The hole where Queensland Labor used to be

Suddenly Kristina Keneally’s performance doesn’t look so bad. What happened to Labor in Queensland on Saturday is without any precedent in Australian history – certainly not since the Second World War, prior to which the party system tended to be more fluid. Labor can be assured of only six seats, holds the lead in only seven, and on the best case scenario will win only eight, for a total of 9% of the Legislative Assembly’s 89 seats. That compares with the “cricket team” of 11 members that Queensland Labor famously managed to return in 1974, at what was previously the gold standard for Australian election massacres – and at that time the parliament only had 82 seats. As for Keneally, she managed to win 20 seats in a chamber of 93, albeit that she did so with 24.0% of the primary vote against a provisional 26.6% for Anna Bligh.

I don’t normally presume to tell the voting public its business, but this is an unhappy state of affairs. While it might be argued that a useful example has been set for future governments considering breaking election commitments, the result is an unmitigated disaster so far as the effective functioning of parliament is concerned. Lacking anything that could meaningfully be described as an opposition, its sessions will henceforth resemble those of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The problem is exacerbated by Queensland’s lack of an upper house, both as a venue for holding the government to account and for providing Labor with a second-eleven to fill out a shadow ministry. The precise dimensions of the problem can be detailed with reference to an online cheat sheet for British high school politics students, which tells us that parliament has five functions: legislature, representation, recruitment, scrutiny and legitimacy. I shall consider the first three in turn, while also shedding light on the last two along the way.

It might be argued that the Queensland parliament’s legislative functioning will be little worse than usual: so long as a disciplined party has a majority of whatever size, a unicameral parliament exists largely to do the bidding of the executive. However, the result will hamper the vitality of the committee system, which offers the public and interested parties a point of access to the legislative process, and helps iron out problems in legislation to the extent that doing so doesn’t tread on the toes of cabinet and the forces to which it responds. Each of the parliament’s 10 current committees have three non-government members from a total of six (seven in the case of the Committee of the Legislative Assembly), requiring 30 non-government members to maintain the existing state of affairs. Since the election appears to have only turned up 11 non-government members, it is clear that these committees will be dominated by the government, tending to make them both less vigorous and less representative.

This brings me to the second function of parliament, which is the one that presumes to make the system democratic: representation. While nothing should be taken away from the immense achievement of the LNP on Saturday, it has still not on present numbers cracked 50% of the statewide vote (although late counting may tip it over the line). However, such is the system in Queensland that it has emerged with very few fetters upon its power. This is not a situation Queenslanders tend to lament. The public is very easily persuaded that good government can be equated to “strong” and “decisive” leadership, rather than apparent abstractions like accountability and consensus. Media players are eager to fortify this view, knowing that systems which concentrate power are most responsive the pressures brought to bear by powerful interests. It tends not to register that such issues lay at the root of the abuses of the Bjelke-Petersen era – for which, incidentally, Queensland voters were far more forgiving than they were for Labor’s failings on Saturday. Opponents of reform may argue that such abuses are best addressed by extra-parliamentary accountability mechanisms such as corruption commissions, ombudsmen and auditors-general, but none of these is a substitute for parliament’s role as the expression of the sovereignty of the people. For as long as it plays this role, democratic principles demand that it be chosen by a system which produces representative outcomes.

There is plainly no clamour for these issues to be resolved by restoring the upper house, which Queensland abolished in 1922. The obvious alternative is to replace the single-member constituency system, which is increasingly a peculiarity of the English-speaking world, with proportional representation. Such a system in its purest form would have given Labor 24 seats, a suitably humiliating total that would nonetheless have left it enough personnel to credibly perform the job of opposition. An Australian public schooled in the notion that power should be wielded singularly and authoritatively would no doubt complain about minority government and the empowerment of marginal groupings, which we are told has had such a disastrous impact in Canberra over the past 18 months. However, there are ways in which such impacts could be limited. One that is very familiar from Australian practice involves dividing the state into regions represented by, to pick a fairly conservative total, five members each. On the basis of Saturday’s results, this would have had the LNP winning three or even four seats in each of the state’s regions, giving it a substantial working majority without entirely demolishing Labor.

There is another possibility which, although foreign to Australian practice, would put to rest any complaint about minority or coalition government. This would be to introduce a directly elected executive along American lines, balanced by a proportionally represented legislature. Such a system would do away with the anachronistic notion that those wishing to hold executive office should have to pay their dues through a lengthy parliamentary career. The limitations of this model were illustrated by the need the LNP felt to pursue its perilous Newman-for-Ashgrove strategy, with potentially disastrous consequences if it didn’t come off. How much more rational it would have been for Anna Bligh and Campbell Newman to have faced off in a direct contest for the premiership with all of Queensland given the chance to vote, together with a second vote to determine the composition of a legislature giving voice to a broad range of interests.

Finally, there is the question of parliament’s role in recruiting political talent. Partisan critics may scoff, but Queensland has been done no favours by the wipeout inflicted upon Labor’s ministry, which has between three and five members left standing out of 15 who were re-contesting their seats. The 43 incoming LNP members will no doubt include many conscientious local representatives and a smattering of stars of the future, but there will just as surely be a number of ill-prepared and under-talented accidents waiting to happen, who will in no way constitute a happy trade-off for Andrew Fraser, Cameron Dick and Stirling Hinchliffe. Even before the election, the LNP showed that its vetting procedures were rather less than fail-safe, with three candidates in seats it looked certain to win forced to withdraw at various points. As noted, the government will not even be able to keep all such members out of mischief by providing them with committee work. More broadly, the election’s demonstration of the remarkable volatility of modern voting behaviour will act as a disincentive for talented people wishing to enter state politics, given the perilous lack of job security involved.

Now then, to what happened on Saturday and why. The following list is by no means exhaustive:

Negativity. Many decades from now, election campaigners will still speak in hushed tones of the day the Crime and Misconduct Commission’s announced it would not proceed with an investigation into Campbell Newman, forcing Anna Bligh to concede: “Right now all I have is questions, I don’t have enough answers from Mr Newman or enough material”. It was then that the Labor’s position deteriorated from disastrous to catastrophic. It is rapidly becoming the fashion to view this election as a morality tale about the dangers of negative campaigning, but this needs to be kept in perspective. When I assembled links to both parties’ television advertising on an earlier post, I found that the LNP campaign consisted of five positive ads and five attacks ads, which is presumably no coincidence: it is exactly how you would expect a balanced and effective campaign to look. The issue for Labor was the entirely personal nature of its attacks, to the extent that it took the appalling risk of involving Newman’s wife. As Dennis Atkins of the Courier-Mail reported on the eve of the election, Labor’s assault did have the LNP spooked in the middle of the campaign, albeit that it clearly need not have done if Newman hadn’t set himself the bar of Ashgrove to clear rather than just the foregone conclusion of a parliamentary majority. So clearly attacks on personal probity can achieve their desired end, but only if they squarely hit their mark. If they don’t, watch out. And if such attacks are all your campaign has had to offer, don’t expect voters to be receptive if you spend the final week pleading for sympathy.

Ashgrove. Labor’s other giant gamble was its total focus on thwarting Campbell Newman in his bid for Ashgrove, on the basis that uncertainty over that result was its only weapon to encourage waverers across the state back into the Labor fold. So it was that Labor wasted little of its campaign breath on the more traditional type of negative advertising which might have done the job – cuts to services under a conservative government being the ever-reliable standby for Labor at state level. A more artful strategy might have integrated such attacks with its anti-Newman theme, portraying the well-connected wheeler and dealer as out of touch with your proverbial working families. The irony for Labor was that the very collapse of its get-Newman strategy was what drove the polling into a tailspin in the final week, which appeared to convince many Ashgrove voters that it would be highly indulgent of them to decapitate an LNP that was unquestionably going to win the election.

It’s time. I’m going to be provocative here and leave Labor’s broken promises and policy failures off the list. My rationale is that the Peter Beattie went into the 2006 election encumbered by the “Dr Death” fiasco, and emerged with almost all of his huge majority intact. The fact is that every government has baggage which accumulates throughout its time in office, and a tipping point inevitably arrives where it can no longer carry it all. As this election shows, the consequences can be disastrous if the government scrapes over the line for one last term in office, which it very often achieves on the back of promises it proves unable to keep. This leaves the government with the problems noted previously: unable to convincingly run on its record, desperate scare campaigns and personal attacks are all it has left. By very stark contrast, it is simplicity itself for the opposition to offer the balance of positive and negative which, as noted previously, is the cornerstone of a successful campaign.

Anna Bligh. Going into the campaign, Anna Bligh’s poll ratings were not impressive in absolute terms, but relative to Labor’s disastrous figures on voting intention they were remarkably strong – stonger certainly than Julia Gillard’s, who for all her much-touted difficulties leads a government with a two-party preferred rating in the upper half of the 40s. Clearly the shine from Bligh’s response to the floods had not entirely worn off. This made her a net asset to the party which, used effectively, would have been a key factor in any less-bad-than-New-South-Wales defeat. However, Labor demolished all that by not only pursuing its personal attacks on Campbell Newman, but placing Bligh at the centre of them. For Bligh herself to use parliamentary privilege to suggest Newman might be imprisoned jettisoned the fairly elementary axiom of political strategy that leaders should be seen to be above this sort of muckraking, which should instead be left to a designated ministerial attack dog. Labor’s contrary rationale seemed to be that Bligh was the only thing the government had going for it, and that she thus had to bear the whole burden of its public communications. The entirely predictable effect of this was that Bligh’s personal ratings tanked as the campaign progressed, taking with it one of Labor’s few remaining assets.

Federal factors. “This was a state election fought entirely on state issues”, went John Howard’s Sunday morning mantra throughout the 2000s, as his state counterparts mopped up the blood after yet another electoral drubbing the night before. Yesterday came the turn of Labor interviewees on Insiders and Meet the Press to trot out this very same line. Howard of course was routinely mocked for this, but he usually came up looking pretty good when his own time to face the voters came around. Are things any different this time? I tend to think that they are. “Voters are intelligent enough to distinguish between federal and state issues”, politicians are wont to say, by way of finessing state election defeats and flattering their target market besides. However, one politician who memorably demurred was an earlier Queensland Premier, Wayne Goss, who after losing office in the twilight of the Keating years remarked that voters had been “sitting on their verandas with baseball bats”, waiting to take a swing at the first Labor government that came along – which, through not fault of his own, happened to be his own. That there was an element of this on Saturday cannot be seriously disputed: the only question is how much. Certainly federal Labor is doing quite a bit worse in Queensland polling than John Howard was at the time the Coalition was crushed at the 2001 Queensland election. In the corresponding Newspoll result, Howard’s Coalition trailed in Queensland 54-46, while John Howard’s personal ratings were 37% approval and 53% disapproval. This hardly seems a ringing endorsement, until you compare it with the most recent figures for Labor in the state: a two-party deficit of 59-41, with Julia Gillard on 25% approval and 65% disapproval.

Electoral geography. Compared with NSW, Labor looks to have performed about 2.5% better on the primary vote and 2.0% better on two-party preferred (I believe they are shooting at a bit below 38% on the latter count), but on seats their performance is much worse. This is because Labor’s support in Queensland is spread more thinly throughout Brisbane than in Sydney and Wollongong, where Labor enjoys concentrations of support that translate into a greater number of unloseable seats.

The media. Well, no, actually. From where I’m sitting in Western Australia, this looked nothing like the 2008 WA election campaign, when barely a day went by without The West Australian deploying its front page in pursuit of a vendetta against the Labor government, entirely irrespective of whether or not the day’s events had furnished it with any material with which to do so. Far from being annihilated, that government actually came within a handful of votes of clinging to office. Murdoch tabloid though it may be, the Courier-Mail contented itself with reporting what was actually happening. No doubt it was a different story on talk radio, but that is a medium which preaches to the converted: it is monopoly daily newspapers which truly have the power to shape the campaign agenda, and the Courier-Mail exercised that power even-handedly and responsibly.

Women’s issues. Women leaders contesting state elections are now batting one from seven (although the picture is somewhat rosier at territory level). It’s true that this is partly down to Labor’s apparent habit of turning to women when their governments are running out of puff and headed for defeat in any case, but there might also be a peculiarity of Australian culture at work here. On a possibly related note, female representation has taken a knock with the LNP’s triumph, as only 16 of their 89 candidates were women.

Labor’s issues. Landslides copped by Labor tend to be a) bigger than those inflicted on the conservatives, and b) suffered from government rather than opposition. But that is a subject for a future post.

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.

683 comments on “The hole where Queensland Labor used to be”

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  1. [After cutting people off repeatedly, he cut the host off and then said let me finish]

    Tony Jones host? Good, needs to happen more often.

  2. I’m reading a book at the moment (you should try it, Gee Whiz) about Murdoch and there is a reference to a petition by journalists from The Australian in 1975. It read:

    “We can be loyal to The Australian, no matter how much its style, thrust and readership changes, as long as it retains the traditions, principles and integrity of a responsible newspaper. We cannot be loyal to a propaganda sheet.”

    How times change. I don’t know who the journos were back then, but can you imagine, even for a nanosecond, flunkies like Shanahan, Maiden , Franklin and Old Father Time himself, Kelly, showing that sort of backbone?

    On Kelly, something stuck in my mind from the eighties – it must have been when Peacock was on one of his leadership stints. It also must have also been one of those rare occasions when Murdoch was backing Labor because Peacock rounded on Kelly and let him have it about his bias. He was probably right. What did stick in my mind was the imperious look Kelly gave him, as if Peacock dare question him. What it underlines really is that Kelly, for all his ridiculous pomposity, is just a gun for hire. Perhaps a better way of putting it is he simply does what he is told. Editor at Large, my large arse.

  3. William Bowe said:

    “The problem is exacerbated by Queensland’s lack of an upper house, both as a venue for holding the government to account and for providing Labor with a second-eleven to fill out a shadow ministry.”

    From the Punch:

    “It was a Labor Government which in 1922 abolished the Legislative Council, the state’s Upper House. The aim was to end the power of non-Labor councilors to block legislation.

    And 70 years later a Labor Government ended compulsory preferential voting in state elections, making it optional. That aim was to prevent the Liberals and Nationals feeding off each other’s preference votes.

    Effectively, Campbell Newman will be Premier for as long as he likes, thanks in part to those two Labor initiatives.”

    Well that says it all really, I have listened to ALP Supporters bleat about how we do not have an Upper House in this state on several posts over the past couple of days to keep Mr Newman under control.

    Guess what guys, you did it to yourselves.

    Quite frankly I do not care if during this term the Queensland Parliament is like the the “Supreme Soviet”, it needs to be to undo the damage done by Labor after the last 20 years, I’m sure it will “Resume Normal Service” after the next state election 🙂

  4. jenauthor if you are around, I am surprised no-one to my knowledge has picked up on this.

    NPR in the US have produced an Ethics Handbook which seems pretty good to me. You might like to check it out and pick up ideas for your pursuit of the ABC


    I highly recommend this to anyone concerned about media bias and standards (all of you?)

  5. [Quite frankly I do not care if during this term the Queensland Parliament is like the the “Supreme Soviet”, it needs to be to undo the damage done by Labor after the last 20 years, I’m sure it will “Resume Normal Service” after the next state election ]

    Could you (preferably in dot point form) outline said “damage”

    It woud be enlightening

  6. [ confessions Posted Monday, March 26, 2012 at 9:49 pm @ 576

    Good evening all.

    First day of my new job, and I’m exhausted. ]


    [ Apparently I’m expected to give media interviews, so was scheduled into media training with the organisation’s spin doctors public relations and media management advisors, along with a few other new starters. Ho hum.

    But the PR advisor giving the training gave Anna Bligh as an eg of exceptional media presentation: pathos, on message, never gets sidetracked or takes the journo baits. But she also cited Julia Gillard, asking our group if we’d noticed the subtle shift in the way she handles the media, and noting approvingly that her performances are now more polished and give hints of the person beneath. Nods all round. ]

    She now talks faster. I think that’s a good thing. I think she suffered from Simom Crean disease before.

  7. [ confessions Posted Monday, March 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm @ 582

    “We are the only party who took a carbon tax to an election and we got it up”

    Labor’s policy was for a carbon price via an emissions trading scheme, which the party had had for the best part of 4 years at the time of the 2010 election.

    So Larissa Waters is correct. ]

    Actually, she’s wrong. We don’t have a carbon tax. We have a price on carbon via a cap and trade system (the CPRS), as was proposed by Julia Gillard in the last election.

  8. A sample from the NPR Ethics Handbook:

    Our purpose is to pursue the truth. Diligent verification is critical. We take great care to ensure that statements of fact in our journalism are both correct and in context. In our reporting, we rigorously challenge both the claims we encounter and the assumptions we bring. We devote our resources and our skills to presenting the fullest version of the truth we can deliver, placing the highest value on information we have gathered and verified ourselves.

    Accuracy in our reporting
    Accuracy is at the core of what we do. We do our best to ensure that everything we report faithfully depicts reality – from the tiniest detail to the big-picture context that helps put the news into perspective. Facts are incredibly slippery. Studies of press accuracy routinely find mistakes – sometimes many of them – in news media reports. This means that when journalists – even the best ones – think they’re getting it right, they’re all too often wrong. Errors are inevitable. But our best defense against them is constant vigilance. This is why we systematically and rigorously review our facts before we make our reporting public.

    When making a general assertion of fact in a story, the reporter and editor should be able to immediately identify the source and explain why that person or organization is credible and authoritative. This is essential to the editing process and it also lets us stand by our reporting in a clear and convincing way if a story comes under question. We should never be in the position of looking for corroboration after a report has
    been published or broadcast.

    In addition to this care in the way we source general assertions of fact, the language of such assertions must be precise. We shouldn’t put ourselves in a position where we believe the thrust of a statement is correct and supported by the facts, but the statement is open to question because we didn’t express it with enough precision.

    Ensuring we have our factual details correct is only part of the accuracy equation. It’s just as important to make sure we’ve correctly interpreted those facts in our reporting. The burden is on us to ensure that the way we use the material we collect — sound, photos and words — is true to their intended meaning and context. When quoting or paraphrasing anyone – whether in a blog post, an online story or in an on-air
    “actuality” – consider whether the source would agree with the interpretation, keeping in mind that sources may sometimes parse their words even though we accurately capture their meaning. An actuality from someone we interview or a speaker at an event should reflect accurately what that person was asked, was responding to or was addressing.

    Great journalism comes in part from the collaborative efforts of reporters, editors and producers, who all play a key role in ensuring accuracy. We believe in teamwork. But good editors are also good prosecutors. They test, probe and challenge reporters, always with the goal of making NPR’s stories as good (and therefore as accurate) as possible.

    “A successful editor has to help the reporter see the big picture, but also needs to fret over details,” says Jonathan Kern in Sound Reporting. And, “above all … editors are responsible for making sure that reports are accurate and fair.”

    Any falsehoods in our news reports can cause harm. But errors that may damage reputations or bring about grief are especially dangerous, and extra precautions should be taken to avoid them. We don’t report an individual’s death, for example, until it has been confirmed by authoritative sources and we’re certain the family is aware. In those cases, err on the side of caution. Go slowly, and above all, get clearance from a
    senior manager.

    This cautious, considered approach also applies to what we do on social media sites. (For more on that point, see the discussion below about accuracy online.)

    Goodness me…. fancy expecting journalist to be able to identify the source of each fact they report!!! What’s the world coming to?

  9. Anthony Grace,

    [ Quite frankly I do not care if during this term the Queensland Parliament is like the the “Supreme Soviet”, it needs to be to undo the damage done by Labor after the last 20 years, I’m sure it will “Resume Normal Service” after the next state election ]

    And just what is that “damage”, Anthony? Facts rather than rhetoric & spin will be fine!

    If the Queensland Legislative Council had continued in its original format right up to the present day, then Queensland would probably be still in the horse & buggy days!

    No Australian Parliament could operate effectively under such a system.

  10. Gusface,

    * Sold State Assets without discussing prior to election (in attempt to pay off rising state debt).

    * Double cost of Registering Vehicles in Queensland (in attempt to pay off rising state debt).

    * Doubled Stamp Duty on Home Purchases (in attempt to pay off rising state debt).

    * Ran State Debt up to a level where International Credit Agencies withdrew our AAA Credit Rating.

    * Over filled Queensland Health with Bureaucrats instead of providing front line staff in public hospitals.

    * Allowed state education system to degrade to a point where gusface spells the word “would” as “woud”

    I could go on but it is a waste of time, here is a web site that was prepared for you earlier

    Maybe you should have read t before you cast that Labor Vote on Saturday 🙂

  11. scorpio @ 613

    And just what is that “damage”, Anthony? Facts rather than rhetoric & spin will be fine!

    Scorps…. you should know by now, Fibs don’t do facts!

  12. scorpio,

    I am not going to allow you to upset me, you are disgruntled Labor voter and I can’t change that.

    See my previous post for gusface.

    Have a wonderful evening.

  13. Is the title of this thread “The hole where Queensland Labor used to be” a reference to the lyric “The hole where my heart used to be”?

  14. Well, I think we’ll all be watching QLD over the next few months to see how a Tory with no Parliamentary experience handles the show.

    Sadly, I expect the reference to the “Supreme Soviet” may not be far from the truth, particularly if CanDo sticks with the standard Tory New Government Handbook: Sack, slash and burn.

    Like some others here, I’m a little surprised that he hasn’t found the supposed Black Hole that will release him from any campaign promises or policies yet, but I think he must have opened the Book at p10 instead of p1.

    No doubt some kind soul will point out the error and we can expect it to be rectified with a breathless deficit announcement within the week.

    Meanwhile, axes will be falling throughout the PS.

    He”ll also no doubt be griding-up for a fight with the Police, Teachers and Nurses Unions (just like Fatty and Ted did). I certainly hope he has better luck that they did with that.

    Still, if you’ve got the Supreme Soviet behind you, I guess you can do pretty-much whatever you like.

  15. The problem for Queensland is not that there is no upper house, but there no one to demand accountability at the lower house level.

    Labor and the handful of independents are essentially rubble.

    Representative democracy has temporary ceased at the state level there.

    Time will tell whether the just on 50% of the conservative vote can satisfy 100% of the electorate.

    I suspect not.

    However, right wing Queenslanders seem to love one-party rule so that is it. Nicklin was it for years then JBP? Something totally odd about Queensland politics – must be something to do with some much of it being in the tropics.

    Can’t wait until Man Hatter Katter grows his party. What a hoot! He and the Right Wing of the Nationaals slugging it out for the Archie Bunker vote.

    Fortunately, more sanity exists further south and we will get a real laugh out Queenslanders being taken for a ride by the white shoe brigade. The Fat One has already started. He wants some returns for his political patronage.

    I thought the name Deep North was a bit of misnomer but it is uncanny how much of the Far North is like the Deep South in the States.

  16. Anthony Grace thinks the Tories are not going to sell-of QLD State Assets, raise stamp duties or increase rego fees


  17. Scorpio, Bemused, Gusface, this is my last post on Crikey until the Federal Election. I will not be looking at any future posts on this thread, let me leave by saying you truly are leftards and I can no longer tolerate wasting time explaining this to you 🙂

  18. Gusface,

    * Sold State Assets without discussing prior to election (in attempt to pay off rising state debt).

    Hmmm, dont gvts do that to retire debt cf Howard Gvt

    * Double cost of Registering Vehicles in Queensland (in attempt to pay off rising state debt).

    I understand Qld had the lowest cost anyways, whats wrong with bringing costs into line with budgetrequirements cf Howard Gvt

    * Doubled Stamp Duty on Home Purchases (in attempt to pay off rising state debt).

    See the car rego thingy

    * Ran State Debt up to a level where International Credit Agencies withdrew our AAA Credit Rating.

    Umm there was the GFC and floods that did stretch revenues

    * Over filled Queensland Health with Bureaucrats instead of providing front line staff in public hospitals.

    cant comment on that

    * Allowed state education system to degrade to a point where gusface spells the word “would” as “woud”

    cute, but i dont understand your point

    I could go on but it is a waste of time, here is a web site that was prepared for you earlier

    Ooops the link didnt work, try this one for facts

  19. I note that AG has left the scene.

    Bit rich criticising someone’s type and then making one himself.

    Apparently the ‘damage’ Labor did was to raise taxes and then ‘waste’ the spending.

    I wonder if this lost soul will turn up again?

    Clearly this character is from the ‘slash and burn’ school of government.

  20. How about a bit of sympathy for the substantial minority of Qlders who didn’t vote LNP?

    BTW, LNP highest percentages (pushing 60%) were achieved in Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast areas. Both areas are also popular destinations for southern retirees. Coincidence?

  21. In answer to an earlier query about ReachTel’s performance, I can confidently answer: “shit, who knows”. The last Ashgrove overstated Labor beyond the margin of error, but there’s good reason to think that might have been because they lost votes over the final three days. The earlier Ashgrove polling moved in tandem with what published polling and reports of internal polling were saying. The Mount Cooth-tha poll in the second last week was right on the money, but given that was before Labor fell 7% after “no evidence against Newman” (so says Peter Beattie of Labor’s tracking polling), it probably shouldn’t have been. Its Ferny Grove poll of mid-February and Lytton poll of early December were far worse for Labor than the election result, which is obviously saying something. So I suggest the diagnosis for ReachTel must remain “treat with caution”.

  22. Can’t see much sense in those numbers. I’m sure it will link into a nice little doom meme and we’ll get to hear endless questions on when Labor is going to dump the PM. Again.

  23. J Gillard Preferred Prime Minister +1 to 40, T Abbott unchanged at 37. A nice gap beginning to open up methinks, although the 2PP has taken a hit. Now is not the time to get wobbly. 18 months left to build.

  24. [Fiz
    Posted Monday, March 26, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink
    Can’t see much sense in those numbers. I’m sure it will link into a nice little doom meme and we’ll get to hear endless questions on when Labor is going to dump the PM. Again.]

    Just a 56 seat majority if translated exactly (well by my calculations anyway, could be off one or two).

    A very nice doom and gloom meme for Libs…

  25. Anthony Grace,

    [Scorpio, Bemused, Gusface, this is my last post on Crikey until the Federal Election. I will not be looking at any future posts on this thread, let me leave by saying you truly are leftards and I can no longer tolerate wasting time explaining this to you ]

    Bimey! We have been blessed with the presence of Tony Abbott himself.

    Cutting and running seems to be his finest talent. 😉

    Where’s Finns when you need him?

  26. gusface,

    [ scorps

    LOL ]

    I’m having a crack at the other half of that cask of cheap wine.

    Hope I get better coverage on AFV than I did the other night. Some of the best replies were missed! 😉

  27. You wonder about people like AG.

    They come here full of self-righteousness, sanctimoniously trying to ‘set the record straight’ then throw a hissy fit and bunk off.

    I hope that it is a promise about not turning up until the next election, as we have enough tory hacks here for the time being.

  28. [Possum Comitatus ‏ @Pollytics

    @GrogsGamut That’s actually a pretty uber-fucking-bizarro thing to happen

    Possum Comitatus ‏ @Pollytics

    Cross-pollster volatility is up the wazoo at the moment.They’re all off in different directions, different magnitudes, diff personal ratings]

    Possum commenting on Newspoll tonight

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