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. Oakeshott Country:

    Vale the great man, in so many ways. He was way ahead of his times, way ahead of public opinion. As I’ve said, always take your avatar with the utmost respect!

  2. Of course the poor little rich kids at QLD uni and snobby enviromentalists of Ryan will not give their pv to labor.Labor green war, lets take the gloves off.

    It’s not just that they have no concern for the working masses, it’s worse than that, they despise them, everything about them, the food they eat, the films they watch, the vehicles they drive.

    That is why the reactionary faux left green movement appeals to them so much.It is and always has been a bourgeois wank with a core message of austerity on a scale vastly greater than anything the coalition proposes.

    We are consuming too much, we need to tighten our belts, it’s unsustainable,we must worship mother earth or she will reign hell fire upon us, fuck it’s makes pentecostals look sane.

    No wonder people living week to week with no rich mummy and daddy to pay the rent for them have concern about Labor hanging around with this freak show.

    Whilever Labor keep flirting with this neo feudal quasi pantheist shit they are going to keep losing federal elections, whatever they gain in seats like Ryan will be trumped by losses elsewhere.

  3. the alp green wars are a waste of time
    both have an aversion to the conservatives
    maybe a non aggression pact would be in order

  4. Lucky Creed, there is no war between ALP and Greens. The only war raging on at the moment is the war of the Coalition against the Australian People…. and now the morons who returned the Coalition Government, especially via the preferences coming from One Nation and Palmer’s parties are going to suffer a hell of a nightmare…. The Greens are a breath of fresh air in comparison.

  5. Lucky Creed
    I can’t comment on Ryan but knowing similar areas in Melbourne, I agree there is an element of snobbery but I don’t think they despise the working masses, they are mostly too busy in their own four walls worrying about their next day at the polo or who will be appearing at the arts show, in terms of sport, and maybe Melbourne is just different but there are no shortage of poshy types following AFL clubs like the Dees or the Hawks or the Dons.

  6. Lucky Creed, if the ALP was ever stupid enough to adopt your perspective on the environment I would switch to voting Greens 1 ALP 2.

  7. Good Morning

    This hearing with John Dean is interesting viewing from Congress.

    Expect many rage tweets soon.

    I am watching the CBS feed on YouTube if you want to watch.

  8. Goof morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Adele Ferguson unloads on the confronting week for whistleblowers, journalists and democracy.
    Richard Denniss explains why swingeing tax cuts are a bad bet on a wobbly future.
    Greg Jericho declares that we have reached the bottom of the housing market but any rebound will be slow to come.
    According to Alexandra Smith the NSW is applying a substantial first home owners assistance package.
    Sam Maiden writes that fresh evidence of “double standards” has emerged amid claims Defence is picking and choosing which leaks it asks the police to investigate following AFP raids at the home of a journalist and the ABC.
    Eryk Bagshaw tells us that key Senate crossbenchers will demand the government come up with a plan to stop “abhorrent” energy price rises before supporting the Coalition’s signature $158 billion income tax cuts.
    The Morrison Government clearly has no plans to deal with the chaos in our visa system, writes former Immigration Department deputy secretary Abul Rizvi and Kristina Keneally has signalled Labor’s intention to hold the Government to account for the chaos in it.
    The Liberal Party’s least-successful division, Victoria, will this weekend choose between a 62-year-old member of the political establishment and a 40-year-old challenger for the party presidency.
    Daniel Wild, director of research at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), says the Abbott government’s 2014 decision to end plans for a price on carbon was one of the think tank’s greatest achievements in shaping Australian public policy. The New Daily has a close look at that shady organisation.
    Efforts to relocate public servants from Canberra are “absurd” and should target Australia’s largest capital cities instead, former leading bureaucrat Dennis Richardson says.
    The AFR says that the Morrison government is examining which public infrastructure projects can be rolled out faster than scheduled to support the economy through a soft patch.
    Shane Wright is not at all impressed with the government’s eschewing of support for R and D.
    More than 80 per cent of saving accounts are paying less than the inflation rate, or a negative real interest rate. Surely this needs to be factored into aged pension rate calculations.
    Endometriosis sufferer Rose Dooley uses her experience to shine a light on the cost of specialist medical treatment.
    Telecommunications expert Paul Budde explores the viability of 5G deployment.
    The AFR looks at the issues facing the government when it comes to the gig economy.
    Environmentalist Jeff Angel says that the government should ditch the jobs v environment slogan and get on with doing both.
    David Crowe reports that Morrison will commit $2.8 million to expand mental health services to school students amid calls for stronger action by all governments to fix a “mess” in the health system.
    Ed Husic has called on both major parties to reach a fake news “armistice” before the next election, arguing that political scare campaigns are in neither’s best interests.
    The Age examines the huge cost of Melbourne’s massive transport construction program.
    Sarah Danckert explains how ASIC has been dealt a significant legal defeat after the Federal Court threw out market manipulation allegations it had made against a trader working for National Australia Bank over a multibillion-dollar spike in trading on the ASX 200.
    Peter Hartcher believes Hong Kong’s last fight is lost.
    Involuntary celibates are wrong and delusional, but we should still be paying attention to what this level of desperation tells us about young males, says The Washington Post.
    There’s quite a smell emanating from this story about Jared Kushner.
    Another dummy spit from Trump as he unloads upon the “destructive” Federal Reserve.

    Cartoon Corner

    Alan Moir gets right to the point on intimidation of the press.

    David Rowe unpicks the new Coalition economic policy development framework.

    Cathy Wilcox has another crack at Morrison and Dutton.

    From Matt Golding.

    Two crackers from Mark David.

    John Shakespeare bestows an apt award to Ash Barty.

    Where’s Zanetti coming from here?

    Jon Kudelka with Hanson at the negotiation table.

    From the US

  9. Mavis Davis says:
    Monday, June 10, 2019 at 10:18 pm


    [‘..and you want me to explain it in simple terms.’]

    Yes, please, if you would, in under 5,000 words.

    A bond can be traded on a secondary market. Unlike a bank deposit it is not owned by a particular entity.

    There is a formula to work out what it is worth; it takes into account when the interest is paid by the bond and the money tied up in the bond, based on the desired yield. I cannot remember the formula, exams done. Google helped me out:
    Value = F/(1+r)^T + sum(C/(1+r)^t))
    r = desired yield
    F = face value of bond
    C =Coupon rate
    t = number of periods
    T = time to maturity
    There are a lot of words said in that formala

  10. Morning all and thanks BK. That look into the IPA is interesting. They might once have been concerned with public affairs, but now seem to devote all their efforts into preventing action on global warming.

  11. Interesting article about Ed Husic. Looks like he has become an ‘Ambassador at Large’ and Labor’s Conscience instead of having a shadow ministerial position. Smart.

  12. Bongiorno

    A pumped-up Scott Morrison had some streetwise advice for his jubilant party room after their miraculous election win.

    The Prime Minister warned his troops: “Remember, journalists are not your friends”.

    To his new backbenchers as well as the more experienced in the room, he warned them not to be flattered by invitations to go on various TV or radio programs but always be alert to the fact the media is there for the gotcha moments and to embarrass the government.

    Mr Morrison’s default position was best illustrated by his refusal to brief the media – the people of Australia – on how he was stopping the boats. “On-water matters” were out of bounds.

    Every Liberal prime minister since John Howard has tried to wedge Labor, and the opposition has chosen the path of least resistance lest it appear weak on “keeping the nation safe”.

    The new Labor leader, Anthony Albanese says he “wants to make sure legitimate journalism is not a crime”, but he’s leaving it up to the government to take the initiative because “they’re the government”.

    It begs the question, what is the opposition then?


  13. Dutton’s Home Affairs Dept is creating the very problem that he tries to blame on Labor.
    Abul Rizvi, fmr Imm Dept Sec.

    Accelerating growth in the bridging visa backlog is screaming out to criminals and spivs that Australia’s visa system is in trouble. It is creating a honeypot attracting people smugglers who abuse our onshore protection visa system.

    Mr Dutton cannot hide from the fact that he is an incompetent Minister who has lost control of our borders, lost control of visa and citizenship processing, lost control of his budget, and lost control of his department.

    The Government clearly has no plans to deal with the chaos in our visa system.

    To our shame, it now seems highly likely Australia will follow the European and U.S. path of a growing permanent underclass of failed asylum seekers who will live from hand to mouth trying to obtain work illegally wherever possible.


  14. @lizzie

    “A pumped-up Scott Morrison had some streetwise advice for his jubilant party room after their miraculous election win.”


    “It begs the question, what is the opposition then?”

    Are journalists playing dumb now?

  15. Oakeshott Country @ #944 Monday, June 10th, 2019 – 11:49 pm

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

    Combet didn’t have the rat cunning, the mean trickiness or the mendacity of Morrison.
    Combet like everyone in the ALP leadership since Keating has been a cream puff in political terms – except Latham, who self destructed.

  16. Mr Morrison didn’t quite say “the media is the enemy of the Australian people” to paraphrase Donald Trump, but he certainly believes the people’s right to know should be constrained as much for the government of the day’s political convenience as the national interest.

    No, Big Daggy isn’t as subtle as a sledgehammer like Donald Trump. He’s more slippery with his words. Just as dangerous to democracy though.

  17. How soon until we see something similar here?

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Monday that photos of travelers had been compromised as part of a “malicious cyber-attack,” raising concerns over how federal officials’ expanding surveillance efforts could imperil Americans’ privacy.

    Customs officials said in a statement Monday that the images, which included photos of people’s license plates, had been compromised as part of an attack on a federal subcontractor.

    The agency maintains a database including passport and visa photos that is used at airports as part of an agency facial-recognition program. CBP declined to say what images were stolen or how many people were affected.


  18. C@t

    After posting that extract, I read about China’s political ‘justice system’, where nobody can escape trumped up charges. The two articles together do not make for happy reading.

  19. @mswararriorLMS

    ScoMo won’t answer questions about being sacked kangaroocourtofaustralia.com/2019/06/08/loo… #auspol @AlboMP @MsVeruca @MichaelWestBiz @rationalbitch @anstap13 @margo694 @elliemail @Kynes3 @photo_journ @theprojecttv @MathsParty_MPA @Jarrapin @The_NDL @ArmidaleExpress @TenterfieldStar @GlenExaminer

  20. One Nation’s opposition means the government must rely on the Centre Alliance’s two senators, who have demanded the government pass measures to stop energy price rises in exchange for supporting the tax cuts.

    Maybe I’m naive, but …

  21. lizzie @ #971 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 8:25 am

    One Nation’s opposition means the government must rely on the Centre Alliance’s two senators, who have demanded the government pass measures to stop energy price rises in exchange for supporting the tax cuts.

    Maybe I’m naive, but …

    Yeah, doesn’t that just mean a new Coal-Fired Power Station?

  22. lizzie @ #969 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 8:22 am


    After posting that extract, I read about China’s political ‘justice system’, where nobody can escape trumped up charges. The two articles together do not make for happy reading.

    Morrison has already flagged that he wants to introduce China’s Social Credit system to Australia.

  23. (Mr Costello) said politicians sought to capitalise on concern over the cost of living, which some voters conflated with their “cost-of-lifestyle” pressures.

    “There’s a profound difference between the two. Cost of lifestyle is thinking it’s a fundamental human right to have my three coffees [a day] and my mobile phone and my trip to Bali each year,” he said.

    World Vision says the Coalition has cut Australia’s foreign aid budget each year since it came to power in 2014, to just 21¢ in every $100 of gross national income. In comparison, it says the United Kingdom spends 70¢ in every $100 while Switzerland spends $1.10.

    Mr Costello said the redirection of aid came at the cost of poor Asian nations – a “foolish” strategy that would lead to a loss of goodwill from important trading partners.


  24. The Justice Department, after weeks of tense negotiations, has agreed to provide Congress with key evidence collected by Robert S. Mueller III that House Judiciary Committee members said could shed light on possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by President Trump, the House Judiciary Committee said on Monday.

    The exact scope of the material the Justice Department has agreed to provide was not immediately clear, but the committee signaled that it was a breakthrough after weeks of wrangling over those materials and others that the Judiciary panel demanded under subpoena.


  25. https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2019/06/10/afp-raid-whistleblower-adf/

    The fresh evidence of “double standards” has emerged amid claims Defence is picking and choosing which leaks it asks the police to investigate following AFP raids at the home of a journalist and the ABC.

    The leaked confidential report, prepared by Dr Samantha Crompvoets, uncovered allegations of a “disregard for human dignity” by some SAS soldiers and acts of “illegal violence” so serious it triggered a long-running secretive investigation into possible war crimes.

  26. Former Nixon-era WH counsel gives testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on the Mueller report.

    “In many ways the Mueller report is to President Trump what the so-called Watergate roadmap … was to President Richard Nixon,” said Dean, whose congressional testimony in 1973 ultimately led to the resignation of Nixon. “Special counsel Mueller has provided this committee with a roadmap.”


    Trump’s predictable, pitiable response? He’s a ‘loser’. You have to laugh.

  27. https://www.crikey.com.au/about-inq/?utm_campaign=marketing&utm_medium=email&utm_source=crikey.com.au&term=INQ.launch

    INQ is Crikey’s Inquiry Journalism unit.
    INQ’s mission is investigative reporting that digs, questions, probes, analyses and scrutinises — relentlessly and without fear or favour.
    INQ is part of Crikey, Australia’s most vigorously independent news publication, with almost 20 years of fearless journalism under its belt.

  28. John Lyons keeping up the fight for journalism independent of the government with this opinion piece in The Washington Post today:

    As the head of investigative journalism for ABC, I set out to shadow the agents; two of the journalists on their warrant report to me, so I wanted to know exactly where the police would go inside our building and what they would try to access.

    A raid on the media in Australia is rare — at least until recently — and I wanted to keep the two reporters named on the warrant updated. So I began live-tweeting. One agent soon asked why I was doing it. I told him we were a media organization that told stories. He agreed — so history was made with the first live-tweeting from inside a high-profile Australian police raid.

    For me, though, the raid was a depressing nine hours, a distressing low point for Australian journalism. It was a violation of the confidences we share with our colleagues and contacts when preparing stories.


  29. On Combet: About a week ago, I was watching an episode of ABC’s “You Can’t Say That”, this one focusing on ex-politicians. Greg Combet was one of the interviewees, and throughout he struck me as a really genuine, intelligent, and friendly guy, but also as someone who had been left totally exhausted and disillusioned by the bastardry that politics often requires.

    I’d add too that I’d seriously recommend anyone who hasn’t watched that episode to check it out. Seeing people like Combet, Sam Dastyari and Wyatt Roy being totally candid and unrestrained by the need to stay on message was fascinating. It definitely gave me a whole lot more respect for Dastyari and Roy, the latter of whom comes across as surprisingly insightful and self-aware when not simply parroting the Liberal party line.

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