BludgerTrack: 52.4-47.6 to Labor

Little change this week on the federal polling aggregate. Also featured: preselection news, minor polling snippets, and the latest changes to the configuration of the Senate.

There were two polls this week, one a little better for the Coalition than usual (52-48 from ReachTEL), one a little worse (54-46 from Essential Research). These add up to not much change on the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, albeit that the Coalition are up one on the seat aggregates for Victoria and Western Australia. No new numbers this week for the leadership ratings.

Latest developments on the ever-changing face of the Senate:

• South Australian Senator Lucy Gichuhi has subtly improved the government’s position in the Senate by joining the Liberal Party. Gichuhi was the second candidate on the Family First ticket at the 2016 election, which unexpectedly earned her a place in the Senate in April last year in place of Bob Day. The High Court had ruled that Day had been ineligible to run at the election by virtue of a pecuniary interest in an agreement with the Commonwealth, and that the votes should be recounted as if Day were absent from the ballot paper. However, this coincided with Family First’s absorption within Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives start-up, which Gichuhi was not willing to join. She has since sat as an independent, albeit one that has usually voted with the government. Her move to the Liberals neatly brings the South Australian Senate contingent into line with the party configuration that emerged from the election, a situation that was disturbed when Cory Bernardi quit the Liberal Party.

• Kristina Keneally will take Sam Dastyari’s place in the Senate after winning the decisive endorsement of the NSW Right without opposition, seeing off suggestions that she might face a challenge from Transport Workers Union state secretary Tony Sheldon or United Voice official Tara Moriarty. A report in the Sydney Morning Herald suggests Sheldon might have been able to take the position if he had pressed the issue, with the support of the Australian Workers Union, Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association and Transport Workers Union, but favoured seeking a position at the next election as it would give him a full six-year term.

Miscellaneous miscellany:

Barrie Cassidy makes a case for a federal election being held later this year.

The Australian reports that Michael Danby’s potential successors in Melbourne Ports include Josh Burns, a senior adviser to Daniel Andrews, and Mary Delahunty, a Glen Eira councillor and former mayor (not the former state MP). However, it is not yet clear that Danby will retire, or be forced out if he chooses to stay, with a Labor source quoted in an earlier report from The Australian saying Danby had 80% support in local branches. Linfox executive Ari Suss and Labor historian Nick Dyrenfurth, who were mentioned earlier, have apparently ruled themselves out.

• Lyle Shelton, who gained a high profile as managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby during the same-sex marriage referendum, has resigned his position ahead of a run for federal parliament, which will apparently be with the Australian Conservatives in Queensland — presumably as its lead Senate candidate.

• According to Sheradyn Holderhead of The Advertiser, Robert Simms, who held a Senate seat from September 2015 to July 2016, would “likely have the numbers” to take top spot on the Greens’ South Australian Senate ticket if he challenged Sarah Hanson-Young.

• The ABC reports a small sample YouGov Galaxy poll of 350 respondents suggested Nick Xenophon Team member Rebekha Sharkie would retain her seat of Mayo at a by-election if disqualified on grounds of dual British citizenship. The poll had Sharkie with a 59-41 two-party lead over the Liberals, from primary votes of 37% for Sharkie, 33% for the Liberals and 18% for Labor.

Fairfax reports a ReachTEL poll of 3312 respondents for the Stop Adani Alliance found 65.1% opposed to Adani’s coal mine proposal in Queensland, up from 51.9% in March 2017. It also found 73.5% support for ending the expansion of coal mining and accelerating solar power construction and storage.

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.

632 comments on “BludgerTrack: 52.4-47.6 to Labor”

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  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Nick O’Malley tells us how Trump is now at open war with investigators and how weaponised conspiracy-mongering has crept from the fringes to the heart of American politics.
    Matthew Miller writes that releasing the Nunes memo is Trump’s most unethical act since firing Comey.
    Michael West concludes that political donations work. Four of the world’s most powerful institutions and largest political party donors have once again treated the people and the parliament of Australia with disdain. PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG were invited to appear before the Senate Inquiry into the Political Influence of Donations whose hearings concluded this week. All four declined.
    An interesting conclusion from a group of economists was that the federal government should only give tax cuts to companies who give their employees higher wages. And/or raise capital expenditure.
    Fairfax pays tribute to Michael Gordon.
    James Massola outlines the issues that will dominate 2018 politics.
    And Jess Irvine explains parliamentary rules for the new year.
    Peter Martin looks at the need for quality journalism in this modern world.
    Michelle Thompson from the Marie Stopes organisation says that Australia’s health system is inequitable when it comes to women’s sexual health issues.
    Malcolm Knox speaks eminent sense about the Australian cricket product.
    One of those unsuccessfully targeted by the royal commission is taking over the CFMEU leadership position.
    Labor says legal advice from Poland shows it has an “open and shut” case that Liberal MP Jason Falinski is a dual national, threatening to ensnare the first week of Parliament in a fresh round of trench warfare on citizenship.
    Political donations are theft from ordinary Australians, says Frank O’Shea.,11161
    Management 1.01 says that when there is a major problem one institutes a temporary countermeasure until a permanent solution is determined and instituted. Not with this mob though! It has all the hallmarks of a major mismatch of demand and supply.
    Another furniture-borne leak of sensitive information!
    A match made in heaven! Shelton and Bernardi. Same sect marriage?
    The government’s new secrecy legislation has no friends. No wonder!
    The SMH says that the legislation should be withdrawn.
    Ian Warden likens Young Liberals to Mormons.
    According to this contributor we’ve reached peak smartphone.
    After discreet, exclusive and private ‘civil ceremonies’, the Australian wedding industry is gearing up for a new market of queer-inspired same-sex weddings that buck traditions and generate big bucks.
    It’s time to end the angst over public vs private education.
    Global warming sceptics advertising in The Australian deny funding from the fossil fuel industry, but the evidence suggests otherwise, writes Dr Norm Sanders.,11163
    Peter FitzSimons’ weekly column.
    Airbnb has caused he Australian Open and the men’s Ashes series to no longer be free kicks for Melbourne’s hotels, with many struggling to charge peak rates during the key sporting events.

    Cartoon Corner

    A Sunday special from David Rowe.

    Paul Zanetti on Assange and Feeney.

    Cathy Wilcox and our arms export aspiration.

    A couple from Matt Golding.

    Two good ones from Sean Leahy.

    Peter Broelman at the uninspiring SA leaders’ debate.

    Jon Kudelka with a funny one on Shorten’s approach to Adani.

    And he has redesigned poker machines.

  2. Who, except Turnbull, has any trust in Ciobo’s judgement? This smells.

    In a blow to public accountability, decisions over the taxpayer-funded loans to arms manufacturers will not face normal levels of scrutiny as the agency is partially exempt from the freedom of information act.

    The shift to the agency’s role in promoting Australia as a global arms manufacturer comes after Trade Minister Steve Ciobo also explored the option of using EFIC to provide taxpayer funding for the embattled Adani coal mine, following a refusal from banks to provide loans to the coal sector.

    The agency has previously been criticised for providing loans worth hundred of thousands of dollars to export companies that later entered into voluntary administration, including a $1.5 million guarantee to Precision Catering & Equipment, a $200,000 loan to lean energy and a $300,000 taxpayer loan for a children’s hermit crab adoption scheme.

    An EFIC spokesman said the agency had deep experience in complex, large scale project financing and would draw on its financing of the PNG LNG and the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia to manage new exposures under the new initiative.

    “EFIC applies its rigorous evaluation of environmental and social risks to loans made on the National Interest Account,” he said.

    A spokesman for Trade Minister Steve Ciobo referred questions to EFIC.

  3. Bad news.

    Insiders returns and the main interview is with Brian Trumble. 🙁

    Kenny, Mark; Tingle, Laura; and Probyn, Andrew, on the couch.

  4. guytaur @ #6 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 7:33 am

    Good Morning

    7NewsMelbourne: Families will be more than $300 better off, under an @AustralianLabor plan to cap increases to private health insurance at two per cent. #7News

    Wow! That sounds great, guytaur. I’m just worried that the bastards in the PHI industry will up the Exclusions as a result and that will pee people off.

  5. Cat

    Yes. I posted because its the first positive report about Labor from 7 in ages that I have observed.

    As Mr Rudd proved. Get 7 to do positive reports and Labor wins elections.

  6. lizzie @ #7 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 7:34 am


    I didn’t realise Cameron was leaving. I liked him (ie, he wasn’t afraid to say what he thought).

    Yeas, Dougie announced it pretty soon after the Double Dissolution to give Labor time to organise a replacement. And so he could do a tour of the branches and we could get to hear his delicious brogue one last time. 🙂

    Tim Ayres is a quality replacement as well. A Labor researcher.

  7. It’s a pity Nick Dyrenfurth isn’t stepping up to take Danby’s place. He is also a classy guy and intellectual. Maybe one day.

  8. Lizzie and Cat

    I will miss Doug Cameron’s feisty brogue on the airwaves. However given the Cash saga the New Senators of Mr Ayers and Keneally sound like quality replacements for estimates.

    I hope Senator Ayres is as feisty in his way on sticking up for Left causes within Labor.

  9. Not another one!

    In a maiden speech that raised fears about “Anglo” culture being “swamped” Senator Burston told the story of his remarkable professional rise.

    “My life has been a journey from poverty to politics,” he said in the speech. “At age 15, I began a five-year apprenticeship with BHP to become a boilermaker [… and then later] lectured in teacher education at Newcastle University.”

    But on Friday a spokeswoman for the university disclaimed any connection to the senator. “The University of Newcastle has no record of Brian Burston ever being employed,” the spokeswoman said.

    The revelations are the latest scandal to rock the party after two of its senators, Rod Culleton and Malcolm Roberts, were disqualified for being legally deemed ineligible over a conviction for a scuffle with a tow truck driver that was later anulled and caught up in the foreign citizenship affair respectively.

  10. Pm is going to be campaigning in SA today. Bear in mind for Insiders interview. Its a campaign interview.

    nickharmsen: Big day on the #SAVotes2018 trail. PM expected in town as Liberals launch their campaign. Labor announcing ‘free household solar panel and battery offer’. One suspects there’s more to that than coincidence. @abcadelaide

  11. JuddLegum: Paul Ryan does not want you to see this tweet. But it is a very important tweet that everyone should see even though Ryan deleted it.

  12. Morning all. So Turnbull is doing a promo on Insiders? So great.

    I wonder if any of the “journos” on Insiders will question him on the new press censorship laws? Or his $1.5 million political donation? Or whether he intends to refer Jason Falinski to the HC, given he has not released his alleged Polish legal advice. What was good enough for Feeney…

  13. That tourist operators can still give people a reasonably good reef experience is similar to tours showing people apes in Rwanda or orangutans in Borneo. It is no indication of the long-term future of the natural wonder.

    The government was keen to stress the importance of the 64,000 jobs that depend on the reef, as if that would be the only reason for doing anything. But even on that economic score, the $60 million to “secure its viability”, aside from its arrogance, is pitifully low, given the $6.4 billion a year the reef contributes to the economy.

  14. Thanks BK. What is it with PHON candidates and indeed most who live by racist attacks? I often think racists are wanting to find somebody else to blame for what they perceive as the failings or disappointments in their own lives. Their resentment is fed by their insecurity.

    So to with education and fake credentials. If those who got their training in the school of hard knocks really thought that academic qualifications do not matter, why do they need to invent them. Why does Brian Burston, boileemaker, need to pretend he has a PhD?

  15. Tom the first and best @ #2637 Saturday, February 3rd, 2018 – 10:03 pm

    The Westgate tunnel is not a worthy project. It is a project to flood North Melbourne, West Melbourne, Docklands and the CBD with traffic and under cut public transport. It is a bad project and the Greens will do their best to stop it.

    I think you should go and look at the plans instead of regurgitating the Green’s press release. Policy and political aims are best if based on reality.

    At the moment if your in the west and you want to go the North Melbourne (which I sometimes do) you go across the west gate then across the Bolte bridge. Yes I could use the new tunnel. The path I chose will depend on the traffic flows. If the truck load on the Westgate falls significantly I will continue to use the Westgate.

    The tunnel is about getting trucks to from the west in and out of the ports without them using arterial roads. It’s about the ports; not North Melbourne.

  16. Don’t forget Bill Shorten is the first guest on Patricia Kavalas new show on ABC News 24 this evening.

    The National Wrap 9:15 to 10:00

  17. Thanks, guytaur, for reminding me of Karvelas’ new show tonight. I hope she doesn’t go back to her tabloid roots with the way she questions people.

  18. Nsw – you have to love it. One senate vacancy to a known Obeid-Tripodi associate and the other to yet another union secretary.


  19. Guytaur
    As a transport planner I was delighted to see the Greens block planning approval for the financial scam that is the Westgate tunnel. I presume the Libs are only opposing because they are annoyed they are not getting a cut.

    The process used to assess this project was deeply flawed and a fait accompli. There is no credible public evidence that it will not create as many transport problems as it solves. And meanwhile there are various other needed PT improvements, like a tram extension to Fishermans Bend, going unfunded.

  20. Perth and Adelaide have beaches without the grand majesty of NSW beaches

    C@t. When I moved to Adelaide and expressed similar sentiment I was told I needed to adjust my biased definition of a “grand and majestic” beach.

    For starters, take trees out of the definition. In fact, you can pretty much take the colour green out entirely.

    Thankfully there is nice sand, plenty of good sunsets, some great snorkling and plently of wildlife…

  21. An interesting conclusion from a group of economists was that the federal government should only give tax cuts to companies who give their employees higher wages. And/or raise capital expenditure.

    I will be interested to see what happens with personal income tax cuts being touted. Last time this happened I remember many companies used it in lieu of a wage rise.

  22. C@

    Doug Cameron going now is a good thing for both him and the party, I think.

    He’s noticeably aged in the last couple of years and his old fashioned rhetoric probably not quite ‘with-it’ now.

    He’s done his share and a bit more.

  23. Simon Katich @ #33 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 5:53 am

    An interesting conclusion from a group of economists was that the federal government should only give tax cuts to companies who give their employees higher wages. And/or raise capital expenditure.

    I will be interested to see what happens with personal income tax cuts being touted. Last time this happened I remember many companies used it in lieu of a wage rise.

    Yeah, I made a similar point the other day.

    Grog has a piece today about wages growth and their importance in regards to the next election although he doesn’t say anything about personal tax cuts.

  24. “Barrie! Barre! Barrie! Barrie!”

    “Do you think the laws of Supply and Demand have stopped, Barrie!?!”

    Turnbull denying the bleeding obvious that more jobs HASN’T equaled higher wages.

  25. RichardTuffin: Barrie: So why when profits are up 20% did wages only went up 2%?

    Turnbull: (summarised) “I don’t accept that fact…”

    Welcome to the new political year everyone.


  26. It’s because the insecurity of work, the casualisation of the workforce, the sub-contracting of employment to Labour Hire companies, has allowed businesses to employ more workers at a lower rate!

    You can be sacked within 24 hours of speaking up about your pay or conditions.

  27. Turnbull trying to create an alternative reality in alluding to the work environment of the 1980s FFS! Of Hawke, Keating and Wran.

    Times have changed radically since Howard and Turnbull refuses to acknowledge it.

  28. C@tmomma @ #41 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 6:15 am

    “Barrie! Barre! Barrie! Barrie!”

    “Do you think the laws of Supply and Demand have stopped, Barrie!?!”

    Turnbull denying the bleeding obvious that more jobs HASN’T equaled higher wages.

    But C@t, they will, one day, sometime, eventually, in the fullness of time, at the end of the day rise. 🙂

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