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. BK

    Just in case you can’t make it. Here’s a small sample.

    The government’s position slams the door on Indigenous leaders who called two years ago for the establishment of a “First Nations Voice enshrined in the constitution” to rectify decades of powerlessness. Liberal and Nationals MPs have been told there has been no change in Mr Morrison’s position since he first expressed doubts over the new body as a potential “third chamber” of Parliament.
    More ambitious policies are needed to put the nation “firmly” on the path to a zero-carbon economy.
    China fears that trade and technology wars with the United States will spill over into the finance sector
    Home lending has collapsed to its worst level since the global financial crisis as households shy away from taking on more debt despite house prices showing signs of bottoming out.
    President Donald Trump is expected to announce new executive action on Thursday to try to force the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census
    Insurers’ current unwillingness to offer policies to certain professions is a canary-in-the-coal-mine moment, pointing to troubling times ahead for the whole construction industry, as well as existing and future apartment owners.
    Tourists flocking to climb Uluru before the practice is banned in October are breaking laws and leaving rubbish and sewage, with locals fearing they could be saddled with long-term damage.
    This story about Whitlam has never been published.
    The dog was always inside and was never walked, the neighbour said. “He tears down the blinds when someone walks past and scratches the window,” the neighbour said. “It’s just a tragedy waiting to happen.”
    Breed alone is not a reliable predictor of aggressive behaviour and dogs of any size or breed can be dangerous.
    More than 300,000 people are expected to receive more than $100 million in compensation for a ‘junk insurance’ slammed by one consumer body as “worthless”.

  2. Strong evidence that the Morrison government is out of touch with community standards. Suggests that the wrong Party was elected?

    Australian voters are positive about recognising Indigenous Australians in the constitution and establishing a voice to parliament, according to polling by Essential. A majority also supports a treaty with Indigenous Australians, according to research undertaken late last month to coincide with Naidoc week.

  3. I’ll get onto sourcing some cartoons.

    BK probably won’t make it. He has to set up a mobile food van for Emergency Services this morning.

  4. lizzie,
    Since when did the Reactionary Conservative wing of the Coalition care about what the people who put them in parliament think? That’s not why they are in politics.

  5. Lizzie and C@t,

    Thanks so much for the news and cartoon links.

    It is 23:30 how here in Fontainbleau, where I am using my annual leave to house and cat sit for a friend. I have found the French version of Dad’s army, and am enjoying it while trying to improve my French.

    I will try and post a photo tomorrow, but I have just had a hedgehog in the house, eating the dry cat food. It seemed very tame, and I took some photos.

    I also wondered why the cats (who were obviously tucked up in bed) did not notice the hedgehog. However, Teddy (Cat 1) did eventually twig to the fact that there was a hedgehog, and came down to hunt it. By that time the hedgehog was waddling out the door, and so I took Teddy, with little ceremony, up to the bedroom upstairs and locked him in while hedgehog made his escape.

  6. Also, for the Napoleon haters, I am here in Fontainbleau for Bastille day, so that you do not need to be. I can tweet it live.

    The celebration of Napoleon in Fontainbleau is a great tradition, ever since he gave his resignation speech on the steps of the Chateau du Fontainbleau.

  7. D&M:

    It seems like you’ve been traveling for ages now, and I’ve enjoyed reading about your experiences.

    When do you arrive back in Oz?

  8. Dozens of people on an Air Canada flight to Australia have been injured after the plane encountered unexpected turbulence, forcing it to land in Hawaii.

    The flight from Vancouver to Sydney encountered “unforecasted and sudden turbulence” about two hours past Hawaii and diverted to Honolulu, according to an Air Canada spokeswoman, Angela Mah.

    “Current information indicates there are approximately 35 people who appear to have sustained minor injuries,” Mah said.

  9. Fess

    I was hoping the Folau thing had gone away, but now he’s turned up in polling!

    Me too!

    But it has been made a touchstone in the culture wars, and so it is yet another question that reputable pollsters need to ask to work out what the electorate really thinks.

    I hope this is not the case, but fear it is:

    1) People who think Folau breached a contract, and should be held on breach of said contract, are ALP voters.

    2) People who think Folau should be able to say whatever nasty thing he likes (while knowing that hate speech drives the extraordinarily high rate of suicide rater among same-sex attracted people) are Coalition voters.

    Not true in all cases, but statistically accurate.

    The pollsters are recalibrating.

  10. Morning all. Thanks Lizzie. I think the meeting between Frydenberg and RBA governor Lowe is pretty significant:
    “The remarks smooth over a period of public difference between Lowe and the government, in which Frydenberg has said existing budget measures are sufficient to stimulate the economy while Lowe called for “further investments” in infrastructure to soak up spare capacity in the economy.”

    So Lowe changes his tune to appease Frydenberg. Adios, RBA independence. Adios calls for policy change to limit economic risks. This government’s modus operandi is already clear. When the news is bad, shoot the messenger. Everything is going to be so great.

  11. We identified three distinct forms of control that delivery platforms such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo exercise over workers.

    First, algorithmic management ensures platforms are able to constantly monitor and capture data on worker performance. This is subsequently used to control and nudge worker behaviour, an issue to which Australian regulators and tribunals thus far have given limited consideration.

    Second, by creating information gaps such as withholding important details of deliveries at the time of acceptance, platforms constrain worker choice. Although purportedly micro-entrepreneurs, workers are unable to make informed business decisions like whether a delivery is economically viable, making a mockery of the notion of enterprise.

    Finally, workers receive only limited information on how the captured performance data, including consumer ratings, affects work allocation and continued platform access.

    By obscuring the nature of their performance management systems as well as the other controls, platforms can elicit worker compliance including indirectly influencing ‘when’ and ‘where’ work is performed, illustrating that the narrative of hyper flexibility is somewhat of a mirage.

  12. Thanks William on the discussion of attitudes to “religious freedom”. Freedom to worship is not freedom to speak abuse. And why limit freedom of speech to religion? What about our libel laws, and the inability of whistleblowers to report illegal acts and corruption without risking jail.

    If the latter “freedom” is enshrined in law I wonder if all religions will be treated the same. If I as an atheist had a view that donors to the catholic church may be enablers of the world’s largest organised paedophile ring, would it be protected?

  13. The French version of Dad’s Army? – that would have only covered a 6 week period and mainly consisted of the volunteers being taught to say Ich Gebe auf

  14. Socrates

    :sigh: There we were, thinking that at least we had an RBA head who was outside the pack, whom we could trust. But no, as you say, he’s surrendered to politics. This is sooooo weak, as we know that Frydenberg lies constantly.

  15. Aaron Dodd@AaronDodd

    Dear @ScottMorrisonMP for your next church trick can you please incorporate snakes. Australian one though, not namby-pamby American ones. Maybe red-bellied blacks, king browns or copperheads. Even a taipan will do. I’ll even attend your church to watch.

  16. Lizzie
    You were right! BK didn’t make in time for the deadline. Thanks.
    There was a large house fire about 25 km way where a couple around 90 yo lost everything. Thirteen firefighting appliances were on the job and they all needed feeding.

  17. Fess,

    It seems like you’ve been traveling for ages now, and I’ve enjoyed reading about your experiences.

    When do you arrive back in Oz?

    Early August. This is actually unusual for me. I would normally work overseas on collaborative science for 6 – 9 months when I have the chance, but both me and OH have elderly parents who are not in the best of health, and so felt 3 months was the maximum we could have away.

    It is different – normally I would basically become a researcher at some O/S institute for a significant period of time, and then bring that close collaboration back to Oz.

    But, this time, I am working with the collaborations I have in place, and doing the necessary face-to-face stuff only. The rest will be done remotely, and by sending colleagues to do the basic science.

    The other big difference I am noticing is that with our wonderful interconnectedness, I spend a lot of time working on stuff back in Oz – it is a different world.

  18. Here’s today’s cartoons:

    I think David Pope is being a tad hopeful here if today’s news about Morrison’s pov is any guide:

    Matt Golding has picked the Coalition zeitgeist:

    Vintage Cathy Wilcox:

    Matt Golding at the parliamentary spouses’ Trivia night:

    I’m not quite sure if this is meant to be the sun going down or the sun rising, by Andrew Dyson:

    Subtle 🙂

    David Rowe on the likely ‘Special Relationship’ between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump:

    Matt Golding on an Indigenous Voice to parliament:

    From overseas:

    By former UN Director & Climate Change lecturer, Svein T Veitdal:

    Cartoon by Peter Brookes in The Times today:

    And, finally, a sports cartoon by Andy Marlette of The Pensacola Florida News Journal:

  19. Morning all

    Thanks Lizzie for today’s reports.


    Your work in the community is exemplary. Very sad for those who lost their home

  20. OC

    The French version of Dad’s Army? – that would have only covered a 6 week period and mainly consisted of the volunteers being taught to say Ich Gebe auf

    Actually, that is pretty much what the series is about 😀

  21. Revd Andrew Klein ( Chaplain)@KleinRevd
    Jul 10

    Govt wants broadband tax passed this year – whilst we are distracted by the ‘ religious freedom nonsense ‘ .What else is #Morrison up to ? Get a grip Australia. You are being had !

  22. Shellbell

    It seems to provide an object lesson on why you should keep seatbelts fastened all the time. Although the poor attendants had no choice.

  23. Fess


    3 months is a wonderful break.

    You are not wrong. I am working, but on things I love, and not ridiculous hours.

  24. ‘Oakeshott Country says:
    Friday, July 12, 2019 at 8:03 am

    The French version of Dad’s Army? – that would have only covered a 6 week period and mainly consisted of the volunteers being taught to say Ich Gebe auf’

    The Neocons did the dirty on ‘Casablanca’ and all that, but really, we don’t have to spread the vicious Neocon ‘Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey’ meme.

    France’s WW2 Army consisted of regulars and conscripts. The Resistance consisted entirely of volunteers and they paid dearly for the pleasure thereof.

    Australian military deaths in WW2: 40,000 from all causes, including many who subsequently died as a consequence of saying ‘Ich Gebe auf’ to the Japanese.

    30,000 Australians were POWs also a consequence of ‘Ich Gebe au’.

    French military deaths in WW2: 210,000

  25. Confessions @ #37 Friday, July 12th, 2019 – 8:38 am

    Peak Trump Administration.

    Casey Nikoloric@CaseyNikoloric
    16m16 minutes ago
    Ladies and gentlemen: this is what the aftermath of a Rose Garden news conference looks like in the Trump administration. The Jerry Springer show. The only thing that’s missing is chair throwing, but maybe that happened later.

    Including a stupid woman in a Stars and Stripes ‘Freedom’ dress. 🙄

  26. Uh oh. When you make the laws that create the crimes, saying this sort of thing is just a tad too cute:

    Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has rejected demands to drop police action against three high-profile journalists, declaring reporters are committing a crime by receiving top-secret documents.

    As the minister responsible for the Australian Federal Police, Mr Dutton has come under pressure to order the agency to abandon any investigation into ABC journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark and News Corp reporter Annika Smethurst.

    What next? Thought crimes?

  27. Democracy Busters R Us

    Capitalist Cronies Section

    Chapter: 300,000 silent Australian working family members dudded on insurance.

  28. Democracy Busters R Us

    Truth Suppression Section

    Chapter: Dutton insists on prosecuting three journalists for revealing a tiny part of the truth about alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan.

    These allegations are being investigated by the ADF which organization has most to lose by the allegations and associated material seeing the light of day. The facts of the matter just happen to be in documents which have conveniently been stamped ‘Top Secret’. Our fighting in Afghanistan being over, there seems to be no particular reason why this classification has been imposed, other than to hide the truth from Silent Australians. The investigations have so far taken over two years. The investigations have been accompanied by several death (and other) threats and by at least one major defamation action.


    Stage 3 of the government’s tax changes doesn’t come into force until 2024-25.

    But stand by for the inevitable Stage 4 – slashing the top 45 per cent tax rate.
    The Roy Morgan Wealth Report earlier this month was stark in its key findings: The wealthiest 10 per cent of Australians have increased their average net wealth by $811,000 since 2007 to more than $2 million and collectively hold 47.9 per cent of net wealth.

    Over the same period, the poorest 50 per cent of Australians had increased their net wealth by $11,000 to $31,000. Their share of the nation’s net wealth has fallen from 3.9 per cent to 3.7 per cent.
    There’s a second ratchet at play, the lobby for lower company tax that then claims personal income tax needs to match the company tax rate.

    You’ve been warned. The push for Stage 4 is already under way.

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