BludgerTrack: 50.1-49.9 to Coalition

It’s close but no cigar for Labor in the latest reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which projects the Turnbull government grimly hanging on to a parliamentary majority.

As the many polls published before this week’s parliamentary sitting showed no let-up in the Coalition’s deteriorating standing in the polls, the BludgerTrack poll aggregate has come as close as close can be to tipping over in Labor’s favour. However, it continues to credit them with a bare parliamentary majority (which can probably be bumped up another notch with the near certainty that Clive Palmer’s seat of Fairfax will revert to type), owing to the advantage it attributes to sitting members. The boost to Labor adds five to their projected seat total, including three gains in Queensland, two in Western Australia and one in New South Wales, balanced by the loss of one in Tasmania. Note that the Nick Xenophon Team now gets its own entry on the vote totals (although not yet on the graphs), since its primary vote is now being tracked by ReachTEL as well as Roy Morgan. ReachTEL is no longer recording the Palmer United Party, whose support is now statistically insignificant.

Newspoll and Ipsos both provided new numbers on leadership ratings this week, the effect of which has been to throw things a little out of whack, owing to the gaping difference in the numbers for Malcolm Turnbull. Where Ipsos recorded Turnbull with a diminishing but still positive net approval rating of 13%, Newspoll recorded the reverse (i.e. minus 13%), despite their similar results on voting intention. Since BludgerTrack uses bias adjustments based on each pollsters’ performance relative to all the others, this result alone has shaken up the entire model. With all that said though, all the movements on the leadership ratings were fairly modest.

The familiar BludgerTrack graphs on the sidebar are a casualty of the Crikey redesign that was launched this week, but stay tuned, because there will soon be a module to accommodate them. Here’s a make-do for the time being, below which you can find the latest round of preselection news and what have you.


• The Greens are hawking a ReachTEL poll of 800 respondents in the seat of Melbourne Ports which finds 60% of Labor voters oppose the party directing preferences to the Liberals ahead of the Greens, as Labor member Michael Danby has threatened to do (albeit that he exceeded his brief in doing so). Danby’s threat came amid an increasingly complex situation with respect to preferences in Victoria, as Liberal Party state president Michael Kroger says the party is open to a “loose arrangement” with the Greens, who are “not the nutters they used to be”, which he puts down to the leadership of Victorian Senator Richard di Natale. Kroger’s hope is presumably to lure the Greens into running open tickets in Victorian marginal seats, in return for the Liberals directing preferences to the Greens ahead of Labor in the inner-city seats of Melbourne, Wills and Batman, contrary to their position in 2013.

• After 22 years as local member, and 29 in parliament altogether when her time as a Senator is taken into account, former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop was defeated in Saturday’s preselection vote in her northern beaches Sydney electorate of Mackellar. The seat will now be contested for the Liberal Party by factional moderate Jason Falinski, owner of a health care equipment business, former adviser to John Hewson and Barry O’Farrell and campaign manager to Malcolm Turnbull in Wentworth in 2004. Falinski prevailed over Bishop in the final round by 51 votes to 39, following the exclusion of Walter Villatora – a party activist who has spearheaded a campaign for preselection reforms that are principally favoured by the hard Right, and a close ally of Tony Abbott’s as the president of the Liberal Party’s Warringah branch. The score in the previous round had been Falinski 40, Bishop 37 and Villatora 12, with Villatora’s supporters breaking overwhelmingly in favour of Falinksi in the final round. This reflected the hostility of conservatives towards Bishop over her support for Malcolm Turnbull in the September leadership challenge vote. The currently unpaywalled Crikey has a thorough account of Saturday’s proceedings from a source familiar with the matter.

• Another safe seat Liberal preselection on the weekend, in Philip Ruddock’s seat of Berowra, resulted in an easy victory for Julian Leeser, a former executive director of Liberal-aligned think tank the Menzies Research Centre, and current director of government policy and strategy at the Australian Catholic University. Leeser is of Jewish background, and is said to be aligned with the Centre Right. He won 97 votes in the ballot against 10 for Robert Armitage, a local barrister; four for John Bathgate, a staffer to Christoper Pyne; and three for Nick McGowan, a one-time adviser to former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett.

• Bob Baldwin, the Liberal member for the regional New South Wales seat of Paterson, has announced he will not contest the next election. Baldwin suffered a heavy blow in the redistribution as the seat exchanged conservative rural territory for more populous areas of the Hunter region, turning Baldwin’s 9.8% margin from 2013 into a notional Labor margin of 1.3%. The Michael McGowan of the Maitland Mercury reports preselection nominees are likely to include Newcastle businesswoman Karen Howard and Port Stephens councillor Ken Jordan. Howard performed well as an independent candidate in the Newcastle state by-election of October 2015, and ran for the Liberals in the seat at the state election the following March. However, her tone-deaf attack on a local high school student over his geography project in November might cause some to doubt her judgement.

• After a bumpy ride, Liberal MP Craig Kelly has been confirmed in his preselection for the southern Sydney seat of Macarthur. The conservative Tony Abbott backer had earlier appeared to be under threat from Kent Johns, a powerbroker of the increasingly dominant moderate faction, but Malcolm Turnbull persuaded him to withdraw in February. He remained under challenge from Michael Medway, who ran in Werriwa in 2004 and appears to work in financial services, but Murray Trembath of the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader reports he has now withdrawn.

• The article mentioned in the previous item also relates that Nick Varvaris, who won Barton for the Liberals in 2013 but has now been poleaxed by the redistribution, was “still in discussions with the Liberal Party” as to whether he will recontest the seat, after earlier indications he would spare himself the effort.

• Barrister Andrew Wallace has won the Liberal National Party preselection to succeed Mal Brough in the Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher. As the ABC reports it, Wallace “won the preselection ballot convincingly in the first round of voting ahead of five other candidates”.

• The West Australian reports on the headache facing the WA Liberals as they prepare to defend six Senate seats at a double dissolution election that is likely to net them fewer than that, with none of the incumbents intending to retire. It had been hoped that David Johnston, who was dumped as Defence Minister in December 2014, might lighten the load by accepting a diplomatic posting, but he has now confirmed he will run again. The report says the state branch’s protocol should see ministers Mathias Cormann and Michaelia Cash take the top two positions and Johnston take third owing to “seniority”, but that Johnston might be bumped to fourth to make way for Dean Smith, with Linda Reynolds and Chris Back in fourth and fifth.

• The West’s report likewise says that Louise Pratt, who lost her seat from the second position at the state’s 2014 Senate election re-run, is well placed to take the fourth position on the Labor ticket with help from affirmative action, and is even hopeful of bumping Glenn Sterle for a place in the top three. Earlier indications had been that the order of the top end of the ticket would run Sue Lines, Glenn Sterle and Pat Dodson, with the fourth up in the air.

• Duncan McGauchie, a former policy adviser to the then Victorian premier, Ted Baillieu, has prevailed in a field of five to win Liberals preselection to succeed Sharman Stone as the Liberal candidate in the rural Victorian seat of Murray. He faces significant opposition at the election from Damian Drum, Nationals candidate and state upper house member.

• Labor’s candidate for Christopher Pyne’s loseable Adelaide seat of Sturt is Matt Loader, a gay rights activist and (I think) manager at South Australia’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. Hat tip to Chinda in comments.

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.

3,581 comments on “BludgerTrack: 50.1-49.9 to Coalition”

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  1. I wouldnt rule out a Kevin Andrews kamikazi leadership challenge (on Budget day) at the nxt lnp party room meeting, espescially if next Monday’s Newspoll aligns with latest Essential. Raises the delicious prospect of one Tony Abbot giving the concession speech on 2 July.

  2. Turnbull to cross floor via @YouTube
    Who was that Malcolm Turnbull? Not #PollyWaffleTurnbull we have now as PM

    Sorry try again, wis h the preview would work. Wor ked perfectly on twitter

  3. Thanks for the links.
    Surely we are due a new page. Posting from my tablet is tedious enough without having to scroll to the top of the page all the time.

  4. Latika on the Project video I posted above.

    Latika M Bourke shared The Project’s video.
    10 mins ·
    Yikes. Absolutely devastating for Malcolm Turnbull given The Project’s popularity, social media reach and predictable “Waleed Nailed It” articles following the man’s every (always brilliant of course) utterance.

  5. William has been very busy updating his seat of the day, I guess he is annoyed by the early election.

    One tip to refresh lastest posts is to click (or tap if on a device) a comment date field , if you do this for the last posted comment it will refresh the page to get all subsequent comments, the display centered on the one you just clicked.

  6. Yep, Waleed did nail it (thanks fess). Like others suggested, I don’t think his need to be “cool” about calling Shorten a dag had much sting either. His audience think all politician’s are dags.

  7. Hard Chat was good on The Weekly tonight. So Bill Shorten is going to appear next week and Malcolm Turnbull might be the next former Prime Minister interviewed.

  8. Re Carbon pricing. Today the EC carbon price reached a 3 month high of 7 Euros, about $A10.50, less than half the ‘carbon tax’ rate.

    In countering the coming disinformation campaign, Labor could point this out, plus: compare it with 2014 Budget measures ($100K degrees, dismantling Medicare, cuts to pensions and welfare); point out that the Government wants to increase the GST to 15% (a great big nee tax on evrything) to give their big business mates a tax cut, even though they bottled out this time; that tthey also want to cut out penalty rates and generally suppress wages and salaries.

    For anyone who doesn’t care about the future of the planet, the hip pocket nerve calculations still favour throwing this mob out.

  9. B.C. @ Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Graham Richardson is in intensive care:
    Wow, I wasn’t even aware you could survive without a bladder.

    Why not? It just stores urine from the kidneys until you release it. Should not be too hard to replace that function except for the tricky part connecting to the ureter tubes.

  10. Confessions @ Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 10:50 pm
    In favour of an ETS before, and against it now that the reef is dying

    More of “Malcolm’s decisions”.

  11. In fact, if Labor want to neutralise the “carbon tax” meme, four words: “the Reef is dying” should do it fairly easily

  12. The WA swing is a delight to behold. Now at 7.9%….soon to be around 9.0% or so. At this level, both Porter and Keenan would be at risk. How splendid if Porter were to lose his seat!

  13. In favour of an ETS before, and against it now that the reef is dying

    More of “Malcolm’s decisions”.

    And all in the name of political expediency. What exactly does Turnbull stand for other than his own damned self and holding onto power at all costs?

  14. briefly:

    Personally I think Porter is one WA Liberal the party needs to hold onto in order to restore sanity to the partyroom. There are others I’d tip out before him, that’s for sure.

  15. TPOF says:

    Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    BW @ 7.37

    “Unfortunately, the only people who are executed are scapegoats. Either low level mules or the like; people like Chan and Sukumaran who did not take enough care because they were only on the way through Bali to Australia, or innocent people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time but whose conviction provides cover for criminals.”

    I agree with you. On the whole I am against the death penalty. I rather thought that D&M showed a lack of understanding that a shooting death is usually nice and quick and that to be balanced and fair, since he was wishing a death on someone, he should be wishing death by firing squad on Jokowi.

    IMO D&M was being vindictively absurd.

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