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”

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  1. [Why Gillard’s in Adelaide constantly is beyond me. She should be in Queensland as much as possible]

    Queensland can wait for no can do who has started of with sacking the police minister after just two weeks ,jobs for libs aka costello,sacking public servants,off to a brilliant start.

    The Pm has a vic electorate,so goes to SA to shore up votes,good idea.

  2. [What carbon tax? Gillard has removed it from history and the adds. Apparently we are getting compo for putting up with Labor. well mabe not, but you would not no what the hell Gillard has decided to sprinkle cash over you for at the moment by viewing the adds on tv.]
    If they can’t work out why they are getting more money from those ads they’ll never work it out. The fact is though they’ll know they are getting more money and Tone will be promising to take it away from them. That will piss them off no end.

  3. EU plans for possible Greek exit from euro – official

    The European Commission is keeping the Greek budget under tight supervision
    Continue reading the main story
    Eurozone crisis
    Q&A: Spain’s woes explained
    Who’s to blame for Spain’s pain?
    Economic crisis in graphics
    Q&A: Greek debt crisis
    The European Commission and European Central Bank are making contingency plans for a possible Greek exit from the euro, an EU commissioner says.

    Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said such plans would minimise any “domino effect” from Greece.

    He was speaking in an interview with Belgium’s De Standaard

  4. Fiona 1528 Yep have to agree, ‘line in the sand’ is lazy, loose language that could mean anything. Mea culpa.

  5. [This is a deep hate (correct word to describe what’s going on) of Gillard]
    Take a look at the polling on the CT. That tells it all.

  6. Galaxy – you can always rely on them to bring one of these out when things aren’t going the LNP‘s way. Like clockwork. I think the general rule with them is that they’re fairly reliable close to elections, but their results are way out of whack the rest of the time.

    Still, nice to know Abbott will be tearing his hair out knowing he’s so close and he still can’t engineer an Election Now!

  7. The QLD Galaxy Poll fits in with the recent national Fed polls. The QLD Galaxy shift shown is since November 2011.
    Note the last Neilsen State Tables…

    Where QLD ALP Primary was at an low of 19%. At a 4 percent above that, roughly fits in with national ALP Primamry improvement between last Neilsen & Newspolls. Still a shocker, but not indicating a difference from the last Newspoll FWIW.

  8. Deflationite,

    And what about the fact that the Future Fund lost $15 billion in its first 3 months of existence (and plenty more later, with overall returns worse than a bank deposit rate), as well as the damage they did to Telstra shares! I hope WA voters are happy to have their money put at similar risk!

  9. I hope the Queensland poll is accurate. It would mean the vote in NSW for the ALP and thus seats it will win in an election must have gone up.

  10. Rossmore, no apology needed, the point you make is what matters. How did you dig up all that stuff @ 1487?…fascinating.

  11. guytaur,

    The European Commission and European Central Bank are making contingency plans for a possible Greek exit from the euro, an EU commissioner says.

    Their miserable one-off audited EOYs will have lots of “one-offs”.

  12. TLBD

    IF Germany keeps on the Austerity path it has crafted and tries to enforce it on other countries the Eurozone is dead.

  13. This is a values thing.

    Gillard is seen as a lying, childless, unmarried, taxing, atheist, communist who got rid of Kevin the beloved local

    Abbott by contrast is conservative but not free market which makes him perfect. Hits all the right values tones in the state. Engages the alligator brain

  14. Joe2, 1569 – thanks but ‘line in the sand’ is a shocker. I blame it on a rather pleasant pinot noir.

    Re post at 1569: joining the dots and google.

  15. joe2

    Ahh! Big yawn indeed!! Seriously, his tweet indicated something important. If the big yarn was the surplus story. What a fizzer!

    Anyhow, night all.

  16. A reminder Lateline Business with the latest on Facebook and Europe coming up.
    I think there are a lot of jumping on of the bandwagon with Facebook. People have already been leaving. As more people become aware how it destroys their privacy and that every photo they have posted to FB is now FB’s property and not theirs more people will jump to Google Plus or Tagged. Tagged now has had a bigger user base than FB. I do not know if it was one day or whatever as remembering an article I read on a tech site.
    That is not even counting what GM has done. I think a lot of people are going to lose money on FB big time.

  17. spur212

    [This is a values thing.

    Gillard is seen as a lying, childless, unmarried, taxing, atheist, communist who got rid of Kevin the beloved local]

    Spur212, even my incredibly conservative mother prefers PM Gillard to failed PM Rudd any day. So do about 40 of her octagenarian friends.

    How do you fit these data into your narrative?

  18. @rummel/1546

    You make no sense putting up with Labor? Would you rather 1 party country wouldn’t you? Move to another country please.

  19. I should add, “about 40 of her octagenarian friends” represent 39.5 of them – and the rest are working hard on that recalcitrant 0.5.

  20. Oh Puff, I don’t even know you other than brief exchanges over the last coupla weeks – take care, m’dear, do whatever helps with sleeping, and as sweet as possible dreams tonight.

  21. [That is bipartisan S.O.P. in W.A. since like… 4eva .]

    No not quite. Playing ‘bad canberra’ is the bipartisan sop, making decisions and not making decisions that disadvantage Western Australia, just because they advantage the liberal cause, is the new liberal way … it is not bi partisan, it is outside all acceptable parameters, they are …

  22. [In that case, consider yourself ignored from now on.

    Deservedly so, in my not entirely humble opinion.]

    A rather heavy reaction, Fiona…but feel free. I just thought you were being rather literal and distractive when Rossmore was trying to make a strongish point.

  23. Talking about Greek debt here’s something on the lighter side.

    Spot the fallacy.

    [It is a slow day in a little Greek Village . The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit. On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a 100 euro note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night. The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the e100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the e100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the e100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel. The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the e100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the taverna. The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him “services” on credit. The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the e100 note. The hotel proprietor then places the e100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the e100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

    No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.]

  24. Anyone heard from bemused lately? Kinda miss his thoughts these last few days even thought I don’t always agree with them.

  25. [IMOHO

    Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink


    And what about the fact that the Future Fund lost $15 billion in its first 3 months of existence (and plenty more later, with overall returns worse than a bank deposit rate), as well as the damage they did to Telstra shares! I hope WA voters are happy to have their money put at similar risk!


    I plead ignorance on those particular stats. Would love to read some links that shed some light on them though.

  26. (victoria Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Good grief!!

    Stephen Koukoulas @TheKouk 6m Catching up on mkts: Wowowowow… a 50 ciut is about 50% priced in: Looking at sub 2.5% cash rate by year end! This is serious.)

    So this would mean people on fixed i come would be getting about 3.00 percent for amy saving s or super in cash,
    Just when imwas thinki g of giving ini to oh to travel q bit more,

  27. [wasn;t ‘line in the sand’ something to do with bare knuckle boxing?]

    No. Way more interesting than that! Roman c168BC, to in/famous Selucid ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes (a gorgeous Greek God of a looker, unless his image on coins was enhanced) – a major pain in the butt to Egyptians, Romans, traditional Jews etc, whose brother Rome held as hostage.

    AE had invaded and had a second go at trying to conquer Egypt, only to be foiled by a single old Roman Ambassador who delivered him an ultimatum which said, in effect, Would you rather pack up and leave Egypt quietly, or would you rather we Romans taught you the same salutary lesson we taught Hannibal’s lot?. When AE obfuscated, the Roman envoy drew a line around him, saying that, before he crossed the line, the envoy wanted his reply to the Roman Senate. IOW, Cross that line, you idiot, and we’ll wipe the Eastern Mediterranean with you.

    AE’s Roll of Dishonour included invading Egypt and sacking Jerusalem; He’s blamed for precipitating the Maccabean Revolt (though the real cuplrit was probably a stoush, between hellenised Jews and the traditional ones, over who’d provide the High Priest). AE backed the former; so persecuted trad Jews.

    To cap it all, AE got into a fight with the Parthians, fierce warriors and the most lethal archers that side of Agincourt. Just as he seemed to be winning, he died suddenly.

    No one conquered the Parthians or their descendants in the arid mountains north of the Fertile Crescent: not the Romans; not the Brits; not even Andropov’s USSR, and not Bush-Obama’s Americans.

  28. [guytaur
    Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Permalink


    IF Germany keeps on the Austerity path it has crafted and tries to enforce it on other countries the Eurozone is dead.]

    And Germany will not let the Eurozone die.

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