BludgerTrack: 53.8-46.2 to Coalition

Malcolm Turnbull and his government take a bit of a knock on this week’s poll aggregate readings, while remaining in a well and truly commanding position.

The Coalition loses a coat of paint or two in this week’s reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, as last week’s strong result from ReachTEL washes out of the system and only relatively modest results from Newspoll and Essential Research emerge to take its place. The two-party trendline shown on the sidebar is now pointing downwards for the first time on Malcolm Turnbull’s watch. However, this has only made one point of difference to the seat projection, with Labor making a gain in New South Wales. There are new results on leadership ratings this week from both Newspoll and Essential, the former of which was fairly soft for Malcolm Turnbull by his standards. That causes a slight dip in his net satisfaction reading, although there’s no movement on preferred prime minister.

Preselection news:

• The Fairfax papers report that Bronwyn Bishop remains determined to seek another term as member for the blue-ribbon Sydney seat of Mackellar, despite her 73 years and downward career trajectory. The report says that the party’s hard Right faction has “abandoned Mrs Bishop over her perceived treachery against Mr Abbott, but it has little sway in Mackellar and it remains to be seen whether the left and centre right factions will use their numbers to protect her from challenge at preselection”. She appears likely to face a challenge from Jason Falinksi, chief executive of a health care supplier and a former Warringah councillor, whose party activities included the then-important job of campaign manager to Malcolm Turnbull when he first ran in Wentworth in 2004. Others mentioned are Jim Longley, who held the state seat of Pittwater from 1986 to 1996, and whose name comes up intermittently in relation to a possible comeback; Paul Nettelbeck, marketing director at Southern Cross College; and the one confirmed starter, Bill Calcraft, a businessman and former national rugby union player.

• The ABC reports the Nick Xenophon Team has unveiled its first tranche of five candidates for the next election, and taken the advantage of the opportunity to emphasise the national scale of its ambitions. Only two of the five are seats in South Australia, the only state where it stands to be seriously competitive. Matthew Wright, an emergency physician at the Flinders Medical Centre, will run against Christopher Pyne in Sturt, while Mayo MP Jamie Briggs will have to face one of his former staffers – Rebekha Sharkie, who has also worked for state Liberal MPs Isobel Redmond and Rachel Sanderson. The other three are Marie Rowland, a psychologist and counsellor, who will run in Tony Abbott’s Sydney seat of Warringah; Nancy Bassett, a consultant to Challenge Mining, who will run against Kelly O’Dwyer in the Melbourne seat of Higgins; and Josie Townsend, a “former publicist who now runs a marketing business specialising in start-up businesses”, who will run in the Toowoomba-based Queensland seat of Groom against Ian Macfarlane, who recently defected from the Liberal Party to the Nationals, although both are under the Liberal National Party umbrella in Queensland for electoral purposes.

Rick Wallace of The Australian reports seven candidates have emerged for the Labor preselection to succeed Kelvin Thomson in the inner northern Melbourne seat of Wills: Mehmet Tillem, who held a Senate seat in 2013 and 2014 and now works for Victorian Small Business Minister Philip Dalilakis; Josh Funder, a funds manager and former Yarra councillor; Anna-Maria Arabia, policy director to Bill Shorten; Peter Khalil, a former SBS executive; a funds manager and former Yarra councillor; and two Moreland councillors, Lambros Tapinos and Meghan Hopper. I had a good deal more to say about the situation in Wills in a piece for Crikey last week.

• Also from me in Crikey: a post-match report on the North Sydney by-election.

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.

2,015 comments on “BludgerTrack: 53.8-46.2 to Coalition”

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  1. “@RichardDiNatale: Going after the sick, poor and elderly while throwing cash at big mining and big coal. Good to know the govt’s priorities. #LibLogic #MYEFO”

  2. GUYTAUR – How hard could it have been to bring forward a few measures to soak the rich and show a bit of equity – obviously, very hard!

  3. guytaur

    Nah. Me thinks voters are still prepared to give Turnbull the benefit of the doubt. Until Labor start holding this govt to account, I cant see any votes shifting. Obviously this time of year is hardly the time the voters will be listening to all that much

  4. [Morrison, can you clarify one thing? When you blame the previous Govt for current economic crisis, do you mean the Abbott Govt]

    “No it’s clearly down to the rampant spending form Swan and previous Labor governments”.

  5. “@MrDenmore: So when Labor’s in office rising deficits reflect waste & mismanagement. But when the LNP govern it’s due to iron ore prices & flat wages?”

  6. “@RichardDiNatale: Slashing over a billion from #health while still propping up fossil fuels with massive subsidies? Priorities are all wrong. #LibLogic #MYEFO”

  7. This sums it up

    [Geoff Pearson – ‏@GCobber99

    I hope this Government rots in hell once again the poorest people get slugged while their rich mates get richer and Idiots want Turnbull]

  8. Gulp……..

    [Coalition backbencher Ewen Jones said it was unclear how the Liberal party room would respond to Mr Macfarlane’s return.

    ‘He could walk in there and could be treated as this was a brain explosion, and he can move on and rebuild,’ Mr Jones told ABC radio.

    ‘Or he could be treated with the same sort of respect and admiration as (previous LNP defector) Peter Slipper.’]

    – See more at:

  9. [ “We also have some $13 billion in (Abbott government) measures that still sit before the parliament which we remain absolutely committed to,” he said. ]

    Thank you for clearing that up ScoMo. All the Budget nasties from 2014 and 2015 are still policy you want to implement if you get the chance. That will help your vote in the Senate bug time. 🙂

  10. KEVIN-ONE-SEVEN @ 1964

    The Essential was not the last poll, there will be another Roy Morgan poll out this afternoon. Ipsos isn’t doing another national poll until February, and Newspoll is finished for the year (though wait for a quarterly summary, and maybe some state level late release polls). Remote chance of another ReachTEL, but I doubt it.

  11. “@AustralianLabor: “Deficit is up, debt is up, spending is up, growth is down. These are the results of the last 2.5 years” @billshortenmp #auspol”

  12. “@AustralianLabor: “Instead of looking at multi-national taxation, or superannuation tax concessions, the Liberals are at it again.” @billshortenmp #auspol”

  13. @AustralianLabor: “the Liberals are proposing to hurt Australians… by slashing bulk billing and diagnostic imaging services” @billshortenmp #auspol

  14. @AustralianLabor: “The Liberal Party promised a budget surplus of 1% of GDP by 2023-24… Today, it was dropped.” #auspol @Bowenchri

  15. “@SandiHLogan: .@ScottMorrisonMP is a one trick pony, says @Bowenchris. He’s talks tough on vulnerable but squibs multinational tax reform, high end super.”

  16. “@AustralianLabor: “They have chosen yet again to simply preside over blowouts in the budget deficit while attacking those who can least afford it” @Bowenchris”

  17. Jackson’s liability in damages to the HSU was determined on 19 August 2015. This is the summary of the summary of the judgment of Justice Richard Tracey

    [The Court has made orders in the two proceedings under which Ms Jackson is required to pay the Union $1,338,626.16 as compensation for damage caused to the Union as a result of her contraventions of s 287. She has also been ordered to repay $67,912 of overpaid salary being money had and received by her for the use of the Union.]

  18. “@SandiHLogan: If choice btwn multinationals paying fair tax share, or slugging cancer sufferers, @billshortenmp says he knows who he’d slug. #MYOPIA”

  19. Good to see the Essential improvement in Coalition support is all down to the Liberals 🙂

    On a more serious note one question from Essential relating to the level of government spending shows 65% of people are concerned about the level of government spending. This indicates that people are looking to the government to get spending back to an acceptable level.

  20. Now is the time to cut and phase out diesel / fuel rebate while oil is under US$40 a barrel
    Which party is going to be brave enough, not Liberal
    Labor will need to sell it to the masses which l consider to be easy
    Highlight giving miners and farmers $10 billion in fuel rebates and taking away $10 billion from welfare, health, education

  21. Masa Vukotic’s killer Sean Price believes he can be reformed and walk free
    [The convicted rapist who viciously murdered 17-year-old schoolgirl Masa Vukotic says he should not be locked away until he dies.

    Sean Price told a pre-sentence hearing in the Supreme Court on Tuesday that he deserved to be punished severely but there was no evidence to prove he could not be rehabilitated after a long stint in jail.

    Price admitted he did have mental health issues, saying, “Something’s wrong with me up top.”

    He told the court that while he had refused to take anti-psychotic medication in the past, he was open to doing so now if it helped him to reform.

    Price claimed he struggled with sex offender treatment programs but had never refused to take part in them.
    A sad case in so many ways.

    It is difficult to feel any sympathy for the offender, but it is yet another case of the dangerously mentally ill not being compelled to accept treatment and no-one taking any responsibility.

    There is provision within the Mental Health Act for involuntary treatment either as an inpatient or on a Community Treatment Order. But there is a reluctance to use such provisions and no proper mechanism for supervising CTOs.

    I feel terribly sorry for Masa Vukotic and her family, but this was probably an avoidable tragedy as were at least some of the other crimes of Sean Price.

  22. Concern about government spending is the ultimate motherhood statement. Totally meaningless. In fact, I’m concerned the government isn’t spending enough.

  23. The Kouk –

    [ What a turn-up for the books: a big spending, big taxing Liberal party

    A core philosophy of Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal party is big government. This is shown in policies that deliver high government spending and high taxation. As well as a clear inability to get the budget anywhere near surplus because of this disposition to spending, this is one of the highlights from Scott Morrison’s midyear economic and fiscal outlook for 2015-16.

    The Coalition parties under Tony Abbott and now Turnbull have been unable to contain government spending. This is to the point where the budget deficits are significantly larger than Labor was scheduling.

    …Under Turnbull, government spending will increase by 2% in real terms (which allows for inflation) in 2015-16. In each of the following three years, spending will continue to grow at a rapid clip. As a share of GDP, government spending will be at or above 25.3% in each and every year out to 2018-19, a fact that should once and for all smash the perception that the Liberal party is for “small government” with a lower rate of interference in the functioning of the economy than Labor.

    The facts are clear.

    …The previous Labor government….spending below 25% of GDP in three of the years it was in office. As a result, government spending averaged just 24.9% of GDP during its full term of office, which is 0.7% ($12bn in today’s dollar terms) less a year on average than under the current government.

    …The big spending embraced by the Turnbull government is fundamentally the reason why the budget surplus has been pushed out

    Indeed, the Myefo confirms that tax revenue will rise to 23.1% of GDP in 2018-19, which is well above any level of tax that Labor has exceeded only twice in the past 65 years. Not Whitlam, nor Keating, nor Rudd, nor Gillard ever taxed this high. The only government to have a higher tax to GDP ratio was John Howard, who exceeded this rate in eight of his years in office.

    The budget update puts paid to the conventional wisdom that the Liberals believe in and deliver small government. The facts prove the exact opposite. ]

  24. [Bill Shorten
    Bill Shorten – Verified account ‏@billshortenmp

    Some of the cuts announced today are worse than anything Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey ever came up with #MYEFO
    7:53 PM – 14 Dec 2015

  25. When you compare 2012/2013 to 2014/2015 the main areas of spending and spending increase are social security/welfare $149b up 14%, health $67b up 10%, education $31b up 5% and defence $24.6b up 14%. I wonder which areas people would like the government to cut?

    Probably the only area out of that group the government would have some real capacity to cut would be defence. Most of the other areas are very difficult to get any Senate support to address particularly when you realise the government has been attacked for cutting that phantom $80 billion from health and education.

  26. davidwh@1998

    When you compare 2012/2013 to 2014/2015 the main areas of spending and spending increase are social security/welfare $149b up 14%, health $67b up 10%, education $31b up 5% and defence $24.6b up 14%. I wonder which areas people would like the government to cut?

    Probably the only area out of that group the government would have some real capacity to cut would be defence. Most of the other areas are very difficult to get any Senate support to address particularly when you realise the government has been attacked for cutting that phantom $80 billion from health and education.

    Reducing unemployment is a desirable way of reducing social security/welfare payments.

    I presume health also includes subsidies for private health insurance and these could be phased out.

    Follow Canada and cancel the JSF.

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