BludgerTrack quarterly, and other stories

Quarterly poll aggregate breakdowns, state polling from Essential Research, and extensive accounts of preselection friction emerging from the factional warfare engulfing the Liberal Party in New South Wales.

I have published a new seat of detailed state breakdowns from BludgerTrack, which points to next to no regional variation in the shift to the Coalition on Malcolm Turnbull’s watch, with the possible exception of it being particularly pronounced in Victoria.

Essential Research will resume its publication of weekly federal polling numbers next week – in the meantime, it has treated us to state voting intention results. These are aggregated from Essential’s polling from October through to December, with samples ranging from 797 in South Australia to 3205 in New South Wales, and follow on from a recent state polling onslaught from Newspoll, which you can read all about in the entries below this one. Essential’s results in New South Wales and Victoria aligned very closely with Newspoll, with the Coalition leading 56-44 in the former and Labor leading 53-47 in the latter. However, Labor was credited with a 54-46 lead in South Australia, compared with 51-49 in Newspoll, but was level with the Liberal National Party in Queensland, where Newspoll had Labor leading 52-48. The biggest disrepancy was from Western Australia, where Newspoll had Labor surging to a lead of 53-47, but Essential has the Liberal-National government with its nose in front, by 51-49. For more on the situation in Western Australia, I had a paywalled article in Crikey on Tuesday.

In preselection news, the finalisation of the redistribution process, together with the determination of an increasingly ascendant moderate faction to flex its muscles, is making life extremely interesting for the Liberal Party in New South Wales (as detailed in another of my paywalled articles in Crikey). As well as the threat posed to factional conservative Craig Kelly in Hughes, which was covered here last week, the following brush fires are breaking out, or threatening to:

• Most contentiously, moderates are talking up the prospect that Hume MP Angus Taylor will come under challenge from Russell Matheson, member for the neighbouring seat of Macarthur. The redistribution will transfer the Sydney fringe centre of Camden from Macarthur to Hume, and push Macarthur northwards into Labor-voting suburbs, cutting its margin from 11.3% to 3.3%. Camden is a power base of a local faction identified as the “southern cartel”, which includes Matheson and Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell. It had earlier been part of the Right, but recently shifted allegiance to the moderates, and its presence with Hume has weakened Taylor’s position, despite him having a considerably greater reputation as a rising talent than Matheson. There were suggestions that Taylor might react to such a challenge by joining the Nationals, but he rejected the notion yesterday. Even before talk of a challenge, Taylor had expressed his displeasure with the redistribution, which makes the electorate considerably less rural in character.

• Another member in the moderates’ sights is Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, a Senator and ideological warrior of the Right. Sarah Martin of The Australian reports that the moderates are “absolutely” confident they could see Fierravanti-Wells make way for Richard Shields, “a former deputy state director and head of government relations for the Insurance Council of Australia”.

• Should she choose not to retire, Bronwyn Bishop is set to face a challenge in Mackellar from Jason Falinski, a long-standing moderate operative who has worked for John Hewson and Malcolm Turnbull, and been state president of the Australian Republican Movement. However, Sarah Martin’s report in The Australian says state upper house MP Natasha McLaren-Jones might be another challenger, which is a bit hard to process given that her husband, Damien Jones, is Bishop’s chief-of-staff and has sometimes been mentioned as her favoured successor. Another potential candidate is said to be Jim Longley, who held the state seat of Pittwater from 1986 to 1996, and challenged Bishop for preselection unsuccessfully before the 2013 election.

• Also likely to face preselection challenges if they don’t retire are Philip Ruddock, in Berowra, and Senator Bill Heffernan. Sarah Martin reports that Heffernan is under pressure to make way for Hollie Hughes, the party’s country vice-president. Tony Abbott, on the other hand, is expected to recontest Warringah.

• Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis faces a challenge from Grant Schultz, son of former Hume MP Alby Schultz, but is “expected to survive”.

Meanwhile, south of the border:

Royce Millar of The Age reports on a big field of potential contestants for Liberal preselection in the south-eastern Melbourne seat of Dunkley, to be vacated at the election with the retirement of Bruce Billson. Included are Paul Peulich, mayor of Kingston and son of veteran state MP Inga Peulich; Donna Bauer, who held the marginal bayside seat of Carrum from 2010 to 2014; Peter Angelico, founder of Dandenong steel bending company Kazed; Nathan Hersey, a member of Billson’s staff; Theo Zographos, a Monash councillor; Matt Berry, a former staffer to troublesome state Frankston MP Geoff Shaw; and Chris Crewther, who ran for the Nationals-held seat of Mallee in 2013 and now runs a consultancy in Frankston.

• The Victorian Liberal Party is sorting out a replacement for Senator Michael Ronaldson, who is quitting politics after being demoted to the back bench by Malcolm Turnbull, along with the order of its Senate ticket. Richard Willingham of Fairfax reports that candidates for the vacancy include James Paterson, deputy director of the Institute of Public Affairs, and Sean Armistead, a manager at Crown Casino and the Liberals’ unsuccessful candidate for Frankston at the 2014 state election. It appears that whoever gets the gig would have to contest a half-Senate election from the dicey number three position, since support is building for Jane Hume, a senior policy adviser for Australian Super who won preselection for the position last year, to be promoted to the top spot. The second position on the ticket is reserved for the Nationals, whose member is Bridget McKenzie.

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.

1,772 comments on “BludgerTrack quarterly, and other stories”

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  1. C@tmomma

    One Chinese guy had moved to Australia specifically to study under one of our researchers. The Howard research funding “massacre” saw him forced back to china. Turned out to be a jackpot move for him though. Ended up a billionaire selling his solar panels. Not sure how he is going now as his company was in a spot of bother a couple of years back.

  2. Interesting
    Fran Kelly $255,000.
    Chris Uhlmann $255,400
    Annabel Crabb $217,426
    Barrie Cassidy $243,478
    Leigh Sales $280,400 a year.
    Juanita Phillips $316,454.
    Tony Jones $355,789
    Not a bad stable.
    Hardly the types not to look into Ross and his claims

  3. Steelydan

    Being on such a good gravy train they are “just the types” to Not look at the claims. If the management is “politically sensitive” they sure as hell would not want to rock the boat .

  4. Thoughts for the day.

    I wonder why Turnbull is going to the US and not WA to see the people affected by fires?

    I wonder why Dr Di Natale’s views on GM food have been ignored by Green folk?

    I wonder why Scott Morrison has said nothing for weeks, even though he is no longer on leave.

  5. [Hardly the types not to look into Ross and his claims]

    On the contrary even if one ignores all other known facts, as you do, the whole group all have in excess of 200,000 reasons a year to tow the line on not reporting on the NBN.

    As clearly they did.

    Mr Ross has given a throughly plausible explanation for what happened, but you don’t like that so you adopt the gibbering lying moron stance of conservatives.

    I’m not saying I believe that he’ll be able to prove everything he says, I’m not saying that ABC won’t be able to come up with some facts that reduce the severity of the appearance of its betrayal of its role and our democracy. I’m just saying you have to be exceedingly ignorant and then either stupid or dishonest to post your rubbish.

  6. A low Australian dollar is not a bad thing, $65 to $75 is about optimum for Australia, look it up wont find many economists that don’t agree. A low Australian dollar is not like high unemployment figures or high inflation figures doesn’t work that way.

  7. victoria@20

    Lady Velvet Gloves
    Lady Velvet Gloves – ‏@Baxeybel

    New Labor chief is on fire! Kaila Murnain takes top post http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/new-labor-chief-is-on-fire-kaila-murnain-takes-top-post/news-story/dfd215a751a2c780787c3b06ca21a141
    The Daily Telegraph
    The Daily Telegraph
    Embedded image
    New Labor chief is on fire!

    KAILA Murnain has become the first female general secretary of the NSW Labor Party at one of the most difficult times in its history.
    View on web
    4:43 AM – 15 Jan 2016
    3 RETWEETS2 LIKES

    Thanks for that link.

    As usual it didn’t work, but the google trick did.

    Kaila certainly sounds impressive – first tried to join the ALP at age 12 and spoke at her first conference when only 15!

    Must have it in the DNA.

    Well worth reading.

  8. I guess I did know what I was on about after all:

    ‘Indeed, in the style that has come to almost define NSW Labor in recent years, Clements was felled largely thanks to a media campaign fuelled by enemies within his own party.’

    ‘ As soon as news broke about the AVO, the party was alive with speculation that it was related to an internal power play.’

    Plus more, lots more, about Mr David Latham & his fiancé, Stephanie Jones.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/the-fallout-for-nsw-labor-leader-luke-foley-from-jamie-clements-departure-20160115-gm6iw8.html#ixzz3xMIvOpZM
    Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

  9. Whatever the faults of The Greens, it can at least be said of them that they never nurtured Mr Eddie Obeid and his charming family, or Mr Ian Macdonald.

  10. When Martin Ferguson was appointed as ALP Minister for Resources and Energy, serving from 3.12.07 to 25.3.13 the ‘fix’ was in regarding renewable energy.

    Since leaving parliament in 2013, Ferguson has continued to advocate for Australia’s energy and resources sector.

    Ferguson is the chairman of the Advisory Board of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA).

    He was also appointed as chairman of the UCL Australia board because of his advocacy for nuclear power in Australia.

    UCL Australia is an international campus of the University College London, and has key corporate partnerships with two major resource and energy companies operating in South Australia: Santos and BHP Billiton.

    Says it all really about how serious Labor was at the time about renewables.

  11. It’s nice to see the perception that the ABC is living in fear, and trying very hard not to rock the boat – bullied in other words, with a little bit of voluntary Toryism from the higher-paids – is going to be tested.

    I’m in two minds as to whether Nick Ross should have revealed his problems with depression and anxiety at this stage. It’s a no-brainer that the ABC will use this against him.

    I was also interested to see that his dedicated “case officer” from HR was actually spying on him and delivering confidential information on him to senior management. My wife has recently been through a similar routine, but her “case officer” confessed she was sent to spy and recanted. Instead she dobbed her boss, a fact that is now in the hands of our lawyers. We may or may not use it, depending on circumstances. The point is: this really does happen, but once you’re out, you’re out, and it’s very hard to get the proof once you have no rights at work.

  12. political_alert: Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen, will hold a doorstop in Sydney to discuss ‘the impact of the Liberals’ plan to increase the GST’, 1pm #auspol

  13. pedant@71

    I happened to be at a talk given by Ms Murnain a couple of months ago, and she came across as very smart and impressive.

    The only reservation I have about her is that she is from the notorious ‘NSW Right’.

  14. [Whatever the faults of The Greens, it can at least be said of them that they never nurtured Mr Eddie Obeid and his charming family, or Mr Ian Macdonald.]

    Nor Bassett, Owen, Hartcher, Spence, O’Farrell, Mantach, Sinodinos,

  15. Something for those interested in the AFL.

    A bloke asked me yesterday to name the clubs which have feline images. I said there were three:

    The Geelong cats

    The Richmond tigers

    The Brisbane lions

    Turns out there are four.

    Can anyone name the fourth one?

  16. BB

    Mr Ross has evidence. He is delaying publishing as he is after a major outlet. As well lawyers are advising on what to say and not say he made this clear in his Reddit AMA.

    Steelydan.

    You are wrong. The Guardian has published a story on the Ross allegations.

  17. C@tmomma on the Greens…
    [Unlike their cynical approach to asylum seeker policy votes, when Labor were in power.]
    Australian governments of both stripes – Coalition and Labor – have been dammed by the international community for their asylum seeker policies.

    Both parties have, and continue, to cynically pander to the xenophobic swinging voters for the sole purpose of gaining power.

    It is the the Greens party who has held a consistent position against the political duopoly in advocating for a humane policy and true regional solution.

  18. [Whatever the faults of The Greens, it can at least be said of them that they never nurtured Mr Eddie Obeid and his charming family, or Mr Ian Macdonald.]

    They don’t have enough power to influence.

  19. [WWP What known facts? try not to abuse people if you can stick to the facts argue it out, use your words.]

    The ABC not reporting the NBN? The Opposition Spokesperson tarting himself up and appearing on Q&A hundred of questions on the NBN not raised the issue not allowed to be discussed.

    Mr Ross suddenly not reporting on an important national issue, and issue at stake in the election, after having an very strong and appropriate interest in it.

    Article being held back and not published till after the election.

    You can’t do an NBN story without bagging Turnbull because on every level on every decision Turnbull has got it wrong … so what did the ABC do – it ignored the most important infrastructure project in Australia in 40 years and just didn’t report on it. Even without Ross’ recent revelations a properly sceptical view would have questioned what the hell was going on.

    And they did.

    The wall of facts is monumental; that you need even ask is enough to make my previous characterisation you object to.

    Fine if people want to have a debate, I enjoy it very much when intelligent people disagree with me, you get to stress test and evolve your own views, you get a deeper understanding and even if you both leave without shifting your basic view both parties to the discuss have a better informed better understood position.

    But sometimes, strange as it is in this world where an answer to every single question is just a bing search away, there are some people who purport to wish to engage in discussion about a topic. But they don’t want to debate. They want to spread lies. They will repeat as fact things that have been demonstrated to them as untrue not just once but many times. They will ignore facts, fail to answer questions or selectively and misleadingly answer some questions, they will disappear if someone really knowledgeable comes along, only to pop up later and start repeating the same dishonest rubbish. These people are not for a debate. They don’t want to explore their position or anyone else’s. They are essentially frauds. There very method and manner of communication is an insult to everyone else. They don’t deserve any more courtesy than they are giving and they are giving none at all.

  20. [The Geelong cats

    The Richmond tigers

    The Brisbane lions

    Turns out there are four.

    Can anyone name the fourth one?]

    I’m struggling …

  21. https://newmatilda.com/2016/01/16/the-abc-scare-campaign-against-the-debate-to-raise-the-gst/

    [BC journalist Fran Kelly is the serial offender in using the loaded term ‘GST scare campaign’, which frames opponents of a GST increase or extension as jaundiced demagogues who rely on a societal fear that has no rational basis.

    Leigh Sales and Barrie Cassidy are others who choose to use the pejorative term when alternative, descriptively accurate, and objective terms are available.]

  22. [BC journalist Fran Kelly is the serial offender in using the loaded term ‘GST scare campaign’, which frames opponents of a GST increase or extension as jaundiced demagogues who rely on a societal fear that has no rational basis.

    Leigh Sales and Barrie Cassidy are others who choose to use the pejorative term when alternative, descriptively accurate, and objective terms are available.]

    In their defence the pro GST increase, pro company tax rate decrease people have spent a long time, maybe as long as 5 years conditioning people to use the willingness to consider and implement a GST increase as a test of credibility.

    One would hope that the ABC professionals would not be easily conditioned and perhaps even trained in spin and how to avoid becoming tools of very biased spin, but apparently not.

    Try explaining that to steelydan he wont believe ya.

  23. WWP

    An excellent description of a few well known on PB. I find the disappearing and returning with the same rubbish ‘facts’ the most irritating of all.

  24. [One would hope that the ABC professionals would not be easily conditioned and perhaps even trained in spin and how to avoid becoming tools of very biased spin, but apparently not.]

    Perhaps Senior Management should ‘gag’ them – as they did to Ross?

  25. ICYMI

    [Nick Ross ‏@NickRossTech 2h2 hours ago
    @peterdrew so far I’ve only really done Twitter and Reddit (brief Crikey chat). Main Journalism happens next week.]

  26. ruawake

    [ Nick Ross ‏@NickRossTech 2h2 hours ago
    @peterdrew so far I’ve only really done Twitter and Reddit (brief Crikey chat). Main Journalism happens next week. ]

    Giving the ABC that much time to discredit him, school their staff to get their stories straight, and ‘revise’ any incriminating documentation seems like a bad move – I hope he already has the evidence he needs.

  27. “His case worker was spying on him” on my that takes the cake. This is a disgruntled employee with serious health issues and time will show this to be the case. In a weeks time when Ross has no proof of his allegations, you are going to have to go even further down the conspiracy theory road and make yourselves look even more foolish.

  28. BushFireBill@70

    [ I was also interested to see that his dedicated “case officer” from HR was actually spying on him and delivering confidential information on him to senior management. My wife has recently been through a similar routine, but her “case officer” confessed she was sent to spy and recanted. Instead she dobbed her boss, a fact that is now in the hands of our lawyers. We may or may not use it, depending on circumstances. The point is: this really does happen, but once you’re out, you’re out, and it’s very hard to get the proof once you have no rights at work. ]

    I think this situation is now the norm. One of the big problems with reporting sexual harassment is that an institution now sees its main interest as protecting said institution against any legal action. My institution has an independent counseling service for staff – very common these days, and if you call them, the first thing they state (after getting your name) is that they are not allowed to give you any advice that may be against the interests of the institution. I had rung for legal advice, and found myself under duress to get personal counselling by the independent service. I got off the phone as quickly as I could.

    I am now helping others at my institution with bulling and sexual harassment problems, and the story is always the same – you need personal counseling, there is no other problem. One of my coworkers, whose wife works in a hospital, and had made a complaint, found that her boss immediately knew all about the allegations she had made.

    This seems to be common practice, and we now discourage people from using internal services, because in every case we know of (many now) the services are just used to spy on the employee.

  29. Giving the ABC that much time to discredit him, school their staff to get their stories straight, and ‘revise’ any incriminating documentation seems like a bad move – I hope he already has the evidence he needs.

    yep it has already started, a great conspiracy by the ABC.

  30. [Steelydan emerging as the new Skeptical Liberal Troll. Must have graduated from Menzies House in the Class of 2015.]

    another spending their days in the basement at LIBHQ on a work for the dole program

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