Galaxy: 57-43 to federal Coalition in Queensland; Seat of the week: Lingiari

GhostWhoVotes tweets that a Galaxy poll on federal voting intention in Queensland gives the Coalition a two-party lead of 57-43 – a seven-point turn-around in Labor’s favour since the last such poll three months ago, suggesting a swing to the Coalition/LNP of only 2% since the 2010 election. Leaving aside the Labor-skewed Morgan face-to-face series, the last time a published poll of federal voting intention showed a swing that low was the Newspoll of May 27-29, 2011, which had the Coalition leading 52-48 nationally. The only Queensland seat Labor would lose on a uniform swing of that size would be Moreton, held by Graham Perrett on a margin of 1.1% (the present numbers in Queensland are 21 seats for the LNP, eight for Labor and one for Bob Katter). The primary votes are 30% for Labor (up seven on the previous poll) and 49% for the Coalition (down seven). The poll also finds 52% detecting little or no impact of the carbon tax on their household budget, against 15% for “major impact” and 27% for “minor impact”. New asylum seeker laws are rated “strong” by 26% of respondents, “inhumane” by 18% and “too little too late” by 51%. The poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday from a sample of 800, and has a margin of error of about 3.5%.

UPDATE: The Sunday Mail today has further results from the poll which show “two out of three people believe the Premier is going too far with his proposal to cut 20,000 public sector jobs”, together with figures showing widespared feelings of job insecurity, particularly among government employees.

Further evidence of the Queensland elastic snapping back was provided earlier this week by ReachTEL, which conducted automated phone polls of three seats out of the many which the LNP won from Labor at the state election. These showed Labor leading in two of the seats and lineball in the third. My own calculation of two-party preferred results based on preferences from the previous election had Labor leading 60-40 in Sandgate, a swing to the of 13%, and 51-49 in Brisbane Central, a swing to them of 6%. I had the LNP 51-49 ahead in Towsville, but Possum has it at 51-49 in Labor’s favour – no doubt having used a formula that took better account of the decline of the Katter’s Australian Party vote. The poll also found Campbell Newman’s personal ratings in Sandgate and Townsville in Tony Abbott if not Julia Gillard territory, though he scored better in Brisbane Central. There was similarly a strong view he had not kept his promises in Sandgate and Townville, but an even divide of opinion in Brisbane Central. The samples on each poll were around 400, for margins of error approaching 5%.

And not forgetting …

Seat of the week: Lingiari

I’ve previously been limited my Seat of the Week choices to seats where both parties have preselected candidates, but am making an exception today in a spirit of keeping things topical. The federal seat of Lingiari covers the entirety of the Northern Territory outside of Darwin, which for the most part will play second fiddle during tomorrow night’s election count: whereas Darwin’s suburbs teem with marginal seats, the remainder is largely divided between Country Liberal Party strongholds in Alice Springs and Labor strongholds elsewhere. However, the tea-leaves of the regional and remote results will be read carefully for federal implications given Labor member Warren Snowdon’s narrow margin in Lingiari, and recent rumours of Labor internal polling showing him headed for defeat.

The Northern Territory was first granted its own seat in the federal parliament in 1922, but its member did not attain full voting rights until 1968. Perhaps not coincidentally, the seat had recently fallen to Sam Calder of the Country Party after a long period of Labor control. The Country Liberal Party was established in 1978 as a local alliance between coalition parties to contest elections in the the newly established Northern Territory parliament, and Grant Tambling succeeded Calder as its members upon the latter’s retirement at the 1980 election. Tambling was unseated by Labor’s John Reeves in 1983, and returned as a Senator four years later. The seat thereafter changed hands with some regularity: future Chief Minister Paul Everingham recovered it for the CLP in 1984, Warren Snowdon won it back for Labor in 1987, Nick Dondas held it for the CLP for one term from 1996, and Snowdon recovered it in 1998.

The population of the Northern Territory is such that it consistently hovers between an entitlement of one or two seats according to the formula used to allocate seats to the states and territories. It first rose above the line prior to the 2001 election, resulting in the territory’s division between Solomon, covering Darwin, and Lingiari, which in accommodating the entire remainder of the territory is the second largest electorate in geographical terms after Durack in Western Australia. However, when the Australian Electoral Commission next conducted its mid-term determination of seat entitlements the Northern Territory had fallen 295 residents short of the number required to its second seat. With Labor and the Coalition both convinced they could win both seats at the 2004 election, the parliament proved amenable to arguments that the determination left the territory under-represented, and passed legislation to reinstate the second seat. Solomon and Lingiari accordingly have the lowest enrolments of any seats in Australia at around 62,000, compared with a national average of about 95,000 (which together with the extensive use of mobile booths explains the scarcity of numbers on the 2010 results map at the bottom of the post).

Lingiari is notable for having by far the highest proportion of indigenous persons of any seat in the country, at 41.8% against 15.7% for second-placed Durack. Relatedly, and depressingly, it also has the lowest median age of any electorate. The support of Aboriginal voters has given Labor enough of a base to have kept the seat in their hands, despite CLP strength in pastoral areas and the urban centres of Alice Springs, Katherine and Tennant Creek. Labor’s margins have progressed over four elections from 5.3% to 7.7% to 11.2% to 3.7%. The diversity of the electorate’s components can make for enormously complicated election results, as demonstrated by local swings over the last three elections. In the wake of the Howard government’s intervention into Aboriginal communities before the 2007 election, mobile polling booths swung 8.4% to Warren Snowdon off an already very high base of 78.7%. However, it was a very different story in 2010, when these booths swung to the CLP by no less than 28.1% – a result variously put down to the troubled Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program, the actions of newly merged regional councils, and the ongoing suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act by the new Labor government. Remarkably, the swings in Alice Springs were in the opposite direction, with Snowdon down 2.6% in 2007 and up 8.4% in 2010. In Tennant Creek the Labor vote fell from 58.7% to 34.2% while the Greens rocketed from 4.6% to 33.7%, a result credited to the Muckaty Station nuclear waste dump proposal.

Snowdon is a figure in Labor’s Left faction, and has held junior ministry positions since the Rudd government came to power in 2007. He had earlier been a parliamentary secretary during his first stint as a member from 1990 to 1996, again reaching the position in opposition after the 2001 election. After the 2007 election win he received a substantial promotion to the junior defence science and personnel ministry, which Glenn Milne in The Australian credited to his close association with Julia Gillard. Snowdon was demoted to indigenous health, rural and regional services after Joel Fitzgibbon resigned as Defence Minister in June 2009, which Philip Dorling of the Canberra Times put down to incoming Defence Minister John Faulkner’s “longstanding lack of enthusiasm” for him, “and perhaps more specific concerns about the contribution Mr Snowdon’s office may have made in the past week to Fitzgibbon’s downfall”. He recovered defence science after the 2010 election and further gained veterans affairs, while dropping rural and regional services.

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.

1,858 comments on “Galaxy: 57-43 to federal Coalition in Queensland; Seat of the week: Lingiari”

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  1. [Chris Brown, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics (LSE), said Britain had been “mind-bogglingly stupid to raise the issue in the first place”, regardless of how it was worded.

    “Anyone with Diplomacy 101, as the Americans call it, would know that it (the threat) would backfire,” he told AFP.

    “If you asked a room of my first-year students about what Britain has done, I believe that even they would not have made such a fundamental error.”]

  2. GG

    [Here’s my prediction for November: Nate Silver will find himself writing about how and why the election results varied so much from the poll numbers leading up to it.]

    Here’s my prediction for November: Nate Silver will again predict the outcome with a very high degree of accuracy.

  3. An excellent article at The Political Sword

    [ Early every morning, the Abbott machine swings into action. Fresh batteries are placed in Abbott man, he is briefed with the day’s messages, slogans for the day are identified, and he is sent on his way, a Duracell Bunny thumping his tub, to friendly TV stations for a puff piece encounter with a morning host who asks soft questions that serve as a vehicle for him to regurgitate the day’s messages and repeat his well worn slogans. It doesn’t matter what the issues are, or what questions he is asked, his answers are the ones for which he has been pre-programmed, and out they come on cue, with some tub thumping slogans as an encore. ]

  4. [Here’s my prediction for November: Nate Silver will again predict the outcome with a very high degree of accuracy.]
    Yeah, didn’t he get the 2008 result to within 3 electoral college votes?

  5. Michael Moore’s “Sicko” has just started on SBS

    A critique of the US health system it’s a brilliant but deeply bitter comment on the US health system
    Try to see it

  6. deblonay,

    I still cannot understand why Americans who have been bankrupted more than once because of medical/hospital debts are so pro-Republican and so opposed to President Obama’s “socialist” health care program.

    Sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder whether there’s something in the water.

  7. Re: Sharman Stone.

    She’s actually held in some regard by some Labor party stalwarts, notably Joan Kirner, for whom she worked for a while (?public servant? definitely Ministerial adviser), and whom has always sung her praises.

    I’d place her as a Liberal moderate, and the trajectory of her career (and that of other moderates, such as Sussan Ley) is thus interesting.

    Under Howard, Nelson and Turnbull, both Sharman Stone and Ley were rising in the ranks.

    Stone was a Parl Sec from 1998-2004, Parl Sec to for Finance and Administration, Minister for Workforce Participation, then Shadow Minister for the Environment, Shadow Ministr for Immigration, Shdow Minister for the Status of Women…and now, apparently, nothing. Not even a Parl Sec.

    Ley was elected at the same time as Mirabella (they both ran for preselection for Indi, Ley missed out, and was preselected for Farrer). She became a Parl Sec in 2004, first in
    Children & Youth Affairs, then in Agriculture. In 2007, she became Shadow for Housing & Women, & then Treasury & Finance.

    At that stage of her career, she was streets ahead of Mirabella, who did not even hold a Parl Sec position (it was a bit of a joke locally that if you wanted to get Mirabella riled up, you asked her what Ley was doing, followed by a sweet, “And yourself? Still just a backbencher?”)

    Under Abbott, she dropped a little, becoming Shadow for Childhood Learning & Workforce Participation.

    Mirabella, on the other hand, has risen steadily since 2007. Indeed, she has advanced a couple of steps with each leadership challenge. Nelson left her off the initial list of Shadow Portfolios; within 24 hours, the list was adjusted and she appeared as Shadow Parl Sec for Local Government. When Nelson was rolled, she became Shadow Minister for Women’s Affairs. A couple of weeks before Abbott became leader, she complained on local radio that she wasn’t in the Shadow Cabinet….

    Take out message? Women Lib MPs such as Stone and Ley were clearly being nurtured by the three previous leaders. But they’re too moderate (or womanly, or something) for Abbott, who instead favours the Mirabellas and Bishops of this world.

  8. Al Jezzera reports that Brits have withdrawn the threats to the Equadorian Embassy
    ..Note this Dio
    There WAS a threat as Jeffrey Robertson confirmed on the BBC last week…

    Robertson wondered if the crazy F.O office statement was made by “juniors and amateurs ” in the F Office
    but it would be in line with the usual bully boy tone of the UK.of the world scene ..they have lost none of their imperialistic tone…even while they are reduced in influence….
    they find that hard to bear

  9. zoomster,

    I never thought that I would have the temerity to emend one of your posts, but here goes:

    [But they’re too moderate (or womanlyunwomanly, or something) for Abbott …]

    That is, Our Dear Future (he wishes) Leader doesn’t like uppity wimmen. Which makes him a misogynist in my book, at any rate.

  10. [GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes 1m
    #Galaxy Poll QLD State Primary Votes: LNP 48 (-6) ALP 30 (+7) GRN 9 (-1) KAP 7 (0) #qldpol #auspol]
    View details ·
    [GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes 3m
    #Galaxy Poll QLD State 2 Party Preferred: LNP 60 (-7) ALP 40 (+7) #qldpol #auspol
    View details]

  11. zoomster,

    Dr Stone comes across like Grunt, someone suborned by the party. She does even better than he does in the gosh awful in question time.

  12. [GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes 40s
    #Galaxy Poll QLD Newman: Approve 44 (-20) Disapprove 49 (+30) #qldpol #auspol
    View details]
    [GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes 2m
    #Galaxy Poll QLD State Primary Votes: LNP 48 (-6) ALP 30 (+7) GRN 9 (-1) KAP 7 (0) #qldpol #auspol]
    View details ·

  13. zoomster: say what you like about Sharman Stone and her supposed feminism and her umpteen degrees (and she definitely likes to say a lot about them!). But, to put it as nicely as i csn, Sharkan is a complete and utter ratbag. I don’t blame TA for not giving her anything, even with the weak talent pool available. She’s not someone you want representing your party in the media.

    Sussan Ley seems ok.

  14. Susan Ley I consider a drop kick. In parliament, she comes across as a Peta mouthpiece totally unable to do nothing but regurgitate a script. Come to think of it, who on that front bench, except for Malcolm, does.

  15. Really, if we want to have a Murray-Darling Basin right-wing women fan fest: I vote for the Nationals’ Fiona Nash. Intelligent, very moderate for a Nat, and a rippingly good sort.

    Greatly preferred to Sharman or Sussan.

  16. Oh, I don’t particularly like Stone, myself – I’m a bit mystified at the way some in the Labor party sing her praises.

    You do have to bear in mind, though, that ALL of the Liberal moderates are toeing the line. They know that, to get ahead, they have to ditch any principles they have and become mouthpieces (cf Hunt, Hockey).

    During election campaigns, I find myself up against Stone nearly as much as Mirabella (partly because it’s always hard to get a candidate to stand against Stone, who has one of the safest seats there is, so there tends not to be one until the last minute, so I cover). In fact, the interview Rudd’s office bawled me out for last election campaign was one where I took Stone on.

  17. zoom zoom,

    Once you have been pre-selected how much

    are you controlled

    are you supported

    are you told “WTF, do your own thing?”

  18. MB,

    [I vote for the Nationals’ Fiona Nash. Intelligent, very moderate for a Nat, and a rippingly good sort.

    Greatly preferred to Sharman or Sussan.]

    Yup, and not just because of her first name 🙂 . However, I do wish that she would welcome her quadruplet – Mme Lash – (alongside Mesdames Cash and Gash) into Federal Parliament.

    Yes, I know, too much frivolity.

    So I shall say frivols to you all, until dawn’s early light etc etc etc.

  19. Last year down at the Climate Summit I caught up with the folks from Environment Victoria. They had Susan Ley down as utterly lacking in interpersonal skills and gratuitously nasty.

    They have the whole lobbying thing down to as near to science as one can get, but had Ley down as someone who simply wasn’t worth the time. She was never going to be any use to anyone.

  20. [I think it was about 3 EVs out. William will remember as he got even closer.]

    I did and I didn’t. I was out by however many votes Missouri has, because that was the only state I picked wrong.

  21. A US election poll site
    Those interested in the US Pes, poll …may find this site of interest
    I posts the latest polls/state by state/ and shows the electoral votes in pay
    Just click on the map…to find the latest poll results,,,


    [Galaxy Poll finds government cuts to public service taking toll on Campbell Newman’s popularity
    by: Steven Wardill
    From: The Courier-Mail
    August 27, 2012 12:00AM

    CAMPBELL Newman has had a hole punched in his rampant popularity.

    A Galaxy Poll, conducted exclusively for The Courier-Mail, has revealed the Government’s cuts to programs and the public service have taken a massive toll on the Queensland Premier.

    It found one in three Queenslanders had switched from being pleased or impartial with Mr Newman’s efforts to dissatisfied.]

  23. tlbd

    [are you controlled]

    Theoretically, quite a bit. You get daily talking lines and are supposed to have everything you say/write approved in advance.

    But I get quite a long leash, because I’ve done enough campaigns, have results on the board, and am running in a seat where no one expects me to do much more than put my name on the ticket (so anything else is a bonus).

    [are you supported]

    Minimally. All polling material is supplied. You get contact numbers for Ministerial advisers. If a VIP visits, you get invited along.

    There will be the occasional spurt of “Oh, look. We’ve found some money in the bottom drawer. We’ll send out a leaflet for you.” but otherwise it’s all local branch fundraising.

    If you’ve developed enough contacts in the party, you get to know who you can ask who might be able to do a bit extra for you…

    My standard budget for Indi would be less than $10k (HTVs & booth material not counted in that).

    [are you told “WTF, do your own thing?”]

    Mixed. I am, to a large extent, for reasons outlined before. But the 2007 and 2010 elections were very controlled, so I sparked some arguments in both, typically with one campaign supervisor saying to let me be and another worrying that I was off the reservation.

    Of course, if I do go ‘rogue’ there’s not really much they can do about it.

  24. fran

    re: Ley. One of my friends said when Ley was preselected, that if you looked at Ley’s biography it was very impressive….but that there was nothing in anything she did for anyone else but her.

    I find it very hard to find any Liberals to like. My statements about Ley and Stone aren’t meant to be supportive. They’re simply pointing out that these are two women whose careers were going one way pre Tony and going another since.

  25. Is this a record change in approval/disapproval in c.3 months of an Australian head of government??
    [#Galaxy Poll QLD Newman: Approve 44 (-20) Disapprove 49 (+30) #qldpol #auspol]

  26. zoomster,

    In summary: “If you look like you have a chance we’ll look after you”?

    Who said politics wasn’t a business.

    I’m sort of feeling that The Fifth Estate is about to overpower the Fourth. In twenty years or so IT will be the go.


    [Together union accuses Campbell Newman of trickery in $500,000 advertising blitz
    by: Koren Helbig From: The Courier-Mail August 27, 2012 12:00AM

    UNIONS have accused Campbell Newman of trickery in a $500,000 advertising blitz aimed at forcing the Government to wind back on thousands more job cuts likely to be unveiled at next month’s Budget. ]

    [Federal Labor uses Campbell Newman’s job cuts to raise fear of Tony Abbott-led government
    by: Anna Caldwell From: The Courier-Mail August 27, 2012 12:00AM

    FEDERAL Labor has seized on Campbell Newman’s job cuts to generate fear about an Abbott-led government as it tries to win back Queensland in the lead-up to the next federal election. ]

    [COMMENT: Clueless Newman should look south
    by: Steven Wardill From: The Courier-Mail August 27, 2012 12:00AM

    CAMPBELL Newman is fast proving he is no Peter Beattie. ]

  28. tlbd

    Yes, and realistically speaking, that’s the way it’s got to be.

    It’s like any case where you have limited resources but unlimited spending potential – you have to make choices about where those resources are directed.

    I have actually knocked back offers of extra help in the past, because I would rather they went to a seat we have a chance of winning than one that’s a very long shot.

  29. zoom zoom,

    If you were to stand as a “Labor independant”?

    I realize the blowback but would you be a chance? You have laid some heavy groundwork.

  30. [I did and I didn’t. I was out by however many votes Missouri has, because that was the only state I picked wrong.]
    Did you even pick that Obama would win 1 vote in Nebraska?

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