The tribes of Israel

The latest Essential Research poll turns up a mixed bag of views on the Israel Folau controversy. Also featured: prospects for an indigenous recognition referendum and yet more Section 44 eruptions.

The latest of Essential Research’s fortnightly polls, which continue to limit themselves to issue questions in the wake of the great pollster failure, focuses mostly on the Israel Folau controversy. Respondents registered high levels of recognition of the matter, with 22% saying they had been following it closely, 46% that they had “read or seen some news”, and another 17% saying they were at least “aware”.

Probing further, the poll records very strong support for what seem at first blush to be some rather illiberal propositions, including 64% agreement with the notion that people “should not be allowed to argue religious freedom to abuse others”. However, question wording would seem to be very important here, as other questions find an even split on whether Folau “has the right to voice his religious views, regardless of the hurt it could cause others” (34% agree, 36% disagree), and whether there should be “stronger laws to protect people who express their religious views in public” (38% agree, 38% disagree). Furthermore, 58% agreed that “employers should not have the right to dictate what their employees say outside work”, which would seem to encompass the Folau situation.

Respondents were also asked who would benefit and suffer from the federal government’s policies over the next three years, which, typically for a Coalition government, found large companies and corporations expected to do best (54% good, 11% bad). Other results were fairly evenly balanced, the most negative findings relating to the environment (26% good, 33% bad) and, funnily enough, “older Australians” (26% good, 38% bad). The economy came in at 33% good and 29% bad, and “Australia in general” at 36% good and 27% bad. The poll was conducted last Tuesday to Saturday from a sample of 1099.

Also of note:

• A referendum on indigenous recognition may be held before the next election, after Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt’s announcement on Wednesday that he would pursue a consensus option for a proposal to go before voters “during the current parliamentary term”. It is clear the government would not be willing to countenance anything that went further than recognition, contrary to the Uluru Statement from the Heart’s call for a “First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution” – a notion derided as a “third chamber of parliament” by critics, including Scott Morrison.

• A paper in the University of Western Australia Law Review keeps the Section 44 pot astir by suggesting 26 current members of federal parliament may fall foul by maintaining a “right of abode” in the United Kingdom – a status allowing “practically the same rights” as citizenship even where citizenship has been formally renounced. The status has only been available to British citizens since 1983, but is maintained by citizens of Commonwealth countries who held it before that time, which they could do through marriage or descent. This could potentially be interpreted as among “the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power”, as per the disqualifying clause in Section 44. Anyone concerned by this has until the end of the month to challenge an election result within the 40 day period that began with the return of the writs on June 21. Action beyond that point would require referral by the House of Representatives or the Senate, as appropriate.

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.

1,966 comments on “The tribes of Israel”

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  1. Quoll,

    For the Greens wave in Europe, I have been working here in Germany and Hungary through the whole thing. It is definitely a good thing, and in a proportional vote electoral system, it complements the other left of centre parties, which the Greens here work with as a group. It would be nice if we could have this system in Australia, but I do not see it happening anytime soon.

    What is happening in Australia is that the Greens and Labor are fighting over the same group of voters, but the total ALP / Green vote is going down.

  2. Rachel Siwert’s motion, 4 July 2019 voted down by the Coalition and Labor:

    I move:

    That the Senate—

    (a) notes that:

    (i) there are approximately 3 million people in Australia living in poverty, including over 700,000 children,

    (ii) Australia has no poverty reduction plan and, despite economic growth, poverty levels have remained high,

    (iii) Newstart and Youth Allowance have not had an increase in real terms for over 25 years,

    (iv) recipients of these income support payments are unable to cover basic living costs such as housing, food, transport, healthcare and utilities,

    (v) income inequality and poverty has significant negative effects on individuals’ physical and mental wellbeing and society, and

    (vi) poverty in early childhood can lead to poorer life outcomes; and

    (b) calls on the Federal Government to make it a priority to help address poverty in Australia by raising Newstart and Youth Allowance by $75 a week.

  3. “What is happening in Australia is that the Greens and Labor are fighting over the same group of voters”

    What is happening in Australia is that the Coalition and Labor are fighting over the same group of voters.

    The share of votes for both major parties is declining.

  4. Pegasus (quoting Senator Rachel Siewert):

    “It is untenable that people on Newstart continue to live in poverty, the Government should be moving immediately to address the appalling low rate of Newstart. Unfortunately they are not so the Greens will”, said Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services.

    Senator Rachel Siewert should learn the difference between untenable (which she said) and unconscionable (which she meant). Senators (and Members) who have had the benefit of University education (UWA, in her case) ought to be expected to use English at a competent level. not at year ten debating level. I note Mr Keating had near flawless English, despite no University education.

    The Senator might also find that the quality of her argumentation improves commensurately with such an improvement in her writing: both Dons were key to Mr Keating’s success in winning arguments and persuading people.

  5. Pegasus :

    Do the Greens need to run this by Labor before doing so?

    If the Greens’ purpose to persuade those not already convinced, then it would be wise.

    If they have some other purpose, then no.

  6. untenable
    (especially of a position or view) not able to be maintained or defended against attack or objection.
    “this argument is clearly untenable”
    synonyms: indefensible, undefendable, unarguable, insupportable, refutable, unsustainable, unjustified, unwarranted, unjustifiable, inadmissible, unsound, ill-founded, flimsy, weak, shaky, flawed, defective, faulty, implausible, specious, groundless, unfounded, baseless, invalid, absurd, illogical, irrational, preposterous, senseless, unacceptable
    “the Government’s position is untenable”

  7. unconscionable
    not right or reasonable.
    “the unconscionable conduct of his son”
    synonyms: unethical, amoral, immoral, unprincipled, indefensible, wrong; More
    unreasonably excessive.
    “shareholders have had to wait an unconscionable time for the facts to be established”
    synonyms: excessive, unwarranted, uncalled for, unreasonable, unfair, inordinate, disproportionate, immoderate, extreme, undue, outrageous, preposterous, monstrous, inexcusable, unnecessary, needless; More

  8. EGT

    “If the Greens’ purpose to persuade those not already convinced, then it would be wise.”

    If Labor’s purpose to persuade those not already convinced, then it would be wise.

  9. Briefly :

    guytaur, in Green Valley, hope will perish. We are all fucked in the Valley.

    Is that the Valley of the Shadow of Death?

    Actually a bad mistranslation, as it turns out. And you may find a better translation instructive.

  10. Pegasus says:
    Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 12:18 am

    “What is happening in Australia is that the Greens and Labor are fighting over the same group of voters”

    What is happening in Australia is that the Coalition and Labor are fighting over the same group of voters.

    The share of votes for both major parties is declining.

    … and the Green vote is stagnant.

    Why aren’t the Greens picking up these voters?

  11. The five lowest points of Trump’s presidency (so far)

    Donald Trump’s latest blatantly racist outburst — in which he told four ethnic minority congresswomen to “go back” to the countries they came from — was certainly a low point of his presidency.

    But for the past 2½ years, there have been too many “low points” to count.

    Trump’s rock-bottom moments come in many guises: the scandals, the criminal investigations, the corruption, the lies, the abuses of power, the misogyny, the bigotry and the relentless attacks on American principles, values and institutions.

    Here’s my best shot at ranking the five lowest points of Trump’s time in office.

    5. “Go back” to where you came from
    4. Trump “fell in love” with Kim Jong Un
    3. Implying that Puerto Ricans were lazy as an estimated 2,975 Americans died
    2. The “very fine people” in Charlottesville
    1. Implementing child separation — and lying about it

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