BludgerTrack: 51.3-48.7 to Coalition

The nation has gone on election alert, but there’s not much to report from the latest weekly poll aggregate reading, other than a continuation in the headlong plunge in Malcolm Turnbull’s net approval rating.

The BludgerTrack poll aggregate records essentially no movement at all on national voting intention for the second week in a row, although the Coalition has at least avoided recording its eighth fall in a row. Reasonable results for the government from Newspoll and ReachTEL balanced a particularly bad one from Roy Morgan, which stands out like a sore thumb on the sidebar charts due to the correction made for the pollster’s otherwise pro-Coalition form since Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister. The Greens are down a bit, which it might be tempting to impute to Senate electoral reform, but it would pay to wait another week or two to see if the movement sticks. Only the ReachTEL poll was conducted after Turnbull’s election strategy announcement on Monday, but it produced no obvious evidence that anything had changed. However, there is a bit going on this beneath the surface this week at state level, with the Coalition gaining two seats since last week on the seat projection, but losing one each in Victoria and Queensland. On the leadership ratings, Newspoll has caused Malcolm Turnbull’s net approval rating to dip ever so gently into negative territory, while Bill Shorten’s continues to slog laboriously upwards, having slowly gained about 10% since the start of the year.

I would normally append this post with a bunch of preselection news and such, but I’ll be changing by MO now the pace has quickened with the inauguration of the phony election campaign. From now on, the news snippets will get their own post at the end of the week – and there will be a very great deal to report so far as preselection goes, with certain tardy state party branches now hurriedly getting their acts together ahead of an assumed July 2 election date. Also, what was formerly “seat of the week” is now “seat du jour”, starting with the entry below for Shortland, since I aim to make these a daily feature from now on. Eventually they will all be rolled together into the regular Poll Bludger’s seat-by-seat election guide.

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.

832 comments on “BludgerTrack: 51.3-48.7 to Coalition”

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  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Peter Martin says the ABCC is a poor base to build an election on.
    The forthcoming election and the ongoing attacks on unions and workers.,8806
    One for Google – A fascinating look at who’s in and not in Turnbull’s inner circle.
    And a similar story from Phil Coorey. It’s chaotic he says. (more Google work needed)
    Michelle Grattan reckons Morrison’s embarrassment of budget timing was of his own doing.
    Alan Austin – Turnbull’s promises don’t match economic reality.
    Mike Baird is prepared to spend his political capital.–im-determined-to-stay-as-long-as-i-possibly-can-20160323-gnp9ip.html
    “View from the Street” advocates research to find wind farm ghosts. And he takes aim at “Continuity with Change”.
    Gee we have some dills as parliamentary representatives!
    Royal Commission anyone? Come on down Arfur!
    Why Belgium has a serious problem with terrorism.
    Rapaciousness: noun. Sydney Airport Authority.

  2. Section 2 . . .

    I’ve been to one of these performances and there is no doubt they are a thorough lift from the Fawlty Towers concept, characters and scripts.
    Looks like the states may have been stared down over the education funding cuts.
    The Timbercorp hardship scheme is on the verge of collapse.
    Kupper was certainly guilty of poor judgement.
    Here’s a message to the whingeing Coles boss. You don’t HAVE to open on Sundays!
    The head of Dow Chemicals says that with Trump the US could be heading for a Kardishian presidency.
    Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have gone “full cavemen”.

  3. Section 3 . . . Cartoon Corner

    Alan Moir – Stop the boasts

    David Pope with an Easter massage. Look at the Trojan Horse and the Senate guard!

    Ron Tandberg hints that Morrison might turn the tables.

    John Spooner with a metaphor of the issues facing the print media.

    Mark Knight with Tintin in Brussels.
    David Rowe sums up the Brussels attacks.

  4. Morning all

    Thanks BK for today’s dawn patrol.

    I will be out and about most of day.

    Was thinking about what Mark Kenny had written a few weeks ago. Remember he mentioned something about another cabinet minister Perhaps being in a spot of bother?

    all roads point to Arthur Sinodinos re the funnelling of illegal donations in NSW

  5. [ Royal Commission anyone? Come on down Arfur! ]

    This is an enormous story. Not only is the Electoral Commission telling the Libs they have broken the law, but they are withholding much more funding than the amount of money not declared. It is a punishment.

    A thought experiment: imagine if, at the start of a Federal election campaign, the NSW Labor party had ALL its funding withdrawn by the Commission.

    Thundering shock jocks, mockery in parliament, calls for Royal Commissions (and probably actual Royal Commissions), Daily Telegraph Photoshop efforts day after day, resignations, unflattering photographs, timelines, money-trail graphics, Mark Kenny “specials”, use of the words “embattled”, “dysfunctional”, “corruption”, “mates” (a particularly dreaded moniker),maybe even “constitutional crisis”.

    Sure, there’s been a bit of softening up prior to the announcement. ICAC has been hauled over the coals for exceeding its authority (what’s wrong with a mum who happens to be the state senior prosecutor phoning a criminal tow truck driver for advice on how to fake a breath test for her son’s girlfriend?), Unions “Boo!”, Dimples Baird is saying he’s prepared to lose some paint off his popularity and so on.

    But I feel this one will stick. It is a scandal of monumental proportions. If anyone’s been to Sydney lately you’ll see nothing but forests of cranes building thousands of apartments, motorways, tunnels and a few things I’m not sure what they are. Buildings are being torn down, properties resumed, whole suburbs re-zoned, lives and dreams ruined in the quest for the almighty dollar.

    We didn’t get such a huge surge in construction because the government thought it was a good idea to get stuck into urban reconstruction.

    And then there’s Manildra. How many millions did they give the Liberals for the introduction of mandated ethanol fuel?

    And what’s on the front page of the Tele?

    Malcolm Turnbull actually bragging how good our defences against ISIS are, and how we’re the second top bomber of ISIS in Syria.

    That should calm down the Fuzzy Wuzzies.

  6. BK

    Odd that some of the cartoon links doesn’t work for me today. Perhaps Fairfax don’t like them being linked elsewhere or something.

  7. BB

    Agreed. Wonder if Turnbull thinks all the pollies being recalled to parliament in a few weeks was a good idea after all?

  8. Instead of fhe fifth wiggle, Di Natale deserves the moniker of Mr Bean. He has clumsily and stupidly allowed for Turnbull to be emboldened due to senate reforms to pull the trigger on a DD.

    Yet it may turn out it was a blessing in disguise. MPs will be front and centre in a few weeks. So much time for them to bleat about this scandal of the donations in NSW.

  9. William for the sake of my sanity, I beg of you, fix those state seat change numbers :-). Well NSW only, even though it was Victoria last few Bludgertrack updates. It should have -1 and not +1 for NSW.

  10. So much for the all-new sparkling “consultative Cabinet government”:

    From the Daily Telegraph (but how they can say the days of the kitchen cabinet are over is beyond me)… And what’s Lucy doing there? Imagine if Therese Rein was part of Kevin Rudd’s “inner sanctum”! In fact didn’t they force her to leave the country?

    Oh well…:

    [ Malcolm Turnbull freezes out key Cabinet members from his inner sanctum of advisers

    by: Simon Benson

    MALCOLM Turnbull has frozen out key members of his Cabinet from a ­secretive inner sanctum of advisers which includes his wife Lucy.

    Confirming Treasurer Scott Morrison was not alone in being frozen out by the PM on some key decisions, senior government sources claim the Prime Minister has instead brought only a handful of advisers, staff and ministers into his closest confidence.

    “The Kitchen Cabinet days are over,” one senior minister said of the Rudd era when the treasurer, finance minister and deputy PM formed a decision-­making cabal beyond the reach of cabinet.

    Those said to be in the Prime Minister’s inner sanctum include Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos, Liberal ­National Party numbers man James McGrath and Education Minister Simon Birmingham.

    Mr Turnbull’s private secretary Sally Cray is also said to be a policy and political sounding board for the PM, although other staff in his office are being kept at arm’s length.

    Perhaps one of the most important people Mr Turnbull turns to for counsel, according to colleagues, is his wife Lucy, a former Sydney lord mayor.

    “There is no doubt that Lucy is very influential,” one source close to the Prime Minister said.

    Unlike many of his predecessors, Mr Turnbull has chosen to exclude his treasurer and Finance Minister from his cabal of confidantes.

    Even his Deputy Leader, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, is said to have been excluded from the inner circle, as has newly anointed Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

    Colleagues of Mr Turnbull claimed the PM has no single inner sanctum, choosing instead to consult with different people on different issues.

    They also said he often sought the external counsel of former Coalition prime minister John Howard.

    A senior minister said Mr Turnbull had instituted a style which brought in various groups of ministers and advisers on different issues, as opposed to having an established unit that vetted every decision.
    The divisions within the government came to a head this week when Mr Morrison was exposed as not knowing when the Budget would be delivered.

    The Treasurer appeared to be blindsided by the announcement on Monday morning by Mr Turnbull that the Budget would be brought forward a week to May 3.

    But sources close to the discussions said it was “less conspiracy than it was a stuff-up” that the Treasurer wasn’t alerted on Sunday night to the announcement.

    Nevertheless, Mr Morrison has been hung out to dry by the PM over the GST and negative gearing — which the PM, rather than Mr Morrison, insisted were on the tax reform table.

    A senior source close to Mr Turnbull said there was no rift between the two and that it was an unexceptional difference of styles between the two that was creating a perception of division. ]

  11. From the other thread:



    Note they didn’t defeat an LNP member but an ALP member. I hope DTT and others learn the lesson from that.

    The lessons are:

    Labor can’t afford to take voters for granted.

    Voter support is earned, not unconditional.

    Votes belong to the voters who cast them, not to a party that has grown accustomed to them.

    Cantankerous old Labor-supporting blowhards need to get over themselves.

    Facts, as opposed to your rancid opinions are:

    Labor doesn’t take voters for granted.

    Labor fights on two fronts with the Greens on one and the Libs on the other.

    Well Duh! “votes belong to those who cast them”, only a dumb Green could mistake this as some sort of wisdom.

    Smart-arse greens will eventually get their comeuppance just like the Democrats did.

    What’s the point anyway? Brisbane and other Qld councils have this really archaic system of OPV single seat wards. The LNP will have strong grip on Brisbane unless they goof up really badly, or if the boundaries are radically redrawn, which is unlikely. Candidates too have the tendency to start blurring the line between local government and state politics, leaving constituents doubtful on promises.

  12. That Peter Martin article gave me a shock! After a bit of a preamble it actually concentrates the actual policies and the arguments of the issue.

    Almost fell off my chair.

    The complete opposite of the “Continuity with change” type dribble, which some in the media actually went into painful contortions to try and make sense of.

  13. That Peter Martin article gave me a shock! After a bit of a preamble it actually concentrates the actual policies and the arguments of the issue.

    Almost fell off my chair.

    The complete opposite of the “Continuity with change” type dribble, which some in the media actually went into painful contortions to try and make sense of.

  14. The ninemsm site – which a computer update made my home page, and I’m too lazy to change – usually has any political news right down towards the bottom of the page (and you have to scroll a long, long way down to get there). Today, however, this is near the top —

    — There’s also references to the VEEP slogan and House of Cards.

    And an interesting article, asking why backing Bern seems to mean hating Hillary —

    [It’s one thing to prefer one candidate over another. That’s healthy. That’s admirable. It’s another to actively hate a candidate for doing exactly the same things as the last three men you voted for, despite her liberal record.]

    …and ends with this exhortation –

    [And whoever becomes the Democratic nominee, the stakes are far, far too high for us to selfishly stay home because we didn’t get our first choice. I will happily, proudly vote for either Clinton or Sanders, and I hope you will do the right thing and join me.]

  15. Bushfire

    [And what’s Lucy doing there? Imagine if Therese Rein was part of Kevin Rudd’s “inner sanctum”! In fact didn’t they force her to leave the country?]

    So many examples lately of the sauce for the goose no longer being sauce for the gander.

  16. Why isn’t this getting a mention in the right wing media?

    A fifth construction union official has had criminal charges made by the trade union royal commission taskforce dropped.

  17. What the heel was Turnbull doing last night at the Lowy Institute?

    He was bragging about Border Force, local police surveillance and about our bombing runs in Syria (pointing out that Australia has the second largest contingent).

    It was as close to a dare to ISIS to try something as I could think.

    Does Turnbull actually want a terrorist incident here?

    Silly me.

  18. Thanks Keven Bonham RE electoral boundaries toward the end of the previous thread

    To have faith in the electoral system, I do think the boundaries should be drawn so that there is no obvious lean to either side. Your research suggests there is at least a 1% advantage to the L-NP federally. Quite a big advantage when AU elections are within a band of about 4%.

    Parties should not have to fight for a level playing field, it should be the highest priority of the system itself.

    Of course the partisan in me laughs at the Lib’s losing in S.A. but even my partisan realises that isn’t how it should be.

  19. lizzie

    The extend the goose sauce metaphor – Turnbull’s goose is in a pressure cooker.

    Shit scared of policy leaks, he has no alternative other than taking extreme measures to limit his cabinet.

    It may appear hypocritical, but it is actually simple survival.

    It is also unsustainable.

  20. Trog

    Perhaps Mal hasn’t heard of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. Shutting himself away in survival mood, as you say, is not sustainable.

    Where’s the collegiate conversation? the persuasion?

    Or are we just believing what his enemies want us to believe ?

  21. RaaRaa at 8

    It’s not a conspiracy. It happens when BK posts his excellent Dawn Patrol on the last thread and then William starts a new one. BK cuts and pastes the report over but the ends of some of the cartoon links are lost. Go back to the last thread and get to the cartoons from there.

  22. A couple of tid-bits from the Oz:

    Roasting not what Scott expected
    Malcolm Turnbull criticised Scott Morrison over his handling of the GST in front of cabinet colleagues during a dinner.

    Senators deserve Turnbull plan
    Don’t exaggerate PM-Treasurer rift; the real problem is ‘Tony Rudd’.]

  23. lizzie

    If he goes collegiate any tactical policy advantage will be lost.

    This scenario simply underlines the disconnect between Turnbull and his party; between attaining the precious and paying the price of living in a cave eating frogs for the rest of your life.

  24. [Instead of fhe fifth wiggle, Di Natale deserves the moniker of Mr Bean]
    I was thinking the same thing the other day when the kids were watching a Mr Bean movie. Its the one where Mr Bean dresses up as a burglar – with a black skivvy.

    What was Di Natale thinking? Doesnt he know that Black is out and Charcoal skivvies are way cool?

  25. Trog

    As someone hs already said: which scenario does the monkeypod want? Winning the election or killing off Turnbull’s aspirations?

  26. It’s interesting to see Turnbull castigate Belgium and in fact the rest of Europe over their unpreparedness for the attacks in Brussels. Would he do the same if another attack happened in the US or Britain? I doubt it.

  27. [Would he do the same if another attack happened in the US or Britain? I doubt it.]

    Dozens are slaughtered in the US every week… just not by Muslims.

  28. Lizzie at 19

    [So many examples lately of the sauce for the goose no longer being sauce for the gander]

    My favourite is still Turncoat’s objection to the use of the word ‘knifing’ after enduring five years of it to describe the removal of Rudd.

  29. Hadley this morning was railing over the ScoMo shut out. If ScoMo is shut out, then Hadley “and all my listeners on 2GB” are shut out.


    Give the Big Tick of approval for Turnbull prefering his wife as part of the inner sanctum over ScoMo. This is not so much that Hadley thinks ScoMo is a poor choice for Inner Sanctumness, but more that he reckons having your wife in on major national issues is perfectly appropriate and “natural”. Lucy is a “smart woman”, “well connected” says Hadley.

    There’s something that rhymes with “connected” though: “elected”.

    Forgive me if I have missed something, but for which electorate is Lucy Turnbull the elected Member of Parliament?

    And are we getting yet another Abbott-Credlin set up, with or without the sticky aspect?

  30. Re Citizen @37: Turnbull is going the full Abbott on this one, supported by screaming front page headlines on the Daily Telecrap. Continuity with not much change (mainly, fewer flags).

  31. [Dozens are slaughtered in the US every week]
    30,000 of them a year in car crashes.
    War on cars?

    It is interesting that the death rate has dramatically reduced over the last 30 years. Safety regulations have been estimated to have saved 1.2 million US lives over that time. These minimalist regulations were strongly resisted by the automobile industry lobbyists – obviously.

  32. BB
    I assume all PMs and ministers and MPs use their wives or significant others as their sounding boards. After all these are the only people you can really trust.

    If they are politically savvy and well connected, then I have no problem, PROVIDED they do not over ride advice from other ELECTED voices. Lucy Turnbull is an old time Liberal activist so she is a real political player.

    I think there is probably a good case to argue that Therese’s absence damaged Rudd, if only because she could have kept him grounded, with more sleep and probably got him to the Dr to deal with his gallstone etc. Maybe the odd worried back bencher could have chatted to her and she could have helped make him more accessible. She probably would have noticed the backroom plotting because women are usually better at catching on to body language (well better than Kevin anyway).

  33. PS

    When a politician, PM or member stops sounding out his wife/partner on key political issues, it is time to do an inventory of the furniture and check out the best divorce lwyers.

    Trust me on this one. A family that plots together stays together.

  34. The LNP are so worried about national security, that in Sydney huge numbers of highly trained and armed police are now deployed policing bicycle helmet straps and bells, and you need I.D. to ride a bike in the park, but no I.D. to enter a busy airport.

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