BludgerTrack: 53.0-47.0 to Labor

Not much doing in the world of federal polling this week, but there’s quite a bit to report on the preselection front.

It’s been as quiet a week as they come so far as federal polling is concerned, with only the reliable weekly Essential Research to keep us amused. Newspoll and Roy Morgan were both in an off week in their fortnightly cycles, and neither Galaxy nor ReachTEL stepped forward to fill the gap, presumably because their clients at News Corporation and the Seven Network blew their budget on double-up polls during the Liberal leadership excitement in early February. Since the Essential Research result landed well on trend, the BludgerTrack poll aggregate has recorded only the most negligible of changes on voting intention, with the marginal exception of a 0.3% lift for the Greens. Labor also makes a gain on the seat projection, having tipped over the line for a seventh seat in Western Australia (do keep in mind though that the electoral furniture there will shortly be rearranged by the redistribution to accommodate the state’s newly acquired entitlement to sixteenth seat).

If an absence of polling is a problem for you, you can at least enjoy yesterday’s semi-regular state voting intention results from Roy Morgan, based on SMS polling of samples ranging from 432 in Tasmania to 1287 in New South Wales. These have Labor leading 56-44 in Victoria, 50.5-49.5 in Western Australia, 53-47 in South Australia and 55.5-44.5 in Tasmania (not that two-party preferred means anything under Hare-Clark). However, the recently defeated Liberal National Party is credited with an improbable 51-49 lead in Queensland. New South Wales is not included in the mix as the result was published a day before the rest, which you can read all about on my latest state election thread.

In other news, federal preselection action is beginning to warm up, spurred in part by the possibility that Liberal leadership turmoil might cause the election to be held well ahead of schedule. Troy Bramston of The Australian reports that Labor “has ordered its state and territory branches to urgently preselect parliamentary candidates by the end of June”, with exemptions for New South Wales and Western Australia owing to their looming redistributions (the latter process is presently at the stage of receiving public suggestions, which may be submitted by April 10). Some notable happenings on that count:

• Labor has conducted local ballots for preselections in the three Victorian seats it lost to the Liberals in 2013. Darren Cheeseman appears to have failed in his bid for another crack at Corangamite, where the ballot was won by Libby Coker, a Surf Coast councillor and former mayor who ran in Polwarth at the November state election. Also in the field was Tony White, an economic development manager at Colac Otway Shire and former adviser to various ministers and premiers in Bracks-Brumby ogvernment. In La Trobe, former Casey councillor Simon Curtis outpaced the rather higher profile Damien Kingsbury, the director of La Trobe University’s Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights. The vote in Deakin was won by Tony Clarke, of whom I can’t tell you much. It now remains for the state party’s public office selection committee to determine its 50% share of the vote total, but the talk seems to be that Coker in particular is home and hosed.

• Joe Ludwig, who has held a Queensland Senate seat for Labor since 1999, has announced he will not seek another term at the next election. He is set to be succeeded by Anthony Chisholm, the party’s state secretary from 2008 until 2014, when the Left’s unprecedented success in scoring majority control at the party’s state conference caused the position to pass to Evan Moorhead. Chisholm was given the short-term and now-expired role as director of the state election campaign, and also has Left faction support to fill Ludwig’s position, which remains in the hands of the AWU/Labor Forum faction. A potential rival contender was Chisholm’s predecessor as state secretary, Cameron Milner, but AWU support consolidated behind Chisholm in part because he had the backing of Wayne Swan, which reportedly led to a falling out between Swan and Milner. For more on both Swan and Milner, see further below.

• There is also a widely held expectation that Ludwig will shortly be joined in the departure lounge by the Left faction’s Jan McLucas, the other Queensland Labor Senator due to face the voters at the next half-Senate election. The favourite to replace her is Murray Watt, a Bligh government minister who lost his seat of Everton in the 2012 landslide, and more recently a lawyer with Maurice Blackburn. However, Michael McKenna of The Australian reports this could raise affirmative action issues, with Townsville mayor Jenny Hill mooted as an alternative contender if so. Another aspirant mentioned in McKenna’s report is Michael Ravbar, state secretary of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union.

Michael McKenna of The Australian reports that Wayne Swan and Bernie Ripoll are “being stalked as targets of possible preselection challenges”. In Swan’s inner northern Brisbane seat of Lilley, the aforementioned Cameron Milner is said to be “considering” a challenge to the former Treasurer. On the western side of town in Oxley, Brisbane City Council opposition leader Milton Dick is “preparing to roll Mr Ripoll”, and has “cross-factional support” to do so.

The Australian reports Sophie Mirabella is keen to run again in Indi, which she famously lost in 2013 to independent Cathy McGowan. However, the report says the party is “deeply pessimistic about the chance of regaining the seat, and the contest is complicated by the Nationals being able to contest it”.

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.

3,093 comments on “BludgerTrack: 53.0-47.0 to Labor”

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  1. ESJ @ 3035

    Wrong again. My silence was due to Q&A being a lot more interesting than your inanity. You will see I eventually got around to responding during Fiona Nash’s ongoing politicisation of issues that is impressing nobody in the audience.

  2. 3044
    Quite a large income earning asset. Something which is always overlooked when it comes down to accusation of who wasted money.

  3. The deal with mining is that those who want to invest in Australia respect our laws, especially those relating to fair work, paying their taxes and protecting our environment. If they can’t do that and make a profit they can bugger off. More people need to say that.

  4. [confessions
    John Winston Howard: the last of the great spenders.]

    OK, I think I get it now.

    Confessions thinks Howard didn’t raise enough money
    Confessions thinks Howard spent too much money

    So, Confessions wanted Howard to lock in EVEN MORE MASSIVE surpluses that he had (the biggest in Australian history). Whereas the 6 years of Gillard and Rudd having the largest deficits in Austrlalian history were all hunky-dory.


  5. Why have the polls narrowed ? Abbott has dumped unpopular policies and he’s appealed to his conservative base.

    Still pretty clear Bill Shorten is not going to last the distance. Oh dear chaps!

  6. “@sspencer_63: Morgan 54-46 on same preference method. MT @ccroucher9: Two polls out showing very different results
    Newspoll: ALP 51-49
    Morgan: ALP 56-44”

  7. Howard squandered the proceeds of asset sales and the vast rivers of revenue from booming industries by handing it out to middle and high income earners as election bribes.

    According to a Treasury report in 2008, between 2004 and 2007, the mining boom and a robust economy added $334 billion in windfall gains to the budget surplus. Of this, the Howard Government spent, or gave away in tax cuts, $314 billion, or 94 per cent.

    Sales of businesses yielded another $72 billion. And yet Australia’s cash in the bank when Howard left office was a pathetically low 7.3% of GDP.

  8. Morgan bounces one way, Newspoll bounces the other.

    Now all we need is for Essential to not move and the universe is in balance

  9. [Bushfire Bill
    Posted Monday, March 23, 2015 at 10:43 pm | PERMALINK
    Morgan up. Newspoll down. Polls are crazy. Very hard to garner a meaning from these numbers.]

    Actually, I don’t think things are as confusing as that.

    Morgan is pro-ALP and so with the correction, its around 52-53 TPP for the ALP
    Newspoll is 51 for the ALP which aint far off a potential “truth” of 52-53 TPP for the ALP

  10. guytaur @ 3067, BB @ 3068

    Interesting. The polls are volatile – but is the public?

    There is no election tomorrow and there was not one last weekend. It’s all over the place because everything is all over the place. At this stage it is just very loud and meaningless noise; no signal.

  11. 3069
    Now take away the 96 billion in relayed debt and then add the future fund that will deliver 7 billion a year from 2020 forever and what do you get.

  12. Must be tough being a rightie. To keep up the debt and budget emergency rhetoric when Abbott is saying its all fixed.

    Abbott is asking us to believe several contradictory things at once.
    First, that the Coalition inherited a budget emergency.

    Second that its job of responding to that emergency has been relentlessly sabotaged by the opposition and other senate riff-raff.

    Third, that in spite of this relentless blocking, the budgetary repair job has somehow been done. Turns out the opposition weren’t blocking terribly much.

    Or that the stuff they were blocking was unnecessary to fix the budget, anyway, in which case they weren’t as irresponsible as we were being asked to believe.

  13. If Howard and Costello had invested the mining boom money in infrastructure projects like public transport in the cities most of them would have been underway in 2008 which would have obviated the need for Rudd to go so big in the GFC incentive package.

    But buying votes was way more important.

  14. Perhaps Labor lost points on the metadata stuff? It’s not like the coalition had a stellar fortnight.

    Couldn’t imagine Fraser giving them a bounce

  15. It’ll be interesting to see the State breakdown on Newspoll – possibly it’s a case of the NSW election focussing NSWers attention on the past sins of Labor in that State.

  16. [Confessions thinks Howard didn’t raise enough money
    Confessions thinks Howard spent too much money]

    Just holding a reverse mirror up to your Howard govt love. If you wanna chip Labor for introducing a resource rent tax that didn’t collect sufficient funds, then you gotta chip Howard’s govt for wasting so much of that revenue his mob collected during a mining boom.

  17. [Simon Katich

    Posted Monday, March 23, 2015 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Today, the top temp here in the Ade Hills was 15deg, and drizzle. I am not looking forward to 6 months of winter.

    I think that’s what they’ve got the fridge set on.

  18. Happiness @3064:

    [OK, I think I get it now.

    Confessions thinks Howard didn’t raise enough money
    Confessions thinks Howard spent too much money

    So, Confessions wanted Howard to lock in EVEN MORE MASSIVE surpluses that he had (the biggest in Australian history). Whereas the 6 years of Gillard and Rudd having the largest deficits in Austrlalian history were all hunky-dory.


    Oh my goodness, the bulldust is strong with your post.

    First: As regards the “even more massive” surpluses. That were, thanks to his middle-class welfare vote-buying exercises and his commitment to making the lives of the rich easier, actually structural deficits by the time Howard left office, hidden by a one-off flow of mining revenues.

    The myth of the Howard Government as “big savers” was busted by the IMF’s international study of fiscal economics, which noted two periods of the Howard Government (2003 and 2005-07) as containing the only periods of “fiscal profligacy” in post-WWI Australian history.

    What’s more, economic booms are – per textbook economics, both Keynesian and otherwise – the time for governments to run large surpluses, pay down debt and establish wealth funds against the next downturn. Which Norway has done, leading to the Norwegian sovereign wealth funds holding over a million kroner (about $200,000) per citizen in net assets.

    How did the Norwegian Government get so unimaginably wealthy that it can afford to not cut any government spending for the foreseeable future? Because they didn’t fritter away one-off resource booms in ridiculous vote-buying exercises, that’s how!

    As for the “biggest deficits in Australian history”, they were only that if you fail to account for inflation. Compared to the size of the economy, both the Fraser and Hawke/Keating Governments at least temporarily ran bigger deficits (which is completely ignoring the deficit during WWI, WWII and the Great Depression). And they weren’t dealing with the worst economic crash in 80 years.

    You can take your bulldust and shove it somewhere distinctly uncomfortable – no-one around here is buying it at the asking price.

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