BludgerTrack: 50.8-49.2 to Coalition

The Turnbull government has resumed its downward trajectory in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate after this week’s remarkable result from Newspoll.

After a few weeks where it appeared the trend to Labor had tapered off, the BludgerTrack poll aggregate records a solid nudge to Labor this week on the back a Newspoll result crediting it with a 51-49 lead. BludgerTrack doesn’t go quite so far, but it does have the Coalition losing a full point off the primary vote since last week. This translates into a surprisingly mild net gain of one for Labor on the seat projection, with gains in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania being balanced by losses in Queensland and the Northern Territory – the latter being the result of a methodological tweak (I continue to have very limited faith in my Northern Territory projections one way or the other). Newspoll also provided a new set of data for the leadership ratings, which have maintained their existing trajectories – headlong downward in Malcolm Turnbull’s case, and steadily upwards in Bill Shorten’s.

Two further items of polling floating around in the past few days:

• The Australian has a second tranche of results from Newspoll, relating to the Liberal leadership. The poll finds 57% believe the Liberals were right to depose Tony Abbott, down five since October, with still only 31% opposed, up four. A question on preferred Liberal leader found Malcolm Turnbull leading on 35%, Julie Bishop on 22%, Tony Abbott on 14% and Scott Morrison on 8%. This suggests only modest change since an Essential Research poll in mid-March which had Malcolm Turnbull on 39% (down from 42% in December), Julie Bishop (down one) on 13% and Tony Abbott on 9% (steady), along with high “someone else” and “don’t know” components. Roy Morgan got a very different and much stronger result for Turnbull in October, presumably because respondents were asked who they would favour if they were Liberal or Nationals voters.

• A poll conducted by Research Now by the progressive Australia Institute think tank found 63.4% of 1412 respondents felt Tony Abbott should retire, compared with only 26.3% who preferred that he remain.

Much preselection news to report this week, largely thanks to the Western Australian Liberals, who have conducted a number of important preselection ballots, results of which remain to be confirmed by the party’s state council this weekend:

• The Liberal member for the Perth seat of Tangney, Dennis Jensen, suffered a resounding preselection defeat on the weekend at the hands of the party’s former state director, Ben Morton. Morton’s winning margin in the ballot of local party delegates was 57 to seven. This was the third time Jensen had lost a local preselection vote in a parliamentary career going back to 2004, earlier results having been reversed by the intervention of John Howard in 2007 and the party’s state executive in 2010. Jensen concedes he is unlikely to appeal this time, which would surely be futile given the scale of the defeat and the enthusiasm for Morton among the party hierarchy. Jensen has claimed to be a victim of “dirty tricks” from the Morton camp after news reports emerged last week concerning a novel he had written containing a graphic sex scene, which he says was designed to damage his standing in the eyes of religious conservatives. He has also launched defamation proceedings against The Australian over a report on Friday that he had moved out of the family home to live with his girlfriend at a property located outside the electorate.

• A second WA Liberal preselection on the weekend, for the new Perth seat of Burt, was won by Liz Storer, a Gosnells councillor and staffer for two state MPs prominent in the southern suburban “Christian Right” – upper house member Nick Goiran and Southern River MP Peter Abetz, who is the brother of Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz. Storer’s win came at the expense of Matt O’Sullivan, who runs mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s GenerationOne indigenous employment scheme. Another preselection vote for the Perth electorate was won by employment consultant Jeremy Quinn over a field that included Darryl Moore, the candidate from 2013; Leona Gu, a property developer and real estate agent; and Trudi Lang, who has recently had roles in France and Switzerland with the OECD and World Economic Forum.

• Liberal MP Nola Marino has seen off a preselection challenge in her seat of Forrest, which covers south-western Western Australia. Marino ultimately enjoyed a 51-16 winning margin over Ben Small, a Bunbury businessman who had “worked in commercial shipping and as a property developer”. Small had the support of Marino’s precedessor, Geoff Prosser, and there were suggestions he was serious threat. However, The West Australian also reported this week that the party’s state council would be “under pressure to rescue Mrs Marino” if Small carried the day.

• The ABC reports there are four candidates for the Liberal preselection to replace Sharman Stone in the regional Victorian seat of Murray: Duncan McGauchie, former policy adviser to the then Victorian premier, Ted Baillieu; Emma Bradbury, Campaspe Shire councillor and chief executive of the Murray Darling Association; Camillus O’Kane, an urban planner; and Andrew Bragg, policy director at the Financial Services Council and an unsuccessful candidate in the Victorian Liberals’ recent Senate preselection.

• Ninety-six preselectors will vote in the Liberals’ Mackellar preselection next weekend, drawn equally from local branches and head office. Contentiously, the former contingent includes four of Bronwyn Bishop’s own staff members. Heath Aston of Fairfax hears Bronwyn Bishop and Jason Falinski are approaching 40 votes each, with 10 to 15 backers of Walter Villatora set to decide it for Falinski on the second round.

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.

1,635 comments on “BludgerTrack: 50.8-49.2 to Coalition”

  1. [Pretty,
    The plebiscite is a stunt]

    It’s worse than a stunt. It’s a criminal waste of money that the nation can ill-afford because the Liberal Party cannot sort out their internal divisions over this issue.

  2. Both parties have been talking innovation. I think we’re seeing a contrast in approach.

    Turnbull’s is a top down – pull a big policy lever, give a pep talk to industry – and the details will sort themselves out approach. He can talk about innovation while blithely destroying the networks and structures that enable it in (for example) health, education and science, because he doesn’t see (or sees poorly) the connection.

    Labor’s is bottom up. Build the supporting networks, structures and tools, encourage people, and they will work together to coalesce new business.

  3. Just saw the clip of Shorten at Bob Ellis funeral.

    “if i had a dollar for every killer line he sent me in my time in the Union moment and politics I would just about afford the legal costs of using them.”

    Well done. A comment i am sure the Ellis would appreciate, and wont do Shortens image any harm. 🙂

    I suspect that Shorten really does not need advice from pettyone or steamsteely at the moment.

  4. [ Pretty,
    The plebiscite is a stunt

    It’s worse than a stunt. It’s a criminal waste of money that the nation can ill-afford because the Liberal Party cannot sort out their internal divisions over this issue. ]

    TPOF, just wait a dew days.

    At some point i reckon Wong, Plibersek or some other ALP smartybotton will come out with a statement at an interview or doorstop about how the ALP wont waste money on a plebiscite, and in fact they will reallocate THAT funding to run the RC into financial services AND save money at the same time. 🙂

  5. swamprat

    [Of course there is another Scottish country: Jamaica!!!]
    New Zilund would be a close contender. Huge hoots mon influence there.

  6. [ The cure is known. A sound defeat in an election will serve them well. ]

    They never learn – after all the IPA have there shrink wrapped marching orders (ie policies) handed to them to each time.

    A house divided and one looking more and more trying to fatten the pig on market day.

    (Sorry ’bout that)

  7. poroti

    [New Zilund would be a close contender. Huge hoots mon influence there.]

    Aye, to be sure,,,,,,,,, but Jamaica has linguistic connections (Patois and Scots language), has the highest incidence of Scottish surnames outside Scotland…… and is a bit more groovy Man. 🙂

  8. briefly

    The only members I want purged from the Libs are the moderates. I want them to be completely overrun by RWNJs.

    That way they’ll be clubbed (electorally speaking) back to the Stone Age where they belong.

  9. poroti

    …..and also, the Jamaican flag has the saltire….. no saltires on any of the proposed new flags for New Zilund!!!!!! 🙂

  10. As a Reds supporter I have low expectations for the season, beating last years champions the highlanders 28-27 is an unexpected bonus. Liam Gill is a greatly under rated player, was on fire tonight.

  11. So let’s have a look at the Big Banks:

    – Screw small business
    – Usurious interest rates on credit cards, charging interest rates at the same levels as applied when the bond rate and inflation were double figures
    – Use fluctations in the market to increase margins
    – Pay piddling rates on savings (if anything)
    – Support dodgy financial planners
    – peddle dodgy insurance and superannuation products
    – have dodgy subsidiaries who prey on the uneducated or desparate via very dubious, high interest loans
    – practice legalised pilfering by ways of fees and charges
    – practice and enable tax avoision

    What’s not for a Liberal to like. No wonder they don’t want a Royal Commission

  12. 1613
    Dan Gulberry

    I think this may turn out to be like hoping for the Liberals to be Trumped. A centrist, pragmatic and non-ideological party would be better for the country, considering how often they win elections.

  13. I know the fashionable proposition is that the left have their collective heads in the clouds – what would you expect from people living in ivory towers.

    However, I think it is the right that have become detached from reality – having swallowed their own propaganda over the past decade or so that theirs is the solution to every problem, and when it has proved not to be, been unable to adjust.

  14. imacca @ 1606

    [At some point i reckon Wong, Plibersek or some other ALP smartybotton will come out with a statement at an interview or doorstop about how the ALP wont waste money on a plebiscite, and in fact they will reallocate THAT funding to run the RC into financial services AND save money at the same time. :)]

    I bet you are right. I imagine that they are just waiting for Turnbull or Morrison to start complaining about the RC into the banks being a waste of money.

  15. http://www.theage.com.au/national/the-gender-gap-victorian-liberal-leader-matthew-guy-sets-targets-for-more-women-20160408-go2ar3.html

    [Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy has warned his party it is time to “get serious” about its lack of women, and has set a clear target to boost female representation in the state parliament by 10 percentage points at every election.]

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/its-time-to-step-up-push-for-more-cultural-diversity-in-labor-ranks-20160409-go2icp.html

    [As a first-generation migrant, Jennifer Yang has often been struck by the lack of federal Labor MPs from culturally diverse backgrounds.
    After all, the ALP has done a lot to increase women’s representation, yet it falls behind the Coalition when it comes to the number of multicultural members elected to the national Parliament.]

  16. Airlines@1621

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/the-gender-gap-victorian-liberal-leader-matthew-guy-sets-targets-for-more-women-20160408-go2ar3.html

    Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy has warned his party it is time to “get serious” about its lack of women, and has set a clear target to boost female representation in the state parliament by 10 percentage points at every election.


    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/its-time-to-step-up-push-for-more-cultural-diversity-in-labor-ranks-20160409-go2icp.html

    As a first-generation migrant, Jennifer Yang has often been struck by the lack of federal Labor MPs from culturally diverse backgrounds.
    After all, the ALP has done a lot to increase women’s representation, yet it falls behind the Coalition when it comes to the number of multicultural members elected to the national Parliament.

    Ah, Yennifer Yang.
    It was my pleasure to campaign for her as the candidate for Mt Waverley in the last Vic State Election.
    She is a smart lady and will be an asset in the Senate if she makes it.

  17. C@t, VP, Don, Jen, dtt & westy987 – re APCs & aspirin.

    Apologies for just catching up with the APC/aspirin component of this thread – I’ve been out playing trains with my out-laws (Maitland Steamfest) – but I have several dogs in this fight, so couldn’t resist sticking my oar in.

    Aspirin is not “addictive” and does not cause kidney disease – unlike Non-Steroidal Anti -Inflammatories (NSAIDs) which are not addictive (unless combined with opioids like codeine) but can cause renal failure. The major problems with aspirin are interference with the protection of the stomach lining from acid, and bleeding due to the effect aspirin has on the stickiness of platelets – which is the basis for its use in coronary artery disease and secondary stroke ‘prevention’. Aspirin toxicity is very rare,.

    The story of APCs (Bex or Vincent’s powders) is a fascinating and truly parochial Australian story.

    APCs were originally combinations of aspirin, phenacetin and caffeine that were developed in Germany by Beyer before WW1, but formed the basis of the fortunes of the nascent Australian pharmaceutical industry during and after WW2, when the German patents could be ignored. APCs were mass produced and sold over the counter, particularly to the largely female factory workforce during the war. The key to it’s widespread uptake was that both the caffeine and phenacetin components had mild stimulant and analgesic effects, but also tolerance (i.e. needed more drug to achieve the same effect over time). Withdrawal from both caffeine and phenacetin gave rise to headaches – for which the treatment was more APC. Marketing a cheap, addictive, mildly stimulating and analgesic non-prescription placebo was a gold mine for Australian “Pharmaceutical” companies such as Reckett & Coleman.

    Analgesic nephropathy (AN) was originally described in Germany in the early 60s, but became known as the Australian disease in the late 60s & early 70s when several of the founders of the new speciality of nephrology (particularly Ranjit Nanra in Newcastle & Priscilla Kincaid-Smith in Melbourne) recognised what widespread, prolonged use of APCs did to kidneys, and worked out why it did it in humans but not in animal models. The key was in realising that the damage depended on both having large doses of phenacetin AND dehydration – such as that induced by swilling tea and large amounts of beer quickly (as in the six o’clock swill).

    This initiated the first successful anti-pharmaceutical public health campaign in the world. By the mid 1970s the Australasian Society for Nephrology had convinced everyone but the profiting companies that APCs sold over the counter (with cigarettes !) were a major problem – with no rationale for use other than profit from addiction and a considerable cost in the need for dialysis and transplant – which Australia (uniquely) funded from the public purse. Initially, the big Oz Pharma companies were able to pretend to back down “gracefully”, by substituting very low dose codeine (which has negligible tolerance – or effect) for the caffeine, but keep flogging the APC “compound analgesics”. Their addiction potential waned, but they kept advertising and selling lots of unnecessary cheap placebo.

    Eventually, Peter Baume (who was a competent Gastroenterologist before becoming Minister for Health in Frazer’s Cabinet) successfully introduced federal legislation to restrict sale of useless compound analgesics in the late 70’s. As a result, we have virtually eliminated “the Australian disease” – with no downside other than the disappearance of local pharma vulture capitalists.

    This was, in fact, the first example of successful counter-capitalist public health anywhere in the world – and laid the foundation for Australia’s recognised leadership in political dimensions of public health, such as HIV management and tobacco control. The bipartisan nature of this process (Baume for AN, Neal Blewitt for HIV etc) was maintained until the IPA gained power, since when all things went to shit.

  18. roger bottomley@1622

    Raa Raa, Springsteen has openly campaigned for Kerry and Obama.

    In 1980 he was dead against Reagan.

    As was Done Henley against reagan –

    [ That tired old man we elected king ]

    But the Boss with all those songs supporting/lamenting the unemployed over many years – I cannot imagine anyone imagine him a repug ?

  19. rhWombat

    Thankyou

    That was fascinating.

    I always assumed it was the phenacitin that was bad in itself, but what you are saying is it was bad when dehydrated!

    There was of course minimal dialysis available until the mid 80s (I know because my father was denied dialysis in 1979, something about which I am still quite bitter)

  20. rhwombat@1624,

    Thanks so much for this comprehensive account.

    Also, I hope you had fun with the trains in Maitland. Part of my family has deep roots in East Maitland, so I always have a smile when I hear the name.

  21. Also, I have just read your comment that NSAIDs (ibuprofin?) can cause renal failure.

    Luckily I do not yet suffer from osteoarthritis – I gather this happens to anyone who lives long enough – but I have taken ibuprofen for an old slipped disk injury when it gets bad.

    This just reminds me that no matter how busy I am, I should get out from behind the computer and strengthen my back muscles: running and yoga seem to help me the most.

  22. For meoldema
    Sarah born this day in Barcaldine area of Queensland, the greatest horsewoman of her day and she would give them a run for her money today. Showjumping, barrel racing, pony races, driving a sulky or buggy, whatever you could do on a horse Sarah was a champion at it.

    And Labor to the bone. She still talks of the people alive when she was a kid, who witnessed the great shearers strike which lead to the formation of the ALP, and of the shearers who were murdered for striking.

    Happy Birthday, Mum.

  23. This is what Tim Dick calls analysis:

    [Still, even with all that, Shorten has little prospect of actually winning the election. Yes, Campbell Newman lost in Queensland after a single term, but Newman is far closer in public esteem to Abbott than to Turnbull. Most Australians still like Turnbull; most Queenslanders didn’t like Newman.

    Labor also needs to overcome three significant factors working against it: the distaste for the revolving-door prime ministership, the usual sense of giving a new government a fair go, and the particular sentiment towards Turnbull which remains, if in reduced form.]

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/bill-shorten-is-back-in-the-game-as-the-liberals-short-circuit-20160410-go2ral.html#ixzz45QFE85c2
    Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

    So let’s look at Tim’s three points:

    1. The electorate will want to stop a revolving door Prime Ministership. Really? For that reason, the electorate is going to elect a brainfarting dud whose party is split from top to bottom and will probably get the axe straight after the next election? That will solve the problem – not.

    2. The electorate want to give Turnbull a “fair go”? Why would they give Turnbull a fair go when he’s a dud who deposed a dud. I think they’ll want to axe him and bury him asap.

    3. The electorate still love Turnbull (but less than before). Bullshit. Even the libs I know think he’s hopeless.

  24. APCs were originally combinations of aspirin, phenacetin and caffeine that were developed in Germany by Beyer before WW1, but formed the basis of the fortunes of the nascent Australian pharmaceutical industry during and after WW2, when the German patents could be ignored. APCs were mass produced and sold over the counter, particularly to the largely female factory workforce during the war.

    Thanks very much for that. A relative’s mother was in a factory, a refugee from Europe after WWII, arrived in Oz about 1950, and it was normal for all of the female workers to have an APC (or two?) at morning break, lunch, and afternoon break. They said it kept them going.

    I am interested in the caffeine part. I drink very strong turkish coffee, maybe three or four cups, or more, in the morning, and usually tea after that at lunch and afternoon tea. But even when I don’t have my coffee fix, I don’t get headaches or other symptoms of withdrawal.

    I can’t work out why tea would dehydrate you. When I was a kid in Brisbane, nobody drank water, tea was all they ever drank. If it dehydrated you, my family would have died. As a kid the only thing I drank was milk and tea. Lots of tea. Water at school, where there was no tea to be had, but at the weekend and after school, it was just tea, and some milk.

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