BludgerTrack: 50.7-49.3 to Coalition

A quiet week for federal polling produces little change in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, but there’s no shortage of news to report on the preselection front.

There’s been only the routine Essential Research result to feed the BludgerTrack poll aggregate this week, which has the two-party preferred vote effectively unchanged, although a recent drop in the Greens primary vote seems to have worked its way out of the system. The Coalition gains one on the seat projection thanks to a nudge in its favour in the marginal seat-heavy state of Queensland. Essential Research has provided its monthly leadership ratings, and while the shifts since the previous Essential leadership results a month ago were large, they had already been priced in by the aggregates, so the only change worth mentioning is a further narrowing in Malcolm Turnbull’s preferred prime minister rating.

Before we proceed to preselection news: do take advantage of the discounted Crikey subscriptions offer you can read all about at the post above this one.

Now on with the action:

• The Tasmanian Liberal Party determined the order of its Senate ticket in the event of a double dissolution on Saturday, and it dropped a bombshell in relegating the only Tasmanian MP of ministerial rank, Richard Colbeck, from his number one position at the 2013 election to loseable number five. Colbeck is the only Tasmanian Liberal who is so much as suspected of having voted for Malcolm Turnbull in the September leadership challenge, and he subsequently won promotion to the junior ministry as Tourism and International Education Minister, which partly compensated Tasmania for Eric Abetz’s dumping from cabinet. The top two positions on the ticket are occupied by Abetz and the Senate President, Stephen Parry, who will also be one and two in the event of a half-Senate election, as they were in 2010. In third position is Jonathon Duniam, 32-year-old deputy chief-of-staff to Premier Will Hodgman and a former staffer to Abetz, to whom he is said to be close ideologically. Number four is David Bushby, who was behind Colbeck on the ticket at the 2013 election, and is best known for having miaowed at Labor’s Penny Wong during a committee hearing. Behind Colbeck in sixth place is Break O’Day councillor John Tucker, who completes an all-male ticket to match the Tasmanian Liberals’ all-male complement of three members of the House of Representatives.

• Queensland’s Liberal National Party conducted preselections on the weekend to choose successors to Warren Truss in Wide Bay and Ian MacFarlane in Groom. The first of these was won by Llew O’Brien, a police officer, ahead of Damien Massingham, chief executive of Tourism Noosa, and Tim Langmead, director of external relations at Fortescue Metals. O’Brien had been endorsed by Truss and reportedly won on the first round, despite a finding from 2014 that he had inappropriately accessed police information on two LNP preselection candidates (although no adverse finding was made). Massingham had backing from Attorney-General George Brandis, while Langmead boasted endorsement from a Western Australian contingent including Matthias Cormann and his boss, Andrew Forrest. Former state Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney initially declared his interest in the seat, but decided not to run.

• The Groom preselection was won by John McVeigh, who has held the state seat of Toowoomba South since 2012 and served as Agriculture Minister through the period of the Newman government. McVeigh is the son of Tom McVeigh, who held Groom and its predecessor electorate of Darling Downs for the Nationals from 1972 to 1988. McVeigh reportedly won the local party ballot by a margin of around 40 votes over David van Gend, a prominent social conservative and founder of the Australian Marriage Forum. McVeigh had been endorsed by Ian MacFarlane, while van Gend’s backers included former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, Senator Joanna Lindgren and former Senator Ron Boswell. The result will necessitate a state by-election in Toowoomba South, to be initiated when McVeigh resigns from state parliament, which he says he will do when the federal election is called.

• The South Coast Register reports Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis is under serious preselection pressure in her southern New South Wales seat of Gilmore, having put noses out of joint locally by publicising her opposition to the Baird government’s council amalgamation plans. But while Sudmalis still faces a local ballot to ratify her preselection, she has to this point had nobody nominate against her. The Sydney Morning Herald reports Sudmalis is likely to be safe due to the proximity of the election, and the fact that Gareth Ward and Andrew Constance, who respectively hold the state seats of Kiama and Bega, want her in place for another term so they can succeed her in 2019.

• Victorian state upper house MP and former Fremantle Dockers AFL coach Damian Drum has been preselected unopposed to represent the Nationals in Murray, where Liberal member Sharman Stone is retiring in a seat she won from the Nationals in 1996.

• Ahead of Saturday’s Mackellar preselection, Sarah Martin of The Australian reports Alex Hawke’s Centre Right faction is continuing to support Bronwyn Bishop, as there is “no alternative suitable candidate”. This is despite the urgings of Treasurer Scott Morrison, purportedly on behalf of “the leadership team”, despite the Prime Minister’s insistence that he staying above the fray. The view seems to be that a win for Bishop is “assured” if she can get backing from moderates on state executive, which apparently might happen for some reason, and that she will at least be competitive even if they don’t, thanks to her local numbers. However, the vote will be determined by a secret ballot, so a lot of inside sources could end up being surprised. Meanwhile, businessman Dick Smith, who threatens to run as an independent if Bishop wins, has run newspaper advertisements warning of a threat to the Mackellar way of life if preselectors fail to choose wisely. I’d be interested to know if media advertising to influence a preselection vote is an Australian first.

Dennis Shanahan of The Australian reports that Hollie Hughes, who contentiously won top spot on the ticket in the New South Wales Liberal Party’s preselection for a half-Senate election, is likely to drop all the way to the all-but-unwinnable sixth place in the event of a double dissolution. This is because two of the higher positions are reserved for the Nationals, and the Liberal Senators who faced election in 2013 include two of cabinet rank, in Defence Minister Marise Payne and Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos.

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.

787 comments on “BludgerTrack: 50.7-49.3 to Coalition”

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  1. William,
    It’s David Bushby, not Bushy from Tasmania. Even if his thinking is very dense (as in, not the intelligent kind). 😉

  2. Here’s Senator Sam Dastyari’s playlist from Tim Watt’s fundraiser:


    Bang on!

  3. ABC Newsradio are reporting that the Government has the numbers to scrap the Trucking Tribunal. Turnbull will have to beat up another ‘crisis’.

  4. From previous thread:

    “>” alt=”” width=”” height=”” />?oh=b47e8114f98955f6fabb0755b0c34d3c&oe=57B1EA9C

    I hope this picture reproduces. It’s sentiment is very apt.

    (If it doesn’t then someone may be able to help me get it on the page)

    And the only one left would do anything to stay in power?

  5. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    The situation is becoming more dire for the Channel 9 crew in Beirut.
    Clive Palmer now pulls out of a scheduled Q&A appearance. I wonder why.
    What a mob!
    Heath Aston outlines the 20 seats that may fall to lead to another hung parliament.
    A good examination of Arrium’s woes. For Google.
    How bad behaviour is tolerated in the banks.
    How we are being misled in the company tax debate.–tax-debate-20160413-go5hn1.html
    Michelle Grattan on the tax debate and the banking RC. In it she refers to the BCA calling for a “balanced” debate – that’s a laugh!
    Tony Wright on the exciting prospect of Acting PM Barnaby Joyce.
    Stephen Koukoulas on what surging commodity prices mean for our economy.

  6. Section 3 . . . Cartoon Corner

    A good dig at Turnbull from Alan Moir.

    John Spooner and high speed politics.

    Matt Golding on the reception of the new $5 note.

    John Shakespeare takes us to the Great Barrier Reef and a dangerous species.

    Pat Campbell doesn’t think the VFT will get off the ground.

    Mark Knight is a little concerned about Prime Ministerial arrangements.
    Bill Leak lines up Clive Palmer nicely.
    David Rowe goes to town on Clive Palmer. Ir says a lot.

    First Dog on the Moon on free range eggs.

  7. CTar1@754

    Strange stuff is going on in the M-E.

    The Saudi’s seem to have signed the 1979 Peace Treaty.

    And it appears they have taken away the powers of the religious police to arrest people. Really odd.

  8. Arrogance from the Turnbull government, wanting to save seats and demanding VicLabor cooperates.

    [It remains unclear exactly which parts of the Monash the federal government now wants upgraded.

    In a swipe at the proposal, Mr Donnellan confirmed Victoria’s existing plan to upgrade the Monash would not be junked, claiming it was already well under way.

    “If you read their press releases it’s impossible to actually work out where they want to go, where the extra lane is,” Mr Donnellan told Parliament. “It’s just this amorphous, weird press release that just popped out of nowhere and suddenly we are meant to respond with some specifics.”

    Mr Donnellan said three potential constructors to deliver the upgrade had already been shortlisted and it would not be stopped. “And the worst thing about this offer … (they) didn’t even speak to us, didn’t speak to VicRoads or anyone beforehand but just came up with some birdbrained idea.”

    The comments have already ruffled feathers at senior levels of the Turnbull government, which already has a difficult relationship with the Andrews government following complaints Victoria has received a disproportionately low 9 per cent share of national infrastructure funding.]

  9. Do taxi drivers have to undergo any sort of tuition/examination to drive?

    [Charles said many taxi drivers came from overseas and industry education was needed to stamp out discrimination.

    “These incidents are repeated over and over again,” he said.

    “It’s illegal, it’s racist, it’s racial profiling and it shouldn’t be done, so we need to educated this mob.”

    Charles said he approached the taxi industry after last year’s incidents to arrange a round-table discussion about discrimination against Aboriginal passengers, but it had not eventuated.

    He intends to sue the driver who refused to pick him up on Wednesday and his driving company for racial discrimination. ]

  10. The way things are going, the government winning a routine vote on truckies will be played as a major political triumph.

    They are a strange lot, truckies. Many of them – particularly the owner-drivers – have an almost mystical view of themselves and their profession. They see themselves as knights of the road. They enjoy the overnight hauls, the long hours and the camaraderie of their peers.

    The shock-jocks extol their virtues: “keeping the nation moving” etc. Many of them have their truck as their single most valuable possession, and have mortgaged their homes and their family life in pursuit of their dream of independence. Very few are really successful in a financial way, by which I mean making the big bucks.

    They are under constant pressure from regulatory authorities, other drivers and the bosses at freight and logistics companies who give them work. You can understand why they don’t want to jeopardize that in any way by making the logistics firms pay them a minimum rate.

    I’ve heard a couple now, in tears on the radio, telling Hadley that if this tribunal ruling is confirmed that’s the end for them. This emotional position may well be true for some. It is being ruthlessly extrapolated out to all truckies in all areas of the profession. Suicide is mentioned as a potential result. It’s either driving their own truck or they will top themselves. Being a self-employed trucky may well be the last thing they can do except for going on the dole… after they give everything to the bank when they go broke.

    Balanced against that is the appalling number of deaths and injuries involving trucks and the ruthless exploitation that the logistics firms employ to grind these people into the ground in the name of “efficiency” (read: squeezing the last ounce of profit out of the process). If one driver won’t conform to the demands, then another, closer to the breadline, will. As a result everyone is brought down. There is obviously not enough work for all of them, the result of a slow economy. So the ball is in the payer’s court, not the payee’s.

    You’d think that if everyone had a minimum rate then, assuming the goods still have to be delivered, the logistics firm would have no choice but to front with it. But I gather it’s not that simple, or is it?

    Without trying to sound snobby about it (and I’m sorry if I do), truckies are a combination of relatively under-educated “working class” people nevertheless trying to make a go of their lives by running their own businesses. They are the “tradies” of the road.

    I know at least one successful truckie, but he is a rare exception, I think. He has an incredible business brain and a knack for doing good deals that build his enterprise. Coupled with a seemingly unbounded capacity (and love) for hard work and driving long hours he has done well out of his profession. He yearns for the open road (something I find in myself, from time to time), and is fair to his subbies, more than fair from what I can make out. But I don’t think there are too many like him.

    The hard heads at the logistics companies, the young bean counters trying to impress their bosses with low payout figures have no sympathy for the guys who pull into their warehouses and depots at all times of the night. Because the drivers are subcontractors there’s no question of sacking a reluctant owner-driver. You just don’t contact him next time.

    It appears to be a race to the bottom that no-one can solve: desperate drivers at the mercy of cynical companies. It doesn’t seem to have been solved anywhere else in the world either, or else I think we’d have heard of it. An economic recovery wouldn’t help too much, because that would only encourage more people at the margins to hock everything and buy a truck.

    And there lies the Big Question: you can understand the relatively simple rules of demand and supply, but when the public’s safety is at stake, with so many dodgy operators cutting corners until their rigs and the roads become unsafe, should it be the only rule that applies?

  11. “Jonathon Duniam, 32-year-old deputy chief-of-staff to Premier Will Hodgman and a former staffer to Abetz, to whom he is said to be close ideologically.” This is a prime example of the problem with the quality of our elected represenatives. Another political party hack in waiting to inflict himself on us and why I don’t donkey vote BLT in any upper house. And people complain about Jackie Lambie FFS.

  12. [The business groups who lobby governments love population growth for obvious reasons: adding people generates construction work and business activity.

    The problem is, existing residents are not the ones who are reaping the rewards.

    …As already mentioned, tackling congestion and booming demand for health and education services have become core state and federal political issues.

    Indeed, its not a stretch to argue that a failure to plan properly for population growth is a significant reason why there has been so much political churn in Australia in recent years. People are frustrated.

    In Victoria, the former Brumby government was ousted because, as Daniel Andrews admitted after he became opposition leader, it failed to plan properly for population growth. The then law-and-order obsessed Coalition government failed to get cracking on infrastructure until it was all too late, and arguably underplayed health and education until it was too late.

    Now the Andrews government is trying desperately to catch up with an ambitious infrastructure agenda. The Turnbull government too is trying to get in on the act, announcing $1.5 billion from the Commonwealth for a range of hand-picked infrastructure initiatives, including $500 million of Commonwealth money to upgrade the badly choked Monash Freeway.

    All the while the public is growing increasingly cynical. ]

  13. BB

    Spot on article on owner driver truckies. I have had a bit to do with them over the years, and the combination of relationship stress, financial stress, alcohol and dexies applies to a large chunk of them.

    When on the road, there is nothing that gets my serious attention more than a truck drifting over the white line.

    Beats the threat of ISIS every day!

  14. [In Victoria, the former Brumby government was ousted because, as Daniel Andrews admitted after he became opposition leader, it failed to plan properly for population growth..]

    Well, the contention – that Brumby lost the election because he didn’t plan for population growth – is rubbish.

    It’s also very unfair. Bracks/Brumby did. However, Victoria’s population had been in decline, and the pundits were predicting that it would decline further. Thus, the previous government had planned for decline, not growth (hence school closures, etc).

    Under Bracks/Brumby, Victoria’s population boomed.

    Now, you can plan all you like for population growth, but you can’t meet the needs of a growing population today. There needs to be lead time. Bracks/Brumby didn’t have that, so they were playing catch up the whole time.

    They were further hampered – particularly when it came to public transport – by the fact Kennett had privatised it all. In some cases, they had to wait years for an opportunity to buy back stretches of track so that they could upgrade them (Kennett’s sale contracts basically left it up to operators to maintain the tracks; if the operators were happy to slow trains down rather than fix problems, there was nothing the government could do).

    Basically, Bracks/Brumby were victims of their own success.

  15. morning bludgers

    So Barnaby is acting PM, whilst the waffler is away in China. Will the waffler be back in time for the recalling of parliament on Monday?

  16. I too dont get this truckie stuff

    [Phillip Lodge
    9h9 hours ago
    Phillip Lodge ‏@phlogga
    I just don’t get this trucker stuff. Their average income doesn’t support their basic needs. Many must be on Centrelink payments.]

  17. This seems to be the source of the statement —

    [“I think it’s fair to say that in the face of unprecedented growth, we struggled to keep up,” he said.

    “We struggled not through a want of effort, not through a want of caring. But I think we could have done more, we could have done better.”]

    I suppose if the take out word is ‘properly’, that’s a fair take. But I don’t think that’s the sentiment of the quote.

    Of course any approach could have been improved upon. That’s a different matter.

    I also don’t think Andrews is saying here that failing to plan ‘properly’ for growth is the sole reason for Labor’s defeat.

    I suppose, however, ‘planning properly for population growth’ is a wide enough basket that you can put anything in it.

  18. Just thought I’d mention there is something a bit odd going on with the bludgertrack PPM graph – the Turnbull vs Shorten lines seem to be in the wrong spot

  19. AM watch: Once again we had a Govt minister on AM. This time it was treasurer Scott Morrison on the pretext on some report suggesting world growth would slow. But the ABC don’t need any pretext at all and the question relating to this was reduced to a final afterthought.
    All that the listener would have learnt from this incitful and probing interview is that whatever it is it’s Labor’s fault, that ‘jobs and growth’ is the new mantra, that Morrison loves to talk over the top of the interviewer so as limit the number of questions he will be asked, and that Morrison could talk bullshit under wet cement.

    So glad that quality journalism is alive and well on their ABC!

  20. Adrian

    Then again you could look at the hands off approach as allowing ‘gabbler’ Scrott to fully display how terrible he is.

  21. [The argument that it enhances our competitiveness and attracts investment are not in dispute — the less tax Australia levies on investors the more attractive it will be to invest.

    The theory goes that making more money from the same sized workforce increases the productivity of the workers and they will be rewarded with higher pay.]

    From the SMH story on corp tax

    There was a piece from the tax theory / polcy guy at KPMG, about capital and that things like accounting standards and reporting were premised on capital scarcity but that currently companies were sitting on piles of cash much of the theory doesn’t work.

  22. On RN FKelly has a session about 8.15 which she calls “the Crunch”. It’s apparently on every Thursday. Chris Bowen and Arfur Seenodonors are “the panel”.

    Someone with more skills than me might be able to link it.

    Today’s was the very worst performance I have ever heard from Kelly. On numerous occasions she actually debated Bowen, speaking over him.

    None of this business of a journo asking a follow up question if the previous answer needs clarification or justification. No, she just waded in with the government’s arguments, most of which were lightweight and factually wrong. Talk about being on the Waffler’s payroll.

    Seenodonors just sat there catching up on his tweets.

    If anyone needed it, this interview is proof positive that FKelly is a conservo stooge.

    This was Kelly at the worst I have heard her ….. altogether a disgraceful performance.

  23. A great tragedy of our time under the guidance of acting PM Joyce is parliament not sitting. Sadly we shall not see a PM Barnyard performance in QT.

  24. Victoria

    Steve Ciobo has quickly moved to stamp himself as a loudmouth nasty since the Waffler elevated him.

    The new, younger media assault team the Waffler has created, Ciobo, O’Bigmouth and Frydenberg and of course Cormann can argue that black is white, underwater, sans oxygen.

  25. psyclaw

    Many many years ago I heard the younger Fran arguing with Howard and thought she was very sassy. Wouldn’t take no for an answer.

    It seems she’s been exposed to the Libs for so long that she now believes they’re the goods. Talking over an interviewee is a dead giveaway.

  26. Vic

    i forgot the shrew from the West.

    For some reason the Waffler thinks she’s a media asset ……. is this another majestic, strategic masterstroke from Waffler, or just a further example of his poor judgement????

  27. WWP, from the SMH article:

    [The theory goes that making more money from the same sized workforce increases the productivity of the workers and they will be rewarded with higher pay.]

    The “theory” ignores the fact that the tax rate has no effect on labour productivity, which is a measure of output per unit input. Increasing post-tax income is not going to make a single worker more productive is it?

    True, labour may be better remunerated if the company is more profitable (ref: porcine aviation), but the
    misunderstanding that labour productivity and profit have any direct connection seems to have become pervasive.

  28. Good Morning

    ABC 24 is doing a report on the Australian impact of the Peabody Coal Mine bankruptcy. Impact could be thousands of jobs

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