Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor

A budget-eve poll finds the Coalition gaining slightly on voting intention, and Tony Abbott recovering the lead as preferred prime minister.

The Essential Research fortnightly rolling average looks like the only poll we’ll be getting this week, as its rivals hold their fire ahead of tonight’s budget. The poll has ticked a point to the Coalition on two-party preferred, bringing Labor’s lead down to 52-48. The primary votes are 41% for the Coalition (up one), 39% for Labor (steady), 11% for the Greens (up one) and 1% for Palmer United (steady). Also featured are monthly leadership ratings, which find Tony Abbott continuing to improve – he’s up three on approval to 36%, and down four on disapproval to 54%. Bill Shorten’s ratings are stable, with approval and disapproval both down a point to 32% and 41%, which on recent form would be a relief for him. However, Abbott now leads as preferred prime minister, Shorten’s 35-32 a lead of month ago having reversed.

As Joe Hockey prepares to bring down his second budget, the poll shows that his ratings too are slightly less bad than they were, with approval on 30% and disapproval on 48%, respectively up three and down three compared with the last time the question was asked in March. He is now clearly ahead of Chris Bowen on trust to handle the economy, his 26-25 lead opening to 30-22, with “don’t know” still running extremely high. The poll also finds support for the government’s tighter assets test on pensions – 56% in favour, with 30% opposed.

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.

1,175 comments on “Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor”

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  1. Re Just Me @1150: as they say in the classics, WTF? Fascist thinking is just below the surface in many right-wingers, even those as presentable as David Cameron.

    In Australia, the penchant for authoritarianism on the part of our Prime Minister and his Government, including attacking and intimidating opponents, secrecy and a ‘flexible’ attitude towards the truth, is a big worry.

  2. [The Netflix tax is an extension of the GST coverage to apply to cross-border digital sales. These were not previously subject to GST.]

    Yep a few more definitions including one of ‘Australian Consumer’, some work around the Indirect Tax Zone and room for some regulation for a registration that isn’t a full registration.

  3. Roger Miller@1147

    The “Netflix Tax” is not really a new tax, it is just the GST being collected on expenditure that is almost impossible to monitor and regulate, that the tax office has not been able to do anything about.

    Bullshit like “Netflix Tax” detracts from the real argument.

  4. Who said Syriza wouldn’t do austerity?

    [May 13 Greece’s central government recorded a primary budget surplus of 2.16 billion euros in the first four months of the year, versus a targeted small budget deficit due to a slash in spending, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

    The central government surplus excludes the budgets of social security organisations and local administrations and is different from the figure monitored by Greece’s EU/IMF lenders, but indicates the state of the cash-strapped country’s finances.

    The government had targeted a primary budget deficit of 287 million euros for the four-month period, data from the ministry showed.

    Tax revenues came in at 14.29 billion euros, broadly in line with a target of 14.28 billion euros.

    Public spending stood at 16.32 billion euros, 2 billion euros below target as the cash-strapped country cuts back on expenditure to meet its obligations.]

    If this is correct, then maybe Greece does not need a new deal…and capital exodus will recede, the economy will return to growth…maybe…

  5. In an article by Mitchell Neems in the Business Spectator yesterday the writer described the 1.5% tax deduction to companies turning over less than $2M and then stated the following:

    “Unincorporated businesses, such as sole traders, partnerships and trusts will also benefit through a 5% discount to companies with an annual turnover of less than $2M. ….. The discount will be capped at $1000 per individual in an income year and will be delivered as a tax credit in the companies tax return.”

    Sole traders, partnerships and trusts are not incorporated entities. They are not companies in any legal sense. How can they therefore benefit from a 5% discount to “companies”? A “discount” on what?

    Why is the “discount” to be paid to “the company”? What company? What has a company’s tax returns got to do with income entitlements of a sole trader, partnership or trust?

    If, charitably, the writer meant “business” where he wrote
    “company”, why did he refer to the entity’s tax returns? Sole traders, partnerships and trusts are, to the best of my knowledge, taxed on the basis of the trader’s, beneficiary’s or partner’s individual tax liability, not as a separate entity.

    I am still totally confused as to what this is all about. I suspect that the Government and its media happy clappers are also.

  6. Hello, fellow midnight posters!

    I’ve been regularly following this site since July 2013; and in those 2-ish years here, I’ve never seen such a fascinating online community that is Poll Bludger.

    I’ve decided to make an account because there’s been something bugging me about this so-called ‘Netflix Tax’. As to my knowledge, this is basically a policy which applies G.S.T. (i.e. 10% on a price of goods) on online purchases sites such as eBay, and Amazon; and digital distribution centres such as iTunes. (Although apparently iTunes already charges G.S.T. on its services.)

    My questions:
    Will there any legislature the Government has that either discourages or compensates people if online purchasing sites or digital distribution centres try to charge extra for this ‘tax’? (Like how certain companies tried to push prices up by trying to blame it on the carbon tax.)

    Also, will the A.C.C.C. have the power to punish online companies that try to charge extra, even if they are located overseas? (Assuming that there isn’t any legislative that prevents online companies to charge more for their goods.)

    I’ve tried to find more information on this, but so far I’m coming up empty. Perhaps a more tenacious (and more tech-savvy) poster can answer my questions?

  7. I don’t think that the “Netflix Tax” is an extension of the GST. I don’t see how Netflix doesn’t get covered by the current GST legislation. The ATO has no way to know if a supply is made and so has no way to tax it, but that doesn’t mean that a Taxable Supply hasn’t been made.


    Small steps really in an economy that needs to propel investment in the domestic sector. This should be expanded to include larger firms, a much higher cap and a secure 3-5 year time frame to enable firms to plan for future capital expansion.

    More powerful incentives should also be created for the formation of human and intellectual capital – skills acquisition, business-linked R&D at technical and tertiary levels.

    We should also investigate ways to create an exchange in rights to the formation of such capital – say, by having the Government issue exchangeable certificates to businesses with turnover of less than $20 million. These certificates could be used to purchase at a discount “human and intellectual capital” – training, R&D projects, technology transfer – or they could be traded between firms to enable more innovative firms to acquire certificates from the less innovative. This would allow a “market for the capital of innovation” to develop.

  9. This economy needs to change.

    We must – absolutely must – adopt policies that will favour expansion of real per capita income, absorb our under-utilised resources and add to our productive capabilities.

    We must invest.

  10. [bemused

    Posted Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink


    It is beyond tricky with words, it is just dumb untruth.

    You’re catching on. 😉

    Basic English, verbs and associated nouns. Taught in beginners classes in any decent language course.

    A person who acts, is an actor.
    A person who runs, is a runner.
    A person who robs, is a robber.
    A person who tells lies, is a liar.
    A person who rorts, is a rorter.
    A person who commits fraud, is a fraudster.

    No word games, no semantics, just simple beginners English.


  11. I don’t see how digital downloads are not exempt from GST under current legislation.
    Gizmodo says this.
    [Under the current law, digital products and services imported by consumers are not subject to the GST.]
    But quotes Joe saying this
    [It is unfair that overseas based businesses selling services into Australia may not charge GST…]
    Are services not subject to GST because they are exempt or because there is no way to collect the GST?

  12. Here’s a serious flaw in the GSt being applied to digital downloads:
    Someone overseas publishes an ebook but doesn’t release it through Amazon or any of the digital platforms. In other words they ‘go it alone”.

    How the hell are the ATO going to collect GST from this guy or gal?

  13. The GST legislation has some serious holes you could drive a truck through. This government is trying to fix a Niagera sized leak with a bandaid.

  14. Also, calling it the “netflix tax” is misleading as Netflix has now officially launched in Australia. Surely they’re collecting GST from their Australian subscribers anyway.

    And as others have pointed out, physical goods valued at less than $1k remain exempt from GST, but a digital download which can sometimes cost less than $1, so the vendor will have to add on sometimes less than 10c to the cost of the item.

    The LNP have never understood the digital economy.

  15. 1166

    As long as they do less than $60,00 (or thereabouts) trade per annum with Australia, there is no problem. Larger than that and GST has to be collected but for small online intangibles companies, this is hard to enforce.

  16. 1168

    My understanding is that online retailers of goods that sell $60,000 (or something like that) of goods to Australians are required by Australian law to collect GST. The $1,000 limit for postal parcels (which technically includes the postage and packaging) is only for GST collection by customs at the point of import.

  17. If I buy software from overseas, I can get it as a download or as a physical object. If I get it as a download is it subject to the Netflix Tax, when the price is below the GST overseas threshold? The physical object has the same function but is not subject to GST.
    Can netflix send you a “Key” in the mail that cost the same as a years subscription? you’re not paying them a subsription, you are buying a “Key”.
    I don’t think they have thought this one through.

  18. Ttfab
    Its hard to enforce for large online tangibles companies. I’ve bought a few things through Amazon and I don’t think they have ever charged me GST. I would be very surprised if they sold less than $60,000 of goods to Australia.

  19. Listening to Joe Hockey on ABC radio this morning it struck me that the nation is like a battered wife under their government.

    I heard apologies for getting the last Budget wrong, but at the same time I heard that, if we were honest, we’s have to admit we deserved it.

    I heard Hockey blame everyone but himself. There was Labor, there were rorting mothers, old people, dodgy figures from an allegedly fellow-travelling Treasury, and evil foreign companies who dodged their tax. But mostly Labor. You got the idea that it was almost inevitable that we had to be disciplined.

    Michael Brissenden didn’t ask Joe why, if they got last year’s Budget so wrong, they were bragging all throughout their period in opposition that they were ready to govern at a heartbeat’s notice. These were the grownups, according to themselves, yet they buggered the first 18 months so badly they are now admitting they were learning on the job.

    Joe was back to his usual cocksure self, blithely lying about everything, explaining away the waste and mismanagement of the economy as if it was all part of some master plan he had thought up himself. The idea of “Bait and Switch” crossed my mind. Gee, we dodged a bullet when we ducked the last Budget. We’d better cop this one sweet or things will go badly for us.

    Gerry Harvey is pretty happy. He reckons this Budget could have been written by a committee of retailers. There’s probably more truth in that than Gerry is prepared to concede. And I don’t mind stimulus action in a crisis of confidence. God knows we need some optimism.

    But why did Hockey himself pooh-pooh stimulus so comprehensively when we had a real crisis on our hands, the GFC, back in 2008-2009? He knew that if the government panicked and told the unvarnished truth about how close we were to the edge, that would have been enough to take us over it.

    Instead Labor worked as quietly as they could, within reason, shoring up the banks, getting cash into the hands of consumers (it didn’t really matter whether it went on smokes, booze and pokies, or batts or school halls later… as long as it got out there). The key was to look like there was a plan, and that the government was sure the plan would work. And speed. They had to do it quickly before the nation had a chance to contemplate just how bad things were. There were no grave announcements that the country was broke, or about to go into recession from Labor. Why should they bother? Joe and his pals, always looking for trash to talk, performed that function.

    Now that “Have-a-go” Joe is doing it himself, splurging money on tradies and small businesses at least, profligacy and debt is suddenly a Good Thing. Sure, he’s borrowing the money the do it, but he can blame Labor for that. And isn’t it lucky that the debt ceiling – long the boogey-man inside Joe’s head while Labor was in power, was changed to “unlimited”, so he could spend the dollars he borrowed on baubles?

    You get tired of journos not asking the right questions. They don’t have to be a Leigh Sales-style rant, or a shouting match. Just a few quiet questions outside the formula envelope of government spin would be nice. Brissenden tried a few tame, routine gotchas, but gotchas never corner Joe Hockey. He just lies his way out of any trouble with that insouciant tone of voice he puts on. And if you keep giving him trouble, he has that nasty smile in reserve. The Tories really DO shoot prisoners, and journos know it.

    So the battered wife, Australia, has to knuckle down and keep up with the ironing, while the government uses the nation as an experimental laboratory for its wacky ideas. It expects its dinner on the table every night at 6pm. It expects forgiveness and forgetfulness. And it reserves the right to turn nasty again if we don’t comply with instructions. Worst of all, it expects thanks that they didn’t go in as hard as they could have if they really wanted to do some harm. The cycle is endless, and relentless.

    The calibre-rich women of six months ago are now pariahs, double-dipping and rorting to their heart’s content. The herded 2GB obsessed pensioners who voted for Joe et al are too old. That’ll have to stop. Industry… manufacturing… who needs them? Alternative Energy is just a Lefty vehicle for world government. Even wind farms are ugly and dangerous, according to Joe. Education is a privilege, not a right. Schools and universities are only there for networking, aren’t they? Learning is for losers. As for the rest… whatever Rupert and the IPA said. They’re practically the same thing anyway.

    The box of chocolates Joe has brought home to the little lady, to soothe the bruises and the fear, will last about 6 months. Tradies can only buy so many sets of mag wheels for their souped-up utes, after all. Meanwhile we can put up with a sub-standard internet, a contraction in education and health spending, the death of the alternative energy industry, and tightening pensions.

    Joe’s fake contrition and easy denials should be enough to get us over the election hump.

    Then they can start f*cking us again, and it’ll be just like old times.

  20. From previous thread:


    Re Just Me @1150: as they say in the classics, WTF? Fascist thinking is just below the surface in many right-wingers, even those as presentable as David Cameron.

    In Australia, the penchant for authoritarianism on the part of our Prime Minister and his Government, including attacking and intimidating opponents, secrecy and a ‘flexible’ attitude towards the truth, is a big worry.

    Cameron’s urbane socially progressive act never fooled me. He has the same mad authoritarian fascistic divinely anointed gleam in his eye as Abbott.

    I have strong connections into the UK disability sector, and I can tell you there is a real reign of terror unfolding over there, now that Cameron and his violent goons have been unleashed from the constraints of minority coalition government.

    The last 5 years were pretty savage, with suicides all over the place, but now it is going to be full on hell.

    And these malignant arseholes think they are the pinnacle of society, the best of the human race.


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