BludgerTrack: 51.5-48.5 to Coalition

The polling picture this week has been transformed by Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership coup, the effects of which are felt with little variation across all six states.

Five polls conducted since Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership putsch early last week have sung from the same song sheet by recording results of either 50-50 (ReachTEL and Essential Research) or 51-49 in favour of the Coalition (Newspoll and Galaxy), with the exception of a stray result from Morgan, which had it at 53.5-46.5 when using the equivalent two-party measures that assumes preferences flow as they did at the previous election. This results in a dramatic shift in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which has the Coalition in the lead for the first time since the very early days of the Abbott government. The BludgerTrack voting intention results shown in the tables on the sidebar are simply a weighted average of the five results after bias adjustment, rather than the usual trend calculation. There has not been a great deal of state-level variability in the Coalition surge, except to the extent that Queensland and South Australia have shifted a bit under 2% more than New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. On the seat projection, the Coalition is up nine seats in Queensland, seven in New South Wales, four apiece in Victoria and Western Australia, and two apiece in South Australia and Tasmania.

On leadership ratings, the only results on personal approval have came from Newspoll, which credited Malcolm Turnbull with a strong but not spectacular net rating of plus 18% – only slightly higher than where Tony Abbott was during his post-election honeymoon. However, Galaxy and Essential Research joined with Newspoll in publishing preferred prime minister results, which respectively recorded Turnbull’s lead over Bill Shorten at 31%, 36% and 34%. The change in atmosphere has had no discernible effect on Shorten’s personal ratings, which remain as they were a fortnight ago.

Other news:

• Postal votes continue to trickle in, but the swing in Saturday’s Canning by-election appears to have settled at 6.5%, leaving victorious Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie with a winning margin of 5.3%. There was an intruging regional pattern to the swing, which was approaching 10% in the low-income suburbs around Armadale at Perth’s south-eastern fringe, but little more than 3% in the coastal retirement of Mandurah. For more of my thoughts on the matter, here is a paywalled article from Crikey on Monday, and a podcast discussion with Natalie Mast at The Conversation. See also Seat of the Week immediately below this post.

The West Australian reports that Bill Shorten is lobbying to have Matt Keogh, Labor’s unsuccessful Canning by-election candidate, preselected for the new seat of Burt, which will encompass Armadale and similarly Labor-friendly territory to the north. However, it is also reported that the powerful Left faction United Voice union is keen to have the position go to Gosnells councillor Pierre Yang.

Mark Coultan of The Australian reports that Trent Zimmerman, factional moderate and acting president of the New South Wales branch of the Liberal Party, is the “early front-runner” to replace Joe Hockey in North Sydney, which he is generally expected to vacate to take on the position of ambassador to Washington. Major Liberal preselections very likely loom in Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah, Bronwyn Bishop’s seat of Mackellar and Phillip Ruddock’s seat of Berowra, but these will have to wait until the redistribution is finalised.

Daniel Wills of The Advertiser lists six nominees for the Liberal preselection in Boothby, to be vacated at the election with the retirement of Andrew Southcott: Carolyn Habib, a youth worker and former Marion councillor who ran unsuccessfully in the marginal seat of Elder at the March 2014 state election; and Nicole Flint, a columnist for The Advertiser; Josh Teague, a lawyer and the son of former Senator Baden Teague; Nick Greer, a Mitcham councillor; Shaun Osborn, a policeman; and Ryan Post, a staffer to Andrew Southcott.

• The Advertiser report also relates that Liberal nominees for the seat of Adelaide, which is held for Labor by Kate Ellis, will include Houssam Abiad, the Lebanese-born deputy lord mayor of Adelaide (CORRECTION: Abiad was born in Australia, of Lebanese-born parents). Abiad’s run for preselection in the seat in 2010 had backing from both Christopher Pyne, a fellow factional moderate, and Alexander Downer, from the rival Right faction, but may have fallen foul of publicity given to anti-Israel comments he had made two years earlier.

• The Greens have a new Senator for South Australia in Robert Simms, a former Adelaide councillor and former adviser to Scott Ludlam and Sarah Hanson-Young. Simms replaces Penny Wright, who was elected to the Senate at the 2010 election, and announced her intention to stand down due to an illness in the family in July. Josh Taylor of Crikey has been reporting on ructions in the party over the transfer of the tertiary, technical, and further education portfolio to Simms from Lee Rhiannon, which has incurred displeasure from the party’s New South Wales branch (paywalled articles here and here).

• Last week’s leadership change has returned the moribund issue of Senate electoral reform to the agenda, after the newly appointed Special Minister of State, Mal Brough, said he wished to see reform enacted in time for the election. The Guardian reports the outgoing minister, Michael Ronaldson, had told Liberal MPs that legislation he had drafted was being held up in Tony Abbott’s office, and that Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm had been “more or less told” by senior ministers that the government had lost its enthusiasm for the project. Labor appears to be split, with Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters members Alan Griffin and Gary Gray standing by the recommendations of the committee’s report into the matter last year, but The Australian reporting that senior party figures believe reform would result in a “less progressive parliament”.

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.

2,389 comments on “BludgerTrack: 51.5-48.5 to Coalition”

Comments Page 47 of 48
1 46 47 48
  1. K17 @ 2296- I hope this is the case, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

    There is a theory I subscribe to to the effect that it often takes a conservative party to introduce progressive/left reforms, and a progressive party to introduce liberal/right reforms. Although it seems counter intuitive, it is simply that when a left wing party introduces a right-wing policy (or vice versa), there is no-one to oppose them.

    This is why Hawke/Keating did more for economic liberalism than Howard, and why Turnbull may end up being able to do more for the environment, (and social/equity issues such as SSM and inequality) than Gillrudd.

    This is how I console myself at the prospect of a Coalition re-election despite the shenanigans of the past 2 years.

  2. K17,

    [BOB – The Libs are about to do another couple of huge back-flips to support Labor’s positions on:
    1. Taxing superannuation benefits; and
    2. Fibre roll-out for the NBN.]

    I very much doubt the second point there Kevin. I’ve been following the NBN in great detail from 2007. Its pretty obvious what is happening here. Turnbull is applying the same skills he applied to his past business practice:

    Bodgying the books and flogging off to mates.

    NBNco is being prepared for divestment and nothing has changed. All you’re seeing is Mitch realising he has to calm nerves and applying the usual rubbery rhetoric.

  3. [2272
    meher baba

    I actually admire the ideals and goals of socialism]

    We should start by observing that the economy is above all social. If there is no population or there is no exchange between the members of a population, there is no economy.

    Nearly all the foundations of the economy commence in social ownership even though many of these forms are “privately worked”. It’s also true that unless economic activities meet at least some accepted social purpose, attempts will be made to suppress them. (The production and traffic in drugs is a good example.)

    It is the case that all economic activities originate socially and are socially-aimed.

    So, for example, the education, health, transport, communication, energy, monetary, land, marine and aquatic and other primary resource systems are socially constituted and the conditions of their creation, development and use are social artifacts.

    The fact they are to varying extents “privately worked” does not alter the fact that they exist first in a social hands. “Private workings” are accepted because they enable capital and other resources to be focused, to be efficiently allocated and operated and for free exchange to take place.

    In many ways, the distinction between the social and the private is falsely drawn. This is especially true of human capital, which, as long as it’s not subject to indenture, is mobile, portable, uniquely-vested and always freely extendable. Human capital should be seen as the original open-source system.

    Of course, because of the profoundly and necessarily egalitarian properties of human capital, reactionaries try to frustrate the allocation of social resources to open-access human capital formation. That is, for example, they try to limit social access to education and health systems even though they are among the basic resources of a sustainable and resilient economy.

  4. MB,

    Criticising socialism, as if it was a monolithic belief system, seems a bit mis-guided. I think Bemused was pointing out that there is a large difference between the National Socialist German Workers Party and the Nordic Green Left Alliance. It’s good point, as there is a huge diversity of thought within socialist movements.

    Indeed, based on what you are saying in the last few pages it seems that some of your beliefs would fit into a broadly socialist ideology!

  5. lizzie@2257


    ignored some of the real problems, such as the role of drug companies

    Agree. There is also GP’s fear of not doing enough tests and being sued. That’s the part of American health we have unfortunately imported.

    I hear that the price of medical degrees isn’t helping the USA keep health costs down.

  6. [This is how I console myself at the prospect of a Coalition re-election despite the shenanigans of the past 2 years.]

    Yes, except that the conservative side of politics has precious little form in terms of major, positive reform. Not just the “reform” of the GST or some such, but stuff that actually makes life better.

    Labor has consistently been the party that does the nation building and the Liberals have been consistently the party that tears down.

    Sure, it was nice to have some gun control under Howard. But don’t forget that once Howard had control of the Senate, it was workchoices. Don’t think anything has changed under Turnbull. All that’s changed is that they now have a leader who has a dodgy business history and can sell anything.

  7. [BuzzFeedOz Politics ‏@BuzzFeedOzPol
    Abbott: “Climate change, the same. Border protection policy, the same. National security, policy, the same”

    Labor just got its ad.]

    If Turnbull doesn’t/can’t change those policy settings (and some others, like the NBN, and education/health funding,) sufficiently to avoid scaring off the voters.

  8. Lenore:

    [Abbott does not directly attack or snipe, in fact he refuses to do so. He urges people to continue to support the Coalition.

    But his message is clear and a more potent attack for its apparent reasonableness. The Liberal party and the electorate have been duped. Malcolm Turnbull has not, should not and will not change anything. Nor would he have reason to, because Abbott’s two years in government were a triumph. In fact Turnbull only moved when he did because the Canning byelection was about to vindicate Abbott’s election-winning abilities.

    Outside the studio, of course, recent events look very different.]

  9. [I hear that the price of medical degrees isn’t helping the USA keep health costs down.]

    Yet another example of economic rents being captured by the financial class, aka monopoly capital.

  10. At the end of two days here with my daughter here in hospital while she is being monitored to see if her appendix needs to be removed, I offer the following view if the doctors including surgeons:

    (a) they make Doogie Howser look old;
    (b) they are super intelligent;
    (c) they show great empathy

  11. Hehehe

    [Schadenfreude George
    Schadenfreude George – ‏@GeorgeBludger

    The Lib love-fest is just getting started. Be still my laughing Schadenfreude
    6:44 PM – 28 Sep 2015

  12. [“Abbott: “Climate change, the same(as Labor). Border protection policy, the same(as Labors). National security, policy, the same(as Labors)”

    Labor just got its ad.”]

    Fixed that for you… and you are right, stop stealing the Coalitions policies!

  13. [Abbott’s choice of media outlets to justify his position and his government’s performance says everything. It is a re-run of his time in office and therefore re-run of the same mistakes – an absolute denial of any culpability, and a complete rejection of the logic of voters and his colleagues in their critique of same.

    Tony Abbott was a regular guest on the Alan Jones Show.
    Tony Abbott was a regular guest on the Alan Jones Show.

    The prime minister who in office spoke predominantly to docile media such as the Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph, and radio barrackers such as Ray Hadley and Alan Jones, has become the disgruntled reject – dumped by his own colleagues against whose collective judgments he now rails.

    Still clueless as to what went wrong, Abbott now uses the above outlets exclusively to undertake the sniping and wrecking he initially forswore. Determined not to yield, he says the Turnbull government has not changed at all, yet everyone else knows it has.

    The decline of Abbott’s political viability speaks to the futility and obvious short-sightedness of his “friends only” strategy. Indeed, these uncritical barrackers did him no favours in the end.]

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

  14. Jenauthor @2057. Bemused @2059:

    Indeed. ‘Unnecessary’ tests are just code for wanting to rip the heart out of the health system. As you have suggested, and Jenauthor, these tests – and subsequent correct treatment – can save more in the long term.

    I had a large brain tumour removed four years ago. I had to insist on a CT scan, as my GP thought the headaches were stress related. CT scan showed nothing much, but I collapsed a week later. An ‘unnecessary’ MRI scan showed a golfball-sized growth.

    There are too many stories like yours, JA’s and mine that tell the other side. The bean-counters in the Coalition just would rather we all die and go away.

  15. victoria

    I think that Lenore was aying that Abbott isn’t doing any obvious ‘sniping’. He’s more subtle than that. He’s still attacking Malcolm below the belt.

  16. Water On Mars: Australia To Check For Illegal Boats

    [Australia will send a mission to Mars as soon as possible to check for irregular maritime vessels, following a report from NASA that there may be flowing water on the planet.

    Announcing the program, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said it was important to send a clear message to would-be boat people. “Where there’s water there’s boats. And where there’s boats there’s votes. Or should I say, where there’s boats there’s a high chance of illegal people-smuggling activities and drownings. We need to stop this before it starts,” he said.]

  17. Nice one, shellbell. Hope your daughter’s situation improves soon, one way or another.

    What I’ve seen and what Mrs U (a health worker) reports to me about waste in health services is that it is not the frontline workers – the doctors, nurses, allied health – but the procurement, support services and high-level staff allocation that are hideously mis-managed. I have also heard that diagnostics are oversubscribed, but haven’t seen this for myself.

    You have physios and OTs hand writing three copies of patient notes because the CE of a local health area has decided stationary costs are too high and hasn’t bought enough paper for the photocopiers. Their time is not valuable, apparently.

    Likewise, hospitals have been built with insufficient car parking for staff (and of course insufficient public transport options), leading to outpatient staff having to park 10-15 minutes walk from the hospital when returning from seeing patient. Good money for a stroll.

    You have massively inflated costs for commodity goods like PCs, which could be bought for $400 from the local big box shop but end up costing $1200. everything has to go through an approved supplier, and all the evidence indicates they make a nice profit out of that privileged position.

    You have recruitment freezes which end up causing such a backlog of patients that entire hospitals are bed-blocked. Then locum staff are called in to clear the waiting patients at much greater cost.

    I know of one major Sydney hospital where the allied health teams were not given their budgets until after the end of the financial year, and were then told they were all over budget, and had to cut funds from the current year. That sounds like a sackable offence for management to commit to me, but nothing happens.

    By and large, the staff do their best, but management structures including ridiculously targeted KPIs and management performance criteria don’t seem to help much.

  18. mb@2222+:

    4C was the first public shot across the bows of the Private Health Care Industry in a long time, and your reaction demonstrates the pathetic insecurity of the vulture capitalists about non-commercial medicine. Well done Norman Swann in getting it back into the agenda, now that Toady’s IPA controllers are having to work with a much thinner replacement condom.

    I suspect you have a financial dog in this fight. So do I. I have been a consultant physician & academic, mainly in the salaried NSW public hospital system, for over 25 years. Like most of my colleagues and trainees, I am fundamentally socialist with a strong bias against medicine for profit. Very few of us do what we do for the money. The Medicare money that I earn from my public clinics does not come to me – it goes back into the Hospital. Even most of my proceduralist colleagues, like Brian Owler, are privately fairly contemptuous of those who work only in the Private Health System, doing non-essential, occasionally useful and almost unregulated technical procedures for profit – while the real medicine is done in Federally funded GP surgeries, and State funded Clinics and Hospitals, and the real gains in mortality and morbidity have been due to Public Health.

    Medicare delivers excellent basic service far more efficiently than any Private system, worldwide. the UK NHS, Canadian, Scandinavian, Dutch, French, German – and even the US Veteran Administration are universally regarded as far superior to any Private system, because, unlike greed and anxiety, illness and disease cannot be commodified and marketed for profit.

  19. LU

    Very true.

    Public hospitals deliberately don’t put in enough car parks as its a very effective way of discouraging patients from attending outpatients and therefore saving money.

  20. Didn’t hear the Hadley/Abbott interview but wondering if Abbott actually denied throwing Hockey under the boss by offering ScoMo the deputy & treasurer roles?

  21. Re Abbott’s interview today. The big story for mine is that he has backed right down from his attack on ScoMo.

    And rightly so. As I have been saying: of course ScoMo told Credlin about his concerns and of course Credlin didn’t pass them on.

    Because she already knew what was going on and knew it was too late to stop Malcolm.

    And perhaps, just perhaps, she feared that Abbottt really might be crazy enough to go to Cosgrove and demand a double dissolution. And that could have gone in a number of different directions, none of them good for Abbott or the Liberal Party.

    If he wants to maintain a public profile, Abbott either needs to show some humility at his defeat (a la Hewson and Howard) or else do a Latham and tip buckets on his former colleagues with lots of meaty tidbits of salacious gossip.

    But I don’t reckon that Tony actually has much gossip to recount. He’s been so cosseted, and so encouraged in his view that it’s all about him, that he’s been a bit shut off from the gossip. Others have done all the negotiating and wheeling and dealing on his behalf while he’s pranced around in fireman suits and reading stories to bored Aboriginal kids.

    He’s such a weird unit. Now he’s gone, it’s almost inconceivable that he was ever there.

  22. At one stage Abbott had a base, a government, a bureaucracy and a party around him to shield him from the slings and arrows.

    Now he has Ray Hadley and Andrew Bolt, plus a diminishing bunch of nutjobs who think he can make a comeback. Abbott doesn’t make comebacks. He gets fired, snipes and whinges about it, and then moves further up the chain, kicked upstairs to the next disastrous job description.

    Except this time there’s no upstairs. Sure there might be the odd job, but nothing can beat the office of PM. Abbott’s up against the ceiling, struggling to breathe the last remaining pocket of air. Where he is now is his final redoubt. It’s all downhill from here.

    With the lunatics on Shock Jock radio and their listeners, and the other lunatics in the News Corp stable urging him on, plus the anti-everything boofheads in his own party to egg him on, the only thing Abbott can do is to try to convince enough people that he wasn’t really sacked, he was just misunderstood. He’s in the bunker now with only a few generals and loyal staffers to point to the map and tell him how brilliant he was, and is, and how they’re going to stage a brilliant counterattack.

    It’s a gotterdammerung in the making, a train wreck waiting to happen, a powder keg just waiting for a match.

    Meanwhile, Turnbull is starting to waffle again. He made a good fist of keeping relatively quiet in his wilderness days, but now there’s no-one to stop him… no-one he’d regard as qualified to do so, anyway. The waffle will get worse.

    A legend had been built up around Turnbull… that he was a brilliant lawyer, and a canny businessman. The reality falls somewhat short of this. Turnbull had a lot of luck, especially in having Tony Abbott as his counterpoint.

    What Turnbull doesn’t get is that his role over the past few years has been to be cast as “Anyone-But-Abbott”. His popularity was a direct result of comparing him to the alternative, the Yin to Abbott’s Yang. Now that the alternative is gone (if still sniping and snapping delusionally) Malcolm will have to stand on his own to succeed. But he always overdoes it. Can’t help himself. Malcolm Turnbull needed Tony Abbott to make himself look better than he is.

    Many see Turnbull as effortlessly achieving, but really it’s laziness. There was little effort required to best Abbott, and to best most of the people he’s come across. To use a Rugby League analogy (apt, given last night) he is Jarryd Hayne, a superstar in club games, running the length of the field to score individual tries, now just another gridiron player, lucky to make 10 yards before being pummelled by players bigger, faster and more determined than he is, players who have grown up in the game. Raw talent’s not enough. Lazy achievement is too insufficient a tempering to prepare Turnbull for what’s coming.

    With one hand tied behind his back and the knives ready to be unsheathed at the slightest faltering, Turnbull has his work cut out for him in the days before the election. A scandal or two, an insider leak, a fumbling of the ball, and Malcolm could find himself flat on his arse wondering what hit him.

  23. Thanks Victoria and LU

    We are on the mend. Just had blood taken by a nurse with an Eastern European accent. Very efficient.

    The ward area is full of the most fantastic historical photos of nurses and child patients

  24. rhwombat: no, I have no direct or indirect interest in healthcare. And I didn’t see 4C as just being an attack on the private system, but on the choices made by doctors on how they make use of both public and private money: much of which finds its way into their bank accounts.

    Of course, in the strange ideology through which many doctors view the world, they somehow stand in an extremely moral place beyond both capitalism and socialism. Yes, i require my patients to pay me money, but these payments are “fees”, not “prices” such as a shopkeeper or some other distasteful type might charge. Oh, and yes, patients might sometimes get Medicare rebates for those fees, but that’s their business and nothing to do with me: I wouldn’t stand for the government interfering in anything I do!

    This ideology is pretty commonplace in the upper echelons of the AMA. I’m not too familiar with Dr Owler’s world view, but I suspect this attitude is in there somewhere.

    I don’t generally favour doctor-bashing. But I can only take a certain amount of this “we aren’t money-grubbing, everything we do is for the patient” stuff.

  25. [2319

    Abbott is just trying to make sure the LNP does not change. However, his defeat, while personal, is also thematic and ideological. The Right agenda has been thwarted by Liberal pragmatism and community resistance.

    Abbott’s attachments are all to the past. His agenda is now in the past as well. So much the better for this country and its people.

  26. [“The Right agenda has been thwarted by Liberal pragmatism and community resistance. “]

    Horse Radish… the policies are the same we just have a better communicator now.

    Also Fairfax had bile and hate for Abbott and especially Hockey because he successfully sued them in defamation court and they were out of pocket $1.3 Million Dollars despite their “WINNING!” claims

  27. I don’t think Malcolm has a choice but to stare down the clear inferences of war from the hard right fringe if he moves his policy platform to the political centre.

    To not show a clear change to the voters would be political suicide.

  28. Having just most unexpectedly spending four days in a public hospital I cannot speak highly enough of the attention and care I received. There were doctors and nurses from all parts of the world who attended me. They all performed in a way that instilled confidence.
    Despite the load/capacity struggle they do very well.

  29. Abbott and his hard right fringe have in the last week publicly displayed a divide in the Liberal Party.

    Voters clearly rejected such division at the last election. Seems the hard right aren’t learning from the past.

  30. Mark Kenny, one of the chief member of the “Abbott can improve”, “Abbott is a statesman”, “This is Abbott’s best week ever” Media squad has turned on his erstwhile idol.

    A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client, or so the saying goes. But what of a democratically elected prime minister who wilfully refuses to represent the broad sweep of the people, and particularly those who didn’t vote for him?

    What chance would you give such a political leader when seeking re-election from those very same people?

    Tony Abbott’s decision to pick favourites in the media helped hasten his demise as prime minister.

    This is the signature failing to which the discarded Tony Abbott fails to square up – that his government became a gratuitous conflict machine, gripped by a siege mentality making it narrower and narrower.

    So narrow in fact that eventually it was comfortable speaking only to those with whom it already agreed, while eschewing those voters who might be brought across, who might be persuadable if they could see some flexibility and even a modicum of sophisticated argument.

    The tactical genius behind this strategy stands condemned – not by other media, or even voters – although they were lining up with baseball bats for their opportunity – but by Liberals MPs.

    In politics you can govern for a time without majority support in the electorate, or perhaps without the slavish affections of your own party room, but Abbott’s outward approach, coupled with his office’s internal alienation, somehow managed to align both.

    Read more:

    The pundits are always right. Mark Kenny was right yesterday. He is right today. And he’ll no doubt be right tomorrow.

  31. [2331
    Bushfire Bill

    Now he has Ray Hadley and Andrew Bolt…]

    “Radio-whinge” will not change anything for Abbott. His airing with Hadley only accentuates his defeat.

  32. BB@2344: I don’t always agree with you, but you’re spot on here. It’s more than a bit rich for the likes of Kenny to criticise Abbott for having failed to realise his strategy wasn’t working… !

  33. [2337

    “The Right agenda has been thwarted by Liberal pragmatism and community resistance. ”

    Horse Radish… the policies are the same we just have a better communicator now.]


    You keep telling yourself that while you trudge to defeat at the next election.

    Turnbott knows he has to try to make some new ground on tax, the economy, infrastructure, health, social inclusion/Islamophobia, the gulag…even human trafficking may get a look in!

  34. The pundits all said Shorten was doomed and he had to step down for the sake of the Labor Party. I didnt hear anyone saying Abbott should have done the same. The CPG are and continue to be clueless until after the event

  35. [MTBW

    That piece from Mark Kenny paints a sad and pathetic small group of delusional people.]

    A group of which he was once a fully paid up member.

Comments Page 47 of 48
1 46 47 48

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *