Queensland election minus two weeks

As the battle in Queensland begins in earnest, campaigns are launched, television is blitzed, stratagems are deployed, and poll trackers show up in blog sidebars.

The sidebar now comes with a poll tracker, which presently shows the Liberal National Party on track for a modest absolute majority. However, the recent emphasis on electorate-level polling means its most recent data points are from the first week of the campaign. Since this is a two-party model, the seat allocation for “others” simply assumes that the three relevant incumbents who won their seats as non-major party candidates in 2012, namely Mount Isa MP Rob Katter and Dalrymple MP Shane Knuth of Katter’s Australian Party and independent Nicklin MP Peter Wellington, will do so again this time, without being joined by anyone else. If any electorate-level polling emerges to disturb that apprehension, I will play it by ear if and when it occurs. The methodology is broadly similar to that for BludgerTrack (you can find an explanatory link for that somewhere on the sidebar), but with a few experimental tweaks to deal with optional preferential voting. Based on the way preferences in individual electorates behaved in 2012, I have derived the following models to determine the percentage share of the minor party and independent vote allocated to the two parties as preferences:

LNP: 0.295 – 0.089a – 0.095b
Labor: 0.047 + 0.208a + 0.341b

Where “a” equals Labor’s share of the major party vote, and “b” equals the Greens’ share of the non-major party vote. In other words, as either of these things increases, so does Labor’s share of preferences. Polling suggests the Greens vote to have been essentially static since 2012, so “b” isn’t much of a factor, but “a” of course has risen considerably. Even so, the effect of implementing the model is unspectacular: if 2012 preference flows (as best as I can determine them) were applied to the current primary vote numbers, the Liberal National Party would be up 0.4% on two-party preferred and two on the seat projection. The current split is roughly 30% Labor, 20% LNP and 50% exhausted. I should grant that modelling based on previous election preferences wouldn’t have worked that brilliantly at the last five elections due to the escalating rate of exhausted preferences, but presumably that trend has to level off eventually.

Random notes:

• Antony Green gets detailed on Campbell Newman’s “just vote one” strategy, the upshot of which is that the party that leads on the primary vote wants the exhausted preferences rate to be as high as possible. When Peter Beattie pioneered the strategy in 2001, the anti-Labor vote was splintering between Nationals, Liberal, One Nation and the One Nation breakaway City-Country Alliance. While the Palmer and Katter parties complicate the issue somewhat, the main issue today is the segment of the Left vote that goes missing as exhausted Greens preferences, which can only stand to be maximised if the Premier is out there reminding voters that they are not in fact obliged to number every box, as they would be at a federal election.

The Australian reports that the internal polling of both sides has the six LNP-held seats in northernmost Queensland “well within the ALP’s grasp”, namely the Cape York electorate of Cook, the Cairns electorates of Cairns and Barron River, and the Townsville seats of Townsville, Thuringowa and Mundingburra. However, it would seem Labor is better placed in Cairns and Thuringowa than in Barron River and Mundingburra.

• Sean Parnell of The Australian reports that “support is building” for Treasurer Tim Nicholls to take over if Campbell Newman doesn’t win Ashgrove, “although there is some support for former leader and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg”. Mark Ludlow of the Financial Review reports Nanango MP Deb Frecklington is “shaping as a possible deputy for Nicholls if he becomes premier” (see below for more on Frecklington’s status within the government).

• The LNP held its campaign launch yesterday at the Brisbane Convention Centre, which Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail deemed “weird” even by the standards of the genre. From the limited material available to me, what stands out about the launch is the distinctly multicultural flavour of what Wardill describes as the “nodding heads placed strategically behind Newman”, one of which I take to be that of Yeerongpilly candidate Leila Abukar. The contrast with the Liberal Party’s federal campaign could not be more acute. Labor will hold its campaign launch tomorrow in Ipswich, presumably with an eye to the seats of Ipswich and Ipswich West, which the LNP holds on margins of 4.2% and 7.2% after titanic swings in 2012. The other Ipswich electorate, Bundamba, is held by one of Labor’s seven survivors from 2012, Jo-Ann Miller.

Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail observes parallels between the looming election and Peter Beattie’s second landslide of 2004, starting with a February 7 election date that was barely less audacious than Campbell Newman’s, and continuing with a government on the front foot with respect to contentious areas of the policy debate. Following the lesson of history to its conclusion, he determines that Labor will find the going tough outside of a designated list of gimmes (Bulimba, Waterford, Lytton, Greenslopes, Sandgate, Nudgee, Ipswich and Logan). There may be quite a bit in this, but I would add the following qualifications. First, Peter Beattie took Labor into the 2004 campaign with its two-party poll rating in the high fifties, and the worst of its mid-term Newspoll results had been equivalent to 53-47. Both of which suggest he was doing four or five points better than Newman. Secondly, whereas the LNP has been savaged in two by-elections in the past year, Labor under Peter Beattie had performed quite creditably in its one by-election of the term, which was held in Maryborough nine months before the election. Thirdly, while the Beattie government’s federal counterparts were polling strongly under the new leadership of Mark Latham at the time of the 2004 election, Newman would be bracing for some heavy blowback against Tony Abbott.

• Certainly Wardill is on the money when he says that the LNP campaign is seeking to make a virtue of being “the agent of reform on the election’s key issue”. The party’s publicity material makes prominent use of imagery of Campbell Newman, Tim Nicholls, Jeff Seeney, Fiona Simpson and Deb Frecklington getting down to business, with Nicholls singled out for prominence in the television spot below as Newman spruiks “a plan we know we can pay for”. Interestingly, neither of the two women featured are actually part of the cabinet that looks like it’s being portrayed, the only female members of which are Tracy Davis and Jann Stuckey. Simpson is the Speaker, and presumably made the cut by virtue of her long-established public visibility. Frecklington holds a position in the outer ministry, but being the member for rural Nanango, rather than suburban Aspley or Currumbin on the Gold Coast, was presumably favoured over Davis and Stuckey in the interests of regional balance.


• The Courier-Mail reported on Saturday that both parties were to launch an advertising blitz over the weekend ahead of the start of pre-polling today, having spent the first half of the campaign relying on the internet. I can’t tell you if this is being reflected in what’s going to air, but the advertising on the parties’ YouTube channels is all positive in the LNP’s case, and all negative in Labor’s. The LNP may well be calculating that its interests are best served by keeping the opposition’s profile as low as possible. As for Labor, I was willing to cut its campaign team some slack for the poor quality of its 2012 ads, on the basis that 15 years of accumulating baggage in government gave it little left to work with, but this lot is making me wonder. The party’s channel essentially features three ads, the least underwhelming of which comes in 30-second and 15-second edits, with the longer version featured below.

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.

106 comments on “Queensland election minus two weeks”

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  1. [At the end of 99 years, I don’t think anyone will even remember.]

    Most/nearly all/just about everybody will be dead.

    Mind blowing absurdity.

  2. Raaraa Im not ignoring I just think it’s a beat-up.

    For starters do you know what the definition of “full value” is under the SA agreement? For instance if the Chinese purchased plant to $2 million in January 2015 and the plant had a useful life of say 10 years what would the full value be in 2050?

  3. Understandably the plant will be beyond operating lifespan and will have to be depreciated and disposed of, and replaced with a newer plant.

    Aren’t we leasing it out the entirety of it though? I understand the operators will add some value to it, but wouldn’t it be in their own interest to make it work better? They aren’t exactly running it out of their own charity. They run a profit.

    The way I see it the asset lease is effectively a sale. How much value will Newman get out of it? If he called it a sale, would he get more out of them?

  4. Raaraa of course it’s virtually a sale similar to a 99 year grazing lease. You can mortgage the asset providing the term of the mortgage falls within the term of the lease. The closer to the end date the lower the value will be put on the lease as an asset.

  5. Today’s lease/sale asset thingo fiasco is that Tim and Campbell are saying different things.

    Also weird that the LNP campaign stopped for the day at 2pm.

  6. [
    Raaraa unless Hockey was correct yesterday I don’t think any of us today need worry about the possibility.]

    Yeah you have the LNP well understood – let’s not worry about tomorrow – stupid short term thinking leading to asset sales and leases (which we know taxpayers will pay much more for than they gain out of), happy to destroy the reef, convenient to deny climate change!!!!

    qld lnp killing the future without a real plan for today

  7. Killing the future is not an assumption I agree with. The underlying assets aren’t going anywhere and the funds freed up, if wisely used, will benefit all QLD’ers. The ideological argument about who owns the assets is a largely an irrevelant argument.

  8. To be honest an option to buyback at the end of a 99 year lease on power assets is essentially a joke anyway, given there’s almost no chance the power generation and transmission infrastructure of the next century will look anything like what exists today.

    As long as it’s not a forced re-purchase – ie. the state can choose what it wants to pay for – it’s a win-win for taxpayers. The private sector pays the state for soon to be obsolete assets, pays to maintain, upgrade and replace them, and the state can decide what it needs to buy back at the end of the term.

  9. The ironic thing is that the QLD Government have spent $2B on building the Abbott Point Coal Port which Labor and it’s hacks are whinging about(despite an estimated $22B+ expected to be paid in royalties).

    But if Campbell Newman tried selling/leasing this port in the future you can guarantee the same whingers will be complaining he’s selling “our assets” the same one they opposed building in the first place. You just can’t win with Labor.

    BTW wheres Labors Plan to pay down the $80B in debt they left last time? Didn’t hear a word about it at their policy launch today.

  10. [davidwh
    Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 9:43 pm | PERMALINK
    Killing the future is not an assumption I agree with. The underlying assets aren’t going anywhere and the funds freed up, if wisely used, will benefit all QLD’ers. The ideological argument about who owns the assets is a largely an irrevelant argument.

    I disagree David. There is a very important distinction. Assets that are publicly owned are there primarily to serve the needs of the population as a whole. Those that are privately owned – more often than not by overseas interests – are there primarily to serve the needs of the share holders, whose main concern is profit, not service.

  11. from the south this looks like quietest most efficient election ever – if so that was intention. is there some limitation of how quickly an election can be called? it is a great shame looking back that rudd didn’t call a snap election when getting back in 2013 … while shock/momentum of side … to do this in january is profound anti democratic and not deserving of re-election – i think old jones is saying as much – hopefully when public wake up next week they do the right thing and kick this political trashcan called LNP out – hopefully federal soon after. one lives in hope but does politics warrant it ?

  12. it is very risky having lesser experienced opposition leader in terms of campaign – but then public might be sick of personalities in govt.

  13. David Marler
    @ReachTEL polling tonight for @7NewsBrisbane. Results Wednesday at 6pm Qld time. #qldvotes

    (with screen grab.)

  14. I was SMS polled on the 16th by Morgan on Qld state voting intention and preferred Premier. No sign of the result so far. Was it done for one of the parties? Never had this happen before – the result is always out in a couple of days.

  15. “Is public alienated, dumbed down?”, Geoffrey @ 69? Can’t speak for everyone, but this member of the public has made up his mind, sees no point in online debate with dickheads, and has his voter registration card and metaphorical baseball bat ready to take to the local State School quite early on Saturday week. Whack! Goodbye local member!

  16. I don’t feel alienated and dumbed down just somewhat disappointed with the way the government has gone about making some badly needed reforms to correct the problems left by the previous government. Their arrogance and lack of proper consultation was the big problem. However I have no desire to return to the mess prior to 2012.

    Therefore I will be voting for my local member but have no regrets if the LNP fails to hold Ashgrove.

  17. Some minor change in the betting markets which doesn’t tell us much. Labor in from $9 to $8.50 and the LNP in from $1.05 to $1.04. People are probably covering their bets.

  18. I think he’s toast, to be honest. Not been ahead in a single published poll (reachtel tonight notwithstanding) nor betting odds after an almighty pork barrel – and early voting started two days ago.

    on the subject of that pork barrel – is there any suggestion it won’t go ahead in the Newman loss/LNP win scenario?

  19. Kevin if you are around Mumble has an article today on the phantom C-M headline about the Labor win following the Galaxy polling. In the article he refer to a Tweep alerting him to the disappearing headline and I hope he wasn’t referring to you 🙂

  20. [Killing the future is not an assumption I agree with. The underlying assets aren’t going anywhere and the funds freed up, if wisely used, will benefit all QLD’ers. The ideological argument about who owns the assets is a largely an irrevelant argument.]

    Who owns something is incredibly relevant. This has been evidenced by so many failed privatizations I can’t believe a thinking person would even post it. Between us we could come up with pages of bad stories of stupid failed privatizations how many real successes have there been?

  21. CBA, Qantas, Telstra, various state banks, some of the public transport contractings have all been “successful” in that there’s no appetite for renationalization.

    I think the reason there’s little discussion of the election is that there’s very little data coming from the polling firms, and outside of Queensland where the vast majority of Bludgers are there’s been little coverage of the campaign to assess.

  22. teh it depends on how people define failed and of course you can’t compare to how the assets would have fared if they stayed in government ownership. What would CBA and QANTAS look like today if they had remained government owned? Impossible to say. They may no longer exist or they could be world leading organisations.

    However the real key issue is the opportunity cost to the taxpayer in retaining assets as compared to how those funds can be used by governments elsewhere. Given that the demand for government revenue is currently outstripping governments ability to raise the revenue then the opportunity cost consideration is very valid.

    People just get locked into an ideological position that government ownership must be better.

  23. Great institutions like the Commonwealth Bank and Telstra are built up over the decades on the back of support from ordinary people. All Australians, rich and poor, have an equal stake in them.

    When they are privatised, the little man and woman have their share sold from under them. The more affluent sections of society get richer.

    This fundamentally wrong, however you dress it up.

  24. [When they are privatised, the little man and woman have their share sold from under them. The more affluent sections of society get richer.

    This fundamentally wrong, however you dress it up.]

    Don’t we all get to benefit when the proceeds are paid to government to fund services?

  25. RaaRaa @ 78

    The biggest thing affecting bookies odds is “weight of money”. The lack of change in Ashgrove suggests the punters don’t have a lot of confidence that Newman can win the seat.

    There are a few LNP seats where the price for a win by the LNP has reduced markedly. If there have been a lot of confident bets for the LNP in those seats then the bookies will reduce the price (and even “lay-off” some if the betting is too lop sided.

    At the moment the ALP are favorite @ $1.50 or less in 35 seats.
    The next seat is ASHGROVE where Kate Jones is $1.75 and Newman $2.00.

    There is one tied seat – Kallangur @ $1.87 each of two.

    There are then 10 “close” seats where the ALP is between $2 and $2.50 and the LNP $1.85 to $1.50 – so the LNP marginally in front in all of them.

    Sportsbet has moved the ALP down to $7.00 now & the LNP out to $1.06 reflecting the fact that the LNP would still be most likely to win the majority of the 10 seats where they are $1.85 to $1.50. Otherwise the “next government” price would be closer to LNP $1.50 and ALP $2.50.

    Obviously IF the ALP were to win all 10 of these seats plus the other 37 above, they would have potentially 47 seats and the LNP be defeated. It shows how the individual seat odds are not necessarily reflected in the “next government” odds.

    We may have a better idea at 6pm Channel 7, but the bookies may know earlier ? I’ll be watching any moves in those close 12 seats from about 4pm.

  26. Toorak Toff

    I’m not agreeing with privatisation, just noting that there have been many “successes” alongside the notable disasters, and that thinking otherwise is selective memory.

    I’ll leave the theoretical basis for state versus government ownership to the ideologues.

  27. davidwh@80

    Kevin if you are around Mumble has an article today on the phantom C-M headline about the Labor win following the Galaxy polling. In the article he refer to a Tweep alerting him to the disappearing headline and I hope he wasn’t referring to you

    OK. The tweep he is referring to, via link, is @ChalkBunny who at 10:40 pm on the 17th tweeted as follows:

    “So Galaxy Poll Chinese Whispers now predicting ALP win @mumbletwits @knougguent_ https://twitter.com/knougguent_/status/556700746607902721 …”

    @ChalkBunny is not one of my followers but might have seen my tweet about Nine’s lifting of the Courier-Mail’s poll reporting. Seven hours earlier I had tweeted:

    “9news.com.au/national/2015/… One #ausmedia outlet reporting another outlet’s bogus poll interpretation as news. #chinesewhispers #qldvotes”

    Or – and perhaps more likely as that tweet wasn’t much retweeted – the Chinese Whispers reference could be coincidence.

    Re the bookies stuff: I have not generally known odds to move much or at all in response to a ReachTEL. Newspoll and Galaxy yes, though sometimes taking a day or two to sink in. Some of the shortening we’re seeing could be betters who previously backed L-NP figuring that the odds for Labor might not get better and therefore laying off.

  28. Kevin ReachTel may have more influence here in QLD because they carry out regular QLD polling for Ch7. They seem reasonable although do seem to have a slight Labor bias unless they pick up something the other polls don’t.

  29. I’m pretty neutral in the opinion of which one is better in terms of government-run vs privately-run as I’ve seen evidence of good and bad ones in both, but in terms of the raw cost of running, I’ve come to the conclusion that government-run corporations does not need to turn a profit or pay dividends to shareholders, and therefore cheaper to run. (Or you could turn a profit and this dividend goes back into government coffers.)


    [Don’t we all get to benefit when the proceeds are paid to government to fund services?]

    I see this as selling the house and get a wad of cash for it but then you have to find somewhere to rent, or selling the car to take the taxi. There are pros and cons depending on what it is that you’re selling.

  30. [I think he’s toast, to be honest.]

    Didn’t we hear this before the 2012 QLD State Election as well? Campbell can’t do Ashgrove we were told.

    8 March 2012, 10.32am AEDT
    Is Campbell Newman’s Queensland election strategy in trouble?

    It’s like I’ve been teleported back to 2012 all over again.

    Certainly it will be tighter than last time but the claim Campbells done in Ashgrove is so very very 2012.

  31. http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/campbell-newman-heading-toward-a-loss-in-seat-of-ashgrove-while-lnp-wins-government-according-to-new-poll/story-fnbt5t29-1226295602992

    Steven Wardill
    The Courier-Mail

    CAMPBELL Newman is set to lose in his bid to win the seat of Ashgrove – plunging Queensland politics into unprecedented territory.

    An exclusive Galaxy Poll conducted for The Courier-Mail reveals Labor incumbent Kate Jones has broken away from Mr Newman in the must-win seat just two weeks out from the election.

    She now has a three point lead in the two-party preferred race.

    The most likely result is that the LNP will claim an overwhelming win yet their leader won’t join them in the new Parliament.


    Newmans done for… oh wait, that article was from March 10, 2012

    It’s close folks, no doubt, but as always the vote that counts will be on election day.

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