Highlights of day one

Reports this morning of a looming preference switch by the Victorian Liberals in favour of the Greens, and a line-ball internal poll in the new Perth seat of Burt.

UPDATE: Essential Research has the Labor lead down from 52-48 to 51-49, with the Coalition up two on the primary vote to 42%, Labor steady on 38% and the Greens steady on 10%. One of many questions on the budget records 20% approval overall and 29% disapproval, with 35% for neither and 15% for don’t know. All the others, together with questions on detention centres, can be seen on the full release. We also have a poll today in The Guardian for Lonergan, conducted Friday to Sunday from a sample of 1841, which reaches 50-50 on two-party preferred from primary votes of Coalition 42%, Labor 35% and Greens 12%.

In response to Radio National Drive host Patricia Karvelas’s desire to refer to yesterday as day one of the election campaign, a listener helpfully offered that the actual day of the announcement, Sunday, might be deemed “day zero”. That works for me, so there’s your headline. However you care to number it, here are some highlights:

Andrew Probyn of The West Australian reports a Liberal Party internal poll derived from “15-minute interviews with 600 people on April 30 and May 1” recorded a dead heat on two-party preferred in the new electorate of Burt in southern Perth. The report also cites optimism from Liberal insiders about Cowan and Hasluck, where “the advantage of incumbency and strong local campaigns” are expected to make the difference.

• In other internal polling news, Mark Riley of Seven News reported on Thursday that Liberal polling conducted on April 29 showed the party trailing 53.1-46.9 in Eden-Monaro, but leading 50.3-49.7 in Reid, 50.9-49.1 in Banks, 50.2-49.8 in Gilmore, 51.6-48.5 in Bennelong, 51.2-48.8 in Lindsay and 58.8-41.2 in Hughes, with Barnaby Joyce holding a 53.1-46.9 lead over Tony Windsor in New England. The report copped a more than usually vehement response from Liberal pollster Mark Textor, who denied any such polling had been conducted by his own firm, Crosby Textor. Riley said in his report that the polling was “delivered to New South Wales Liberal executives by campaign guru Lynton Crosby yesterday and leaked to Seven News”, to which Textor retorted that Crosby was out of the country. Riley responded that he had “at no stage said it was your polling”, and insisted it had been distributed to prominent members of the party. In his report the following evening, Riley said “Liberal-National director Tony Nutt said it wasn’t commissioned by the party and rejected the numbers”.

Ellen Whinnett of the Herald Sun reports the Liberals are “on the brink” of a deal in which they will direct preferences to the Greens in Batman and Wills, while the Greens run open tickets in marginal seats in the Melbourne suburbs. The former half of the bargain returns to the Liberals’ usual practice before 2013, but for the Greens to fail to direct preferences in marginal seats is a little more unusual. However, the impact of the former will be far the greater. When the Liberals flipped their preference recommendation in 2013, the Greens’ share of their preferences in the Melbourne electorate slumped from 80.0% to 33.7%. This would have gouged about 10% of Adam Bandt’s two-party vote against Labor, but the improvment of his position on the primary vote was sufficient to exactly cancel it out. In Batman and Wills, the Greens’ share of Liberal preferences in 2013 was 32.6% and 28.7% respectively. If that changed to 80% with no alteration to the primary vote, David Feeney’s 10.6% winning margin over Greens candidate Alex Bhathal, who opposes him again this time, would reduce to zero, while Labor would hold on to a 3.5% margin in Wills. By contrast, the Greens running an open ticket appears to reduce Labor’s share of their preferences by only 3%. The Greens vote in Labor’s Victorian targets of Deakin, La Trobe and Corangamite was in each case a fraction above 10%, so the difference is likely to be 0.3% to 0.4%.

• Crikey founder and shareholder activist Stephen Mayne has announced he is running against Kevin Andrews as “a pro-Turnbull, liberal-minded independent” in the eastern Melbourne seat of Menzies. Andrews is currently embroiled in a branch-stacking scandal that has resulted in the resignation of his electorate officer, Ananija Ananievski, involving elderly Macedonian immigrants who were reportedly unaware of their party membership. In an article in Crikey yesterday (paywalled), Mayne wrote that Georgina Downer, a lawyer, former diplomat and daughter of former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, was “hoping Kevin Andrews is removed and she can be slotted in as a last-minute replacement before nominations close on June 1”. Downer was an unsuccessful candidate for the recent preselection to succeed Andrew Robb in the seat of Goldstein, which was won by former Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson.

• Liberal MP Dennis Jensen, who was disendorsed as the party’s candidate for his Perth seat of Tangney in favour of former party state director Ben Morton, announced yesterday he would run in the seat as an independent. He declined to resign from the Liberal Party in doing so, but state director Andrew Cox said yesterday that he had cancelled his membership in announcing his intention to run against an endorsed candidate of the party. Jensen foreshadowed yesterday’s actions in a speech to parliament last week, in which he called Morton “the Liberal branch stackers’ and powerbrokers’ candidate”, criticised the government’s record on tax reform, called for a royal commission into the banks, and spruiked himself as “a candidate who has deep Liberal values, but who will fight for constituents first and foremost; a free thinker who will be their voice in parliament without fear or favour”. Andrew Probyn of The West Australian noted a fortnight ago that running at the election would mean Jensen continued to draw a salary up until the day before the election, which would earn him around $35,000.

• The state council of the Liberal Party in Western Australia determined the order of the double dissolution Senate ticket on the weekend, and delivered a defeat to former Defence Minister David Johnston by relegating him to the highly loseable sixth position on the ticket. The order of the ticket will run Mathias Cormann, Michaelia Cash, Dean Smith, Linda Reynolds, Chris Back, David Johnston. All are incumbents, reflecting the party’s consistent success in winning three seats at half-Senate elections, and the difficulty it faces accommodating all of them at a double dissolution election that is more likely to net them only five. Many in the party had hoped that Johnston, who was dumped as Defence Minister in December 2014, would lighten the burden by retiring, but he failed to oblige. Johnston was more gracious in the face of disappointment than some, conceding he was “in the twilight of my career”, and telling the ABC: “The Liberal Party has been very, very good to me and I’ve had 14 years in Parliament which has been a fabulous adventure.” The state council’s decision reportedly ran ran contrary to the recommendation of its four-person selection committee, which proposed that Johnston take fourth place and Back take sixth. Joe Spagnolo of the Sunday Times reports one of the members of the selection committee, party state president Norman Moore, stormed out of a state executive meeting last week and threatened to resign as it became apparent the recommendation would not be supported, before apologising for what he conceded was a “dummy spit”.

Mark Coultan of The Australian (paywalled, I’m guessing) reports that the Liberal member for Barton, Nick Varvaris, has finally decided after much prevarication that he will seek re-election in the seat he won from Labor in 2013. Varvaris has been poleaxed by the latest redistribution, which has turned his 0.3% margin into a notional Labor margin of 5.2% by adding territory around Marrickville. Mark Coultan also reports the Liberals are still yet to endorse candidates in the competitive seats of Paterson and Kingsford Smith, but are likely to do so this weekend.

Jared Owens of The Australian has a useful article (probably paywalled) on the state of the parties’ double dissolution Senate tickets. While many remain to be finalised, Coalition tickets are now set in Victoria (incumbents Mitch Fifield, Scott Ryan, James Paterson and Bridget McKenzie, followed by newcomer Jane Hume, who recently suffered a surprise defeat to Paterson in her bid to fill Michael Ronaldson’s vacancy), Queensland (Ian Macdonald, George Brandis, Matt Canavan, James McGrath, Barry O’Sullivan and Joanna Lindgren, all of whom are incumbents) and South Australia (Simon Birmingham, Cory Bernardi, Anne Ruston, David Fawcett and Sean Edwards, all incumbents). Labor’s ticket in Queensland will be headed by two newcomers in former state MP Murray Watt and former party state secretary Anthony Chisholm, who are repectively of the Left and the Right. Behind them are incumbents Claire Moore and Chris Ketter, with another newcomer in Jane Casey in fifth place.

Stay tuned for the regular Tuesday poll release early this afternoon from Essential Research, which will probably be followed by a bit of a lull after the weekend storm. A full update of BludgerTrack, incorporating the latest state breakdowns, should follow a few hours after.

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.

797 comments on “Highlights of day one”

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  1. Re the hung Parliament scenario.
    In Tassie in 2010, the outcome was Lab 10 seats, Lib 10, Greens 5. Labor, the incumbent, refused to deal with the Greens and stepped back and said “Libs, the government is yours if you want it.” The Lib Leader, Will Hodgman said “sorry, can’t talk to the Greens, Eric (Abetz) won’t let me.
    Then Governor Underwood more or less demanded of Labor that they take office, regardless of how they felt about the Greens.
    If there is a hung Parliamrny in July, I’m expecting Cosgrove to adopt a similar approach.

  2. Kroger is being clever. He knows that any discussion about Greens preferences steals oxygen from Labor.

    Yep, trying to invoke shades of the Labor minority govt in the minds of swinging voters.

  3. Bingo Yabba. Demand is the driver. Which is why companies spend so much on marketing. Then pricing (trying to find the sweet spot where you can maximise your prices without losing an excessive amount of sales) to maximise profitability. Which again is why companies spend so much on marketing, branding, packaging and other methods of lifting their offering out of being a commodity. Then cash flow and operations and product design etc etc.

    ALL of these are far far more important to the success of a business than some crap about accelerated depreciation or business tax rates.

    If the cafe cannot cope with their current demand or expected future demand AND the addition of the new piece of kit would provide efficiencies that would allow them to cater for that demand at a lower cost than alternatives, THEN it’s worth getting and as you say a lease is probably best for their cash flow. The fact you could buy it and write it off in one year is of such marginal benefit it simply shouldn’t be part of the decision to acquire the equipment at all. Their accountant may advise on the best way to treat it for cash flow and taxation purposes, but that is only after the business case to acquire it stacks up. If it is such a marginal proposition that the crap the Libs are talking about makes any difference then there is a 99.9% certainty that there are better ways of spending the money for the business.

    A cafe whose existence depends on if they can depreciate their toaster over 1 year or several is not going to be around for long.

  4. MB
    Cosgrove can do what he likes but he cannot force a minority Labor parliamentary party to assume government against their will.

  5. …a coalition with the Greens is a distinct possibility…

    This is a ridiculous proposition. The G’s may tease themselves with such a fantasy but it will not occur. It is time the G’s were dealt with for what they actually are – alternates to the LNP. Labor will not go into coalition with either the G’s or the LNP.

  6. No coalition, no deals. If the Greens choose to support them, then fine.

    Yup. There’s no advantage for anyone in a formal coalition. The Greens will want to debate each bill on its merits. The ALP will negotiate as needs be to get their legislative agenda through both houses.

    Rock up after the election and see who gets confidence on the floor of the House and go from there.

  7. Good evening all,
    The CPG continually go on about pollies living in a bubble not knowing what is happening in the ” real ” world. To them the campaign is all about point scoring and how they think the scoring is going on a national level. Sound bites, gotchas etc etc dominate their focus and they think they are the gate keepers of what the public wants and needs to know.

    They are living in a dream world themselves . The CPG live in a bubble and in my opinion they have no idea what does and does not matter to average everyday Australians.

    This election will be won and lost on a seat by seat basis and the battle will be won in the marginals on issues that resonate with voters in each of those marginals.

    Turnbull today and yesterday has been playing to the national audience, aloof from the voters in the electorates he visited. Shorten has been travelling along working hard in Cairns and Townsville concentrating on issues that matter to voters in those specific electorates. He had committed to Townsville stadium, spoken to and been interviewed on local media outlets and by doing so has completely sidelined the CPG travelling with him.

    The CPG think they are important but in the last two days Shorten has made them redundant.

    Turnbull will continue to play the big stage while Shorten will get down and dirty with actual voters and push his policy agenda through local media.

    I have stated here many times I have no idea how the political noise and daily events will play out with ordinary voters and as a political tragic I am so far removed from the real world I could be on a different planet. But so are the CPG.

    What matters to them does not automatically translate to what matters to real people.

    However, saying that I do believe that labor and Shorten are playing the right game atm and connecting with real people.

    I do not know how it will go over but I would not be surprised if the whole greens, labor coalition, the gotchas about a post from months ago on a labor candidates Facebook page matter not a ounce to people two day into a eight week campaign.

    Perhaps they care more about what is happening to them and their children today in their own homes and in their workplace.

    Everyone in the CPG laughed at Shorten over his GST campaign and his supermarket visits and claimed it was obviously not working. However, they were not looking at the main game. Shorten was connecting with real people, talking with them about real everyday concerns in their everyday real world and completely bypassing the CPG.

    Just like he is doing now.


  8. Oh, and if the Greens were seriously expecting to be potentially be part of executive government they are definitely dreaming.

  9. I think it’s reasonable (and probably expected) that the Governor/GG can request any of the potential groupings to try to form government.
    This really just means testing a particular configuration to see if it can get confidence. If they can’t the Governor/GG can ask a different potential grouping to try their luck.

    A Governor/GG can’t force confidence, of course, and if the relevant parliament is just not going to work there’s no helping it.

    If this goes on long enough, and the Governor/GG is sick of the unfolding farce already, then we go back to the polls and try again.

  10. There is a difference between “no coalition” and “no deal”. In the event that the Greens have the numbers, they’re going to vote for Labor in matters of supply and confidence. And probably on most other things. So its one thing for Shorten to say he won’t do any special deals. Its another to imply that he won’t accept the Greens’ support. That seemed to be the implication

  11. Just further to the toaster discussion. In Yabba’s hypothetical the new toaster allowed for more covers in peak times with a net benefit of $650 in margin. $32 a week for $650 return looks like a great investment, although you’d need to be sure that your table and kitchen staff can also cope with the extra demand and that the extra demand is actually there.

    But say the cafe is turning over $10,000 a week (ie Yabba’s hypothetical is increasing turnover by 10%). It might very well be a better decision for the cafe to simply increase their prices by 10%. That $4 coffee goes to $4.40, The $15 big breakfast goes to $16.50 etc. That extra $1000 a week is all margin. Even if the cafe lost say 3% of it’s custom from the move (which is pretty unlikely) they would still be $50 a week better off than buying the toaster, less run off their feet and have improved cash flow. The depreciation treatment of said toaster simply doesn’t come into it if there are other better business decisions that could be made.

    The Libs whole schtick about businesses and tax and employment is so much simplistic nonsense. The real world is much more complex and works nothing like their screeds. You’d almost think the party was full of lawyers rather than actual business people.

  12. Must say Chris Bowen was enormously impressive on 7.30 with Leigh Sales this evening. His economic narrative was faultless, his articulation of the ALP boats policy faultless and he seemed to win over Leigh Sales. She tried t he usual gotcha questions but he slapped them down effortlessly and with a good deal of charm.

    A politician in total command of his portfolio and an excellent communicator. Whether he has the stamina to maintain that grace under pressure is another matter but boy he was impressive tonight. Head to head he should be more than a match for be more than a match for Morrison.

  13. Boerwar
    “ers. This is about swinging voters who might be tempted to vote for Labor but who would not do so if they thought there might be a Coalition between Labor and the Greens”.
    +1 Brazillion % . Caught midday news and ALL it was about was the green Trabandt , Labor and reminders of the “oh the humanity” horrors of a possible coalition. Trabandt managed during extended air time to completely forget to mention any Green policy . Did well on the “Resistance is futile” when it came to a possible Labor Green coalition.

  14. Kelly’s $6,000 artefact – essential for serving up the multitude of toasted shit sandwiches they produce.

  15. Its another to imply that he won’t accept the Greens’ support. That seemed to be the implication

    I didn’t see that. But it’s clear from what Bowen said that there would be no formal agreements or concessions for the sake of forming government.

  16. It is interesting that noone seems to be asking Malcolm if he’d form government with the help of the Greens.


    On day two of the election campaign both major parties have scrambled to distance themselves from the Greens.

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says there is ‘absolutely no chance’ of the coalition accepting a deal with the Greens to form a minority government.

    ‘I can rule out any collaboration with the Greens to form a government, but I can tell you Labor won’t and Labor can’t,’ Mr Turnbull told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday.

  17. In the case of a hung parliament where neither major party went to Cosgrove with evidence of sufficient support for confidence you would expect the GG to appoint Turnbull PM and let him try his luck in the House. If he lost a confidence vote (or proxy for same as per 42) he would resign he would go to the GG and most likely request a House only election. He could simply resign, but in effect the same thing would probably happen. Namely that Cosgrove would be bound to appoint Shorten PM to test his numbers and Shorten would simply advise for a House only election asap before going back to Parliament if he didn’t think he could work with the numbers.

    As was the case with Abbott in 2010 the advantage is all with the opposition if a government loses its majority unless they can secure the numbers from the cross bench. Had 1 cross bencher dropped Gillard a new election and an almost certain large win for Abbott would have been the result. That alone really helped keep all the indies in line.

  18. Turnbull and co are throwing everything at labor just two days into a eight week campaign. That both surprises and interests me.

    The AS issue was opened by a first time inexperienced labor candidate giving the Libs a good attack point, I realise that, but they seem to have hooked everything onto that line and are in a frenzy over it.

    The Facebook page of the labor candidate O’ Toole would not have been uncovered overnight but would have sitting ready to go for some time. For the Libs to burn their ammo and energy this early is telling.

    As well the Turnbull response today re ” the labor / greens coalition “was completely over the top and reeked more of desperation than Churchillian oratory.

    AS and the greens / labor connection so early and so hard is to me a sign of concern on the part of the liberals rather than any master stroke. Bad unions will be next cab off the rank.

    AS, scare campaign about a hung parliament and the greens are the refuges of a liberal party not really confident in much at all. Especially this early in.


  19. From today’s Crikey tips and rumours section, something PBers had already diced and dusted on Sunday when it happened:

    Di Natale’s mining for turds. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was indeed at a mine Sunday, or very close to one, because he responded to the calling of the election from Launceston, while on his way to Beaconsfield, about 40 minutes away, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Beaconsfield mine collapse, which killed one miner and left two others trapped for two weeks before they were rescued. So, not exactly Shorten launching his campaign from a mine. It might have helped make Di Natale look less of a dill if Beaconsfield were a coal mine, but, um, it’s a gold mine. Or, more correctly, it was a gold mine — it’s been closed since June 2012.

    So how does Di Natale go on the fact check there? Shorten wasn’t kicking off his campaign there, Beaconsfield’s not a coal mine, and it hasn’t been open for nearly four years. Maybe the Greens leader should have spoken to his Tassie colleagues before opening his mouth?


  20. Sorry, I posted too early !

    Following on from my previous post it all appears to me to reflect a liberal party scared and concerned that labor will beat them hands down on policy.

    Turnbull and co do so resemble a opposition rather than a government atm and labor continue to roll along not getting flustered , answering whatever questions are thrown at them calmly and seemingly in control policy wise.

    Long long way to go however.


  21. What is so ridiculous about all this Green’s goalition stuff is that they have no influence in the reps, and if they picked up another seat (or even 2) they’d still have almost no influence. The ONLY way they can influence policy is in the senate and that is where they should be trying to make their gains. In the reps they need 74 seats. In the senate they can be a real wedge.

  22. I don’t know what the DT is trying to do, I strongly doubt there is a single person who’s considering voting Greens that would acknowledge it, much less pick it up

  23. UnFairfax more like. Harumph!

    Now their excellent Environment reporter, Tom Arup, is gone. Like Tar Sands City in Alberta, Canada. Up in a puff of Climate Change smoke.

  24. Having ripped the Tele earlier I do have to pay that as a bit of trolling par excellence! No doubt there’ll be a bit of a sly insinuation that Albo should have been leading Labor somewhere along the way.

  25. Jenauthor,
    I also don’t understand why people are obsessed with a Labor/Greens alliance in the HOR when there will be other Cross Benchers they could and should form a government with, should push come to Minority Government shove.

    As you say, Adam Bandt is but one Member (and a ganGreenous one at that, when it comes to having an adverse effect on Labor).

  26. Someone should point out that the Liberals haven’t hesitated to accept and court the support of the Greens to get legislation passed

  27. Not meaning to be some form of a party pooper but if Duncan ends up getting gifted a heap of money will that effect whatever benefits he and his daughters are currently receiving.
    Knowing the Guv-mint they will make Duncan spend it first and then have to wait a certain period to get back onto what he was on.
    I honestly don’t know how the system works – maybe someone can enlighten me.

  28. Re The Daily Tele front page, the words of a Rolling Stone song come to mind:

    ‘You can’t always get what you want,
    But if you try sometimes,
    You get what you need.’

    Labor should take the support and bank it. There won’t be too many more examples of it during the campaign.

  29. Ratsak: Thanks for your input. FYI Ms O’Dwyer said that this particular cafe turns over just over $2 million a year, or around $40,000 per week. My numbers were just intended to give fellow PBers a feel for the sort of business reality involved in this type of decision. I fully agree with all of your points.

    Nearly 20 years ago I assisted my elder son and his best mate in setting up one of the first ‘roaster’ specialty coffee shops in Surry Hills in inner Sydney. It has gone on to quite substantial success, as a chain. The real key in that business was catering to the peak take away crowd with extreme rapidity. The sit in part was really just to provide atmosphere. A licence to print money, really, once it became fashionable. It was the charm of the baristas, and the excellence of the coffee that were probably the real drivers. The initial marketing was flyers in surrounding offices, with a buy one get one free offer. Worked almost too well to start.

    I have developed comprehensive budgeting/forecasting and project evaluation systems for many types of businesses, from tiny to seriously huge, including hospitals, hotel chains, and perhaps regretfully, coal mines and power stations, and as a result have a detailed understanding of the cost structures of them all. The monumental lack of any sort of business understanding in virtually all political and public service ranks is a matter of profound disquiet to me.

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