Calm before the storm

A Seinfeld-ian post about nothing, as pollsters hold their fire ahead of tonight’s budget.

There seems to be a hardening view that Scott Morrison will take advantage of what he hopes will be a positive response to tonight’s budget by calling the election later this week, for either May 11 or May 18. Whenever the election may be called, its proximity makes this an awkward time for us to go a week without new poll results. Newspoll is set for a highly unusual four-week gap, having held off last week due to the New South Wales election and this week due to the budget, while Essential Research is in an off week in its fortnightly cycle. The dam is set to burst next week, with Ipsos joining the two aforementioned with post-budget poll results.

For now, all I can do for you in the way of poll news is to relate what James Campbell of the Herald Sun offered on Liberal internal polling last Thursday: that Pauline Hanson scores net approval ratings of minus 62% and minus 63% in the Melbourne seats of Deakin and Chisholm – and, incidentally, that Peter Dutton has been known to record minus 50% in Melbourne. Beyond that, there is one item of important preselection news to relate, in that the New South Wales Liberals are set to endorse child psychologist Fiona Martin as their successor to the retiring Craig Laundy in Reid. The Australian reports Martin has been chosen ahead of Tanveer Ahmed, a psychiatrist, and Scott Yung, candidate for Kogarah at last week’s state election.

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.

2,286 comments on “Calm before the storm”

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  1. Tis a tense time, with no pseohological news about st all. So much has gone on since the last Newspoll., but how much of it will have any impact?

  2. David Scutt Twitter:
    Not a great sign for Australian business investment ahead, even if the NAB’s seasonally adjusted measure is a little volatile. From @WestpacMacro.

    Capacity utilisation has also fallen quite a bit recently, helping to explain the decline in expected investment. Also points to higher unemployment ahead, especially if sustained. Charts from NAB and @ANZ_Research

  3. There seems to be a hardening view that Scott Morrison will take advantage of what he hopes will be a positive response to tonight’s budget


    Even the rusted on coalition supporter probably get the feeling this budget will be no good for the pro coalition media and libs/nats

  4. We will know the result around 8.30 our time, with some movement at the station predicted – some strategic voting by Labour and the SNP..

  5. Caroline Overington thinks the American Dream is still flourishing, and says electric cars will never take off. Is this the opinion of an ageing Murdoch too?

    Craig Emerson @DrCraigEmerson
    11h11 hours ago

    I’ll bet conservatives said the same about the internal combustion engine: “Country people will stick with the horse & cart because there’s no petrol stations in the bush”

  6. “sprocket_ says:
    Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 7:02 am
    Tax relief
    Business slugged
    Surplus revealed
    There is your round up of dumbed down Murdoch organs this morning”

    Repeated exactly on commercial FM news at 7am.

  7. @imacca Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 1:52 am

    It depends . Is the opposition to permits in general or is it in opposition to money flowing overseas and not fixing the problem here?

  8. Bill Scetrine Twitter:

    This is the document Wren tried to post for which he was banned. I’ll risk it in the public interest

  9. The lack of Newspolls is curious, giving no way of measuring any budget bounce.

    As for the budget, it is so predictable. After five years of Greek style austerity with cuts in social welfare and big business taxes (very little cut for households) we have avoided recession through mass immigration, doubled our debt and gained falling real wages and falling house prices. Now we are supposed to cheer as they turn on the spending taps long enough to get an unpopular, divisive and divided government reelected. Then what will happen after the election if they do win? Straight back to service cuts after “discovering” Treasury forecasts are way off. Again.

    So we will be promised five weeks of economic sunshine from the very people who have given us six years of economic gloom, while the cupboard is now barer than when they started. Meanwhile the planet is burning up with no credible plan to change course on climate change.

  10. Bludgers may be a little shocked at how many times they nod in agreement with this article about The Budget hoopla by……………………………………………..Judith Sloan 🙂

    All politics, no economics

    Budgets these days are four parts politics and one part economics. If you think you’ll learn something about the economic outlook from the budget papers, you’re sadly mistaken…………………………And there once was some rationale for the very odd budget lockup practice ………………….These days, excise tax changes have been locked in years ahead, so this reason has disappeared and many of the big budget announcements are leaked well in advance.

  11. A Federal Government bill, scheduled to be debated in Parliament this week, is expected to raise about $6 billion in additional revenue over 10 years, by reducing the deductions that apply to future years.

    Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said Labor would support the Federal Government’s bill.

    The reforms are a response to a 2016 review of the regime by former Treasury official Mike Callaghan.

    It also follows the 2010 Henry tax review, which noted the PRRT “fails to collect an appropriate and constant share of resource rents from successful projects due to uplift rates that over-compensate successful investors for the deferral of PRRT deductions”.

    Senator Whish-Wilson said the uplift rates applied to carried-forward expenditure and used to offset taxable income were “overly generous”.

    He said exploration expenses, which can compound up to 15 per cent above the long-term bond rate, can be transferred from one project to another within a company.

    “On current trends, it is an open question whether PRRT tax offsets will ever be expired,” he said. “Some companies might ride a multi-decade long boom and end up tax positive.”

    Senator Wish-Wilson said further improvements could be made to the PRRT, including imposing a 10 per cent Commonwealth royalty, which could be creditable against the PRRT.

  12. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Shane Wright and Eryk Bagshaw tells us what to expect in tonight’s budget/
    And in classic The Australian style Simon Bensons says Frydenberg will today ­declare an end to the debt and deficit disaster the Coalition inherited from Labor six years ago, with the budget revealing that government net debt will be eliminated within a decade.
    Although its Adan Creighton writes that the energy supplement handout is a policy is emblematic of a timid government that has achieved little during more than five years in ­office.
    Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s first budget tomorrow is expected to deliver a predicted surplus thanks to Australia enjoying its second largest increase in mineral exports on record. But for the winner of the 2019 federal election, the surplus will likely be short-lived with thermal coal exports entering long-term decline. Simon Nicholas, Energy Finance Analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) reports.
    Jacinda Ardern met Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday evening, on a swift, one-day visit that won praise from her host. She keeps kicking goals.
    David Crowe tells us how Labor is fending off calls to reveal the full cost of its new plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions across Australian manufacturing as industry groups predict a hit to economic growth from the “challenging” target.
    And the AFR says that in what looms as a repeat of 2009, Labor has unveiled a climate change policy that is considered too soft by the Greens and too severe by the Coalition.
    And he writes that Labor’s emissions policy does not have to be a carbon tax to have a cost.
    Labor will ban the use of Kyoto credits to meet Australia’s Paris climate commitments in a key decision that opens up a gulf between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on the environment just weeks out from the federal election.
    The LNG industry says that Labor should target coal, not gas, to cut pollution.
    Nicky Ison writes that Labor’s climate policy has a decent menu, but is missing the main course.
    The National Farmers Federation has concerns about land clearing bans in Labor’s climate change policy.
    Meanwhile South Australian irrigators are expecting their water allocations to be cut in half from July 1, as the Murray-Darling Basin crisis hits home. Growers face the choice of finding funds to buy extra water at $500/ML, or cutting production and watching their plantings wither and die.
    The BOM has just released its monthly weather review and it was officially Australia’s hottest March on record.
    Shane Wright says we should expect a plot twist in Bill Shorten’s budget response.
    The government will attempt to wedge Labor this week by ramming the tax cuts contained in the budget through Parliament.
    The ALP is preparing to use federal powers under the Water Act and its influence with the two Labor-controlled basin states to drive better environmental outcomes if it wins government in May.
    Richard Baker reveals that Australian government officials took part in evaluating bids for a big immigration detention centre security contract in Papua New Guinea, according to leaked confidential documents, contradicting Home Affairs Department claims they were not involved in the process. The Auditor-General WILL be busy!
    Peter Hartcher gives us the good news, bad news and worse news about Donald Trump and his presidency.
    Samantha Lee says that there has been no other political party in Australia that has taken a hammer to Australia’s gun laws like the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.
    A Labor senator lost his job over his links to foreign political organisations. And yet Pauline Hanson and her party are being boosted by right-wing commentators despite her party’s attempts to fleece millions from foreign lobby groups. Lindsay Foyle weighs in.
    Ron Boswell says that Liberals and Nationals should put One Nation towards the bottom of the ticket in next month’s election. The Liberals have made their call and the Nationals will make their decision in coming weeks.
    Andrew Leigh makes the case for an evaluator-general who would help policymakers understand which policies work, and which to drop.
    John Halligan says that there is much work still to be done to complete the unfinished review of the APS.
    And John Lloyd posits that the APS review’s mild findings were predictable, because the bureaucracy is not broken.
    Paddy Gourley describes it as a wasted 10 months of waffle. This is one hell of a spray.
    Markus Manheim writes that public servants deserve a far better champion that the one whose freedom of speech case is currently before the High Court.
    Eryk Bagshaw reports that the cost of an ageing population will eclipse Medicare three years earlier than expected
    Research fellow Pat Ranald uses the Philip Morris plain packaging case to tell us why the government must exclude ISDS from current trade negotiations, and remove it from existing agreements. The coalition won’t, but Labor will.
    Richard Mulgan writes about taxpayer-funded electioneering and how department heads are failing to adequately vet the advertising campaigns they approve.
    These lawyers say that Australia is finally protecting those who expose corrupt businesses, but not corrupt bureaucracies.
    Another tragic building site mishap.
    Clancy Yeates reports that Eftpos is calling for the RBA to regulate the fast-growing “digital wallet” market, warning retailers could face higher costs if choice was restricted.
    A policeman involved in recruiting gangland barrister turned high-level informer Nicola Gobbo has admitted he had an “episode of physical intimacy” with her.
    The Washington Post examines Trump’s rage-driven actions on border control and retaliation.
    Appointments to the ABC board must be transparent and directors should have media experience, a Senate inquiry into allegations of political interference has recommended.
    Elizabeth Knight writes that Woolworths boss Brad Banducci can’t sell his loss-making Big W chain in its current state and, with $2.7 billion of lease commitments, closing it down would be rash.
    Peter FitzSimons looks at Trump’s propensity to cheat on the golf course and hoe it exposes his character flaws.
    This mother earns nomination for “Arsehole of the Week”.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe and Labor’s EV policy.

    David Pope contrasts emissions policies.

    John Shakespeare launches a commemorative coin in honour of Eddie McGuire.

    Andrew Dyson sums up Trump.

    From Matt Golding.

    Cathy Wilcox and Zuckerberg.

    Zanetti with a less than original effort on The Greens.

    Sean Leahy on budget eve.

    Jon Kudelka with Frydenberg’s shadow,

    From the US

  13. The softening of the housing market is the factor in the next election that may be the greatest concern to voters. How this plays out and the changing voting intentions it causes may be the great unknown. Self-interest always wins.

  14. One would have thought that the simplest answer to yesterday’s government blather, bluster and bullshit regarding the cost of Labor’s carbon abatement policies would be to refer to the cost of NOT doing anything.

  15. I am just an innocent bystander, but I would have thought that farmers’ demands to keep clearing land “to expand and contribute to the economy” are similar to wanting an increase in population “to keep the economy growing”. No acknowledgement of the downsides.

  16. Goll @ #15 Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019 – 7:49 am

    The softening of the housing market is the factor in the next election that may be the greatest concern to voters. How this plays out and the changing voting intentions it causes may be the great unknown. Self-interest always wins.

    Yeah well it happened on the Coalition’s watch. Or do they get a leave pass on that?

    Anyway, if the purported GFC 2.0 occurs, as predicted by Citigroup in a note to investors earlier this week, occurs, there is only one economic team that is capable of keeping the ship of state on course through the global headwinds. Labor.

  17. Bill
    Given that this government itself closed down most of the federal climate research funding and stopped collecting some key data back in 2014, it is not possible for anyone to estimate the full cost of Labor’s climate policy now. So it is a bit rich for the Coalition to criticise others for not being able to work out the cost of fixing their mess. As you say, it will be a lot less than doing nothing. In power there will be a net saving as we stop subsidising coal and build cheaper alternatives.

  18. All four Brexit options presented in the indicative votes have been rejected by MPs. Here are the margins, the closest being Ken Clarke’s Customs Union proposal, where “Noes” secured a majority of just three:

    Customs Union: Loses 273 – 276
    Common Market 2.0: Loses 261 – 282
    Confirmatory referendum: Loses 280 – 292
    Revoke Article 50 in no-deal situation: Loses 191 – 292

  19. ‘So we will be promised five weeks of economic sunshine from the very people who have given us six years of economic gloom, while the cupboard is now barer than when they started. Meanwhile the planet is burning up with no credible plan to change course on climate change.’

    Just as well we have a passionate, articulate, politically smart opposition out there every day calling bull**it on the governments bull**it….?

    Next Newspoll 51/49 Labor. At best.
    The media is already selling Joshy Woshy as the new Messiah.

  20. Waleed Aly hosting Jon Faine’s program this morning.

    Went through a couple of previous promises of Budget surpluses which didn’t happen, points out that the one promised now is for a couple of years out, and then wonders – obviously genuinely – why no one seems excited by the idea this time.

    Er, because we don’t think it will happen? Or we’ve had a decade without a surplus and the sky hasn’t fallen in?

    He seems to think the explanation is that it’s just what everyone expected the government to do, so they’re just living up to expectations….but that would be a surprise in itself!

  21. One thing is for sure. If the Federal budget is in surplus, the private sector will attempt to run a deficit. In a context of very weak credit growth and feeble domestic demand, this will mean just one thing – the Feds will be creating a recession.

  22. Poroti

    On Brexit, if I had photoshop I would portray it as a shot of teh Charlie McCarthy ventriloquism dummy, with May as the comedian and Boris as Charlie. Boris is holding a gun to May’s head saying:
    “Give me a hard exit Brexit or the dummy gets it”.

  23. BB
    Precisely. Even Thatcher once said – when referring to the changing climate – that it was best to err on the side of caution.

  24. ‘He seems to think the explanation is that it’s just what everyone expected the government to do, so they’re just living up to expectations….but that would be a surprise in itself!’

    Well you know, that’s because everyone knows the coalition are the better economic managers.
    It’s the myth that’ll never die.
    Gee, just as well that coalition is able to set the global iron ore price otherwise we’d be screwed.

  25. The Spectator Index:
    BREAKING: All four Brexit options fail in parliament

    BREAKING: Nick Boles has resigned from the UK Conservative Party

  26. Fanny Barlow twitter:

    “My rent is 50% of my income. I’m going to pay off my education for 20 years and I live off rice and noodles. I also get blamed for the shitty economy right now because “Millennials don’t spend enough”. What are millennials supposed to do, exactly?”

  27. mundo

    Yes, he also threw in there that Turnbull had a killer line when he said wtte that Labor never delivers surpluses.

    He seems remarkably trusting when it comes to this government.

    I haven’t heard much from him before (we can’t access ‘normal’ TV) – I take it he’s a Turnbull groupie.

  28. SBS paints portrait of a prodigious plotter:

    At Melbourne’s Xavier College he did the numbers for house elections and at Monash University, where he did an Arts/Law degree, political intrigue consumed him.
    A friend at that time was quoted in a profile in The Monthly: “It was his ability to do it around the clock. When we were all reeling around hungover after some big night, he’d be hard at it, ringing around, meeting people…Bill had a shocking disregard for his classes, because he was focused on this quest for political aspiration…He just used to borrow our notes and scrape through.”….He also plotted, being a major figure in the overthrow of Rudd by Julia Gillard and then, in a desperate attempt to reduce the damage, the return of Rudd….Perhaps that will be Shorten’s fatal flaw – his competence not quite counter-balancing his reputation for intrigue and plot.

  29. A ‘motion of no confidence’ in the UK parliament is pretty much redundant at this stage, if it didn’t succeed it should be taken as a sign of no-confidence in the whole parliament, not just the government.

  30. It’s difficult to imagine a more pointless and stupid exercise than using virtually one-off windfall increases in tax receipts – due to a temporary spike in iron ore exports – to fund ostensibly permanent personal tax cuts. That the tax cuts are a pittance just rubs salt into the wound.

    Responsible journalists should be screaming the idiocy of it from the rooftops. Instead they’re writing stories about how brilliant Morrison is to be trying out this scam.

    As my younger grandson used to say when he was 4, “It’s BISGUSTING!”

  31. As for forecasts of a surplus, Waleed Ally is right. They have not been delivered in the past. This one is years away and based on a one off rise in mineral prices that will not last. If you believe ScumMo on the surplus, you would believe the golf scores in a matcch between Donald and Kim.


  32. A ‘motion of no confidence’ in the UK parliament is pretty much redundant at this stage, if it didn’t succeed it should be taken as a sign of no-confidence in the whole parliament, not just the government.

    Yes one wouldn’t want to blame the executive or the actual Government, that would take a basic knowledge, instead go for a zero knowledge position and blame everyone without even a hint of ability to discern. One can do ‘everyone is bad’ without even knowing a single fact, in fact knowing a single fact could hurt this worst of all kinds of analysis, non-analysis purporting to be analysis.

    Don’t mind me, ‘pox on both sides’ is just the worst, I hate it.

  33. This LNP government has racked up the highest debt in the history of the Commonwealth: theyve doubled it since 2013

    “The Government’s monthly financial statements show net debt has doubled over the Coalition’s two terms in government — from $174.6 billion in September 2013, when it was first elected, to $354.5 billion in October 2018.”

    And we’re supposed to listen to some garbage about a ‘surplus’ today? What a clown show.

  34. Green-Groups Bird-Dogging Labor is a Dog Act

    …With all the debate this week about who is more dangerous, PHON or the Greens, the question should be for whom? I think we can all agree that a party that pushes a racist and divisive agenda such as One Nation is an insidious, cancerous parasite in our social fabric.

    However, if the purism of the Greens and their associated activist groups, are successful in their aims to suffocate the message of Labor on every issue and the only issue people hear about is about a mine that has not been able to start for six years and signed off by the LNP Newman Government; then there is a very good chance the consequence will be that Labor will not win Government. Another consequence could be an increased presence of Liberals, Nationals, PHON and other right-wing Independents in the chamber.

    I think we can all agree that the behaviour of Greens purists, which may result in the return of the worst Government and worst Prime Minister in our history, plus a few extra nutters like PHON winning seats, through “Greens-aligned Groups’ successful activism against Labor” is also an insidious, cancerous parasite in our social fabric.

  35. Zoidlord; My (irrelevant) opinion is that UK should remain, but irrespective of that, the way its been handled must be one of the worst examples of the UK parliament in its long history.

  36. Responsible journalists

    You’ve written a lot of great funny stuff over the years but this hilarious combination of words takes the cake. Laugh out loud moment.

  37. BB. Bill stated clearly in his speech yesterday that the cost of not acting on climate change is worse, and getting more worse (or wtte).

    Problem is our illustrious media neglects to report his speech in full and ran away from coverage as soon as it got a little detailed – iow: it wasn’t ‘sexy’ so our viewers will be bored.

  38. Yep. There’s a bushfire called climate change coming, and our idiot media can only focus on the cost of taking out insurance.

    What a brilliant financial analysis of the problem.

    Try not having any insurance, d*ckhead – see what that costs. I volunteer your house for this experiment.

  39. The Gs are not ‘pure’. They are cynical. They create a stand-off with Labor so they have something to exploit. They are the greatest fakers of all.

  40. Bushfire Bill says:

    using virtually one-off windfall increases in tax receipts – due to a temporary spike in iron ore exports – to fund ostensibly permanent personal tax cuts.

    Straight from the @#$#%# Howard and Costello play book. As George Megalogenis described it many years back, winning lotto and budgeting on the assumption you will keep winning lotto.( Lotto then being the mining boom.)

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