BludgerTrack: 50.0-50.0

The Coalition lead in Newspoll causes the two parties to reach parity on the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, while Tony Abbott pulls ahead of Bill Shorten on net approval.

New results from Newspoll, Essential Research and Morgan has put BludgerTrack back to the position of two-party parity it was at three weeks ago, after which Labor was up to 51.8% and then 50.9%. They have also ironed out the brief slump recorded by the Greens last week, who have progressed from 11.3% to 8.9% to 10.4%. This week’s gain has come entirely at the expense of Labor, with the Coalition vote unchanged. On the seat projection, the Coalition is back in majority government territory, the meter having ticked in their favour by two seats in New South Wales and one each in Queensland and Western Australia. After a quiet spot last week, new leadership figures have emerged from Newspoll and Essential Research, and they find Tony Abbott with a rare lead over Bill Shorten on net approval, although preferred prime minister remains in the stasis it assumed in early December.

Also note that coverage of the Western Australian Senate count is ongoing on the dedicated thread, with a Liberal victory in the final seat looking increasingly likely.

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.

2,173 comments on “BludgerTrack: 50.0-50.0”

  1. Nice to see how our maaates are using our good name.

    [MI6, the CIA and Turkey’s rogue game in Syria

    The annex refers to an agreement reached in early 2012 between Obama and Erdogan with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar supplying funding. Front companies, purporting to be Australian, were set up, employing former US soldiers who were in charge of obtaining and transporting the weapons. According to Hersh, the MI6 presence enabled the CIA to avoid reporting the operation to Congress, as required by law, since it could be presented as a liaison mission.]

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/mi6-the-cia-and-turkeys-rogue-game-in-syria-9256551.html

  2. Abbott’s PPL should be seen primarily as fertility policy with a socially regressive tilt rather than – as it purports to be – as an economic policy.

    I think it’s best seen as a legacy of Abbott’s formative DLP values. By those now-dimming lights, women were to be paid to stay out of the workforce, marry and have plenty of children. Abbott’s PPL is a neo-con incarnation of NCC population, family and social policies.

    It is expressed as a way to help mothers (and, indirectly, their families) meet some of the opportunity costs (lost income) that result from having babies.

    It is a deliberate feature of this policy that payments will not be tested against against women’s ability to meet these opportunity costs. The test would only be whether mothers incur them and the benefits would be scaled according to their employment status.

    From the data on births, we can note the recipients of PPL would mostly be mothers in their late 20’s and early to mid 30’s. The median age of mothers at confinement was 30.7 years in 2012. Their median age has risen from 26.9 years in 1983 to 28.9 in 1993 and 30.2 years in 2002.

    In 2012 there were 309,582 births. Fertility rates were highest among women aged 30-34 years followed by those aged 25-29 and then 35-39. Births to women in these age groups in 2012 totaled 242,271, or 78.2% of all births.

    However, not all mothers – or, indirectly, fathers – will receive Abbott’s PPL benefits. The benefits will vary according to their standing in the labour market. Viewed this way, the policy certainly discriminates against younger, less educated, less-well-paid and less-employed females and their families.

    For example, those aged 15-24 have a lower employment to population ratio than the total female population (46.0%; 55.0%) a lower participation rate (55.0%; 58.6%) and a notably higher unemployment rate (26.2%; 7.2%). If women in this age group have children they are therefore much more likely to receive nothing than their older sisters.

    Of course, females in general have very high rates of part-time employment (around 50% of all jobs held by females are part-time) and have relatively high rates of employment in the least-well paying occupations. In common with men, median incomes for females are less than mean incomes.

    It follows that the benefits of Abbott’s PPL will flow disproportionately to the relatively few relatively well-paid females. That is, the benefits will most favour those who are in the best position to meet the opportunity costs of confinement and, conversely, will least favour those with the least capacity.

    Viewed this way, Abbott’s PPL will replicate the structural inequality of the labour market generally, and accentuate it in respect of those younger females (and their families) who are most likely not to be working at all.

    The proposed PPL will also amount to an indirect bonus to women who are in formal or informal marriages. Very few births – 10,181 or 3.2% in 2012 – are (in the language of the ABS) “ex-nuptial where paternity is not acknowledged”. However the incidence of these births is strongly related to the age and, by inference, the marital position of mothers. Births to these mothers trend as follows:

    http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/3301.02012?OpenDocument

    Ex-nuptial births where paternity not acknowledged,% of total births x age of mother at confinement, 2012

    15 and under 43%
    17 20.6
    18 15.3
    19 12.9
    20 10.7
    21 8.6
    22 6.6
    23 6.0
    24 4.5

    25 4.1
    30 1.4
    35 1.7
    40 2.9

    The median age at first marriage in 2012 was 28.1 years for females. The median age for females in all marriages in 2012 was 29.4 years. Age of marriage overlaps the incidence of confinement. While this looks like a truism, it means that younger mothers are not only less likely to be working, they are less likely than their older sisters to have the advantages of a stable relationship. It follows they will be less able to meet the costs of having children. Abbott’s policy is practically designed to neglect those who might most need it.

    Since it is a fertility policy, Abbott’s PPL should also be considered against the trends in fertility. The ABS has a wealth of stats on this, starting here:

    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/PrimaryMainFeatures/3301.0?OpenDocument

    Total Fertility – Annual Rates

    1960 3.451
    1970 2.895
    1980 1.896
    1990 1.908
    2000 1.756
    2010 1.886

    2011 1.917
    2012 1.933

    Quite obviously, Abbott is intent on having the wider population reward the fertility of the relatively well-off, perhaps hoping the share of births to affluent mothers will rise and increase total fertility at the same time.

    By comparison, the most fertile women in Australia are also those least likely to qualify for PPL. They are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, who in 2012 had a fertility rate of 2.703 and a median age of 24.6 years. In 19.1% of these births, paternity was not acknowledged.

    The labour market status of these women is notoriously poor. For example, for indigenous women in 2010:

    15-24 yo unemployment rate 28%
    25-44 yo 12.2%

    15-24 yo employment to population ratio 31.9%
    25-44 yo 51.4%

    15-24 yo participation rate 44.3%
    25-44 yo 58.6%

    Abbott’s PPL is a baby mega-bonus with a very steep upward slope. It is also has a lot of gaps. If you don’t fit into the model suburban-worker cohort when you’re having your children, you’re likely to miss out significantly or even completely.

    As social policy, it will almost certainly fail because it will create a sense of division – of winners and losers – among those whom it is supposedly intended to support.

    While Abbott might think this policy will drive voter support for the LNP, it is far more likely to do the opposite. It will repel voter support because it accentuates social, economic and demographic inequalities.

    It is very strange policy and should be redesigned to meet the needs of children.

  3. Anyone know if Nielsen is out tonight/tomorrow? Four weeks since their last and I assume they’d want to give Easter a wide berth.

  4. Anyone who is researching their ancestry will soon realise that women have often been the breadwinner of the family.

    [A woman’s place used to be in the home – women gave up work after marrying, and husbands were the breadwinners. That’s what we have long believed. The very idea that a woman would hold down a job, while leaving her children in a creche or with a childminder while she was away at work is new and modern – a result maybe of wartime changes, or the liberation of women since the 60s, and certainly not the norm in Victorian Britain. Like many things that everybody knows, however, this picture is inaccurate. Research I have undertaken shows that women have traditionally worked in a much wider range of occupations than previously thought – many of them today regarded as men’s work – and were frequently the main earner in their household.]

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/13/working-women-stay-at-home-wives-myths?CMP=twt_gu

  5. Briefly I reckon the obsession with the fairness of ppl will be on a par with the family tax benefit, ie it will be attacked on economic grounds but will be a winner politically.

    I think the irony of the alp attacking this when they allowed things like the 50 per cent CGT discount which does massively advantage the wealthy to remain when they had senate control is funny.

  6. LNP supporters in QLD will take great comfort in the knowledge that Abbott does not support levies to assist in rebuilding after natural disasters.

    WE remember his rabid attacks on the former Labor Govt that were repeated ad nauseam by LNP supporters for introducing a levy to help QLD after the devastating floods.

  7. Hearing talk about the negative gearing, nothing unusual about that. While there are no doubt a lot of wealthy people who take advantage of negative gearing what people should also acknowledge is that there are a lot of “mum and dad” investors. They have purchased a second property to boost their retirement funds.

    Now the younger generation are raising concerns about baby boomers retiring and the cost of pensions, and then at the same time ranting that the baby boomers should not be able to profit from investment properties and negative gearing.

    Can anyone else see the thinking is the same as the Liberal Govt?

  8. @EDJ/2009

    Family Tax Benefit is not the same as PPL.

    FTB like most things via Centerlink is income/asset tested.

    PPL is a rort.

  9. [2009
    Edwina StJohn

    Briefly I reckon the obsession with the fairness of ppl will be on a par with the family tax benefit, ie it will be attacked on economic grounds but will be a winner politically.]

    I doubt it will work politically, ESJ. It will create big differences in benefits. Quite a few women will completely miss out. It is a very poorly designed policy.

    In general, I really like the fact that the money will be paid directly to mothers. That is laudable. But many will get very little or nothing at all, and this will amount to a penalty not only on those women but on their children and their partners. That is ow it will be perceived too – the LNP playing favourites with children. Few things will arouse bitterness more than that.

  10. Actually Zoidy it might have been before your time but the Alp bitterly opposed ftb b. yet did nothing about it in office, if memory serves correctly swannie was its biggest opponent.

    On another note I hear Burke is the likely NSW/qld right candidate to replace shorten later in the year if things don’t pick up.

  11. I think the other irony briefly is that the greens will make the policy less costly , economically responsible etc etc.

  12. Hockey’s mooted old age pension changes should worry anyone in there 30s or 40s.

    You will have to work another 3 years until you are 70, missing out on arounr $60,000 of pension. Then you miss will out on $30 a year of indexation compounding for 30-40 years.

    A very loose calculation is around $24,000 over a lifetime.

    SO guys you are ~$85,000 worse off, you gunna fight it or think its too far in the future to care about?

  13. SO guys you are ~$85,000 worse off, you gunna fight it or think its too far in the future to care about?

    And that’s not counting the loss to superannuation as Abbott stops the increase to 12%.

  14. [lizzie
    Posted Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 5:32 pm | PERMALINK
    briefly

    Good information for those such as Mod Lib, who support Abbott’s PPL. I hope she reads it.]

    Indeed I did.

    Summary: the PPL goes to folk with jobs.

    Yes, I already knew that, but thanks anyway.

  15. [ruawake
    ….SO guys you are ~$85,000 worse off, you gunna fight it or think its too far in the future to care about?]

    You factored in 3 additional income of full pay (at what is probably the highest income of your working life) yeah?

    You didn’t?

    YIKES!

  16. [2017
    Edwina StJohn

    I think the other irony briefly is that the greens will make the policy less costly , economically responsible etc etc.]

    They can put in a universal floor (not related to employment status), a lower ceiling and a shallower gradient…and end up with a policy that every new parent would be happy with. I guess it will all have to be negotiated through the new Senate. Labor shouldn’t leave the running to the Greens and other cross-benches.

  17. 2011

    Negative gearing raises the cost of buying a a home and puts it out of reach of many people who will end up on the pension and thus increases the amount that will be needed for housing assistance for those on the pension. Buying your own home is the most popular form of retirement saving in Australia and negative gearing makes it harder buy helping richer people to buy other peoples homes.

    Also, a large slab of negative gearing goes to people who will never get the aged pension.

  18. [MTBW
    Posted Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 6:20 pm | PERMALINK
    Does anyone else think that it is interesting that ESJ and Everything turn up at the same time?]

    For those wanting to know when I am around:

    PBS Newshour Sat 4:30-5:15
    Evening news
    Lateline
    Impending polls (isn’t there a ACN about to come out?)

  19. ruawake:

    Just to get this crystal clear:

    You are saying that you are against increasing the retirement age to 70 years.

    Is that right?

  20. I myself am more seasonal, I think Comrade bowe even described me as a seasonal malady once! Current season will end after the federal budget in May.

  21. 2018

    How is indexation missed out on? As long as you are over aged pension age, the pension does not differ with age and so the indexation of the pension you get will still happen while you are not getting the pension.

  22. Usually, when they are talking about you, when you are around, or why you bother coming here, it usually means you are right and there is nothing they can say to address what you are actually posting :devil:

  23. I am opposed to raising the retirement age, it’s a fact that older people become inflexible and bang on ad nauseum about the same thing. PB is proof that some people should be eased out of the productive workforce sooner than later.

  24. Also, a large slab of negative gearing goes to people who will never get the aged pension.

    I’ve worked all my life, and at times 2-3 jobs.

    I am not wealthy or rich. But through buying/selling investment properties over the last 40 years I will not be drawing an age pension. Negative gearing made that possible. If not for negative gearing I would not be in the financial position of not needing the age pension.

    No doubt I could “hide” my money and draw the pension and other benefits but I don’t need it so I won’t.

  25. ESJ:

    I get the impression that working folk are in a minority here (mostly retired unionists and people on the disability pension from what I can remember).

  26. lizzie@2021

    Everything

    You are very arrogant.

    I sense someone who has had a privileged upbringing and never suffered any hardship in life.

    Her belief system is obviously: “To those that have more shall be given. Whoever does not have, what little they have shall be taken away.”

  27. [2021
    lizzie

    Everything…..You are very arrogant.]

    Everything is a classic Lib who does not mind social or economic inequality. In fact, because she identifies herself as being relatively clever and deserving of her advantages, she probably enjoys a degree of inequality. In this respect, she is a snob, as are many Liberal voters. They cannot identify with Labor’s egalitarian ethos because it would lead them to also identify with their social, economic or educational inferiors.

    Since social affiliation is an overwhelmingly powerful driver of behaviour, there is nothing we can do about the likes of Everything.

    We can learn from them, but I doubt they are capable of learning much from us.

  28. Very true everything 2035. On Pollbludger Julia Gillard was a centrist, oakey and Windsor were independents and unions genuinely represent workers.

  29. Lizzie

    She’s a die hard Abbotteer who gets her kicks baiting others.

    I’ m waiting for the day she presents some propositions based on principle or morals or ethics about the social good and then logically argues a point of view.

    But she just cuts and pastes anything that’s anti-Labor inflammatory or pro Abbott inflammatory, and if challenged she invents a unicorn or asks an irrelevant question or cuts and pastes other irrelevancies, just to keep the bait alive.

    Maybe tonight she’ll point out the principles and rationale for her support of the PPL, or why very wealthy people should receive non means tested private health insurance rebates.

  30. [bemused
    ….I sense someone who has had a privileged upbringing and never suffered any hardship in life.]

    Definitely privileged but, malheureusement, I cannot say the last bit is true….

    [Her belief system is obviously: “To those that have more shall be given. Whoever does not have, what little they have shall be taken away.”]

    Classic projection and hate the projected reality.

    Whatever makes you feel reassured!

  31. [briefly
    …..Everything is a classic Lib]

    You mean like not voting for them?

    […. who does not mind social or economic inequality.]

    wRONg

    [ In fact, because she identifies herself as being relatively clever and deserving of her advantages, she probably enjoys a degree of inequality.]

    Yes, I am lucky.

    [ In this respect, she is a snob, as are many Liberal voters. ]

    That is how you justify reality to your conscience it appears!

    [They cannot identify with Labor’s egalitarian ethos because it would lead them to also identify with their social, economic or educational inferiors.]

    Huh?

    [Since social affiliation is an overwhelmingly powerful driver of behaviour, there is nothing we can do about the likes of Everything.]

    No, probably true, I am unlikely to be persuaded by the personal attacks, projections and insults here…..try some reasoning and see how you go though…..

    [We can learn from them, but I doubt they are capable of learning much from us.]

    Well, one is too modest to argue with that! :devil:

  32. Edwina StJohn@2036

    no doubt the other 6 wrinklies at your branch meeting agree with you bob.

    Why should Gina Rienharts daughter get tax-payer moneys to have a child whilst other mothers will barely receive a red-cent ?

  33. Bemused

    Everything is NOT Mod Lib
    I am just about certain.
    Mod Lib was a reasonable sort of a person and NEVER nasty

    Everything is a point scorer and often quite mean. I do NOT think they are the same (they may be related). Mod lib was a female Dr I think.

    Everything seems more male

    Possibly Modlib posts occasionally ie when discussing medical matters (these often make sense)

    Everything are you the hubby, son , brother daughter of mod lib or are you both from Menzies House.

  34. [How is indexation missed out on? As long as you are over aged pension age, the pension does not differ with age and so the indexation of the pension you get will still happen while you are not getting the pension.]

    The indexation will be lower, as Hockey will link it only to CPI. This was my entire point, good to see you missed it.

    Also Hockey inferred that wages will not keep up with CPI in the future, what does he know?

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