BludgerTrack: 50.8-49.2 to Coalition

Powered mostly by Nielsen, but with other stronger polling for Labor also in the mix, the weekly BludgerTrack poll aggregate records its first significant shift since the election.

Supplemented with a bumper crop of new results, from Newspoll, Nielsen, ReachTEL and Essential Research, plus a brace of new state-level data, this week’s BludgerTrack poll aggregate records its first big move since the election. As shown on the sidebar, Labor is up nearly 2% on two-party preferred in just one week, driven by a significant increase in the their primary vote. The Nielsen poll of course has been a major contributor, but the 50.8-49.2 two-party split lands right on the ReachTEL result and isn’t far different from Newspoll once accounting for its preference distribution method that was probably slightly unflattering to Labor. On the seat projection, Labor gains five seats in Queensland on last week together with three in New South Wales, one in Victoria, two in Western Australia and one in the territories, which can only mean Solomon. The odd man out is South Australia, where Labor’s state-level data for this week was notably soft, although only small sample sizes were involved. Here Labor has actually gone from a projected gain of a seat to a projected loss.

Elsewhere around the site, there’s updates on Queensland’s two looming by-elections, at federal level in Griffith and state level in Redcliffe, and posts on new state polling in Victoria and Queensland. Further to which, two electoral reform news nuggets:

• A package of electoral reforms before the Queensland parliament may offer a litmus test for the federal government’s future plans, particularly after its position in the Senate strengthens in the middle of next year. Most pointedly, the bill contains a provision to require voter identification at the polling booth, having been foreshadowed by Liberal federal director Brian Loughnane’s post-election complaint that “you can’t go and hire a video without a card that requires a photo ID, but you can turn up to present to vote and just assert who you are”. This is perhaps the first entry into Australian politics of what has emerged as a flashpoint issue in the United States, where Republicans have invoked the ease with which malefactors can impersonate others in the absence of identity requirements, and Democrats have responded with complaints of “voter suppression laws” designed to create obstacles for the poor and minority groups in the name of a problem which appears barely to exist in practice.

Despite the Queensland government’s penchant for radicalism, the measures proposed in its bill come with a very substantial safety net, in that voters who find themselves unable to provide identification can lodge a signed declaration vote. The vote is later admitted to the count if election officials deem the vote to be bona fide, which they can presumably do by checking the signature against the voter’s enrolment form. The measure nonetheless promises to make life a lot more complicated on polling day, and to impose a further burden on the Electoral Commission as it conducts an already torturously cumbersome vote counting process. More on this from Peter Brent of Mumble, and a report on community radio current affairs program The Wire which features the redoubtable Graeme Orr.

Other measures in the Queensland bill include the abolition of caps on donations and campaign spending which the previous government introduced before the last election, setting the Newman government on a different course from the O’Farrell government which further tightened donation rules and spending caps in 2011. The bill likewise abolishes the increase in public funding which was introduced to compensate political parties for donation caps, and reinstates the old dollars-per-vote public funding model while setting the minimum vote threshold at 10% rather than the more familiar 4%. The threshold for disclosure of political donations, which Coalition governments would prefer be at least ten times the level favoured by Labor, will revert to the CPI-indexed $12,400 established at federal level by the Howard government, after the Bligh government slashed it to $1000. The bill has been referred to the parliament’s legal affairs and community safety committee, which is scheduled to report by February 24.

• As to what the new federal government might have planned, that should become clearer with the looming establishment of the new Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters and the commencement of its inquiry into the conduct of the recent election. The committee will consist of five government members including the chair, four opposition members including the deputy chair, and one from the Greens. Andrew Crook of Crikey reports the chair and deputy are likely to be Alex Hawke and Alan Griffin, while Lee Rhiannon will take the Greens’ position.

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.

760 comments on “BludgerTrack: 50.8-49.2 to Coalition”

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  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers
    I just saw Mesma on the news trying to sound impressive but her stultified, faux posh talking sounded anything but. She is hopeless. As good at her job as Barnaby Joyce was at Finance.
    No wonder O’Farrell is upset!
    And school principals are less than impressed as well. The word “equity” is used a lot.
    Close the door on the way out, Silvio!
    “Abbott’s boulevard of broken promises”. Are we going to see the media push this theme?
    How the precise comment from Pyne just before the election could be misconstrued is beyond belief. It simply was a cynical, calculated lie uttered in order to neutralise an issue that was hurting them electorally.
    “It is unfortunate that this taping that took place several years ago has been made public,” Mr Robb said. “But it’s there, it’s a fact of life, we’ve got to deal with it.” How on earth is this not another clear statement that they are attempting to rewrite?
    David Pope with some fun for the “adults”.
    Alan Moir gives it to Prissy! (And the government in general).
    Oh dear! David Rowe really gives Abbott, Pyne and Rodd the treatment this morning. MUST SEE!

  2. CTar1. I suspect my view might be an unpopular one!! But all tax systems need design features to protect the revenue base. In the case of online purchases from offshore, the current threshold in Australia is an incentive built into the system favouring offshore purchases at the expense of local purchases. The broader issue is the excessive prices charged by Australian retailers for many goods compared to offshore suppliers. So there is a counter argument favouring retention of the current GST import threshold because it forces local retailers to bring pricing into line with international pricing. I, for one, would probably buy local if the only price differential was 10% GST. That said, on the rare occasion I buy goods from offshore, it’s only because I can’t be bothered hunting them out locally eg, CDs and books. If I’m not in a rush, the incentive for online purchases is convenience, rather than pricing, and in a sense I’m largely indifferent as to whether the source is Australian or offshore. But as a semi rational consumer, once I have accepted there will be some delay in delivery of my purchase, I will buy the lowest cost item, which (surprise surprise!) is invariably from an offshore supplier!!

  3. Ahh – the Ministry of Truth would be so proud of sheridan’s dribble –

    [ sprocket_
    Posted Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Greg Sheridan in the GG lauds Abbott’s diplomatic triumph. We are in safe hands….

    TONY Abbott’s letter to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been successful. That judgment is inescapable and incontestable.

    The President, in his formal statement responding to the Prime Minister’s letter, has spoken warmly of the relationship with Australia.

    He has been calm throughout.

    He has stressed the key national interest that Australia has in its relationship with Indonesia. He has been warm and gracious towards the President.

    He has also safeguarded Australia’s key interests in maintaining its intelligence capabilities.

    He has stayed away from the obvious political points he could have made against Labor.

    He has responded to the President quickly, but with serious, indeed intense, deliberation at every stage. ]

  4. Sheridan:

    [There may still be very challenging days in this relationship to come, but whatever happens, this has been a solid performance by the Abbott government. It should give our allies, and the Australian people, a good deal of reassurance that this is a competent, sensible government fully conscious of the grave responsibilities it must shoulder in national security.]

    Once again, Abbott gets out of a mess (if that is actually what has happened) of his own making, by ceasing to be a nerk, and not only gets a “Whew! That was close,” from Sheridan, but added and resounding praise for being a diplomatic genius.

    The relationship will have to be renegotiated, reset “not necessarily in our favour” (to quote another loser), and thenceforth we will need to be on our absolutely best behaviour.

    Abbott placards are being burned in the streets in Jakarta. Much of the political class there is up in arms. The Indonesian newspapers are running an anti-Australian line, and other countries in the region are lining up for free kicks aimed at our head.

    And we should be reassured?

    Sheridan like to be a contrarian, making sweeping declarations against all evidence, but he should keep away from the bottle when he does it.

  5. morning all

    BK did you notice the picture hanging in the David Rowe cartoon. It was JG hanging upside down.

    Sheridan is furiously polishing the turd that is this Abbott govt, but I doubt it is going to help. They are proving to be incompetent buffoons

  6. [ Outsider
    Posted Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    CTar1. I suspect my view might be an unpopular one!! ]

    This is what the issue is –

    [ The Coalition ……again pledged to leave the GST untouched. ]

    abbott said on numerous occassions the GST would not change. Period.

    Now they want to change it.

    Great going into the by election in Queensland and the Senate re-run in WA. Throw in Gonski and whatever else they bungle and back track on between now and the new polls.

    Plus the Indonesian matter is not over yet – a swag of boats in the first quarter 2014 would go down well.

  7. I see from William’s introductory piece that democracy thieves never sleep. They have stolen the truth with utterly cynical lies, and now they want to steal your vote as well.

    I am sure that Abbott’s Indigenous Advisory Council will provide expert advice that the voter identification requirement will virtually guarantee that many Indignous people – particularly in remote locations – will be disenfranchised.

    And that Abbott will duly listen.

  8. [Amid the furore over allegations of spying on Indonesia’s leaders, East Timor has repeated claims that Australia bugged its leaders during delicate negotiations on the Timor Sea resources treaty in 2004.

    East Timor is pursuing international arbitration to have the 2006 treaty overturned, a process it launched last December after the Australian government failed to respond to the bugging claims.

    But it says it would halt this process if the Australian government gave a detailed response to their spying allegations.]

    Like BB said, Australia has become the pinata of Asia.

  9. After the triumph in Jakarta Beijing looks like being another pushover.

    [Beijing furious over Julie Bishop’s ‘irresponsible’ remarks

    The fall-out threatens to sour the mood for Ms Bishop’s imminent visit to China – her first as foreign minister – and comes as the Abbott government pushes aggressively to seal a much-vaunted free trade deal with its largest trading partner within a year.

    Mr Abbott’s public declaration last month that Japan was Australia’s “best friend” in Asia had already raised eyebrows in Beijing]

  10. It’s been an instant fix, according to Sheridan. Problem solved in a neat 90 minute episode of “The West Wing”.

    A few words scribbled on a letterhead, a day or two’s effort, have fixed the whole relationship. No hard work required. We’ve put one over SBY once again. All you have to do is use the right mix of oily obsequiousness and grovelling capitulation and you can get these darkies to do anything They’re like children, really. Heap praise on them, promise them anything, and they gurgle like babies. Give ‘em another lollie, Tony.

    That is exactly what got us into trouble in the first place.

    We revealed our hand far too early in the game we’re playing with Indonesia. Over the last three years, we told them what the aim and the result of negotiations would be – stop the boats – and then went in hamfistedly first to demand it, then to plead, then to beg.

    Sheridan’s thesis seems to be that three years spent slagging-off Indonesia, our declarations that they were irrelevant to our ambitions in their home waters and in their villages, all that guff about how their boats had to be stopped, the rudeness in turing up late to meetings twice, the universal declarations of love and affection, have all been ignored by the simple pampong folk of Jakarta, in exchange for a few beads and trinkets, mere words.

    In Sheridan World major diplomatic problems are solved at the stroke of a pen. Overseas potentates just need a little flattery, and they roll over to let us scratch their tummies. What was a dire, new low in the relationship just a week ago is suddenly a new high. Victory must be declared pronto, lest the domestic audience gets it into their heads that Abbott has stuffed up big-time. While SBY plays in the bath with his new toys, the huddled masses of Australia can be reassured their rulers are the adults in the room.

    Sheridan alludes to a few problems coming up… like the bit where we have to negotiate and conclude an agreement on spying (one where we don’t do any of it) before there’s even a hope of relations being restored.

    He doesn’t actually set out what the new relationship will be like. I guess maybe he wants us to assume it’ll be business-as-usual, but on what evidence?

    The only evidence we have is the Indonesians insistence that the old colonial days are gone – That was then, this is now – and that a country of 23 million people should take its rightful place (and no more) beside a country of 250 million or more.

    Instant fixes, declarations of overnight success, bragging that we “won” this or that against the hapless Indonesians, are exactly what got us into the shit in the first place.

    And they’re doing it again.

  11. So – Our car industry will be closed on abbott’s watch, Gonski gutted – (remember the same level of funding won’t even be delivered after the first year) – yet hockey is looking at business welfare for Qantas which is also looks like being majority owned by foreigners pretty soon.

    Slash reforms to education and give the money to business.


    [ Govt mulls ways to boost Qantas

    Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has hinted that the Abbott government may be open to lifting the foreign ownership cap on Qantas Airways, which would allow the airline to be majority owned by offshore investors, according to The Australian Financial Review.

    Mr Hockey said the coalition is considering a variety of options, which could include government subsidies, to acknowledge that Qantas is not fighting against rival Virgin Australia Holdings on a level playing field. ]

  12. This so called government is an incompetent joke.

    I was interested to read yesterday that they were proposing rewarding state governments if they sold off public assets. Cynical people in NSW may link this to the fact that there were real estate agents valuing Ultimo TAFE recently…

    One wonders what else may be flogged off? Opera house? Harbour Bridge?

  13. [WA’s two desalination plants and its network of sewage treatment plants could be soon put up for a multibillion-dollar sale as part of Troy Buswell’s plan to regain the State’s AAA credit rating.

    The West Australian understands these State-owned utilities will join ports infrastructure as prime candidates for privatisation when the Treasurer releases his pre-Christmas mid-year economic review.]

    Questions that arise, among others:

    1. Should we be selling these assets?
    2. If so, is now the right time, and is restoration of the AAA credit rating a sufficiently justifiable reason for selling?

  14. Scene from “The Week Of Living Dangerously”



    SBY TO AIDE: “Who is this ‘Greg Sheridan’?”

    AIDE to SBY: “Oh, he is an Australian journalist.”

    SBY: “I KNOW that. But WHO is he?”

    AIDE: “I see what you mean… He’s Tony Abbott’s best friend. They have private dinners together. Some say he has Abbott’s ear, and is one of his trusted political advisors.”

    SBY: “So more than just ‘a journalist’, eh?”

    AIDE: “I’m afraid so.”

    SBY: “We’ll see about that. Get my megaphone.”

    Sheridan’s advice to Abbott three years ago was to go hard, go early, go aggro on Indonesia. He told them they would fold.

    When it all blew up in Abbott’s face, Sheridan repeated his advice.

    “Don’t give an inch. It’s just their inferiority complex writ large. They like to think they’re important in the region. Show them who’s boss.”

    When Abbott did this, it blew up in his face even more.

    The advice changed…

    “Grovel. Kow-tow. Apologize if you have to. We’re in the shit if you don’t. A bit of flattery might work. Pretend you agree with everything they say.”


    Sheridan declares his advice has succeeded, the day after. It only took 24 hours, just like he told his mate Tony.

    OK, so it’s only one possible scenario, but could Sheridan’s op-ed today be designed to get him out of the shit with Abbott, for giving such lousy advice in the past? That it was not so much a declaration that Abbott was right, but that Sheridan was right, and will Tony please start taking is calls again?

    After all, we’ve got China to fix up now, then East Timor, and God help us if the Papua New Guineans decide they want a better deal.

  15. vic
    Yes. It’s unhealthy.
    Also I agree with you about David Rowe. One should spend a lot of time looking at the small details in his cartoons.

  16. Folks my post on GST was not meant to be a political comment! just a musing on some of the underlying policy issues and to point out the contrast between the Australian and UK approaches.

    I wish Abbott nothing but the worst and whatever might be coming his way he richly deserves.

    And fair enough that a change to GST will be just another broken promise….

    My main concern with Labor’s performance at the moment is that they are not hammering the broken promise message. Media bias, whatever, but the message is not getting out as clearly as Abbott managed to do. The libs have a wonderful ability to fabricate a crisis out of nothing. Very effective in opposition! The same ability, in government, is disturbing….

  17. [Also I agree with you about David Rowe. One should spend a lot of time looking at the small details in his cartoons.]

    The ‘mandate’ logs burning away in the fire was another detail easily missed.

  18. Outsider

    My concern with compliance on GST being imposed on online overseas purchases is the compliance costs. If the reports are correct, it will cost the govt 2b to collect 500 m.

  19. CTar1 – Our family decided after that grounding and lockout that we would never use them again.

    We either use another airline or car or public transport or don’t go.

    We have all stuck to it.

  20. Outsider

    [The libs have a wonderful ability to fabricate a crisis out of nothing.]

    You just said it. Patience my friend.
    Kenny in the Age has laid it all out very nicely.
    My only fear is that the Libs will grow a brain and learn from their mistakes. Other than that, they will, as ever, toss money around to “fix” things.

  21. [The libs have a wonderful ability to fabricate a crisis out of nothing. Very effective in opposition! The same ability, in government, is disturbing….]

    Brilliantly put, Outsider.

  22. [ My main concern with Labor’s performance at the moment is that they are not hammering the broken promise message. ]

    No. Shorten & Co are just getting started and it will build.

    Voters are about to chill out for summer which is why abbott, pyne & co are slipping the nasty stuff out.

    But they have elections coming up – in Qld and far more importantly Senate in WA.

    abbott is damaging himself almost daily and its stuff that won’t go away. Shorten will be fire it all back when it will do the most damage.

  23. [Mr Denmore ‏
    Pyne is like a kid playing with Uncle Johnny’s toys left over from the 90s culture wars. “Hey, what does this button do?”]

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