Double dissolution election (maybe) minus nine weeks

To tide us over through a quiet spot, a closer look at the Australian National University’s latest survey on issues of public concern.

We’re about half-way between the weekly BludgerTrack and when I’m anticipating the next opinion poll, this being the period of pre-budget calm before the storm, and a new thread is wanted. So I’ve decided to hang this one off the latest ANUpoll survey, an exercise conducted by the Australian National University two or three times a year to gauge the public mood on a specific area of public policy, and track the salience of various issues over time. The subject of the latest instalment, which was conducted by phone from a sample of 1200 in February and March, is tax and equity in Australia. Among various findings on tax that would be familiar from those who follow Essential Research, the report also finds support for increased spending on social services at its highest level since the series began in 1987. The report also finds that, in spite of everything, 56% consider the existing system “moderately fair”, on top of another 4% for “very fair”, while 22% rate it “not too fair” and 18% “not at all fair”.

The survey also features regular questions in which respondents are asked to name the first and second most important political problems, out of a list that presently includes 27 options. To make this easier to interpret, I’ve condensed results into various categories, which are hopefully generally self-explanatory (particularly economy/budget, environment and better government – security/external covers wars, terrorism, defence and immigration, while services covers health and education and such). The progress of these results since 2008 is shown in the chart below.


From which a number of points are clearly worth noting. Concern about service provision mounted to giddy heights after the 2014 budget, but promptly returned to normal after Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister. The combined result for the various economic issues is at a low point in the latest survey, having peaked in the years immediately following the global financial crisis. Security/external and crime/society, which are largely conservative concerns, are on an upward trend. “Better government”, I’m guessing, was a popular response among Coalition supporters while Labor was in power, but is not a correspondingly popular choice for Labor voters now it’s the Coalition’s turn.

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.

1,251 comments on “Double dissolution election (maybe) minus nine weeks”

  1. Musrum, I have just installed the latest and greatest, Version 5.25, on my desktop, and the comment box is back at the top, with no preview, and there are no page numbers any more.

  2. So, let me get this right. The libs are going to offer tiny tax cuts to the rich (who won’t care) and nothing to average voters (who will be dreadfully pissed off) at a time of budget emergency. Sounds like a dreadful mistake to me. Labor should oppose them on fairness grounds and give tax cuts to average voters.

  3. I don’t see the lack of comment numbers to be a huge problem. The date and time provide a satisfactory alternative. As for the Older/Newer Comments, you can usually get around this by specifying the page number in the address bar.

  4. That’s the thing about tax cuts with our current system.
    Tax cuts to lower income earners are enjoyed by all including the rich, whereas tax cuts to higher income earners only benefit the rich.

  5. A B
    This doesn’t work on my mobile. Older flies to the very top of older, then newer flies to the very latest post. With no page numbers, patient scrolling is all that’s left.

  6. Reposted from previous thread.

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Michael Gordon – Behold! Malcolm Abbott.
    And Peter Hartcher follows through on the same theme as it applies to climate change policy. There is an interesting last sentence in the article.
    Turnbull and Morrison must exorcise the demons of Abbott’s 29014 budget with this one opines the SMH editorial.
    Laurie Oakes says Turnbull is no good at “doing scary”. Google.
    Karen Middleton on the strange politics of negative gearing.
    Lenore Taylor bemoans the state of our politics as asylum seeker and climate change policy come back to centre stage.
    Anne Summers puts Turnbull’s love of negative gearing into perspective.
    This Saturday Paper contributor who has worked at ASIC says it’s time heads rolled there and for them to toughen up.
    Phil Coorey talks about the laziness on the MSM in properly holding politicians to account. Well he could start doing it himself! Google.
    I’d say the Nurofen mob got off lightly for its egregious deceptive behaviour.
    Has Turnbull sent Australia down a dangerous road with the scrapping of the RSRT?

  7. Section 2 . . .

    Sinodinos – the not so artful dodger.,8941
    Kristina Keneally pours scorn on Arfur.
    Manus Island and Nauru – this is not our Australia.
    Mike Seccombe on the failed state of PNG.
    Nice goings on in Bankstown.
    Sean Nichols asks where are the non-Anglos in the NSW parliament.
    Morrison’s blocking of the sake of the big Kidman property has the Chinese fuming.
    The chart that is scaring climate scientists.
    Paul Bongiorno on how the government has tried to refloat the vote in SA.
    Another example of short termism.

  8. Section 3 . . . with Cartoon Corner

    More union corruption? Don’t think so!
    Google has been forced to restructure its businesses involving Australia.
    There’s a range of penalties Arfur could face having refused to show up at the Senate inquiry.
    The ACTU has unveiled its priorities in front of the election.
    Alan Moir is concerned about Potatohead’s sense of direction.

    Cathy Wilcox on Arfur. Now you see him . . . .

    What a ripper from David Pope on Turnbull’s 30 minute city thought bubble!

    Ron Tandberg with some home truths for the Liberals.

    Mark Knight on the tensions building within the CFA in Victoria.
    MUST SEE! David Rowe’s Dutton Island.

  9. lizzie
    That sounds like a real pain. I’ve never tried to access PB from a mobile device so I can only really offer insight from my experience using the laptop/desktop pc.

  10. I can see parts of cccp not working etc.

    I’m going to not try and fix cccp whilst they are still making changes (I’ll be chasing my tail).

    Hopefully I can pacth it this afternoon.

  11. A B

    When PB was designed for only one platform, I found no problem on my mobile. Now I’m so frustrated that sometimes I just want to give up. But I can’t. I’m addicted!!

  12. The Waffler is a hopeless failure.

    At the presser yesterday to waffle-announce his new cities thought bubble he spruiked about Edward Glasser’s (name????) new book about cities of the future….”Lucy and I love it and we’ve gifted copies of it to so many friends, blah blah blah”.

    So Alberici then has this man on Lateline last night, quite a long I/V.

    I sat there in amazement as the guy presented point after point which were antagonistic to the Waffler’s views on just about everything.

    Most notably he contradicted everything Waffler is saying about negative gearing, which he (Glasser) says serves no purpose in housing market.

  13. [ lizzie
    #22 Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 8:40 am

    I think ‘friends’ has many meanings !!
    I find ScoMo’s ruthless ambition and vaunted christianity a strange mixture. ]

    Not so strange. Never get in the way of a cardinal having a red hot go at becoming Pope!

  14. don

    One comment by ScoMo in the article – his wife became pregnant after many years of IVF as a reward for her faithfulness. Whether he meant faithfulness to her religion or her husband wasn’t entirely clear, but I felt a frisson of ‘little woman’ patronisation.

  15. Various RWNJs in Murdochland are happily proclaiming that the tide has turned for Turnbull due to the PNG court decision on Manus Island and Labor announcing measures to curb CO2 emissions. However Oaks reckons Turnbull just can’t run a scare campaign like Abbott.

    Meanwhile runs articles like “Barrier Reef ‘dead in 20 years’” and “Sub standard: why the $2,000 we are each spending on submarines will probably be a terrible waste.”.

    Then there is this weird “leak”:

    Tax cut on day before election
    Millions of workers will be offered modest tax cuts that kick in on July 1 in a surprise budget move.

    (Jumping the paywall), Crowe admits he has no idea how this will be accomplished.

    “It remains unclear how the government will enforce the tax cut in time for it to take effect on July 1, raising the prospect of a vote in parliament within days of the budget where Labor must decide whether to support an urgent tax package.”

  16. Lizzie

    “he described the birth of their first child as a blessing from God, rewarding his wife’s religious devotion.”

    It was Cheesus that dun it!

  17. Lenore

    Australian climate policy is at near crisis point because it can be solved only with a degree of bipartisanship, absent in the past seven years of brain-dead fact-free sense-paralysing conflict. Asylum policy is already at crisis point because the leading parties are in a bipartisan death lock that refuses to acknowledge the human and moral cost of achieving the stop-every-single-boat objective.

    But instead of discussing how we got ourselves into these messes or how we might get out of them – what the climate policy might actually mean for the economy or the environment, or what the Manus decision by the PNG supreme court might mean for the poor souls we’ve left languishing there – politicians and some commentators leap straight over the detail and discuss how the developments will “play” in the political “game” of the imminent election campaign. Or launch a completely inaccurate scare campaign written for a different policy altogether. Or argue over who’s “fault” it all is. Because those things are obviously way more important than, I don’t know, the future of our environment, our economy, or the lives of the 850 utterly desperate men detained at our behest for years.

    Of course, we’ve always assessed the political impact of events or announcements but there was a time when we used to make some attempt to understand what they meant first, or what might be done about them.

    …. As recent modelling by The Climate Institute showed, continued deadlock and delay in taking action will cause massive economic disruption in Australia when we finally realise that we have to do something in coming years.

    And still politicians tell us, straight faced, that they are really interested in good policy because that leads to good politics in the end. It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry. Or scream.

  18. An injured person would be nervous going to see Slater and Gordon about any claim on the basis of a reasonable fear that the claimmay be too heavily compromised so as to enable Slater and Gordon to recover costs which they need given their precarious financial position.

    Slater and Gordon have always been in a position of conflict having to satisfy the diverse interests of injured persons and shareholders since their float .

  19. Lenore in July 2013. when Rudd was making a dash for the election.

    Australia’s asylum policy “solutions” arrive just before elections. There’s a clue right there about exactly what they are trying to “solve”.

    Kevin Rudd’s latest effort is the most blatantly reactive and rushed political fix we’ve seen. If it was a lasting, sensible, humanitarian, accepted policy response he was after, he wouldn’t be doing it this way.

    But if it was a game-changing announcement that left the Coalition leader with nothing better to say than “Rudd’s got a good policy but we’d implement it better” then it worked a treat.

    Rudd’s best chance of pulling off the biggest election upset in recent Australian political history is to take over all of Tony Abbott’s slogans. If Kevin is the guy who “axes the tax” and “stops the boats”, then where does that leave Tony?

    Labor’s existing asylum policy is a disaster.

    …But its new policy could be an even bigger disaster in the making. What exactly do we think refugees are going to do in Papua New Guinea with its unemployment “crisis”, entrenched poverty, high crime levels, high levels of infant mortality, rampant corruption, poor healthcare and tropical diseases. If we are shipping asylum seekers off there and paying for the resettlement of those who are genuine refugees, are we still responsible for what happens to them?

  20. Laurie Oakes: Turnbull’s attack on ALP emissions trading scheme not only short on credibility but stomach-turning in its hypocrisy. #auspol

  21. citizen

    Various RWNJs in Murdochland are happily proclaiming that the tide has turned for Turnbull due to the PNG court decision on Manus Island and Labor announcing measures to curb CO2 emissions. However Oaks reckons Turnbull just can’t run a scare campaign like Abbott.

    I wonder when the LNP will realize that Mal is just a useless waffler and that Abbott would have been the perfect man to lead this type of negative campaign? Abbott must be smacking his lips in frustration!

  22. lizzie

    More like patience and medical engineering. Perhaps ScoMo could show his gratitude by refusing cuts to Health.

    Nah! One of the basic tenets of happy clappers like ScoMo is that Jesus shows his approval of such people by rewarding them with money to afford things like expensive healthcare interventions.

    Those who can’t are obviously not worth bothering with.

  23. lizzie @ #29 Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 9:15 am

    One comment by ScoMo in the article – his wife became pregnant after many years of IVF as a reward for her faithfulness. Whether he meant faithfulness to her religion or her husband wasn’t entirely clear, but I felt a frisson of ‘little woman’ patronisation.

    You have hit the nail on the head. I have had a close look via a relative at the happy clappies, and this trivialisation and denigration of females is endemic.

    It is most evident at marriage ceremonies, where the bride is very literally given into the care and under the dominion of the groom and the pastor. She is a chattel, no more.

    Later, all major household decisions apart from those delegated to the wife such as cooking, the cleaning of the house, and care of children, are at the whim of the husband.

  24. Question
    [I was quoting Abbott]
    Yes … That’s what a strawman is. Purport to respond to someone while putting up, or mixing their words with, other (or another’s) words.

  25. LIZZIE – Fascinating. Amazing how well the Bishop and the Abbott managed to keep their branch numbers below 100. Talking about fiefdoms.

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