BludgerTrack: 54.1-45.9 to Coalition

Three months on from the leadership change, the Coalition finishes the year with a crushing lead on the BludgerTrack poll aggregate.

The final update of BludgerTrack for the year comes off the back of strong results for the Coalition from both Essential Research and Roy Morgan, resulting in a slight movement of 0.3% on the two-party preferred aggregate, and a seat gain for the Coalition in New South Wales. Nothing new this week on leadership ratings.


• Labor’s Anna Burke has announced she will bow out at the next election, creating a vacancy in the eastern Melbourne seat of Chisholm, which she retained in 2013 with a margin of 1.6%. Rick Wallace of The Australian reports that the seat is reserved for Burke’s Right faction, but that this still leaves room for a turf war between the National Union of Workers and the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, both of whom are credited with about 35% of the seat’s branch membership. Monash councillor Stefanie Perri is likely to be the candidate of the NUW, while the SDA is intriguingly linked with a possible candidacy for Dimity Paul, who has been central to Victorian Labor’s recent internal crises as the complainant in the bullying action against her then employer, Adem Somyurek. This led to the latter’s dismissal as Victorian Small Business Minister and a split within the SDA sub-faction. The NUW’s prospects may stand to be boosted by a rapprochement with the Shorten-Conroy forces of the Right, which would bring them back under the umbrella of its “stability pact” with the Socialist Left.

• The Liberal National Party’s state executive voted 14-12 on Monday to block Ian Macfarlane’s move from the Liberal to the Nationals, raising questions about his future in the Toowoomba-based seat of Groom. Macfarlane threatened to quit politics if the move was rejected, and there is some concern in the Coalition that he may do so in the new year. Given that the state executive vote followed a 102-35 vote in favour of the move from the party’s Groom divisional council, which would dominate any preselection ballot, there appears to be the potential for a turf war in the seat between the party’s Liberal and Nationals components. I had a piece in Crikey on the subject that was run shortly before the state executive vote on Monday.

• Labor’s preselection for the seat of Robertson on the New South Wales Central Coast has been won by Anne Charlton, the chief-of-staff to Deb O’Neill, who held the seat from 2010 until her defeat in 2013, and is now a Senator. Charlton, who has gained media attention for her admission that she was addicted to heroin at the age of 16, won a local preselection vote by 98 to 72 ahead of Belinda Neal, who had a rocky ride as the seat’s member from 2007 to 2010, when she lost preselection to O’Neill. The seat was won for the Liberals at the 2013 election by Lucy Wicks, who holds it on a margin of 3.0%, which the proposed redistribution would nudge up to 3.2%.

• Also preselected by Labor in New South Wales over the weekend were Emma Husar, a disability services advocate who ran in Penrith at the state election in March, to run against Fiona Scott in Lindsay; and Fiona Philips, a tutor at the University of Wollongong and TAFE who ran in South Coast, to run against Ann Sudmalis in Gilmore.

• Crikey has a Christmas offer of a discounted annual subscription for its daily email and subscriber content, at $180 rather than the usual $219, plus a bonus $125 in books, DVDs and a 30-day Inkl premium subscription providing access to the Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, The Atlantic and more.

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.

2,879 comments on “BludgerTrack: 54.1-45.9 to Coalition”

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  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    At last the US Fed has lifted interest rates.
    The ATO will release taxation payment details of many listed companies. Therre’s a lot who are paying zero tax.
    Whooping cough rears its head again.
    And this journo fires both barrels at the anti-vaxers.
    This is a strange criminal case.
    Another Abbott relic – PPL “double dipping” – is going down.
    The release of the TURC report is imminent.
    Elizabeth Farrelly asks what has happened to our land of the fair go.
    Our revenue slides but the spending goes on. How did we get into this position?
    And now 7-Eleven is under scrutiny over petrol price manipulation.

  2. Section 2 . . .

    A close friend of Pell accused of making up evidence to protect him. It was an interesting part of the hearing to watch.
    This scientist says that we need to get back to basics if we want to succeed with innovation.
    Ben Eltham says that cutting out the carbon tax is coming back to haunt Hunt.
    Michelle Grattan says Morrison has an inflated view of his ability to control debates.
    The Independent Australia has an “exclusive” on how Abbott and Credlin have set up the Monkey Pod sleeper cell to sort Turnbull out.,8497
    A brilliant addition to Madam Tussaud’s Waxworks.
    The behaviour of many men towards women is appalling.
    “View from the Street” examines some of the cuts announced on the MYEFO car trip.
    Is Abbott using ASIO to get at his rabid rump of the right?
    Doctors warn of co-payment by stealth.

  3. Section 3 . . . Cartoon Corner

    Alan Moir has Macfarlane in a bit of trouble over swapping political paddocks.

    The cartoonists, like Ron Tandberg, will never let Morrison forget his woeful MYEFO car trip effort.

    David Pope looks at the CFMEU.
    Mark Knight uses Star Wars to have some fun with Donald Trump.

  4. Scott Morrison being ridiculed for his MYEFO performance. They’re saying he’s ‘on holiday’ when it comes to fixing the Budget Deficit. 😀

  5. WARNING – sin of talking about non-Australian politics coming up –

    Closely followed the Republican Candidates’ Debate in Las Vegas yesterday and the more I thought about it, the more I am convinced that there is a new strategy being trialled.

    I think that Jeb(!) Bush has been promoted to “Designated Hitter” by the Republican Establishment. I think this is the deal –

    1. Bush has no chance this cycle
    2. But he has lots of money to burn
    3. He is now going to use all his money, time and energy to “take out” Trump
    4. His reward will be a cabinet position if the Republicans win (unlikely)
    5. Or “favoured” status for a run for the 2020 election if they lose (likely)

    So I think Jeb! is now staying in the race for this sole purpose, and his riling of Trump yesterday was just the start.

    I wonder if the “Establishment” are hoping to boost Rubio over Cruz with this strategy.

    And for all those annoyed about USA politics being discussed her, I am actually more interested in this Sunday’s Spanish election! Stay tuned!

    ps – BK I have been away a lot, glad to see you back and thank you for all your work this year and all the best wishes to you and your family for Christmas and New Year. And hope there are no more bushfires nearby!

  6. From previous thread:

    Millennial @ 380,

    ‘ C@tmomma, I don’t mean to be rude, but aren’t you a woman yourself? ‘

    Yep. I calls them hows I see them, no gender bias one way or t’other. 😀

  7. Morning

    Bludgertrack is quite depressing 🙁


    [Andrews for Tony Abbott looms as a possible rallying point for conservatives and will do little to quell talk of an insurgency in the Liberal Party.

    The function, at an Italian club in Mr Andrews’s Melbourne electorate of Menzies on Saturday, is expected to attract several hundred people as party sources warn big differences exist between the views of branch members and Malcolm Turnbull.

    “While the current Prime Minister is quite popular, there is a real disconnect with the branch members. They are very worried about what happened last time under Malcolm,’’ one source said. “While they don’t want the party to lose government, they think a leopard doesn’t change its spots.]

  8. Unconvinced by the Independent’s take on the Macfarlane affair. The old ‘if it’s a choice between a conspiracy and a human stuff up, go for the stuff up.”

  9. Rocket
    I have no problem discussing US politics, except at the moment they are so bizarre and depressing, I do not know what to say.

    Given that I seriously worry that we are on the brink of WWIII, which will probably be nuclear, the idea of ANY of the candidates in the whitehous has me in shudders.

  10. Zoomster

    I thought the Independent article was very revealing. Surprised McFarlane fell for it.

    Mind you I have a slightly different take on it. Truss, McFarlane plotted the idea as a way to control Barnyard and the rest of the Nat loonies. Turnbull while not part of the plot gave a quiet nod. The role of the monkey poos (probably opportunistic) was to use it to destablise Turnbull – which they did.

  11. Morning all.

    From Latika’s Facebook page:

    [Latika M Bourke
    47 mins · Canberra ·
    Quite a story in News Corp today. The boss of Australia’s spy agency, ASIO, is reported to have been phoning conservative MPs, including Dennis Jensen and others who have been speaking out on Islam to tell them their comments could jeopardise national security. But this has angered Liberal Party of Australia MPs who say the public servant is overstepping with his advice. Agree? (Story here: ]

  12. Good Morning


    I think Michelle Grattan is trying to retrieve what reputation journalists have left. There has been a lot of twitter comments to the Gallery about balance and why are they not holding the LNP to the same standard as they did of Labor.

    So many that those not in the Newscorp stable ares starting to see if they want to keep their jobs they had better do some real reporting not doing myth narratives.

    At least thats my take on what is happening.

  13. Re the ASIO story: if the head of the country’s spy service advises you to STFU, shouldn’t you? Isn’t blabbing about a confidential security briefing in which you were told to STFU a violation of national security? Squared?

  14. On the domestic front the cuts to health are going down like a lead balloon.

    Today the pathology companies have joined the AMA in attacking them.

    Minister Ley has said and I quote:

    [Patients will be worse off]

  15. “@farrm51: Got it now: the views of the loopier end of the Coalition must prevail over those of the security specialists in ASIO.
    Seems so obvious.”

  16. TPOF & Guytaur,

    I have noticed both Grattan and Uhlmann have improved since the change to Turnbull. Riley on Ch7 has become a complete waste of time. Savva has reverted back to type.

    I would expect them to be non-partisan (with the odd hint of their own ideology) but it seems that they are motivated more by the personal.

    I would like Lenore to assume the LNP under Turnbull are crap until proven otherwise, but (unlike her reader’s) I don’t think she is being too kind.

    Ch9 would be better if they could get Oaks more regularly.

    Anyway, x-mas has come at a good time for Turnbull, but I doubt an extra month will help Morrison get on top of his brief.

  17. Could some Bludger explain about this US interest rate thing please ? At virtually 0$ interest rate doesn’t that mean someone has basically been getting money for “free” and isn’t that sort of thing supposed to be muy bad for the ‘market’ ?

    Ta in advance. Keep in mine my knowledge of economics is about where the US interest rate is 🙂

  18. Grattan States the bleedin obvious. The coaltiion believe we should accept whatever it tells us at any given time. Labor were never given any quarter whatsoever.

  19. Poroti

    It means that 7 years after the GFC the Fed thinks the US economy has recovered enough to start walking back interest rates from emergency level to normal level.

  20. Question

    The summer break did indeed come just in time for Turnbull. He will continue on his merry way whilst the public is focussed elsewhere with Christmas and the holiday season.
    Meanwhile, Australia is already experiencing interesting weather. Sydney storms a case in point, as well as the extremely early fire season. I am crossing all my fingers and toes that we get through this summer unscathed. Sigh….

  21. [Chris Bowen
    Chris Bowen – Verified account ‏@Bowenchris

    Malcolm Turnbull’s govt cuts millions from pathology & he has said not a word in defence of his own cuts]

  22. @peterjukes: Newspapers are always talking of this echo chamber effect. But social media allows us to critique and fact check @Direct_Hammer @marksweney

    @peterjukes: And having studied the papers intently in last few years, the biggest echo chamber is on Fleet St and the lobby @Direct_Hammer @marksweney

  23. guytaur

    I know why they did it, what has me wondering is why “free” money has not ( or has it ? ) caused some horrible distortions/effects .

  24. poroti

    Free money has done that. Just like the stimulus package under Labor.

    However small side effects compared to the problem they were addressing.

  25. Question

    If Labor had another sitting week of parliament to play with, they may have been able to put enough pressure on Turnbull re Brough.
    His future success will depend on the timing of the next election. Will Turnbull use a trigger to go to a DD election which can take place before May budget, or go under normal circumstances which cannot be before July.

  26. [“Re the ASIO story: if the head of the country’s spy service advises you to STFU, shouldn’t you?”]


    Democratically elected officials of the people are above paid bureaucrats.

    They can give advice, but they are the servants of the Government.

    Anyone who thinks otherwise are morons.

  27. NSW budget update: Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian to declare NSW net debt “effectively zero”

    Well woop de doo.

    To achieve this epic of ‘fiscal discipline’ all they had to do was allow spinmeister Bambi, when he could take time off from his Lindt cafe commitments, to flog off the electricity grid, so that NSW consumers will be paying extra on their power bills, for infrastructure that they don’t need, for the next 100 years, or if they go off-grid, fined.

  28. In the Sunday Telegraph ASIO Chief Duncan Lewis made some commonsense statements in relation to anti-Islam rhetoric.

    This was followed up today by Greg Sheridan in the OZ (apologies for the lack of a link) bemoaining the fact that Lewis had asked Coalition members to tone down their rhetoric as it was making ASIO’s job more difficult.

    “In The Sunday Telegraph interview, Mr Lewis said that Muslim-baiting rhetoric could fuel a dangerous backlash against Muslims that would make it harder for ASIO to do its work.

    He did not say who was guilty of the rhetoric.

    “I think it behoves Australians to recognise the backlash is something very, very dangerous … we need to be very temperate,” Mr Lewis said.

    Mr Lewis also said: “I don’t buy the notion the issue of Islamic ­extremism is in some way fostered or sponsored or supported by the Muslim religion. I think it’s blasphemous to the extent I can comment on someone else’s religion.”

    Mr Lewis is a distinguished ­former general who once headed the SAS. He served as Julia Gillard’s national security adviser and held senior national security positions under John Howard.

    Mr Lewis’s phone calls to Liberal politicians, the background briefings by the security agencies discrediting the language Mr ­Abbott used and the interview with The Sunday Telegraph have angered Coalition figures on the backbench and the frontbench.”

    I can assure you by the comments after the piece that Coalition supporters are ropeable, clearly they are unable to distinguish between free speech & common decency. I believe Lewis is entirely correct on this issue.

  29. TBA @45

    What happens if the government are morons? What about proven morons like Bernardi and Lambie, aren’t they a security risk?

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