listening to all these questions on the increase on prices with a CT I reckon it will be fun watching the ACCC go after the false claims which will surely come.

    Perhaps an nonfactual Opposition comments should be referred to the ACCC as well.

    bemused – the Oppn might go into meltdown but comments like those suggested by Tom are just clever in the mode of earlier witty pollies.

  2. And speaking of tawdry, what about Christa Hughes whose sole contribution to society seems to be to lower its tone?
    [TONY JONES: Let’s go to Christa Hughes and the original question, why is the political debate in Australia so shallow? Is it because our politicians think we’re stupid or because we are stupid?

    CHRISTA HUGHES: Oh, look, what I want to say is I cannot stand how our Prime Minister speaks to us. People are so excited… ‘Isn’t it exciting we’ve got a female prime minister?’ And it really shattered me. She reminded me of that relief teacher that would come to school when you’re in primary school and talk to you like an idiot. And now that we’re spoken to like idiots you behave like idiots. So I don’t know. Who’s the idiot? That’s our leader.]
    As you can see, Christa Hughes epitomises the stupidity referred to!

  3. Hopefully Joe Citizen will extrapolate out that it is ok to taser people in the back

    Yep its pretty hard to accept the need to use tasers when someone is running away.
    Last nights ABC TV News read out the conditions under which Tasers are restricted to and it doesn’t seem to fit this incident.

    IF, IF this whole thing was *allegedly* about a minor theft from a convenience store it makes it worse.

    The bloke who fired the Taser is also going to have to live with it as well.

  4. [BTW Have we been off line again?]

    No, but some people seem to be having problems peculiar to their own browsers and computers. Firefox won’t open PB at all on one of my computers.

  5. [gigi
    Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink
    Kezza2 1140

    It’s very sad indeed. What makes it even more pathetic is that everyone seemed to be listening to GG extolling the PM’s skills. Then all of a sudden she had to make a butt out of the PM’s butt and everyone laughed.]
    It was pathetic!

    The only plus I can see is that JG never has to ask “Does my bum looks big in this”?

  6. B Bishop behaves as if she belonged to the royal family. I’m pretty sure that deep in her heart she occasionally longs to be called “Her Highness”. Mind you she does bear some resemblance to Princess Anne.

  7. Peter of Marino @ 1132

    Yes I normally scroll past her posts for that reason as she does have a propensity to over react when PBers post an alternative narrative that conflicts with her view of the world. Her attacks on some of the more intellectual conservatives that post here are woeful and poorly thought out on what is not just a blog for ALP hacks.

    Speaking as an ‘ALP hack’, I agree.

    It seems some of my fellow ‘ALP hacks’ lack confidence in their own position and seek to stifle others rather than engage and attempt to educate or persuade.

    I have been thoroughly enjoying my exchanges with my ‘comrade’ DavidWH as an example. Poor david is more confused than conservative but he is a thoroughly nice guy and has a sense of humour, something which some on my side appear to sometimes lack.

  8. William @ 1160

    Maybe we could lay off the character assessments for a while.

    Awww William, I was just about to get to you. 😀

  9. [No, but some people seem to be having problems peculiar to their own browsers and computers. Firefox won’t open PB at all on one of my computers.]

    Thanks, William. I have noted that use of the “preview” button has frequently preceded the 550 error notice. This also happened today. It may not be relevant; but I’m mentioning it just in case.

  10. and now Bronnie and the puff adder, “scoreboard”. 5-1.

    No, make that 6-1 with member for Fadden gone

    Albo on a yellow, the tories didnt like Clive Palmer being talked about by him and then by Nicola.

  11. William – I am using firefox and have had a 500 error only a couple of times but I just go back a page and then refresh and it seems to come good. No real hassle.

  12. I reckon everyone who gets the boot should have to donate $1000 to charity. (and not a political party)
    A pollie swear-tin.

  13. 7-1! Member for Forde.

    Very strict on POOs today which are abuses of the standing order. Good to see – like red cards for diving in the soccer.

    And now govt confirms they’ll support Oakeshott’s migration amendment Bill. Not wantnig to bait anyone who holds the opposite view in good faith but I think this one getting up would save lives as well as facilitating more people gaining refuge.

  14. Great idea Puff! The Speaker could receive nominations for the charity of the day like he receives proposed MPIs

    Hockey off!! 8-1. But will he go?

  15. W.B tried to comment when Hockey got the slipper, but was told to log in to comment? I was logged in ? Using F.Fox . I have logged out and in again to try again.

  16. PTMD @ 1182

    Julia basically called the front bench of the oppos corrupt when in the Howard gov’t.

    Too kind!

    The Liberal Party is basically a mafia like criminal enterprise. AWB, invasion of Iraq etc and now dedicated to allowing the wholesale extraction of Australian resources, for a fraction of their value, to enrich their corporate mates in return for financial donations. 👿

  17. Stupid idea to try to misrepresent Albo from those responsible for regional rorts. See you later Bludgers, have to work I cant stand listening to Andrew Robb’s MPI talking crap on economic policy.

  18. Bemused @ 1146

    [ And that would send the opposition into meltdown. ]

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

  19. Bit of gold from Roxon earlier re: Palmer wtte “he’s been watching too much Get Smart, he’s certainly had to deal with a lot of KAOS from those opposite.” Wonder how Hansard will spell it?

  20. My day has just got better , my Cr. Hajnal Black (nee Ban ) is on the run from police. Do not approach , as she is a Australian Tea Party founder and member. As Barnaby Joyce was the MC at her wedding , along with Clive Palmer and other Fiberals , should the police search their properties ? How can someone be a bounty hunter ????

  21. bemused.I agree with that analogy. AKA crooks, thieves and liars, with honour, mental health, life and limb sacrificed to their ideology and the profits of the few. There is a shoe that fits.

  22. Clive Palmer askes who is financing Drew Hutton to object to mining – Clive can’t believe anyone would ever act from conscientious beliefs. In his world there’s alsways a profit in everything.

    Bravo bemused
    [the wholesale extraction of Australian resources, for a fraction of their value, to enrich their corporate mates in return for financial donations.]

  23. [Bit of gold from Roxon earlier re: Palmer wtte “he’s been watching too much Get Smart, he’s certainly had to deal with a lot of KAOS from those opposite.” Wonder how Hansard will spell it?]

    I wonder if the press picked up on that ? Or would they let auto correct do their job for them… 😀

  24. Believe it or not I suspect that Voldemort’s spin will get traction in the sunny north. Tried to goad a Lib on this and he said “might have a point.” So guess it will not be laughed off the stage. Please send 10 B doubles of tin foil urgently

  25. [I wonder if the press picked up on that ? Or would they let auto correct do their job for them…]

    Katharine Murphy got it right.

  26. The only way the states could have prevented much of the slide in powers to the Commonwealth is to have the Constitution give them the power of appointment (and dismissal) of the majority of Justices of the High Court. The most likely scenario for this would have been 1 justice per state with the Commonwealth appointing the Chief Justice. A majority of states power to call referendums to change the Constitution and a more restrained version of the combination of sections 51ii & 96 would have helped as well.

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