Morgan SMS poll: Turnbull versus Shorten versus Dutton

A snap poll points to the limits of the Liberals’ Peter Dutton solution. Also featured: Dutton’s Section 44 problem, and the practicalities of an early election.

Miscellaneous Liberal leadership latest:

Roy Morgan has conducted an SMS poll of 1288 respondents with two rounds of preferred prime minister question: Malcolm Turnbull versus Bill Shorten, and Peter Dutton versus Bill Shorten. The former credits Turnbull with a lead of 52% to 44.5%, while the latter has Shorten leading 59% to 36.5%. Morgan’s SMS polling doesn’t have a brilliant track record, and it has been noted in comments that the party breakdown figures suggest a sample with an excess of “others” voters, which includes One Nation. Even so, the poll is unlikely to be so flawed that Dutton’s poor showing should be dismissed outright. The demographic breakdowns are of interest in that Shorten leads Dutton by about 45% among respondents under 35, but Dutton has a slight lead among those 65 and over, which illustrates that Dutton’s constituency closely reflects that of the Liberal Party as a whole. Dutton also does particularly badly in Victoria, but better in Queensland.

• The government has referred the question of Peter Dutton’s potential Section 44 ineligibility to the Solicitor-General, Stephen Donaghue, as Labor circulates advice that a “reasonable prospect” exists that the High Court would disqualify him, given the chance. Malcolm Turnbull’s equivocal comments about the matter in Question Time yesterday angered Dutton’s supporters, given the matter can very easily be swept aside by making no move to refer it to the High Court. The prohibition on parliamentarians with a “direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth” was interpreted with extreme narrowness by Chief Justice Garfield Barwick in 1975, then far more broadly by a majority of the court in the Bob Day case last year. It seems a case can be made either way as to whether Peter Dutton lands on the wrong side of the new line, by reason of a family trust that owns two childcare centres in receipt of government subsidies. Anne Twomey in The Conversation notes the government could face a welter of litigation arising over any action taken by Dutton as minister while ineligible, which would apply from three months after the time he became subject to the pecuniary interest.

• Antony Green lays out the case against an early election. On top of anything else, it is noted that the Liberals simply aren’t ready for one, financially or in terms of candidate selection. He also comes down hard on the notion that Malcolm Turnbull could forestall a leadership defeat by going to an early election (which may owe its popularity to the end of season three of The Thick of It), on the grounds that it is so obviously self-defeating as to be unworthy of consideration.

• Nonetheless, the potential for a dissolution to be requested by a tottering leader raises intriguing constitutional questions. In her book The Veiled Sceptre: Reserve Powers of Heads of State in Westminster Systems, Anne Twomey cites somewhat contrary views from Robert Blackburn, who suggests a Governor-General would be “duty-bound to reject any request by a Prime Minister for dissolution during a leadership contest”, and George Winterton, who argues a chief minister should be required to demonstrate his or her support on the floor of parliament where the matter is in doubt. Blackburn’s quote raises the question of what constitutes a leadership contest, which is distinctly different in the British context he was addressing as compared with Australian practice. Winterton’s point arose in a piece on Australian state Governors, and well describes the attitude taken by Queensland Governor Walter Campbell in 1987, when Joh Bjelke-Petersen was setting the current record for intransigence by a leader in the process of being ousted by his party.

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.

1,768 comments on “Morgan SMS poll: Turnbull versus Shorten versus Dutton”

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  1. New York AG subpoenas Cohen in probe of Trump’s sham charity

    The New York Attorney General has subpoenaed former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen in its probe of the Trump Foundation, the Associated Press is reporting.

    Cohen, who on Tuesday pleaded guilty to eight separate felony counts, likely has detailed knowledge of the foundations operations, which the New York AG has alleged were rife with fraud.

  2. ‘Trump is now an illegitimate president’: Conservative Washington Post columnist

    The United States of America is facing a constitutional crisis following Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas in federal court yesterday, Washington Post columnist Max Boot argued on Wednesday.

    “For the first time since Watergate, the president is now an alleged co-conspirator in the commission of a federal crime,” Boot said.

  3. Hi from Vienna – worry I will have to go to sleep for an early start tomorrow before all the shenanigans begin.

    Oh well, I was also working during the Brexit vote, and was gobsmacked by the result when I could finally check the news.

    So, what will I find 8 hours from now?

  4. ‘This is not how a president comports himself’: GOP big donors are reportedly abandoning Trump

    Major Republican donors are discontinuing their support of President Donald Trump, New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters revealed Wednesday.

    “Just talked to one of Trump’s earliest supporters & true believers – very rattled – who’s been talking to big GOP donors,” Peters reported.

    “They want to support Trump. They tried hard to ignore all the noise. They can’t anymore,” he noted.

    “They’re over it,” the former Trump supporter told Peters.

    “This is not how a president comports himself,” he added.

  5. D and M
    No matter what happens today the LNP are stuffed. Can’t govern, can’t call an election. Can’t go forward, can’t go back. No policies, no agenda.

  6. Morning all

    Douglas and Milko

    Parliament rises today for another two weeks.
    So the anti Turnbull crowd need to act this morning.
    With the questionmark now over Dutton and his conflict of interest, who knows if he will even bother now.
    Btw hope you are enjoying your time in Vienna

  7. So, what will I find 8 hours from now?

    Joh Bjelke-Petersen 2.0?

    Winterton’s point arose in a piece on Australian state Governors, and well describes the attitude taken by Queensland Governor Walter Campbell in 1987, when Joh Bjelke-Petersen was setting the current record for intransigence by a leader in the process of being ousted by his party.

    I think Malcolm Turnbull will go down fighting to the last. You’ll have to extract his fingernails from the Prime Minister’s chair by the end of it.

  8. Phoenix Red,
    Do you have a WashPo subscription? I do. I also get a free subscription every month to hand out to someone for 30 days. So, if you want I can hand it over to you so you can link the stories directly from the Washington Post, rather than from Raw Story. You will also find lots more there as well. 🙂

  9. PhoenixRed

    I was hoping that when Manafort verdict was forthcoming, there would be more indictments. Wasn’t expecting a plea deal from Cohen!
    This can only mean Trump’s time is nearly up.
    Thank goodness!

  10. Duttons backers think he is unlikable because he has had difficult jobs, and that he just has to smile more and come up with a policy or two people dont hate, and it will all turn around. So they arent worried about current ratings. They think the electorate is their plaything.

    They really need to stop talking to their base and start talking to the middle.

  11. Peter Dutton as Liberal leader threatens to end our bipartisan allegiance to the pragmatic centre by throwing the switch to Trumpian populism – a whiff of racism, a slash of migrant-blaming, a splash of wild spending, a surge of fundamentalism, a lowering of civil standards.

    Australia embraced marriage equality, Mr Dutton voted against it. Australia embraced the Stolen Generations apology, he walked out on it. Australia (mainly) is successful multiculturally, while “too-scared-to-go-to-restaurants-in-Melbourne” Dutton blows the racist whistle.

    Australia has long since abandoned the White Australia Policy, Mr Dutton supported race-based consideration for South African farmers. With civil discourse under attack, he embraces the shock jocks. Australia wants to be responsible about climate change, Mr Dutton is a coal hugger, only interested in using energy policy to attack Labor.

    The vast majority of Australians reject Pauline Hanson, Mr Dutton is comfortable with her policies. Australia needs intelligent understanding of our immigration policy, while he runs with a simplistic slashing of numbers.

  12. I ventured to Sky News for about 20 mins last night to see what the panel were saying on Paul Murray live.
    In a nutshell.
    The govt under Turnbull has gone too left, and not abiding it’s centre right credentials.
    Verdict by me. They are talking shit, and listening to these talking heads for even this short period of time sapped the life out of me.

  13. Nikki Savva has checked in with hubby, and shares the thinking within the PMO..

    “Cormann also promised himself he would leave parliament if his colleagues were mad enough to do it again. He is profoundly disillusioned and disappointed with the state of the party and politics.

    Standing beside Turnbull yesterday to announce the end of his beloved company tax package, Cormann publicly pledged his ­ongoing loyalty to Turnbull. Reports last night that Cormann had withdrawn his support, or that he had resigned, were refuted. However, according to sources, a meeting between Cormann and Turnbull last night ended with Cormann’s position uncertain. Equally despondent is fellow West Australian Christian Porter, whose marginal seat of Pearce looks dodgy again. Although Porter has the talent to one day lead the party, or what is left of it, he has also declared he will not be complicit in tearing down an elected prime minister.

    Dutton has not acted as ­Abbott’s proxy, although senior Liberals are convinced Abbott has used him. Dutton has appeared willing to be used. Instead of filling the ears of his crew with wax then ordering them to tie him to the mast, he submitted to the Sirens. If he had listened well to their songs he would have heard their portents of gloom and doom.

    It is possible Turnbull could survive, at least for the short term., but only if a number of scenarios hold. As leader, Turnbull decides when a party meeting is held to ­decide the leadership. Even if ­Dutton and supporters call for a spill today, Turnbull could dismiss it unless it transpires his support has eroded. If he can resist the pressure and stave off another confrontation for at least a fortnight when parliament resumes he will. That would give MPs time to fully absorb the views of their electors and Dutton time to reshape. Or he could trip up like he did when he flagged taking the GST off power bills, which Labor — already salivating over a campaign on hospital cuts and Medicare co-payments, which Dutton cham­p­ioned as health minister — says would blow a $30 billion hole in the budget over 10 years.”

  14. C@tmomma says: Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Phoenix Red,
    Do you have a WashPo subscription? I do. I also get a free subscription every month to hand out to someone for 30 days. So, if you want I can hand it over to you so you can link the stories directly from the Washington Post, rather than from Raw Story. You will also find lots more there as well


    Hi C@tmomma – THANK YOU for your kind offer 🙂 but I can link directly to the WaPo and NYT directly and go there every morning to check on what they have printed on-line. I just tend to use Raw Story as its like a précis form from all US news services and try to pick out the most informative items…… there are a lot of US items there of a non political nature that I just read to keep up with what’s happening, other than Trump, in the US , but do not link to them on here

    I know for one that, Confessions, links a lot of WaPo articles on here so I will leave to her and yourself to keep us informed on the Trump daily circus

  15. A little bit more from Nikki Savva..

    “Leadership contests come with a lot of huffing and puffing; ­however, three Nationals MPs — Darren Chester, Damian Drum and Kevin Hogan — have told ­senior Liberals they will sit on the crossbench if Dutton succeeds. Ex-football coach Drum gave the joint partyroom an earful on ­Tuesday, describing the behaviour of some of his colleagues as “f..king ­disgusting”.

    If conservatives who loathe Christopher Pyne convince Dutton to punish him, then Pyne will most likely quit his seat — either forcing a by-election or ensuring the seat is lost at a general election.

    If Dutton prevails, the Governor-General may insist before swearing him in that he proves he has the confidence of the house. Failure would force an early ­election.

    The Liberals’ 10-point primary vote drop at the Longman by-election spurred Dutton’s shift. He was on the booths that day, getting the feedback directly from voters. Queenslanders told other colleagues Turnbull was toxic. One urged him by text to resign ­immediately. Senator James McGrath, Turnbull’s key numbers man in 2015, hopes Dutton will save the Liberal National Party in Queensland; however, he has not played an organisational role in Dutton’s leadership bid.”

  16. Sally McManus‏Verified account @sallymcmanus · 11h11 hours ago

    Turnbull stood by Michaelia Cash through all her multiple and on-going stuff-ups and sins. He remained totally loyal to her at great cost to himself. It’s pretty low of her to now abandon him #auspol

  17. And Savva/PMO are honing the strategy to keep the southern bedwetters in the tent…

    “While Victorian Liberal frontbencher Michael Sukkar continues his support for Dutton, others are certain any Dutton saves in Queensland would be more than offset by losses elsewhere, particularly in Victoria and SA. They rattled off Chisholm, Dunkley, Corangamite, Higgins and Latrobe, although there, where gang violence is an issue, local member, Jason Wood, voted for Dutton.

    “Victoria is not a big-C conservative state,” one of them said. “It might be economically conservative; it is not socially conservative. Dutton would be like kryptonite to Superman.”

  18. PhoenixRed

    I was hoping that when Manafort verdict was forthcoming, there would be more indictments. Wasn’t expecting a plea deal from Cohen!
    This can only mean Trump’s time is nearly up.
    Thank goodness!


    Hi Victoria – things are moving now – and like the snowball rolling down the hill – it’s gathering pace and getting bigger

    THIS just adds to the Trump Crime Family problems

    Brian Krassenstein‏ @krassenstein · 56m56 minutes ago

    BREAKING: Note that state crimes are NOT pardonable!

    The Trump Foundation could bring almost the entire family down!

    Michael Cohen Subpoenaed in New York State Probe of The Trump Foundation

    The pressure appears to be building on both Michael Cohen and The Trump Foundation, which was run by the president and his children. Today, the Associated Press learned that the state of New York has just subpoenaed Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen in an investigation related to allegations of misconduct by those representing the Trump Foundation.

  19. If Australians were cheering on Donald Trump and his policy prescriptions from the sidelines, then Dutton might have a chance with his Trump Lite offering. However, when he tried it on the electors of Longman and Braddon they recoiled in horror and scurried off in the other direction. They certainly didn’t warm to it. And that was in the general areas, Tasmania and Queensland, where Dutton and his forces of darkness, would hope to pick up support for their Trump Lite agenda.

    As the Morgan poll analysis shows, what little gains are made in the over 65s, are lost big time in Victoria and likely the multiculti seats in NSW as well.

  20. So, Dutts team launched a night assault but got shot down for the wire. I half expected to wake up and find out that there was a dawn counter-attack. When I told a Lib last night I thought ScoMo would be the compromise candidate, the guy looked shocked. “But he’s an idiot …” Have ordered a lorry of popcorn. It’s a win, win: the Libs are destroying themselves, which gives them no time to destroy the country.

  21. What Nikki Savva fails to say, despite writing in the demented plutocrat’s organ, is that Dutton sat in Cabinet for the last 5 years, and knows every questionable decision – who was pro, against etc – starting with the $444m GBRF scam all the way through to tax policy, media policy and health.

    We can expect a steady drip of ‘Exclusives’ in Murdoch organs and RatBag radio of insights into discussions which will be embarrassing to Turnbull and crew.

  22. And the loons are doubling down…

    BREAKING Liberal Ministers Michael Sukkar and Zed Seselja have formally tendered their resignations to the Prime Minister this morning, refusing Malcolm Turnbull’s offer to remain as Ministers despite voting for Peter Dutton #auspol

  23. Noticeable that whenever he’s near a press camera, Dutts produces his version of a charming smile.
    I’m no fan of Cormann, but would prefer him to Dutton. Not that I have any say in the matter.

  24. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    David Crowe on Dutton’s second strike.
    And Crowe explains how Cormann holds all the power over Turnbull.
    In an excellent contribution Lenore Taylor nails it when she ponders over what the point is of the Liberal party if it just panders to an ever-narrowing base?
    Politics professor Carol Johnson says that shifting to Peter Dutton, or anyone else, will not cure what ails the Liberal Party.
    In a very good and pointed article Michael Pascoe thinks PM Dutton would abandon what has made Australia great.
    This is what Turnbull should have said to save himself and his dignity.
    Tony Wright welcomes Dutton to the big league after he had a very bad day.
    This week’s challenge to Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership shows a Liberal Party on the brink of splitting apart, writes Ben Eltham.
    Jackson Stiles writes that supporters of prime ministerial hopeful Peter Dutton appear to have bungled a late-night attempt to conjure a second leadership spill, but may still force another vote today.
    Conal Hanna outlines the differences between the supporters of Dutton and Turnbull. He left out one category, RWFWs,
    Paula Matthewson says that Tony Abbott is now Peter Dutton’s problem.
    Greg Jericho says that Dutton’s GST plan smells of political desperation and policy stupidity.
    Nick O’Malley writes that according to his opponents inside the Liberal Party, Tony Abbott’s key political attribute is not the conviction that he has crafted into his political brand but his lack of it; not the iron of his spine but its extraordinary suppleness.
    Michelle Grattan tells us how Turnbull cremated the big business tax cuts after Senate killed them.
    Former ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma tells us how to fix the flaw at the heart of Australian politics.
    Michelle Pini discusses the latest incarnation of Peter Dutton, the “good bloke” and would-be PM, currently showing in most mainstream media outlets.,11814
    John Passant explains how Turnbull’s government has lost the will to live.,11811
    Phil Coorey opines that for Turnbull it’s all about today.
    Jennifer Hewett reckons it’s all over for Turnbull so she turns her attention to who might succeed him.
    Katharine Murphy outlines the late night attack launched by Dutton.
    Here’s what a South Sudanese refugee has to say about Dutton.
    The political and business insiders who make up Peter Dutton’s inner circle.
    Worried government backbenchers are beginning the gruelling job seeking process due to rising job insecurity.–in-government,11812
    Michael Koziol sheds light upon James McGrath, a turncoat plotter.
    And Koziol reports that key crossbenchers will not guarantee support for a government led by Peter Dutton, casting doubts on whether the Liberal MP could command a majority on the floor of the house in the wake of a successful second coup.
    Joe Aston tells us about Turnbull’s shame at being slain by a bunch of halfwits.
    Roman Quaedvlieg says he has the drum on the au pair girls and Dutton. I wonder how he might use it.
    The AFR’s Andrew Clark says the Liberals are a party that is bent on self-destruction.
    Christian Porter has referred the issue of Peter Dutton’s eligibility to sit in Parliament to the federal government’s top legal officer for advice.
    Peter Dutton could be in ‘serious strife’ on pecuniary interests.
    Paddy Manning concludes his contribution with “It is too late for the Prime Minister to take a stand: anything he says or does be seen as a cynical, last-ditch effort, and only galvanise his opponents. It is not that Turnbull lacked the courage of his convictions on climate; it is that in the end he showed he had no conviction at all.”
    Trump is all over the place when it comes to Manafort and Cohen.
    Cohen says he will spill the beans on Trump and that he won’t accept a pardon.
    The Washington Post poses six big questions after the Cohen and Manafort convictions.
    Jill Abramson writes that there’s only one cure for the cancer of Trump’s presidency and that’s impeachment.
    Elizabeth Knight looks at the potential effects of the big telco merger between TPG and Vodafone.
    Senior business figures spanning some of the country’s biggest manufacturing, retail and resources companies have warned ongoing policy and leadership turmoil in Canberra is making it hard to plan for the future and damaging the nation’s ability to attract investment. There is one common factor in all of this and that’s Abbott.
    Bad for workers, bad for taxpayers, bad for the environment, bad for Australia. The latest iteration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a boon for multinational corporations, writes Patricia Ranald. They might have rebadged it with a sassy name but this trade deal is a gift for Big Pharma and other global titans merely masquerading as free trade.
    Doug Dingwall reports that Human Services department staff expected to shift 20km to western Sydney remain in the dark as the Coalition government embarks on another “farcical” project to force public servants into moving offices, the main public sector union has said.
    The difficult lives of many frontline service industry employees.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe with Trump’s legal trajectory.

    And he trots out Turnbull’s spine again in another disturbing portrayal of its owner’s travails.

    Mark David does it again.

    Peter Broelman and Turnbull’s secret weapon.

    Mark Knight goes on the hunt with Dutton.

    Paul Zanetti and a very lonely Turnbull.

    Chris Downes with Dutton’s new status.

    Two new efforts from Sean Leahy.

    Glen Le Lievre and Dutton’s makeover.

    From the US.

    Here’s two new ones from David Pope who has been in sparking form.
    Johannes Leak with a wellness treatment for Turnbull.
    Plenty more good ones in here.

  25. PhoenixRed

    Trump and his crime family are going down.
    And the timing of this for our politics in Australia is instructive.
    Those attempting to emulate Trump style are doomed. Thank f##k!

  26. C@t

    It is so ridiculous to see that the Liberal party could very well split due to those wanting to emulate Trump lite.
    Are they not seeing that Trump and his acolytes are doomed. It is all happening before our very eyes.
    It is all such a huge farce

  27. If Dutton becomes PM but doesn’t go early to an election he will lose the “benefit of the doubt” advantage (and whatever honeymoon he may have)…. Once any doubt about his incompetence and right-wing lunacy are obvious to anyone, the 2PP for the Coalition will plunge to record-breaking lows…. and an election will come…. inevitably.

    Yes, they apparently don’t have the money, but for the Libs the money is likely to come if they promise the “correct” policies to the right people….

  28. Just on the lack of money for Liberal Party campaigning, assuming the new leader listens closely to what billionaires Rupert Murdoch and Gina Reinhardt want- they may see fit to drop a $100m or so into the tin.

  29. Frankly Turnbull should be coming clean on handing out half a billion dollars to his mates.
    And his leadership should be called into question for that alone.
    But the whole notion that the party is going in the wrong direction in terms of being too left as espoused by the crowd over at Sky News, something really stinks about this whole episode

  30. Fool Gilbert, this will be a long day….

    The Dutton camp tell me there are now 25 signatures on the petition calling for a special partyroom meeting to have another vote on the Liberal leadership #auspol

  31. “It is so ridiculous to see that the Liberal party could very well split due to those wanting to emulate Trump lite.”….

    All around the world the right-wing of politics have become orphans. The moribund Neoliberalism is leaving a huge political vacuum. They are desperately trying to fill it with nationalism, racism, populism, phobias of all kinds, scaremongering, anger-and-violence…. But it’s not really working. It’s up to the left/centre-left to seize the moment and return to a path of socioeconomic development that is acceptable. I say that the dawn of a new Social Democracy is upon us…. if we get it right it will be transformative…. if we mess it up…. may whatever higher being is hiding in the clouds help all of us….

  32. Jimmy Kimmel scoffs at the concept that Trump wants to appeal to ‘regular people’: ‘He sh*ts in a golden toilet’

    In an “HBO miniseries” in a post-Trump future, the comedian said, “the impact of cable news and late-night television will play some minor role in that story.”

    “You know he wants us to like him,” Kimmel said. “You know he wants us to say nice things about him. He just wants to be loved by celebrities.”

    “The idea that he’s for the regular people,” he added is “ironic.”

    “The man shits into a golden toilet,” the late-night host joked

  33. So the Dutton matter re eligibility has been handed over to SG for legal advice.
    Surely he won’t have another tilt at top job until this is clarified?

  34. I think he knows it’s now and never. SG or no SG. What’s interesting is that they’ve only got to 25 … Turnbull would be within his rights to refuse a meeting and to call it out publicly.

  35. Morning all. Thanks BK. You know things are desperate in the Liberal asylum when MPs are urged to “stop thinking of themselves” (Jane Prentice). That is a tall order from a party that advocates self interest in every policy and political career motivations.
    She might as well have said “give all your money to the poor and come follow me”.

    Seriously I think Turnbull can tough this out. The RW loons are a minority. The rest know that if Dutton wins power they will lose seats everywhere except Qld. So why would they join now? If Turnbull holds on soon opinion polls will confirm the reality with Dutton. Better to let the HC take him out.

  36. BREAKING… apparently Dutton has phoned the PM and requested a party room meeting this morning and PM Trumble has refused the request.
    Source ABC 24’s Rowland @ Parliament House Live.

  37. RWNJ bully: Hey, Turnbull – give us your lunch money.

    Turnbull: Here it is. I will point out, however, that I do not have to give it to you. I am not afraid of you and a word from me to the Principal would see you all expelled. I am simply offering you my money in a spirit of friendship, to build an alliance between you and me, and to set you an example of good behaviour.

    RWNJ bully: So you’re giving me your money and you’re not going to dob?

    Turnbull: Indeed. I am glad you grasp the basic concept.

    RWNJ bully: OK, give me your pen too. Oh, and your shoes. And…

  38. Correct me if I am wrong but the way I see it (and was told) that the petition was circulated requesting a Party Meeting only and formality requires only 2 signatures and can be presented to the PM or is it the whip.

    It didn’t require the number 43 to sign.

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