BludgerTrack: 51.7-48.3 to Labor

Aggregation of poll results continues to record a slow improvement in the Coalition’s position on voting intention, and a much quicker one for Tony Abbott relative to Bill Shorten on leadership ratings.

The BludgerTrack poll aggregate swings back to Labor this week, following an improved but still below par result from Newspoll, and softer results for them from Morgan and Essential Research. Together with the previous week’s strong result for Labor from ReachTEL washing out of the system, the result is a 0.7% move to the Coalition on two-party preferred and an improvement of three on the seat projection, including one seat each in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. With the further addition of Newspoll numbers to the leadership ratings, there’s still no let-up of the emphatic trend in favour of Tony Abbott relative to Bill Shorten since immediately after the Liberal Party spill vote at the beginning of February, with Abbott now being credited with the lead on preferred prime minister for the first time since October.

Electoral reform news:

• Heath Aston of the Sydney Morning Herald reports that “speculation is rising that the government will attempt to pass measures that would effectively sign the death warrant for micro parties immediately before calling the next election” (while further speculation reported by Laurie Oakes says that election may be rather soon). However, the task of achieving that is said to be complicated by splits in both Labor and the Greens. Among those in the Labor camp raising concerns are Penny Wong, Stephen Conroy, Sam Dastyari and “a number of unions”, who reportedly consider that micro-parties are mostly winning seats at the expense of the Coalition, and believe the proposal to abolish group voting tickets through a move to optional preferential voting would advantage the Greens (although Gary Gray and Alan Griffin, both Labor members of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, stand by the committee’s recommendation to that effect). The Greens nonetheless appear divided on both the reform’s likely impact on their prospects, and whether that should be their primary objective in any case. It is said the reform could starve the Greens of preferences required to win seats in Queensland (understandably), South Australia (understandably only for as long as Nick Xenophon’s on the scene) and Western Australia (not understandably, as far as I can see). At the same time, there is concern about how the party membership would react if the party cut a deal with the Coalition, which might involve a compromise of maintaining group voting tickets but imposing a 4% primary vote threshold.

Daniel McCullogh of the Launceston Examiner reports that Labor in Tasmania is grumbling about the state’s quirky Legislative Council system, in which the chamber’s 15 electoral districts face election over a staggered six-year cycle. Labor complains the low-key campaigns result in depressed turnout and an unfair advantage to incumbents. Labor is also unhappy about the tight $15,000 spending caps for Legislative Council elections.

Preselection news:

Sharyn O’Neil of the Morning Bulletin reports that Peter Freeleagus, a Moranbah miner and former Belyando Shire mayor, will again seek Labor preselection in Capricornia, the central Queensland seat where he narrowly failed in a bid to succeed retiring party colleague Kirsten Livermore. The seat has since been held for the Liberal National Party by Michelle Landry, who won the seat by a margin of 0.8%. The report also says Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow had been planning to nominate, but is no longer.

Stephen Smiley from the ABC reports it is generally expected Christine Milne’s resignation as Greens leader yesterday is to be followed in the not too distant future by retirement from the Senate. The leading candidate to fill her vacancy would appear to be Nick McKim, who holds a state seat for Franklin and was the party’s state leader until after the March 2014 election. The best-placed Greens candidate to win McKim’s state seat from recounting of last year’s election looks to be Huon Valley councillor Rosalie Woodruff.

• Labor has preselected Mike Kelly to attempt to recover the seat of Eden-Monaro which he narrowly lost to Liberal candidate Peter Hendy by a margin of 4.8% in 2013, a result that retained the seat’s bellwether status going back to 1972.

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.

2,436 comments on “BludgerTrack: 51.7-48.3 to Labor”

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  1. ON Australia’s uniquely stupid education system.

    Other countries are funny: they use education to try to maximise national skills and growth.

    We set our children in a bizarre competition for resources with each other, choosing the utterly unmeritocratic measure of parental income, which says zero about the character or capacities of the child in question.

    And you cant even debate this asinine policy in this country without being shouted down by a mix of nasty opportunists, and a subset of well-meaning but totally deluded parents.

    [Rather than take the pressure off the public system, private schools do the exact opposite…

    What’s rarely discussed is how uniquely self-sabotaging Australian education policy has become. “Obnoxious” is the term Melbourne University Professor Richard Teese, an expert in school systems, uses. “There’s no other system like it,” he told me this week. Teese contrasts Australia’s system of education funding to those in countries such as France, Spain and Belgium. In these countries, he says, Catholic schools get public funds – but with strings attached. These schools cannot charge fees and their doors must be open to everyone. No cherry-picking allowed.

    But the bankrupt propaganda of the private school lobby does them no harm. Even as Australia’s education ranking slides internationally, even as our Asian trading partners – with their generously resourced public education systems – overtake us, even as the “clever country” grows dimmer by the day, our politicians feed the hand that bites them. ]

  2. [I actually fell asleep watching Struggle Street, only to wake up in the middle of some German reality TV show which looked like a fully naked, beachside version of the Bachelor except with two women competing for the guy.]

    I think it was called Adam And His Two Eves. I first thought it was Dutch, what with all the gutteral, semi-expectorative sounds eminating from everyone’s mouths during its tedious hour. But in the end I decided it was Danish, or maybe Swedish. The Swedes DO stuff in the nuddy, don’t they?

    I watched it wide-eyed… purely from the point of view of critical media analysis, that is, given my theory that politics and much of life in Australia is being run as a Reality TV show – Truman, come on down!

    What got me was that the guy was such a prat, as were the hosts.

    Then again, if I was alone on a desert island with two attractive naked ladies who had to do whatever stupid thing I ordered them to do (up to certain limits, that is, nothing too sticky going on here) I’d probably act like a prat, too.

    I was terribly worried about sunburn, too. They were all as red as lobsters by the end of a couple of days cavorting about a tropical beach. I think Jorn (for that was Prat Boy’s name) would have more cause to regret his participation in the show than his eventual rejection by his chosen Eve.

    The lady he finally chose, Chantal – because she was “sporty” and “a winner” – ultimately rejected poor Jorn. When they all got their daks back on at the resort, she decided he was “nice boy”, but no more than that, i.e. no funny business was about to ensue. He could put his dangly bits back in his jockettes. Jorn had forgiven Chantal for dabbling in lesbianism at an earlier stage of her life (he didn’t like the idea of having to watch out not only for male rivals, but female ones as well), but it didn’t cut the mustard with her enough for her to start up a species with him.

    Prat Boy Jorn was left stranded, with an unopened bottle of champers in his hand, looking glum… a mighty fall from the day before’s preening “Adam”, setting tasks, enduring mental anguish as to who he would choose to be his “Eve”, making much of his one and only opportunity to set a course for the rest of human history.

    It could have been worse. She could have liked him. Sheesh, where would humanity have been then? Abbott would have been the least of our problems.

  3. The system used in the NSW Legislative Council (Upper House) would work for the Senate. The chamber has 42 members with 8 year terms, half of which come up for election ever 4 years. It has ‘above the line’ and ‘below the line’ voting.

    Group voting tickets were abolished from 2003. Voters now have a choice of numbering groups above the line or numbering individual candidates below the line (as long as they number at least 15). Parties can no longer direct preferences of above the line votes.

  4. Ray

    I was in the UK in the immediate aftermath of the 2010 election and saw a bit of the wall to wall coverage as the negotiations between the parties went on.

    I was amazed at the ability of TV presenters and reporters to talk uninterrupted for hours while they didn’t really know what it was going on behind the scenes. but they still could offer an opinion on what it meant

  5. “”The change will push up the price of a Netflix subscription by 10 per cent””

    Supporting Murdoch and Foxtel I see!.

  6. [47
    lefty e]

    The best thing to do with the Senate is to count the votes from the top down rather than the bottom up. Candidates that have secured more than a quota would have their surplus votes distributed “down” their lists. This would mostly mean that candidates or parties able to secure the largest share of primary or group votes would win before candidates from micro parties received any preferences from each other. For the most part, micro votes would be scattered among each other and never concentrated enough to reach a quota unless they were receiving top-down preferences from a major party.

    If the major parties were to preference each other or the Greens before the micros, the micros would almost never gain a quota.

  7. My tip on the UK election: Labour to govern, with SNP support on confidence.

    As Martin B pointed out to me this morning (correctly, I think) it will probably suit both Labour and the SNP that the latter has no Ministries.

  8. [lefty e
    Posted Thursday, May 7, 2015 at 9:53 am | PERMALINK
    My tip on the UK election: Labour to govern, with SNP support on confidence.

    As Martin B pointed out to me this morning (correctly, I think) it will probably suit both Labour and the SNP that the latter has no Ministries.]


    If that IS the outcome do you think Miliband will be able to follow through on his promise to ‘castrate” Murdoch’s media empire in the UK?

    Also, if he does get the required legislation through the House of Commons is it likely to run into a road block in the Lords?

  9. Lefty e re education…..

    Makes me choc a block full of the angry pills.

    Any expense paid in a child’s education that doesn’t significantly improve educational outcomes should be taxed to the high heavens. The evidence is (I will search for link) that above a few thousand a year it makes no difference.

    All private schools should have a minimum %20 low socio economic scholarship intake.

    Ban inter private school only interactions in sports and arts.

    And for fun, private schooled representation in company executive and boards should match the percentage of private vs public school leavers.

  10. Bit of a laff that there are calls for JoHo to be replaced if the budget flops. More likely both JoHo and his boss will be for recycling to the back bench.

  11. Anther damningly spot-on quote form that article on our crap education funding system:

    [And the same message underpins private school scholarships; the idea that only the very gifted can attend such schools for free has the paradoxical logic of both validating the high fees and creating an illusion of meritocracy or superior moral worth.]

  12. imacca

    The leaks about Hockey’s hold on the job probably come straight from Abbott’s office.

    Part of the manouevering to ensure that Abbott is above the fray if it goes pear shaped as, on past record, it most probably will.

  13. Judging by the ‘In the papers’ segment on the ABC News this morning, the Daily Rupert in each capital is going full on to sell next week’s Federal Budget.

  14. I can’t for the life of me figure out how marriage equality would set back employment rights and entitlements for retail employees. Because that would be the only reason a union leader would speak so stridently on the issue, right?

    I was called intolerant yesterday for pointing out that intolerant religious old men still disproportionately influence Labor policy on key social issues.

    Apparently the latest tactic of those who are apologists for these out of step dinosaurs is to defend the rights of bigots by calling anyone who identifies them as bigots bigots.

  15. The news of Hockey’s imminent humiliation has me for one a little choked up. To this end I have penned to the tune of Poor Old Joe:

    the following:

    Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay
    Gone are the toils of budgets gone astray
    Gone from the House to a better land, I know
    I hear Scott Bucholz’s gentle calling, “Poor old Joe”
    I’m comin’, I’m comin’
    Though my head is bendin’ low
    I hear Tony Abbott’s gentle calling, “Poor old Joe”

    Why do I weep
    When my career is on the skids?
    Why do I sigh
    Spending time with Mel and kids?
    Grieving for forms
    I never really understood?

    I hear Scott Bucholz’s gentle
    Calling “Poor old Joe”.
    I’m comin’, I’m comin’
    Though my head is bendin’ low
    I hear those gentle voices calling, “Poor old Joe”

  16. I watched Struggle Street and cannot for the life me understand what the problem was.

    Some people are disadvantaged everywhere but those last night did not come across as whingers or of “a lower class” they appeared to me to be just getting on with their lives as best they could.

    Go into any Housing Commission area in Sydney particularly in the inner city and you will find many people living the same life as those who were in Mount Druitt last night.

    Ask Albo about Camperdown or me about Glebe Balmain Ultimo and Rozelle and surrounds.

    I could relate to a lot of those residents and the lives they live.

    We should all want to be sure they are looked after and have a decent life.

  17. “@ABCNews24: Abbott: I’ve spoken to Joe Hockey about this story, it’s a complete invention.
    #Budget2015 #auspol”

  18. Isn’t a second reshuffle a sign of bad goverment?

    Also back in time to 2014:

    ““This is a very strong team. It is a very good team and I would be happy to go with this team to the election.””

    Not much of a strong team for a second reshuffle?

  19. [ I was called intolerant yesterday for pointing out that intolerant religious old men still disproportionately influence Labor policy on key social issues. ]

    And quite correctly. You still insist on throwing in the term “religious” here, as if people have no right to have social views that are informed by their religious belief. Even if they are intolerant, that does not excuse yours.

  20. P1

    Why is it De Bruyn is saying such things if its not his religious views?

    Unless you think saying religious views about one person is relevant to all Catholics.

    I know this is not so as proven by another Labor Catholic Kristine Kenneally.

    So why the objection to the words religious views?

  21. [ So why the objection to the words religious views? ]

    Why does it matter to you if these are religious views or not?

  22. [Why is it De Bruyn is saying such things if its not his religious views?]

    A throw back clown and not anything to do with religion.

  23. P1

    You are the one raising objections.

    As to why religious views matter you have not been paying attention to the history of religions persecuting gay people. To this day the Catholic Church still insists on calling gay people a sin.

  24. [ You are the one raising objections. ]

    No, merely pointing out the whiff of hypocrisy when intolerant people rail against intolerance in others.

  25. guytaur

    Yes De Bruyn is a right wing Catholic nut job but I suspect it is more than a religious belief that stirs him on.

    It would be more likely to be that he is still living in a world devoid of compassion or understanding that the world has changed and he hasn’t.

  26. [ Thats your failing not mine ]

    So it’s my fault that your arguments are illogical?

    I think you just proved my point.

  27. MTBW

    I agree with you. Many Catholics view gay people well. They pay as much attention to the official teaching now as they do to the one about condoms.

    The terrorists that kill in the name of Islam do it in a religious belief too. Nowhere near the real religion and the people who follow that faith.

  28. MTBW

    Dunno what happened there

    De Bruyn is a hangover from the era when men ruled the world and women were at home in the kitchen and no gays were allowed.

    The fact that he also happens to be catholic is probably a coincidence

  29. [ I know my argument is logical ]

    Sorry, I cannot even fathom what your argument actually is, since you have moved a long way from the original topic, which was the hypocrisy of one intolerant person railing about the intolerance of others.

    But I’m prepared to believe your argument makes perfect sense inside your own head.

  30. P1


    The intolerance is all yours. Patrick Bateman outlined why it was politically bad for the party. Not only that but also against the Labor Party policy platform.

    Your intolerance shows when you object because PB said religious views are the reason for it.

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