Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor

Essential Research again fails to record evidence of a budget backlash on voting intention, but finds Tony Abbott is now considered out of touch, untrustworthy, and less good in a crisis.

The regular weekly Essential Research is the only new national poll this week following last week’s post-budget deluge, and true to the pollster’s form it fails to reflect a big shift evident elsewhere. Labor’s two-party preferred lead is at 52-48 for a fourth consecutive week, and it is fact down a point on the primary vote to 39%, with the Coalition steady on 40%, the Greens up one to 9% and Palmer United steady on 5%. Also featured are semi-regular questions on leaders’ attributes, finding a sharp decline in Tony Abbott’s standing since six weeks ago, including an 11 point rise on “out of touch with ordinary people” to 67%, a 10-point drop on “good in a crisis” to 35% and an 11-point drop on “trustworthy” to 29%, while Bill Shorten has gone up in respondents’ estimations, enjoying nine-point lifts on “understands the problems facing Australia” (to 53%) and “a capable leader” (to 51%).

The poll also canvassed sources of influence on the major parties, finding the Coalition too influenced by property developers (53% too much to 18% not enough), mining companies (52% to 20%) and the media (44% to 24%). Labor’s worst ratings were for unions (47% to 24%) and the media (46% to 18%), and it too scored a net negative rating on property developers (39% to 21%). Both parties were deemed most insufficiently responsive to students, welfare groups and average citizens (in last place for both), with employer groups also in the mix for Labor. Other findings show strong opposition to increasing the GST to 12% (32% support to 58% oppose) or expanding it to cover fresh fruit and vegetables (18% support to 75% oppose); 51% concerned about Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations being closed to the public and the media against 37% not concerned; 37% supporting an agreement to resettle refugees in Cambodia versus 39% opposed; and only 5% thinking the government should be funding religious chaplains only, with 17% opting for secular social workers only and 37% opting for both.

Another poll nugget emerged yesterday courtesy of the Construction Mining Forestry and Energy Union, which produced a UMR Research poll of 1000 respondents in the marginal seats of La Trobe in Victoria, Forde in Queensland and Lindsay in New South Wales, respectively showing results of 60-40 to Labor (a swing of 14%), 58-42 to Labor (12.4%) and 50-50 (3%).

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.

1,627 comments on “Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor”

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  1. [I simply ask do you think that it is better if the debt rises.]

    Why, are you offering to pay it?

    Also doesn’t anyone who buys government bonds by definition support an increase in debt?

  2. Fulvio.

    Quite good reasoning.

    But your plot needs a bit of a shape up.

    It fell apart in Scene One.

    ‘Palmer sneaks out after entrees for his secret rendezvous with Malcolm and Parkinson.’

    Clive would NEVER leave the table before the mains.

    Nor the remainder of the meal.

    Let alone, who paid the bill?

    Bit more Poirot, Fulvio.

  3. 1549
    A budget is your best guess for the next period of time. You can only reflect on it during or after the event. You must surely understand that the last 6 budgets were way out.

  4. @silmaj/1554

    Now who is being biased now? You are blaming Labor, by saying the last 6 budgets were way out.

    Coalition Party doubled the debt in less than a year, than what Labor did in 6 years.

  5. [1549


    Debt should be used to fuel activity (i.e. create jobs), but needs to remove Corporate welfare, and close tax loop holes.

    Considering when Labor left office with peak $370 billion, Joe Hockey pretty much doubled that in less than a year (to $667 billion), I suggest we can have higher debt – fudging the numbers like they did with Labor’s NBN $50 billion – $100 billion dollar..]

    The debt numbers are all wrong…the number used by the LNP is gross debt. Net debt is far less.

    It would be wise if we only incurred debt to acquire assets – to invest, rather than to fund consumption. We should try to make sure our recurrent spending is funded from recurrent income over the business cycle.

  6. [1558

    You of all posters must know who buys the Govt bonds.]

    So? Selling a bond is simply accepting a loan now and making a promise to repay it in the future. It’s not the same as “selling” the country or any of its assets.

    Since the Government can produce almost as many $ as it may ever need, it is promising to repay the lender with something it can just “create”. Lenders are happy enough with this because the AUD is freely convertible and is always negotiable here.

  7. Personally, I’m far more worried about private sector debts than official debt. Private debts are huge and are a much bigger risk to financial stability than the Commonwealth’s liabilities.

  8. Mais.

    Un petit peu convaincante.

    Even if the villain, if he is, and you have not necessarily made that clear, Clive could eat Titanic meals without flinching.

  9. 1561
    Oh dear,so you think we should outsell our value as a govt entity to overseas markets. I hope you have trust in the good intentions of the lenders

  10. Commonwealth securities are intrinsically important to the financial system because they offer a very low risk interest rate benchmark, they are a very safe investment and they have an essential place in the reserve and liquidity management needs of the banks. The idea that they are “bad” is just loopy.

  11. @silmaj/1564

    That’s what Coalition Party Governments have been doing, selling our assets and our value overseas.

    They sold Telstra, and increased foreign debt to cover up our local debt.

  12. [1564

    Oh dear,so you think we should outsell our value as a govt entity to overseas markets. I hope you have trust in the good intentions of the lenders]

    If foreigners want to buy Australian securities then good luck to them. There are no capital controls in place in our financial markets. Do you want to impose them? That would be a very sure way to reduce liquidity, drive up interest rates, repel foreign investment and require the re-introduction of a fixed exchange rate. It would be very destructive…

  13. 1565
    I didn’t say they were bad. However the more you distribute to overseas investors( who if you have noticed on a daily basis believe that we are over valued and under productive) they will have a decision making price on the value of our bonds.

  14. Admirable, really.


    Arguing with a clot from Central Headquarters.

    You will not persuade.

    May as well talk to me on matters fiscal.

    At least I have some sense.

  15. [1568

    I didn’t say they were bad. However the more you distribute to overseas investors( who if you have noticed on a daily basis believe that we are over valued and under productive) they will have a decision making price on the value of our bonds.]

    So what? Foreigners have always had an influence on the pricing of our financial assets – that is, they have nearly always demanded a premium to hold them. They still do, which is why our interest rates are higher than US or UK rates, for example.

    At the deepest level, the assets of any one jurisdiction are ALWAYS expressed in terms of the prices of other assets issued in other jurisdictions. This is the nature of arbitrage and convertibility. We can say the entire function of financial markets is to continually establish what the exchange values of differing assets ought to be.

    Do you want to excise Australia from global markets? What is your point?

  16. There is little to be made of Silly Maj until and unless the issue of such minor slights against the taxpayer are mentioned.

    Addressed and put in the context of the Budget and the real world. As it affects those are in it.

    One being:

    Rupert Murdoch’s Australian operations pocketed an Aus$882 million (US$800 million) tax rebate from the new conservative government, reports said Monday, blowing a major hole in the country’s budget.

    The massive payout to News Corp. — one of the largest ever made by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) — related to complex shuffling of assets through local and overseas businesses in 1989 that netted the company a Aus$2 billion tax deduction, according to The Australian Financial Review.

    According to the AFR, the payout was a significant element of the Aus$17 billion spending blowout unveiled by the new government in December.

    In July 2013 Australia’s Federal Court ruled that News Corp ought to be allowed to claim the deduction and the ATO had 28 days to decide to appeal.

    The business daily said the ATO decided against such a move, as Murdoch’s Australian newspapers waged a concerted campaign against the then-Labor government, openly urging voters to remove them from office with a series of scathing headlines.

    Then-prime minister Kevin Rudd claimed Murdoch was agitating against Labor in exchange for concessions from the conservatives, who went on to win power in September 2013, the AFR said.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to comment on the allegations Monday, saying the payout “is something which is news to me and I’ll have to take that one on notice”.

    The ATO would not speak about the News Corp case but said it followed strict procedures when deciding whether to lodge an appeal and sought “external legal counsel opinion on the prospects of success”.

    “Careful consideration is given to a range of factors, including the costs to all parties of proceeding and the importance of the particular case to clarifying the law for the benefit of the wider community,” an ATO spokesman told AFP.

    Other major spending included an Aus$8.8 billion cash injection to the central bank and Aus$1.2 billion for a government’s military-led crackdown on people-smugglers.

    Murdoch’s News Corp is the dominant media player in his native Australia, controlling 70 percent of capital city newspaper circulation. The firm also has significant online and television assets.

  17. 1570 Zoid
    I asked that question because the sale of Telstra and other govt sales have mostly ended up In the hands of Australians. Are you still looking for work?

  18. 1568

    This is just silly. Foreigners exchange their currency for ours. They hold ours. We hold theirs. Liquidity is mutually reinforced…it is a good thing, builds networked resilience and mutual obligation…

  19. 1572
    The higher foreign investment in bond the higher influence. You must have seen what can happen when the ratings agencies and large institutions decide you are in their sights.

  20. @silmaj/1575

    No, I gave looking for work since my accident at WFTD program, some years ago, the place I was working in (aged care) couldn’t keep up with admin work.

    Having been under Coalition government and Labor government, I understand why there is so many people unemployed.

    Race to the bottom.

  21. Night too, Briefly.

    Taa for that.

    cw, you are a fiscal mastermind 🙂

    I’ll add it to my tinfoil tiara.

    Sleep well.

    Count sheep, not numbers,

  22. But if a job last less than two years one simply returns to DSP and if the job last longer than two years and the condition remains then one returns to DSP.

  23. 1584
    Zoid your ability on this blog is beyond mine. There is employment in this game. So I wouldn’t rule out employment. I have been manufacturing Aus products within a family business since 1974. There is little future in my game unless a few things change. I would guess that our family business has employed 10,000 people over its time so we aren’t totally clueless.

  24. @MB/1586

    Well, actually you can do both, it all depends on how much you earn too.

    “Disability Support Pension customers can work for up to 30 hours a week and continue to receive a part pension, as long as you still meet the income test.”

    As I said, debt isn’t a problem, but rather jobs is the problem.

  25. Being allowed to work for 30 hours is a far better option than the 15 hours.

    Too often policy makers overlook the need for greater flexibility which 30 hours provides.

  26. @silmaj/1587

    Believe me i tried getting employment, it’s quiet easy to say one thing on the web, than going through an interview with 1-4 panel and passing the interviews.

    In John Howard days-Kevin Rudd days, I use to apply for jobs all the time, all over Brisbane/South East Queensland and locally.

    Filled quiet a few little notebooks/paper they use to give us.

  27. Many Recruiters don’t view political knowledge as a skill! which is odd but is partly a result of many of them being from a sales/marketing background hence they don’t really value political knowledge.

  28. @MB/1591

    Don’t worry, I’ve tried applying for Government like jobs too! Including working for local councils, even my younger brother (he does construction) is having trouble applying for a job at local council atm.

  29. 1590
    I know your in qld from previous post. Don’t right of a job. The problem with the current job market is that it is inflexible. Let me give you an example. You could problem earn an income by vetting internet enquiries for a business while the owner was passed out asleep due to being worn out. I would assume that this sort of employment is probably illegal.

  30. The current labour market is soft even for people with G8 University degrees and high profile organisations on their C.V’s

    Which makes the government’s newstart policies look short-sighted and nasty.

    As Briefly has pointed out since 2011 incomes have been under pressure and as he/she predicted this government doesn’t seem able to handle that.

  31. 1595
    The problem with employment is not that we don’t have enough jobs. The problem is that it has become to costly to keep the basic job in Aus. It has been forced on employers to spend the majority of their time working out how to make a product in Aus and try to compete with someone from overseas who couldn’t give a flying duck about anything at all.

  32. silmaj

    Business has in recent times become focused on cost which isn’t a bad thing as private sector debt does need to be rained in although most of it is owed by the Banks.

    I sometimes wonder if business has by its main focus being on cost is in danger of overlooking opportunities for growth.

    I would like to see the government act to reduce the cost of rents faced by many small business.

    The cost of employment needs to be reviewed, the only problem is many view any such need as an attack on wages and conditions when in some cases the cost of employment has been created by the regulations surrounding employment and the on-going cost of the systems in place to police the regulations.

    Worksafe is one agency which is ineffective and as a result is adding cost.

  33. 1597
    High wage, rent , interest , regulation and taxes have over time destroyed the ability to send product overseas. The Aus dollar has certainly not helped although we haven’t attempted personally for 15 years now. It is interesting to hear the political argument go on as I see deals worth millions go overseas. In fact very soon bucketloads work is going to the USA which has been developed here. The key to things not getting worse is not govt but monetary policy.

  34. silmaj

    I agree that rents, regulation and taxes have created many problems but I am of the view that our wages are not excessive.

    We are a high cost economy hence the need to have higher wages or we can have lower wages which will lead to less consumption & investment which will in turn hurt business revenues.

    Lower wages are a short term fix with minimal long term benefit.

    Lower wages reduces confidence which will only add to any economic weakness.

  35. Sadly the AUD looks set to remain in the low to mid 90s until at least the U.S has completely redrawn its money printing program and their interest rates start to rise.

    Our RBA has a big problem as if they move to increase rates before the U.S does our AUD will more than likely move higher.

    We are basically stuck waiting for the Americans to come to turn off the printers.

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