Federal election plus five weeks

An already strong result for government in the Senate may be about to get even better, as Cory Bernardi eyes the exit. And yet more on the great pollster failure.

I had a paywalled article in Crikey on the conclusion of the Senate election result, which among other things had this to say:

The Coalition went into the election with 31 senators out of 76 and comes out with 35 — and may be about to go one better if there is anything behind suggestions that Cory Bernardi is set to rejoin the Liberal Party. That would leave the government needing the support of only three crossbenchers to win contested votes.

That could be achieved with the two votes of the Centre Alliance plus that of Jacqui Lambie, who is newly restored to the Senate after falling victim to the Section 44 imbroglio in late 2017. Lambie appears to be co-operating closely with the Centre Alliance, having long enjoyed a warm relationship with the party’s founder Nick Xenophon.

Such a voting bloc would relieve the Morrison government of the need to dirty its hands in dealing with One Nation — though it could certainly do that any time the Centre Alliance members felt inspired to take liberal positions on such issues as asylum seekers and expansion of the national security state.

Since then, talk of Cory Bernardi rejoining the Liberal Party has moved on to suggestions he will leave parliament altogether, creating a casual vacancy that would stand to be filled by the Liberal Party. Bernardi announced he would deregister his Australian Conservatives party on Thursday following its failure to make an impression at the election, and told Sky News the next day that it “might be best for me to leave parliament in the next six months”, although he also said he was “unresolved”. Paul Starick of The Advertiser reports that sources on both sides of the SA Liberal Party’s factional divide say the front-runner would be Georgina Downer, daughter of the former Foreign Minister and twice-unsuccessful lower house candidate for Mayo. The party’s Senate tickets usually pair moderate and Right faction members in the top two positions, and Downer would take a place for the Right that was filled in 2016 by Bernardi, with the other incumbent up for re-election in 2022 being moderate-aligned Simon Birmingham.

In other news, Simon Jackman and Luke Mansillo of the University of Sydney have posted slides from a detailed conference presentation on the great opinion poll failure. Once you get past the technical detail on the first few slides, this shows trend measures that attempt to ascertain the true underlying position throughout the parliamentary term, based on both polling and the actual results from both 2016 and 2019. This suggests the Coalition had its nose in front in Malcolm Turnbull’s last months, and that Labor only led by around 51-49 after he was dumped. An improving trend for the Coalition began in December and accelerated during the April-May campaign period. Also included is an analysis of pollster herding effects, which were particularly pronounced for the Coalition primary vote during the campaign period. Labor and Greens primary vote readings were more dispersed, in large part due to Ipsos’s pecularity of having low primary votes for Labor (accurately, as it turned out) and high ones for the Greens (rather less so).

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.

1,716 comments on “Federal election plus five weeks”

  1. Morning all

    Thanks William

    Malcolm Turnbull would be feeling mighty miffed at moment knowing the polls weren’t reflecting the reality.

  2. Meanwhile the latest word in Setka saga.

    He believes that despite pleading guilty to charges etc., and expecting a conviction to be recorded against him this week, he should remain in top job.

    There are efforts all round to ensure he is ousted. With more leaks planned if he doesn’t go. It could get more ugly.

    His deputy Shaun Reardon who resigned last week, has been accused of being source of leaks to date. It isnt him.

  3. lizzie @ #1 Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 – 7:38 am

    Is it so cold that all PB devices are frozen?

    10℃ in Newcastle -light rain.

    My very favourite great grandson gave me one of his latest paintings yesterday.

    Is that me, said I foolishly, pointing to a large blob on the paper.

    Luckily the energetic 3 and a half year old is not yet able to connect the dots (or the dotty). He laughed fit to burst and said “thats a tree”.

    I guess the green colour should have been a hint. ☕☕

  4. Trump delays the deportation raids. And then we hear this….

    Jake TapperVerified account@jaketapper
    2h2 hours ago
    Speaker Pelosi called the President last night and asked him to call off the ICE deportation raids, a source familiar with the call tells me. The two spoke at 7:20 pm ET last night for about 12 minutes.

  5. Thanks, Vic, for the Setka update. I didn’t think Albanese and McManus would go off half ‘cocked and loaded’. 🙂

  6. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    At Last some facts! The medevac panel has overturned two cases in four months, despite ‘floodgate’ fears
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/medevac-panel-overturns-two-cases-in-four-months-despite-floodgate-fears-20190622-p5208u.html
    Katharine Murphy writes that leaks and loose lips are undermining Labor unity ahead of its campaign post mortem.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/22/leaks-and-loose-lips-undermine-labor-unity-ahead-of-campaign-postmortem
    Sam Maiden examines Albo’s tactics and method in handling Labor reaching its position on the upcoming income tax legislation.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/06/21/anthony-albanese-tax-cuts-2/
    Tom Decent reports that there are growing calls for the “hypocritical” website, GoFundMe, which proudly displays a gay pride flag on its social media accounts, to shut down the fundraising exercise.
    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/folau-thanks-donors-for-half-a-million-dollars-as-pressure-mounts-on-gofundme-20190622-p5208t.html
    Elizabeth Farrelly lets fly at the NBN.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/i-promised-you-dollars-you-promised-me-internet-a-tale-of-nbn-woe-20190620-p51zlt.html
    The federal government has ruled out using federal-state funding agreements to force hospitals to deliver more publicly funded terminations and says states have primary responsibility for abortion services.
    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/too-hard-too-controversial-government-urged-to-put-abortion-strategy-into-practice-20190620-p51zo2.html
    Cassandra Morgan reports that more than 45 per cent of Australia’s residential aged care facilities are running at a loss.
    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6234103/nearly-half-of-australias-nursing-homes-are-running-at-a-loss/?cs=14225
    Of these, nearly 20 per cent have greater cash outgoings than incomings, meaning they have to reach into their own pockets or rely on support from their parent organisations and shareholders to remain financially viable.
    Why the Opal and Mascot Towers cases may be the tip of a very large iceberg.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/no-effective-oversight-why-the-opal-and-mascot-towers-cases-may-be-the-tip-of-a-very-large-iceberg-20190621-p52017.html
    The Morrison government has come under fire for proposing a divisive budget plan that will divert $3.9 billion from education projects into a new fund to help with natural disasters, as it nominates the scheme as one of its top priorities when the new Parliament meets next month.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/stoush-brewing-over-3-9b-education-infrastructure-fund-20190621-p51zx1.html
    Ben Armbruster opines that the Trump administration is trying to make war with Iran inevitable.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/22/the-trump-administration-is-trying-to-make-war-with-iran-inevitable
    London mayor Sadiq Khan has described Donald Trump as a “six-foot-three child in the White House” in an ongoing war of words with the US president.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/22/sadiq-khan-hits-back-at-donald-trump-calling-him-six-foot-three-child
    Only in Trump’s America can an allegation of rape by the president likely go nowhere.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/there-are-no-surprises-why-a-rape-allegation-is-unlikely-to-cause-trump-much-damage-20190622-p5209s.html

    Cartoon Corner

    From Matt Golding



    Mark David’s back after bit of a break.

    Zanetti on Folau and The Parrot.

    Jon Kudelka on Facebook’s entry into the finance sphere.

    From the US




  7. Okay, so now we know when the polling went skew-wiff. But do we know why it was underdone for the Coalition for so long?

  8. C@t

    Albo and McManus are doing their part putting pressure to bear.

    Setka and his minions aren’t going to let go easily, so the potential for it to get very messy is there.

  9. Fess

    Definitely delusional.
    Setka truly believes he has been doing a great job serving his members, and despite the many indiscretions deserves to remain in top job.

  10. KayJay

    One of my sons, eons ago, produced such a painting.

    “It’s a person,” he told me.

    “Where’s his face?”

    “Oh, whoops.”

    A few minutes later…

    “Where’s his arms?”

    .And so on, until the person acquired all their appendages.

    On the other side of the scale, the other son brought home a picture of me he’d drawn at kindergarten – which included a luxuriant growth of pubic hair.

  11. simon holmes à court@simonahac
    3h3 hours ago

    germany
    gov’t: we’re going to shut down all coal by 2038.
    people: unacceptable! needs to be _much_ sooner!

    australia
    gov’t: we’re thinking of subsidising a coal power station or two.
    people: just so long as you don’t touch our franking credits!

  12. Morning all. Thanks BK. So the polling failure extended back to Turnbull. Does that mean the plotters removed a PM who was still leading? No wonder the 30 in a row were so similar. I suspect Dutton would still have tried.

  13. Thanks BK.

    From Murphy’s article:

    The difference between Swan and Albanese is a nuance rather than an order-of-magnitude rupture, particularly as the new leader is doubtless still working through what his “make aspiration great again” rhetoric will actually mean in practice, a process that plays out issue by issue.

    Did Albanese really say ‘make aspiration great again’ or is that a Murphy-ism? I really hope it is the latter.

  14. Confessions @ #20 Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 – 8:35 am

    Thanks BK.

    From Murphy’s article:

    The difference between Swan and Albanese is a nuance rather than an order-of-magnitude rupture, particularly as the new leader is doubtless still working through what his “make aspiration great again” rhetoric will actually mean in practice, a process that plays out issue by issue.

    Did Albanese really say ‘make aspiration great again’ or is that a Murphy-ism? I really hope it is the latter.

    Murpharooism.

    Albanese is trying to work aspiration into the narrative but not in a Trumpesque way.

    Jim Chalmers will probably give more clues about that this morning. And a likely announcement about the tax position for Labor re Coalition tax cuts. As the Coalition are framing all the tax cuts around the bracket creep theme it might be hard for Labor not to allow them all, even though I think they should put up a nuanced argument about the flattening of the tax scales in the 3rd tranche of tax cuts and not vote for them. The Coalition doesn’t really need Labor’s votes for that anyway.

  15. zoomster
    Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 – 8:22 am
    Comment #15

    On the other side of the scale, the other son brought home a picture of me he’d drawn at kindergarten – which included a luxuriant growth of pubic hair.

    I was so taken with the little boy yesterday that I completely forgot to give him my standard advice
    which is – —
    Always vote Labor.

    By time he is eligible to vote he may be looking at my latest finger painting creation and asking “What’s that Pa, is that a bird, a tree or Gramma ❓ or some such. 🕊🕊🕊 ☕

  16. #WeatheronPB.
    Just back in from feeding the animals. Minus 2 degrees out there with everything iced up. Feeling is just returning to my fingers after an extended rinse in hot water!

  17. William Bowe says:
    Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    William….I wonder what adjustments you have in mind for BludgerTrack, if any, considering the very large miss by the national polls.
    Only very minor ones. If the polls are wrong, BludgerTrack will be wrong — there’s not much you can do to “correct” for that that would be more reliable than tossing a coin. What I will do though is start doing probability estimates of one side or the other winning a majority based on the current trend measures, using highly conservative assumptions.

    Thanks William. Good idea on the probability estimates…will you put up a range, similar to 538? Will you assign the probabilities around 2PP projections or on the basis of PV polling, and will you use Bayesian probability, as 538 do?

    Labor has won just one of the last 8 elections and may claim to have come close to a draw in one other. In my opinion, this should be weighted into the probability estimates.

    I do think that PV is a powerful guide. Usually, when PV moves the splits in pref flows move in the same direction, reflecting the still-binary character of choice-of-government.

  18. Albo has raised an alternative meaning for aspiration….defines it as meaning work for all those who wish to work….full employment, essentially, and having access to good medical care, education, opportunity….to aspire is to hope. He wants hope to mean more than owning a mansion in the outer suburbs.

    In WA, many people hope for more work, for longer hours, for better pay, for better schools….

  19. After listening to a talk on freedom and the AFP this morning, this seemed to me to be an excellent metaphor for the way we are being shut down by Home Affairs.

    “We often miss out on the things that exist in our society that would benefit us greatly due to bureaucratic policies,” he says. “There are no Australian laws or regulations around dogs in corporate offices, it is at the discretion of individual organisations. To develop a dog policy that would satisfy everyone, forget it, it is perhaps better off as it is, dealt by each individual organisation at management discretion.

    “If HR were formally involved there would be so much precaution and red tape people would get spooked out of it. ‘What if’ scenarios would dominate the agenda and I fear that the policies would be geared towards ‘protecting’ the part of the workforce that don’t like dogs, best to not universalise this,” adds Stamatakis.

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/top-dogs-leading-the-office-revolution-20190622-p5209w.html

  20. I guess the one bright spot in politics is that Pauline Hanson is getting old. She will have to retire at some point. Hopefully this will occur before a viable succession and her party will vanish with her.

  21. William….I wonder what adjustments you have in mind for BludgerTrack, if any, considering the very large miss by the national polls.

  22. Thanks, BK

    Taking money from education and assigning it to natural disasters is code for taking the money from public education and giving it to farmers.

    #Don’tblamemeIvotedLabor

  23. The day will come – can’t be far away – when the Greens will cease directing prefs to Labor, and instead ‘leave it up to voters’. This would likely hurt pref flows to Labor to some extent, and would further shrink the Labor plurality.

  24. ‘defines it as meaning work for all those who wish to work….’

    Ironically, this should mean making it easier for those who don’t wish to work – or wish to work fewer hours – which would in itself create more employment.

    The current system is designed to get as many people into the workforce as possible, whether they want to be there or not.

    Reducing mortgage costs would, for example, take the pressure off both members of a couple ‘having to work.’

    As I’ve said before about childcare, we might be giving people who are eating rice even though they don’t like it…more rice.

  25. “I guess the one bright spot in politics is that Pauline Hanson is getting old. She will have to retire at some point. Hopefully this will occur before a viable succession and her party will vanish with her.”

    I think it more likely that One Nation will disappear when the Liberals “address their followers’ concerns”.

  26. briefly

    ‘The day will come – can’t be far away – when the Greens will cease directing prefs to Labor, and instead ‘leave it up to voters’. ‘

    This has happened in Indi on a couple of occasions (pre independent). Made no difference to the preference flows whatsoever.

  27. ‘poroti says:
    Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 9:01 am

    Boerwar

    Farmers, most of it won’t get further than the bank accounts of Nats donors.’

    Taylor Famiglia Inc will be rubbing its hands with glee.

  28. …the example I used the other day was my cleaner friend, who wants to work four days a week. She secured a job which was advertised on that basis, and found herself working sometimes ten days in a row (for six months). Despite negotiations with the employer, in the end she’s had to quit.

  29. Zoom….the things you mention would reduce the labour supply. This would change the composition of the workforce, but would not in itself create more demand for labour.

    We need to create more jobs and increase the wages of those in work. The Liberals have been driving up labour force participation while driving down wages and shrinking the available work. Unemployment and underemployment are now rising, even from their high pre-existing levels.

    Income stress and it’s related debt-stresses are very real many parts of the economy. The Liberals know it they exploit it politically. Labor needs to get much sharper on this.

  30. It went down to -7 here. We are in the black now. Apologies to that pair of indefatiguable liars: Morrison and Frydenberg.
    We are on 1 degree.
    #weatheronPB

  31. So, $600million worth of taxpayer funded and taxpayer subsidized lies nearly got the rabid right the control of the Senate.
    Our democracy is fucked.

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