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.

2016-04-30-anupoll

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. bemused
    [But it does fit closely with the Green voting yuppie attitudes others have discussed here.]
    Right. You think the people here are experts on the Greens.

  2. Bushfire Bill @ #1018 Monday, May 2, 2016 at 9:42 am

    A risky tactic but if Turnbull thinks govt is like a company, he might feel a restructure is the only way to gain control of the party.

    The only problem with that is that it’s the reactionary Old Guard who’ll be most likely to keep their seats. They’re hanging around waiting for their next dibs at the gravy train.

    A lot of companies have miscalculated or relied on old strategies and expectations when the customers have moved on. Then they have crashed and burned.

  3. I reckon it’s the 55% non Greens parents who are moving their kids out to stop them being infected by Greens propaganda. Quite sensible really.

  4. DisplayName @ #1050 Monday, May 2, 2016 at 10:58 am

    bemused
    You did not merely quote the report. This is your preface to the quote.

    Well, well, well …. we learn a little about Green voting yuppies in the Age today. They are shifting their kids out of ‘reffo’ schools in a display of racism disguised as something else.

    You don’t get to agree with someone without borrowing their assumptions. Your assertion is based on an unexplained assumption that the school switching demographic is proportional to voting patterns. Can you justify that assumption?

    By way of introduction to the report. Nothing in what I said that wasn’t in the report.

  5. bemused
    Exactly!

    You asserted what was in the report, and so borrowed their assumptions. The report did not justify its assumptions. Therefore neither did you.

  6. Turnbull’s 30 minute cities reminds me of the 7 minute abs line in There’s Something About Mary. “That’s good. Unless, of course, somebody comes up with 6-Minute Abs. Then you’re in trouble, huh?”
    http://rollingthunder.interwest.com/marketing/is-your-business-idea-8-minute-abs-or-7-minute-abs/

    Turnbull doesn’t even have a new idea to sell since Albo said exactly the same thing in 2014, and even Baillieu/Guy “planned” for Melbourne to be a 20-minute city in 2012 (and all we got was a poison pill contract for EWL).
    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2016/03/16/is-turnbulls-30-minute-city-all-spin-or-a-useful-idea/

  7. DisplayName @ #1056 Monday, May 2, 2016 at 11:18 am

    bemused
    Exactly!
    You asserted what was in the report, and so borrowed their assumptions. The report did not justify its assumptions. Therefore neither did you.

    A press report is not a peer reviewed scholarly article as you seem to be expecting.
    You could even say it is anecdotal, but it seemed to do a pretty good job at describing what is happening with school enrolments which just happens to coincide with the yuppification of that area and the increase in Green voting.

  8. The message from the Ayn Rand Memorial Budget will be that worthless scum earning less than $80,000 do not deserve tax cuts. That message will be sold by a creepy looking guy who talks like a crack-head. What could possibly go wrong?

  9. I’d notices Sayles goes a bit ‘girlie’ when Malcolm’s on. I prefer when she goes hard on all interviewees – she’s generally very good, but this is unacceptable – she doesn’t cut him off the way she does to any ALP person interviewed. He looks a bit sleazy to my mind – 61 y.o. trying to crack onto a 43 y.o. Now her bias has been exposed (& celebrated by the Oz) she should step aside and let Fergusson or O’Brien take the chair. I am sure Erica Betz is writing a letter of complaint about ABC bias right now.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/broadcast/leigh-sales-and-malcolm-turnbull-broadcast-onair-chemistry/news-story/9eeb3528364c3cbd1f46a12d998ffa0d

  10. Correct me if I’m wrong but these Metro rail projects are run by Private Operators not the State under their Public Transport departments, aren’t they? So channeling federal government money, via the ‘Asset Recycling Program’, whose funds came via the sale of Public Assets, is just essentially giving away money from the sale of taxpayer-funded assets to Private Enterprise? Even if some of that money goes to pay the wages of the people who gain employment as a result of them?

  11. The budget looks like it’s going to be yet another of Turnbot’s disappointments. Voters will have good reason to ask “Is that all there is?” After three years, two Treasurers and two PM’s, is this the best they can do! They are rubbish.

  12. bemused @ 11:29
    I am not expecting scholarly learning. I am expecting that people justify their assumptions, as you have not done, and are still not doing.

    There is a basic assumption underlying that report and your assertion; The demographics of school switchers lines up with the demographics of political voting. This might be reasonable if the Greens primary vote was high – e.g. at 100% primary vote, it’s trivially true – but the Greens are only on 45 to 55 (depending on area).

    As long as it goes unjustified, I will remain unconvinced.

  13. ‘Now her bias has been exposed (& celebrated by the Oz) she should step aside and let Fergusson or O’Brien take the chair.’

    Sustainable future, if you feel like engaging in an exercise in futility, I do recommend that you lodge a complaint with the ABC. You will be rewarded with either complete silence or a response that shows complete indifference to the actual content of your complaint.

  14. Trog Sorrenson,
    Just last week I heard about a toddler who picked up a loaded handgun that had slipped from under the driver’s seat onto the floor behind and shot his mother dead. 🙁

  15. I have a horrible feeling Turnbull will squeak back in, despite his flapping about and his motley crew. I want to say ‘the trend is out friend’, but a lifetime of following Collingwood has left me pessimistic…What’s the feeling out there?

  16. C@tmomma @ #1063 Monday, May 2, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong but these Metro rail projects are run by Private Operators not the State under their Public Transport departments, aren’t they? So channeling federal government money, via the ‘Asset Recycling Program’, whose funds came via the sale of Public Assets, is just essentially giving away money from the sale of taxpayer-funded assets to Private Enterprise? Even if some of that money goes to pay the wages of the people who gain employment as a result of them?

    Operators ‘operate’. They don’t own anything and they don’t build anything.
    It will be major construction companies that get the contracts to build and who will make a profit on the work. Nothing unusual in that.

  17. I can’t find it in my heart to feel sorry for the ‘stress’ Sinodinos is feeling over his FEF/NSW Coalition Treasurer exploits.

    Nobody with a shred of sense believes he didn’t know.

    Like so many pollies from that side of the fence (and probably many other sides of various fences) know full well where every cent comes from and ‘who’ they owe for such largesse. Any pretense of ignorance is an insult to the intelligence of sheep.

  18. DisplayName @ #1066 Monday, May 2, 2016 at 11:44 am

    bemused @ 11:29
    I am not expecting scholarly learning. I am expecting that people justify their assumptions, as you have not done, and are still not doing.
    There is a basic assumption underlying that report and your assertion; The demographics of school switchers lines up with the demographics of political voting. This might be reasonable if the Greens primary vote was high – e.g. at 100% primary vote, it’s trivially true – but the Greens are only on 45 to 55 (depending on area).
    As long as it goes unjustified, I will remain unconvinced.

    If, as I suspect, you are a Green, you will never be convinced as it would be inconvenient.

    But I couldn’t care less as I don’t waste my time trying to convince Greens. I merely expose their hypocrisy to others.

  19. bemused
    I am not defending the Greens. I just dislike falling for my own propaganda and logic as stupid as you have just exhibited. Unlike some, I don’t think lying to myself does me any good.

  20. Roy,
    As the conventional election wisdom goes, a lot can go wrong in election campaigns and once the campaign is on everyone goes under the microscope.

    I also believe that, as the election is so soon after the Budget, if there is any public disquiet about measures in the Budget, then public expressions of disquiet and unhappiness, such as happened after the 2014 Budget when there were nationwide protest marches, will have a magnified effect on the polls most likely.

    So it’s not impossible for Turnbull to lose and for Labor to win. Even Collingwood have won the flag over the Carlton Silvertails haven’t they?

  21. What’s the feeling out there?

    Roy, a couple of months ago i would have agreed with you. 20+ seats a big ask/

    Now, well, the Coalition have not really managed to get away from the constant fwark ups. ALP machine is working so far.
    ScoMo is about to manage the MOST crucial event for the Libs in the lead up to the election and i dont think he is up to it.
    Then Shorten gets his Budget in Reply and i actually think he is well up to based on past performance.
    Was said here a while back that Shorten has been making a good showing at the Town Hall formats he’s been doing and that is good practice for when the head to head Bill vs Mal debates happen. Now these events are risky, particularly i think for Shorten as the town halls are giving him exposure, but inherently include the opportunity to screw up. Yet, he’s done lots and HASN’T screwed up. Now normally i would consider the “debates” to be theatre that mainly exist for the MSM to get a bit of lolly during the campaign. I reckon they may be more significant to the outcome of this campaign.
    Mal and Bill @ Rooty Hill?? Bring it on. 🙂
    There is no doubt the polls will bounce around a bit. But…..on evidence i think i have reason to be optimistic.

    Going to be a fascinating week to set the tone for the campaign. I reckon the ALP will roll over the bastards like a tank.

  22. Unfortunately, the Labor supporters here make a much more convincing argument that I should switch my vote away from Labor than the Greens supporters do. If the ALP shared the ineptitude with logic of some here, then I couldn’t possibly vote for them.

    Thankfully I’m not so silly to equate a couple of Labor supporters on an internet forum with the parliamentary party.

  23. SF @ 11.30

    That article also asserted that Bill Shorten tries to avoid one-on-one interviews with people like Leigh Sales. But the person who is quoted making that assertion is Turnbull’s press secretary. The writer, of course being from the GG, accepts that as accurate and reports it uncritically.

    Well, I call bullshit. When Turnbull fronts up alone to a Q & A the way Shorten did then he can claim some credit. Until then he is, like his predecessor, a chicken hawk. Talk big, but dive for cover as soon the bullets start to fly.

  24. Rather sickening Editorial in the AFR (I assume Stutchbury pens these) which paints the budget as a choice between whether “Australia possesses the will to become a more productive nation [ie supports Coalition tax cuts for companies and high-income earners] or prefers to keep squabbling over the shares of a less prosperous one [ie prefers Labor’s policies of funding health and education over high-income tax avoidance]”

    Apparently it was Labor’s stimulus spending post 2007 which entrenched the structural deficit, and in fact the whole piece jumps straight from Keating to Rudd without even acknowledging there was a change in government in between (easy to forget I suppose).

    The budget narrative has been set. The actual content of the budget will be of only marginal importance int this regard.

  25. Re: the budget at tax cuts for >$80,000 earners
    It is time labor and the greens gave the Australian public a bit of a lesson about the difference between ‘average’ and ‘median’. Morrison is exploiting Australia’s poor numeracy education here. Short arses like Bandt and Shorten should be able to borrow from 5ft zip tall Robert Reich, who when he was Secretary of Labor (yes they spell it that way) under Clinton would make the point re: income inequity and using averages instead of medians by saying that “on average Michael Jordan and I are 5’10”.”
    I’d like to see an interviewer ask “what is the median income Mr Morrison /Turnbull?” (just to see if they know) and ” Do you have any close friends who earn less and $80,000 per year? – and I mean gross income, not taxable income after rorting of loopholes.”

    It’d be great to know how many pollies have a taxable income of less than $80K due to use of loopholes including negative gearing.

    I’d reckon you wouldn’t have to search to hard to find that Turnbull has bought works of art or had holidays costing more than $80K, just to make the point about how out of touch they are on this.

    Labor should announce progressive cuts to the tax free threshold and a tightening of tax loopholes for the well off. I’d suggest limiting negative gearing to a single property investment, not including interest repayments as a loss/deduction, and/or a cap (e.g. up to an average of $5 or 10K losses/deductions per year over a 5 year period), as well as full capital gains on sale of the property. The policy should be tailored to promote investment in low income rental properties and to reduce property speculation (although much of the latter is coming from overseas). Another way to do it would be to require properties to be valued each year and the capital gain added to the returns on the investment. No deductions if the gains minus the ‘losses’ is a positive number.

    I worry that Labor’s ‘new property’ requirement will see more demolition of serviceable houses to build units. ‘Losses’ need to be capped to stop people on higher incomes paying no tax (and even getting tax returns and child care payment benefits – as some former colleagues of mine on $100K plus incomes boasted).

  26. Roy @ #1070 Monday, May 2, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I have a horrible feeling Turnbull will squeak back in, despite his flapping about and his motley crew. I want to say ‘the trend is out friend’, but a lifetime of following Collingwood has left me pessimistic…What’s the feeling out there?

    Have a Bex and a lie down… the feeling should pass by July 3.

  27. SF – It doesn’t matter much what the electorate think is an “average” earner. They know whether they personally are earning $80,000 and therefore know if they will be getting a tax “break”. That’s all that matters. And those who won’t will be PISSED.

  28. BU – Stutchbury is an irrelevant sado-monetarist. Nobody takes him seriously. His editorials are quite funny, actually.

  29. It will be major construction companies that get the contracts to build and who will make a profit on the work. Nothing unusual in that.

    You left out the bit about the 20+ year maintenance contracts. There’s great money to be made in that.

  30. The Greens are a threat to Labor. If they were not, the Greens would barely get a mention, or do some of you really spend so much time and energy on what you claim is an irrelevance? That would be a different kind of idiocy.

    It is quite convenient then, for Labor supporters to believe what they want about the Greens and their supporters (and vice versa, btw). Any such natural inclination should require more critical thinking, not less, to resist (for example) potential confirmation bias.

    I find it laughable that the people who boast loudest of their cynicism are the quickest to drink their own kool-aid.

  31. BU @ 12.16

    The vast majority of the AFR’s readership are committed coalition voters. If you want them to keep buying your rag, you tell them what they want to hear. That’s why Stutchbury was hired to be editor. And why Fairfax keeps the AFR largely quarantined from the rest of its major mastheads.

    I wouldn’t lose sleep over an AFR editorial. In fact, it gives Labor a heads-up as to the kind of drivel spin it will need to counter in the coming election.

  32. bemused, Thanks for that link on the parents too stupid to recognise the opportunity for their precious little Athelrods and Penelopes to get in first with learning about new cultures by trying to avoid non-white dominated schools.

    One of the excellent factors in my daughters getting a Sisters of Mercy education (free, through scholarships) was that it had 52 different nationalities going to it, including refugee’s children and from all classes of people.
    I knicked the link (with attribution to here) to illustrate my latest post over the road , Class or Nationality, Which Divides Us More?
    https://pbxmastragics.com/2016/05/01/class-or-nationality-which-divides-us-more/?replytocom=233912#respond
    (sorry, well not really, Wilbo for the unashamed spruiking).

  33. jen @ 12.02

    I can’t find it in my heart to feel sorry for the ‘stress’ Sinodinos is feeling over his FEF/NSW Coalition Treasurer exploits.

    Politics is a tough business and politicians need thick hides. I wonder how sorry Sinodinos felt for Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper who were treated as though they were worse than child sex offending priests by the Liberals and the baying media. Slipper, in particular, was mentally destroyed on the back of a dishonourable set up by someone he trusted and a media journalist who seemed personally a little too keen to destroy him.

    For Sinodinos and Brough and Robert and the rest of them, they truly deserve the standard they walk past.

  34. Editor’s Note from ‘The Monthly’ email:

    “Our prime minister says that we must ‘live within our means’,” writes Don Watson. “The treasurer and the minister for finance both say it. As is the custom, having said it once, they have said it again and again.”

    It’s not the only thing on repeat at the moment. The Coalition government, in the heat of the pre-election campaign, has reverted to Abbott-era type. Any semblance of the adult, process-driven government promised by Malcolm Turnbull has been tossed aside for an all-out rhetoric-driven assault on voters’ intelligence. The past week has been all about carbon-tax scares, massive defence spending, Labor’s fiscal irresponsibility and a secure Australia.

    Treasurer Scott Morrison is facing the biggest test of his career with the 3 May budget. Rather than prepare the policy ground, he has spent recent interviews repeating idiocies: the proposal to apply negative-gearing tax concessions only to new housing stock has been dubbed “Labor’s housing tax”; real-estate owners who benefit from negative gearing are now “mum and dad investors”; and everything the Labor Party does is “the old economy way of tax and spend” (what does that even mean?). The Coalition’s policy platform has shifted constantly – apparently a plan for “jobs and growth” doesn’t require a consistent position on income tax, GST or corporate tax rates, negative-gearing concessions, corporate tax avoidance, federal–state relations, manufacturing or climate-change policy, or indeed much at all.

    If this is the tenor of the campaign to come, Tony Abbott may be proven right: the Liberal Party would have been better sticking with him. At least his slogans worked.

  35. Leading mental health expert Patrick McGorry warns young people with early psychosis could become at greater risk of suicide, as the Turnbull government prepares to scrap funding for the specialist treatment program he helped establish.

    The Early Psychosis Youth Services (EPYS) program is administered through six centres across the country, where teams work with young people aged between 12 and 25 who are at high risk of, or have experienced, a psychotic episode for the first time. The psychosis can involve hearing voices or believing delusions.

    The program, introduced by the Gillard government and supported by Tony Abbott in opposition, involves specialist teams that treat patients, while also helping them secure accommodation, return to school or find work. They also support families to improve patients’ chances of recovery.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/futures-will-be-lost-health-fears-as-youth-psychosis-program-dropped-20160429-goi1hu.html#ixzz47SkDEumP
    Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

  36. On the other hand, there are certain Greens supporters who make a far more convincing argument that I shouldn’t vote Greens than any Labor supporter ever has ;).

  37. [For Sinodinos and Brough and Robert and the rest of them, they truly deserve the standard they walk past.]

    Yes indeed

  38. Display Name,
    You’re the one who has been banging on and on and on this morning about The Greens’ supposed non-threat to Labor. But do excuse me if I continue to point out Greens’ hypocrisy or general pointlessness in the political debate.

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