BludgerTrack: 56.0-44.0 to Coalition

Three slightly less bad polls for Labor have softened the post-leadership crisis slump in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate. Also featured: preselection news and some minor changes to electoral law.

The latest weekly BludgerTrack update accommodates results from Newspoll, Essential Research and Morgan’s multi-mode poll, with the latter looking like it will be a regularly weekly occurrence in contrast to the unpredictable schedule of the face-to-face series it has replaced. This is a somewhat better batch of polling for Labor than the previous week or two, gaining them 0.5% on two-party preferred and two extra on the seat projection. My latest bias adjustments for the Morgan multi-mode polling, based on comparison of its results with the overall poll trend, are +1.7% for Labor, +0.4% for the Coalition and -1.5% for the Greens, compared with +1.4%, +0.9% and -1.5% as I calculated them a week ago.

In other news, I have a raft of preselection action and a review of some minor electoral law changes:

• A bitterly contested preselection to replace Nicola Roxon in the rock solid Labor seat of Gellibrand in western Melbourne has been won by Telstra executive Tim Watts, running with the backing of Stephen Conroy, for whom he once worked as a staffer. His opponents were Katie Hall, a former adviser to Roxon who ran with her backing; Kimberley Kitching, former Melbourne councillor and current acting general manager of the Health Services Union No. 1 branch; Julia Mason and Daniel McKinnon. The 50% of the preselection vote determined by a local party ballot conducted on Monday saw 126 votes go to Watts, 105 to Kitching, 87 to Hall, 42 to McKinnon and four to Mason. Despite a preference deal between Kitching and Hall, that gave Watts a decisive lead going into Tuesday’s vote of the party’s Public Office Selection Committee, where the “stability pact” between the Shorten-Conroy Right forces and the Socialist Left reportedly assured him of about 70% of the vote. Andrew Crook of Crikey reports that Kitching, who had hoped to prevail with support from Turkish community leaders, was thwarted when the “Suleyman clan” (referring to an influential family in western suburbs politics) defected to Watts in exchange for support for Natalie Suleyman to take the number three position on the upper house ticket for Western Metropolitan at the next state election. A dirt sheet targeting Hall over her sexual history and involvement in the HSU was disseminated in the week before the vote, which has led to Kitching complaining to an ALP tribunal that Roxon had falsely accused her of being involved.

• Steve McMahon, chief executive of the NSW Trainers Association (as in thoroughbred horses) and former mayor of Hurstville, has won Labor preselection for the southern Sydney seat of Barton, to be vacated at the election by Robert McClelland. Much more on that in the next episode of Seat of the Week.

• Barnaby Joyce faces opposition at the April 13 Nationals preselection for New England in the shape of David Gregory, owner of an agricultural software business in Tamworth. Another mooted nominee, National Farmers Federation president Jock Laurie, is instead seeking preselection for the by-election to replace Richard Torbay in his Armidale-based state seat of Northern Tablelands.

• Tony Crook, who won the southern regional WA seat of O’Connor for the Nationals from Liberal veteran Wilson Tuckey in 2010, has announced he will not seek another term. The seat was already looming as a spirited three-cornered contest to match the several which had unfolded at the state election (including in the corresponding local seats of Kalgoorlie and Eyre), with the Liberals running hard and early behind their candidate, Katanning farmer Rick Wilson.

Jason Tin of the Courier-Mail reports Chris Trevor will again be Labor’s candidate for the central Queensland seat of Flynn, having won the seat when it was created in 2007 before joining the Queensland Labor casualty list in 2010. Nicole Hodgson, a teacher, and Leanne Donaldson, a former public servant in child protection, were reportedly set to take on the thankless tasks of Hinkler and Fadden.

A package of electoral law changes made it through parliament last month in the shape of the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Improving Electoral Administration) Act 2013, despite opposition to some measures from the Coalition and Senate cross-benchers Nick Xenophon and John Madigan:

• If a ballot box is unlawfully opened before the authorised time, as occurred at two pre-poll booths in Boothby and Flynn at the 2010 election, the act now requires that the votes be admitted to the count if it is established that “official error” was responsible. The AEC requested the law be clarified after it acted on contestable legal advice in excluding the relevant votes in Boothby and Flynn from the count, which were too few to affect the result. In its original form the bill directed that the affected votes should be excluded, but Bronwyn Bishop successfully advocated for the savings provision when it was referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.

• The Australian Taxation Office has been added to the list of agencies which can provide the Australian Electoral Commission with data relevant to enrolment. As usual with matters that touch on automatic enrolment, this was opposed by the Coalition, Xenophon and Madigan, but supported by all lower house independents and the Greens.

• Pre-polling will in all circumstances begin four days after the close of nominations, giving the AEC two more days to print and disseminate material to the voting centres. The Coalition took the opportunity to move for the pre-poll period to be cut from 19 days before polling day to 12, again with the support of Xenophon and Madigan. The change also eliminates a discrepancy where the date came forward a day if there was no election for the Senate, in which case the election timetable did not have to provide an extra day for lodgement of Senate preference tickets.

• Those casting pre-poll votes will no longer have to sign declaration certificates. A change in the status of pre-poll votes from declaration to ordinary votes was implemented at the 2010 election, allowing them to be counted on election night, but voters still had to sign a certificate. The AEC advised this was unnecessary, but the measure was nonetheless opposed by the Coalition, Xenophon and Madigan.

• The cut-off for receiving postal vote applications has been moved back a day from Thursday to Wednesday, acknowledging the near certainty that voting material posted to those who apply on the Thursday will not be received in time.

• The timetable for conducting electoral redistributions has been amended to allow more time for considering objections raised in public submissions.

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.

1,173 comments on “BludgerTrack: 56.0-44.0 to Coalition”

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  1. Thanks Dave

    Yes very interesting market to watch. The other element is “too low” long interest rates in Australia (i.e. ~zero real rates), which may/will/is distorting asset pricing

  2. I hope the ALP has the guts to stay with Gillard after the landslide LNP victory in September.

    The onset of revisionism won’t take long and Gillard will be seen in an entirely different light.

    It would not beyond the realms of possibility that she could come back in 2016.

    I can dream.

  3. Laocoon@51

    Thanks Dave

    Yes very interesting market to watch. The other element is “too low” long interest rates in Australia (i.e. ~zero real rates), which may/will/is distorting asset pricing

    How in the hell are the fed ever going to unwind it all – except cancelling the US Government bonds against those held by the Fed? Or will another bust come all before they can do anything.

    The not so invisible hand is what is guiding the markets atm. Roll over Adam Smith – he was very very wary of Banks.

    Bernanke ‘apparently’ won’t seek, or get reappointment – Janet Yellan apparently tipped?

  4. Boxhead Cormann making a fool of himself on Agenda re fraudband. Bradbury is destroying him.
    Of course Fool Gilbert lets it drop.

  5. I dunno whether this is true but the “optics” of Obeid giving someone a suitcase full of $50,000 would be less than optimal.

  6. Wow Mayne on same page as Latham

    @MayneReport: Self interest, ego & revenge r biggest motivators in politics. Agree with Mark Latham’s AFR analysis of Crean-Ferguson-Fitzgibbon-McClelland

  7. rummel @ 13

    I dont really care what Carr said about Thatcher, it his view and i really am sick of how everyone becomes a good bloke or girl when they die. Problem is though, when a member of the left die, no opinion in the negative is allowed.

    Wait till Richo leaves our mortal coil…….

  8. The ABC news & current affairs department really has an inflated view of its own importance. Top story currently on their website is:

    [Exclusive: My life as a North Korean super spy

    As the Korean peninsula teeters on the brink of war, North Korea’s former top female spy has revealed details of the state’s most deadly terrorist attack.

    In a world exclusive interview with the ABC’s 7.30, the now-exiled Kim Hyun-hee tells of life inside the kingdom and how she was groomed by North Korean spy masters to plant a bomb on a South Korean passenger plane.]

    This story is about as “exclusive” as the air we all breathe. The lady’s story has been told many times before (just google her name or read Wikipedia where it is spelt Kim Hyon Hui). According to Wikipedia, her memoirs were published in a 1993 book that was translated into several languages. So much for the “world exclusive interview with the ABC’s 7.30”!

    While her life story is enthralling, she would have no more insight than many others into the current North Korean regime. Another fail for today’s ABC.

  9. BK

    Looks like Abbott as PM would give LNP a competition timeline for dumping a PM. Shades of Rudd keeping public servants waiting.

  10. “@sspencer_63: Liberal candidate standing with Abbott and Turnbull just said she was “very proud of the NBN”. Confused her NBN with Labor’s it appears.”

  11. Morning all.

    MT and TA flat out lying. Firstly calling their policy NBN, secondly saying the actually NBN won’t connect businesses or educational institutions, and thirdly by saying the real NBN is ignoring rural and regional Australia.

    How can you say Labor wants to connect every household to NBN and then say RARA will miss out?!

  12. “@mpesce: The #NBN isn’t about high-def telly. IT’S ABOUT PRODUCTIVITY. Productivity and bandwidth are DIRECTLY CORRELATED.”

  13. ABC 24 just cut away from Tones and Talcum presser….doesn’t happen very often…they normally take the feed until Tony walks off..

  14. “@mpesce: The Coalition wants Australia to suffer under lower productivity than its well-connected neighbors. How then can Australia compete globally?”

  15. “@mpesce: Economics and forward-thinking are the two clearly identified blind spots of the Coalition, and the #NBN intersects both of them. #auspol”

  16. BK

    I can’t stand this crap from Turnbull and Abbott. I’m goin out to clean up the horses’ poo!

    Shorter BK. Turnball’s winning the debate.

  17. I’m sure BK would’ve been all over this for his dawn patrol service, but it’s worth repeating for the sheer gobsmackingness of it all:

    [So-called “dummy mummies” – that is educated, wealthy parents who believe anti-vaccine conspiracy sites over public health experts and doctors – have helped drive down immunisation rates to dangerously low levels in nine areas of NSW.

    Families living in suburbs such as Newtown and Glebe pride themselves on their knowledge of, and adherence to, the science when it comes to topics such as climate change. Yet these places, too, fall into the “at-risk” zones identified by the national health performance authority.

    It’s no coincidence that in these areas use of alternative medicine also abounds. Last month Fairfax revealed that anti-vaccination beliefs were being promoted among at least one group of alternative practitioners, chiropractors.]

    Read more:

    If I had children there’s no way I’d be taking them overseas without them having up-to-date vaccinations. There is simply no excuse for well-off, well-educated people not to immunise their children.

  18. I can’t wait to see Turnball & Conroy debating their NBN policies. Turnball will absolutely demolish Conroy.

    ABC1’s Lateline on Monday:

    HOST Emma Alberici: Can you tell us how many homes are currently paying a subscription?

    Stephen Conroy: It’s roughly around 50,000 Australians are using the NBN at the moment …

    Alberici: Can I take you back to December 2010 when you held a joint press conference with the PM?

    Conroy: Well, you can waste the time of Lateline. We have –

    Alberici: You said that 600,000 premises would be signed up –

    Conroy: Well, now you sound like Malcolm Turnbull, Emma. Malcolm Turnbull keeps trying to talk about the 2010 Corporate Plan which made that forecast …

    Alberici: So, by June, if I can get this right, you are confident there will be 220,000 homes signed up?

    Conroy: Well, we think no, this is premises passed rather than activations …

    Alberici: Yep. So, then let me say this then: back in 2010 –

    Conroy: As I say, Malcolm Turnbull goes there all the time.

    Alberici: This was the corporate plan that said that by June of this year … that 1.7 million premises would have access to the NBN –

    Conroy: That was superseded by our plan last year.

    Alberici: OK, so tell us what is the figure now?

    Conroy: So, the number of premises passed will be around 240,000 I think is the number that about 220,000, sorry; it’s down from 340,000. And that’s brownfields and greenfields … together, combined, the two types.

    Alberici: In the last two years we’ve already seen how a plan and an estimate can go wildly wrong …

    Conroy: Yeah, no, well, then clearly we’ve got an issue that these construction companies haven’t been able to ramp up fast enough.

  19. [Wait till Richo leaves our mortal coil…….]

    Peter of Marino I thought exactly the same when I heard him talking about Thatcher. Had a great laugh here thinking of all the stories Laborites have to tell.

    He was probably begging us all to let him rest peacefully but you make your bed, you lie in it, Richo.

    BK That story of 9 year olds protesting at an anti abortion rally is appalling. I hope it doesn’t happen again.

  20. A chiropractor once did some tests on my great aunt and advised her to give up alcohol.

    “I’ve never drunk a drop in my life,” she told him.

    So he then ran her through a list of ways she might be imbibing without knowing it (from memory, it included flysprays) — all of which she said ‘no’ to.

    So he told her that her body was manufacturing its own alcohol, and she was happy to accept that!

  21. triton@86

    Jon Faine concludes that Julia Gillard failed in China because she did not create an acronym for the new annual meetings.

    You surely did not take that as a serious comment?

  22. Rummel…. “Problem is though, when a member of the left die, no opinion in the negative is allowed.”
    I don’t know!…..I can’t recall too many words of praise for Ol’ Joe Stalin…(who was too soft!).

  23. Congratuations to The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, for her visit and her success in China. Friendship and dialoque with China must rate up there with the same for the US.

  24. bemused
    [You surely did not take that as a serious comment?]

    I certainly did. He meant it, referring to Keating (APEC I presume) and someone else. His argument was that she got the meetings but can’t sell it. Barrie Cassidy disagreed and he again pointed out the absence of an acronym. I detected no tongue-in-cheek tone in his voice.

  25. triton@93


    You surely did not take that as a serious comment?

    I certainly did. He meant it, referring to Keating (APEC I presume) and someone else. His argument was that she got the meetings but can’t sell it. Barrie Cassidy disagreed and he again pointed out the absence of an acronym. I detected no tongue-in-cheek tone in his voice.

    This blog is becoming crowded by people with a humour bypass.

    They were gently mocking the propensity of all these gatherings to come up with some acronym or other and noting that this one hadn’t. It was more directed at the other gatherings than this one.

  26. Oh well!!

    We had 5 good days

    Now back to same old.
    Swanny and his never ending deficit

    Now Turnbull and monkey got their act together and look human

  27. Not “they”, bemused. Only Faine brought up acronyms. I was listening carefully to him. I don’t think I’m too bad at detecting irony in spoken language. They were having a serious discussion about Gillard’s China trip. It really wasn’t the time to suddenly inject humour into it except perhaps as a one-off aside, but Faine went on with it after Cassidy disagreed. If I missed the humour then so did Cassidy, since he remained serious in his responses. If there’s a recording, others can make up their own minds.

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