BludgerTrack: 52.1-47.9 to Labor

Not much happening on the poll aggregate this week, but lots of news to report on preselections and related party shenanigans.

I’ve been a bit tardy updating BludgerTrack this week, but as you can see below, you haven’t been missing much. The moral of the story is that a single Essential Research result is unlikely to change much under the new set-up, particularly when, as present, it accounts for 16 out of 20 available data points. Things may be different when, presumably, Newspoll comes along either tonight or tomorrow night. No new numbers this week on leadership ratings. Keep reading below the fold for a whole bunch of material on party games, and also note that there’s a separate post below this one for presidential election discussion.


Other news:

• The Victorian branch of the ALP last week signed off on Kimberley Kitching as Stephen Conroy’s Senate replacement, following the Right faction warlord’s surprise retirement announcement in mid-September. Kitching is a lawyer with Cornwall Stodart, and was formerly a Melbourne City councillor and general manager of the troubled Health Services Union. The royal commission into trade union corruption recommended charges be pursued against Kitching relating to allegations she completed tests for workplace entry permits on behalf of union organisers, but none have been forthcoming in the two years since. Kitching was effectively unopposed in the vote by the party’s Public Office Selection Committee, as factional arrangements reserve the seat for the Right. She had won the Right’s backing ahead of Diana Taylor, former Clayton Utz lawyer and a director at the Geelong Football Club, who had support from Richard Marles, federal front-bencher and member for Corio. According to the Herald Sun, other nominees included “Warrnambool city councillor Jacinta Ermacora, former state member for Benalla Denise Allan, Maribyrnong councillor Sarah Carter and 2010 Young Victorian of the Year Wesa Chau”.

Kitching and her husband, Andrew Landeryou – whose VexNews blog trod on many a toe until he retired it in 2013 out of deference to his wife’s political ambitions – are both close to Bill Shorten. Reports have identified widespread criticism of Shorten’s actions within the party from mostly unidentified sources, although Anthony Albanese declined an opportunity to endorse Kitching, saying her preselection was “a matter for the Victorian branch”. Albanese also said there was “a case for ensuring that members have votes in Senate pre-selections” – true of the his own branch in New South Wales, but not in Victoria. Sarah Martin of The Australian reports that a Left-sponsored motion at the Victorian party’s state conference next month will propose “giving members a greater say in Senate preselections”.

Labor sources quoted by Katherine Murphy of The Guardian claim Shorten’s backing for Kitching was motivated by a desire to harness HSU numbers as he seeks to plug the gap in his factional network created by Conroy’s departure. James Campbell of the Herald Sun earlier reported that the sudden exit of Conroy was causing ructions in the Right, owing to a power-sharing agreement that had been reached between the secretaries of the Australian Workers Union, National Union of Workers, Transport Workers Union and the power bloc associated with state MP Adem Somyurek. It was understood at the time that the TWU vote was a proxy for the broader Conroy group, but it now stood to fall entirely to the union’s secretary, John Berger, leaving Conroy’s other allies out in the cold. Berger’s favoured candidate was Bill Baarini, TWU union officer and former mayor of Hobsons Bay, but Shorten concurred with a view that this would violate the party’s affirmative action rules.

• Further argybargy is unfolding in the Victorian ALP courtesy of a Left faction split between the “National Left”, associated with Anthony Albanese, and the breakaway “Industrial Left” of Victorian Senator Kim Carr. This was formalised after the election when a Left majority resolved to dump Carr from the front bench in favour of Linda Burney, the former New South Wales deputy state leader and newly elected member for Barton. Bill Shorten ensured Carr was accommodated by expanding the front bench, reflecting the importance of the “stability pact” between Carr and the Shorten-Conroy axis in managing affairs the Victorian branch’s affairs. However, the split meant Carr ally Gavin Marshall no longer had Left support to retain his position as Deputy President in the Senate, which has instead gone to Sue Lines from Western Australia.

Marshall last week foreshadowed preselections against Victorian members of the National Left, who include two shadow cabinet members in Jenny Macklin (Jagajaga) and Catherine King (Ballarat) and a junior front-bencher, Andrew Giles (Scullin). As James Massola of Fairfax reports, Marshall confirmed he was organising a challenge to Giles, although no candidate has been identified; claimed there was “discontent in Ballarat”, and that it was a “possibility” he would back a challenge to King; and suggested Macklin could be sure of being spared only because it was “well known that she is retiring”, which a spokesperson for Macklin denied.

• Bob Day, Family First Senator from South Australia, announced last week he would resign from his position after his home building group went into liquidation. Phillip Coorey of the Financial Review reports that Day hopes to be succeeded by his chief-of-staff, Rikki Lambert, who shares his zeal for a pro-business line on workplace relations. However, he faces opposition from Robert Brokenshire, a Liberal-turned-Family First member of the state parliament, and perhaps also Lucy Gichuhi, a Kenyan-born lawyer who was Day’s running mate at the July 2 election.

• A motion moved by Tony Abbott at yesterday’s state council meeting of the New South Wales Liberal Party calling for democratised preselections was reportedly defeated by 246 votes to 174. This was pursued despite the concurrence of Malcolm Turnbull and Mike Baird that the proposed measure should feature among a range of reforms to be considered at a party convention next year, to which state council agreed. Abbott’s proposal would involve plebiscites of party members for all preselections, which is broadly favoured by the party’s hard Right and opposed by the centre Right and the moderates, since it would diminish the importance of the latter’s control of the state executive.

• A poll conducted by Research Now last month for the Australia Institute asked 1426 respondents to list their first and second favoured options for the government to negotiate with in getting legislation through the Senate, which found 54% rating Labor first or second compared with 42% for the Nick Xenophon Team, 32% for the Greens and 29$ for One Nation.

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.

707 comments on “BludgerTrack: 52.1-47.9 to Labor”

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  1. The Coalition are close minded and tribal. They surround themselves with yes people. Anyone who disagrees with them is “playing politics”.

  2. GEORGIE will probably skedaddle off to London to be Ambassador. But I can’t imagine that Labor will let him stay there long if it takes power. That means George might have a year or less in the job before he gets the boot.

  3. The margin of error on that Morgan poll is about 4%, so the 52-48 results common in other polls are within margin of error. Still, good to see.

  4. Fellow bludgers, are there any experts on parliamentary procedure here? Just catching up on the news and I saw this bizarre story about Bob Day planning to vote on the ABCC legislation despite announcing his resignation. Surely there are rules for this? How do we his paymasters get that bankruptcy proceeding hurried along?

  5. Vic:

    I agree with BB that Shorten should ask Turnbull whether the govt will accept Day’s tainted vote on the ABCC bills.

  6. Socrates:

    It’s an act of sheer, unmitigated gall on Day’s part. Seriously, these conservative reactionary types take the cake when it comes to demonstrations of hypocrisy.

  7. Another question to any rules lawyers about this story on the antics of Barnaby Joyce, our resident Chief Bumpkin. This relates to HansardGate, which looks even worse after reading this story. But as well as proving Barnaby a nasty bully for sacking a public servant who dared challenge Joyce’s ethics (with good reason), has Barnaby misled parliament? Also, spending $80,000 of public money trying to hide Barnaby’s embarrassment sounds like a pretty colossal waste of our money that claimed to be cutting waste. Once again, we badly need a Federal ombudsman.

  8. Fess
    I agree it is galling (by Day) and in my experience hypocrisy is a stock in trade for religious wowsers. But I was wondering it Day was in breach of any rules? He has obviously stalled the bankruptcy to after the election by any means possible. I ask again, was he eligible to stand for election, if already insolvent?

  9. I assume that the instrument of Day’s resignation would be a letter to President of the Senate.
    If he has not sent such an instrument all he has done is to publicly state an intention. This is not binding.
    Beyond that, the Senate has the option to refer Day’s behaviour to a Committee.
    Apart from admitting that he has gone broke there does not seem to be a whole lot of readily available evidence that he was breaking any laws or ungaging in behaviour which would result in automatic disqualification to hold his Senate spot.

  10. Boerwar
    Thanks for explaining the resignation rules. The financial difficulties of Day’s company are longstanding and public. He has not only admitted going broke; liquidators have been appointed. I would have thought that was evidence.

  11. Socrates:

    Day has announced his resignation, but hasn’t actually done anything to effect it. I guess someone needs to complain to the Senate powers that be or instigate some kind of official legal action for something to happen.

  12. F
    The disappointing thing is not the idea, which is plausible, but the certainty with which the consequences are stated. There is some evidence but it is nowhere near enough to support the degree of certainty.
    Beyond that, it is interesting that there is a curious blend of supporters for the notion: Indigenous people and people like Bolt.

  13. William Bowe
    Monday, October 24, 2016 at 7:45 pm
    Morgan has results of a phone poll on immigration (which finds, inter alia, 58% support for “Muslim immigration”), the small print of which shows Labor leading 55-45 on voting intention. Sample: 588.

    We can take that 2pp with a grain of salt with a sample that small.

  14. Bushfire Bill, Boerwar and Confessions,
    Of course I know Laura Tingle is one of the best in the CPG. However, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to throw that particular derisory name-calling effort her way one day when she wrote something I disagreed with. ; )

  15. Socrates
    If he is found guilty of breaking a law that has a potential punishment of (I believe) two years of imprisonment he is automatically kicked out of the Senate.
    It is not against the law to be broke.
    I believe that the Senate can kick out one of its members for reasons of its own (which might go to something like Contempt of the Senate) but I also believe there is a very general and deep-seated reluctance so to do because of the possible ramifications for democracy.

  16. Dennis Atkins told Marius Benson today that Senate President, Stephen Parry is in no hurry to chase up Bob Day’s Resignation letter. Not until the ABCC and Registered Organisations Bills get through at the very least.

    However, this being the case I can see it reflecting poorly not only on Day but on the government as well.

  17. Confessions
    Insolvent and bankrupt are not the same. Insolvent means unable to pay your bills. Day has been in that situation for many months. But insolvency is significant because the constitutional rules for eligibility include insolvency as well as bankruptcy. Either is supposed to rule you out.

  18. Boerwar,
    Yep and she exercised her right to free herself of further trite comments.
    Some people can be so thin-skinned. ; )

  19. confessions @ #625 Monday, October 24, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Is insolvent the same as bankrupt? Genuine question as I do not know the difference between the two terms.

    In the Australian context, insolvency refers to a company and bankruptcy to an individual. Day is only in trouble if he is personally bankrupt not necessarily if his companies are insolvent.

  20. Boerwar
    I did the search because my mother told me about the Tribe ( I was WA born). I put her opinion and views well above those of people trying to make a political point. Given the state of DNA tracing proof (contact or mutation) is trivial. In the case of Bolt, he is trying to say if your not black you not aboriginal; clearly that is nonsense as fair skinned people predate cook.

  21. David Lipson @davidlipson
    On @Lateline shortly – former High Court Chief Justice says Brandis’ interpretation of the Act in stoush with Gleeson “a big stretch”

    David Lipson @davidlipson
    Tonight on @Lateline – Former Solicitors-General weigh in after resignation of SG Justin Gleeson over epic stoush with Senator Brandis

    Has the legal “establishment” got their heads together and decided to get rid of Brandis? Maybe Gleeson’s resignation was just the first instalment

  22. C
    I think I understand. You are deliberately rude to her. She cuts you. So now she is thin-skinned.
    OTOH, if she had not cut you, you would still be piling on the petty japes and insults because that is part of your job description for her.
    Do give me a break.

  23. C@t:

    Having seen the vitriolic personal abuse female journalists and commentators (even comediennes) receive on social media, I can understand the reflexive instinct to block boorish nonsensical personal attacks. OTOH I’ve seen them engage genuinely and sometimes with humour when people attempt a genuine criticism of their work.

  24. Bemused @ 8:43 pm
    Those guys on the Duyfken got around. Also visited the west coast of Cape Your Peninsula. There is a Cape Duyfken just north of Weipa.

    The Duyfken sailed from Java as far as the west cost of Cape York. Willem Janszoon (aka Janz) thought it was part of the south coast of New Guinea, because he didn’t know of the existence of Torres Strait, even thought his ship had sailed past its western entrance.

    Incredibly, Luís Vaz de Torres sailed through the strait only a few months later, but Dutch map makers took many years to put the two pieces of evidence together. Hartog, on the other hand, more or less knew what he’d bumped into 10 years later.

    While the Portuguese had been in Timor since the early 16th century, the evidence advanced up to now that they visited Australia doesn’t stack up.

  25. Tonight on @Lateline – Former Solicitors-General weigh in after resignation of SG Justin Gleeson over epic stoush with Senator Brandis

    I guess looking at the positive at least something has woken the legal fraternity from its soporific slumber to ark up against Brandis AG. I mean it isn’t as if there haven’t been untold number of stuff ups on his watch as minister that they could’ve taken arms against. #betterlatethannever

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