ReachTEL: ABC, republicanism, Cosgrove v Bryce

ReachTEL gives both sides of the argument something to go on in relation to ABC bias, and finds evidence of conservatism on matters vice-regal and republican.

The Fairfax papers today offer three attitudinal findings from a ReachTEL automated phone poll, which was conducted on Thursday evening from a sample of 2146 respondents:

• After Tony Abbott’s efforts to place the matter on the agenda earlier this week, a question on ABC bias finds 59.6% of respondents saying there is none. However, conservative critics of the public broadcaster can at least point to the fact that many more think it biased to Labor (32.2%) than the Coalition (8.2%). While the result at both ends may have been influenced by Abbott’s activism, it nonetheless offers an interesting supplement to the yearly ABC-commissioned Newspoll surveys, which consistently find overwhelming majorities considering its reporting to be “balanced and even-handed” without probing into respondents’ partisanship. The Sydney Morning Herald’s graphic features breakdowns by age and gender.

• Support for republicanism appears to be at a low ebb, with 39.4% in favour and 41.6% opposed. Tellingly, the 18-34 cohort joins 65-plus in recording a net negative rating (though by a considerably smaller margin), with those in between recording majorities in favour. Age and gender breakdowns here.

• There’s also a question on who is preferred out of the incumbent Governor-General and her designated successor, with 57.1% favouring Peter Cosgrove versus 42.9% for Quentin Bryce. I do wonder though about a method which requires a definite answer from all respondents to such a question, given the number that wouldn’t have an opinion.

UPDATE: And now a further finding from the poll that 52.5% agree that Labor should distance itself from the union movement”, compared with 25.6% who disagree.

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.

1,716 comments on “ReachTEL: ABC, republicanism, Cosgrove v Bryce”

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  1. zoomster,

    IYO how far can Sharman push her dissension? Who has more to lose here, her or the government?

    Is she dissenting merely to maintain respect in her electorate or is she doing it to gain concessions from the government? Or – more to the point, will her electorate expect that she will get concessions in order to maintain their vote?

    ohhhhh i find this one very interesting! Far more so than the Malcolm and ETS fizzer.

  2. [Relax children. Newspoll and Nielsen will be back soon enough. I don’t think they are going to be terrific for the Coalition.

    Which is odd considering that they haven’t been governing that badly and seem to have actually managed to stop the boats.]

    The Boats issue is a big deal for those who follow the kabuki theater of politics: politicians, journalists and commentators.

    To the average man in the street it’s not such a big deal.

    Sure, if asked, Joe and Jane Bloggs will offer an opinion one way or the other, but its not foremost in their mind.

    Time after time “issues” polls show this.

    Boats, like the Carbon Tax, was an artificial issue, invented to provide endless fodder for political chatterers.

    It’s like those Japanese game shows that Clive Jame pioneered the analysis of: it’s easy to get a whole bunch of viewers, perhaps even a nation, fascinated by who can bear to swim through a pool full of pig shit… but whoever wins the race, it doesn’t amount to anything significant in the national discourse, and it doesn’t imply that a contestant agonizing over swimming through pig shit is anything but an invented crisis.

    Boats, the Carbon Tax and swimming through pig shit provide entertainment and something to talk about in the newspapers and on TV. Nothing much more than that.

    They do not put bread on the table, uniforms on schoolkids’ backs, make the internet run any faster, bring down the price of petrol, end the drought, save the Murray (or the reef, or Great white sharks), rein in cheating financial advisors, pay pensions or provide universal health care. We even had one Coalition dropkick screaming that Boat People were the cause of traffic jams on the M4. It may have given the tradies on the M4 – who ere the real blockers of that motorway – some comfort to be able to blame someone they regarded as “lesser” than themselves, but that didn’t make the accusation true, or even remotely significant.

    The Ray Hadleys of this world would have us believe that Boats is an issue that DOES affect real life. Hadley’s “Police Blotter” segment every day is replete with “men of Middle Eastern appearance” forcing themselves on young girls, uni students and spitting in the streets like the filthy dogs they are. But polls tell us repeatedly that the punters, in overwhelming numbers, don’t believe Boats, and the people who come on them, are that important to their daily lives.

    Which is why, even if Abbott does succeed in stopping the boats, without serious collateral damage to our relationship with Indonesia, and without seriously degrading our notions internation humanitarian standing (iffy, if you ask me), ultimately “Boats” as an issue, even as a solved issue will be dismissed. The question will then be, “What’s your next trick?”.

    By getting rid of Boats as an issue, Abbott is getting rid of one of his most important political pluses, but it’s only a plus – a real and meaningful plus – with the rabbits that chew the political grass on panel shows and current affairs programs, in in op-ed political columns.

    He’d be far wiser to try to string it out for as long as he can, but he’s desperate to claim at least one promise kept, even if that promise is almost entirely irrelevant to the punters daily lives.

    The pundits and press gallery hacks, the insiders and the glitterati can interview each other to their hearts’ content, but stopping the Boats still won’t be as wildly electorally successful as Abbott seems to hope it will be.

    He’s trying to act unfazed about his poll position at the moment. But I’d bet London to a brick that inside he’s seething with rage that an ungrateful public could abandon him so quickly after his moment of glory.

    If Abbott truly believes that stopping the Boats will revive his prospects, he’s in for a rude shock. He’s been hated all his life for the bovver boy he is. He craves popularity. He’s been promised it, yet the polls aren’t delivering.

    No Shanahan article, or Sheridan paen of praise, no Hadley editorial and certainly no Kenny or Hartcher man-love op-ed will make Abbott someone who is liked and admired by the general public.

    It is partly because he is plain un-likeable, a vicious thug who goes the biff first and asks questions later, and partly because he’s picked the wrong issues to get him to his goal.

    Boats is one of them. The Carbon Tax is another. Australians are not that interested in something that, in the final assessment, doesn’t affect their lives nearly as much as many commentators think they do.

  3. As part of her critique of the SPC decision, Stone outlined where the government was failing —

    [It is a complete furphy what is being said about the troubles of this last fruit preserving industry. Perhaps it’s a distraction from the facts, which would require some government action, like doing better with the anti-dumping regime, like competition and policy – we call it root and branch review – that’s not in place at the moment. Like abolishing the carbon tax, that hasn’t happened yet.]

    And, of course, that’s only in the area of industry policy (oh, I forgot: they don’t have one, because Sophie Mirabella refuses to give them her notes ..or something)

  4. From Fairfax

    “The intelligence watchdog has criticised ASIO for “inconsistent and arbitrary” practices by denying some refugees legal representation when completing security clearances.
    An inquiry by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security found ASIO staff were not offering all refugees the right to a lawyer in their interview, based on complaints made by asylum seeker service group.

    The inquiry found ASIO officers had no legal basis to exclude lawyers from interviews. It also recommended visa applicants should be asked beforehand whether they wanted a lawyer present at their interview.”

    So ASIO thinks it is above the law? Well I never would have thought that.

  5. I just noticed someone here has kind of said the LNP is not doing to badly and all they need to do, essentially, “is sell their policies at little better” or wtte.

    Funny – sounds just like an echo chamber for what what said about Labor or nigh on 6 years.

    So, five months in office, with policies “ready to govern” and they have not figured out how to “sell” the policies?

    What a load of rubbish.

    The LNP is still in three word slogan, Opposition mode.

  6. [Is she dissenting merely to maintain respect in her electorate or is she doing it to gain concessions from the government? Or – more to the point, will her electorate expect that she will get concessions in order to maintain their vote?]
    Doesn’t the factory employ a few thousand people?

    Clearly if the factory closes that will completely kill the economy in hear electorate.

  7. [How is the Monkey going to honour his promise to create all those jobs?]
    That promise was a total joke. All he promised was to keep the rate of growth in employment the same as what it has been for the last 6 years.

  8. I expect Daniel Andrews to take credit for the choice of the new Vic speaker. Something like, “I’m pleased that the premier has taken up my proposal to end the circus, even though it took weeks of unnecessary chaos in parliament before he did so.”

  9. @Centre/1661

    My take on it, is Abbott got caught up with his own arse for not selling it in the first place – when he refused to sell it to Tony Winsor.

  10. There was a profound bit of Abbconomis went into that jobs promise.

    The tallied up the jobs gained by Howard and divided by the number of years and Bob’s your uncle: two million jobs over ten years coming up. Thinking about it some more they came up with one million jobs in five years.

  11. kakaru

    [Oh, unless of course you’re a millionaire having a baby. Then Abbott & Hockey will give you $75, no questions asked. But that’s, you know, different.]

    That policy is offensive as well as stupid.

    I noticed yesterday that Roz Packer donated more that half a million to the Liberal Party at the last election.

    She may need that money if any of her and her cohorts children intend to have children.

    The policy is a disgrace.

    Sorry for the delay I had a couple of things I had to do.

  12. Simone

    it’s an interesting one, and it seems to be a common occurence with Lib governments. Howard ended up – in his first term – with a handful of ex Lib MPs sitting on the cross benches.

    Partly – as was the case then – the Libs don’t give a toss. Sharman is as ‘wet’ as a modern Lib gets (so not very), a former Turnbull supporter (her career was on a steady rise under Howard/Nelson/Turnbull; she’s gone nowhere since) and one of those dreaded intellectual types who uses facts and things, so they don’t mind if she goes.

    On the other hand, she has one of the safest seats in the country, and has – if anything – made it safer (Murray and Indi are side by side, so that makes comparisons even more interesting).

    If she recontests the next election, she’ll win, no matter what the colour of her livery.

    Abbott is a tad too complacent at present to be worried by the idea that an MP might end up on the cross benches. He’s probably more worried that, should Turnbull ever be in a position to challenge, Stone will back him (and if so, she’ll end up in Cabinet, outranking many of Tony’s present Ministers).

    He’d be wise to look at the past Parliament, and even wiser to look at the ’99 election in Victoria. You can afford to lose a few backbenchers when you have a thumping majority. You’re in trouble if they’re still there when you don’t.

  13. ShowsOn,

    A busted local economy (assuming thats what will happen) doesnt mean LNP wont hold it. Aren’t the poorest electorates mostly LNP held ones? Seems to me these electorates already have low expectations from their LNP masters.

  14. I’d suggest the belated resignation of the Victorian Parly Speaker is politically too late for the Govt whose credibility was shot to pieces late last year.

  15. The talk about SPC and the job losses will be a small part in the devastation on the catchment area of the workers and farms that will no longer be viable all who will suffer.
    There will be a great many of the workers who will have to move to find jobs. The flow on effect of this will impact on the house/property prices and the long term potential of the area to grow. Schools, Local Council and recreational improvements will all suffer. Then there will be the long lasting impressions of ‘It’s a dieing area to move to’.

  16. During lunch break i read a copy of the Herald Sun and i could not find any mention of Stone’s attack on Tone & co, sure the paper went to print after 9.00 last night.

    Very poor effort by the Herald Sun to predict Tone from the bucketing he is copping.

    In other news the RBA note that wages are “notably lower”

    So where is the wage explosion?

  17. For anyone interested, Sharman Stone will be on 3aw on the Tom Elliott show after 3.00pm today. His promo focussed on the “liar” accusations so it could worth tuning in.

    I just hope she doesn’t start back pedalling or watering it down. This could be very embarrassing for Abbott.

  18. Well I don’t think the statement from the RBA is good news.

    They think wages will fall, unemployment will rise – but will not lower rates as it may add to inflationary pressures.

    In effect, the RBA has said we’re not doing anything on monetary policy – they’re going to leave it to the Monkey to fend for himself 😯

    God help us, no!

    The ASX is down further on the realisation that the Monkey is on his own 😥

  19. Psephos, Boerwar and others.

    1) I know (don’t ask me how) that the boats have more or less stopped for now. It is true that we are in the middle of an historically low season for boat arrivals is a good one, but – even taking these seasonal factors into account – I am told that the amount of people smuggler action up north is significantly reducing for now.

    2) This doesn’t mean that the boats have gone away for good, or even for a significant period of time: anybody who claims such a thing is talking through their hat. This was always going to be the problem with any promises to “stop the boats”: I don’t see how it is possible to implement a policy to be sure that they have stopped other than a regional solution combined with a legal framework in Australia which truly ensures that getting on a boat gives you no advantage whatsoever in terms of being settled in Australia.

    3) Re Indonesia and China: I don’t have any access to what the governments of these countries truly think at the moment. Do you? Yes there have been some silly political comments about Japan vs China and people smuggling, not to mention Filipino porn stars. Maybe the appointment of Cosgrove as GG is problematic for Indonesia, although I haven’t seen any signs of this. But our diplomatic relations with these two countries are generally robust enough to withstand some of this sort of pressure. So it’s surely too early to say.

    4) Re climate change policy: I suppose my thinking here is that the Australian people have spoken and they clearly don’t want an emissions trading scheme. Like you, I think they are wrong, but we live in a democracy.

  20. Why don’t the government buy $25M of shares in SPC? SPC could use the money and if it gets back on its feet the government could get its money back.

  21. [mb

    [3) Re Indonesia and China: I don’t have any access to what the governments of these countries truly think at the moment. Do you?]

    China no. Indonesia yes. Real damage is being done in business relationships. Totally unreported in the MSM.

    Cf climate change policy, the issue was not whether we live in a democracy. The question is whether the Government is going to deliver on its promise to deliver 5% by 2020. It is apparent that using the entire suite of policy settings available to it, the Government is attempting to kill stone dead any chance that it will deliver on its election promise.

  22. Interesting that to date the sMH has only published 38 responses go today’s Peter Reith column. Must be some serious moderation going on there.
    I know they won’t publish mine because I point out that apart from his obvious bias, he is a man who has serious questions to answer about his integrity.
    Hardly the ideal type for a regular column in a newspaper that promotes its independence.

  23. [Why don’t the government buy $25M of shares in SPC? SPC could use the money and if it gets back on its feet the government could get its money back.]

    I agree with the idea but the shares should be at a discount such that the other shareholders and directors feel pain.

  24. THE powerful members of the audit commission set up to advise how to slash government spending and jobs have so far cost taxpayers around $1500 a day each.

    That has totalled more than $30,000 in one case, according to calculations based on information from the National Commission of Audit secretariat.

    Those terrible SPC and car manufacturing workers wanting a wage to support their families….

  25. Vic parliament is back. I don’t know why Louise Asher is reminding the ALP of its previous support for Fyffe. It’s as though she doesn’t expect their support now.

  26. Coca Cola Amatil, with a market capitalisation of around $66 billion (I presume a bit less after today’s ASX bloodbath), owns SPC.

    For the Government to purchase 25% of SPC, Coke would have to hive it off as a separate business and roll out an IPO.

    The punters in general have IPO fatigue ATM, the business is on a long-term declining trend, and without the ready access to Coke’s capital warchest, would have little access to the kind of capital needed to modernise the plant and equipment.

    In any case, apart from Joyce who wants us to buy 10% of Australia’s least profitable farms, this is not exactly a socialist government.

  27. BW@1686: I’ll take your word for it re Indonesia. If true, it would be disturbing some of the business backers of the Libs (although see my earlier post in which I pointed out that the Libs these days are increasingly the political party of “lazy” investors in mining and property rather than the promoters of the sort of entrepreneurial types trying to build up trade with our near neighbours.

    Re the promise to deliver 5% emissions cuts by 2020: I doubt that the Abbott Government sees that as a promise for which the constituency they pitch to will try to hold them to account.

    Leaving all of this to one side, I was never trying to set myself up to defend Abbott and his mob. I wasn’t trying to say that they were doing a great job, merely that they are coming across publicly as being far more disorganised and incompetent than they actually are.

    I think I need to choose my words more carefully next time.

  28. Joe Ludwig makes some good comment about tge Clean Energy Commission a help for farming

    Victoria I’m no fan of Kim Carr but he was baying for bloood with Laws today. He said Sharman Stone was right and that Abbott and Hockey were
    liar. Laws didn’t like that but Carrdidn’t back down.

    When Carr finished Laws said he would ring Abbott to see how he felt about being called a liar. Said it was a lack of respect for the PM of the country at which stage I fell about screaming.

    Judith Sloan, his favourite, rang in to contradict Carr and Stone so I switched off.

  29. rossmcg
    [Interesting that to date the sMH has only published 38 responses go today’s Peter Reith column. Must be some serious moderation going on there.
    I know they won’t publish mine because I point out that apart from his obvious bias, he is a man who has serious questions to answer about his integrity.
    Hardly the ideal type for a regular column in a newspaper that promotes its independence.]

    Mine was roundly rejected – I suggested Reith could give a reconvened ABCC tips on where to source balaclavas and attack dogs.

  30. meher

    4 may be so (although the polling on this has been very muddled, and there’s little evidence they don’t want an ETS – it’s ‘the carbon tax’ which polls badly) but that doeesn’t mean the government has handled/is handling the issue well.

    There’s a difference between ‘doing what The People want’ and ‘doing what The People want competently’.

    The second is good governance.

    The Coalition created a rod for their own back on this issue. Firstly, they were stupid to stick with Direct Action, which was a bandaid measure slapped together in the context of the 2010 election, and never meant to be a permanent policy. When the ‘carbon tax’ deal was announced, they should have leapfrogged over Labor and the Greens and promised to go straight to an ETS.

    By not doing this, they’ve put themselves in a position where the policy they support is at direct odds with their core beliefs – Direct Action means ‘bigger’ government, picking winners, subsidising private companies, and so on.

    They have also made climate change an issue which will run and run. If they’d gone for an ETS, it’s likely it would be in place now (the Greens and Labor would have looked silly opposing its passage through both Houses). “How we tackle climate change’ would thus be dead as an issue, and the series of hot days we’re experiencing would reinforce that we had a sagacious government who had foreseen the problem and were already acting on it.

    As it is, every spot of peculiar weather will remind people that we don’t have effective action on climate change in place.

    And, of course, Abbott still hasn’t repealed the ‘carbon tax’ – as Sharman Stone pointed out. He’s made some big statements on this (‘Parliament will sit until this is sorted!”) which have proven to be specious. If he keeps trying to get it through with the present unco operative Senate, he keeps the issue – and his inability to do anything about it – alive. If he doesn’t, he’ll be accused of dropping the ball (as Rudd was, in the same circumstance).

    There is also very little evidence that he’s actively trying to build relationships with the incoming Senators to ensure that it’s a done deal (that would be thinking ahead; this government doesn’t do that).

    Come July, Palmer will have him over a barrel. He knows that Abbott has to get the legislation through. He knows that, for it to mean anything real, it has to go through by September (several business groups have said this). It’s in absolutely no one’s interests but the Coalition’s that this legislation sails through the Senate — so it won’t.

    It’s quite likely, therefore, that instead of action on climate change being an issue which could already be done and dusted, we’ll still be discussing it for at least the next six months.

    I’d take a punt and say ‘that’s if the government’s lucky’ — and that many a journo will be recycling their pieces on ‘by Christmas, the government will have in place the first half of the trigger they need for a double dissolution’ and changing the 2013 date to 2014.

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