BludgerTrack: 54.3-45.7 to Labor

BludgerTrack ends a year to remember by showing a slight narrowing in the still-yawning two-party gap.

Ipsos and Essential Research closed their accounts for 2018 this week, and their combined effect has been to reduce Labor’s lead to 54.3-45.7 after a blowout to 54.9-45.1 last week. This is good for one Coalition gain on the seat projection, that being in Queensland. Full results through the link below.

We’re unlikely to see any more poll results until mid-January, although Newspoll should be unloading its quarterly state breakdowns in a week or so, and hopefully a few state voting intention results as well. Nonetheless, things should be pretty active around here over the silly season, as there’s a backlog preselection analysis to attend to, and I should finally get time to attend to my long-promised Morrison-era overhaul of BludgerTrack.

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.

2,141 comments on “BludgerTrack: 54.3-45.7 to Labor”

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  1. BBC Politics

    Disruption at Gatwick Airport is caused by “illegal activity”, says Theresa May, and she’s consulting on new powers for police to deal with drones

    Haven’t they got any snipers available?

  2. An internal review of the Australian Border Force has found “alarming levels of sexual harassment and bullying” among staff. The 2017 review, also known as the May report, was ordered by former ABF commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg and obtained by Guardian Australia under freedom of information laws. It found the ABF’s culture was “influenced by favouritism and nepotism” that privileged white men over other groups, and promoted a military-style culture that attracted and benefited “cowboys, too aggressive and too keen to use weapons”. Quaedvlieg said he found the conclusions “shocking”, citing “things in the realm of sexual harassment, or at least sexually harassing comments, innuendos, disadvantaging in the workplace, particularly towards women, but also to other minority groups”. In a statement earlier this month, ABF commissioner Michael Outram said “these behaviours will not be tolerated within the ABF”.

  3. Morning all. Thanks William for the bludgertrack update. Comforting reading for Liberal MPs over the holidays no doubt. I wonder how many will announce their “retirement” by January? 2 or 3 I’d say.

    I note that AEMO, the government energy market regulator, now says we will get cheaper power thanks to more renewables. What? But Angus and ScumMo said we had to choose between green and cheap? Who is lying?

  4. Morning all.

    The WA Government has confirmed the state budget is forecast to record its first surplus in six years, with the extra funding to be committed to the Metronet public transport masterplan.

    The Government had previously forecast a return to surplus in 2020-21 of $1.3 billion.

    Last night the taxi driver was moaning all about Berejiklian’s failed light rail project in the inner city. Motivated to do so because the roadworks run outside the hotel. He said businesses have had to shut down because pedestrian access is blocked, buses simply drop passengers in the middle of the street blocking traffic, and to top if all off, the international company which won the tender for the works discovered the old tram lines from the 1950s as soon as they dug up the road!

    It sounds like a typical Liberal govt mess of transport infrastructure. Unless they are building toll roads they have no idea.

  5. Scott Briggs is preselected at 2 on the NSW Liberal Party Senate ticket – specialising in skullduggery in the Shire.. I can see why Scotty doesn’t want the Federal ICAC to have any restrospective powers.

    “By Michael Koziol
    20 December 2018 — 11:59pm

    A key confidant of Prime Minister Scott Morrison offered Sutherland Shire councillor Kent Johns a $350,000 party job in an attempt to head off a preselection showdown with sitting Liberal MP Craig Kelly.

    Scott Briggs repeatedly called on Cr Johns to drop out of the preselection race for the federal seat of Hughes, adding Mr Kelly would move to the crossbench and “bring down the government” if the challenge proceeded, the Herald understands.

    Mr Briggs – a Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks board director and a president of the federal electorate conference for Mr Morrison’s seat of Cook – made the approaches as early as October.

    He suggested that the $350,000 job with the Liberals’ federal director would be available if Cr Johns pulled out of the preselection contest with Mr Kelly. The six-month role, Cr Johns was assured, had been approved by the Prime Minister and other key party figures.

  6. And Scotty reveals his modus operandi… from the same SMH article. Someone is dumping on The Liar from the Shire, this is not going to end well.

    “Mr Briggs also warned that News Corp and 2GB radio would unleash a campaign to ‘destroy’ him unless he withdrew.

    He conceded to Cr Johns and other local party members that Mr Kelly should be rolled but said the backbench MP “holds the power” due to the Morrison government being in minority.

    Mr Morrison later claimed in Parliament on December 3 that Mr Kelly had “never” threatened to go to the crossbench.

    Mr Briggs made numerous attempts over several weeks to convince Cr Johns, ultimately begging him to drop out for the unity and survival of the Morrison government.

    Cr Johns rejected the offers put to him. The Prime Minister then forced through a special ballot endorsing all sitting NSW members, which members of the Liberal state executive reluctantly supported.”

  7. Er–

    ‘“If they were made, I apologise unreservedly for causing any offense. The word curry was not meant to be use in a derogatory manner. If it was made, and if it is true, the comment was made among someone of Indian heritage, and was not intended to cause any offense.”’

    If you didn’t make the comments, how do you know how the words were meant to be interpreted??

  8. @Captain Moonlight (from the previous thread)
    I don’t think the ACT is going to lose its third seat. The ACT’s quota when it gained a third seat was only actually 2.479, but it increased to 2.544 thanks to a rule in the electoral act that includes the margin of error when calculating territory quotas. So if the ACT’s quota is now 2.49, it’s actually increased since it gained a third seat (which you’d expect, because its population has been growing faster than the Australian average since then). At least, that’s the impression I get from the parliamentary library –

    I think you’re right about the NT though – population growth has been very weak there (it actually went backwards over the latest year!), so they’ll very likely lose their second seat if the government doesn’t intervene. Can parliament just legislate a rule that the territories have a minimum of two seats or would that require a referendum?

  9. …and to top if all off, the international company which won the tender for the works discovered the old tram lines from the 1950s as soon as they dug up the road!”

    Any Sydneysider old enough could have told them about that. When the tram network was shut down around 1960, the old lines largely remained in place and were buried over the coming years.

  10. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    A key confidant of Prime Minister Scott Morrison offered Sutherland Shire councillor Kent Johns a $350,000 party job in an attempt to head off a preselection showdown with sitting Liberal MP Craig Kelly. Surely this sort of stuff this is ICAC-worthy!
    Samantha Hutchinson reveals a big factional war within the Victorian Liberal Party.
    And Victorian Liberal state director Nick Demiris is expected to become the latest senior party figure to quit his post following November’s crushing election loss. Arrangements for Mr Demiris’ resignation were under way at a meeting of the party’s powerful administrative committee last night.
    Tony Wright has his say on the Young Turks of the Victorian Liberals and their old-time toxic culture. He concludes that demands for a new culture within the party can only get louder.
    A federal government MP has been labelled a possible target for blackmail and extortion because of trips taken to sleazy areas ­frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers in Southeast Asia.
    Michelle Grattan writes on 2018, the year of governing badly.
    And Dave Donovan looks back at an exhaustingly chaotic year in Australian politics.,12224
    Waleed Aly says that it’s a remarkable thing to see a populist political stance transform into a liability in front of your eyes. So it is with the federal Coalition’s adventures in climate denialism. A good read.
    Lee Duffield assesses that, asking what is making voters tick and what kind of new messages will get communicated in the coming months as the Liberals campaign in panic.,12220
    Phil Coorey reckons that the government’s tin ear on emissions risks a repeat of the Victorian Liberals’ disaster.
    The Morrison government’s big stick energy interventions are threatening firm generation projects that will be needed to replace AGL Energy’s Liddell power station when it closes in 2022, energy companies say.
    Shane Wright tells us why a strong economy may not save Morrison.
    The SMH editorial says that the ALP is succeeding by being boring. It contrasts it to the behaviour of the Coalition.
    The Australian’s Brad Norrington laments that GetUp has ­received a $500,000 donation that will be used to help make climate change a hot button issue in the election.
    George Williams outlines the problems in Morrison’s religious freedoms act.
    Matthew Knott explains how Trump’s Syria retreat shows he can’t be tamed or changed.
    The Australian says that Trump’s shock decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria has sparked fears of a renewed threat from Islamic State.
    The NY Times’ Charles M Blow (an “only in America name!) writes that Trump’s presidency is much worse than he thought. It’s quit a serve.
    Bloomberg expands on Trump’s deplorable intervention over Huawei.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz tells us that the US Federal Reserve Board raised US interest rates again, but lowered expectations for future rate rises. US markets weren’t happy and the divergence between US and Australian rates could pose some challenges for our Reserve Bank.
    Eryk Bagshaw explains how NSW is losing residents at the fastest rate in a decade, with an exodus to Victoria set to make Melbourne the country’s most populous city by the 2030s.
    Economist John Quiggins asks,” What should we do with the government surplus?”
    Nicole Hasham writes that most Australians will pay $28 less on their annual electricity bill within two years largely due to a measure soon to be killed off by the Morrison government that encourages renewable energy and cuts carbon emissions.
    The UK Guardian says that the polls are clear: -support for staying in the EU has rocketed.
    Clancy Yeates summarises the banks’ reporting season by writing that they will be under fierce pressure to take the knife to executive bonuses next year, after three of the big four faced a shareholder revolt over the payment of short-term incentives in a year of poor returns and misbehaviour.
    The Fin Review says that one of the enduring lessons from the latest round of annual meetings of the major banks is confirmation of the growing power of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors.
    Australian Border Force staff experienced “alarming levels of sexual harassment and bullying”, discrimination, increasing militarisation, and a culture of nepotism and favouritism, an internal review obtained by Guardian Australia reveals.
    The commonwealth faces “unique fraud risks” arising from its management of the $3.2bn portfolio of environmental water in the Murray-Darling Basin, an internal audit has found. A federal ICAC anyone?
    Rob Oakeshott preparing to announce he will contest the 2019 election. He could just about get up, too.
    The US and UK have taken the unprecedented step of accusing hackers linked to the Chinese government of waging a sustained cyber-campaign focused on large-scale theft of commercial intellectual property.
    Cole Latimer reports that coal will replace iron ore as Australia’s most valuable export this financial year as supply concerns lead to a steep price rise for the core commodity.
    Emma Koehn writes about low self-awareness and 360 degree feedback in organisations.
    The most expensive drug in Australia, costing taxpayers more than $1 billion a year is Gilead’s cure for hepatitis C. Gilead’s medications rank first, fourth and seventh on the list of the most expensive drugs in the country. We are talking $1.14 billion, or ten per cent, of Australia’s entire $11 billion medication budget going to one US drug company. What sort of company is Gilead? Michael West reports.
    And for today’s nomination for “Arseholes of the Week” we have this – Rogue medical practitioners conducting dangerous cosmetic Botox and filler procedures are causing serious injuries to their patients, including blindness, facial growths and even death.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope issues a political climate alert.$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto%2Cdpr_auto/8fde919d9f4a450dfbca47112d3a11dbe0e40e2a.jpg
    John Shakespeare on the same subject.$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto%2Cdpr_auto/36d13e2dd797c18f491a382b26d36a5e38c69e38.jpg
    Here’s Matt Goldings’s collection for the day.$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto%2Cdpr_auto/48fe21930a35b833ecf1046a082bb15c829984c5.jpg$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto%2Cdpr_auto/09cc3974a365865f0fed50c47f31426f4322004a.jpg$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto%2Cdpr_auto/2f526596cf3d6b54771c025a62f8c1a2a7036873.jpg$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto%2Cdpr_auto/2c2b8c835ac21204f8bbc82154778cf6792bbdf5.jpg$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto%2Cdpr_auto/d0ffc9870641a19c84d07a0fa1faca7ff084655b.jpg
    John Shakespeare with an unfortunate Foodora delivery.$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto%2Cdpr_auto/6d6b02233b7d47f4628646a762000d237e757e6d.jpg
    Jim Pavlidis and Morrison’s Christmas woes.$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto%2Cdpr_auto/a12a203400d4490380a814a0b2ef4fa9f0ba8314.jpg
    Andrew Dyson with climate change winds.$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto%2Cdpr_auto/7a46121b7de8797608236fef7d40e2d925feb6ee.jpg
    Peter Broelman and the Nats’ problem with women.
    Poor Theresa!
    Trump’s Foundation has foundered.
    Jon Kudelka thinks Coalition leadership issue have become quite pasée.

  11. “… Can parliament just legislate a rule that the territories have a minimum of two seats or would that require a referendum?”

    Territory seats aren’t in the Constitution, they were created by Parliament, so I think that the Parliament can determine the basis on which the territories are represented.

  12. That Marcus Baastian reminds me of a young Bill Shorten, except even more nasty and adept at numbers. Although clearly he doesn’t have Shorten’s carefulness. Shorten would never leave messages like that lying around. The Victorian liberals need to remove him before they will ever be a serious alternative government in Victoria.

  13. Thanks BK. That Waleed Aly article is very good at pointing out precisely how the federal coalition have shot themselves in the foot.

    The Coalition didn’t just lose Wentworth before being crushed at state level in Victoria. It lost the elections because anger at Turnbull’s treatment became a starting point for expressing a broader disillusionment with specific policies: asylum seeker policy to some extent, but especially climate change.

    Recall that in the Victorian election the Coalition lost the seat of Mildura to an independent who campaigned on climate policy. That seat sits within the federal seat of Mallee, which will soon be vacated by Andrew Broad thanks to his “sugar daddy” scandal. You’d have to think it’s a chance of being lost.

    I’d love to think that the coalition could lose Mallee

  14. Good morning Bludgers 🙂

    Welcome to Sydney again Confessions! Didn’t we turn on a song and dance for you last night!?! Hailstones as big as a cricket ball!

    I was in the centre of Sydney last night too and that unfinished light rail line is a shocker, to be sure. Like a big useless obstacle course down the middle of the road.

  15. Fess
    “It sounds like a typical Liberal govt mess of transport infrastructure. Unless they are building toll roads they have no idea.”

    As I have mentioned before, there is a real need for Australia to develop national standards for things like new rail and light rail lines and rolling stock. At present we have comprehensive standards for road construction thanks to Austroads, but no equivalent in the rail space. There is also a need to train engineers and builders who lack skills in planning, designing and building rail infrastructure. It is a great employment opportunity, but needs to be funded and implemented.

    As our urban freeways get more expensive and uneconomic, and our city populations larger, there is a pressing need to switch from road to rail projects. But we need to transfer the industry capability as well.

  16. Fess/c@t

    We have had some interesting weather here in Melbourne lately.
    But those huge hailstones in NSW yesterday are quite something else! Amazing!

  17. @Steve777
    Good point. I hope parliament does intervene and save the second NT seat – it wouldn’t be very representative for all of NT to be covered by a single seat.

  18. Search Twitter
    PatriciaKarvelas Retweeted
    Dennis Atkins
    Dennis Atkins
    So many people in Canberra know who this is, have known for months at least. Inquiries have been met with stonewalling and outright lies. The claim by the PMO this has been discredited by the AFP is one of those lies. The ball is in the court of
    Quote Tweet
    Tom Minear
    Big story from ⁦@Gallo_Ways⁩ and ⁦@rharris334⁩: A federal government MP’s ­frequent trips to seedy neighbourhoods in South East Asia have been scrutinised by police amid concerns he could be ­exposed to blackmail. ⁦@theheraldsun⁩ #auspol (link:…

  19. Thanks BK. So much good governing going on 🙂

    The ScumMo ministry’s primary skill sets seem to be burying bad news and inventing good news as far as their policy work, such as it is, goes on.

    Given that reality, and past history, I hope Labor keeps a close watch on every government media unit site today. With most people going on holidays from Monday, including a lot of journalists, it is a fair bet that lots of hidden evidence of policy failure will be quietly trotted out and left at the kerb today, probably at 5.55PM Canberra time.

    That being said, best wishes to all bludgers and thanks for the entertaining reporting of the 2018 year in politics, such as it was. Particular best wishes to BK, Cat and Lizzie for their fine contributions on dawn patrol. Have a good day all.

  20. GG

    George Christensen has made multiple visits to the (The?) Phillipines, highlights so far being praising Duterte and marrying a Filipina. He also has had gastric banding surgery in Malaysia.

    Don’t know why he would be cartooned dumping his laptop in the ocean? Maybe the Herald Sun could shed some light?

  21. C@t:

    It must’ve been one hell of a storm – we couldn’t land last night because of it. Instead we and several other planes were in a holding pattern, circling the airways for an hour before being able to land. It was just like Die Hard 2, complete with me asking the steward if we had enough fuel. At one point it looked like we were going to have to be routed to Melbourne for an overnighter!

    Once we landed we sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes waiting for a bay to park in, and you could see the line of planes behind us waiting. Inside the airport was total chaos – the baggage collection point changed twice for our flight, and there were some very grumpy people. I felt sorry for those with connecting flights.

  22. BK’s link to the SMH editorial: “The SMH editorial says that the ALP is succeeding by being boring…”

    And while boring us witless, Howard transformed the country into a smaller, meaner place.

  23. A bit of historical perspective is in order. Simply put, Kevin Rudd lost the support of the electorate over the issue of Global Warming. Labor then all but lost the next election after that. Labor then lost the next election, not simply because of their comprehensive plan to deal with Global Warming, but because of Abbott’s effective linking of power prices to action, but mainly due to the chaos and division in the Labor Party.

    Now, the electorate has figured out that the Coalition’s approach to the issue is counterproductive and they don’t like it one bit.

    We are not a nation of happy clappers educated to dismiss science, thank god. We are a nation with rigorous standards of Science education, great teachers and fantastic scientists who we trust to inform us truthfully and we believe them, especially about Global Warming. And we want action to be taken and we are expressing that desire through the ballot box.

  24. I do hate the “everyone in Canberra knows the secret” messages. Like a little child boasting “I know something you don’t.”

    I thought Christensen had an Asian fiance?

  25. It might be a George Christensen day. If so, this vignette from the archives..

    “Twice, like his political ally Tony Abbott before him, Christensen seriously contemplated becoming a priest.

    At 21, he was accepted into a seminary in Melbourne but withdrew after a couple of weeks.

    “It’s probably going to be controversial [but] one thing I can say is that there were some blokes you immediately identified as gay and I think there is that element that do go there but then there are other people in there who you were quite sure they weren’t gay,” he observes.

    Asked about his feelings on celibacy, Christensen recalls an exchange between a seminary tutor and “one of the blokes who immediately took a shine to me and was showing me around”.

    “The tutor’s come in and said to them, look, no real work this week because you’re doing this instead, so do a 200-word essay on celibacy and what it means to the priesthood.

    “The tutor walked away and the guy looked at me and said, ‘200? I’ll just give him two’.” Christensen roars with laughter at the memory.”

  26. Socrates:

    I agree re light rail infrastructure. Metronet promises to be hugely beneficial to Perth. Yesterday we had a 5 hour layover in Perth before the Sydney flight, and with our luggage already checked through could’ve easily gone exploring instead of sitting at the airport. Except paying through the nose for a taxi into the city, or navigating the bus system as a non-resident were things neither of us were keen to do. If we had a train service straight into the city we could’ve easily headed off for half a day, possibly spending money in the local economy.

  27. More than 700,000 hectares of forest and bushland were destroyed in Queensland in the past two years and 40% of it occurred in Great Barrier Reef catchments.

    Environment groups have described the level of deforestation as an “environmental disaster” and called for federal intervention to end land-clearing in reef catchments and other nationally significant areas.

    The data covers a period up to 1 August this year, which means most of the deforestation occurred before the Queensland government’s introduction of new laws in May aimed at curbing the state’s rate of land-clearing.

    Jess Panegyres, the national nature campaigner at the Wilderness Society, said the figures were catastrophic.

    “It’s an environmental disaster and it shows why laws to end deforestation are desperately needed,” she said.

    “Queensland introduced stronger controls this year, we now think the federal government needs to act.”

    She said there were land-clearing referrals from Queensland currently sitting with the federal government for assessment.

    On Thursday, the federal environment department said it would rely on preliminary documentation to assess an application for more than 2,000 hectares of proposed clearing at Kingvale station in the Great Barrier Reef catchment.

    This is a level of assessment that does not require a full environmental impact statement. Environment groups had been calling for a more rigorous environmental assessment.

  28. Interesting that McCormack is mentioned as if he’s someone with an interest in this matter.

    Dennis Atkins

    Verified account

    2h2 hours ago
    More Dennis Atkins Retweeted Tom Minear
    So many people in Canberra know who this is, have known for months at least. Inquiries have been met with stonewalling and outright lies. The claim by the PMO this has been discredited by the AFP is one of those lies. The ball is in the court of @ScottMorrisonMP & @M_McCormackMP

  29. Lol ‘fess! Die Hard Vs Mother Nature!

    Not to worry, looks like she is providing a perfect Xmas Day here on Tuesday. 🙂


  30. Greensborough Growler @ #34 Friday, December 21st, 2018 – 8:17 am

    Interesting that McCormack is mentioned as if he’s someone with an interest in this matter.

    Dennis Atkins

    Verified account

    2h2 hours ago
    More Dennis Atkins Retweeted Tom Minear
    So many people in Canberra know who this is, have known for months at least. Inquiries have been met with stonewalling and outright lies. The claim by the PMO this has been discredited by the AFP is one of those lies. The ball is in the court of @ScottMorrisonMP & @M_McCormackMP

    Has McCormack been travelling a lot? Could be the reason for inaction…

  31. What surprised me about Trump’s announcement to withdraw troops from Syria was that there were troops there!

    Must have been asleep when the announcement was made to locate troops there.

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