BludgerTrack: 52.4-47.6 to Labor

Ongoing government troubles prompt a third move in Labor’s favour in successive weeks on the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, as preselection jockeying gets started in the seats of Mackellar and Canning.

The BludgerTrack poll aggregate has, almost, moved half a point in Labor’s favour for the third week in a row, the exact two-party movement on this occasion being 0.4%. This was the result of two new polls this week, one from ReachTEL and the other the regular weekly Essential Research result. Newspoll was silent this week because, social media conspiracy theorising aside, it’s the practice of The Australian to have its polls coincide with the resumption of parliament, which means next week rather than this week. Whereas last week’s movement caused four seats to tip Labor’s way on the projection, this time there is but the one, that being in Victoria.

Nothing new this week on leadership ratings, but a fair bit to report on preselection:

• The future of the plum Liberal seat of Mackellar on Sydney’s northern beaches is a hot topic following Bronwyn Bishop’s resignation as Speaker. The West Australian reports that Bishop is “under internal pressure to quit parliament immediately”, but the 72-year-old Bishop says she’s set on another term. However, the crude fact that her pension will erode the longer she is on a back-bench salary makes this a doubtful proposition. It had long been thought that her successor might be her chief-of-staff, Damien Jones, who is a member of the party’s state executive, husband of state upper house MP Natasha Maclaren-Jones and, according to James Robertson of the Sydney Morning Herald, Bishop’s “local numbers man”. However, The Australian (paywalled) reports that Jones is “seen as ‘damaged goods’”, since it was he who booked Bishop’s infamous $5227 helicopter flight to Geelong – a view expressed by Tom Switzer, a former opinion page editor of The Australian and past preselection aspirant who is ruling himself out on this occasion. Others who have been speculatively named without ruling themselves out include Julian Leeser, a former Menzies Research Centre head currently working in government relations at the Australian Catholic University; Walter Villatora, chairman of the party’s Warringah federal electoral council and a campaigner for democratising preselection reforms favoured by the religious Right faction; John Ruddick, an ally of Villatora’s in the reform push; Greg Burton, a barrister; and Jim Longley, state member for Pittwater from 1986 to 1996 and a minister in John Fahey’s government from 1992 to 1995, who is now chief executive of the ageing, disability and home care division of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services. Longley challenged Bishop for preselection ahead of the last election.

The West Australian reports that possible Liberal preselection candidates for the Canning by-election include “Mandurah mayor Marina Vergone, Murdoch University law lecturer Lorraine Finlay and party figure Nathan Gudgeon”. Another mentioned in the local press is Steve Marshall, a 57-year-old former earthworks businessman who says he will run as an independent if he doesn’t win, which doesn’t sound like a winning pitch to these ears. The West Australian also reports that Labor’s preselection candidates will include Matt Keogh, a commercial lawyer, president of the Law Society of WA, and member of the Right faction.

• Nationals veteran Bruce Scott has confirmed the long-held expectation that he will retire at the next election, making available his sprawling and safely conservative Queensland seat of Maranoa. Scott has been in the news of late due to his role as deputy Speaker – Phillip Coorey of the Financial Review reports that he hoped to replace Bishop, but the Liberals will not have the job go to a National. According to Penelope Arthur of Queensland Country Life, potential preselection contenders in Maranoa include David Littleproud, a Toowoomba bank manager; Robert Loughnan, mayor of Maranoa; and Cameron O’Neil, a Maranoa councillor. Cameron Atfield of Fairfax reports that state Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg has ruled himself out, despite being “subject of pressure from some quarters of the Liberal National Party to run for a federal seat”. Labor’s preselected candidate is Dave Kerrigan, a rural health worker.

• The ABC reports that Steve Georganas will face opposition from “long-time Labor member” Delia Brennan in his bid for Labor preselection in the Adelaide seat of Hindmarsh, which he lost to Liberal candidate Matt Williams after nine years as member in 2013. However, The Australian reports that Georganas is “widely expected to win easily”. Mark Ward, a school teacher and candidate for the state by-election for Davenport in January, has won preselection to run against Liberal incumbent and Speakership aspirant Andrew Southcott in Boothby. Labor’s preselection process for Christopher Pyne’s seat of Sturt is ongoing.

• My paywalled Crikey contributions over the past fortnight or so concern Labor’s position on boat turnbacks and the contrast presented with the Labour Party in Britain, which appears poised to choose hard left ideologue Jeremy Corbyn as its new leader; the Tasmanian Greens preselection process that will shortly see former federal party leader Christine Milne succeeded by former state party leader Nick McKim; a Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry that appears to have been established due to Coalition concerns about emergency services union activists campaigning for Labor while wearing work-related apparel; the state of play in Western Australian state politics as the parties grapple with the implications of a just-announced redistribution; and, in yesterday’s edition, the coming prime ministership of Nick Xenophon.

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.

1,276 comments on “BludgerTrack: 52.4-47.6 to Labor”

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  1. Another week of poor polls, poor administration, poor leadership and popular resentment of what is unquestionably the worst Government in the history of the Federation.

  2. Labor’s favour not failure ! Freudian slip, William?
    This poll position is perfect for ALP as its set and keeps Abbott there. Although I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s better for the country for him to be gone now. Doing so much damage. And MSM still covering for him as much as they can. Witness the SA coverage

  3. Morning all. Briefly you left out the poor economic news. The ABS trade figures released this week included a revision to show that the foreign trade deficit in April was the worst on record i.e. Worst in the past 45 years! You can be forgiven for not mentioning it, because after two days Hockey is still in hiding and has not said a word about it. Steady as she sinks from Team Liberal.

  4. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Kathy Jackson gets probed again!
    Judith Ireland writes that the government has no evidence that a four week wait for the dole will have any effect on keeping young people in employment. But when HAS this mob looked to evidence to inform policy?
    Mark Kenny is on to Abbott as he tells us why he won’t criticise Labor MPs’ travel claims.
    This is an interesting proposition to change superannuation policy.
    This religious professor says that traditional beliefs are not being considered in the marriage equality debate and that opposing change on the basis of deeply held beliefs is not bigotry. I ask what then is it if a person of deeply held beliefs sets out to deny others without such beliefs to prosecute change?
    “View from the Street” tells us how a lizard has defeated a mining giant. He also asks whether Abbott is our own Biddy McMahon.
    Mark Kenny goes into details of how Adani and the government cut corners – and got sprung.
    Michelle Grattan asks who’s afraid of Alan Jones as he goes toe to toe with Andrew Robb.
    This public health professor launches a well aimed attack on the nutters who have been opposing wind farms.
    Striking the balance between free speech and hateful speech. A good discussion.,8024

  5. Rudd’s exclusive for “The Australian”

    [Factional rule killing ALP: Rudd
    Kevin Rudd has blasted Labor’s factional warlords and union ­bosses for refusing to cede power to rank-and-file members at last month’s national conference, warning that if the party does not democratise, then its ability to win elections will]

  6. Section 2 . . .

    It’s heading for an industrial relations train wreck at the Department of Human Services.
    The people of Ballarat are upset over the shifting of George Pell’s appearance at the CA Royal Commission to Melbourne.
    Alan Moir joins Abbott on a job hunt for Bronny.

    David Pope pub tests Tony Burke’s trip up north.

    What is John Spooner saying here?

    John Shakespeare has Abbott riding to the “rescue” for coal.

    Ron Tandberg has Abbott lamenting Bronny’s departure.

    Mark Knight reckons Dan Andrews is boring.

    David Rowe seems to be suggesting that Greg Hunt may have found a lizard of convenience.

  7. Labor weak on both environmental action and economics- again. This guy must be taking his cue from Martin Digitup-Weasel Ferguson:

    [..on Wednesday, Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham continued to praise the project.
    “We are extremely disappointed that there has been this delay to Adani in the Galilee Basin,”
    “Jobs are so important to the people of Queensland and Adani will bring jobs to a very needed area of Queensland, central Queensland and we look forward to those jobs being produced.”]

    This gung ho fool of a Mining Minister makes a statement like this, even after Qld Governments Treasury expressed “serious concerns” about financial viability, let alone the vast environmental impact.

  8. From last thread, Z:
    [Unfortunately, numbers suggest that Mirabella will win, because the Nats will bleed votes from McGowan and send them back to the Libs via preferences.]

    I don’t mean to disrespect your local knowledge of the electorate, but I again point out that figures elsewhere show that in 3(or 4) cornered contests, Nats votes in general leak at a considerably higher rate than you project. I have no reason to think this wouldn’t happen to Mirabella, and every reason to think it would.

  9. Trog

    Greg Hunt has also been lying about the Adani court defeat. He said it was a minor “technical error” (by him?) that could be quickly corrected. How does he know this?? No reasons for the judgement have been published. For all we know the judge could have torn the Adani case to shreds.

    Here is the Federal Court decision in full:
    1. The decision under review dated 24 July 2014 be set aside.
    2. There be no order as to costs.]

  10. also last thread, Lefty E:
    [horrible, but effective). Maybe Robb – though only on a good day.]

    I’d add Macfarlane on a good day too. Specifically one of the things I’d say about him is that he is one of the very few Lib ministers – including the ones you mention – who doesn’t constantly sound like he’s talking down to the electorate.

  11. Apparently Nick Xenephon was NOT suspended by Adelaide Uni for stuffing ballot boxes with doctored votes in student elections, when he was a Young Liberal.

    Glad we have cleared up that piece of Uni adminsitrivia. Although it looks like it cost exPMJG a pretty penny in page 3 retraction in the Daily TurdBurgler

  12. Trog

    Anthony Lyneham could hardly suppress his grin on the TV news last night.

    Labor is in the delicious position of being able to make noises of support to avoid any political downside on “opposing new jobs” while being pretty certain that the whole project is going to go down in a screaming heap and the debacle being laid at the feet of the Federal Government.

    Remember that one of Labor’s election commitments was NOT to pony up the 400M the LNP was offering to help the project along.

  13. Just on effective Coalition ministers, I’d add Cormann to the A team. Anyone who can call the leader of his opposing party “an economic girly man” has to go down in the pantheon of quotable sources.

    I also think Mitch Fifield is legit.

  14. From slashdot:

    Proving once again that the government has a form for everything, Buzz Aldrin has unveiled his Apollo 11 documentation on social media over the past few days, including a travel voucher detailing his expenses on his trip to the moon. The papers listed him as having been on a “work trip” from his home in Houston, Texas that had taken him to the moon and then back again with a total expenses claim of just $33.31. The report notes : “Government meals and quarters [were] furnished for all of the above dates.”

    (hmmmm, preview is working on my desktop again, for no good reason that I know of!)

  15. sprocket

    It’s hard for me, with my lefty bias, to separate the pollie from the policy. For example, one might say that Brough is effective, but I consider him also to be a … (can one use liar on PB?) and a bully.

  16. If the US had a standing patrol of AWACs over DG when MH 370 – and I doubt they would have – then the over-the-horizon reach is multiplied by squillions.

    They may have scrambled one if they thought an airplane was running amok.

  17. Morning all.

    Just saw this tweet from yesterday which totally cracked me up.

    [Peter Brent ‏@mumbletwits 17h17 hours ago
    Back when contending for leadership, Bronwyn used to say “governments should be poor and people should be rich”
    Now we know what she meant.]

  18. I doubt whether the skink/snake decision in and of itself would make a skerrick of difference to the Carmichael Mine going ahead.

    The Act says that the Minister must consider the evidence in relation to matters of National Environmental Significance. This includes the skink and the snake, both listed as vulnerable. I assume that this means that he cannot devolve considering the evidence to the Department. And that that was what the decision was about. The evidence will now need to be packaged for the Minister’s consideration.

    What might have made a difference was that the approval was granted in January and will not now be renewed until September.

    I believe that last month the Carmichael Project Team of 50 people was disbanded. This, plus the CBA stuff, is the indicator that finding investment backing is proving challenging.

    In the interim the US coal industry has seen a massive bankruptcy and a continuing plunge in coal prices while oil has remained very cheap.

    Those who may have invested in January would by now have extra evidence against.

    Oh… and one other thing: If this decision got knocked off on something that appears to have been standard operating practice, then a possible issue arises about all previous decisions that used the same practice.

  19. Boerwar

    The AWACs aircraft have a powerful but conventional radar. Flying high above ground, their horizon is much further away. However they still cannot detect beyond that horizon. Their detect range is about 650km for high flying objects. They can also fly a long way. So if they knew in advance where MH370 was going down they could fly to within 650km of it and detect the plane. But again, DG is more than 2000km from the search area, so not possible for an AWACs at DG to pick up MH370. See

  20. Trog

    The endangered species info was evidence presented in the hearing. There was also lots of other stuff about the mine impacts and viability. For example one of the EDO expert witnesses familiar with the coal industry tore Adani’s claims of job creation to shreds, exposing it as pure invention. I am looking forward to hearing what the judge says about that. Hunt is talking BS.

  21. According to the Oz, the story is that an attachment containing the evidence was left off the brief that went to the Minister for consideration.

    Since the physical evidence in the form of a file was not there, the Minister could not have considered it. And since he could not possibly have considered it, he was physically unable to carry out his responsibility under the Act to consider the evidence.

    This leaves two questions:

    Why is this going to take two months to fix? A cover brief and the missing attachment should do the trick.

    Secondly, why did Hunt bother defending the action?

  22. So this is why Hunt defended against the appeal:

    The appeal against the decision had two other bases:

    1. Whether he had adequately considered the carbon bomb environmental impacts of the Carmichael mine.
    2. Whether he had adequately, or at all, considered Adani’s poor international environmental record.

    If I am right, by signalling an acceptance of the skinks and lizards appeal, Hunt forestalled the carbon bomb and environmental record issues being heard in court.

  23. Actually the snakes and skinks issue came from the government itself which conceded the case before the conservation group’s court challenge was actually tested.

    The outstanding issue beyond the skinks and snakes is that of the long term impact of offshore burning the Adani coal on the Barrier Reef.

    (In other cases courts have been sympathetic to the argument circa AGW)

    So it would seen that this has a ways to go from a legal perspective.

  24. I am not across the status of the other incipient coal mines, but I suspect they represent a greater threat than Adani. Adani is futu.

  25. Poor SA, it’s not the funding, it’s the flu.

    [South Australia is in the grip of its worst flu season on record, forcing elective surgery to be cancelled as hospital admissions soar.

    The state government has activated a winter demand strategy for metropolitan hospitals, cancelling most elective surgery and moving some patients to nearby country hospitals to free up beds.]

  26. [Coles is testing in WA a new tactic in the supermarket giants’ tussle for the petrol dollar by offering 4¢-a-litre fuel discounts to RAC members.

    The 18-month trial starts today for more than 800,000 RAC members at Coles Express’ 74 service stations across the State.

    Until now, Coles and Woolworths petrol discounts at affiliated outlets have been largely restricted to customers with fuel dockets after spending more than $30 at their respective supermarkets.

    The RAC is the only motoring organisation to participate in such an offer.

    If the program is successful, Coles may roll it out nationally.]

  27. From an AFP sourced article in today’s OZ:

    [Australian authorities say they are confident the search for MH370 was being carried out in the right area and the plane would be found after Malaysia confirmed debris on an Indian Ocean island was from the missing flight.

    “(The La Reunion find) is consistent with all the work we’ve done so we’re confident that we’re looking in the right area and we’ll find the aircraft there,” Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, told ABC radio.

    But Dolan added that it was “too early to tell” what happened to the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet which disappeared 17 months ago, adding that “close examination (of the flaperon) is what’s necessary to access how much we can learn”.

  28. Martin B

    In the several three cornered contests I’ve observed here, basically you could have taken the Nats vote and added it straight to the Libs without bothering to count them.

    In 2001 in Indi: Libs 40, Nats 12, final result Libs 61.

    In 2006 in Benambra (part of Indi): Libs 39, Nats 18, final result Libs 58.

    McGowan won by a handful of votes last time. I don’t think she’s done enough to prove anything other than she isn’t Sophie Mirabella. I don’t know whether not being Sophie Mirabella is enough to hold the vote she has.

  29. Hi Charlie.
    Mum was transferred late last night and has had an “eventless” night. I’m heading off to see her on an hour or so.

  30. ..I would add that ‘thinking Nats’ – the kind who don’t just automatically follow HTVs – would have voted for McGowan last election. Their second preferences might come home to her, but she has so little room to play with that is unlikely to be enough.

    (I add again: I really really hope that I’m proved wrong. However, that’s on the basis of keeping Mirabella out rather than any more positive outcome).

  31. Abbott is in Geelong today to announce an Advanced Manufacturing centre to be built at Deakin University at a cost of 14 million dollars

  32. [Public broadcasters face new and possibly terminal challenges in modern democracy, Maurice Newman writes in The Australian, citing numerous scandals engulfing the BBC over the past three decades.

    As public broadcasters cater to narrowing audiences, increased funding would be hard to justify, especially when respectable private alternatives exist and technology is opening up even more opportunities to be informed, educated and entertained, Mr Newman says.]

    He’s missing the point about public broadcasters. But that isn’t surprising considering it’s Maurice Newman.

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