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. Oakeshott Country,

    Yes, some of my preferences are wishful :-).

    However, Shorten surprised on negative gearing by suggesting what was previously considered too hard, and ended up winning the argument! I have some hope he will quite good at selling ‘sensible’.

  2. Selling sensible would be good but he will look a real Dick trying to introduce massive changes to Medicare after what he did during the last election

  3. Mark Kenny joins the ranks of those remembering Michael Gordon for his outstanding journalism, his fairness, thoroughness and general good nature.

    I wonder if a few of these same people might reflect for a minute and ask themselves how they would be remembered.

    If they did and emulated Gordon the overall standard of Australian journalism would be markedly improved.

  4. Confessions @ #539 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 7:41 pm


    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.

    Thanks, ‘Fess! It wasn’t made at all clear on the guide on the tv. Now I hope they put Bill on first, so that I don’t have to put up with the execrable, former furniture store owner, Craig Kelly. 😀

  5. Ah yes, a warmer planet is sooo good for us, just ask Barnaby.
    The warming that has resulted from the increase in greenhouse gases has led to spring coming earlier across the country.

    Earlier spring may sound nice at first, but it comes with an increased risk to agriculture. Fruit trees need a set amount of cold to become dormant over the winter, or they may bloom too early in the year. Thus, an early bloom followed by a quick early season freeze can cause tremendous damage to crops. This was seen last year in the Southeast with a freeze in the middle of March. While March freezes are not climatologically unusual in the Southeast, many crops had bloomed more than three weeks early due to the very warm February. Damage was especially heavy to peaches, blueberries, strawberries and apples, with losses estimated at $1 billion.

  6. rossmcg @ #529 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 7:32 pm

    Labor crisis

    no doubt the usual suspects will be along to tell us this is Albo making his move.

    Apparently, Pegasus would like it if Bill was a bit more dictatorial with the Labor Party over pre-selections and didn’t allow debate and questioning from other senior Labor figures? 🙂

  7. BK
    Wash your mouth out with soap!!!
    We had RASHID KHAN!!
    He’s the biggest name in T 20 cricket.
    He more than made up for playing that idiot Lehmann every bloody game.

  8. The timeline of Rosenstein’s appointment and likely involvement in the FISA process undermines the idea that under his watch, the FBI hoodwinked a FISA judge into approving a warrant based on information that was less reliable than it claimed. Rosenstein was confirmed on April 25, 2017, long after any (wrongly) alleged shenanigans that launched the FISA process. It appears he did not sign an application to extend the FISA warrant until July — six months after it had been reported that the dossier was produced by Fusion GPS as a work of political opposition research. The supposed hidden origins and motives of the dossier had long been in the public record by then. Rosenstein can hardly be accused of concealing them.

    There are nevertheless signs that the White House may still be using the memo to lay the groundwork for Rosenstein’s removal. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement Friday afternoon claiming that the Nunes memo “raises serious concerns about the integrity of decisions made at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI to use the Government’s most intrusive surveillance tools against American citizens.”

    Firing Rosenstein would be definitive proof in an obstruction of justice case. There is already substantial evidence that Trump has obstructed justice in demanding former FBI Director Jim Comey’s loyalty and terminating him when he did not deliver it. We now know Trump made a similar loyalty demand of Rosenstein (“are you on my team?”). If Trump actually moves to fire Rosenstein based on the empty pretext of the Nunes memo, it will represent the final nail in the legal coffin that the president’s pattern of conduct indeed amounts to obstruction of justice.

    This is almost like waving a red flag in front of Trump, daring him to lower the boom that drives that final nail into the coffin!

  9. Lyle Shelton has made a big thing about being ‘convinced to go into partisan politics’ after the SSM campaign, and therefore joined Australian Conservatives as their lead QLD Senate candidate.

    He must have forgotten this episode 12 years ago when he failed as a Nat state candidate…

    QUEENSLAND Premier Peter Beattie yesterday was not convinced his lone Labor seat in the city was under siege.

    Toowoomba City Councillor Lyle Shelton has won preselection for the National Party to unseat Kerry Shine in the Toowoomba North electorate.

    “Anyone standing against Kerry Shine has a monumental task ahead on them,” Mr Beattie said.

    “Kerry is a great local member and plays a valuable role in the Government.”

    Mr Shine has served two terms in the Beattie Government.

    Mr Beattie remained guarded about a date for the State election. He simply reiterated his worn line: “the next election must be held before May 7, 2007″.

    Mr Shine yesterday conceded Cr Shelton’s high profile, courtesy of his moral campaigning as a councillor, made him a ?serious” contender for his seat.

    “The issue will be my record over the last five years and my achievements in the electorate, city and the region ? they will really be what people will make a judgment about rather than anything that other candidates might bring up.”

    But the National Party believes it’s backing a winner.

    State Director Brad Henderson said yesterday that Cr Shelton had a fine track record of community service and offered the people of Toowoomba North a clear choice.

    “Lyle Shelton knows his community and he knows the priorities that are important to it. He has age and experience on his side and his commitment to families, hard work and values make him the right choice to represent Toowoomba North,” Mr Henderson said.

    “The people of Toowoomba North can be sure Lyle Shelton won’t take a backward step in representing their interests. Lyle will put his community first.”

  10. Oakshott

    My impression is that Shorten is using the PHI issue to start a political conversation with a view to some pretty major changes in the health funding area.

    His role in developing NDIS is a bit of a pointer I think.

  11. ItzaDream @ #542 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 7:44 pm

    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!

    If I recall correctly, that was because paraldehyde was supposed to dissolve the old plastic syringes. Thank Dog for parenteral benzos.

  12. Or perhaps exposed to too much varnish?

    There must be something to explain his wacky climate science denialist ideas. He is Malcolm Roberts without the charisma.

  13. Malcolm Turnbull has said he does not expect the Liberals to field a candidate in the Batman byelection, a move that would help the Greens take the seat and increase pressure on Bill Shorten.

    It is unusual for the Libs to fail to come to the aid of their Labor frenemies in seats where the final count is between the Greens and Labor. I am glad that they making an exception for Batman. The people of Batman will get a better quality of representation from a Greens MP than from a Labor MP.

  14. Nicholas

    So what do you suggest the TealGreens do with their preferences if no Liberal candidate? Always a challenge in Higgins and other seats they could be targeting.

  15. BK
    We could have played O’Connor in a few games with Rashid and dropped Lehmann who never really needed to bat and can’t bat anyway.
    I think two spinners is the way to go in T20 (I know Head and Ingram can bowl but a specialist is better).

  16. The LNP know that cannot compete in their own right in Batman. By not running, they are helping the Gs. It will be interesting to see whether the voters are sucked in to supporting the Gs or whether they want to actually oppose the LNP and contribute to the next Labor government.

  17. Presumably Doyle is in hospital with mental health issues. His resignation would end the matter as he can’t be compelled to submit to an internal investigation if he’s quit. Unless they take it to the police. Given that he’s pretty obviously destroyed, I can’t see much point in that unless the allegations are very serious, as in jail time which doesn’t seem to be the case.

  18. Briefly I think the LNP are more interested in making things hard for Labor rather than helping the Greens.

    I’m predicting 54/46 tonight.

  19. Confessions
    I read the article from which you extracted that stuff and I am very puzzled

    First it implies that 7 people signed FISA warrants each 90 days long (ie 3 months). Now that is 21 months. There has not been sufficient time for that to have occurred – since June 2016.

    Presumably they have not been bothering to tap Page’s phone in the last 3 months – indeed not since the Mueller investigation I assume – bit of a waste of time.

    So the question really comes down to when Rosenstein signed the FISA warrant. Surely not after he was in the deputy Role nor after the Steele dossier source was known. Once Page was alerted to surveillance it makes no sense whatsoever

    Something is wacky about the timelines.

  20. Dio:

    From media reporting (early days I know), the council is saying it will work to finalise the investigation.

    A council spokeswoman said no notification of Mr Doyle’s resignation had yet been received by chief executive Ben Rimmer. The Australian understands an offical letter is likely to be delivered on Monday morning.

    “We will progress the conclusion of the investigation as quickly as possible and ensure the facts become known to all parties,” the spokeswoman said.

  21. Tom the first and best @ #583 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 8:58 pm

    Green preferences stay with the Greens candidates in Higgins as of 2016 (at least until further notice).

    Did you see that frednk rebutted your assertions about the Westgate Tunnel? Pretty conclusively as well.

    Btw, you’ve kept it pretty well hidden that you are a Greens supporter. Or I was too stupid to realise it. 🙂

  22. Diogenes @ #585 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 9:02 pm

    Presumably Doyle is in hospital with mental health issues. His resignation would end the matter as he can’t be compelled to submit to an internal investigation if he’s quit. Unless they take it to the police. Given that he’s pretty obviously destroyed, I can’t see much point in that unless the allegations are very serious, as in jail time which doesn’t seem to be the case.

    I think you’re correct there. This is the honourable way for all concerned to allow him to bow out.

  23. I can see Trump using the memo to fortify his position and discredit the Mueller inquiry. It doesn’t matter that the memo doesn’t say anything new, what matters is that it was a secret memo.

    Roll on Newspoll. My pick is 52/48 to the ALP. Sometimes PvOs Wows have been more wowserist than Wow.

  24. fess
    I bet it’s dead and buried.

    On the Libs not running in Batman, it’s smart politics. The Greens and Labor spend time wedging each other, digging up dirt and wasting campaign funds. And the Libs can have a laug from the sidelines.

  25. Did anyone really think the Libs would run in Batman at a by-election? I know we speculated about it last year, but only in terms of a ‘what if they did run?’ scenario. The assumption was always that they’d sit out like Labor did in Higgins when Costello retired.

  26. From Stephen Spencer

    Some #newspoll facts to deal with the conspiracies. Newspoll always finishes early December and resumes after Australia Day. They now poll 19-20 times a year so expect a poll every 2-3 weeks, not fortnightly. Absent a recovery #30 will be late April.

  27. Player One @ #523 Sunday, February 4th, 2018 – 4:18 pm

    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.

    I missed in your earlier comment that utility-scale solar and PV would result in a more efficient outcome, and I agree.

    The prices you are paying at manufacturer direct level, before volume discounts, doesn’t really bear much relation to the retail price that a person off the street pays.

    I note that you are suffering from a failure of imagination on how to make money from such a system. Per the feasibility study, selling electricity to the tenant was not the only way we were making money from the system.

    Because we were buying manufacturer direct we were able to drive supply chain efficiencies, there were not wholesale or retail costs or margins though there were of course warehousing and import costs, the panels were several models back from the latest and greatest (which gave up very little in the way of panel efficiency but a huge difference in price), there were greatly improved efficiencies on installation labour because we could schedule installations in an efficient way and the labour prices were lower because there was head of work for the contractors.

    Based on retail prices, the discount on the battery more than 50%, and the discount to retail on the panels was significant.

    I would speculate that the entity which owns the systems is going to have a wholesale electricity licence and is going to be able to leverage this to sell the electricity they can’t store into the NEM during the day, which would be very profitable for them, particularly during summer. The rate they get for that electricity will bear no relation to the FiT that the ordinary householder received.

    Depending on the contractual relationship, they may also be able to get the batteries to feed into the grid via their wholesale electricity license at rates of up to $14,000 per MWH.

    As a part of the metering of the system, they will collect a lot of data which has commercial value to the retailer, network operator and AEMO.

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