Morgan face-to-face: 59-41 to Coalition; Seat of the week: Bass

Morgan’s face-to-face polling from last weekend, which has been published a day earlier than usual, shows Labor up slightly off a record low the week before, with their primary vote up a point to 30.5%. The Coalition is also up slightly, by half a point to 46%, with the Greens steady on 12%. A narrowing in the headline respondent-allocated two-party figure, from 60.5-39.5 to 59-41, is mostly down to a slight increase in the preference flow to Labor. With regard to the ongoing disparity between this result and the two-party figure derived from preference flows at the last election, which is steady at 55.5-44.5, Morgan has taken to adding the following footnote: “An increasing proportion of Greens voters are indicating a preference for the L-NP ahead of the ALP. At the 2010 Federal Election only 20% of Greens voters preferenced the L-NP, but recent Morgan Polls have this figure closer to 40%”.

The latest instalment of Seat of the Week, like the last two, is brought to you by the letter B.

Seat of the week: Bass

Still famous for the by-election that provided a catalyst for the Coalition’s decision to block supply in 1975, Bass has been an arm wrestle between Labor and Liberal ever since, changing hands at five out of the six elections between 1993 and 2007. The electorate has been little changed since it was created with the state’s division into five single-member electorates in 1903, at all times covering Launceston and the state’s north-eastern corner. Launceston accounts for slightly less than three-quarters of its voters, and has been trending to Labor over the past two elections: between 2004 and 2010, Labor’s two-party vote in Launceston progressed from 47.6% to 58.3%, compared with 46.4% to 54.0% in the remainder of the electorate.

Labor first won Bass when it secured its first ever parliamentary majority at the 1910 election, and lost it six years later when its member Jens Jensen followed Billy Hughes into the Nationalist Party. Jensen retained the seat as a Nationalist at the 1917 election, and it remained with the party after he lost its endorsement in 1919. Labor’s next win came with the election of Jim Scullin’s government in 1929, but it was again lost to a party split when Allan Guy followed Joseph Lyons into the United Australia Party in 1931. Guy was re-elected as the UAP candidate at that year’s election, before being unseated by Labor’s Claude Barnard in 1934.

The next change came when Liberal candidate Bruce Kekwick defeated Barnard when the Menzies government came to power in 1949. The seat returned to the Barnard family fold in 1954 when Kekwick was defeated by Claude’s son Lance, who went on to serve as deputy prime minister in the Whitlam government from 1972 to 1974. The famed 1975 by-election followed Barnard’s mid-term resignation, ostensibly on grounds of ill health, but following a year after he lost the deputy leadership to Jim Cairns. A plunge in the Labor primary vote from 54.0% to 36.5% delivered the seat to Liberal candidate Kevin Newman (the late father of Campbell Newman and husband of Howard government minister Senator Jocelyn Newman), encouraging the Coalition to pursue an early election at all costs.

Bass remained in the Liberal fold for 18 years, with Tasmania bucking the national trend during the Hawke years in the wake of the Franklin dam controversy. Kevin Newman was succeeded in 1990 by Warwick Smith, whose promising career progress was twice stymied by the vagaries of electoral fortune. In 1993 he lost to Labor’s Sylvia Smith by just 40 votes, part of a statewide swing that gave the first indication that election night that things were not going according to script. Warwick Smith recovered the seat in 1996 and served as Family Services Minister in the first term of the Howard government, before the 1998 election produced a second GST backlash and another painfully narrow defeat, this time by 78 votes at the hands of Michelle O’Byrne, a 30-year-old official with the Miscellaneous Workers Union.

O’Byrne held the seat until 2004, when Mark Latham’s restrictive policy on old-growth logging provoked the wrath of Tasmanian unions and Labor politicians, and resulted in John Howard receiving a hero’s reception from timber workers in Launceston in the final week of the campaign. Michael Ferguson gained the seat for the Liberals with a 4.5% swing, but he was defeated after a single term by a 3.6% swing in 2007, and has since pursued a career in state politics. The successful Labor candidate, Jodie Campbell, would likewise serve only one term, announcing she would not stand for re-election as reports emerged her preselection was under threat. Campbell was succeeded by Geoff Lyons, a staffer to Right faction Senator Helen Polley and former manager at Launceston General Hospital. Lyons’ endorsement was determined by the intervention of the party’s national executive, an arrangement which had reportedly been smoothed by the Left not contesting the preselection for Denison. He performed strongly at the election, consolidating Labor’s hold on the seat with a 5.7% swing.

The Liberal candidate at the next election will be Brigadier Andrew Nikolic, whose military service has included postings in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has more recently worked with the Defence Department’s international policy division. Nikolic had been rated a favourite for preselection in 2010, but he withdrew citing work and family reasons. He made the news in May 2012 when he threatened to send “formal letters of complaint” to the employers of those responsible for a satirical blog post about him, and of anyone who had “liked” the post on Facebook.

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.

1,598 comments on “Morgan face-to-face: 59-41 to Coalition; Seat of the week: Bass”

  1. I’m guessing it’s pretty easy to come up with a list of incorrect predictions by any economist.

    There have been innumerable studies that they have the predictive powers of monkeys with typewriters.

  2. [Steve Keem over cooked his goose and it is now DEAD:]

    In 2007, I took Keens advice and sold 2 investment properties and my family home. Best thing I ever did.

    I had bough similar properties that a friend did, in two cases alongside each other. One investment property and my own residence were next to my friends houses.

    In one case he put his home on the market too, but withdrew it after a quick early contract offer that he thought too low. I sold the lot at about 10% below my expectations.

    He sold on about a year later for at an $83K discount to his earlier offer. He is down about $430K on the 2007 prices of his portfolio, based on my sale prices.

    Steve Keen saved my bacon, let me tell you. Joye must be checking aggregate prices that has no bearing on reality, and the nuance of local markets.

    Here is the thing that compelled me to sell. The date was 2007 – 61 years after the war. The first of the baby boomers would begin retiring in about 4 years. About 48% of investment properties were held by baby boomers. Investment properties make little sense in a flat market with flat values. They make even less sense if you remove the significant tax savings because you are retired.

    It meant a glut of houses coming on after 2011. The housing stock levels today are up 120% on 2007 levels.

    Steve Keen was just a little early on his predictions.

    He was also factoring in a continuation of a Liberal government and their extreme fiscal policies. Nothing dead about him – he will get some stuff right, and some stuff wrong – just like Christopher Joye.

  3. [PuffTheMagicDragon PuffTheMagicDragon ‏@PuffyTMD

    I contend that restraining your kangaroo is not very sporting, and might even be described as cruel. Do you disagree, Mr Harris? #popleveson]

  4. Thanks Fiona.
    We don’t even know how hot the tub is, ducks have feathers, the water is probably only a couple of degrees above freezing.

  5. Are Ashby’s lawyers nuts wanting a jury trial?

    How would Ashby perform under cross-examination in front of “twelve good men (& women) and true”?

    Compared to how Slipper (Barrister, MP & Speaker of the HoR) would perform?

    Only makes some sense if a jury trial with the “wrong” verdict against Ashby would provide automatic grounds for appeal on basis of jury bias.

  6. Puff,

    Subcutaneous fat. I understand certain mammalians rely on adipose tissue, some designed to allure the male of the species.

  7. I’m an economist and have mentioned more than once before on this blog my opinion on the predictive power of any economist, rationalist, keynesian, post keynesian or monetarist. It is not flattering.

    The most an economist can ever hope to do is a Dennis Denuto and get “the vibe of the thing” and see trends and vaguely predict turning points.

    Steve Keen got the vibe and predicted the GFC before it happened and why it would happen. One of only a handful of published economists who did.

  8. One Steve Keen’s observation, not prediction, that i am 100% agree with is the level of household debts have been too high.

    He didnt save my bacon, but it did confirm my own strategy, DEBT FREE before GFC

  9. Is it only ethics Craig Thompson is saying?

    Craig Thomson‏@DobellThommo

    @Kate_McClymont @samanthamaiden Did in 12 articles you seek my views? if the answer is no (which it is) you have breached SMH ethics

  10. [Diogenes

    Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink


    Have you read Fooled by Randomness by NNT?

    No, just had a look and it looks right up my alley. Will check it out, thanks for the tip.

  11. Are Ashby’s lawyers nuts wanting a jury trial?

    Perhaps they are seeking to capitalize on the media exposure the matter has had to date?

    Remember that Slipper has been in the press over a long time in less than favorable ways. They may be hoping that they can play on that if its a Jury trial, whereas if they are just before a Magistrate they could easily have trouble from playing fast and loose with procedure.

    grounds for appeal on basis of jury bias.

    Would be hard to find a Jury member that couldn’t be challenged for this case i’d think as the publicity on this has been pretty widespread.

  12. I am going to brush up on my jay-speak. Should be a hoot at the next barbeque.

    “Is it your contention that the three-suspension of Mr John Footballer was onerous given the provocation from Mr Joe Footballer when he aimed, very successfully I might add, a saliva projectile at Mr John Footballer’s eye?”

    “And pass me a beer, while you’re at it.”

  13. deflationite,

    Predictive economists and their allies in rating agencies are the root of the economic downfall of the current mankind.

    I am totally happy with those who do econometrics but the predictors can go and get stuffed.

  14. Perhaps some the commenters here will put their money where their mouth is and invest in some RENIXX’s (Renewable Energy Industrial Index)?

    The RENIXX® (Renewable Energy Industrial Index) World is the first global stock index, which comprises the performance of the world´s 30 largest companies of the renewable energy industry whose weighting in the index is based on the market capitalization (free float).

    Click on 5 years (5J)

    Whoops. Maybe not.

    Then how about some EU Carbon?

    Heading towards 6 Eur. Whoops again.

    Watch $10 Billion AU evaporate.

  15. deflationite

    He wrote another one called The Black Swan.

    This is the theory behind the book

    [The theory was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain:

    1. The disproportionate role of high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance and technology

    2. The non-computability of the probability of the consequential rare events using scientific methods (owing to the very nature of small probabilities)

    3. The psychological biases that make people individually and collectively blind to uncertainty and unaware of the massive role of the rare event in historical affairs]

  16. Ashby’s pull-stingers above the parapet are not interested in “justice”, just negative publicity for the Labor government.

  17. [Mr Squiggle
    Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    fredn, I may have jumped into a conversation at the wrong point. If so, sorry, I thought the conversation was about Greece, Italy, Spain or somewhere were austerity was a genuine philosophy.
    I do however assert that you can’t fix a debt problem by borrowing more money.]

    The problem for Greece,Italy and Spain is all there debt is all written in a foreign currency, the Euro. Europe now has two choices, start acting like a country, or break up. Austerity is not the solution, and as I said, a few right wing governments getting chucked out will bring that point home.

    Europe itself has control over it’s currency, yes there will be a lot bluster a lot of bullshit, but there will not be a 1930.

  18. fredn,

    My crystal ball says that Greece will say “stuff austerity” and leave. Worked for Argentina and no one has messed with the Kirschners ever since.

    There will be lots of hand-wringers in assorted European banks but their return on loans will be $0.00.

  19. [Gauss
    Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Heading towards 6 Eur. Whoops again.

    Watch $10 Billion AU evaporate.]

    One of the advantages of a carbon pricing scheme, the cost goes down as economic activity falls, just the thing you need for a little stability.

    What are we supposed to discover when we look at the link, that the price did fall?

  20. Black swan events undermine the statistical basis upon which Modern Portfolio Theory is based. MPT fails because its known ‘events’ are from a relatively short time span (100 or so years of stock market returns) and the relatively low number of observed events… especially of black swan events… its a wonderful exploration of mathematical and statistical methodology colliding with real world human driven calamities.

  21. 1429
    Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink
    Ashby’s barrister: Stuart Wood SC
    Jackson’s barrister: Stuart Wood SC
    Victorian gov’s barrister in Victorian public sector enterprise agreement dispute before Fair Work Australia: Stuart Wood SC

    Wood’s views on Peter Reith in address to the HR Nicholls Society
    “And on any fair view, Peter Reith, stands head and shoulders above those who have gone before. He has been the best Labour/IR Minister of the last 50 years. We will miss him.”

    He also represented Patrick’s in the MUA waterfront dispute.

    Well at least we know which side of the fence Stuart sits on.”

    Without stating the bleeding obvious, this bears all the hallmarks of a planned, carefully orchestrated campaign by the Liberal Party to bring down a democratically elected government.

    Australia’s home grown Watergate. And where is Pyne? Where is the MSM? Go Jessica!

  22. TLBD. my money is on the Greek party who says ‘we’ll tell em to get stuffed’… and they will tell them to do exactly that.

    when servicing debt is eating up so much of your GDP and tax revenues, that it becomes a vicious cycle, you need to break that cycle. Greece need to break that cycle. sure no one will lend to them for a while. but thats ok, its what they need. they can start again by learning to live off what they generate first.

  23. middle man,

    And the Spaniards are about to tell Rajoy to get stuffed. It won’t be pretty. Hollande is one hope.

  24. This little black duck
    [Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink


    My crystal ball says that Greece will say “stuff austerity” and leave. Worked for Argentina and no one has messed with the Kirschners ever since.

    There will be lots of hand-wringers in assorted European banks but their return on loans will be $0.00.]

    Lets compare notes in 3 months.

    My bet, Greece will say “stuff austerity”, France will not be too far behind, Spain and Italy will bring up the rear.

    Angela Merkel will fold (have you seen her polls lately), the money supply will be seriously increased, it will all be over within 12 months, with Greece still be in Europe.

    The CDU may able to recover from their stupidity to prevent loss of power in 2013.

    There is one small problem with austerity, you actually need some money to pay debt off, tanking the economy doesn’t work.

  25. Finns

    This is probably the worst time to launch a mega-IPO.

    My own analysis of Facebook (fwiw):

    All their revenue comes from advertising. Any site that relies on advertising is a HIGH RISK business model as every newspaper website can verify. The market demands that earnings grow each year, so they’ll either have to increase the amount of advertising (a sure fire way to piss off its users), or boost the number of users.

    As FB is banned in China, the prospect of boosting the number of users is severely limited.

    Another way is by charging people to use the platform. If they take that path, they are doomed.

    My recommendation (fwiw). AVOID!

  26. Fredn

    [Austerity is not the solution]

    I’m inclined to believe this, just as I believe borrowing more money does not fix debt problems.

    I think the problem is that ‘Austerity’ is being touted as a choice, a policy that can be chosen, a lever that can be voluntarily pulled.

    It isn’t.

    It is, instead, the inevetible result of living beyond means. Its collection day on earlier good times.

    Suck it up Europe

    Greece isn’t choosing austerity. Austerity is choosing Greece.

  27. Angela may fold but she is a tough lady (wouldn’t mind sharing a meal plus with her).

    If Mr Bruni were still Le President then she would not.

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