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. Darn@35

    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.

    Yes, the Kennett legacy casts a long shadow over Melbourne and the rest of Victoria.

    I am just amazed that anyone gives him any credibility. He led the most corrupt, evil government in living memory.

  2. [Stephanie Anderson
    Stephanie Anderson – Verified account ‏@stephanieando

    Wong on #safeschools: The way to take the heat out of this is for Malcolm Turnbull to stop placating the hard right of his party #auspol
    12:45 PM – 24 Feb 2016

    Talk later bludgers

  3. It has already been reported Gary Gray was prepared to negotiate with the Coalition on the senate voting reforms bill but was not allowed.

    [He told parliament he had sought his party’s permission to meet with the government to “negotiate a better bill”, but lost the debate internally. Gray said the legislation would be improved if it reflected the committee’s recommendations in full, “but it still would not have won the support of my party”.]

  4. shea mcduff@26: (Quote from New Matilda) “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.”

    Oh dear. NM has a pretty reasonable point in drawing a parallel between Sheehan and Carlton. But if part of their gripe is Sheehan’s failure to get his facts straight, well…

    I think I must have missed about 3 episodes of Insiders in the past 4-5 years. I don’t recall Paul Sheehan having ever appeared on the show so, unless he was there on the 3 particular occasions I missed, I suspect NM has made a mistake here.

    I didn’t ever watch the show, but I believe that Sheehan was frequently on the Bolt Report.

  5. From link provided by Guytaur:
    [Modelling of the bill by the Parliamentary Library, commissioned by Mr Gray, reveals if the changes had been in place at the 2013 election it may have changed the result in six Senate seats. The Coalition would have one extra seat overall with gains in Victoria and Tasmania but Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos may not have won in NSW.

    Labor may have picked up two extra senators — in Western Australia and South Australia — while Nick Xenophon would have two seats. The Greens would have lost Sarah Hanson-Young in South Australia but gained a seat in NSW. Crossbenchers Ricky Muir in Victoria and Bob Day in South Australia would not have been elected, while Jacqui Lambie would not have won her Tasmanian seat for the Palmer United Party.

    The Library cautions its ­calculations are a guide based on “above the line” voting at the 2013 poll and various factors could change voter behaviour. The calculations suggest the current crossbench of eight would drop to five, but the Coaliton would need the support of all five to pass legislation that was opposed by Labor and the Greens. It currently needs six of the eight to pass legislation.]

  6. Now the new line being pushed and emphasised by Wong and others is the speed with which the bill is being pushed through parliament.

    It has been two years since the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters endorsed optional preferential voting for the Senate.

    Yeah, Penny Wong, these proposals have been rushed. Eejit.

  7. Darn@35: I’m not normally inclined to want to be fair to Kennett, especially as I have had the incomparable “pleasure” of meeting the bloke on a couple of occasions, but…

    When he was Premier of Victoria, the State was in a massive budgetary hole. The inner city schools had declined in numbers, and it certainly made sense to close them. Having done so, how could he have justified holding onto unoccupied land and/or diverted taxpayer funds to invest in building new buildings to rent there (and think what would have happened if the investments had proved to be duds: and history shows that Governments often make very poor decisions on investments).

    I suspect selling the land was very much the right thing to do at the time.

  8. ratsak
    [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]
    Yes, it’s obey your RWNJ masters or “Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin” gets…

    [His head smashed in
    And his heart cut out
    And his liver removed
    And his bowels unplugged
    And his nostrils raped
    And his bottom burnt off
    And his penis split and his..]

  9. meher @ 56

    Sheehan has been on the Drum from time to time. I suspect that NM has been confusing the two. As a general point on the comparison, there was no apology from Carleton – which is why he was asked by Fairfax to look for other opportunities.

  10. PennySharpemlc: Apology to the 78ers will be debated in the NSW LA at 10.30. Was passed unanimously in the LC just now. #nswpol #sydneymardigras

    24 will be crossing to this

  11. Dear Nicholas, everyone can know that certain reforms have been proposed, they can have been sitting around for years, but until the actual legislation hits the table, discussion is happening in a vacuum.

    What we have now is a proposal, which differs from the original. Moreover, we have it in an election year, which restricts the time available to look at it.

    Yes, the report was tabled years ago – so why wait until now to get around to doing anything about it? Why not draw up some legislation eighteen months ago – or a year ago, or six months ago?

    Of course the legislation is being rushed. That’s obvious.

    And that makes it worthwhile looking at why.

  12. [Yeah, Penny Wong, these proposals have been rushed. Eejit.]

    Didn’t they come out Monday? This week? Idiots like you didn’t even know the details, like whether or not it someone could run a just vote 1 campaign, in the election due anytime now. Even the AEC said it needed three months, why isn’t it already ready? That’s right the proposal came out this week and is being rushed.

    Comedy gold

  13. LaborHerald: “Why are you taking the side of people who would bully and victimise kids who are grappling with their sexual identity?” @billshortenmp

    LaborHerald: “Why are so many of the right wing of the Liberal party obsessed about these issues?” @billshortenmp #auspol
    LaborHerald: “The vast bulk of Oz parents want to make sure that their kids are dealing with issues and aren’t being bullied at school.” @billshortenmp

  14. lizzie

    The instinct of Liberals is always to sell the farm to buy feed for the animals.]
    To fatten the animals before sending them to the abattoir.

  15. BevanShields: Bill Shorten on calling Cory Bernardi a homophobe: “I did in five seconds what Malcolm Turnbull hasn’t done in five months” #auspol

  16. Good morning all,

    I have posted many times I gave given up on trying to work out what Australian voters are thinking about particular issues.

    However, I will dip my toe into the water once again and reflect that voters will not give a toss about senate reform.

    Even to me it is a issue clouded in noise and detail that I find impossible to fathom.

    I have no idea if the senate changes are good or bad and at the superficial level sounds like the major parties are involved in a snouts in trough attempt to garner more votes. Nothing more or less.

    I well may be wrong but I do not think it will be a major issue to the disengaged and is simply a chance for the tragics to look down from on high and argue about a issue not too many really give a rats about.

    Just the sort of things the sanctimonious greens love when they are being dealt out of the main game.

    My take anyway. Much more important things to concentrate on.


  17. guytaur @ 63 re “Shorten presser”

    Just to make sure there are no double standards at play, I would expect he will be calling Joe Bullock a homophobe in the presser.


    [The taxpayer-funded program, aimed at helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex (LGBTI) school students, is under review after a number of Coalition MPs expressed concerns.

    Labor has been vocal in its support for the program, but Western Australian senator Joe Bullock has since called for the program to be “immediately stopped”.

    Senator Bullock, a member of Labor’s right faction, told News Corp it was a terrible program.

    “This program is so narrowly focused on homosexual issues that it doesn’t provide the sort of balance one would hope,” he said.]

    Will Shorten call Bullock a “homophobe”?

  19. zoomster@66

    Damn right, here’s what I wrote in an article on “The Roar” earlier in the year:

    “Here’s a tip for the cynical reader: whenever reading legislation introduced by a political party of any persuasion, don’t just read the press release. Go to the actual legislation, and read the document, starting at the last page, where the contentious or self-serving parts of the legislation are to be found.”

  20. [meher baba
    Posted Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 10:00 am | PERMALINK
    Darn@35: I’m not normally inclined to want to be fair to Kennett, especially as I have had the incomparable “pleasure” of meeting the bloke on a couple of occasions, but…

    When he was Premier of Victoria, the State was in a massive budgetary hole. The inner city schools had declined in numbers, and it certainly made sense to close them. Having done so, how could he have justified holding onto unoccupied land and/or diverted taxpayer funds to invest in building new buildings to rent there (and think what would have happened if the investments had proved to be duds: and history shows that Governments often make very poor decisions on investments).

    I suspect selling the land was very much the right thing to do at the time.]

    I agree that there was an argument for closing the schools. But I disagree that it was the right thing to sell off the land. It was dumb.

  21. From the ‘oh that’s all right then’ files…

    [One more for the parallel universe. Liberal MP Luke Simpkins has told parliament this morning he’s never met a homophobe.

    I have never met anyone that displays an extreme or irrational fear of homosexuality. I have an army background and a sporting background and never have I met anyone who has such fears.]

  22. QUESTION – I’ve got better than a pub test. The missus was always getting tired of my rants against turnbull (that’s why I’ve had to come to poll bludger!). But last night, she was ranting about him. I sense she’s also starting to sneak onto the Shorten bandwagon. The worse Turnbull looks, the more people will give Shortie the benefit of the doubt. It’s like a lift system.

  23. Unlike Turnbull Shorten supports the antibully safe schools programme.

    So where the rubber hits the road Shorten is against homophobia and for funding practical solutions to fix it.

    So asking if Shorten is calling Bullock a homophobe is political grandstanding. Of course I think Mr Shorten should call out Mr Bullock too. However in the political fray that does not matter much as Mr Shorten has nailed his colours to the mast on bullying of kids questioning their sexuality in schools.

    In Labor Mr Bullock is shouting into the wind as the Labor party is backing Mr Shorten big time on this.

  24. As pointed out in my post @ 55 – Why was Gary Gray refused permission by his own party to negotiate with the Coalition on the senate voting reform bill?

  25. This “posting too quickly” nonsense is particularly irritating because one of the enjoyable features of PB was the quick fire conversation (even witty repartee 😉 ) in response to live interviews or parliamentary broadcasts.

    The delay produced by the demands of the WordPress sergeant-major means that a comment misses its timing and and may even seem irrelevant when the event has finished.

  26. The Greens are mad if they think OPV will advantage them. It won’t. If votes exhaust before being transferred there will be fewer votes available to help elect Labor candidates. So voting Green will likely increase the chances of Liberals being elected. If this happens, Green voters will be likely to shift their primary votes to Labor in order to help prevent the election of Liberals.

    The Green PV could well start to shrink.

  27. mb

    Indeed, it was fairly well accepted in political circles that some of these schools needed to be closed, but that Labor couldn’t do it. The same with other Kennett decisions, such as amalgamating local councils.

    The man did incredible long term damage, however – I look at hundreds of kilometres of pine forest just outside my boundary, leased ‘in perpetuity’. (Ironically, this has been a windfall for local council, as it’s now considered commercial land and can be rated). And, of course, part of the problems with fixing the rail system has been that the government has to either buy back leases or negotiate with a private company before it can even begin to do anything.

  28. [Will Shorten call Bullock a “homophobe”?]

    Only when Bullock exerts sufficient influence on Turncoat to have the program ‘reviewed’.

    Just to make a couple of other points. First, if Bullock were to interrupt a Shorten presser with a nasty jibe, I suspect that might generate the same response – plus having his arse kicked from here to eternity in private. Secondly, Bernardi is a homophobe on the basis of a whole history of gross comments and misleading claims about non pure hetero people, not just this one issue.

  29. [I suspect selling the land was very much the right thing to do at the time]

    Only if you have no vision, foresight, or imagination, and are an ideologically moribund zealot.

  30. MB, I recall (and maybe wrong) that Jeff sold off public assists to the value of $35b, this funded things like MSAT, Jeff shed etc. he left a surplus of $30b so in the three years in office he ran operationally into the red by about $5b.

    I believe that he also sold off Dockland land for something like $74 per square meter, when land in nearby West Mlbourne was sellings for $3,500 per square meter. (There were some very lucky purchasers at that time.)

    There was also something about the peppercorn rent charged to crown casino. One condition was to build two hotel towers. If not completed by a certain time, a penalty of $50k per day was to be imposed. I think it was Jeff who let them off and no second tower was ever built.

    [Only one school has pulled out of the Safe Schools program as a result of pressure from concerned parents, the program’s organisers say, despite comments from conservatives who say parents do not want the anti-bullying initiative.

    On Tuesday, the federal education minister, Simon Birmingham, announced that an independent review of the program would be undertaken.

    About 495 schools take part in the voluntary program, which aims to stamp out homophobia and transphobia in students.

    The Safe Schools Coalition says that parents and the school community are consulted before a school decides to take part in the program.]

  32. Pegasus

    Labor’s decision to rule out negotiating about OPV for the Senate happened very quickly, didn’t it? You could call it rushed. Perhaps they need another two years to get their arses into gear.

  33. [Only when Bullock exerts sufficient influence on Turncoat to have the program ‘reviewed’.]

    Precisely. When Bullock exerts such influence that Shorten is adopting policy positions to appease him then we’ll discuss Shorten’s failings. In the mean time Bullock will turn up in the Senate and damn well vote with the caucus decision.

    He should, like Gray, just STFU though. What is it with the WA ALP? Get some effing discipline and who knows you might actually get some seats over there.

  34. On another issue I am waiting with great interest to see how Abbott, Andrews and co respond to the Turnbull a Defence white paper.

    I think it will be far more interesting than the response from labor which will be far more bi partisan.

    I think Tony is ready to go.


  35. I am sick to death of the evangelical Greens camp that despises Labor more than the Coalition because Labor does not adopt all the Greens policies.

    And I’ve had enough of Greens sanctimony over the changed Senate voting rules. Let’s get this clear. Every party and every senator who has expressed a view or taken a position on this matter since the Bill was released is self-serving. And that includes the Greens.

    Does anyone think that the Greens would have supported this bill if it did not advantage them electorally? And evidence of that is the fact that the bill treats optional preferential voting differently above and below the line.

    I have yet to see a justification from anyone as to why it is so dead easy to vote for a registered party ticket, without having to preference at all any party that you do want to, but so very difficult to vote for the individuals in the order that you wish where you are required to indicate a preference for people you despise, even if you can put them down the ballot.

    The only benefit I can see – and a carry-over from the original GTV – is that the bigger parties want to nudge voters heavily towards voting for parties – including the official party list in the order that party factions determine – and away from exercising their own choice of candidate as well as party.

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