Election plus three weeks

A look at how the religious vote might have helped Scott Morrison to victory, plus some analysis of turnout and the rate of informal voting.

I had a paywalled Crikey article on Friday on the religion factor in the election result, drawing on results of the Australian National University’s Australian Election Study survey. Among other things, it had this to say:

The results from the 2016 survey provide some support for the notion, popular on the right of the Liberal Party, that Malcolm Turnbull brought the government to the brink of defeat by losing religious voters, who appear to have flocked back to the party under Morrison. Notably, the fact that non-religious voters trusted Turnbull a lot more than they did Abbott did not translate into extra votes for the Coalition, whereas a two-party swing to Labor of 7% was recorded among the religiously observant.

The charts below expand upon the survey data featured in the article, showing how Labor’s two-party preferred has compared over the years between those who attend religious services several times a year or more (“often”), those who do so less frequently (“sometimes”), and those who don’t do it at all (“never”).

Some other post-election observations:

Rosie Lewis of The Australian reports the looming Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into the election will examine the three-week pre-polling period and the extent of Clive Palmer’s campaign spending. There is not, it would seem, any appetite to explore the debilitating phenomenon of fake news proliferating on social media, for which Australia arguably experienced a watershed moment during the campaign through claims Labor had a policy to introduce a “death tax”. This is explored in depth today in a report in The Guardian and an accompanying opinion piece by Lenore Taylor. That said, not all of the mendacity about death taxes was subterranean, as demonstrated by this official Liberal Party advertisement.

• As best as I can tell, all votes for the House of Representatives have been counted now. There was a fall in the official turnout rate (UPDATE: No, actually — it’s since risen to 91.9%, up from 91.0% in 2016), which, together with the fact that not all votes had been counted at the time, gave rise to a regrettable article in the Age-Herald last week. However, as Ben Raue at the Tally Room explores in depth, the turnout rate reflects the greater coverage of the electoral roll owing to the Australian Electoral Commission’s direct enrolment procedures. This appears to have succeeded to some extent in increasing the effective participation rate, namely votes cast as a proportion of the eligible population rather than those actually enrolled, which by Raue’s reckoning tracked up from 80.0% in 2010 to 83.2% – an enviable result by international standards. However, it has also means a larger share of the non-voting population is now on the roll rather than off it, and hence required to bluff their way out of a fine for not voting.

• The rate of informal voting increased from 5.0% to 5.5%, but those seeking to tie this to an outbreak of apathy are probably thinking too hard. Antony Green notes the shift was peculiar to New South Wales, and puts this down to the proximity of a state election there, maximising confusion arising from its system of optional preferential voting. The real outlier in informal voting rates of recent times was the low level recorded in 2007, which among other things causes me to wonder if there might be an inverse relationship between the informal voting rate and the level of enthusiasm for Labor.

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.

1,359 comments on “Election plus three weeks”

  1. Dan:

    I have term deposits with a bank, the interest of which is guaranteed – 2.6%. With the cash rate reduced, on maturity I’ll be adversely affected. I have to tell you that I’m confused by your explanation. But I thank you for your attempt.

  2. I usually read most every post on this blog each day, although today I have not had the time, so perhaps a miracle has occurred in my abscence.

    But, I am yet to read a single comment at any time in the last three weeks, from any acknowledged or obvious Green’s supporter, which expressed even the slightest of sorrow, or anger, or upset, or even a modicum of contrition with respect to our election result, nor any that takes responsibility.

    Not a single one.

    There has been a constant stream of denial, smart-arsery and mockery, and supremely childish, don’t blame me, I didn’t do it, type nonsense.

    It is only possible to conclude from this unwillingness that such people are quite satisfied with the outcome.

    So, may I suggest to you that you are NOT children, you DO need to take responsibility for your actions and the actions of those you elect to represent you.

    But you have done your dash as far as I and many others are concerned.
    Enjoy wallowing in the steaming pile of shit you helped enable while it lasts, because it won’t.

    The good guys are going to come after you this time, and they are going to fucking stomp on you, hard.

    You have earned nothing less.

  3. Nicholas says:
    Monday, June 10, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    money printing or quantitative easing and there is some debate over whether its been effective or not and while inflation has remained benign

    Quantitative Easing was an asset portfolio swap: investors sold bonds and received reserves in exchange.
    ———————————————
    Not exactly. A large portion of the Federal Reserve and other central bank’s QE programs included buying government bonds. This forced up the price of those bonds resulting in falling yields as yields go in the opposition direction to the price.

    in effect central banks are the cause of lowering yields as they have been buying government bonds. Late last year the Federal Reserve said they were going to rise interest rates and sell its bond holdings, this is why the market crapped itself in December.

  4. C@tmomma

    [‘And speaking about choice wankery…’]

    Poor old Ok’s lost the plot, possibly a closet DLP member.

    Today I went to an audiologist. He said, Mavis, “Your hearing could be a sign of dementia”, asserting that hearing & visual loss taxes the brain.” I said, Dimitri, “Are you suggesting I’m losing the plot”? He responded: “No, Mavis” – I then went on to order the platinum hearing aids – I refuse to mention the cost thereof. He was, though, such a nice guy.

  5. I suspect that the true objection to MMT isn’t a matter of technical economics but rather one of practical politics.

    Because sure – while there is plenty of spare capacity in the economy, the Government has room to “print money” and drive the uptake of that capacity. The flipside to that, however, is that should the economy suffer a contraction / deficit of capacity then the Government would be called upon to ‘turn the screws’ – reduce spending / increase taxation and “unprint” money. And I can well imagine that there would be considerable scepticism that such could actually be implemented.

  6. Maivs Davis @ #912 Monday, June 10th, 2019 – 10:47 pm

    C@tmomma

    [‘And speaking about choice wankery…’]

    Poor old Ok’s lost the plot, possibly a closet DLP member.

    Today I went to an audiologist. He said, Mavis, “Your hearing could be a sign of dementia”, asserting that hearing & visual loss taxes the brain.” I said, Dimitri, “Are you suggesting I’m losing the plot”? He responded: “No, Mavis” – I then went on to order the platinum hearing aids – I refuse to mention the cost thereof. He was, though, such a nice guy.

    Niceness works. 🙂

  7. I suspect that no one is going to release a poll for a very long time. Before they do they will have to explain the pre election polls. If they don’t no one is going to take them seriously. That makes them pointless.

  8. Mavis Davis @ #903 Monday, June 10th, 2019 – 8:32 pm

    Dan:

    I have term deposits with a bank, the interest of which is guaranteed – 2.6%. With the cash rate reduced, on maturity I’ll be adversely affected. I have to tell you that I’m confused by your explanation. But I thank you for your attempt.

    Mavis, you don’t really have to worry about direct investment into bonds. They’re only available to institutional investors.

  9. From Wikipedia:
    Why Roy & HG used to call Laurie Daley “Tooley” during their State of Origin broadcasts:
    Tooley: In reference to an alleged dressing room incident following the Canberra Raiders’ first grand final win in 1989, where Daley celebrated by allegedly popping his own “magnum” of champagne, in full view of his team mates and then Prime Minister Bob Hawke. “Tool” is a slang word used often by Roy and HG for penis.

  10. If Guytaur could just once find it in himself to place a comma ANYWHERE in ANY sentence, it would probably make my life complete.

    It doesn’t even need to be somewhere logical, just ANYWHERE.

    Cheers.

  11. Dear Dan,

    I still don’t understand you, with the greatest respect. Youse financial experts are worse as dem no- good lawyers, speaking in Latin as they often do. No offence to either profession intended.

  12. Dan Gulberry
    says:
    Monday, June 10, 2019 at 11:01 pm
    nath @ #906 Monday, June 10th, 2019 – 8:43 pm
    Well I thought Naked was one of the better movies I’ve ever seen.
    I thought it was good as well. My date, not so much.
    _____________________________
    you were better off. If you had not put her through the test you might have spent a lifetime watching the avenger movies.

  13. nath @ #927 Monday, June 10th, 2019 – 9:10 pm

    Dan Gulberry
    says:
    Monday, June 10, 2019 at 11:01 pm
    nath @ #906 Monday, June 10th, 2019 – 8:43 pm
    Well I thought Naked was one of the better movies I’ve ever seen.
    I thought it was good as well. My date, not so much.
    _____________________________
    you were better off. If you had not put her through the test you might have spent a lifetime watching the avenger movies.

    Or worse still, Rom-Coms. {shudder}

  14. Dan Gulberry says:
    Monday, June 10, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    Mexicanbeemer @ #922 Monday, June 10th, 2019 – 9:05 pm

    Dan
    Only institutional investors can buy bonds.

    Sorry, meant to say the major investors in bonds are institutions. Most small investors usually invest in them via bond mutual funds.
    ———————-

    There is some truth in that, Australians tend not to be big on fixed income, they tend to favor the more risky shares or more boring term deposits, this is different to America where bonds are seen as the go too conservative investment.

  15. There are exchange-traded Australian Government bonds that can be bought and sold on the ASX just like shares, if you are so inclined.

  16. Oakeshott Country:

    I note your moniker and very much respect the man portrayed therein. Could you tell me whether you’re related to him? I have knowledge thereto, insofar as I worked for a judge who knew him well – well as much as a judge would know another.

  17. caf @ #931 Monday, June 10th, 2019 – 9:19 pm

    There are exchange-traded Australian Government bonds that can be bought and sold on the ASX just like shares, if you are so inclined.

    That’s the secondary market I referred to in my initial reply to Mavis.

    A lot of people think that ASX stands for Australian Stock Exchange, whereas the S in ASX actually stands for Securities, which covers bonds, ETFs, shares, warrants, etc..

  18. I lived in Port Macquarie for a long time and knew him in passing. I greatly admired him and at the time he was getting 70% + PV. Unfortumately his career was destroyed as collateral damage of RGR

  19. I see you mean my Avatar. I greatly admired the Doc when I read about his career in my teens. Unfortunately later historians have been less kind.

  20. Oakeshott Country says:
    Monday, June 10, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    …”Oakeshott was collateral damage for the Ruddster, as were many of Labor’s shining lights”…

    Name one?

  21. Not Sure says:
    Monday, June 10, 2019 at 10:45 pm
    “So, may I suggest to you that you are NOT children, you DO need to take responsibility for your actions and the actions of those you elect to represent you.”

    I take full responsibility as a Greens member for helping the ALP reduce the LNP vote in the Ryan electorate so that it went to preferences. Local Uni students and environmentalists would not vote ALP no matter how hard union thugs stomp on Greens. I don’t take responsibility for the Labor twats who kidded themselves for 6 years that Shorten could win an election or for their pathetic campaign tax messaging and fence sitting on Adani.

  22. Bushfire Bill says:
    Monday, June 10, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    …”You sound like Gerard Henderson on meth”…

    I’d always assumed Gerard was a Mogadon aficionado.

  23. ICANCU says:
    Monday, June 10, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    …”Local Uni students and environmentalists would not vote ALP no matter how hard union thugs stomp on Greens”…

    I went to that University, most nights we didn’t even permit the greenies entry to the bar, unless we were bored.

  24. Oakeshott Country

    [‘I see you mean my Avatar. I greatly admired the Doc when I read about his career in my teens. Unfortunately later historians have been less kind.’]

    The Doc was a towering intellect, from memory the youngest appointed High Court judge. Unfortunately, he suffered early on-set dementia, leading to, on good advice, that his judgments were ghost-written when chief-justice of the Supreme Court of NSW. I was told by Justice Lusher, as he then was, that the Supreme Court would go strike if he wouldn’t resign – this in 1965, from memory.

    But let’s go to his achievements which were manifold, which can easily be found,

    You carry a very heavy avatar, Oakeshott Country; I do hope that you’ll live up to his expectations.

  25. Oakeshott Country says:
    Monday, June 10, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    …”If Morrison can be Prime Minister I am sure Combet could have”…

    You’re not really making a winning case for the bloke.

  26. ICANCU says:
    Monday, June 10, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    …”Labor twats who kidded themselves for 6 years that Shorten could win an election or for their pathetic campaign tax messaging and fence sitting on Adani”…

    You aren’t a fan of progressive taxation?
    Or you are, but the “messaging” wasn’t up to standard?

    Perhaps, email Di Natale and voice your concern that he is complicit in the re-election of a government that intends to cut $36 billion a year from welfare, schools, public hospitals and the PBS.

  27. It is wrong to concentrate on the decline of Evatt compared to his triumphs but dealing with incapacity in the judiciary is a problem. To preserve judicial independence incapacitated judges can only be removed by a vote of both houses. Faced with a likely Supreme Court strike in 1962 but not wanting to humiliate Evatt, the Heffron Government is said to have sent him on an extended boat trip to a law conference in London. He had a debilitating stroke before the boat got to Adelaide and the government then had to get a resignation which Mary Alice eventually provided. Evatt died in 1965

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