Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor

Six weeks on, Essential Research finds the budget has done the government more harm than good, as the Lowy Institute reports a mixed bag of attitudes about the United States.

Labor’s lead remains steady at 52-48 in this week’s reading of the Essential Research fortnight rolling average, from primary votes of 38% for the Coalition (steady), 35% for Labor 35% (down one), 9% for Greens 9% (down one) and 9% for One Nation (up one), whose curious resurgence was the subject of an article I had in Crikey on Monday. Also featured are Essential’s monthly leadership ratings, which find Malcolm Turnbull down one on approval to 36% and down three on disapproval to 45%; Bill Shorten steady at 34% and down two to 43%; and Turnbull leading 39-26 on preferred prime minister, up from 39-31 last month. In other findings, the poll also records only 17% saying the recent budget improved their perception of the government, compared with 30% saying it made it worse; a 41-32 majority in favour of a clean energy target if it resulted in price rises of 5%, turning into a 50-21 deficit if they rose 10%; and 64% favouring investment in renewables in a no-strings-attached question compared with 18% for coal.

Also out yesterday was the Lowy Institute’s annual survey on Australian attitudes to international affairs and the direction of the country. Among many other things, the results find Australians continuing to rate the alliance with the United States highly (53% very important and 29% fairly important, recovering to near 2015 levels after a dip to 42% and 29% last year), with Donald Trump’s influence on perceptions of the US rating slightly less badly than George W. Bush in 2007 (60% said Trump contributed to an unfavourable opinion of the United States against 37% for no, compared with 69% and 27% for Bush). However, the proportion of respondents rating the US as Australia’s best friend has slumped from 35% to 17% since 2014, with the beneficiary being New Zealand, up from 32% to 53%. Only 20% now say they have a “great deal” of trust in the US to act responsibly in the world, compared with 40% in 2011.

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.

1,400 thoughts on “Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor”

  1. Rachel Maddow Explains Why The Where Of The Russia Investigation Is A Big Problem For Trump

    Rachel Maddow’s excellent reporting on developments in the Russia investigation continued with the news that a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia issued subpoenas related to Paul Manafort.

    This is the same district that is investigating Michael Flynn, which Maddow suggests is indicative of efforts to consolidate the investigation based on two main points. First, the Eastern District of Virginia is right outside of DC. Second, the Eastern District handles national security cases with an intelligence component. Maddow said that while the practice may make sense on paper, it’s weird.

    Maddow points to another set of coincidences involving the DOJ. Trump fired all but two U.S. attorneys. One of them is Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney-General. The second person is Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Boente heads the national security division at the DOJ.

    We do know there is at least one grand jury empaneled in East Virginia to investigate Russia’s interference in our elections. That is Boente’s district and Boente runs the DOJ’s national security division.

    Above all else, Trump can tweet all he wants. This isn’t going away.

  2. White House Claims Press Briefings Are Held Off Camera Because Sean Spicer Got Fat

    When asked why the press briefings are held off camera, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon possibly sarcastically answered that more briefings are off camera because Press Secretary Sean Spicer got fatter.

    While it is entirely possible that the White House has moved the briefings off camera because Trump is unhappy with Spicer’s physical appearance, it doesn’t explain why audio has also been banned. One suspects that the blackout of press briefings has nothing to do with Spicer, and everything to do with the fact that this White House has no answers on the Russia scandal and is trying to suppress information from getting out to the American people.

  3. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. The Australian has gone full throttle on the appointment of Triggs’ replacement and is still banging on about “free speech”. Go and have a look for yourself.

    Here we go again! Just a few hours ago there was an explosion in the Brussels railway station and a man has been “neutralised” by army personnel.
    Paul McGeough is concerned that we might be sleepwalking into a major war in the Middle East.
    The RAAF has packed the shits and has withdrawn from the tense theatre.
    Big George did it! He crossed the floor to vote for an ALP amendment on penalty rates legislation – but the motion fell one vote short.
    You just KNEW it would happen didn’t you! The Turnbull government has buckled to demands from conservative MPs to delay the introduction of less-generous funding arrangements for Catholic schools. The Catholic mafia lives on.
    A representative of Catholic Education puts its case.
    Michael Koziol writes that Labor has drawn a dramatic line in the sand on Australian citizenship, vowing to block the Turnbull government’s proposed crackdown and resolutely denying any link between citizenship policy and national security. Labor has described it as a “bizarre act of snobbery”.
    Dutton is paying “hush money” to refugees, the climate wars continue over Finkel’s report and Turnbull is scrambling to appease the “demented Right” — Abbott is clearly winning, says Mungo MacCallum.,10420
    James Massola tells us that the Turnbull government has announced measures to force down electricity prices and could even invest in a new coal-fired power plant, after the Coalition party room ticked off on most recommendations in the Finkel review. The Minerals mafia lives on too.

  4. Section 2 . . .

    Phil Coorey says Turnbull has green lighted direct intervention in the energy market and has embraced “clean coal”. Google.
    Richo reckons that Dutton’s “sly wedge on citizenship” may well backfire on him. Google.
    The long-awaited new payment system for Australia’s $3 billion child support program has run into trouble almost immediately after its launch, with one frustrated operator dubbing the roll-out a “sh*t show”. Child Support Agency staff report the new system, called Pluto, is slower and clumsier than the obsolete technology it was supposed to replace. Another triumph for Porter’s Department for Human Services!
    Justin Smith writes that it’s time we threw the book at ludicrous, unjustified booking fees. Google.
    Owen Jones in The Guardian writes that far right extremists are cornered and dangerous and they must be challenged.
    Competition in electricity pricing has led to skyrocketing profitability for network service providers at the expense of the public good, writes Mark Zanker.,10411
    The “embattled” Sean Spicer is about to be shoved backstage at the same time as the White House adopts the armadillo defence posture.
    Australia’s lobbying laws are inadequate, but other countries are getting it right.
    This aspiring Liberal politician in Adelaide has got his hands full. Google.

  5. Special counsel Robert Mueller adds Russian-speaking attorney to Trump probe

    Robert Mueller has added a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk who speaks Russian to his team investigating the Trump campaign’s possible ties to the Kremlin.

    Elizabeth Prelogar, an assistant to the solicitor general, is assisting deputy solicitor general Michael Dreeben in his part-time role on the special counsel’s team probing the Trump campaign, reported The National Law Journal.

  6. Section 3 . . .

    How the corporate veil is motivating misbehaviour and obscuring who should take the blame.
    Macquarie Group faces a major class action over allegations some of its investment advisers artificially inflated the price of a small mining company before a sudden collapse wiped out many of its investors. Many years ago I cut this outfit from my superannuation portfolio in an ethical basis.
    Oh dear! Rio Tinto director John Varley, 61, has resigned from the mining giant’s board after being charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by the UK Serious Fraud Office.
    Yet another man behaving badly!
    Make no mistake, the Australian Government is currently being held to ransom by billionaire media moguls and the hostage is Channel Ten.,10419
    Republicans are promising to make healthcare worse for the people who need it most. Democrats are left with a mealy-mouthed defence of the status quo. Really, the US is in a mess when it comes to health care.
    The leaders of some of the world’s biggest tech companies met with President Donald Trump in Washington on Monday, but it didn’t look like a happy little get-together. It looked more like only one person wanted to be there.
    It only took an hour for the knives to come out for Rosalind Croucher. Barely was the ink dry on her appointment as the next Australian Human Rights Commission president when the Institute of Public Affairs think tank denounced her as a “Triggs lite” choice who would likely continue “the erosion of our freedoms”. What hope has this woman got?
    Take the time to look at this latest research from the Lowy Institute on Australians’ attitude to the threats we are facing. Trump doesn’t come out of it too well either.

  7. Trump’s approval among Republicans dives by 11 points amid Russia probe bungling

    A new CBS News poll released on Tuesday showed that President Donald Trump’s approval rating had crashed to yet another all-time low — and it seems that even Republicans are jumping ship over his bungling of the Russia probe.

    According to CBS, Trump’s current approval rating stands at just 36 percent, the lowest rating in the CBS poll that he has registered so far. Previously, Trump’s lowest rating in the poll was 39 percent, which he hit all the way back in February.

    “The drop in the President’s approval rating is partially due to ebbing support among Republicans,” CBS notes. “Seventy-two percent approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing, a decline of eleven points since April.”

  8. Section 4 . . .

    A parliamentary committee has called on the Inspector-General of Taxation, Ali Noroozi, to conduct a review into the Australian Taxation Office after the alleged abuse of position by one of its highest-ranking officers, Michael Cranston.
    As the Senate launches an inquiry into the national security ramifications of climate change, a new report has warned global warming will cause increasingly regular and severe humanitarian crises across the Asia-Pacific.
    If you were intending to book a return flight from Perth to Broome for the July school holidays, it may be time to re-think. It’s cheaper to go to Japan!

  9. Section 5 . . . Cartoon Corner

    A powerful contribution from Cathy Wilcox.

    Ron Tandberg on the proposed change to citizenship requirements. Ouch!

    Mark Knight with his version of Dutton’s new citizenship test.
    Jon Kudelka also has a crack at it.
    David Pope on the media’s characterisation of terrorists.
    Alan Moir on social standing.

    David Rowe takes us into the back alley. Look at the rat!

    Matt Davidson reminds us of what Trump is doing to the world.

  10. bk

    Child Support Agency staff report the new system, called Pluto, is slower and clumsier than the obsolete technology it was supposed to replace.

    So a lot like the NBN then 🙁

  11. Where were Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan for the penalty rate vote????

    “Andrew Wilkie strongly supports penalty rates and his unavoidable absence from Parliament today made no difference to the outcome of votes about the issue. He ensured his position was recognised by asking Cathy McGowan, who would have voted with the Government, to absent herself from the vote. This so-called ‘pairing’ ensured that both Andrew’s and Cathy’s positions were effectively recognised.”

  12. ‘They brought this on themselves’: Ex-Bush speechwriter says the whole GOP is going down with Trump

    Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, has written a column in the Washington Post outlining Republicans’ options for eventually ridding themselves of President Donald Trump.

    Unfortunately for the GOP, however, Gerson believes that the party has precisely zero good options.

    Republicans and conservatives could just try to outlast Trump — closing the shutters and waiting for the hurricane to pass,” he suggests

    In the end, he concludes that any process to rid the Republican Party of Trump will be ugly — but he says GOP leaders have no one but themselves to blame.

    “Whatever option is chosen, it will not be easy or pretty,” he writes. “And any comfort for Republicans will be cold because they brought this fate on themselves and the country

  13. Senate Russia investigators promised access to key Treasury data

    Members of the Senate intelligence committee said Tuesday they were promised access to data from the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit, as they dig into potential ties between the campaign of President Donald Trump and Russian financiers.

    “The stack of press reports gets higher every day regarding financial connections between Trump associates and Russia, and Trump’s own business dealings with Russian interests,” Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the committee told CNN. “This morning, Treasury briefed me on documents that are being transmitted to the Senate. I believe these documents will be sufficient to start following the money.”

  14. Donald Trump, Felix Sater and the Mob: Lawyers Push to Unseal Court Documents They Say Could Show Fraud by President

    Lawyers seeking to unseal documents related to the criminal past of a former business partner of President Donald Trump said in federal court on Monday that the documents may contain evidence that Trump committed fraud.

    The sealed documents are from a federal case against Felix Sater. Trump reportedly tapped Sater as a senior advisor for his real estate business in the 2000s even after Sater’s earlier role in a Mafia-linked stock scheme became public.

  15. Teresa May’s deal with DUP is foindering on the pork they are demanding.

    “Theresa May faces the embarrassment of her Queen’s Speech going ahead without the backing of the Democratic Unionist Party – ten days after she claimed a deal was done.

    The right-wing Northern Ireland party warned the Prime Minister it “can’t be taken for granted”, as the long-running negotiations appeared to run into trouble.

    DUP sources also took aim at the lack of “negotiating experience” on the Conservative side – a serious criticism, a day after the separate Brexit talks also got underway.”

  16. Even if there is no actual way investment the embrace of coal by the government is the end of Turnbull the moderate.
    If is in stark contrast to the ‘centrist’ budget loved by the press gallery.

    If there is a reverse auction for dispatchable power can the HELE coal stations compete with solar + batteries, how expensive are they, also if they are competing against them with a clean energy target.

  17. From the Lowy Institute survey:

    Energy security

    Australians clearly prioritise government investment in renewables over traditional energy sources. Most of them (81%) want the government to ‘focus on renewables, even if this means we may need to invest more in infrastructure to make the system more reliable’. Only 17% say ‘the government should focus on traditional energy sources such as coal and gas, even if this means the environment may suffer to some extent’.

    Global warming

    A majority of Australians (54%) say ‘global warming is a serious and pressing problem (and) we should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs’. This is consistent with last year’s result and has risen from a low of 36% in 2012. Few (9%) say ‘until we are sure that global warming is really a problem, we should not take any steps that would have economic costs’. Around a third (37%) say ‘the problem of global warming should be addressed, but its effects will be gradual, so we can deal with the problem gradually by taking steps that are low in cost’.

  18. Morning all. Thanks BK and Phoenix for today’s wrap up. I took BK’s advice and checked out the Australian. Talk about outrage outlet.

  19. kezza

    He ensured his position was recognised by asking Cathy McGowan, who would have voted with the Government, to absent herself from the vote.

    I don’t know what Wilkie was doing but he made the appropriate arrangement to nuetralise his absence.

  20. c@

    Who is it?

    It’s been reported before that he had one but I think the bit about him handing the selected contents over in boxes of paper might not have been.

  21. CTar1,
    I’m sure the contents were very carefully selected. Which is why Pence has not given access to the email account itself.

  22. I heard on 3AW that there is a poll showing the Andrews government would lose 15 seats if an election today and went looking for it. I haven’t been able to find it. Anyone know anything about it? Only the loss of seats was mentioned.

  23. And you guessed it, Chris Back’s Senate seat likely to be replaced with a man.

    Finance Minister Mathias Cormann’s former chief of staff Slade Brockman is shaping as the likely candidate to become WA’s newest senator, with a key rival choosing not to nominate.

    It is understood Matt O’Sullivan, a former Liberal Party candidate for the Federal seat of Burt, has decided not to run for the Senate vacancy left by Chris Back, because of family reasons.

  24. CTar1

    Yep, there’s that (re Wilkie pairing with McGowan)

    I was more pointing out that McGowan had decided to go anti-penalty rates, despite a lot of pressure from her constituents to change her view.

    Her excuse that she is siding with the independent umpire in the penalty rates cuts was quite at odds with her vote (with the govt) to change the Fair Work Act (I think) in relation to the CFA dispute, where she didn’t give tuppence for the independent umpire (who had sided with the Firefighters Union) in that dispute.

  25. Report co-author Ian Dunlop argues Australia’s political and corporate leaders, by refusing to accept the need for urgent climate action now, are “putting the Australian community in extreme danger”.

    “Global warming will drive increasingly severe humanitarian crises, forced migration, political instability and conflict. The Asia Pacific region, including Australia, is considered to be ‘disaster alley’ where some of the worst impacts will be experienced,” the report, released this morning, says.

    The ongoing Syrian civil war – which has killed 450,000 and forced an estimated 5.5 million people to flee the country over six years of conflict – is attributed, in significant part, to an extended drought, exacerbated by climate change, that left millions without food or livelihoods.

  26. Gary @ #28 Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 – 8:47 am

    I heard on 3AW that there is a poll showing the Andrews government would lose 15 seats if an election today and went looking for it. I haven’t been able to find it. Anyone know anything about it? Only the loss of seats was mentioned.

    It’s in the Hun!

  27. kezza

    Sorry. I don’t take much notice of MacGowen but I always thought she is actually a Nat/Lib.

    Zoomster has been saying that MacGowen was doing her best to avoid answering questions on this so I’m not at all surprised.

    (Bloody foggy here)

  28. kezza

    She also voted to overturn the truckies agreement, so this independent umpire stuff is rubbish.

    I’ve spent a bit of time on the picket line outside my husband’s workplace. Some of the local unions supported Cathy at the last election, and in the lead up to the first penalty rates vote they fully expected her to vote against the government. They’re now totally disillusioned with her – my facebook page is filled with posts from them condemning her.

    There was also a local poll which showed that the majority of Indi voters supported the retention of Sunday penalty rates.

    Her own facebook page is filled with negative comments —

    She’s basically lost Indi.

  29. From the front page of the business section of the Australian :
    ‘Snowy Hydro is pumped over scheme potential ‘, which talks up Snowy 2.0
    The business section in the GG is still pretty good and the article goes on unhelpfully to say
    ‘…the project needs a power market where coal is being phased out, increasing the number of wind farms generating cheap power’. So Finkel 2.0 makes Snowy obsolete.

    Also the power companies are ‘hitting out ‘ at any changes to the energy market,specifically appeal rights.

  30. Yesterday.

    Denise C‏

    Just heard some LIB tell Sabra Lane that power prices doubled under the Labor govt with the Carbon Tax. Not a peep to correct from Sabra.

  31. poroti @ #13 Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 6:42 am


    Child Support Agency staff report the new system, called Pluto, is slower and clumsier than the obsolete technology it was supposed to replace.

    So a lot like the NBN then

    Damm, got emoji’d again.

    It is commendable, and not in a way that the L/NP should be proud of, that they have managed to make the CSA even more difficult and unpleasant to deal with than they already are.

    I used to think that the complaints about them were just men embittered at having to deal with them venting their frustrations, then I dealt with them as an employer representative (withholder of child support payments from payroll) and worked with a few women who were recipients of child support payments. The CSA needs a top to bottom cleanout of their culture, which can probably only be achieved by sacking everyone and starting again from scratch with completely new people.

    I have had no personal dealings with the CSA.
    Over 15 years I’ve had dealings with them as an employer representative and have been served with a number of demand notices from them as a result of my lack of cooperation.

  32. Ctar1

    Bloody cloudy here, and humidity of 97%!!

    Zoom, yes, I read all the negative comments from the last time you linked to McGowans facebook page (thanks for that). That’s what made me take an interest in her position.

    I don’t understand how she is able to hold such a contradictory viewpoint in the cases mentioned. She would have been better off sticking with the ‘small business’ argument.

    If she’s lost Indi, does that mean it will go back to the Libs or Nats, or will Labor ever have a shot?

    Hope your husband’s health is holding out. Must be a stressful time for all of you.

  33. Very sad news.
    Last week my Visa card was blocked by Westpac because of some, unexplained, happening.
    I rang the 1300 number for Westpac and spoke to a wonderful lady who called me “darling”. I have a new credit card on the way.
    After a cheerful exchange with the telephone lady I asked her to marry me and to my great joy she said “yes”.
    Now, in the depths of my distress I am kicking myself (not easy to do without practice). I forgot to ask her name.
    Dear Dorothy, what should I do? 😭

  34. Grimace /Poroti

    ‘Pluto’ if I recall correctly is just a ‘veneer’ of SAP screens rather than a whole new system. The old ‘Cuba’ system is still doing the work in the background.

    Shedloads of money has been spent trying, two attempts, to completely replace ‘Cuba’.

  35. kezza

    ‘If she’s lost Indi, does that mean it will go back to the Libs or Nats, or will Labor ever have a shot?’

    Labor’s in with a slim chance – the AEC does a 2PP count as if the independent doesn’t exist (so they can calculate a 2PP nationally) and it has Labor at over 45% (which would make it a marginal). This also shows that most people who voted McGowan put Labor second.

    However, I still regard the McGowan victories as more anti-Sophie protests, so –

    1. If Sophie runs again (not beyond the realms of possibility, because she still thinks she should have won the last two…) Labor is in with a good chance.

    2. If Sophie doesn’t run, it’s a bit murkier, and will depend largely on who the Libs DO run. However, they had an ideal candidate last time, who got zero votes in the preselection process (leading Michael Kroger to dismiss the Indi Liberals as ‘mad’ ). In other words, anyone who didn’t adore Sophie left the Liberal party years ago, so it’s quite possible they will preselect a Mirabella clone (indeed, her husband is often put forward as a possibility…)

    So it’s possible for Labor to win it, but it would need the right candidate and a ripper of a campaign.

  36. BK,
    Seems a bit over the top to refer to the ‘Catholic mafia’. The next article by a representative of Catholic education setting out their case seems quite reasonable at face value. Why can’t this piglet be allowed to scream as much as the every other piglet as they attempt to scrabble to climb on the education funding teat?
    By the way, love your morning round up. Start of my day.

  37. This is very much my feeling about the Andrews government –

    ‘Mr Briggs said the difference between country and city views was part of a wider picture, also seen in Queensland.

    “It is like there is a two-speed economy and the people in regional Victoria really feel the brunt of it and don’t feel very much love coming from the state government,” he said.’

    …It doesn’t value the country in the way that both Bracks and Brumby did.

  38. KayJay

    I lost my Mastercard about a year ago and fortunately the replacement turned up much more quickly than their estimated number of days.

    If there is a ‘activation’ process before you can start using the replacement card be careful when doing it.


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