Newspoll: Cairns, Ipswich West and Keppel poll

A new result for Newspoll provides Labor with a great headline, but as a small-sample poll with a combined result for three very disparate electorates, it’s very hard to say how much it might mean.

The Australian has a Newspoll result of somewhat dubious utility, in which three disparate electorates – Cairns, Keppel and far distant Ipswich West – were targeted with small samples of 200 respondents each, the composite result indicating a reversal from 57.4-42.6 to the LNP in 2012 to 56-44 to Labor now. Which is obviously very good news for Labor, but how good is extremely hard to say. On the primary vote, Labor is up from 31% to 47%, the LNP down from 43.5% to 35%, the Greens down from 6.6% to 5% and others down from 18.9% to 13%, Katter’s Australian Party having done well in all three seats in 2012 but not contesting this time.

Campbell Newman cops a particularly tough mark of 32% approval to 60% disapproval, though whether this reflects a decline in his fortunes since previous campaign polls or peculiarity of sentiment in these electorates is, once again, impossible to say. The same goes for Annastacia Palaszczuk’s strong ratings of 45% approval and 33% disapproval, her 46-36 lead as preferred premier, and the LNP’s unusually narrow lead of 44-36 as party expected to win.

The rationale behind polling these seats is clearly to get a sense of how things are looking in seats in the 6-9% range, but since similar margins is all these seats have in common, I’m not sure how illuminating it is. Basically, I’d much rather have seen Newspoll’s efforts dedicated to a particular region, or even just one seat, than a scattershot look at three electorates that have nothing to do with each other.

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.

211 comments on “Newspoll: Cairns, Ipswich West and Keppel poll”

  1. Looks like Newman’s Government may survive, but I don’t see how he gets re-elected in his own seat. I do wonder if the LNP has a plan B for that, do they care? Probably not.

    That this election is even close, is a testament to Queensland Labor or perhaps something else (to channel Grattan).

    As I had warned a few years back, the electorate across the board now seems extremely volatile and will swing back and forward dramatically now at elections. Huge majorities now can disappear in a term.

    While the Newman regime is probably mostly distasteful, a bit part of this has been Abbott and his media mates’ negative and baseless attacks on ALP ending up as an attack on governance generally. Karma is a bitch, as the kids say.

    But sadly the losers here will be the Australian public.

  2. Newman is like a alpinist who’s fallen off a cliff and is now taking the rest of his team with him. They must be so excited to be roped to him.

  3. Ooh and greens odds shortening to take their first seat in Indooroopilly.
    Moggill will see some prime blue ribbon liberal arse getting kicked.

  4. I’ll never understand Green tactics. Why would they not preference in Cairns & Barron River. Are NQ greens even purer than pure or just closet conservatives?

  5. Idiotic move from the Queensland Greens. Open tickets from left parties are inexcusable under OPV, and without a clear trade-off in upper house preferences they’re just throwing away left seats so they can wank on about their own nonexistent chances of winning one (because they came *so* close last time).

  6. I’ll be totally staggered if the Greens win a seat anywhere. I’ll be quite surprised if they are even second anywhere this time.

  7. @ ICanCU, 114

    You’re kidding, right? In order to even come second in Indooroopilly, the Greens would have to pick up a primary vote hike in excess of what Labor will pick up (and I’d expect Labor’s PV to pick up by 8-10% minimum).

    This is not the Victorian state election, where the actual Labor vote gains were only a few percent (and most importantly in Prahran, their vote actually dropped – and it still took microparty preferences to get the Greens into second place).

    As for Moggill, while the LNP margin will certainly take a whacking, somehow I doubt there’ll be a 24% swing – which is what Labor would need to win it. They’ll have done well if they even get 15%, tbh.

  8. As much as I like the Greens, I’m with Kevin Bonham on this one – it would be an utterly staggering result if the Greens won a single seat.

    The best they can realistically hope for is to make a good showing on the primary vote.

  9. I note with some interest that only one party (and no independents) copped a preference position below the LNP on the Greens how-to-votes in any seat: One Nation.

    It says something about One Nation when they are more hated by the Greens than the “dump it all on the Reef” LNP.

  10. I do admit to a touch of the sun at a beautiful Sunshine Coast beach today, however please watch these seats as I have reasons for my remarks. I fully accept all ridicule after the vote 🙂

  11. @ ICanCU, 124

    It’s also worth noting that in the case of Victoria, a state with compulsory full-preferential voting, the Greens could be assured that Labor preferences were not exhausting in the event that Labor did not make it to the final count (as in Prahran), even if some of them went to the Coalition candidate.

    In Queensland, I would consider it fairly likely that a large chunk of Labor voters will simply vote 1 ALP (thinking that the ALP candidate will definitely get to the final count) – leaving the Greens up shit creek without a paddle if they DO manage to get in front of Labor at the relevant exclusion.

  12. As a Greens-sympathetic person, boo-hiss to not recommending full preferences in every seat. (Although at least they are doing so in most of them, which is, I suspect, more than can be said for any other party.)

    The list (seats where Greens preferences will not get to Labor; there are a few 1-Greens, 2-Labor, rest exhaust): Barron River, Beaudesert, Bundaberg, Burnett, Cairns, Callide, Condamine, Gladstone, Gregory, Gympie, Hervey Bay, Indooroopilly, Maryborough, Moggill, Mount Ommaney, Mulgrave, Nanango, Noosa, Nudgee, Southern Downs, Thuringowa, Toowoomba South, Woodridge.

    Realistically there are only a few seats where this will matter at all (Barron River, Cairns, maybe Gladstone), but even in the safe LNP ones, why aren’t they preferencing independents and minors? Why aren’t they preferencing Chris Foley in Maryborough? Why aren’t they preferencing KAP ahead of LNP in seats like Condamine and Nanango? The only way the Greens will ever win seats in Queensland is with an upper house, and the only way that will happen is if there’s a hung parliament and the crossbench demands it. Seriously irritating.

  13. Out of interest I had a look for other HTVs out there. I could not find Labor’s, KAP’s or One Nation’s anywhere online – help?

    The LNP is, of course, just-vote-1-ing every seat, not even listing the other candidates on their HTV: http://qld.lnp.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/SE15_HTV_1page_Inhouse.pdf

    The PUP is doing the same, not even listing their OWN candidates, which seems odd. Also, why wouldn’t they preference certain indies (Foley, Wellington) and KAP? http://palmerunited.com/vote-queensland/

    Family First, oddly, is only directing preferences to the LNP in about half of the seats they’re running in. They are directing to Palmer in a few seats, and Katter in a few others (including Condamine). Among those seats where FF is not directing to LNP: Morayfield, Chatsworth, Greenslopes, Redlands, Condamine (directing to Katter), Southern Downs, Currumbin (directing to Palmer), Mermaid Beach, Surfers Paradise, Hervey Bay, Mackay and Thuringowa (directing to Palmer, then One Nation).
    http://www.qld-familyfirst.org.au/How-to-Vote-2015.php

  14. Tom @ 128

    I’m sure you know what my aunt would be if she had bollocks.

    There isn’t a proportionally representative chamber in Queensland, which is why I make the assessment that the chances of a Green candidate getting up in Queensland’s Parliament in this particular election is essentially nil.

    Let’s see if Waters can get back the 6% of the vote the Greens lost in the 2013 election before we go jumping to any conclusions about them getting a second Senator from the sunshine state.

  15. 127

    It think that Queensland`s best chance at a returned Legislative Council was early in the Borbidge government, when it was Liberal (and possibly Coalition policy). It could have been put to a referendum and may have got up with Coalition, Democrat and Green backing.

  16. Tom,

    Would it need a referendum? Surely there wasn’t one back when it was abolished? (I can’t see it passing a referendum, myself; the major parties would both just hit it with the “more politicians” claim and that would sink it.)

  17. 130

    The Democrats got a Senator, in addition to the 2 ALP Senators, at every half-Senate election from the start of 6-senator half-Senate elections in 1990 to the final election before their vote`s collapse (2001). The Coalition did particularly well in 2004 (electing a 4th Senator) and the ALP well in 2007 (electing a 3rd) and these results denied the Greens a Senator each time. In 2010, Queensland reverted to a more normal pattern and elected 3 Coalition, 2 ALP (lead by Queenslander Rudd) and a Green (in place of the Democrat). In 2013 the Coalition and minor/micro parties did well and elected 3 Coalition, 1 PUP and 2 ALP. In a non-landslide election the Greens are likely to get a Senator, just as they do in conservative WA and the ALP has to do very well in its rare landslides to knock out the Greens, therefore it is likely a matter of time before the Greens get 2 Senators at the same time in Qld.

  18. 132

    When the ALP got back into power in 1932, after 3 years of the Country and Progressive National Party (the LNP of its day) not agreeing within itself enough to reintroduce the Legislative Council, it decided that the Queensland Constitution should be amended to require a referendum to reintroduce a Legislative Council or extend the term of parliament beyond 3 years.

  19. WA is a terrible comparison when it comes to the Greens’ chances of success. People forget that the NDP won a seat in WA, that the first federal Greens MPs were in WA, and that the WA Greens have only lagged behind the Tasmanian Greens in consistently getting people elected over long periods of time. There is a Green base in WA that is flatly nonexistent in Queensland.

    Larissa Waters was lucky, and antagonising left swinging voters while running an omnishambles of a state campaign is no way to repeat that experience.

    Not preferencing Foley and Wellington, on top of that handful of Labor MPs, is just bizarre, and is the sort of own-goal that demonstrates why the Queensland Greens are the state branch who least have their act together.

  20. Tom,

    Thanks. Blast them. In that case I can see very little chance of a return for the Queensland Legislative Council.

    On prospects for the Senate, the Greens are much stronger in WA than in Queensland, though, and always have been. It will depend on whether Labor decides to preference the Greens ahead of other minors, and also on the state of Palmer United. I would not be surprised if Waters lost in 2016, but then I would not be shocked if she won either.

  21. Rebecca,

    They are preferencing Wellington, at least. He, Di Gittins in Ferny Grove, Bruce Diamond in Keppel, Peter Ervik in Logan, Anne O’Connor in Rockhampton and Karel Boele in South Brisbane are the only people getting Greens preferences ahead of Labor.

  22. The best chance of institutional consolidation to improve organizational effectiveness for the Greens in Queensland is not the return of an upper house (though, sure, that would likely do it) but reform of the Brisbane City Council structure, ideally to a citywide proportional system but more realistically to a multi-member zonal system.

  23. Hard to see either of the major parties agreeing to a referendum to establish an upper house in QLD. Doubt the referendum would pass if either tried.

  24. 139

    In a hung parliament, if the crossbench insisted on the reintroduction of the Legislative Council, the Government would likely hold a referendum rather than go back to the polls.

    It mat well not pass.

  25. 140

    Wrong. It was amended in 1934, by then then ALP Government, to require a referendum to restore a Legislative Council or extend the Parliament beyond 3 years. Under the Australia Act(s?), Constitutional provisions in state laws can require a referendum to pass.

  26. Tom

    The Australia Act is Federal legislation.

    The Federal Government cannot legislate except to the extent permitted (as judicially interpreted) by the Australian Constitution.

    The Australian Constitution has it’s authority by reason of it being an Act of the British Parliament.

    The State Parliaments retain all sovereign powers not specifically bestowed on the Federal Government by the Australian Constitution.

    The Australian Constitution does not grant the Federal Government power to direct the system of government of the states.

    The Queensland Government has power to legislate it’s own
    system of government.

    What law one Queensland Parliament can pass, a subsequent Queensland Parliament can abolish.

    One Parliament cannot decree the manner in which a subsequent Parliament can amend or abolish it’s laws. One Parliament cannot fetter a subsequent Parliament by requiring that a law change must be the subject to a Referendum before being passed. Or rather, more accurately, it can pass such legislation, but the subsequent Parliament can abolish it. Each Parliament is Sovereign for it’s duration.

    I hope the above is clear enough.

  27. The only way to counter that “let’s not put more politicians in parliament” is to replace the entire system with MMP. It will be easier to convince the electorate than to reintroduce a whole upper house.

    Doubt we’ll see that referendum though with both major parties preferring the status quo.

  28. labor will win queensland. it is be beginning of fast unravelling of the bogus LNP federally – they will be gone by May at latest. abbott ends up being greatest gift to demoracy and labor party – thus starts a long hegemony of labor – and republic finally – problem is effective opposition esp to left – greens are not it, sadly, too much baggage

  29. Fulvio Sammut,

    That’s a fine Westminster view that parliaments cannot bind future parliaments, but it happens to be wrong under Australian constitutional law.

    The 1932 Trethowan judgment by the High Court and Privy Council backed the right of state’s to entrench provisions in their constitutions. The case concerned an entrenched provision setting a requirement for a referendum to abolish the NSW Legislative Council. The referendum provision was inserted and entrenched by the Bavin government in 1929. The following Lang government used your argument that a parliament couldn’t be bound by the legislation of past parliaments, and passed legislation to remove the referendum provision and then to abolish the LC.

    The courts all the way up to the Privy Council backed the view that neither of Lang’s bills could be presented to the Governor for assent without a referendum. That has been the standard Australian state law on entrenchment provisions since.

    The Queensland government used the Trethowan judgment in 1934 to entrench a provision requiring a referendum to bring back a Legislative Council.

    When Queensland re-wrote its constitution in 2001, it had leave in place the entrenched provisions of the previous Constitution Act 1867 and the entrenched amending acts of 1890 and 1834. It would have taken a referendum to abolish those bits of the previous acts.

    Anne Twomey in her book on the NSW Constitution has argued that entrenchment is more limited than the traditional view of the Trethowan judgment, but her views have not been tested in court.

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