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. Is Shelton a closet Greens? Sings the same sort of tunes about how only he knows the one true way to salvation.
    If only 90% of Australians would stop being so stubborn.

  2. Doyley profits in the sector increased to $1.36 billion however net margins reduced from 5.6% to 4.8%. I guess it depends on how you want to spin it.

    Much of the increase came from return on investments and not from operations.

    The fact is that benefits payout will increase with the ageing population and increases in medical procedures. Someone has to pay somewhere.

  3. Boerwar @ #501 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 7:02 pm

    Is Shelton a closet Greens? Sings the same sort of tunes about how only he knows the one true way to salvation.
    If only 90% of Australians would stop being so stubborn.

    He’s just playing to the local Queenslanders for future votes… similar strategy to what Bill Shorten did with ‘Australians First’.

  4. SBS News setting the tone for the new year….it’s all systems go for Malcolm!
    Not so much for Shorten who’s had a rocky start to the year apparently…..follow the script…..

  5. dwh
    It is a taxpayer-subsidized queuing arrangement for the wealthy at the expensive of the poor with the middle persons creaming things nicely.

  6. I know the Sydney cosmetic surgeon – to think he is worth 0.5 B!
    Yep you could watch the surfers while operating- allegedly including Mark Richards
    The Newcastle urologists are part of the Royal Newcastle Centre and still get FFS – an absolute disgrace
    RNH was allegedly severely damaged in the earthquake although I think that was an excuse. The great earthquake story is that recovery was evacuated to the beach. One patient awoke and assumed he had died and gone to heaven.
    I will tell my earthquake story shortly

  7. Player One @ #463 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 3:10 pm

    grimace @ #414 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 4:58 pm

    At 50,000 houses the numbers work very easily and the savings mentioned in the article stack up, and I say that having with the benefit of having done the numbers based on actual quotes from solar and battery manufacturers, who on that volume will deal with you direct. The three big cost issues were metering of the system (which has to be NMI approved), management of the data in the system and disposal of the battery at the end of its economic life.

    I’d be interested to see your figures. I can see you would get quite substantial discounts by buying the components in bulk, but not enough to make this system “pay for itself” as claimed. A few fairly simple calculations indicate the return on initial investment is quite low – and also quite risky. For instance, I had to assume a “perfect” system in every case, and also that all electricity generated could be sold at full retail price … and neither of these is true, of course.

    This means someone is subsidising it. Which of course would probably end up being the taxpayers not participating in the scheme.

    But the real kicker of course is that you would get a much better outcome by simply taking exactly the same components and building a couple of utility-scale solar farms. There, you could guarantee optimum system performance. And you’d save absolutely heaps on installation, maintenance & management costs.

    The more I think about it, the more this looks like an election stunt to me.

    Unfortunately I can’t hand over the actual numbers.

    I’ve just gone over it and the modelled pricing I did takes into account:
    – Utilisation of electricity which is realistic (i.e., not 100%);
    – Basis of calculation was actual consumption numbers supplied by the retailer;
    – Battery and panel degradation based on Service Level Agreements with manufacturers;
    – Transformer losses and round-trip efficiency factored in, and;
    – No price escalation for life of the agreement and the system passing to the property owner at end of the agreement.

    The result, based on large volume, was an electricity price below the grid price and a very good rate of return.

  8. Pegasus @ #510 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 7:08 pm

    Albanese states support for rank-and-file input after two Shorten picks for Senate

    Anthony Albanese has backed a left-faction push for Labor members to gain more power over preselections and declared loyalty to the Labor cause rather than the current leader, Bill Shorten.

    it’s on !!

  9. CTaR1
    The ‘Yellow Submarine’ naming reminded me of the Flashman bio someone posted in toto the other day. I could hardly stay in my chair for laughing.
    He was a cad and a bounder but he did get around. If there was colonial fracas with restless natives he was there.
    But my fave quirk was when he acted as ‘adjutant’ for Brown during the raid on Harper’s Ferry.

  10. One fact that is always overlooked in PB debates on private health insurance is that 20-25% of the NSW public hospital budget comes from the private insurers.
    The collapse of the private system just doesn’t put a strain on the number of patients presenting; it also results in increased state resources to maintain services

  11. imacca @ #478 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 6:27 pm

    Nah P1. Its more like good policy, with some risk attached, that if its successful will set things up for pretty good outcomes in the future. If it works, it will help to mainstream distributed generation / storage. It will be a large scale, working system from which data on the actual real world pros and cons can be gathered. Will there be “issues”……almost certainly. But we can learn how to work through them and deal.

    It is clearly a good election policy.

    This is the kind of thing that Govts SHOULD do. Taxpayer funds spent on the public good.

    Sorry, but it is our money they are spending. I expect them to spend it effectively. This is not a very effective way to spend it.

    Yup, there are companies that will make a profit out of it.

    Surely will. Tesla for one will make a packet. They will make back far more than the discount they gave the SA government on their recent PowerPack purchase. I suspect this was part of the plan all along.

    Elon Musk is no dummy. But he can certainly spot one – even from 10,000 miles away!

  12. Oakeshott Country @ #516 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 7:10 pm

    One fact that is always overlooked in PB debates on private health insurance is that 20-25% of the NSW public hospital budget comes from the private insurers.
    The collapse of the private system just doesn’t put a strain on the number of patients presenting; it also results in increased state resources to maintain services

    Which is why Bill Shorten has explicitly said, to Karl Stefanovic just this last week, that he does not want to get rid of PHI.

    He just wants to make them accountable.

  13. President Trump’s most significant, and ominous, achievement in his first year in office is the corruption of the Republic. I don’t mean that he has succeeded in destroying the checks and balances on which American freedom rests. I mean that he has so soiled the discourse that a kind of numbness has set in, an exhaustion of outrage that allows him to proceed with the unthinkable.

    The greatest danger from a man so unerring in his detection of human weakness, so attuned to the thrill of cruelty, so aware of the manipulative powers of entertainment, so unrelenting in his disregard for truth, so contemptuous of ethics and culture, so attracted to blood and soil, was always that he would use the immense powers of his office to drag Americans down with him into the vortex.

  14. At the start of his administration, Mr. Trump targeted the intelligence community for his criticism. But in recent months, he has broadened the attacks to include the sprawling federal law enforcement bureaucracy that he oversees, to the point that in December he pronounced the F.B.I.’s reputation “in tatters” and the “worst in history.”

    In his telling, that bureaucracy, now run by his own appointees, is a nest of political saboteurs out to undermine him — an accusation that raised fears that he was tearing at the credibility of some of the most important institutions in American life to save himself.

    At least the point about these agencies now being run by people Trump himself has appointed is getting out there.

  15. grimace @ #509 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 7:07 pm

    The result, based on large volume, was an electricity price below the grid price and a very good rate of return.

    The biggest single cost of each individual system (by far) is the Tesla battery. How long did you assume they would last, and can you give me a ballpark figure of the level of discount you expected to get? If it wasn’t at least 15 years and 50% (respectively) then you’re dreaming. Because that’s what I assumed.

  16. Insurance is a very inefficient funding model compared to taxation. For every dollar of tax the cost is only the enforcement, less than 1c in the dollar. Insurer’s have advertising etc and it’s much higher, despite getting gifts from the government.

    Since we have agreed we want universal health, taxation is the most efficient way of paying for it. There is no reason private hospitals etc couldn’t bid for that money by competing for providing services.

    Health insurance should only cover out-of-pocket things considered above (edit: or outside) the universal standard, which you should be able to pay for without insurance anyway.

  17. PHI – to have or not to have…

    In 2015, The Guardian ran a series of articles on private health insurance:

    Final instalment:

    Successive governments of both persuasions have failed to convincingly articulate why Australians need what is increasingly a duplicate health care system – with duplicate costs for many – and why the federal financial contribution to private health insurance should be so substantial. The 2014-15 Budget Papers show the cost of the private health insurance rebate will grow from A$5.997 billion in 2013-14 to A$7.187 billion by 2017-18.

  18. Confessions @ #528 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 7:29 pm

    Sorry C@t, I’m unsure what program you’re referring to.

    She’s got a new show on a Sunday night on the ABC. ‘The Main Line’ I think it is called. Tonight she starts the show off with an interview of Bill Shorten.

    I think I’ll just go and check the guide on the tv. Thanks anyway. 🙂

  19. Where does Team Trump find these people? I can’t think of a single pick of his who has been either decent, rational thinking or mature.

    The Trump administration’s nominee to coordinate billions of dollars in assistance to migrants around the world has suggested in social-media posts that Islam is an inherently violent religion and has said Christians in some cases should receive preferential treatment when resettling from hostile areas.

    In tweets, social media posts and radio appearances reviewed by The Washington Post, Ken Isaacs, a vice president of the Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, made disparaging remarks about Muslims and denied climate change — a driving force behind migration, according to the agency the State Department has nominated him to lead.

  20. Speaking of people making their move. Looking buff at Manly today, this could be the last roll of the dice for ESJ’s man..

  21. C@t:

    Found this on twitter:

    PatriciaKarvelasVerified account@PatsKarvelas
    2h2 hours ago
    Show starts at 9:15pm tonight on @abcnews with @billshortenmp
    Plus, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins on what’s next for the #metoo movement. Liberal MP Craig Kelly and Electric Vehicle Council CEO Beyhad Jafari will road test the electric car debate. #auspol

    Am assuming AEDT.

  22. rhwombat @ #481 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 6:32 pm

    Was it true that they used to open the windows in the operating theatres when the breeze was right?

    They did at the old Tamworth Base, where I did a SRMO term. The gauze kept most of the bugs out. The barmaid from Somerton would be brought in late every Friday night, fitting, and the only thing that worked was paraldehyde, in a glass syringe!

  23. Question the great reform that most western countries have accepted, even the NHS, is to introduce competition into health by having private providers bid for public work.

    This was the fundamental recommendation of Rudd’s reform commission. And what did he do – he ran away of course and then failed to get much lesser reforms through.

    After the last election and Bill’s scare campaign, it will be a very brave politician indeed who proposes any reform

  24. Howard and the LNP have been very successful in undermining public education and public health through generously funding, with public taxes, the private systems for the rich. In addition they run down and constraint the public systems.

    The aim being to under-fund the public system so that it can be stigmatised as a prelude to eventual destruction.

    This is a pattern they do with all public social services (any service that does not have private profit as it’s main goal): public transport, energy, transport, weather predictions, science and research etc.

    At first they tried to abolish public health but coming to realise that this is very politically unpopular, they introduce a process of long slow attrition.

    The ALP should aim to stop public subsidising the profits of the health profiteers. In the interim the $7 Billion subsidy could be used to fund a ‘basic’ public health insurance product.

    The profiteers in the PHI can fund any extra “gaps” needed by the rich, like butlers and gold plated taps in hospital bathrooms.

    I hope the next ALP government is not as supine, weak and pointless as the last which seemed to maintain the Howard neo-liberal attacks on the public good.

  25. I read stuff like this and really do wonder about politicians

    Time and again they get decisions from courts or regulators they don’t like so they just change the rules, or apply them differently.

    I may be naïve but I don’t think many of them are straight out corrupt as Joh and his people were but to simply ignore the will of the people, backed by experts, just defies logic.

    So they sell their supporters out, and in this case I assume many of the people of Gloucester would be more inclined to vote coalition than Labor, for what? Campaign donations?

    They really are completely out of touch.

    I don’t know whether to be really sad or really angry.

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