ReachTEL: 54-46 to Labor

A GetUp! commissioned poll records the government sinking, One Nation nudging into double figures, and widespread hostility to the government’s shakedown of welfare recipients.

The Fairfax papers report that a ReachTEL poll commissioned by GetUp! has Labor leading 54-46 (I wouldn’t normally give a non-media poll its own post, but you take what you can get at this time of year). When responses for a separate follow-up question prompting the 7.8% undecided are integrated into the result, the primary votes are Liberal 33.8% and Nationals 3.2% (a combined 37.1%, compared with 42.0% at the election), Labor 35.0% (up 0.3% on the election), Greens 9.8% (down 0.4%) and One Nation 10.6%.

The poll also finds 46.2% supporting and 31.8% opposing the government “stopping the automated debt collection system”, though I wonder if the wordiness of the preceding explanation* and the negatively framed question might have caused confusion, resulting in opposition being understated. Certainly that might help to explain the finding that more respondents (49.8%) said the system had made them less likely to vote for the Coalition than said they wanted it stopped. Of the remainder, 14.4% said it had made them more likely to vote for the Coalition, while 35.8% said it would make no difference.

A GetUp!-styled money shot question found 82.2% responding that “cracking down on corporate tax dodging” should be a “higher priority for the Turnbull government”, compared with 17.8% who favoured recovering debts from Centrelink overpayments, with even Liberal voters dividing two to one in favour of the former option. A further question had 78.6% responding that the burden of proof in establishing wrongful overpayment should fall on Centrelink, compared with 21.4% for the recipient – though here too the question is a bit wordy for my tastes**.

The automated phone poll was conducted on Thursday from a sample of 2126.

* “The Turnbull Government recently started using an automated system issuing tens of thousands of letters to Australians about alleged debts from Centrelink overpayments. The Government admits that at least 20% of these letters are incorrect, but the burden is on Centrelink clients to correct the information or pay the debt. Do you support or oppose the Government stopping the automated debt collection system?”

** “The Turnbull Government has acknowledged significant errors in the Centrelink automated debt collection system. Where there are potential errors, do you think the burden should be on Centrelink to verify their claims against information they already have on file or on the individual to defend themselves, which may include accessing pay slips and employment records from up to five years ago?”

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.

2,415 comments on “ReachTEL: 54-46 to Labor”

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  1. Those questions are terrible. What’s wrong with “Are you aware of the Centrelink debt letter issue?” followed by “Will/how will it effect your vote?” and then “Should the burden of proof that a debt is owed to Centrelink fall on the individual or on Centrelink?”

  2. Morning all.
    Abbott seems to have an ongoing abiding, concern for Whyalla.

    Perhaps the Get-up questions were devised by a committee.


    The impact is being felt deeply across Tasmania.

    As the Sunday Tasmanian reported, the state’s welfare sector has formed a “disaster relief fund” to deal with the fallout.

    This is not a trivial nor an ad-hoc measure. It reveals the absolute seriousness of the situation.

    Tasmanian Council of Social Services (TasCOSS) CEO Kym Goodes describes people as “anxious, overwhelmed and frightened”.

    The subsequent action merely reflects what the welfare sector would do in any “disaster event”, she said, where they have “dug deep into our budgets to find funds to provide effective and immediate support for Tasmanians who need somewhere to go to get advice”.

    It is important to note that the people behind it and supporting the fund — TasCOSS, the Mental Health Council of Tasmania, Mission Australia, the Salvation Army, Colony 47, Community Legal Centres — are not politically motivated groups with an axe to grind.

  4. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. Quite a lot here for a Monday morning.

    The government’s horrific start to the year is fully deserved and completely appropriate writes Greg Jericho. Greg NAILS it!
    Another excoriating contribution from Urban Wronski.
    Amy Remeikis writes on the Reachtel Poll that indicates the hits Turnbull has taken over the break.
    It looks like Trump has started the political pogrom.
    NSW is set to debate whether to allow terminally ill adults to legally end their lives, with a voluntary assisted dying bill expected to come before Parliament this year. But the two leaders won’t support it.
    The death of a Sudanese refugee who alleged repeated negligence over six months by health providers on Manus Island is set to be investigated by a Senate committee writes Michael Gordon.
    Trump gets a lecture form the outgoing CIA director.
    Kate McClymont sums up Arfur’s suitability to be a front bencher.
    Turnbull at last slaps down the Monkey Pod mob. He should finish the job!
    The joys of big city life!

  5. Excellent links from Frednk and Barney to start the day, and well worth re-reposting it here from the old thread.

    The Hamptons are indefensible”.

  6. Section 2 . . .

    The trenches are being dug for a big stoush on the future of renewable energy in Australia.
    Duterte is MAD!. He should get on well with Trump.–and-their-captives-20170115-gtro1n.html
    Tim Dick writes how reassuring was the Sussan Ley expenses fracas, an underwhelming tizz over a minor infraction. It was as if there are still rules to be obeyed in a world seemingly determined to break all of them.
    Malcolm Turnbull will push for an early parliamentary vote to ratify the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal as part of a concerted push by Australia and Japan to keep it alive in the face of Donald Trump’s election campaign opposition to the pact. Good luck with that one Malcolm! Google.
    Primary Health needs its own health check by the looks of recent goings on.
    Fairfax Media’s The Sydney Morning Herald has the nation’s biggest audience among newspaper publishing titles with a total of 5.24 million readers across its print and digital offerings in November, according to the latest Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (EMMA) survey results. Every time I read Adelaide’s Advertiser or Sunday Mail I am reminded of the chasm of difference in quality, breadth and depth of journalistic offerings.
    The SMH tells us that there is a dark cloud hovering over Australian tennis.
    Natural therapies have become the fifth most-common claim on health insurance extras cover, with an unrivalled growth rate of almost 1900 per cent over the past 20 years. This really gives me the shits! Why can’t health insurers offer policies without these shyster benefits at reduced costs? Google.
    Mariam Veiszadeh has written an insightful article on the lack of diversity in advertising in Australia.

  7. Section 3 . . .

    Business is pressuring the Turnbull government to introduce changes to the Fair Work Act this year after voicing concerns over the slowing economy and the government’s failure to respond to the Productivity Commission’s recommendations on workplace reform. Something else for Turnbull to negotiate his way through this year. Google.
    Amanda Vanstone springs to the defence of Centrelink and says it’s all Labor’s fault. Figures.
    Meanwhile Tudge is busy fixing a problem he says doesn’t exist. Hopeless! Google.
    Quentin Dempster on an idea to avoid the Centrelink debacle.
    Confused about politician’s entitlements? Not sure whether to claim that private helicopter trip to Geelong? Siobhan Simper has written a guide to parliamentary entitlements to clear the air.,9927
    What’s next in Trump’s foreign policy two-step?
    Tax Justice Network Australia says much has been done in getting money out of tax-cheating multinationals but the government must keep up the pressure.
    Two of my travel rules. Don’t go to Bali and never fly with Tiger.

  8. Brad Chilcott ‏@bradchilcott · 16h16 hours ago

    To welfare recipients “we’ll find you, we’ll track you down and you may end up in prison”

    To corporate tax avoiders “See you at the polo”

  9. Morning all. A deserved set of numbers in this poll.

    Just how far right wing is the Australian government these days? We cannot support a recent consensus of 70 countries on the path towards mid east peace. Even Menzies would not vote for the current Liberal party, more conservative than the UK and NZ Conservatives.

    No wonder we missed out on UN votes. We are painting ourselves into a corner.

  10. This poll is clearly a rogue. I mean 46% TPP? Who is going to believe that? The only thing I can think of is that despite appearances there is a honeymoon effect at work, where the slower witted can’t quite flip their intention in 6 months.

    For the benefit of the earnest folk, I am not entirely serious, (although actually I am).

  11. BK the story on Trump sacking all the previous White House officials, even the parade announcer who has done the job for 45 years (7 presidents) confirms his nature – a vindictive abuser of power. Sorry to be a pessimist but I think his presidency will be a disaster.

  12. Judging by these Telegraph headlines Mordor Media are not letting go the rort issue. Even opened up a new front, “study tours”.

    Pollie postcards from the edge of reason

    EXCLUSIVE: JET-setting politicians on overseas “study ​tours’’ spent vast sums of taxpayers’ money learning that the Greek Acropolis is “breathtaking’’ and that dogs defecate in Bhutan’s street markets.

    The PM’s law and rorter plan is a joke

  13. I know it is a second order issue to some, but two stories highlight how our transport policy at present (and for much of the past two decades) really is a disaster. We are spending billions building freeways that will not work.

    This article highlights that on demand (and autonomous) cars are not the solution mant imagine. Their marketing is great though!

    Meanwhile in the choked CBDs that the traffic on those freeways can’t reach, some people imagine that car sharing and parking is the solution??!!

    Once a city gets over 2 million in population, high capacity public transport is the only long term solution. Even Los Angeles is building rail lines, not freeways, these days.

  14. Lizzie

    Closest she got was 3 days ago with this effort. Fingerprinting the poor.

    One Nation’s Pauline Hanson pushing for national ID card to combat welfare fraud
    EVERY Australian would be forced to apply for an identity card – unlocked by their fingerprint – under Pauline Hanson’s plan to crackdown on welfare fraud.

  15. An automated phone poll commissioned by Get Up? As John McEnroe once said at this time of year in Melbourne- come on, you can’t be serious! I’ll wait till life returns to normal for pollsters and that’s weeks away. Anything now is just click bait, just like the stuff out of Canberra penned by the Gallery’s B Teams.

  16. Poroti, Lizzie

    If Hanson likes ID cards, she should want laws forcing the revealing of identities of secret account holders for corporations and the wealthy, so that they can’t hide income from the taxman. It will save us far more than welfare fraud costs.

  17. From Crikey:

    The government has acknowledged problems with its automated data-matching system for debt recovery notices, with a suite of changes to the way people are notified about debts reported in The Australian today. While the program will continue, and at the same rate as before, debt notices will now carry the 1800 number for Centrelink, which was previously available only online, language in the letters will be simplified, and people will no longer be required to start paying back debts while a review of the debt is underway.

    I’m sure people are very comforted by this. :/

  18. I n my opinion those two questions on the Government’s Centrelink “debt recovery” operation are so clunky and confusing as to render the answers meaningless.

  19. An excellent word of the day , well month, year entire term of LNP goverrnment.

    Pleonexia … originating from the Greek πλεονεξία, is a philosophical concept which roughly corresponds to greed, covetousness, or avarice, and is strictly defined as “the insatiable desire to have what rightfully belongs to others”, suggesting a … “ruthless self-seeking and an arrogant assumption that others and things exist for one’s own benefit”.

    From Urban Wronski’s article

    Turnbull government in crisis; fobs off nation with review.

    The conference room is almost empty. The Canberra Press Gallery is either on holiday or heading for happy hour………………………………….He is here, he declares, drum roll – to announce a new system. Trust him. MPs are helpless as a kitten when it comes to moral choices. He can fix all that. Operation High Moral Ground will flush out the rorters. Besides, we are soon to discover, he has probity’s poster boy, Arthur Sinodinos, up his sleeve.

  20. Morning all.

    54-46 isn’t unexpected given how poorly the govt has performed. What do the Liberals do if the polls continue in this vein – change leaders? Tough it out? Go down swinging? Too delicious!

  21. Morning BK
    Just read the article on natural therapies and insurance in the Oz.
    WTF is Rolfing? A technique devised by Rolf Harris?

  22. Kremlin counts days to Trump’s inauguration, blasts Obama

    MOSCOW (AP) — With eager anticipation, the Kremlin is counting the days to Donald Trump’s inauguration and venting its anger at Barack Obama’s outgoing administration, no holds barred.

    Trump’s open admiration of Putin has brought wide expectations of improved Moscow-Washington relations, but Trump has not articulated a clear Russia policy. His Cabinet nominees include both a retired general with a hawkish stance on Russia and an oil executive who has done extensive business in Russia.

    Moscow calls Obama’s team a “bunch of geopolitical losers” engaged in a last-ditch effort to inflict the maximum possible damage to U.S.-Russia ties to make it more difficult for Trump to mend the rift.

  23. Interesting coincidence with the article in the SMH re tennis match fixing by junior players and the collapse of Australia in the second ODI match against Pakistan at the ‘G yesterday. Comments were made yesterday in my household about whether there was a ‘fix’ on with the cricket given Australia’s woeful performance and Pakistan’s somewhat incredible turnaround.


    Sacrificial Lambs

    The time has come. Your party leader has come to you for The Talk. Unfortunately, in this system, there is a minimum mandatory loss, or ritual sacrifice, if you will. At least one minister per party must be stood down every year, to make an example of and give the illusion that something is actually being done about parliamentary entitlements. Relax, you will soon move on to a plum, private sector position, which you will find is far more rewarding than government work.

  25. As the urbanwronski article points out, the problem isn’t with the rules, but with the attitude.

    Another candidate anecdote – apologies in advance to dtt for the presumption – during the GST election, I attended a forum on the issue.

    With a huge flourish, one of the local accountants brought forth the relevant tax acts, and claimed that the GST would reduce the pile to one book.

    I got up and pointed out that, originally, the Tax Act would have been one book. It was people’s determination to find loopholes and governments having to block them that led to the rest of the legislation, and the only way to permanently cut back on the complexities of tax was for attitudes to change; otherwise, given a couple of decades, the legislation around the GST would end up being just as complicated.

    It’s the same here; politicians (as individuals; I certainly don’t want to generalise and suggest this is true of all of them, on any side of the House) either have a moral compass or they don’t. If they don’t, I’d be worried about more than what they’re claiming on their travel allowances.

  26. One Nation’s Pauline Hanson pushing for national ID card to combat welfare fraud
    EVERY Australian would be forced to apply for an identity card – unlocked by their fingerprint – under Pauline Hanson’s plan to crackdown on welfare fraud.

    Of course, what Hanson really means is that Muslims, Asians, Aborigines and other riffraff would be forced to carry the ID card and be fingerprinted. She doesn’t mean that true blue Aussies (of the sort that vote for PHON) would be forced to undergo this treatment.

    Of course, when her supporters finally realise that they would also be caught in the ID/fingerprinting net, they mightn’t be so enthusiastic about the idea (nor so enthusiastic about voting for her).

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