BludgerTrack: 54.2-45.8 to Labor

The BludgerTrack poll aggregate wraps up business for the year (I think) showing the Abbott government in worse shape than ever.

Unless ReachTEL has something up its sleeve in the next few days, this week’s BludgerTrack reading is the last for the year, and it finds no indication that the rapid momentum away from the Coalition is tapering off. Indeed, the current output of the model has the Coalition in a worse position than at the height of the budget backlash, when Labor’s two-party vote peaked at 53.8%. Now it’s at 54.2%, following a 0.3% shift since last week that has also delivered seats in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia on the seat projection. Palmer United is also showing no signs of bottoming out, a remorseless downward trend since the mid-year Senate changeover having sent it from 6.3% to 2.3%.

A new set of leadership ratings from Newspoll this week knocks the froth off a recent improvement for Bill Shorten, and in doing so reverts his trendline to its remarkable picture of stability throughout the year, interrupted only by some particularly strong ratings in the immediate aftermath of the budget. Tony Abbott’s net rating slips slightly further, but this is due to the momentum of the trend rather than the effect of Newspoll, which was no worse for him than last fortnight’s. Newspoll also suggests the surge to Shorten on preferred prime minister is levelling off, albeit that he retains what from Abbott’s perspective is an alarmingly big lead by the normal standards of an Opposition Leader.

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.

1,672 comments on “BludgerTrack: 54.2-45.8 to Labor”

  1. RocketRocket

    There’s a big Ice problem in our area, but interestingly, the ambos think highly caffeinated drinks, combined iwth alcohol, are a bigger problem.

  2. Of all the contenders, Ley is the only one who doesn’t exclusively spout partisan talking points when being interviewed or on a discussion panel. She seems to be across her portfolio, even when she was pushing the turd about Labor’s early childhood education policies she didn’t come across as some sort of shill. I don’t know what her positions are on a lot of things but hope she’ll be more effective than Hunt or J. Bishop in protecting and advocating policies they care about (notably, Bishop was reportedly fighting to protect foreign aid, and it is the single biggest area hit, supposedly 30% of budget savings from less than 2% of the overall budget).

    Cash and Fierrevanti-Wells I can’t stand and I don’t think have what it takes to take on the leadership or the party rooms on important issues, relying on the backing of their conservative sponsors that got them into parliament.

  3. [There’s a big Ice problem in our area, but interestingly, the ambos think highly caffeinated drinks, combined iwth alcohol, are a bigger problem.]

    Stimulants and alcohol are a very bad combination. Hard to imagine anything more likely to generate violent anti-social behaviour than persistently mixing speed and booze.

  4. AA

    [Government is outsourcing the Aust Govt Solicitor.

    More consultants positions for mates.

    Leaves the door wide open to only selecting those with the “proper” political leaning. Information etc will be biased rather than independent]

    Another ‘win’ for the Big End of Town.

  5. The narrow range of life experience represented in parliament party is caused by the fact that few people are actively interested in serving in elected office, and those few who do tend to gravitate towards certain occupations (law, union organizing, political advice).

    It would be good to have a parliament whose skill set and world experience is far richer. The only effective way to do this is to make politics an attractive occupation for far more people. This means that politics needs to become significantly less adversial and more tightly focused on problem-solving.

    This would require a shift away from winner take all electoral systems. Proportional representation is a must. It needs to be almost impossible for a single party to get a majority on its own.

    If the House becomes proportional, there’s no point in having a Senate. The Senators votes on party lines, not state lines, so the “states’ house” argument is baseless. A single parliamentary chamber elected through proportional voting is the way to go.

    Apart from this institutional housekeeping we need far-reaching cultural and economic change. The vast majority of people take little interest in politics because they have no time to think about it.

    It should be the central objective of the Australian Government to maximize its monetary sovereignty and use every lever of power to achieve full employment. I mean true full employment, taking into account part-time workers who want to work full-time, and discouraged job-seekers who have abandoned the hunt. No NAIRU nonsense. Everyone who wants a job should be guaranteed one. A Job Guarantee would involve the national government funding jobs in the social enterprise and non-profit sector. When the private sector contracts, people would move from private sector employment to social sector employment. When the private sector reverses, the flow would reverse. The Job Guarantee would not replace unemployment allowance; it would be truly voluntary, not a work for the dole scheme. Each job would be designed for each worker. People of all levels of skill and education can do useful tasks. Education and training should be in addition to having a job, not a prerequisite to getting a job. Give everyone a job first and IN ADDITION provide education and training so that they can do more complex tasks. The social sector is good at customizing jobs to make use of all the people the they can get, and there will always be social needs to attend to. Urban beautification, food production, social work, hospitality – social enterprises and non-profits work in many fields in which there will always be work that has to be done. The precise size of the social sector can be allowed to vary according to economic conditions – it gets larger when the private sector is weak, it gets smaller when the private sector bounces back. The social sector be can a labour buffer which can be used to make sure that the economy is at full employment at all times.

    I think we need a cultural change to adopt a five hour working day as the norm. With the productivity of today’s technology, knowledge, and skills, we can produce enough output to provide everyone with a secure and dignifed life. If we legislated six weeks of paid annual leave, and made the typical working week twenty-five hours instead of forty hours, people would earn the income they need and have more time for family, leisure, study, and politics.

    Active citizenship is constrained by excessive working hours. If we re-orient our values – by putting full employment at the centre of economic policy, and by improving the balance between paid work and the other parts of life – we can make politics more meaningful for everyone. This would lead to a wider range of people contesting seats in parliament.

  6. Simon

    I have Picketty and like it very much. It is well written and readable, however it is still 700 pages and probably assumes at least a working undergrad level of knowledge of macro economic theory. It is well worth reading but I suspect many people will never read the whole thing. I think it says some profoundly important things about social justice and where economic policy needs to head. Even if you just read the intro, conclusions and perhaps chapters 8 (evidence of problem) and 14/15 (the need for changes to the way we tax people) you would benefit from it. Anyone interested in social justice and/or economic policy ought to at least read part 4 (what to do).

  7. I think its very difficult to compare Treasurers. The outcomes and decisions they make can be influenced by so many factors out of their control.

    Recent example would be the GFC. Swan had no control over the GFC and could only do his best to shield Australia.

    More recent has been the massive drop in iron ore prices that Hockey has no control over.

    It’s difficult to get “the man in the street” to understand these external problems as they only see how the Treasurers decisions effect them.

    No doubt Liberal supporters would see Hockey as a great Treasurer, all the efforts to manage the budget have been skewed at the unemployed, pensioners, the weak, the vulnerable, students and needy. This is not the right wing demographic.

  8. Nicholas,

    The best solution for selecting politicians is to let any one interested apply and let the voters sort it out.

    Your contention that the quality of politicians would improve if every one worked fewer hours is risible.

  9. Dio
    [Z and soc

    The bottom line is that the kind of people you would choose to run the country won’t apply for the job.]
    Agreed and in one sense this has always been true. (That is why the Athenians made every citizen be obliged to take their turn in dome public offices.) My point though is that the rise of the career politician as a class tends to break some of the checks and balances in a democratic political system, where most of the institutions were designed before such people were around.

    So my bottom line is that, if we are going to be stuck with careerist politicians ( US style) from now on, then we also need some minimum standards for their competence and behavior, or our politics will continue to slide down to US levels of integrity. I see no reason why we could not legislate that, say, all local, state and federal politicians were subject to a code of conduct comparable to what most public servants are already subject to.

  10. AA,

    Hockey never conceeded that circumstances or events could influence economic outcomes durung his time in Opposition. There was never a mention of the economic cycle while he bravely lampooned Swan and Labor during their tenure. For Joe it was surplus all the time.

    Now he his his time in the sun he wants to cry difficult circumstances and events is what broke his economy.

    It doesn’t wash. Hockey knowingly lied when he was in office to gain political advantage. He can suffer in his jocks for an awful long time before I’ll give him any credibility or sympathy.

    His fall from grace is all the consequences of his own handywork. Karma is a bitch for the likes of Hockey.

  11. AA

    There is no disputing that being Treasurer is perhaps the hardest job in government but Joe’s problems are largely self-affected.

    Lets take his messaging, on many occasions it has been inconsistent, for example he gave a wide ranging speech on the age of entitlement when in London but when the Australia media picked up on the story, he claimed he was not talking about Australia but more the Europeans, then after he is elected to government, the language in that speech reappears.

    In the lead up to the federal budget, he went on about the need for heavy lifting yet it was pretty much all focused on the bottom half of the economy, had the cuts been evenly spread thought-out then its possible that Joe’s position would be far stronger.

    Additionally some of the measures appear to have been through-bubbles and with a bit of through could have been made into more effective policies.

    Generally Joe’s performance is that of a student who has spent most of the semester in the student bar then in the last week tries to write out a 2,000 word essay and read all the textbook & lecture slides.

  12. On Iron Ore prices, Australia’s terms of trade are still at very high levels, much of the economy’s current problems relate to the falling incomes that we have been seeing across the economy since 2011 as highlighted by Briefly.

    The top half are still doing pretty well, the bottom half are going backwards, this trend is slowly moving up the income scales.

  13. I ventured to watch the replay of sunday agenda on sky channel. Paul kelly gave an editorial on myefo and the budget. That was all i could stand of the right wing crapola

  14. I believe Sloppy’s main problem with the voters, incompetency aside was that moment on the grassy knoll on budget day smoking a cigar with the Corminator.Yes ! The Libs are back in town was my first thought.

    That is what resonates with me after all the ” the adults are now in charge ” nonsense.It appeared to go south soon after that and shows no signs of abating.

    As other Bludgers have noted, beware the Karma bus!

  15. victoria

    I saw Kelly with Cormann earlier . First time I have heard Mathias for more than a couple of minutes. From what I saw of the interview he has a real talent for speaking fluent meaningless.

  16. I also want to join in thanks to BK for his work here.

    I also wish him and all bludgers the very best for festive season.


    Darren Laver

  17. poroti

    I actually switched off when they announced they would be speaking to Matthias. Listening to Paul Kelly bloviating was more than I could handle for one day

  18. [Samantha Maiden @samanthamaiden · 38m 38 minutes ago
    This cabinet reshuffle is a lot bigger than anyone imagined if what I am hearing is correct. wow. #auspol]

  19. confessions

    What would be even better is if we went to an election now and this mob was kicked out. Cos as far as I can tell. They are all crapola

  20. Troy Bramston @TroyBramston

    Man overboard … #reshuffle #barnacle #clearthedecks #reset #restart #reboot #retool


    Note singular.

  21. [Andrew Probyn @andrewprobyn · 1h 1 hour ago
    Important to remember folks that Cabinet currently numbers 19. Abbott has a “spare” he could use.]

  22. I can’t imagine Hockey would be dumped from cabinet, but he may have been shuffled out of Treasury – that would explain the ‘reboot’ ‘retool’ etc.

    If any ‘man’ is being jettisoned I’d still say it’s Johnston first, to make way for another woman in cabinet, and everyone else plays musical chairs or something like that.

    Dutton and Pyne are still in need a good demoting.

  23. My first candidate would be Johnston. His “gaffe” gave Labor an SA majority government. He must be sacked.

    Personally, I’d also find a spiffy job for Hockey outside politics to get rid of him without sacking him, and also sack Brandis and probably others but there’s only so much you can do before panic looks like what it is.

  24. I’m not behind the Crickey paywall. Does William’s story on Turnbull and the Greens suggest that Lord Malcolm of Buffering Manor could lose his seat?

  25. Big, small or in between reshuffle, the Friar’s got problems for reasons outlined in the posts here. He’ll be depending on a favourable press no matter what. But he’s always done that.

  26. [@SpudBenBean: RT @samanthamaiden: Kevin Andrews is Australia’s new Defence Minister. And this reshuffle is very, very interesting. #auspol]

    I reckon Malcolm Turnbull is getting promoted. Rupert is not in town for nothing

  27. [Samantha Maiden @samanthamaiden · 1m 1 minute ago
    Scott Morrison is taking on welfare reform in a social services – sources say #auspol Kevin into Defence]

    Surely not!

  28. [@samanthamaiden: Scott Morrison is taking on welfare reform in a social services – sources say #auspol Kevin into Defence]

    This is so Scoot can show his true heart

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