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
    Each Tasmanian gets roughly 10 votes in the Senate and 2 in the HoR. This is part of a broad, long term trend, and these numbers are getting higher.

    It does not come out in the wash, it is caused by systemic issues
    The concept of the Senate acting as a state’s house. It is not.
    The minimum of 5 seats in the HoR per state.
    And the fact that the rules (written a long time ago) state that big electorates should have imaginary people added to them when determining quota because it’s hard to get around a big electorate.

  2. BK

    As I said earlier, I am currently unable to watch QT and have been following twitter etc.

    Have the coalition lost the plot or something?

  3. I fail to see how Shorten’s statement, to run the country like a union (leader), can be anything other than a negative for Labor.
    Why the hell come out with this memoir now. Murdoch and Turnbull are running with it with much glee.

  4. Scott Bales @ #1151 Monday, May 2, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    @ bemused
    Each Tasmanian gets roughly 10 votes in the Senate and 2 in the HoR. This is part of a broad, long term trend, and these numbers are getting higher.
    It does not come out in the wash, it is caused by systemic issues
    The concept of the Senate acting as a state’s house. It is not.
    The minimum of 5 seats in the HoR per state.
    And the fact that the rules (written a long time ago) state that big electorates should have imaginary people added to them when determining quota because it’s hard to get around a big electorate.

    So your point is?

  5. feeney

    Never believe the distorted ‘quotes’ of the Coalition and Murdoch.

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/may/02/bill-shorten-memoir-sets-out-labor-leaders-manifesto-in-book-similar-to-battlelines

    Within pages, he is describing his own leadership style in similar terms, an approach learned, like Hawke, from the working in the trade union movement.

    “Some people think strong leadership means telling people what they must do or being the smartest person in the room. That’s wasn’t my view as a unionist, and nor is it my view now as Labor leader. Real leadership shows that consensus and negotiation is a sign of strength, not weakness. Real leadership means understanding the minimum and the maximum that people will accept. You go for the maximum, yet always understand the minimum. In every negotiation I have been involved in, I refer to the 90:10 rule—let’s work on the 90% we agree on, not the 10% where we differ. This is the belief I have carried into politics.

    “As Labor leader, I still think like an organiser. Whether it’s dealing with the rising influence of vested interests or solving a community-level problem, empowering people is the key. Relationships are crucial: get people to come together, define their position and work from there. Don’t begin with a pure ideological solution. Take account of all viewpoints.”

  6. feeney
    [I fail to see how Shorten’s statement, to run the country like a union (leader), can be anything other than a negative for Labor.
    Why the hell come out with this memoir now. Murdoch and Turnbull are running with it with much glee.]
    Absolutely!
    I just came in from shopping and nearly fell off my chair when I heard it.

  7. One for zoomster, don and any other teachers.
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/in-the-sky-above-melbourne-special-needs-teacher-comes-to-the-rescue-20160501-goj8k7.html

    Later, a young woman approached Murphy. She said she was sitting one row back throughout the ordeal, with her husband, a doctor.

    “But he didn’t know what to do. Apparently he actually sat watching, taking notes,” says Murphy. “Parents always tell teachers about the impact they have on their child, but the acknowledgement is rarely public. I just want people to know that all teachers have these amazing, incredible skills that can be called on in many settings at any time. Teachers rock.”

  8. @ bemused – that there are issues that mean that party x needs y percent of the vote to get >50% of the seats.

    And that these issues don’t all ‘come out in the wash’. Because there are a systemic failings that lead to them, and these failings are consistent.

  9. Lizzie

    Lying comes so naturally to the coalition. It is beyond pathetic. And Turnbull is top dog in that department. What a crappy PM

  10. feeney @ #1156 Monday, May 2, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I fail to see how Shorten’s statement, to run the country like a union (leader), can be anything other than a negative for Labor.
    Why the hell come out with this memoir now. Murdoch and Turnbull are running with it with much glee.

    Did he actually say that or is he being verbaled on the basis of what is in his book?

  11. Thanks for the snippet to clear up what Shorten said Lizzie.

    I don’t see anything wrong with it. In fact, I think it could not have been said better. That’s exactly the sort of leader the country needs.

  12. Those doubting how the Senate acts as a states house have obviously not observed the high proportions of time spent debating and discussing issues that effect the smaller states. Sure, the senators vote along party lines, but they represent the views of their states in a more complex way than that.

  13. Scott Bales @ #1161 Monday, May 2, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    @ bemused – that there are issues that mean that party x needs y percent of the vote to get >50% of the seats.
    And that these issues don’t all ‘come out in the wash’. Because there are a systemic failings that lead to them, and these failings are consistent.

    Well sometimes they favour Labor and sometimes the Libs.
    I am not going to tear up because currently Tasmania has mostly Lib members as it may well soon have a majority of ALP members.
    The issue of the tolerance for electorate sizes has been pretty much sorted out and due to population shifts, some allowance is needed or we would be having weekly re-distributions.
    No electoral distribution can ever be perfect. The AEC does well enough to satisfy me and I am also satisfied with the current legislation on electorate tolerances.

  14. I’d love to see a video in which Barnaby is asked a series of policy questions and his answer to every one of them is “CAAARP!”

  15. MorganPoll up, ALP 51% (up 1%) from 2 weeks ago on respondent allocated preferences.
    50.5% on last election preferences (down 0.5%).

    1st preferences are up 0.5% for Labor, down 0.5% for Liberal and Green

  16. William in today’s Crikey:

    As the government prepares to bring down the budget a week ahead of the original schedule, its elaborate plan for a double dissolution election under a reformed Senate electoral system is near fruition.

    However, a potential obstacle remains in the form of a legal challenge to the electoral reforms from Bob Day, the deep-pocketed Family First Senator from South Australia.

    The High Court has at least taken the matter seriously enough to allow it through to a hearing of the full bench, to be held with exquisite timing this afternoon.

    While the government would be feeling fairly confident about the outcome, there is enough lingering doubt to warrant at least some anxiety, given the stakes at play.

    The arguments underpinning Day’s case may sound a little pedantic to those who have learned to take the party system’s stranglehold over modern politics for granted, but they involve genuine questions as to whether the parties have intruded on the Senate electoral system in ways the constitution did not envision.

    The biggest theoretical difficulty relates to the constitution’s requirement that members of Parliament be “directly chosen by the people”.

    In its more expansive moments, the High Court has interpreted this to entail protections for political speech, and used it to strike down the Howard government’s endeavours to curtail prisoners’ voting rights and close the electoral roll at the start of the campaign period.

    So it doesn’t seem too exotic to argue that an impermissible element of “indirect choice” is introduced when voters simply number party boxes, and let the parties themselves determine the ordering of their own candidates.

  17. bemused
    Shorten may have been verballed by the MSM, but the mere reference of union leader, delegate etc immediately denotes something corrup or bullying in the public eye.
    That’s how it will be reported in the MSM. Of that I have no doubt.

  18. lizzie
    Thanks for the reference to what Shorten said, in context.
    That will not persuade Murdoch rags not to run the ‘union leader’ line.
    Double negative in that sentence, I know, but you get the message, I’m sure.

  19. Ok, so apparently they are playing with avatars and a comment box at the bottom, but we’re landing on the oldest comments rather than the newest.

  20. victoria @ #1166 Monday, May 2, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    I had a visceral loathing of Abbott. Now feel the same re Turnbull and Morrison. Pathetic

    I think a lot of people are realizing now that it was not just Abbott personally that they instinctively recoiled from. Yes, he is a truly awful individual – but he also unmasked the house of horrors that is the modern LNP.

  21. If people did not think that the coalition would hit Bill Shorten with claims of union corruption etc and out and out lies about his union background then they are very naive.

    If it was not some misquote from his book it would be dome other lie. The book ,from extracts I have read today ,is a powerful narrative as to who Bill Shorten actually is and what he represents.

    Perhaps those who are complaining should read what it contains and wait to see how Bill Shorten weaves his background and beliefs into the campaign.

    But then there are some here who would jump on Shorten no matter what he said or did simply because he has a union background or simply because they are so consumed with their hatred of anyone with a connection to the right of the party that they automatically jump in with a preprogrammed reonse without even doing themselves the favour of finding out exactly what the background and reality is.

    Shorten was always going to be attacked by Turnbull and co. That is the reality. Not what is or is not in his book.

    Cheers.

  22. A classic from Sunday’s Daily Telegraph (Tweeted):
    ‘Science Minister Christopher Pyne confirmed he is teaming up with biosecurity warrior Barnaby Joyce to give herpes to millions of fish’

  23. Btw, if you’re like me and it lands you oldest comments first all the time, replace “comment-page-X” with “comment-page-0” in the url and you can get to the most recent comments easily ;).

  24. Doyley
    Agree. They’ll go out of their way to twist his words anyway, and who doesn’t know by now that he was a union leader? How much more can they possibly squeeze out of “unions, boo”? At this point, surely, he’s not an unknown quantity and the polls will reflect voters thoughts with his background already taken into consideration?

  25. I like Morgan’s grapg showing the red crossing over the blue for the first time since Abbott. So the subs sunk and didn’t bounce or surface!

  26. Ok, starting by default on the oldest comments is what it should be doing.

    BUT we do need a way to get to the newest comments easily (the old page display with 1 2 3 4 5 … 78 was perfect – if you wanted to get to the end you just clicked on the last number).

    And yeah, page numbers and comment numbers and page number navigation still essential.

    And please don’t link CCCP – I’m very impressed by the work done etc, but I don’t want to use it, I want the vanilla site to be usable.

  27. Mike Nahan and Scott Morrison are under more pressure to deliver tax relief with new figures show Australians paying record amounts in tax.

    The figures, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, show that the WA Government now collects $4178 in taxes per person – the highest per capita collection of any State or Territory in the country.

    When the Barnett Government came to power the State was collecting just $3046 per person.

    The figures, which exclude the huge lift in mining royalties that have underpinned the Budget over recent years, show businesses, car owners and people buying a home have been the hardest hit by higher taxes.

    Collections of payroll tax, the single largest independent revenue source for the Government, increased by 60 per cent between 2008-09 and 2014-15 to reach $3.6 billion.

    Only stamp duty on property conveyancing has grown more quickly, up by 67 per cent over the same period. But over the past 18 months as the property market has cooled it has fallen, punching a hole in the State Budget bottom line.

    https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/31488149/heat-on-libs-as-wa-tax-take-grows/

  28. [Had a look over at NutterTruckers last night (its ok, i have washed well since then) and they are all a flutter about just who to vote for. MalPM in very bad odor. Some advocating putting Libs in marginal seats who voted against Tony in the leadership spill dead last (i can support that) and voting ALA in the Senate.]

    time for the forces of good to astro-turf a ‘how to not vote for Turnbull’ voting card using above the line p referencing to exhaust the nutters’ senate votes?

  29. Yes, Shorten being verballed by Morrison.

    He was basically saying he is taking a leaf out of Hawke’s book in being conciliatory

  30. Senator Dean Smith
    6 mins ·
    During Senate Question Time today, I asked Minister Simon Birmingham to explain how Labor’s proposal for an electricity tax would damage jobs and growth in Australia’s manufacturing sector.

    An electricity tax? Are they serious?!

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