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. On the Windows security front, I actually pay for a five computer AVG licence for Windows computers I’m responsible for. They have a free version but the paid one is more capable. It doesn’t gobble huge amounts of resources, is very customisable and does everything security software needs to do.

    Having said that, my main computer (the one I’m typing on now) runs the Ubuntu flavour of Linux which is both inherently more secure than Windows and also much less of a target for virus writers because not as many people use it. Have occasionally done a virus scan but never found anything so don’t even have security software running apart from a basic firewall.

  2. Election now etc!

    Yes, we need Abbott to stay on to guarantee a LNP loss, so Im hoping these polls aren’t TOO shocking for the Fibs. :p

  3. MTBW


    Everyone wants transparency. Calls for transparency are singularly unremarkable and do not attract criticism.

    Your posts this morning were not about transparency. You were promoting an unjustified attack on Burke, echoing the MSM, and totally lacking substantiation. That’s why you received some some counter-commentary.

    You brought your grandfather politician into the discussion too as part of your argument. Was he the original light on the hill that Ted Mack copied?

    And as someone else alluded to this morning, were you actually suggesting that he didn’t claim whatever he was entitled to claim under the then rules?

    That’s all Burke did, yet yesterday and today you are up him for the rent over it.

  4. One of the few management fads that I experienced during my working life that actually changed my point of view was the poorly named “customer focus”.

    When boiled down to its essential point it just says: “GENUINELY take off your working hat and look at what you are doing from the reasonable point of view of a customer/client/voter(?) etc”. That is – make a real effort to place your self in the position of the people you are dealing with.

    When looked at this way I would say that ALL of:
    …a helicopter trip to Geelong
    …a week with the kids in Sydney over Christmas/New Year
    …a visit to Uluru with the family
    look like taking unfair advantage of a set of rules.

    On the other hand, taking the kids to see a parent sworn in as a minister or a spouse to an important community event where there was an expectation from others they would be present are eminently reasonable.

    It’s not hard to make the decision by applying a bit of common sense from the VOTER’S perspective, not the pollie’s. Our pollies are supposed to be great at relating to voters, so surely they should be able to accomplish such a basic task.

  5. Don

    [I am a teacher, that is my schtick. ]

    It’s a blog not a spelling test.

    As long as I can understand I don’t give a rats.

  6. ajm:

    If the rules allow MPs to take their family on holidays at taxpayer expense, then the rules definitely need to change. Ditto with travel in limousines and helicopters, rather than Comcars or taxis, and travelling to friends and colleagues weddings at taxpayer expense.

  7. CTar1

    I’m glad to hear you’re not bothered by spelling errors
    I’ve never been a good speller, it seems to have gotten worse with autocorrect ( or is it old age?)

  8. I’m not bothered by poor spelling either. Long’s I can understand what people are saying, who cares if there’s the odd error here and there? And I find some of the auto-correcting actually quite funny, esp for screen names. 😀

  9. sceptic

    [I’ve never been a good speller, it seems to have gotten worse with auto correct]

    I worked in a small group of people for some years where one person had a degree in English Literature.

    Excellent value.

    A steno sec.

  10. Niki Savva deserves credit for standing up to Bolt last week by defending Adam Goodes. Bolt was forced into an incoherent defence supported by John Roskam but Savva continued to insist that Goodes had said and done nothing wrong and the booing against Goodes is dangerous.

    Savva also said Goodes and the 13 year old girl sorted it all out quickly, she apologised, he accepted and there is no need for it all to be blown up in the way it is now. Bolt interrupted saying they had run out of time and then continued to argue. Typical.

    Savva still sends me to sleep when she talks but she did the right thing last week.

  11. I’m not a good speller either but the funny thing is that when I read what I’ve written I can see my spelling mistakes look wrong.
    Also not very goo d with punctuation.

  12. Warren

    [Also not very goo d with punctuation.]

    Same here so the utility of the university educated steno/ typist.

    Things in one ear and out the other. more interested in lunch plans!

  13. Phil Vee:

    Savva has had some sensible things to say in recent months, in particular about Abbott.

    I was unaware of her defence of Goodes, but I agree with you: good on her for standing up to the racist bullying of him.

  14. According to Shanahan on the radio this morning, Abbott will be unveiling a new strategy this week. The new 3 word slogan will be “Jobs and growth” and the aim is to shift the focus back to the economy, keep it simple and don’t be distracted by outside events like Bronnie’s chopper. Evidently this strategy was a winner in the UK and NZ.

    Without skipping a beat Shanahan went on the explain the first step is concentrate on Shorten’s TURC appearance because this is the first time the Libs can do it in Parliament. According to Dennis this is a clever strategy although he had no idea what will back it up.

    The Project on Friday night had a laugh about the repetition of the 3 word “jobs and growth” slogan by the PM. It sounded dumb like a half finished sentence. Jobs and growth and ????. What comes after? What is the plan? What is next? This is not a clever 3 word slogan. It demands and answer and the Libs don’t have one.

  15. ‘fess

    [SMH is reporting via Facebook that Clarke has announced his retirement.]

    A little premature. He’s just said he’ll discuss his future when this test is done.

  16. [Nottingham: The first casualty of Australia’s disastrous Ashes campaign in England has emerged, with beleaguered captain Michael Clarke to retire at the end of the series.

    Four days after vowing “I’m not retiring”, irrespective of the outcome of the Trent Bridge Test, the 34-year-old will confirm his departure in the aftermath of a fourth consecutive series in England. The hosts need just three wickets to secure a series win in Nottingham on Saturday.

    It is believed his decision was triggered by his belief he was physically and mentally exhausted after a Test career spanning almost 11 years – half of them as captain – and that it’s the right time for him to depart.]

    Read more:
    Follow us: @theage on Twitter | theageAustralia on Facebook

  17. WordPress just ate my post again(boo) yay Niki Sava re AG. Re spelling – I spell well with a pen and excelled in the subject English at shcool but alas am shit at it online and in emails. Boo to those who choose to nit pick about typos instead of understanding the message I say.

  18. TPP still alive and kicking:

    John Kerry ‏@JohnKerry Aug 6

    Good talking w/ @JulieBishopMP on #TPP, countering ISIL, other issues. #Australia a great partner of the US.

  19. From the ABC…

    Ashes 2015: England defeats Australia by 78 runs to clinch series victory at Trent Bridge…

    I think what they meant to say was Outright win to England?

  20. Sceptic

    All tests which are actually won are outright wins.

    This was a win by an innings and 78 runs, not merely an outright win. Here the Poms only batted once, n Aussies twice for all out both times.

    Any win “by an innings” is a slaughter.

  21. Ctar1

    Incorrect spelling is one thing.

    Incorrect word is another thing altogether.

    Unless of course the effing spell checker actually auto changed the word, which can trap us all.

  22. [Morrison would make Abbott look like a moderate.]

    absolutely – abbott does it because he craves approval from the rich and powerful far right, see political advantage in it, and enjoys a stoush with the left (he likes being politically incorrect).

    Morrison personifies the hard and nasty right – he’d be at home in the US republican tea party right and whereas abbott does it for some sense of perverted ‘fun’, morrison gives the sense is driven by hatred, anger and sense of being on a mission from god. I think it inevitable he will end up leader of the LNP and PM one day unless labor find a better leader.

    how’s this for a hypothetical. the libs move on abbott within the next few weeks. whomever they install as leader gets a poll boost simply by not being abbott. he or she immediately declares they need to go to the polls to let the people decide. shorten cannot be dumped because of the Rudd rules. LNP win the election. I can see this happening – if the libs went to turnbull or bishop they’d win comfortably. I think they might also win with morrison, and he looks as though he’s getting ready to move on abbott.

    the main issue will be whether they knife abbott or send howard to tell him to stand aside. I still think margie or on of ‘the girls’ will be scripted to develop some health issue that necessitates abbott standing aside ‘having done most of what i set out to do’. he’ll score a well paid ‘journalism’ gig with murdoch as part of his package. one thing is clear – he is toast. I hope he doesn’t go quietly.

  23. How refreshing it would have been if Burke’s thought process had been … “I know I can claim my Uluru trip for my family under the rules but it feels wrong to claim that from the Australian tax payers given my affinity with the underprivileged people in this country, so I will just do what most hard workers in Australia do and pay for my family holiday myself”. .. “I will then be able to publicise this action to show the integrity I have and why I deserve to be in a leadership position in this nation” … I vote Greens because I want more pressure exerted on the 2 majors. More competition hopefully leads to better outcomes and change in the political structures especially candidate selection processes that are giving the current poor outcome …

  24. [ Sustainable future
    Posted Saturday, August 8, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    how’s this for a hypothetical. ]

    It’s Hypothetical.

    Put a prediction to it and its still crystal ball gazing.

    Would be nice to see abbott fall, but better for him to remain.

    But who would believe any of them ?

  25. BTW – Those wharfies are slow off the mark.

    The first thing they should have done is point at abbott and scream “Work Choices” “Election” etc.

    Bloody tories at it again.

  26. IcanCu

    What you suggest is unrealistic. Hence you vote for the Loons.

    Only the very rich Trd Mack has behaved in the way you describe, and Clive also claims that he funds his own transport. Perhaps 2 out of a couple of thousand MPs since 2001.

    While ever the rules say the family is entitled to some travel, then that’s the way it is.

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