BludgerTrack: 54.7-45.3 to Coalition

The Poll Bludger’s federal poll aggregate has recorded little change since the previous result a week ago. Also featured: preselection argybargy, changes to electoral legislation, a new Chief Minister for the Northern Territory, and a by-election result.

In recognition of the quickening tempo as the federal election draws nearer (let’s continue to presume it will indeed be on September 14), my mid-week update to the BludgerTrack 2013 poll aggregate will henceforth get its own thread. This means that in the normal course of things there will be three more-or-less evenly spaced federal politics post a week: one hanging off the main poll release on Sunday or Monday, the regular “Seat of the Week” on Friday or Saturday, and the BludgerTrack update in between.

The latest update throws the latest results from Nielsen and Essential Research into the mix, producing little change after the slight recovery for Labor last week. However, the state relativities have changed slightly with the addition of data from Nielsen, one of only two pollsters which provides state breakdowns with any consistency. The swing recorded for New South Wales is now higher than for Victoria, as most commentary suggests it should be. As noted in the previous post, the weekly Morgan result is being excluded from the calculation for the time being until there is enough data from its new “multi-mode” methodology to allow for a credible bias measure to be determined with reference to the overall polling trend.

Other news:

• Four nominees have emerged for the Labor preselection in the Sydney seat of Barton, to be vacated upon the retirement of former Attorney-General Robert McClelland. They do not include former NSW Premier Morris Iemma, who may have had his factional association with Eddie Obeid to consider, together with the extreme difficulty any Labor candidate will face defending the seat. Paul Osborne of The Australian reports the contest is effectively between Shane O’Brien, Rockdale mayor and NSW Public Service Association assisant secretary; Kirsten Andrews, “former state and federal ministerial adviser”; and Steve McMahon, former Hurstville mayor who “made a name for himself when he sold the mayoral car to build a children’s playground”. O’Brien is “widely seen as the frontrunner”; Another nominee, state upper house MP and former Rockdale mayor Shaoquett Moselmane, withdrew his nomination after two days, choosing instead to make headlines with a parliamentary attack on Israel. Murray Trembath of the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader earlier reported that Moselmane’s run was thought to be “a lever to seek a more secure position on Labor’s upper house ticket for the next election”. The Liberals have endorsed Nick Varvaris, accountant and mayor of Kogarah.

• A day after the Financial Review reported he had received assistance from Eddie Obeid as he sought to enter parliament in 1999, independent state MP Richard Torbay has dropped a bombshell by announcing his withdrawal as Nationals candidate for Tony Windsor’s seat of New England. The Nationals’ state chairman, Niall Blair, confirmed Torbay was asked to stand aside after the party received unspecified information “of which we were not previously aware”. Barnaby Joyce has expressed interest in the past in using the seat for a long-desired move to the lower house, and there were immediate suggestions he might take Torbay’s place.

Troy Bramston of The Australian reports Tim Watts, Telstra executive and former adviser to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and former Victorian Premier John Brumby, is the front-runner to succeed Nicola Roxon as Labor candidate for the safe western Melbourne seat of Gellibrand.

• With John Forrest bowing out at as member at the next election, the Nationals preselection for Mallee has attracted 10 candidates. Those named in an ABC report are Horsham farmer Russell McKenzie, former Victorian Farmers Federation president Andrew Broad, Buloke Shire mayor Reid Mather and Swan Hill deputy mayor Greg Cruickshank. Liberal party sources quoted by Terry Sim of the Weekly Times said the Liberals were “unlikely to field a candidate”. Labor has endorsed Lydia Senior, chief executive of the Lower Murray Medicare Local.

Megan Gorrey of the Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser reports Laurie Ferguson effortlessly saw off a preselection challenge from Damian Ogden, by a margin of 132 to 11.

• Legislation which completed its passage through federal parliament earlier in the month has raised the bar for prospective election candidates by increasing nomination deposits (from $500 to $1000 for the House of Representatives and $1000 to $2000 for the Senate) and requiring of independent candidates more supporting signatures on nomination forms.

Top End corner:

• The Northern Territory had a change of Chief Minister last week, with Adam Giles emerging as the first indigenous leader of an Australian government. Terry Mills, whom Giles ousted as leader just seven months after he led the Country Liberal Party to victory at the polls, was informed of his ill fortune by text message while on government business in Japan.

The present leadership crisis began a fortnight ago when deputy leader Robyn Lambley stood aside for Giles with a view to healing a long-standing rift, only for Giles to up the ante by indicating he would move to replace Mills as leader unless further conditions were met. In this he had hoped for support from Alison Anderson, the most senior of the CLP’s complement of indigenous MPs, but she instead publicly blasted Giles for refusal to accept the deputy leadership and threatened to take her “bush coalition” of four MPs (the cohesiveness of which is disputed) to the cross-benches or even into coalition with Labor. The turmoil coincided with the period of a Newspoll survey for the Northern Territory News targeting 437 respondents in the CLP-held seats of Sanderson, Blain and Brennan, which showed a 22% against the CLP on the primary vote and 14% on two-party preferred. Mills’s personal ratings were at 26% approval and 67% disapproval, compared with 39% and 38% for Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie (whom Mills nonetheless led 38-37 as preferred Chief Minister).

The situation was transformed the following week when Anderson and the bush MPs were persuaded to put the previous week’s acrimony behind them and throw their support behind Giles, with Anderson telling Amos Aikman of The Australian the decision was made to forestall a rival challenger she declined to identify. The victory for the Giles camp was confirmed when his key supporter, Fong Lim MP and former federal Solomon MP David Tollner, was installed as deputy leader and Treasurer. Mills meanwhile is widely expected to head for the exit in fairly short order, promising to initiate a challenging by-election in his seat of Blain.

• All of which nicely leads into my belated results summary for last month’s Wanguri by-election, which delivered a bloody nose for the CLP and a morale-boosting result for Labor, which had suffered a 7.7% swing in the seat when Paul Henderson contested it as Chief Minister at the election on August 25.

February 16, 2013

				Votes 	% 	Swing 	2PP 	%	Swing
Nicole Manison (ALP) 		2,428 	65.2% 	+8.2% 	2,585 	69.4%	+12.4%
Rhianna Harker (CLP)		1,059 	28.4% 	-14.6% 	1,139 	30.6%	-12.4%
Peter Rudge (Independent) 	237 	6.4% 			

Formal 				3,724 	96.4% 	-1.6% 		
Informal 			86 	3.6% 	+1.6% 		
Enrolment/Turnout 		4,984 	77.5% 	-11.6%

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.

6,394 comments on “BludgerTrack: 54.7-45.3 to Coalition”

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  1. Voice of Harold..

    You should have chipped in earlier.

    Anyway, I agree about the defeatists. These pro Gillard types make Simon Crean’s suicide mission look very amateurish indeed.

  2. JV,

    Fair enough, maybe. I am just tired of this nonsense. It simply does not make sense to obsess over “what could have been”. Everyone seems to be refusing to be in anyway constructive. *sigh* Anywho, I must fly. My people need me.

  3. It will be very interesting to see the posters who gloat over the next poll along with the entirely predictable response from the resident Liberals.

    Some are so obsessed with Rudd’s supposed personality they’ve completely forgot what side they’re on… or are Greens… or don’t vote at all. Hahaha

  4. Bugler

    “Fair enough, maybe. I am just tired of this nonsense. It simply does not make sense to obsess over “what could have been”.”

    That’s all they’ve got, mate. Let them have it. 🙂

  5. [So why does shorten hate rudd so much?]
    Because if Rudd becomes leader he may well win the election, which means Shorten won’t become leader for a few more years.

  6. I’ld just like to roll up the results and beat Conroy around the head with them. That might take the edge off the pain for the night

  7. Katherine Murphy also talking sense:

    [As internal trust has corroded progressively (largely because of leadership tensions) several policies have followed precisely this same trajectory. Why? Because many ministers hold contentious things out of cabinet until the last possible moment because of concern about leaks.

    Trust within the cabinet has broken down, not because of paranoia or people jumping at shadows (although there is plenty of that) but because of quite rational reasons.

    Ministers will not have full and frank discussions around the cabinet table if they think they will wash up in a media outlet somewhere. And that has been the reality often enough to create a self-defeating dynamic.

    The cycle feeds itself. Broken trust feeds bad process, which fuels broken trust; then government people (who may or may not have leaked information for their own purposes) complain about bad process.

    Silly really, isn’t it?]

    and FWIW Summers:

    [But for Julia Gillard, the judgments are so harsh they border on the demonic. Never has there been a more incompetent and unreliable leader, people say, including many of her own colleagues. Yet this week marked Gillard’s 1000 days as Prime Minister. She will soon have served longer than Whitlam.

    Gillard has been unlucky enough to have stepped up to the job under two unprecedented circumstances: the hung parliament and the 24-hour news cycle.

    The absence of parliamentary majorities is a fact of life in the US Congress and most European parliaments. But for us it is new (at the federal level) and it means that virtually every action the government wants to take must be negotiated. This is then portrayed as a negative – ”the Prime Minister was forced to …” – rather than as an example of the skilled exercise of governance.

    The 24-hour news cycle is now on steroids, so that the pace of politics is absurdly accelerated. There is no time for reflection or second-guessing – and plenty of scope for mistakes, which a voracious media then pounces on as confirmation of its earlier negative judgment (”the Prime Minister was forced to …”).

    It was in this environment that Kevin Rudd’s supporters used the media like patsies to try to promote the notion that Gillard’s time was up, that her standing in the polls was terminal and that only their man could prevent Tony Abbott from romping into The Lodge.]

    and Button too:

    [T he Labor Party faces a far bigger question than whether Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd should lead it, or even whether it can win the next election. Can Labor rebuild itself as a force that occupies the centre and addresses the hopes and concerns of voters, while remaining the great vehicle for change in Australian politics? Can it begin talking again to the thousands of Australians who wish Labor well, but have drifted away from membership or even a sense of loose allegiance to it? Can it throw open its doors to say, ‘We are no longer a party of insiders and apparatchiks. Whether you are members or not, we want your ideas, energy, criticisms and reforming spirit’?

    This is now a life-or-death challenge for the ALP. It needs leaders who are committed to working with others to achieve it, who can take advice and manage the party and government as a team, whose agendas go beyond personal ambition. That leader was not Kevin Rudd.]

    This is all, I promise, you are rid of me for the weekend 😛

  8. Rudd is gorn, he had his chance and he squibbed it. If he and his sycophants had pulled their damned heads in and acted like grown-ups in the last year at least, the ALP would not have its back to the wall six months out of an election.

    And I would not have had to put up months with the most boring repetitious regurgitation of rambling nonsense since I tried to read Patrick White.

    You complain about people on here talking positively about Julia Gillard. What a hide, we have had to endure the torture of Ruddstoration for over two years. The three weeks period before Xmas 2012 was the climax and had to have been in contravention of Universal Declaration Human Rights. No sentient organism should be subjected to it.

    I begged you all back then to lay off, to give it a break. At least give progressives (Labor, Liberal, Green, etc) one blog to gather around and exchange views, opinions and ideas and have a clash if it came to it, (moderated of course) but no. That was asking too much, to give other people a breather.

    Well Kevin Rudd is gone, and from someone who had a lot of sympathy for him, I can say I am ecstatic. If only for the reason that the Ruddstoration might finally STFU.

  9. alias

    You’re right, gloating was the wrong word. I forgot that the Rudd Faction have no joy in their lives and the closest they come to happiness is wallowing in depression and despair.

    Fucking hell why not just have a good cry? You’ll feel better I promise.

    Good night all. Weekdays are for class war (sorry Martin, Kim Il Carr etc etc), weekends are for the Flower and Garden Show.:D

  10. Bugler
    I am now replying to you. There has been a demonstrable serious split in the Labor party for at least 3 years, which means that split has been latent for much longer.

    The split became extant at the end of 2009 (after Arbib’s protected source talk with the Americans about how ‘safe’ Gillard was). The international CPRS difficulties, about which Rudd was awful, plus talking up the hopes, gave the AWU/SDA Short/Cons the opportunity after a long period of Rudd riding high. By April, they got him to drop the carbon plan as too hard. Then he lost a lot of PV’s (like me). So that gave the opportunity to – at the first poll at 52-48 to ALP I think, to do what had been planned all along.

    I said at the time it would end in tears. Look at the PB timeline if you want. These guys in charge are not up to representing the Australian people. Their answer is to copy the Libs. FFS.

  11. Sorry, I messed that up somehow, but it’s still understandable. KM’s link is below Summers’ one. I’m not a tech-head, so to speak.

  12. Alias, it is not up to just the ALP caucus to win the next election, all us privates and corporals need need to step up to the plate too. All the Lord Haw-Haws here (and there are a few) need to realise that Tony appreciates their their incessant attempts to discourage and demoralise his opponents. How about waking up tomorrow and fighting in this campaign?

  13. ShowsOn

    So why does shorten hate rudd so much?

    “Because if Rudd becomes leader he may well win the election, which means Shorten won’t become leader for a few more years.”

    Bingo. One of the reasons losing an election is less important than Bill’s internal control.

  14. [Bugler
    I am now replying to you. There has been a demonstrable serious split in the Labor party for at least 3 years, which means that split has been latent for much longer.]
    Of course. Getting rid of Rudd in his first term has just create a gigantic wound in the party that hasn’t healed.

    It has turned out to be the absolutely dumbest thing that any political party has done in Australia since Labor made Doc Evatt leader.

  15. [Bingo. One of the reasons losing an election is less important than Bill’s internal control.]
    Of course.

    In fact Shorten is probably really jealous that the Australian public like Rudd a lot more than they like Shorten.

  16. @jv/6369

    Rudd would become leader of ALP, if he didn’t overplay his hand (or his supporters didn’t over play the hand that quiet litterly bit them).

  17. ShowsOn
    Yeah, Bill jumped from daughter of Liberal Pollie Julian Beale, to the daughter of the GG. Advancement assured.
    robably it was a choice between one of Richard Pratt’s grand-daughters and the GG’s. Anyway Bill had he use of goood old Richard’s jet for honeymoons in New York.

  18. JV,

    I’ll be brief, as I really need to sleep. I don’t doubt Labor has internal problems, and issues that need to be dealt with. I will not, however, accept the premise that Gillard is doomed to failure due to being held hostage by the Victorian Right. Nor do I accept that Kevin Rudd will not only fix all these problems but win elections too.

    The labour movement generally has a challenge to make itself relevant in the modern world. The ALP has a fight on its hands internally to help reflect that, and I do believe that a stint in opposition may be the best way to deal with that. I think this is happening in NSW at the moment to an extent. If Labor wins the next election, then I daresay it has room to move, unless they have another minority Government.

    I do have quite a bit of respect for Shorten, I might add, he is essentially the father of the NDIS, and wherever you are looking at it it is a good thing. While I wish the Government and the Labor party would do some things, you do have to accept a level of disagreement and compromise needs to exist.

    … and being like the Libs is a major reason I came to dislike Rudd, he caved into everything they did almost. Gillard was similarly awful during the 2010 campaign, I admit.

    Now, I really need to go, but I saw your comment and thought it would be rude to leave it until whenever I get back 🙂 . A good comment though.

  19. If anyone wants anyone banned just leave a list of names in alphabetical order and ill email and fax the full list through to Billy tomorrow

  20. [6019
    Posted Friday, March 22, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m puzzled about M’arn’s use of classwar rhetoric as a criticism against the govt.

    What on earth is he referring to?]


  21. If anyone wants anyone banned just leave a list of names in alphabetical order and ill email and fax the full list through to Billy tomorrow

    I don’t want anyone banned. That would not be democratic.
    Fat chance here.

    At the start of the week some on PB had still high hopes of a Labor recovery,and the mad optimists like GG saw victory ahead
    Now the latest Rudd chapter has seen all that turn to ashes and ruin…nothing but time now stands in the weay of the final massive victory of Abbott and Murdoch and a long Thatcherite night awaits us all
    for the unions a fatal blow awaits under Abbott
    and for many a dark time
    The ALP is proved to be a very weak vesssel for any hopes of reform
    for mine..well I now vote Green

  23. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    Well, the MSM will get its rocks off on the happenings of the last few days and then they will be left with NOTHING to circle jerk with. They will have to eventually move on to policy, suitability of character and talent. That’s when CREDLIN’S CREATURE will have to show itself properly.

    Lenore Taylor bows out from Fairfax with an introspective look at the role of the MSM.
    Yeah – everything except substance.
    Alan Moir farewells Rudd.
    David Pope shows the hubris of Abbott. Temporary, I hope.
    Ron Tandgerg isn’t too sure about Rudd.

  24. deblonay green? isnt that delusional now? they think they are above fray, an alternative government, and will take no responsibility for past few years. isnt this now a greater delusion than gillard?

  25. gillard gives great speeches in parliament when angry … she does not connect rudd to public in speeches … she is/was good deputy better than abbot in that role … abbot the christian!!!?????

  26. The menopausal monster must be some kind of masochist, unless she is delusional enough to think she may actually win the election. I can’t believe that the heavies in Labor are allowing her to stay. As a Nat, I can’t thank them all enough, for guaranteeing the Coalition the easiest and biggest ever electoral victory.

  27. The poor little fanboys of Gillard still spilling bile because they know their girl has been a bad experiment gone even worse.

    They continue to ignore that the only reason leadership speculation exists and will continue to exist is that she continues to fail at being a PM.

    This is not going to magically get better because the factional bosses continue to use her to protect themselves. She is simply a poor leader, whom the voting public dislike, even compared to Abbott.

    The only thing that destroyed and is destroying the Labor party are factional bosses. And of course, unlike Rudd, she refuses to fight them off, and Instead takes the payment of their uncritical propping up as PM in exchange for protecting their power.

    If anybody is damaging Labor it is Gillard by perpetuating the purchase of a PM in exchange to maintaining corrupt factional control of the party. And of course her own surprising abysmal performance as leader.

    The fanboy lemmings here only too happy throw Labor in a ditch in order to support such a person.

    The leadership issue is far from over whilst Gillard has Labor headed to a massive loss.

  28. BW:

    [Who would you prefer as Acting Prime Minister: Truss or Joyce?]

    If we are going with the most stupid option, Katter should get a guernsey, surely, at least on rotation?

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