Election minus three weeks

A flurry of individual electorate polls suggest a patchy swing, with Labor struggling in a number of key areas.

My seat-by-seat election guide is finally up, but I’m afraid at this stage that it’s a vanilla version without the embeddled tables and booth results mapping, which I will hopefully be able to add later. Meanwhile, the Fairfax papers have kept the polling mill turning with seven ReachTEL marginal seat polls. These are related in the following situation report, along with a further result for GetUp! which I don’t believe has been published anywhere else, and The Weekend Australian’s accounting of how party insiders are reading the breeze. While indications are patchy overall, by no reading is it easy to see where the Coalition might lose the 15 seats (or 13 going off post-redistribution accounting) – unless the Nick Xenophon Team achieves something extraordinary in South Australia, which certainly can’t be ruled out.

New South Wales

Fairfax’s ReachTEL polls record next to no swing in Lindsay, which the Liberals hold with a margin of 3.0%, or Dobell, a Liberal-held seat with a notional Labor margin of 0.2% after the redistribution. The respective results are 54-46 in favour of the Liberals and 51-49 in favour of Labor. The Weekend Australian reported yesterday that Labor was hopeful about Dobell, but doubtful about neighbouring Robertson. The report also related diminishing expectations for Labor in Sydney, to the extent that resources were being put into three seats it already holds: Parramatta (margin 1.7%), Greenway (2.8%) and even Werriwa (5.9%). Sources from both parties were cited saying the Liberals were expected to retain Reid, Lindsay and Banks, and Labor was even said to be “far from certain about taking the seat of Barton”, which has a notional 5.2% margin in Labor’s favour after the redistribution. Despite all that, Labor was said to remain hopeful about Macarthur on the city’s south-western fringe, where the post-redistribution Liberal margin is 3.3%, and Eden-Monaro, where it is 2.6%.


Fairfax’s ReachTEL polls find the Liberals leading 52-48 in Deakin, which they hold with a margin of 3.2%, and 51-49 in Corangamite, which compares unfavourably with a 54-46 result in ReachTEL’s poll for the Seven Network a fortnight ago. The Weekend Australian suggests Labor is more confident about Dunkley than other Victorian marginals, with Corangamite recognised as being extremely difficult. The Country Fire Authority issue is cited as problematic in McEwen, which Rob Mitchell narrowly retained for Labor in 2013, despite the travails of Liberal candidate Chris Jermyn. The Greens are “increasingly confident” about Batman.


ReachTEL finds the Liberals leading 56-44 in Bonner, which they hold with a margin of 3.7%, adding to the impression that voters in inner Brisbane are responding well to Malcolm Turnbull. The Australian went so far as to report yesterday that Griffith, where Terri Butler succeeded Griffith at a February 2014 by-election, was “said to be in play”. It appears to be a different story on the city’s northern fringe, with Labor said to be genuinely hopeful in Dickson, which they last held before Peter Dutton unseated Cheryl Kernot in 2001, and Longman, which they gained in 2007 then lost to Wyatt Roy in 2010.

Regional Queensland

A ReachTEL poll conducted for GetUp! on Tuesday showed Nationals member George Christensen under pressure in the northern Queensland seat of Dawson, which he holds on a margin of 7.6%. The survey of 631 respondents found Christensen tied with Labor candidate Frank Gilbert on two-party preferred, from primary votes of 43.7% for Christensen (46.2% in 2013), 34.7% for Gilbert (29.7% for the Labor candidate in 2013) and 9.1% for the Greens (5.0%). However, Christensen would hold a 53-47 lead if preference flows from 2013 were applied. Labor is also said by The Australian to be “increasingly confident” about the Townsville seat of Herbert. Conversely, Labor is said to be struggling in Capricornia, which it usually holds, contrary to the impression that Labor is performing better in the regions than the city. The report suggests that the regional economic downturn has not been of advantage to Labor in the mining-intensive seats of Dawson, Capricornia and Flynn, because many blue-collar workers have left the electorate with the end of the boom.

Western Australia

Wildly mixed signals continue to come through, as ReachTEL’s polling for the Fairfax papers finds a 50-50 result in the northern suburbs seat of Cowan, where the Liberal margin is 4.5%. While this is at odds with the state polling aggregation produced by BludgerTrack, it accords with an account in The Australian yesterday of the Coalition being “more confident of holding all its seats in Western Australia and taking the new seat of Burt”. A report from Fleur Anderson of the Financial Review on Thursday gave credence to both views, with Labor said to be expecting four gains in the House (presumably Cowan, Hasluck, Swan and Burt) on top of two in the Senate, while Liberal sources indicated they were by no means giving anything away.

South Australia

ReachTEL provides a further indication that Rebekha Sharkie of the Nick Xenophon Team is likely to unseat Liberal member Jamie Briggs in Mayo. The poll has Briggs on 37.6% with Sharkie on 24.4%, a gap she would surely close with preferences from Labor (19.5%) and the Greens (10.4%). On Friday, the Financial Review cites unidentified Liberals, variously designated “worried” and “senior”, saying Jamie Briggs has abandoned hope of defending Mayo from Rebekha Sharkie of the Nick Xenophon Team. Briggs himself says this is “scurrilous gossip” and “completely untrue”.

Elsewhere, The Australian reports that Labor remains confident in the Darwin seat of Solomon, while Lyons “remains the Coalition’s most difficult seat” in Tasmania.

The other big campaign news of the past few days has been the closure of candidate nominations, revealing that 994 candidates have nominated for the 150 House of Representatives electorates, the second lowest number since 1998 (the first being 2010, when the somewhat early election announcement appeared to catch some unprepared). Despite Senate electoral reform, a record number of candidates have nominated, although ballot papers will tend to be slightly smaller as there will be many more ungrouped candidates this time, who do not have their own column on the ballot paper. This has been encouraged by the fact that below-the-line voting has now much easier than it was before, although ungrouped candidates will no doubt remain as marginal a factor as before. South Australia has substantially fewer groups on the ballot paper than last time (24 compared with 34), but Queensland is actually up slightly, from 36 to 40. The biggest winner out of the Senate ballot paper draw would appear to be Derryn Hinch, who has been given a tremendous boost in his bid for a Senate by drawing first out of 39 columns on the Victorian ballot paper.

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.

949 comments on “Election minus three weeks”

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  1. Correction: it says they will be running open tickets in South Australia.

    So yes, Labor have done exactly the same deal they were accusing the Greens of doing. Shorten could very well give Turnbull a majority. Slow clap.

  2. PhoenixGreen Monday, June 13, 2016 at 1:39 am

    Anyway the point is the vitriol it summoned, which suspiciously disappeared when Labor did the same deal it was squealing about, almost as if Labor has double standards.

    I disagree, the deals are not the same. The proposed Liberal Greens deal would have potentially advantaged the conservative side of politics at the expense of progressives. It might well have seen the Coalition retain office. The Liberal ALP deal does no such thing.
    This deal might make it harder for the Greens to win Labor held seats. But it does nothing to prevent the Greens from winning Coalition held seats. The ALP will still be preferencing Jason Ball before Kelly O’Dwyer in Higgins.
    The real losers in this deal are the Nationals.

  3. In 2013, Labor got Queenslander Rudd back to try and save the furniture. Fortunately, Palmer did it for him but then he sent some of it to the Cayman Islands. This time, Malcolm Turnbull wants to sell the furniture in a private sale to American shareholders, but Xenenphon wants an auction. The world of politics has finally gone mad.

  4. Couldn’t sleep so decided to check up on the news.
    Unbelievable reports out of Orlando, FLA.
    The attacker, an US citizen whose parents are from Afghanistan, was trained as a local security guard and become angry a few weeks ago when he saw two men kissing in Miami. An assault rifle and handgun were the weapons.
    Already Trump has attempted to make some political mileage out of this tragedy.
    It is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. As of 0430 the reports are 50 dead and 53 injured.

  5. When will America learn from this insane tragedy?
    The PoS has asked that Orlando be declared a state of emergency given the scale of what has happened.
    Unconfirmed reports from the BBC state that the attacker make calls prior and mentioned IS although the attacker’s father states that his son was upset seeing two men kissing.

  6. It seems that some have said that this most recent nightclub shooting is officially the most number of casualties in the history of US shootings. Horrible situation.

  7. Raaraa
    From reports I’ve read from the BBC and elsewhere many are stating this is a terrorist act. I would offer that this was a premeditated act of murder by a homophobic individual.

  8. I just shrugged my shoulders and thought, ‘Another USA shooting. What do you expect when they won’t control guns?’
    I just do not understand them, not at all. They seem to want to live in a society but not. All the rights for an individual but the community has none. Strange people, very strange.

  9. This may be the most deadly shooting in USA history, but with their gun laws it probably won’t hold that distinction for long. Americans just have to wear this sort of thing as the price they pay for slack gun laws. I don’t know whey their media bother reporting it. It is just a normal day in a culture that worships guns and gun ownership.

  10. Puff
    Spot on.
    The only thing that might change their view is a tragedy involving a world event, e.g. Oscars, Olympics, etc.

  11. Morning all. Labor has realised that the primary enemy is the LNP, not the Liberals.

    Good! I think this will gain far more votes than it costs. The Senate is important too, as if Turnbull is reelected, the Greens will be needed to block the more odious of the Murdoch, sorry Liberal, government legislation. Off early, have a good day all.

  12. I agree with Phoenix Green. I think it would be madness for Labor to preference Liberals ahead of NXT in SA. It might put off 20% of voters. Surely a Liberal minority government is better than a Liberal majority for Labor. X is a pragmatist; he can be reasoned with, and bargained with.

  13. Neither Labor or Liberal sources were willing to go on record about any negotiations had with NXT.
    Labor is considering directing preferences to NXT in the seats of Mayo, Grey and Barker, which opposition sources believed could help the NXT win the seats from the Liberals. There is also an outside chance that such a deal could put Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne’s seat of Sturt at risk. In return the Opposition would seek preferences in the seat of Hindmarsh which is lost in the 2013 election.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016/federal-election-2016-labor-to-preference-votes-to-the-greens-20160612-gphhk1.html#ixzz4BOeUZ9KY
    Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

  14. Just another day in America
    Where you can be killed just by waking to work or getting milk and the papers
    A sick society

  15. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    America shows once again what a wonderful nation it is.
    It looks like the shooter was mentally unstable.
    Of course Trump is a great help!
    Labor’s preference nominations should not really come as a surprise.
    Nick Xenophon will retaliate massively if the major parties gang up on him says Michelle Grattan.
    Today is the day that the NBN comes onto the election table. And so it should! They should out the icing on the cake and indicate the differences in running and maintenance costs over and above the headline establishment cost.
    Here’s Michelle Grattan on the NBN.
    Jess irvine laments the fact that the economy is front of stage in this campaign.
    The AFR says Turnbull must really step up quickly and explain “Jobs and Growth”. Google.
    Why low interest rates have failed to spur business investment. It’s demand that drives investment more than the cost of money.
    Abbott’s “chaotic, dangerous” MH17 plan revealed – and it’s not pretty.

  16. Section 2 . . .

    Will this potential Presidential candidate “do a Nader” on Trump?
    Surely this will give a good read on the value of the modern donkey vote. The bloody anti-vaxxers snag the top NSW senate paper spot.
    James Massola lets fly at Di Natale’s hypocritical dummy spit.
    Tom Switzer writes on changed attitudes towards the US.
    Let’s ditch the Queen’s Birthday holiday for something that matters.
    The BREXIT poll is a scary exercise in democracy.
    “View from the Street” on the ballot paper ballots, Oakeshotte’s return, Barnaby Joyce and the troubles for some Liberal candidates.
    Andrew Bolt goes troppo over what Turnbull said about the Tasmanian floods. Google.
    Urban Wronski says that Turnbull was wading around in deep water in Tassie.
    Will Trump’s presence lead the US into a new wave of liberal renaissance?

  17. Labor revives hopes for superfast internet

    LABOR has promised to give millions of long-suffering internet users faster speeds while it attacked the present national broadband scheme and its creator, Malcolm Turnbull.

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he could deliver a fibre-to-the-premises National Broadband Network to at least 2 million households without adding to the cost of the current copper wire-based scheme, which he would junk.


  18. Morning all

    Heartwrenching stuff. A sick and twisted individual, who has access to high powered assault rifle, goes on a rampage. A hate crime but made easier by the pathetic gun culture. Will they ever change?

  19. How is Tony Jones going to moderate tonight’s qanda with Shorten. Will he be interrupting him every five seconds

  20. Good to see some are confident!

    Alice Workman
    57m57 minutes ago
    Alice Workman ‏@workmanalice
    Bill Shorten was running around the Opera House this morn and came across a woman who “wanted to shake the hand of the future PM” #ausvotes

  21. I wont be holding my breath

    Scott Dooley
    5h5 hours ago
    Scott Dooley ‏@scottdools
    So, we’ve tried “thoughts and prayers” for the last 200 mass shootings. For this one, let’s mix it up and actually do something about guns.

  22. I missed this on ABC774, would be curious to know exactly what Jon Faine asked

    13m13 minutes ago
    ABC Radio Melbourne ‏@774melbourne
    #Parakeelia: “No donations.. a N.F.P. organisation that provides services.. in accordance with the law” @JoshFrydenberg #Faine #ausvotes

    ABC Radio Melbourne
    22m22 minutes ago
    ABC Radio Melbourne ‏@774melbourne
    PRE-POLL: Jenny Macklin predicts “30, 40%” of people in her electorate will vote early. #Faine #ausvotes
    Embedded image

  23. socrates @ #917 Monday, June 13, 2016 at 5:49 am

    I agree with Phoenix Green. I think it would be madness for Labor to preference Liberals ahead of NXT in SA. It might put off 20% of voters. Surely a Liberal minority government is better than a Liberal majority for Labor. X is a pragmatist; he can be reasoned with, and bargained with.

    Phoenix Green is just wrong! According to the report in the Oz…

    The Liberals and Labor have moved to lock the Greens and Nick Xenophon out of the House of Representatives, with preference decisions that will deny ­crucial support to minor-party challengers in key seats, particularly in Victoria and South Australia. As Malcolm Turnbull revealed the Greens would be placed below Labor on Liberal how-to-vote cards across the ­nation, Labor revealed it would not direct preferences to the Nick Xenophon Team ahead of the Liberals in South Australia.

    The Prime Minister’s captain’s call gives a vital boost to Labor as it faces a Greens challenge in the inner-Melbourne seat of Batman, held by embattled frontbencher David Feeney. However, it will allow the Prime Minister to campaign against a return of a Labor-Greens-independent alliance and will avoid the risk of angering the Coalition’s conservative base that selective preference deals with the Greens would have posed.

    The decision assures Labor of winning Wills, and the inner-city NSW seats of Grayndler and Sydney held by Anthony Albanese and Tanya Plibersek.

    Labor’s decision to essentially run open tickets in South Australia where a rampant Nick Xenophon Team has up to four Liberal seats under siege could prove decisive in Mayo, Sturt, Barker and Grey.

    The Liberal Party has also indicated that it will run open tickets in safe Labor seats where Senator Xenophon is also hoping to be able to leapfrog the incumbent on the back of preferences.

    A senior Liberal said neither party wanted to give Senator Xenophon the opportunity to “play the victim” by actively preferencing against him.

    “If all we are doing is exactly the same as what he is doing, it would become an enormous level of hypocrisy if Nick opposed it.”

    So it may be ‘open tickets’, exactly what X does and an old trick of the Greens.
    So on what basis can Greens or X whinge about that? But of course the Greens at least will.

  24. Los Angeles Times

    Los Angeles Times – Verified account ‏@latimes

    Man with weapons and explosives “wanted to harm” L.A. gay pride parade, chief says http://lat.ms/2335WaR
    Embedded image
    2:10 PM – 12 Jun 2016

  25. I meant to add that in light of the horrendous hate crime in Florida, it is very important that marriage equality in Australia does not go to a plebiscite. it will only encourage the haters

  26. I am not surprised nor shocked by the Orlando massacre. It is just the price Americans are willing to pay for their right to walk around with guns.

    Those lives are just the normal, periodic sacrifice to the gun god.

  27. Don’t forget that even if Labor does not preference NXT first in SA that does not mean SA voters won’t go their own way and put 1 Labor 2 NXT. We really like X in SA. And we are a contrary lot.

  28. Puffy

    of course it would be ridiculous to wait for the gun manufacturers and suppliers to have a change of heart. That is never going to occur. change has to come from the citizenry. Not holding my breath. The Sandy Hook massacre woke me up to the sicko attitude towards the gun culture

  29. Latest tweets from Sky

    Sky News Australia
    11s11 seconds ago
    Sky News Australia ‏@SkyNewsAust
    .@billshortenmp says @TurnbullMalcolm made a complete mess of the NBN in his time as communications minister #ausvotes

    Sky News Australia
    1m1 minute ago
    Sky News Australia ‏@SkyNewsAust
    .@billshortenmp extends his sympathies to the victims of the #Orlando shooting

  30. So Labor gets onto the NBN today…….

    News Australia ‏@SkyNewsAust
    .@billshortenmp says Labor wouldn’t have ‘built-in obsolescence’ in its NBN plan #ausvotes

    Sky News Australia
    1m1 minute ago
    Sky News Australia ‏@SkyNewsAust
    .@JasonClareMP: We’re going from @TurnbullMalcolm fraud-band back to real superfast broadband. We’re going from copper back to fibre. #NBN

  31. Turnbull trying to plant the seed that the orlando shooting was linked to isis while saying it is an attack on LBGTI . He could not resist, could he?

  32. har har Malcolm Turnbull invents a new word. Shortnocs,long on plans – short on economics. While he waffles about how great his Fraudband is.
    Malcyamen says he has connected more premises in the last few months than the ALP did while in office.
    Well, dickhead, have you never heard of preparation? You build more of the house just before it is finished than when you start by preparing for the concrete slab.
    He sounds a bit desperate in this presser.

  33. Turnbull seems to be holding in a lot of frustration and maybe anger, about the Coalition Cities Policy question, I think it was about the Townsville stadium. he had that rictus grin as he tried to explain something.

    Oh the new word is Shortnomics. clever. Clever as a lizard sunning himself in the middle of the highway.

  34. “”PRE-POLL: Jenny Macklin predicts “30, 40%” of people in her electorate will vote early. #Faine #ausvotes ”
    Lets hope they WATCH Bill Shorten on Q&A Tonight.

  35. In a nutshell

    hannah the cat
    Jun 11
    hannah the cat ‏@lexaskywalker
    kids shot in their schools, celebrities shot in their concerts, innocent people shot everyday and ppl think guns keep them “safe”

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