Essential Research: 54-46 to Labor

Labor continues to dominate on voting intention, though few seem impressed by its stance on Adani.

The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll has Labor’s two-party lead at 54-46, up from 53-47 last time. Primary vote numbers will be with us later. Also featured are Essential’s monthly (I think) leadership ratings, and they find Malcolm Turnbull little changed at 41% approval (up two) and 41% disapproval (on one), but Bill Shorten improving to 37% approval (up four) and 44% disapproval (down two). Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister is 41-26, compared with 42-25 last time.

Other questions relate to Adani, on which 30% favour the Greens’ position, 26% favour the Coalition’s and 19% favour Labor’s, though it would be important to see the question wording on that one. Other findings related by The Guardian are that 42% support and 39% oppose company tax cuts; that regulating energy prices had 83% support, an “Accord-style partnership” 66% support and boosting Newstart 52% support; and that same-sex marriage is supported by 65% and opposed by 26%. Essential Research’s full report should be with us later in the day.

UPDATE: Full report here. Primary vote gains for the major parties at the expense of other/independent, with the Coalition up one to 36% and Labor up three to 38%, with the Greens down one to 9% and One Nation steady on 8%. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1025.

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.

2,546 comments on “Essential Research: 54-46 to Labor”

  1. From the OZ:

    The peak body representing self managed super funds has attacked Labor’s proposal to claw back nearly $60bn over the decade by abolishing cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits.

    The SMSF Association has today warned that the Labor policy will cut about $5000 of income from the median SMSF retiree earning about $50,000 a year in pension income.

    It also warns the proposed shake-up would affect more than one million Australians by changing rules that have been in place for nearly two decades.

    SMSF Association chief executive John Maroney said that investors had geared their portfolios around refundable franking credits, arguing the Labor policy would “undermine confidence in the system and send many retirees back to the drawing board to rethink their retirement income strategies.”

    “It is our contention that this proposal will affect more than one million Australians saving for their retirement and other purposes. Our calculations show it will cut about $5000 of income from the median SMSF retiree earning about $50,000 a year in pension income. To be saying these people won’t be paying any more tax is just semantics.”

  2. Notice that Labor announces a new policy, and the greens are total crickets on it, instead I see more Adani posturing, got nothing to say when Labor does something you may agree with, well i’m sure you will find something impure….

    Of course. As I’ve said on many occasions – Labor has policies, the Greens and Coalition have positions in opposition to those policies.

    If Labor adopted a Greens position entirely the Greens would simply claim credit then re-position to create a difference they can market to their targets and complain that Labor is not good enough Lib-lab same-same. It’s a cheap and easy game when you never have to be responsible for actually implementing anything.

  3. s777,

    Nah, it’s not a conspiracy.
    The people with the anti-ALP posters have said they are refugee activists, not Greens members, see tweets below.

    To be very clear – concerned voters of Batman who intervened in the rally to highlight ALP complicity in human rights abuses committed by the govt are NOT Greens members.Shame how the CFMEU can speak up to defend Labor but not to defend working class asylum seekers #Batmanvotes pic.twitter.com/i8IxfzWXN8— Gaye Demanuele (@gayedemanuele) March 11, 2018

    .@AustralianLabor @CFMEUJohnSetka @lukehilakari @vanbadham (Van & Luke blocked me- political disagree-no personal abuse-made #corflutedefiling about the Greens. They refuse to acknowledge grassroots activists holding them to account in Labor’s complicity in #human rights abuses. pic.twitter.com/E8QQE0NctL— Gaye Demanuele (@gayedemanuele) March 12, 2018

  4. It was asked earlier about modelling on Labor’s CGT and negative gearing changes when the government was claiming a ‘wrecking ball’ effect.

    There was an FoI released about 8 weeks ago, Treasury gave advice which stated wtte it would have a minor effect on the property market.
    Morrison cherry picked a quote and claimed vindicated, however no one apart from the rusted on believed him.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/treasury-advice-says-labors-negative-gearing-policy-would-have-a-small-impact-on-house-prices-20180108-h0eux0.html

  5. bakunin @ #232 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 2:28 pm

    guytaur,

    You might find this video from the start of the RAC rally interesting.

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1678998518804978&id=100000845378792&_rdr

    Anti-ALP banners appear behind Greens candidate Alex Bhathal at a refugee rights rally

    In the lead up to the Batman federal by-election, a refugee rights rally was held in Northcote, Melbourne. After speaking at the rally, the Greens candidate, Alex Bhathal was set to to march. A Greens photographer alerted Ms Bhathal to anti-ALP banners being placed behind her, and other Greens politicians. Ms Bhathal asked that those banners not appear behind her, and the other Greens politicians.

    ROFLMAO!

    But she didn’t ask for the offending poster to not be allowed to go forward in the march. Just that she not be in the same photo frame. What an opportunistic fraud.

  6. The idea that people get ‘tax refunds’ when they pay no actual tax is appalling.

    Who is this ‘they’?

    There’s a lot of misrepresentation about what dividend imputation is doing.

    What dividend imputation does is to say that when a company pays dividends, it is effectively no longer income of the company, it is now income of the person receiving the dividends, so the total amount payable to the ATO should be based on the individual’s tax rate, not the company tax rate. Hence the adjustment that happens where if the individual would pay less tax (because of low income) then the tax that has already been paid by the company is refunded.

    Again I would say this is perfectly consistent with the principles involved. If you want to argue against the current system you should really be consistently arguing that dividend imputation is wrong (which is an argument that could be made – it is peculiar to Australia), and/or that having a tax free threshold is wrong, which I assume no one here is doing.

    What the ALP is proposing to do is to re-introduce a wrinkle in the taxation system that will penalize low income earners, by excluding us from the dividend imputation system.

    If there are problems with wealthier individuals abusing the system then target the mechanisms that allow those wealthier individuals to reduce their taxable income.

  7. Goodness me, P1. Caught with your goal shifting pants down, and you don’t like it?

    1. My argument is not only coherent, it is concise. Agriculture is increasingly free (not decreasingly free) of biodiversity constraints. Agriculture which frees itself from biodiversity constraints is more likely to be productive than agriculture which subjects itself to biodiversity constraints. The general proof of this globally is that to fix famines, food always needs to be shifted from low biodiversity production to high biodiversity production areas. It never happens in the opposite direction.

    As for your arguments, they are prolix, the goal posts shift by the post, and you have jumped all over the shop.

    2. I did read the stuff you linked. It does not undermine my argument. There are some proximate observations but they reflect your belief system. You can’t argue against current results by positing some potential scenario outcome. Unless you belong to the Club of Rome school of thought, I suppose.

    3. If you want to see what happens to people and ecosystems in farming systems that DO subjugate themselves to biodiversity constraints, just head for the latest famine areas. Every single one of them maximizes biodiversity impacts on agriculture rather than minimizing them. If you DO want to see real ecological wastelands head for the nearest high-biodiversity subsistence areas. Not only do these systems starve their owners, they bugger up their ecology big time.

    4. Why are terms (as in short-term) only applied to one side of the debate? Who really wants long-term peasant farming or subsistence farming? It was awful. The implied assumption that Dutch farming systems are static is a totally false assumption. The Dutch approach to agriculture has adapted since they first started pushing the sea away from the terps. It has always been short term – until the next dyke breach. Up to now, it is working. Dutch agriculture feeds lots of mouths. It can adapt, adapts all the time, and will adapt. If you want to see agriculture systems adapt with almost dizzying speed, go and actually have a look at it. If you want to see static systems that kill people and destroy ecologies, head towards peasant/subsistence farming.

    5. I note that you have introduced another new set of goal posts: ‘whether low biodiversity agriculture can be scaled up’. Neat new set of goal posts, eh? The reason that a couple of billion people are not starving to death is because it has scaled up. The reality is that it is being scaled up as we speak and will continue to be scaled up to feed the extra billions. Now. Let’s start talking about scaling up peasant/subsistence farming… well, let’s not. Too gruesome because after these systems will not be feeding more billions of people.

    6. The Dutch ruined a minute fraction of the world’s seabed by draining it and turning it into the world’s biggest export grower of potatoes, tomatoes and onions? That is the ecological tragedy of Holland? Deary me! I have already acknowledged the 100% loss of marine biodversity in the drained bit. In a perverse outcome, I suppose, there is far more terrestrial biodiversity in much of Holland now than there used to be because the drained areas used to house no terrestrial biodiversity at all. Too salty. But, depending on your latest set of goalposts either the terrestrial biodiversity is bad biodiversity because it is not marine biodiversity OR Dutch farming systems are bad because they are harming the terrestrial biodiversity. Pick your goal posts.

    7. As for filthy lucre (another new goal post) – you are starting to reveal your true objections here! Show me some farmers anywhere in the world who are farming for free!

    Dutch agriculture is doing a good job of feeding people basic commodities at the cheapest possible price. If you and others want to evolve peasantry/subsistence/organic farming in a different direction, go ahead and do it. Whinging about profits, wringing your hands and wagging your fingers because someone is massively successful at something else is old hat tall poppy syndrome.

    ‘And so we come back to the main question, which is not “how”, but “why”? Why would you want to turn the planet into a zero-diversity ecological wasteland, with its concomitant vulnerability to catastrophic failure s the climate warms?’

    Several new sets of goal posts there with you changing the main question, even! As is your invariable custom! But, anyway…

    ‘Turn the planet into an ecological wasteland.’ Really?

    Just one example should show you why this is a bit of plea bargaining from a desperado trapped in old style farming thinking:

    99% of the MDB’s production by value comes from the 1% of the MDB by land area. In that 1%, isolating biodiversity from farming systems as far as possible is a prime consideration for productivity and profitability. Is this good for biodiversity in that 1%? Of course not. (BTW, much of that 1% is the least ‘productive’ soil type in the world – sand dunes or gently rising light-sandy loams.)

    But, if your priority is maintaining MDB biodiversity you could close 99% of the MDB from farming altogether and turn it into a national park. The difference in agricultural production would be statistical noise. You could leave veg management in the 99% to the roos and to lightning strikes. Taxing the profits from the 1% could be used to manage the 99%. As a priority this would include goat removal from the extensive MDB rangelands. (By a curious co-incidence, high biodiversity goat farming will turn most of the 99% of the MDB into an ecological wasteland and it will feed bugger all people. You might want to consider that. But I doubt it.

    The ‘either or’ in your latest set of new or shifted goal posts is a furphy a strawman and a unicorn.

  8. Under Labors plan, if a person has around $50,000 invested in shares full franked then they will lose all franking credits worth about $1,250 income per year full stop. If a person has $2,500,000 invested in shares full franked they have the ability to use all franking credits and deduct up to $64,350 from any tax bill they may owe on $150,000 earned from shares and any other taxable income received. So the higher your franked investments, the greater the benefit, the lower a persons investments the worse off a person becomes. If you are unlucky enough to have investments at or below $300000, you will lose all benefits from franking credits – Above approx. $300,000, franking credits become available to use as a tax deduction. So a hand out / tax refund will still be given, but only to those wealthy enough to qualify.

  9. bakunin @ #253 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 3:41 pm

    s777,

    Nah, it’s not a conspiracy.
    The people with the anti-ALP posters have said they are refugee activists, not Greens members, see tweets below.

    To be very clear – concerned voters of Batman who intervened in the rally to highlight ALP complicity in human rights abuses committed by the govt are NOT Greens members.Shame how the CFMEU can speak up to defend Labor but not to defend working class asylum seekers #Batmanvotes pic.twitter.com/i8IxfzWXN8— Gaye Demanuele (@gayedemanuele) March 11, 2018

    .@AustralianLabor @CFMEUJohnSetka @lukehilakari @vanbadham (Van & Luke blocked me- political disagree-no personal abuse-made #corflutedefiling about the Greens. They refuse to acknowledge grassroots activists holding them to account in Labor’s complicity in #human rights abuses. pic.twitter.com/E8QQE0NctL— Gaye Demanuele (@gayedemanuele) March 12, 2018

    What a load of misleading, unfiltered garbage.

    Hmm, now I wonder who theconcerned voters of Batman who intervened in the rally to highlight ALP complicity in human rights abuses committed by the govt are NOT Greens members are going to vote for in the Batman by-election? Who stands to benefit?

    Shame how the CFMEU can speak up to defend Labor but not to defend working class asylum seekers

    Are all asylum seekers, by definition, working class? Documentaries that have traced the journeys of asylum seekers have shown them to be, for the most part, middle class and professional class who can afford to pay People Smugglers, pay for accommodation while they wait for a boat in Indonesia and the air fares for their family to get to Indonesia.

    Plus, the fall-back position of any Green is to slag Unions when they can see a wedge against Labor in it.

  10. Kold Konnection @ #259 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 2:58 pm

    If you are unlucky enough to have investments at or below $300000, you will lose all benefits from franking credits – Above approx. $300,000, franking credits become available to use as a tax deduction. So a hand out / tax refund will still be given, but only to those wealthy enough to qualify.

    Citation needed™.

  11. “the Labor policy would “undermine confidence in the system and send many retirees back to the drawing board to rethink their retirement income strategies.”

    Well if they’ve planned their strategy around current tax loopholes, assuming that they will be around forever, more fool them. They have enjoyed generous tax concessions over their working life and after retirement from the taxpayer. That should be enough.

    I suppose tomorrow’s Telecrap will show a glum-looking family devasted by the tax changes. Maybe “A Current Affair” will feature SMSF retirees eating dog food.

  12. Good afternoon all,

    Ignorance is my middle name when discussing in any detail the policy announced by labor today.

    So, please treat me gently.

    A question , if I may.

    All of the discussion appears to me to centre around those who hold fully franked shares.

    Given that dividend imputation is not being affected should investors,big or small, not look to moving their money into shares they are not fully franked to minimise any ” downside ” to this policy ?

    Cheers.

  13. I agree with the Greens electric car policy. Look forward to them first legislating, then implementing it.

    But, but, but they did a nice infographic! That’s surely as good as legislation.

  14. Anti-ALP banners appear behind Greens candidate Alex Bhathal at a refugee rights rally

    The refugee rights movement is deeply and justifiably disappointed with Labor. Why is it wrong for there to be anti-ALP banners at a refugee rights event? You don’t get to torture people and expect a polite reception from advocates for torture victims.

    An added part of the context is an electoral contest in Batman that is between the Greens and Labor alone. Again, why would you expect no anti-ALP banners? There are clear contrasts between Labor and the Greens on policy, and those contrasts will be brought into sharper relief when the LNP aren’t even contesting the seat.

    Find your yourself a “safe space” if you get triggered by anti-ALP banners.

  15. As a long time Labor supporter and poll booth worker I have seen & heard about ( but not taken part in) many instances of election poster defacing & theft by all sides of politics. It’s childish and not something to be encouraged but really it’s not the worst thing happening in politics. Can’t see the point in carrying on about it myself.

  16. Spot on, doyley.

    The assumption is that the dividend imputation credit is not priced into the fully-franked stocks to begin with. They are. Shares paying unfranked dividends appear discounted.

  17. My heart bleeds for someone having to live on $45000/year in retirement, instead of $50000.

    Not.

    $50,000 was the investment amount (as in equity, not income), the income from that investment is currently about $4,287 per year. Under Labor it will decrease to around $3,000 per year.

  18. The green EV revolution doesn’t go far enough
    Why don’t the greens stop dicking around, and just announce their policy as free Tesla’s for everyone.

  19. Given that dividend imputation is not being affected should investors,big or small, not look to moving their money into shares they are not fully franked to minimise any ” downside ” to this policy ?

    Effectively makes no difference. Unfranked dividends are from foreign earnings – so they’ve likely paid tax on that where earned. If you aren’t getting a credit back then your franked dividend acts the same as an unfranked dividend.

  20. but they did a nice infographic!

    Hee hee.

    Instead of Easter eggs this year, I am getting my children an infographic of Easter. It is, after all, the thought that counts.

  21. Boerwar @ #257 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 3:47 pm

    Goodness me, P1. Caught with your goal shifting pants down, and you don’t like it?

    Repeatedly saying this doesn’t make it true. What it mostly says is that since you cannot seem refute the points I make – and sometimes it seems you don’t even understand them – you try to pretend they are irrelevant to your argument. They are not.

    1. My argument is not only coherent, it is concise. Agriculture is increasingly free (not decreasingly free) of biodiversity constraints. Agriculture which frees itself from biodiversity constraints is more likely to be productive than agriculture which subjects itself to biodiversity constraints. The general proof of this globally is that to fix famines, food always needs to be shifted from low biodiversity production to high biodiversity production areas. It never happens in the opposite direction.

    Your argument is bollocks. The consequences of your ‘zero biodiversity agriculture’ proposal may indeed be more productivity in the short term, but it results in less resilience in the long term. It cannot go on indefinitely. It can only go on until you end up sufficiently damaging the very biodiversity on which you actually depend, but pretend you do not.

    In the face of the climatic changes that global warming will inevitably bring about, it is a very dangerous approach indeed.

    The following article is even more explicit about the detrimental aspects of the reduced biodiversity evident in Dutch agriculture – primarily, the increased risk of poor outcomes – economic, social and environmental:

    Agriculture and biodiversity: a better balance benefits both

    The notion that agriculture depends on biodiversity and that many specific species of animals and plants depend on sustainable agricultural landscapes is key in the approach of resilient agricultural systems. Both agriculture and nature can benefit from a holistic approach towards resilient systems. This approach focuses on an optimal use of agro-biodiversity and a reduction of long-term (economic and natural) risks by using ecosystem services rather than external inputs.

    A paradigm shift is needed in agriculture to stop the large-scale loss of biodiversity in the agricultural landscape and soil, but even more than that to rethink the use of the role of soil life, landscape elements and biodiversity in sustainable agriculture. In Europe, where long-term data are available it is shown that most species are in decline. For some species as birds, butterflies and insects the speed and extend of decline is alarming. In hotspot intensive agricultural areas such as the Netherlands for some years policies have been implemented that should help improve the situation (manure policy, nitrate directive, air quality, nature protection…). While in the semi-natural areas this has led to some success stories and species decline is stopped or reversed, this is not the case in agricultural areas. Here a steady decline is still observed. The agricultural intensification which focuses on increasing productivity per hectare or per unit input (such as feed) is the main cause of the decline. Apparently we reached a tipping point where rethinking our agricultural practices is needed in the face of sustainability and production of food. There are different successful initiatives, but a large scale change is not observed.

    At present, the risks in intensive agriculture are managed by a so-called (risk) control model based on externalities, with important side effects such as risks of social costs and decreased function of natural processes. In a resilient system risks are lower, reducing costs and increasing biodiversity.

    http://www.aimspress.com/article/10.3934/agrfood.2016.2.157/fulltext.html

    Reduced biodiversity should not be a goal. It should be a warning.

  22. Instead of Easter eggs this year, I am getting my children an infographic of Easter. It is, after all, the thought that counts.

    I once gave my wife a picture of what I had intended to get her for her birthday, but hadn’t quite got around to getting.

    To the dog house for me.

  23. Shares paying unfranked dividends appear discounted.

    Except wealthy individuals can still use franking credits which will mean low wealth individuals will be pushed into stocks with higher yields – those higher yields only exist because the market deems them higher risk, that is why those stocks trade at a discount. It is only individuals that have smaller amounts invested that will be disadvantaged. The threshold is ~$18000 per year which means if your investment earns more than $18000 per year you will be able to use franking credits to reduce your tax, if your investment earns less that $18000 per year you will lose all your the franking credits.

  24. ‘sprocket_ says:
    Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    I agree with the Greens electric car policy. Look forward to them first legislating, then implementing it.
    a r’

    They are in fantasy land.

  25. Kold Konnection @ #273 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 4:13 pm

    My heart bleeds for someone having to live on $45000/year in retirement, instead of $50000.

    Not.

    $50,000 was the investment amount (as in equity, not income), the income from that investment is currently about $4,287 per year. Under Labor it will decrease to around $3,000 per year.

    If you have $50000 to invest, you are not living on Struggle Street.

  26. The asylum seekers arriving by boat probably are middle class in that they (or maybe their extended families) can raise the funds for air fairs to Indonesia and $10,000 or so for the people-smugglers. Exactly what I’d do in their situation if things got desparate enough and I thought it had a good chance of success.

    The poor have no hope of raising the funds. They take their chances at home or in a teeming refugee camp over the nearest border. The wealthy can go and live wherever they like, arriving by plane. Or maybe they’re back home helping the persecutors .

  27. I once gave my wife a picture of what I had intended to get her for her birthday, but hadn’t quite got around to getting.

    I have done this and gotten away with it had no problems. Maybe it isnt even the thought that counts – it is in the giving of the infographic?

    Dare I ask what the picture was of?

  28. My heart bleeds for someone having to live on $45000/year in retirement, instead of $50000.

    There. Fixed it for you.

    We get sarcasm…so I removed the last redundant word from your post.

    Don’t do it again it’s annoyingly daggy.

  29. I thought you could use franking credits on your job income as well even under Labour’s plan. So it is only people who earn under 37k total who potentially lose money.

    And we should take a leaf from the people who complain about welfare money. They say a reduction in welfare is not more tax. So the same should apply here right?

  30. If you have $50000 to invest, you are not living on Struggle Street.

    But Labor is still planning on giving the franking credits to those who earn over $18,000 per year from their investment. They are only planning on stripping them from people that earn under $18,000 from investments.

  31. kevjohnno @ #271 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 4:12 pm

    As a long time Labor supporter and poll booth worker I have seen & heard about ( but not taken part in) many instances of election poster defacing & theft by all sides of politics. It’s childish and not something to be encouraged but really it’s not the worst thing happening in politics. Can’t see the point in carrying on about it myself.

    The point is that The Greens’ Batman candidate and other leaders of that party didn’t mind marching with it. Something quite different from Young Labor and the Young Liberals running around in the dead of night doing ‘Black Ops, Yay!’

  32. C@tmomma,
    yes, they can cry me a river.

    I am glad to see Bludgers who are affected be this tax change are approaching it with the right spirit.

  33. I can see pros and cons of Labor’s policy change.

    For simplicity’s sake I prefer the existing system. Effectively all Australian shareholders of Australian companies pay 0% company tax and these dividends are then taxed at their marginal income tax rate. There is some good equity arguments for this.

    But I can also see that there is a huge potential for abuse and there is a reasonable argument that company earnings should be taxed at least by the company tax rate and then shareholders only pay the difference if their marginal income tax rate is higher than that. (the old system)

    So I’m not really for or against. The trick will be to use the extra revenue in ways that improve equity and cover people like Jackol who will be disadvantaged. It will be the entirety of the Labor program that will need to assessed rather than fixating on any single change. It’s not really conceivable considering the policies already announced and courage shown in announcing them that Labor won’t have plenty of goodies that will benefit the great majority much more than the status quo.

  34. those higher yields only exist because the market deems them higher risk, that is why those stocks trade at a discount.

    You are implying that investors don’t look at the tax implications of holding certain stocks, and that this is then not reflected in those stock prices. I find this hard to believe.

    The threshold is ~$18000 per year which means if your investment earns more than $18000 per year you will be able to use franking credits to reduce your tax, if your investment earns less that $18000 per year you will lose all your the franking credits.

    If you are a retiree earning less than $18k, you are also earning the aged pension. My advice – watch this space!

  35. A common problem is for investors to make choices based on taxation and minimising their income so they are eligible for a pension.

    Investment decisions should be made on their quality, income and how they sit with the rest of a portfolio (i.e. diversify).
    If you invest based on taxation you may end up with lower returns.

  36. Labor could increase pensions and/or adjust the income and/or assets tests for pensions if it wishes to at least compensate those on lower incomes* for adverse impacts of tax changes.

    For wealthy retirees- tough!

    * really lower, not artificially reduced by creative tax planning

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