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. Bucephalus says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 12:25 pm
    briefly says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    “The Right will create unemployment in order to further their agenda. They are already doing that too.”

    During the Howard Government the Unemployment Rate fell from 8.5% in 1996 to 4.4% in 2007.

    During the same period there was record Real Wages Growth.

    The household income/wages share of national income has been declining for nearly 50 years. This has intensified during periods of Liberal Government….which has been through most of the period in question. The Liberals have not only organised the destruction of wage incomes. They are now carrying out the liquidation of social incomes too.

    The Liberals are deliberately creating unemployment and repressing incomes in order to prosecute their ideological agenda. This is very obvious. The hard-Right program, which includes the dismantling of progressive taxation and the abolition of Commonwealth social programs, is well underway.

  2. a r says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    In WA the max size allowed by the regulator for the vast majority on single phase power is 5kw.

  3. Tristo says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 12:18 pm
    @Nicholas

    That sort of agenda you argued Labor should adopt, would I predict would rally many Millennial and Generation Z voters. Also they would be happy to join and/or actively campaign and hustle in the hundreds of thousands. That would counter a very hostile campaign by the commerical media and any mass disinformation campaign which would be waged against Labor.

    This is pure delusion. The dysfunction in left-of-centre politics will ensure that ostensibly Labor-positive voices are used to defeat Labor. The scouts, the political clones, the irregulars and the mercenaries of the Liberals will align in order to defeat Labor. Make no mistake. The anti-Labor voices, including the Greens, utterly despise Labor. They will not campaign for Labor. They will campaign for the Liberals, one way or another.

  4. briefly says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    “They are concerned about jobs, incomes, income security, the cost of living.”

    Profitable businesses with strong cashflow create jobs, income and income security. The ALP is anti-business. It wants to tax them more and the proposed attacks on Trusts – which most small business use because they are tax effective and protect personal assets – were a direct attack on small business operators. The cost of power is going up and up because of the massive subsidisation of renewables and the financial and engineering impacts of increased renewables in the systems leads to greater costs. Until the ALP stops attacking business, in particular small businesses, it has not got the answers required by the voters.

  5. It will not be lost on the Liberals that in the places where the economy is the worst, they over-performed. Most of Queensland, suburban and regional seats in WA, parts of NSW and Northern Tasmania all returned surprisingly good results for the Liberals. They are very adroit at campaigning to their mob and against Labor. They know what to do. They know how to exploit economic deprivation to engineer electoral wins.

    This is the current paradigm. The Liberals are certainly making the most of it. Labor needs to fully comprehend this and respond to it with its own program. If we do not, we will continue to lose. Australia is already a virtual one-party state at a Federal Level. The idea of ‘political duopoly’ is obsolete.

  6. Bucephalus says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 12:46 pm
    briefly says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    “They are concerned about jobs, incomes, income security, the cost of living.”

    Profitable businesses with strong cashflow create jobs, income and income security. The ALP is anti-business. It wants to tax them more and the proposed attacks on Trusts – which most small business use because they are tax effective and protect personal assets – were a direct attack on small business operators. The cost of power is going up and up because of the massive subsidisation of renewables and the financial and engineering impacts of increased renewables in the systems leads to greater costs. Until the ALP stops attacking business, in particular small businesses, it has not got the answers required by the voters.

    This is a succinct statement of the Lib doctrine. Thanks.

    Of course, it overlooks the reality. There have been no attacks on business. There has been reduction in taxes. There is no effective regulation in the environment. But unemployment has been going up. Unemployment and under-employment are very serious economic and social problems. They have grave human consequences. They are a consequence of Liberal orthodoxy.

    As a note, it cannot be possible that subsidies, if they exist, for renewables both lower power costs (that’s what subsidies do) and increase them at the same time. Subsidies lower costs. That is why they are created.

    The Liberals lie all the time about renewable power. Even so, Perth is on track to become the first city in the world to be 100% powered by renewables. This will happen with or without subsidies.

  7. The rise in unemployment is also a problem for businesses – most especially for the hundreds of thousands of micro-businesses that rely on discretionary spending by their customers. These small, usually single-person businesses are also losers from the repression in the economy. Consumer spending power is drawn in by the very large corporates – by banks, telcos, the auto sector, foodstuffs, energy suppliers, retailers, transport and accomodation suppliers, media/publishers and their content producers…to name just some. These corporates command a huge share of spending. They mostly supply essentials. To the extent that income is allocated to essentials, there is less available for discretionary products. It is this sector that is really suffering at present. Their incomes are getting smashed, along with the incomes of the unemployed and under-employed.

    This is a direct consequence of Liberal economic choices.

  8. The attack of the Liberals on living standards is very deliberate. This should be very clearly understood. There are Greens who welcome this. They either want to see vastly less consumption on environmental grounds or they want to see the capitalist order collapse into crisis, or both.

    There is one party that can oppose the Liberals. That is Labor. We better start doing it.

  9. Bucephalus
    Re Iran, I have the same experience of Iranians (though I’ve only worked with them, not lived with them). The Revolutionary Guard has a stranglehold on the country.

    The only prospect for change will come from within. Trump’s sanctions and chest-beating won’t change a thing, only bind the population closer to a the regime. The attempts by Obama & the EU at detente might have been more effective at promoting reform within Iran.

    The Iranian regime is execrable, but I find it hard to believe they are any worse than the Saudis.

  10. Nicholas says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 7:29 am

    QE is useless because all it does is swap one asset for another. The non-government sector gives up bonds and the central bank hands over reserves in exchange. The net financial position of the non-government sector does not change at all. Only the composition of the portfolio changes.

    The reason why central banks have dedicated so much attention to QE is that governments refuse to do what is desperately needed: sustained fiscal expansion to achieve full employment and deliver improved public services and infrastructure. So central banks have to manipulate levers that don’t really do anything.
    —————————-
    Kind of except the non-government sector doesn’t necessarily give them up, if the government conducts a bond auction and central banks buy those bonds then it isn’t someone else giving something up. QE programs could be useful if they were targeted and would work better in a country like Australia with its compulsory super. The Americans approach hasn’t made much difference to the real economy at all.

  11. briefly says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    “As a note, it cannot be possible that subsidies, if they exist, for renewables both lower power costs (that’s what subsidies do) and increase them at the same time. Subsidies lower costs.”

    The operator gets the subsidy – the consumer has to pay for that and does. Poor people are paying for the wealthy to put solar on their homes.

    “Perth is on track to become the first city in the world to be 100% powered by renewables.”

    By when? 2100? Only about 3,300 Gwh out of a total 41,000 Gwh was generated by renewables last year.

  12. How can it be that a subsidy is received by the operator but also paid for by customer?

    If the customer is paying, there is no subsidy.

    If there is a subsidy it will reflect in the price to the end user as ong as there is competition

  13. The domestic PV supply in Perth already accounts for more energy supply than any single power station in the SW grid.

    An expansion of renewable supply would easily mean the Perth market would become 100% renewable-powered.

    There is a lot of industrial demand satisfied by gas. This can be quickly replaced too if market forces were allowed to operate in the Grids.

  14. Poor people are paying for the wealthy to put solar on their homes.

    In Victoria, the government is assisting pensioners to add solar panels. I have taken advantage of the grants.

  15. Did anyone else watch the Press Club with media ‘bosses’. The best questions were from Speers, Murphy and Mark Kenny. Murphy (Guardian) was the only one who criticised the MSM!

  16. Bucephalus
    “Now that Mr Setka has pleaded guilty two two charges does that change the dynamic for him?
    Somehow I don’t think it will.”

    He only got a good behaviour bond and $1000 fine. I don’t think you could be sacked from many jobs for that but it’s probably cut short his budding career as an MP (assuming the potential sentence was at least a year and a conviction was recorded).

  17. briefly says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 1:29 pm
    “The domestic PV supply in Perth already accounts for more energy supply than any single power station in the SW grid.”

    Any Reference for that?

  18. Two major and important questions dodged by the media leaders at the NPC just now.

    Firstly, they didn’t answer the question about whether Whistleblowers should be allowed the same degree of protection which the media bosses were seeking for their journalists.

    Also, when put on the spot about their cheerleading the federal government’s National Security legislation by calling those who oppose their breadth, ‘soft on terrorism’, the 3 media bosses, but especially the News Corp guy, refused to say they would not keep doing that, even when people and MPs in the Opposition try to bring it to the public’s attention.

    Mark Kenny and Katherine Murphy are to be applauded for trying to get answers to these important questions.

  19. AFL great Mark “Bomber” Thompson admits he’s taken drugs but insists he hasn’t sold them.

    The 55-year-old said on Wednesday he used ice during the latter half of 2017, adding that he was also tempted to try LSD but “didn’t have the guts”.

    Thompson is in Melbourne Magistrates Court fighting three drug trafficking charges and four of possession after a raid on his Port Melbourne property.

    “Ice, that’s it really,” he said when asked about his drug use.

    The Essendon premiership captain and Geelong premiership coach said it had become a habit. “I was smoking too much,” he said. “It was a difficult time. I left the industry where I worked in a bad way.”

    Thompson linked his struggles to Essendon’s supplements scandal, which rocked the club and league.

    Police allege a lock box containing MDA, ice, Xanax and an LSD tablet were found at Thompson’s home in January last year, along with equipment including scales.

    He admitted owning the scales and using them to make sure he got the quantity of drugs he had paid for. “I used to weigh stuff up,” he said. “What you paid for is what you got. I can’t believe I’m saying this.”

    Thompson also admitted he’s considered taking LSD. “I always wanted to take it but I didn’t have the guts,” he said.

  20. Re early election speculation upthread a bit.

    If the Coalition are leading comfortably in the polls in 2021 (and they believe them), the next election will be late 2021. If they are not doing so well, it will be March or May 2022 (Easter that year is April 17).

  21. With relevant design of the regulation of the energy markets in WA and further encouragement to electrification of the transport system, the NWIS and SWIS can become fully renewably-powered quite quickly. The stationery energy plant in the resources and refining sectors can be converted from gas to renewables very easily. This is simply a question of political will.

    The power used in the NW gas processing sector is all supplied using gas. This can also be changed, though there is a very argument to say this sector should be investing in offsets too.

  22. Bucephalus @ #1463 Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 – 1:12 pm

    Poor people are paying for the wealthy to put solar on their homes.

    People who consume electricity are paying for the electricity they consume. People, often of modest means, who install solar panels to reduce their consumption pay less for electricity because they consume less electricity. That’s fair enough, though the government should indeed be doing more to ensure that people who are legitimately too poor to make that investment (and also, people who rent) can access rooftop solar anyways.

    If electricity prices are going up, it’s not because of renewables. Privatization is a more likely cause. Which might explain why QLD, which did not privatize its energy, has actually seen prices decrease despite also having the highest uptake of rooftop solar in the nation.

    Don’t blame renewables for what private energy operators are trying to do to wealthy and poor consumers alike.

  23. @briefly

    I argued that these young people in their hundreds of thousands, would be joining or at least actively campaigning and hustling for the Labor* Party and that party alone. Also I predict that the Labor Party membership would easily increase to something like say 100,000 to 200,000 members in the scenario I outlined.

  24. C@t

    I think a couple of them did mention whistleblower protection “in passing”.

    put on the spot about their cheerleading the federal government’s National Security legislation by calling those who oppose their breadth, ‘soft on terrorism’

    They sort of admitted they might be guilty of that, like kids caught out in bad behaviour.

    I noticed that Mark Dreyfus was paying attention and taking notes in speeches.

    I wasn’t very impressed with ABC guy saying he’d talked to Morrison and was confident about outcome. Nodding and smiling doesn’t mean any future action.

    But overall, it was a good discussion, although Sabra Lane seemed nervous!

  25. Setka has done a lot of good things for his members in a very tough, hard and dangerous industry.

    However a number of incidents and issues over the last two years in particular ( some of his own doing but most pumped up by the coalition and the MSM ) have made his position untenable. Setka is now the go to national media poster boy of the typical “ bovver boy “ union boss meme and ,as a result , he is a liability for the labour movement at a time when government and business are ramping up their union free IR agenda and pushing ahead with more anti union legislation.

    Setka is a yesterday man and Sally McManus and others within the labour movement are very aware of the optics and the consequent damage he is doing and will continue to do as long as he remains.

    Irrespective of the story behind the criminal charges against Setka and the support of his wife the guilty pleas today by Setka are the final straw and McManus was waiting for Setka to plead guilty to apply more pressure to him to walk away for the good of the labour movement. McManus and others have been working for months to ease Setka aside in the least public and divisive process possible. Whether she is still able to achieve that end we will have to wait and see.

  26. When a Bucephalus cries crocodile tears for the poor, let the poor beware!

    The major causes of poverty in our society are tax breaks for the wealthy, inequitable distribution between capital and wages, outright wage theft, and outright Super theft. You would be mindful of the number wage and Super thieves who have been jailed for stealing billions from the poor.

    Fixing these would instantly increase the wealth of most of Australia’s poor.

    But hey, let’s look at roof top renewables as the sure source of poverty in our society!

    The handmaidens such as Bucephalus of the corrupt, venal, incompetent lying bastards are ever eager to run unicorns for their puppetmeisters.

    How they can sleep straight in bed is a bit of a mystery.

  27. Folau’s lawyers must be feeling quite humble too. When the tally reaches $3 million or more, the humility of Folau and his lawyers will be a sight to behold.

    Folau ‘humbled’ by support as donations near $2m mark (Nine/Fairfax headline)

  28. ‘doyley says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Setka has done a lot of good things for his members in a very tough, hard and dangerous industry.’

    Let’s instead talk about the venal, corrupt and lying bastards who are Robocopping lives into misery on an industrial scale?

  29. Instead of talking about Folau could we instead talk about the principled whistleblowers who are being bastardized by the organs of state on behalf of crooks and liars, about the NGOs who can no longer speak out publicly because their project funding would be stopped if it did, about the public servants who are chased with special vigour reserved by the AFP for enemies of Dutton etc, about the way in which journalists are systematically excluded from Manus and Nauru, about the way in which employees who speak out about Nauru and Manus are subject to criminal laws, about the increasing swathe of protections for farmers in cases of animal cruelty…
    … etc, etc, etc. Ad nauseam.
    Our democracy is dying and those FUCKING BASTARDs have got the Left exactly where they want them… talking about Folau and the Christians.
    SUCKERS!

  30. And in a parallel universe, the arms race that is Sydney GPS education has its latest instalment with that bastion of rugby, St Joseph’s College, now finding it ‘necessary’ to propose a new sports complex with three covered basketball courts and spectator accommodation. And compliance with local planning laws and heritage requirements won’t be an issue as it ticks the box as a ‘state significant development’ due to its cost – $38 million.

    Doubt if they will be funding it via sausage sizzles !

  31. Instead of talking about Setka, let’s list all the builders who have had a worker die at work.
    After all, Setka has tried to stop this sort of thing from happening.
    200 workers die at work a year and where are the names of the bosses who were responsible for this annual massacre?
    Did the killer bosses say nasty things about women at any time in their lives?
    Let’s have a full investigation and public commentary on each of the killer bosses.
    Talk about Setka?
    You SUCKERS!

  32. To my mind, the best thing for the Israel Folau matter would have been for everyone to have ignored the fact that a guy who sustains damage to his head for a living clicked like on a loony-tunes Facebook meme.

  33. Boerwar @ #1483 Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 – 2:20 pm

    Instead of talking about Folau could we instead talk about the principled whistleblowers who are being bastardized by the organs of state on behalf of crooks and liars, about the NGOs who can no longer speak out publicly because their project funding would be stopped if it did, about the public servants who are chased with special vigour reserved by the AFP for enemies of Dutton etc, about the way in which journalists are systematically excluded from Manus and Nauru, about the way in which employees who speak out about Nauru and Manus are subject to criminal laws, about the increasing swathe of protections for farmers in cases of animal cruelty…
    … etc, etc, etc. Ad nauseam.
    Our democracy is dying and those FUCKING BASTARDs have got the Left exactly where they want them… talking about Folau and the Christians.
    SUCKERS!

    Exactly!

    And as if getting rid of Setka is going to change anything. These bastards will just move on to the next target, knowing full well that as night follows day, Labor will ALWAYS cave in.

    It’s about time that Labor and its supporters started ignoring News Ltd, Sky News and the rest of the propaganda outlets.
    Stop giving them oxygen.

  34. Boerwar says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Strange that you are not campaigning to close the loopholes that stop the low paid getting superannuation.

  35. Boerwar,

    The labour movement is getting kicked and bashed by the government, the media and business leaders on a daily basis. The last thing it needed as this very important time was for the labor party to join in the kicking. We will not hear about the deaths, injuries, the rip offs and the agenda by government and business to rip conditions away from workers as long as it is unions and union thugs that are the national focus of our lazy and complicit MSM.

    Sadly, the labor party over the last two weeks has itself been complicit in the focus centering on Setka instead of the inept and corrupt recently re elected Morrison government. I am sure Sally McManus and others are also frustrated with the get out of jail card handed to Morrison and co by the Albanese political intervention into what had been a relatively low key Victoria centric internal union issue that was being handled by McManus and others within the union movement.

    Of course we need to get the government back in the spotlight and subject to the scrutiny it deserves but until labor and some of its its leaders start considering the bigger picture and the national long term implications of a three year Miorrison government instead of trying to pick up some short term political points woithout considering the collateral damage of such actions then the national focus will remain on Setka, unions and all things labor.

  36. lizzie @ #1478 Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 – 2:04 pm

    C@t

    I think a couple of them did mention whistleblower protection “in passing”.

    put on the spot about their cheerleading the federal government’s National Security legislation by calling those who oppose their breadth, ‘soft on terrorism’

    They sort of admitted they might be guilty of that, like kids caught out in bad behaviour.

    I noticed that Mark Dreyfus was paying attention and taking notes in speeches.

    I wasn’t very impressed with ABC guy saying he’d talked to Morrison and was confident about outcome. Nodding and smiling doesn’t mean any future action.

    But overall, it was a good discussion, although Sabra Lane seemed nervous!

    Oh yes, a necessary engagement with the public by the media bosses. I also think it was good to see the journos, without fear or favour for their jobs, pipe up and ask those guys the important questions that they did.

    I can’t wait for Murpharoo’s column about it!

  37. ar

    and also, people who rent

    I see the point you’re trying to make there, and in public housing it’s a good idea. Why should taxpayer’s foot the bill for lazy landlords to increase the value of their investment properties though?

  38. Rambler says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Paid for by the parents. What’s your problem with parents spending their own money how they wish?

  39. Steve777 says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    No, poor people aren’t paying Company Tax or likely even Personal Income Tax and if they are paying that then they are still likely to be net-beneficiaries from the overall tax-transfer system.

  40. poroti says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    No, the companies pay the fuel tax upfront and then get it back. Why should a non-road user pay a road tax?

  41. Boerwar and adrian,
    Enjoy your shouting into the void about Manus and Nauru. You’ll find that you will be drowned out by the people talking about the footy guy. Or even just the footy and not the guy.

  42. Tristo says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 2:02 pm
    @briefly

    I argued that these young people in their hundreds of thousands, would be joining or at least actively campaigning and hustling for the Labor* Party and that party alone. Also I predict that the Labor Party membership would easily increase to something like say 100,000 to 200,000 members in the scenario I outlined.

    People don’t ‘join’ mass movements the way they used to. ‘Membership’ is a fluid concept, all told.

    I’m not sure what you mean by a Labor* Party. If you mean a Party that has fused with the Greens, you’re delusional. The Greens despise Labor. They will continue to work for Labor’s political extinction. This is the basic fact of dysfunction on the left-of-centre.

  43. Dan Gulberry @ #1493 Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 – 2:51 pm

    I see the point you’re trying to make there, and in public housing it’s a good idea. Why should taxpayer’s foot the bill for lazy landlords to increase the value of their investment properties though?

    Possibly because the reduction in CO2 emissions from installing the panels would be a net social gain. Maybe even a net economic gain if there were a price on carbon. We can all foot the bill for things that produce a net gain for all of us.

    Although it doesn’t necessarily have to be an outright taxpayer-funded purchase on behalf of the renter. Perhaps you can have legislation that grants any tenant living in a rental property for more than X number of months the right to either purchase their own rooftop solar system which they get the full benefits of for as long as they remain in that property or to require that the landlord pay to install one with the provision that the landlord receives the credit for any exported kWh (and the tenant receives the benefit of reduced consumption from the grid).

  44. Bucephalus says:
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    The operator gets the subsidy – the consumer has to pay for that and does. Poor people are paying for the wealthy to put solar on their homes.
    ——————–
    Plenty of people pay for others,

    Low income earners pay part of the cost of sending wealthy kids to top private schools with their overseas trips and other activities. Healthy people partly pay for sick people. Old people partly pay for kiddies to learn their ABC’s. Young people partly pay for the aged care of an elderly person.

    I could go on but saying we cannot do something because someone has to pay is just silly because that is what happens.

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