The Sunday after Super Saturday

A good night for Bill Shorten as Labor lands a surprisingly emphatic win in Longman, and does enough to get home in Braddon.

While Labor’s by-election performances were nothing special in historical terms, it was undeniably a good night for the party, thanks largely to an unexpectedly clear win in Longman. Five campaign opinion polls had Labor slightly behind in the seat, before the election eve Newspoll found them edging to a 51-49 lead. Labor actually appears headed for a winning margin of around 4%, bolstering a fragile 0.8% margin with a swing of 3.4%. The big surprise was the near double-digit fall in the Liberal National Party primary vote, which leaves them struggling to crack 30%. This is well below the 34% attributed to them by Newspoll, to say nothing of a series of ReachTEL results that had them approaching 40%.

The LNP slump rendered redundant what everyone imagined would be the decisive factor, namely the flow of One Nation preferences. Despite this, One Nation were the other big winner in Longman, adding around 7% to their 9.4% vote from 2016. This indeed flowed a lot more strongly to the LNP than in 2016, reflecting the party’s how-to-vote card recommendation and the fact that they clearly picked up much of the LNP’s lost support. After receiving 56.5% of One Nation preferences in 2016, Labor looks to have scored only a third this time.

The Braddon result was less good for Labor, notwithstanding that they have clearly won, and that this looked in doubt throughout the campaign. The main change from the 2016 result is that independent Craig Garland scored a creditable 11.0% (although it may come down a little in late counting), chipping a few percent away from each of Labor, Liberal and the Greens. Rebekha Sharkie’s win in Mayo was of about the anticipated scale: her present lead over Georgina Downer after preferences is 8.6%, compared with her 5.0% margin in 2016. Sharkie’s primary vote performance was even more robust, up from 34.9% to around 45%. This bespeaks one poor aspect of the by-elections for Labor – after playing dead at two successive elections, its vote in Mayo has fallen all the way to 6.0%.

In the two WA seats, Josh Wilson did notably better in Fremantle than Patrick Gorman did in Perth, although neither was in the least bit troubled. Wilson gained 11.6% to gain a clear majority on the primary vote, with the Greens treading water at 17% and the Liberal Democrats garnering enough stray Liberals to land in the low teens. Despite the 42.3% Liberal vote from 2016 being up for grabs (compared with 36.9% in Fremantle), Labor only made a negligible gain on the primary vote in Perth, with the Greens also only up slightly. The rest spread among a large field of 15 candidates, with independent Paul Collins the strongest performer among claimants to the Liberal vote. Turnout was notably subdued in Perth and Fremantle, and looks likely to settle at around 70%.

If you click on the image below, you will find an accounting of the swings in Braddon and Longman and, in the former case, an projection of the final result. Since the swing on votes counted in Braddon thus far is exactly zero, it concludes Labor’s existing margin of 2.2% will be maintained. Also featured are regional breakdowns for Braddon and Longman, with the former broken into the larger towns (Burnie, Devonport and Ulverstone) and the remainder, and the latter into Bribie Island area and the remainder. This doesn’t turn up anything particularly interesting: especially in Longman, the swings were remarkably uniform. Craig Garland’s vote was a little lower in the larger towns, but there was otherwise little distinction to speak of in Braddon.

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.

813 comments on “The Sunday after Super Saturday”

  1. Afternoon Bludgers,

    Just got up (Perth time 11:30) after celebrating & tweeting all night.

    What have I missed? Has Turnbull surfaced?

    I’m watching Insiders right now on Iview. Apparently I imagined Killbill.

  2. Z
    The best politics/history books I’ve read this year are Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada, a novel set in WWII about a couple who rebel against the Nazis based on a true story, and Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick about life in North Korea.

  3. Mr Denmore,

    These are politicians, after all. Their personal ambition and vanity almost always exceed their spirit of wider public service.

    Harsh, but perceived as true given how little the public trust and respect politicians as evidenced in attitude surveys.

  4. Mr Denmore @ #443 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 1:49 pm

    Hi Poll Bludgers. I thought you might be interested in my latest post at The Failed Estate: ‘A View from the Stalls’ – how the media got Super Saturday spectacularly wrong. Poll Bludger even gets a mention. http://failedestate.com/politics-a-view-from-the-stalls/

    Excellent! Thank you for this …

    And that battle, in turn, reflects the real dislocation caused in liberal democracies since the global financial crisis. We are talking here about the stagnation in real income growth, the war waged against the young in denying access to affordable housing and refusing to act on climate change, our slide towards US-style minimum safety nets, the slow destruction of public education and marketisation of health care, the concentration of media ownership and the existential assault on the ABC, the politicisation of the public service, the growing security state and, worst of all, the revoltingly cynical scapegoating by an increasingly fascistic right of immigrants, refugees, Aborigines, the disadvantaged and anyone who is not white, privileged and old enough to cover up their handiwork elsewhere.

    These are the real stories in Australia right now.

    These should be the real stories … and would be if we had a real media 🙁

  5. I respect the Greens for their contributions to our polity. They embody much higher standards of ethical conduct than all other parties. They have an exemplary approach to conflicts of interest and to the revolving door between the government and private sectors. The Greens walk their talk on these issues; the LNP and the ALP routinely disregard ethical concerns in these areas. When two of their Senators were found to fall short of the High Court’s interpretation of section 44’s requirements, they didn’t dig in their heels – they promptly resigned.

    I disagree with strategic choices made by the Greens’ federal parliamentarians.

    Nevertheless, the Greens are clearly more aligned with the public interest than the ALP, and the ALP is clearly better than the LNP.

    If the Greens promoted a Job Guarantee combined with a targeted Basic Income (targeted at retirees and at people who cannot or should not be working for legitimate reasons), I would wholeheartedly endorse them. Their preference for a Universal Basic Income is deeply misguided for macroeconomic, social, cultural, and political reasons.

    If the Greens advocated the abolition of out-of-pocket fees for social goods: health care, education, child care, public transport etc – then they would constitute an excellent choice.

    If the Greens advocated public ownership of network goods such as telecommunications and energy infrastructure and banking – then they would be a bold and imaginative alternative to a failing mainstream.

    If the Greens stopped endorsing myths about a post-work society in which robots will cut vast swathes into the need for human workers, I’d support them wholeheartedly.

    As it stands, the Greens are clearly the least bad option among the established parties.

    They deserve some credit for that.

  6. Zoomster @ 1.30

    I’m currently 2/3 of the way through Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. I saw the musical in Chicago (which drew from the book) and it was absolutely brilliant. The book (and the musical) both celebrate the life of someone who made America, for better or worse, what it is today and explains a lot about that nation and what still divides it.

    Very easy to read, for a detailed and deeply researched historical biography, and quite an important story to be told. Which is why Lin-Manuel Miranda turned it into a hip-hop (mostly) musical and it has become a cultural phenomenon. I love the music too.

    Quite interesting and absorbing seeing George Washington being played by an African-American! And most of the cast (other than King George III) being played by non-whites. Deliberately and pointedly takes on the whole issue of identity politics and cultural appropriation.

  7. Nicholas,

    As it stands, the Greens are clearly the least bad option among the established parties.

    That’s exactly why I joined the Greens Party rather than Labor, though I would more optimistically say the Greens Party is the best option among the established parties.

    Everything’s relative including where political parties stand.

  8. http://failedestate.com/politics-a-view-from-the-stalls/

    Yes, great summary Mr Denmore:

    “The truth is that leadership speculation (‘leadershit’, as it is popularly dismissed on forums like Poll Bludger) has become the tail that wags the dog in Canberra. The two-party preferred vote has pointed to a Labor win now for about 35 successive Newspolls, yet all the focus is on a preferred prime minister question as if Australia operated under a presidential system. Abbott never was particularly popular. Yet he won a landslide victory in 2013 as the public called time on the ALP’s own leadership soap opera.”

  9. “The UAP broke apart in the 1930s and 40s. The same disintegration is occurring now.”

    The IPA will have to set up a new political party again.

  10. I am reading Boomsday by Christopher Buckley.

    It’s about generational warfare, political shenanigans and the power of PR spin.

    Though comedic fiction it could be mistaken for real life.

  11. The media is in a bind. With no or little budget to do in-depth reporting or ability to talk about the underlying issues, it becomes easier and cheaper for journalists to race around sniffing out “leadership tensions” like dogs chasing passing cars.

    http://failedestate.com/politics-a-view-from-the-stalls/

    Mr Denmore of Failed Estate is spot on in this analysis. Not enough money is invested in public interest journalism. The ABC needs to pick up the slack, and that requires reversals of ABC budget cuts during the past 25 years and significant increases on top of that. It also demands that the ABC Board and senior executives are people who are truly committed to public broadcasting and know how to deliver it. We need a large critical mass of journalists who are highly trained, well-supported, and given the time and freedom to develop policy expertise over a period of many years. Then journalists would be capable of asking perceptive questions of policymakers and creating content that helps the public understand what is going on.

    The fact that politicians are ambitious people is not really a story that deserves significant coverage. Katherine Murphy was disingenuous today when she defended the media’s attention to the tensions within the ALP. Yes of course there are some Labor MPs who are nervous about the risk of losing under Bill Shorten. But that did not warrant the scale of coverage that was devoted to that issue.

  12. Pegasus does not do analysis or add any value to this forum. She just dumps large slabs of content from random websites. Throws a grenade — then runs off. She might call it “balance”, but it’s specious ABC-style balance of little value.

    The Greens have done their dash in Australia. Labor is the only alternative to an increasingly ratbag LNP.

  13. The most devastating blow to Liberal credibility was the 10% swing against them in Longman and the fact that their Primary vote has only a 2 in front. This has come about because of their attempts to embrace One Nation in order to control it. John Howard put ON last and survived. Turnbull didn’t and his longevity in politics is now questionable.

  14. The article linked above by Mr Denmore above is worth a read.

    The real issues not much talked about, least of all in the mainstream media:

    “… the stagnation in real income growth, the war waged against the young in denying access to affordable housing and refusing to act on climate change, our slide towards US-style minimum safety nets, the slow destruction of public education and marketisation of health care…”

  15. zoomster says: Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    I bought Massie’s ‘Peter the Great’ on the recommendation of posters here and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    If I liked that book, what should I read next??

    ****************************************************

    Zoomster – not sure of your particular tastes but one of my favourite writers is Nelson DeMille – he writes some of his books using a main character eg

    Paul Brenner series- a criminal investigator/Agent for the United States Army’s Criminal Investigation Division
    John Corey series – former homicide detective, now working for the FBI’s Anti-Terrorist Task Force
    Joe Ryker series – NYPD Sergeant Joe Ryker, a tired, no-nonsense detective assigned to the NYPD Detective Bureau
    These novels have obviously similar themes for each character

    Also – he has written many stand alone novels over many themes :

    By the Rivers of Babylon (1978)
    Cathedral (1981)
    The Talbot Odyssey (1984)
    Word of Honor (1985) – just a sensational novel ! – one of the best books I have ever read
    The Charm School (1988)
    Spencerville (1994)
    Mayday (1998)
    The Cuban Affair (2017)

    All his books are extensively researched and often don’t have “Hollywood endings” ……

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_DeMille

  16. It will be interesting to see if the trend away from voters giving their first preferences to the two major parties will continue at the next federal election.

    Nice graph of trend here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-03/election-results-historical-comparison/7560888

    2016 results:

    The primary vote count so far shows this is the highest vote for minor parties and independents the country has seen.

    Nearly a quarter of Australians have given their first preference to parties other than Labor and the Coalition, a trend that has been in the making since the 2007 election and was hinted at during the 1998 election.

  17. Pegasus does not do analysis or add any value to this forum. She just dumps large slabs of content from random websites

    Referring people to informative content that they would not otherwise come across is a useful contribution in itself.

    Much of the “analysis” by Labor supporters at Poll Bludger is really just a form of group therapy or tribal barracking, not a genuine effort to understand policy issues.

    Pegasus also contributes valuable analysis. When she does, only a few Labor supporters engage with her analysis in a spirit of inquiry. Most just deride her because they consider it fun to do so. Even if just a few Labor supporters gain a wider worldview because of Pegasus, that is a good thing. Pegasus is worth her weight in gold on this forum. Labor supporters are a dime a dozen around here. There is an over-supply of them. That particular market is well and truly saturated at Poll Bludger. People to the left of Labor are far more valuable to Poll Bludger than yet another Labor spear-carrier.

  18. DaretoTread @ #424 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 1:33 pm

    meher baba @ #392 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 12:55 pm

    DTT: “I see the suggestions on the Bolt blog (someone referred to them) about Cory, Abbott, Nationals and ??Pauline forces all merging into one making quite a bit of sense. You end up with a Christian right party. Some of the ALP from SDA eg Bullock might well be comfortable there.”

    Yes, there’s something in this. It would be a socially conservative party with a “free lunch” approach to economic policy and a strong anti-immigration stance. Rather Trumpian in fact (but probably a little more socialistic).

    But who would lead it? Abbott wouldn’t be fully trusted by the free lunch brigade (remember the 2011 Budget anyone?), and I doubt Hanson would want to be part of any movement where she isn’t in charge. Bernardi is a lightweight. I guess Latham is a possibility, but I think in his heart he remains a strong believer in the free market (although for how long I’m not sure: he’s given most of his other beliefs away lately).

    Anyway, it’s a ghastly thought: I can hardly think of anything worse.

    Meher

    It would be a horrid party but there are plenty of RW Christians who would love it.I actually put Pauline as a ? because I do not think her values really align nor do the LDP or indeed Katter.

    Cory is conservative but probably NOT a light weight. Dutton perhaps (I know Zig Heil), Kevin Andrew, Abetz as elder “statesmen”. I am thinking MOST would come from Qld and the nationals. Possibly the new right winger from Ryan. Christian Porter?

    Drop in O’Sullivan & Macdonald in QLD and you have the makings of a top quality party.

  19. This has come about because of their attempts to embrace One Nation in order to control it. John Howard put ON last and survived. Turnbull didn’t and his longevity in politics is now questionable.

    It’s ironic isn’t it that Turnbull is supposed to be the most progressive leader the Libs have had in ages, yet here he is playing footsies with Pauline Hanson and her mob!

  20. Referring people to informative content that they would not otherwise come across is a useful contribution in itself.

    And that’s the point. The anti-Labor stuff Pegasus regurgitates on PB can easily be found elsewhere by your average sentient being, coming from The Guardian, The Age and the ABC website, in the main. That it is routinely and almost gleefully anti-Labor is the problem. It thus becomes Greens pablum of not much worth, except to try and persuade lurkers to question Labor, or to portray The Greens as the angels in the political room.

  21. It must astonish you every day that the public doesn’t seem to agree with you.

    No, it doesn’t. As I stated a few posts ago, the Greens’ self-imposed constraints explain why they haven’t grown their national vote share above their peak of 13% in 2010.

  22. Nicholas @ #474 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 2:34 pm

    It must astonish you every day that the public doesn’t seem to agree with you.

    No, it doesn’t. As I stated a few posts ago, the Greens’ self-imposed constraints explain why they haven’t grown their national vote share above their peak of 13% in 2010.

    But despite that, you believe that “the Greens are clearly more aligned with the public interest” than the other parties, even though the public themselves clearly do not share your belief.

    Stupid public!

  23. People to the left of Labor are far more valuable to Poll Bludger than yet another Labor spear-carrier.
    We of the Centre Left simply exemplify the numbers in the general community who support the Labor Party and their polices, as opposed to the extremists of the Left and Right of Australian society and our debates help to temper their ideological purity and unrealistic stances.

  24. @Nicholas:

    “If the Greens promoted a Job Guarantee combined with a targeted Basic Income (targeted at retirees and at people who cannot or should not be working for legitimate reasons), I would wholeheartedly endorse them. Their preference for a Universal Basic Income is deeply misguided for macroeconomic, social, cultural, and political reasons.

    If the Greens advocated the abolition of out-of-pocket fees for social goods: health care, education, child care, public transport etc – then they would constitute an excellent choice.

    If the Greens advocated public ownership of network goods such as telecommunications and energy infrastructure and banking – then they would be a bold and imaginative alternative to a failing mainstream.

    If the Greens stopped endorsing myths about a post-work society in which robots will cut vast swathes into the need for human workers, I’d support them wholeheartedly.”

    Mate. Forget the Greens. I think you should reconsider the direction that Labor thinkers want to take the party. I reckon your issues above are pointing in the right direction. I also reckon that Labor is the right vehicle to get us there.

  25. [And that’s the point. The anti-Labor stuff Pegasus regurgitates on PB can easily be found elsewhere by your average sentient being, coming from The Guardian, The Age and the ABC website, in the main. That it is routinely and almost gleefully anti-Labor is the problem. It thus becomes Greens pablum of not much worth, except to try and persuade lurkers to question Labor, or to portray The Greens as the angels in the political room.

    ]

    Bullseye.

    Anti-Labor content is overflowing — saturated as it were — in the MSM, so we simply don’t need Pegases shovelling that steaming mess out of that stable into here!

    No thank you!

  26. But despite that, you believe that “the Greens are clearly more aligned with the public interest” than the other parties, even though the public themselves clearly do not share your belief.

    The way a party presents its positions and chooses what to emphasize has a big impact on how the public will perceive them. The Greens are less bad than Labor from a progressive point of view. The Greens’ vote share would probably rise if they stopped endorsing the macroeconomic myths to which the LNP and the ALP subscribe (true full employment not possible or desirable, “robots are coming for our jobs”, there is a federal government budget constraint, inflation would accelerate if we had 2 percent unemployment and zero under-employment and zero hidden unemployment, etc.)

  27. MSM is a spent force. Arrogantly inflated with self importance and failed influence. The lesson from Super Saturday: They’ve shat on their readers far too often. Result: Nobody listens anymore.

  28. Craig Garland:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-29/craig-garland-braddon-independent-reflects-on-byelection/10049032

    “Basically we do feel alienated from the politicians … the environment has not been looked after in the pursuit of the mighty dollar and what is happening in our waterways is a direct threat to our marine resources and all of those people who depend upon them for a living,” he said.

    Mr Garland said if those issues are not addressed he will probably run in the next election.

    Both major parties spent lots of dollars, being heavily resourced financially. Lots of people on the ground. Pork-barreling – no problem. Numerous visits by party heavy-weights.

    In contrast, Garland ran his campaign on the smell of an oily rag with 10 election signs, spent $4,700 and the help of up to a dozen volunteers handing out how-to-vote cards.

    Here’s hoping he does run again.


  29. meher baba says:
    Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 12:44 pm
    ..
    The Libs had the right idea in Batman (even though it didn’t work out on that occasion): if you feel you can’t win, and you wan’t a third party candidate or independent to defeat your main opponent, then don’t run at all. If you run, you always risk splitting the vote of the candidate you hope to win and finishing ahead of them, thereby knocking them out.

    If preferences are swapped it really isn’t an issue.

  30. Nicholas

    The Greens’ vote share would probably rise…

    if the party had not been demonised by the MSM and the political duopoly since its inception as “extreme”.

    It makes me laugh when the Coalition trots out “a vote for Labor is a vote for the Greens”.

    Will Labor trot out “a vote for the Greens is a vote for the Liberals”.

    Or have they done that already. If so, they reap what they sow.

  31. “The most devastating blow to Liberal credibility was the 10% swing against them in Longman and the fact that their Primary vote has only a 2 in front. ”

    To me, that is the fundamental strategic issue to come out of these bye elections.

    Libs primary went down by 10% in a seat they actually had a even chance of winning going into this.

    Turnbull invested a lot of time into Longman and the Libs had a massive FAIL. There is no amount of spin that can cover that up. Its now historical fact.

    So, now is the season for Liberal @leadershit. 🙂

    I dont think the actual result in Braddon has much in the way of broader significance…beyond the FACT that a win is a win is a win. 🙂 And the Libs lost. 🙂

  32. People power and the lure of independents:

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jul/29/rebekha-sharkie-credits-people-power-with-byelection-victory

    The resounding win, with 58.1% of the two-party-preferred vote, is a strong signal that voters, at least in South Australia, are prepared to look beyond the major parties – especially if the independents promise a voice for local issues in Canberra.
    :::
    “She ran a solid, clean, honest, grassroots campaign and that, combined with her previous hardworking approach as the local member, has seen her return with an improved primary vote.”

  33. Imacca – the big question is whether Dutton, with the Qld libs behind him, will knock of Turnbull. Their interests don’t align with the libs in other states. Maybe this is the end for the lnp. There are just too many different agendas to be contained in one party.

  34. Nicholas @ #479 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 2:45 pm

    The Greens’ vote share would probably rise if they stopped endorsing the macroeconomic myths to which the LNP and the ALP subscribe (true full employment not possible or desirable, “robots are coming for our jobs”, there is a federal government budget constraint, inflation would accelerate if we had 2 percent unemployment and zero under-employment and zero hidden unemployment, etc.)

    Since this is never, ever going to happen, perhaps you should move on from the Greens and place your faith in one of the other alt-left parties that might adopt the policies you want to see?

  35. Diogenes @ #9251 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 2:02 pm

    Z
    The best politics/history books I’ve read this year are Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada, a novel set in WWII about a couple who rebel against the Nazis based on a true story, and Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick about life in North Korea.

    From a medicopolitical perspective on WW2, I’d also recommend Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Ohler (trans Shaun Whiteside).

  36. As this CM headline so eloquently puts it:

    MALCOLM Turnbull has slammed Bill Shorten in the aftermath of Super Saturday as frontbenchers concede the government needs to rethink its approach after failing to win a by-election.

    Malcolm and some of his troops seem to be heading in different directions. “All over the place like Brown’s cows” comes to mind.

  37. if the party had not been demonised by the MSM and the political duopoly since its inception as “extreme”.

    I agree that the mainstream media have always treated the Greens very unfairly, but life is generally unfair and random. At most we can carve out a few oases of fairness amid a vast desert of unfairness.

    If the Greens were truly bold and imaginative, they’d have a chance of talking over the media and directly to the people. It is possible for the Greens to grow their national vote share substantially despite the indifference at best or the antagonism at worst of the mainstream media. But they won’t be able to do it within a neoliberal economic framework that neglects full employment and applies user pays and profit-maximizing mechanisms to social goods and network goods. The Achilles’ Heel of the Greens is their passive acceptance of mainstream economic theory and the self-imposed policy constraints that come with it.

  38. DL and others like him need a target to abuse and spew forth hatred against.

    Life is really too short for such childish expenditure of energy.

  39. “the big question is whether Dutton, with the Qld libs behind him, will knock of Turnbull. ”

    But after Longman, with the big drop in Lib primary, will Dutton still have the same backing he had a week ago?? This has got to feed into whether or not Dutton will still be an MP after the next election rather than will he be Liberal Leader?? Be interesting to see if there are serious moves to shift Dutton to a safer seat.

  40. Darren Laver @ #474 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 2:43 pm

    [And that’s the point. The anti-Labor stuff Pegasus regurgitates on PB can easily be found elsewhere by your average sentient being, coming from The Guardian, The Age and the ABC website, in the main. That it is routinely and almost gleefully anti-Labor is the problem. It thus becomes Greens pablum of not much worth, except to try and persuade lurkers to question Labor, or to portray The Greens as the angels in the political room.

    ]

    Bullseye.

    Anti-Labor content is overflowing — saturated as it were — in the MSM, so we simply don’t need Pegases shovelling that steaming mess out of that stable into here!

    No thank you!

    She is deaf to our entreaties because she mistakenly believes she has political purity on her side. She should thus change her nom to Tess Trueheart. But a mythical flying horse is close enough. 🙂

  41. Dutton, because he mistakenly believes that he is an essential component of the Coalition, will likely be exploring seat moves already. He’s already done it once before. He’s a political animal. In every sense of the word.

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