BludgerTrack: 52.0-48.0 to Coalition

The poll aggregate moves in Labor’s favour for the fourth week in a row, this time rather sharply in the wake of Newspoll’s surprise result.

Newspoll’s surprise this week has caused a minor landslip in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which moves 0.8% to Labor on two-party preferred, while delivering only a modest gain of three on the seat projection (one each in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia). The leadership results from the poll have also caused Malcolm Turnbull’s net approval rating to continue its downward trajectory, and given a very slight impression of Bill Shorten pulling out of his slump. Also in the mix this week were results from Roy Morgan and Essential Research, neither of which recorded much movement, although the former found Labor hanging on to a big gain the previous fortnight.

In other news, the big story at the moment is obviously the introduction this week of Senate reform legislation to the Senate, for which there is a dedicated thread here for you to comment on, together with my paywalled contribution to Crikey on Tuesday. Then there’s preselection news:

• Nominations for the hotly contested Liberal preselection in Mackellar closed on Friday, with seven challengers coming forward to take on Bronwyn Bishop. Joe Kelly of The Australian reports the field includes the widely touted Walter Villatora and Jason Falinksi (see this earlier post for further detail), along with Bill Calcraft, a former Wallabies player described by the Sydney Morning Herald as having “returned to Australia after a long career in business in Europe”. For what it may be worth in well-heeled Mackellar, Calcraft has the support of talk radio broadcaster Alan Jones, who coached him when he played for Manly in the 1980s. The other candidates are Campbell Welsh, a stockbroker; Vicky McGahey, a school teacher; and Alan Clarke, founder of Street Mission.

Sarah Martin of The Australian reports that while Craig Kelly no longer faces opposition from Sutherland Shire mayor Kent Johns in the Liberal preselection for Hughes, two other local party members have nominated against him: Jeffrey Clarke, a barrister, and Michael Medway, noted only as the candidate for Werriwa in 2004.

• The Liberal preselection to replace Andrew Robb in Goldstein, which was covered here in detail last week, looms as a contest between Georgina Downer and Tim Wilson, after another highly rated candidate, local software entrepreneur Marcus Bastiaan, ruled himself out. Christian Kerr of The Australian reports on a move by locals to throw their weight behind Denis Dragovic, a “former hostage negotiator, academic and global development worker”. Also expected to nominate by Kerr’s Liberal sources are Jeremy Samuel, chairman of the party’s Caulfield electorate committee, and John Osborn, director of economics and industry policy for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

• The Liberal preselection to replace Bruce Billson in the outer south-eastern Melbourne seat of Dunkley has been won by Chris Crewther, a Frankston-based business consultant. Steve Lillebuen of Fairfax reports that Crewther won in the final round over Donna Bauer, who held the state seat of Carrum for the Liberals from 2010 to 2014. Crewther unsuccessfully attempted to win the rural seat of Mallee for the Liberals when Nationals member John Forrest retired in 2013, but was defeated by Nationals candidate Andrew Broad.

• The retirement of Warren Truss creates a preselection vacancy in the Nationals stronghold of Wide Bay in central Queensland. Among those to express interest are Jeff Seeney, who entered state politics in 1998 and served as Opposition Leader from March 2011 to March 2012, and as Deputy Premier through the period of Campbell Newman’s government from March 2012 to February 2015. Also said to be in the mix is Tim Langmead, a former adviser to Truss.

• Also vacant is Ian Macfarlane’s Toowoomba-based seat of Groom, where the state member for Toowoomba South, John McVeigh, has confirmed he will seek Liberal National Party preselection.

Sally Cripps of the North Queensland Register reports four candidates have nominated for Liberal National Party preselection in Bob Katter’s seat of Kennedy: Michael Trout, who held the state seat of Barron River from 2012 to 2015; Shane Meteyard, grazier and owner of Milray Contracting; Jonathan Pavetto, economic advisor for the Alliance of Electricity Consumers; and Karina Samperi, a Cairns management consultant. The narrowly unsuccessful candidate from 2013, Noeline Ikin, has withdrawn after being diagnosed with cancer.

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.

3,221 comments on “BludgerTrack: 52.0-48.0 to Coalition”

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  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Peter Martin says Turnbull has all but walked away from tax reform. Is it clearing the decks for the mother of all scare campaigns he wonders.
    Martin goes on to say Turnbull will squib tax reform because he’s terrified by it.
    More on this theme from Mark Kenny.
    The property industry’s mining tax style negative gearing campaign will be a test for democracy.
    Nick Xenophon goes in hard against the owner of the Wendy’s franchising outfit for bring a “corporate cannibal”. (Google the string below).
    “Days of Our Lives”, sorry “The Margaret Cunneen Story”. continues apace. No wonder she didn’t want the contents of the intercept tapes released.
    If the graphs in this article on the housing bubble don’t appear as props in QT today I’ll be surprised.
    Andrew Denton asks why we are so scared of euthanasia.
    Tony Wright on the Bernardi/Shorten clash.
    Here’s “View from the Street” on said slap down and several other topical issues.

  2. Section 2 . . .

    Judith Ireland tells us why the Safe Schools program is in place.
    Meanwhile The Guardian calls out Abetz for lying on the extent of concern in schools about the anti-bullying program. But that’s Eric isn’t it.
    The Supreme Court rules that Father John Fleming is a “criminal, moral coward” as it dismisses Fleming’s defamation suit against The Advertiser.
    How will the proposed senate voting rules affect your vote?,8711
    A lawyer who represented a victim of clergy abuse in Ballarat says that Pell must provide answers to the questions that will be asked of him.
    Now Immigration wants to arm it’s officers with stun guns!
    This is what happens to your food before you eat it.
    It’s now down to Rubio to trump Trump.
    Trump is surfing in on waves of anger in the electorate.
    Paul Sheehan with a standard-setting apology piece.

  3. Section 3 . . . with Cartoon Corner

    How stupid can some mothers get?
    Ron Tandberg knows how to put a simple cartoon together.

    John Spooner (judging from the style) takes us into the bedroom at the lodge with Malcolm and Lucy.

    Alan Moir continues his fun at the expense of Turnbull’s tax policy woes.

    Ron Tandberg on the Freudian misuse of a particular word.

    David Pope readies us for the Defence White Paper.
    Mark Knight with a rather graphic cartoon on the Melbourne bus crash.
    There’s a lot to see in this effort from David Rowe!

    And in this one that appeared late yesterday.

  4. dave@2215 on Newspoll: 50-50 | The Poll Bludger

    Cracks appear in Coalition as tax plans founder

    As the government struggled again on Wednesday to get its lines straight on tax policy, sources said there was an uneasy mood between Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison on Sunday night when the cabinet met at The Lodge for dinner, and the government’s general political situation and its derailed tax reform plans were discussed.

    “It was about ‘how did we get into this mess?’” said a source, who added that the discussion then moved to trying to agree on a way forward.

    One source said the atmosphere during the cabinet meeting on Monday night, held after a Newspoll showing Labor and the Coalition tied at 50 per cent on the two-party preferred vote, was businesslike ….

    That same meeting did resolve that the government stick to its original plan and release its tax policy in the May 10 budget, and not be spooked into putting it out earlier.

    ….there was still a belief that Labor leader Bill Shorten was unelectable.

    Friends of Mr Morrison say he is being unfairly blamed for the tax plans running off the rails…..

    “Scott was just doing his job and ….. “Howard would never have done that to Costello.”

    One MP said the backbench feared Mr Turnbull was panicking and “needs to make a decision”.

    Multiple Coalition MPs confided they have been deflated this week by the government’s performances in Parliament…..

    On Monday, Mr Turnbull ruled out any changes to capital gains tax “whatsoever”, only to have to backtrack on Tuesday….

    On Wednesday,…..Kelly O’Dwyer misspoke …..and said Labor’s policy would cause house prices to increase. Mr Turnbull argues house prices will be “smashed”.

  5. Liberals are doing their version of the hokey pokey
    You put your policy in
    You take your policy out
    You put your policy in and shake it all about
    You take your policy out
    you do the hokey pokey and you turn around
    You take your policy out you do the hokey pokey and you turn around

  6. [ Norway Warns Sweden Will Collapse, PM Will Defy Geneva Convention To Protect Border

    Sweden has a refugee problem….in last 12 months…has taken on more than 160,000 asylum seekers.

    …Sweden plans to deport some 80,000 of the refugees this year but according to Norwegian PM Erna Solberg, it may be too little too late to keep the country from collapsing. So concerned is Solberg that she’s now crafted an emergency law that will allow Norway to refuse asylum seekers at the border in the event “it all breaks down” in Sweden.

    “It is a force majeure proposal…

    Here’s how the proposal is being presented by the anti-immigration Swedish online magazine Fria Tider: “Norway is now preparing to denounce the Geneva Convention and to secure the border with Sweden by force – without letting people apply for asylum.”

    Yes, “worst case scenarios,” like what Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström described last October when she said “most people feel that we cannot maintain a system where perhaps 190,000 people will arrive every year – in the long run, our system will collapse.”]

  7. @BK

    David Rowe has hit the mark, David Pope seems to be inspired by the Canberra hospital demolition in the early 90s, and Mark Knight would be expecting a column in the Herald Sun tomorrow full of complains from readers on how his comic might be seen as too graphic.

  8. 52 – 48, sounds about right. News poll may have been an overshoot, but it has become self fulfilling.
    The next set of polls will be very interesting. Mal seems to have crumbled, but really I didn’t think there was that much pressure to explain the extent of his change.

    Also I don’t like the way Newspoll varies its releases to match the start of a parliamentary session, they want to be a player, by all means cut back from 2 weeks to 4 if short of money, but don’t try to game the system for maximum impact.
    If anything a poll should be held at the end of a session – as some sort of judgment how the parties performed.

  9. Dear oh dear, Paul Sheehan. One of the few appeals I can see in being a far right political commentator is the opportunity you get to sneer at identity and victim politics. But Sheehan denies himself that opportunity by embracing these things. (a white person claiming to have been a victim of Islamic rape is a form of identity, or perhaps “reverse identity” politics).

    The problem with building a case on uncorroborated stories from self-proclaimed victims is that they might turn out to be attention-seeking liars. Journalism 101 says that it’s ok to publish these sorts of victim stories in a direct way, but not to use them as the basis for concerted criticism of the police or other authorities unless you have access to supporting evidence. It was 7.30’s problem with the alleged 5yo rape victim and it’s Sheehan’s problem today.

    There’s really no excuse for professional journos.

  10. [ President Trump? Traders Aren’t Sure How to Prepare for That

    If markets hate uncertainty, this year’s U.S. presidential elections have the potential to provoke full-blown contempt.

    This much is known: the eighth year of a presidency ranks last in terms of equity returns, and that the first half of an election year is often even worse. Add everything else that has been weighing on markets in 2016, from China to oil and the Federal Reserve, and few money managers see a return to the calm that reigned from 2012 to 2015.

    “There’s this fragmentation that’s throwing up a lot more variables than the market can contend with at the moment, and central banks are no longer filling that policy vacuum,” said Michael Ingram, a market strategist at BGC Partners in London. Political uncertainty is a “wholly unwelcome variable” and Trump’s viability is only now “starting to creep into the investment calculation,” he said.

    What does it mean for markets? Trump has outlined stances on immigration reform, domestic job creation and even a boycott on Apple Inc., while Sanders’ proposals could boost capital gains taxes above 50 percent.

    Uncertainty around this election has become the biggest question.

    “It’s certainly a crazy cycle on both sides”.

    “It’s a very, very scary year,” . “You have a U.S. election where Trump is continuing to defy expectations and people in Europe have no idea what that would bring.”

    It isn’t unusual for markets to struggle in the first half of presidential election years. The timing of the market’s bottom is linked to when the winner has become clear, the study found.

    For equity investors, a Trump presidency could conceivably benefit defense and homeland security companies, infrastructure builders, and consumer discretionary companies, should he fulfill his pledge to cut taxes on low- and middle-income workers.]

  11. [….there was still a belief that Labor leader Bill Shorten was unelectable.]

    This is why Turnbull thinks he can run a smear campaign and not put out any policies and win. Hold that thought Malcolm, hold that thought …

  12. From the Coorey article. Didn’t know about this.

    [When news broke on Wednesday that Mr Turnbull was negotiating with the states to boost heath and education funding, to counter a Labor promise and make up for Mr Abbott’s 2014 budget cuts, there was an awareness that this ran counter to Mr Morrison’s frequent statements that there was no more money for the states and they needed to make savings of their own.]

    Read more:
    Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

  13. From the Coorey article. Didn’t know about this.

    [When news broke on Wednesday that Mr Turnbull was negotiating with the states to boost heath and education funding, to counter a Labor promise and make up for Mr Abbott’s 2014 budget cuts, there was an awareness that this ran counter to Mr Morrison’s frequent statements that there was no more money for the states and they needed to make savings of their own.]

    Read more:
    Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

  14. [Malcolm Turnbull is moving to defuse a bruising election-year clash with state premiers over health and education funding cuts with a deal that would result in a further deterioration in the federal budget bottom line.

    While Treasurer Scott Morrison has been maintaining pressure on states to fix their own budget shortfalls, the Prime Minister is signalling to state leaders that he is open to an interim funding fix.

    The stop-gap measure would still leave open the longer-term question of the division of funding and service responsibilities between states, territory and federal governments – something that would need to be addressed in years to come.]

    Read more:
    Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

    It’s never about the national interest for Liberals, but their own short term political interests.

  15. Morning all

    Thanks BK. The fibs are going the full scare campaign path on negative gearing. Labor should release another policy today or tomorrow.


    [Labor is accusing the incoming chair of a powerful committee of Federal Parliament of “extreme right wing” views that should disqualify him for the job.

    Bipartisanship on national security could be shattered if the Government proceeds with plans to install Liberal backbencher Andrew Nikolic to chair the Joint Intelligence Committee, Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus told AM.

    “Bipartisanship is put at risk by Mr Nikolic, who has made his political career out of being a highly partisan, highly aggressive battler for extreme right wing views,” he said.]

  17. [Don Wilson ‏@gorgeousdunny1 · 29s30 seconds ago

    Only one school quit Safe Schools LGBTI program after parents’ objections
    Erica misrepresent and tell porkies?Never!]

    And Erica said “thousands of parent object” with an absolutely straight face.

  18. Before Turnbull challenged Abbott for the leadership, he gave his reasons for doing so. Turns out unsurprisingly, that he was telling fibs. The voters should be mightly peeved off with this soap opera. This govt have been dreadful from go to whoa. Now we have Turnbull doing everything to ensure he remains PM after the next election. Whilst he and his govt fiddle, Rome burns


    New Matilda weighs in on Sheehan’s ‘apology” – calls for his dismissal.

    [Fairfax and Sheehan have been peddling this racist crap for years. An apology from Sheehan is not enough. Fairfax must sack him (think of ‘Mike Calrton’ as you read this). Programs like ABC’s Insiders – which have long provided a platform for Sheehan to promote his bile – should never use him again (and apologise for using him in the first place). In short, Sheehan should be put out to the racist pasture where he belongs, left alone to shout at clouds.]

  20. confessions

    Partly true re Trump. Trump has two positive features 1) He hates Rupert , 2) He thinks the US should “stop being the world’s policeman”


    Maps of the new zones included in this report.

    [EXCLUSIVE: AUSTRALIA has a new climate, according to research from the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre.

    New analysis based on rain records since 2000 shows rainfall zones have moved — in some cases up to 400km.

    The research applies six weather classifications across the nation and, significantly for Victorian croppers, alters the classification for parts of the Mallee, North Central and Riverina.

    Once considered to experience winter rainfall, these regions — according to AEGIC — are now classified as uniform rainfall zones.

    Uniform rainfall implies equally distributed rainfall over summer and winter seasons, but cropping in the southern region traditionally has relied on a winter rainfall pattern.

    “Since 2000, there has been a general increase in summer rainfall across Australia, and corresponding decrease in winter rainfall, leading to shifts in rainfall zones extending hundreds of kilometres,” AEGIC meteorologist David Stephens said.

    …The new research is in stark contrast to existing Bureau of Meteorology maps, which are based on rainfall figures from 1900 to 1999.]

  22. [
    geoffrey 2193 (previous thread)
    so we have shorten for an election? anyone done a pub test on him lately?
    I have had discussions with a GRN friend who was enamored by Turnbull and slagging off Shorten. He has since given up on Turnbull and said Shorten was “much improved”.

    The real problem for Turnbull is, when push come to Shove, he is Freddy no-friends. Nobody has his back… he does not inspire loyalty. He cops more abuse on Murdoch comment sections than he does here. And even here Abbott had the odd crazy supporter.

    This is why Turnbull going agro in the past few days is a bit odd. He is better off keeping it polite and shallow, because if the argument gets heated people will not fight for him.

  23. [This is why Turnbull thinks he can run a smear campaign and not put out any policies and win. Hold that thought Malcolm, hold that thought …]

    Labor held a similarly mistaken belief about a bloke called Tony Abbott. The incompetence required by the Libs to make a moderate guy like Bill ‘electable’ is orders of magnitude less than the chaos Labor devolved into to make Abbott PM.

    I said at the time he was promoted that the high expectations around Turnbull would be a disadvantage to him and the low expectations around Shorten an advantage for him. Abbott only had to stand up and make some barely coherent sounds to exceed the expectations of him. Turnbull is actively seeking to disappoint the fools who thought he would be different. But Bill is turning out to be a pleasant surprise to many who had written him off far too soon.

    It has a long way to play out yet, but Shorten’s netsats trendline will cross Turnbull’s before the election.

  24. From the Grauniad,

    [Liberal Senator Zed Seselja is on Sky News at the moment. He’s sounding less than enthused about this idea.

    I guess I’d want to know what the policy rationale for such a cap would be.

    Labor has grabbed this report this morning, arguing a change like that would be retrospective (unlike Labor’s which only impacts housing investments after mid 2017). It would impact existing investments. Labor says the government must immediately rule out any negative gearing change that would have retrospective effect.]

    Ho ho ho. The RWNJs on the Liberal backbench are going to force another very brave retreat from brave brave Sir Malcolm aren’t they?

  25. Martin outlines the (increasingly small) tax reforms left to the government. Shorten should immediately adopt these as Labor policy, and Turnbull will then rule them out before QT even gets started.

  26. The genius of the Liberals was on display again this morning in a discussion on 3aw regarding the need for more schools in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. It seems that the sharp increase in population as a result of all the high density dwellings that are springing up in those areas is creating this situation. Whoever would have thought?

    Only problem is that twenty years ago our genius Premier at the time, Jeff Kennett closed schools all over Melbourne and instead of retaining the land for likely future requirements sold it all off. Now, the only option is to build high rise schools at huge cost with virtually no play areas or outdoor activities for the children.

    Well done Jeff. Dickhead.

  27. From yesterday’s Crikey. Apologies if already posted.

    [Malcolm Turnbull went on a blistering attack of the policy. ”Bill Shorten’s policy is calculated to reduce the value of your home,” he thundered to Parliament. By “your” we assume he meant the blue-blood millionaire constituents of the Liberal Party. And in the hope that housing may one day be affordable for the young and low-income, we are crossing our fingers he is right. ”Unlike the Liberal Party, who thinks that the Australian dream is to negatively gear your seventh house, we think the Australian dream is to able to afford to buy your first house,” said Bill Shorten, looking for all the world like an actual opposition leader.

    Shorten, not a gent we usually associate with the phrase, seems to have a fire in his belly of late. He has defended anti-bullying program the Safe Schools Coalition, after Turnbull caved (again) to his conservative masters and called for an investigation into it. And in mic-drop exchange with Cory Bernardi this morning, Shorten called out to him: “At least I’m not a homophobe either, mate.”]

  28. [He has since given up on Turnbull and said Shorten was “much improved”. ]

    Chuckle. This is, of course, what we as human beings do. Two people go along, just being themselves – but when we decide that we no longer like one and are coming to like the other, we say it’s because they’ve changed. Of course, the person who has changed is us.

    That’s why a feather duster on election eve can become a rooster the morning after.

  29. It’s interesting to see the tweets in reply to Sheehan’s article. Some people who twigged early on that it was bullshit got a full spray from the self-appointed guardians of REAL Australia.

    Proved wrong yet again. Don’t these people get sick of humble pie.

  30. Peter_F_Ryan: Peter Costello to take over as chairman at Nine Entertainment – remains as Future Fund chairman @amworldtodaypm @ABCNews24 @702sydney

  31. I read the Louise article. At first, I took it at face value, but as I reflected on it, I became more and more sceptical.

    OK, so she didn’t report the rape herself for six months. Yet, on admission to hospital (in the condition she describes) it would have been obvious that she had been raped and assaulted. I would assume, in those circumstances, that the hospital itself would do some basic forensics – collecting semen samples, for example.

    There would also be (obviously) medical records outlining her condition.

    So right there, two pieces of evidence obtained within hours of the crime.

    Given DNA evidence coming from crime scenes thirty plus years ago is now being used to identify criminals, it is inconceivable that the police would ignore this.

    Dead people – notoriously unable to report the crime that killed them at the local cop shop – have had their rapes and assaults investigated, even without asking that this happen (given their obvious constraints). Why wouldn’t the same happen for a living victim?

  32. senthorun: From caving on #SafeSchools to plebiscites, our “progressive” PM just gives bigots opportunities to vilify LGBTI people. So painful. #auspol

  33. Got in the car yesterday, the radio came on, tuned to parliament.

    There was a total idiot on, he could barely string two sentences together, and kept jumping from one topic to another without anything connecting the two. Couldn’t work out who it was, and I could barely understand what he was saying, the diction and grammar were terrible.

    Then he started talking about dams and agriculture, and the penny dropped.

    Barnaby Joyce, as ever was.

    Our esteemed local representative. Think you’ve got problems? Hah!

    [The failure of the’ detention saves lives’ argument to meet all the conditions of the ‘Dirty Harry’ scenario confirms that there is no genuine moral dilemma surrounding this issue as successive, and possibly future, governments would have us believe.

    As the appalling impacts of offshore detention become more widely known, alternative policies are advocated in high places, and simplistic slogans about stopping the boats begin to unravel, governments will find it increasingly difficult to maintain the charade that these policies, on any reasonable criteria, represent a lesser of evils.]

    [Labor’s unconvincing performance on Senate voting reform reached new levels with the extraordinary speech by frontbencher Gary Gray in parliament on Wednesday.

    Labor this week has been going through contortions as it opposes the government’s proposed changes.

    The short version of its travails is this. The ALP originally agreed Senate voting reform was necessary, and was part of drafting bipartisan recommendations made by the parliamentary committee on electoral matters.

    What’s being proposed in the legislation the government introduced this week is based on these recommendations, although not precisely the same. But Labor then split, as the factional hardheads feared the changes would most likely benefit the Coalition. As expected, the opponents of change prevailed in shadow cabinet on Monday.

    Labor MPs have struggled to prosecute the new line, arguing the reforms would in effect exclude those who did not vote for the main parties (including the Greens) and making other objections. But their credibility has been undermined by the switch the party has made.]
    Now the new line being pushed and emphasised by Wong and others is the speed with which the bill is being pushed through parliament.

  36. Good one by finns

    [20m20 minutes ago
    Finnigans 天有道地有道人无道 ‏@Thefinnigans
    Peta’s Principle:

    1 Whiteant Turnbull
    2 Turnbull loses #Election2016
    3 Tone becomes the best LOTO in history again
    Embedded image]

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