Essential Research: Newstart, robodebt, social media

More evidence that voters favour social democratic policy options, right up until polling day.

The fortnightly Essential Research poll, which is still yet to resume results for voting intention, focuses largely on questions around social security. Among its findings are that the Newstart rate is deemed too low by 58%, about right by 30% and too high by 5%. Forty-four per cent expressed strong support for an increase from $280 per week to $355, a further 31% said they somewhat supported it, and only 18% said they were opposed, 7% strongly.

I don’t normally make anything out of breakdowns published in average sample polls, but it’s interesting to note that the “too low” response increases progressively across the three age cohorts to peak at 66% among the 55-and-over. There was also a relationship between age and correct answers to a question in which respondents were asked to identify the weekly Newstart payment, the overall result for which was 40%, up from 27% when it was previously asked last June. Only 29% of Coalition voters expressed strong support for an increase compared with 55% for Labor supporters, but the difference was narrower when combined with the “somewhat” response, at 84% to 68%.

On the Centrelink “robodebt” debt recovery program, 58% supported calls for it to be shut down compared with 32% opposed. Twenty-two per cent said they had heard a lot about the program and 30% a little, while 18% said they had not heard any details and 30% that they were not aware of it at all.

The one question not relating to social security covers social media companies’ collection of personal information, with 80% expressing concern about the matter and the same number wanting tighter regulation. The affirmative response for both questions progressively increased across the three age cohorts.

Also noteworthy from the poll is that Essential Research has taken to publishing “base” figures for each cohort in the breakdown, which evidently reflect their proportion of the total after weightings are applied. This is at least a step in the direction of the transparency that is the norm in British and American polling, in that it tell us how Essential is modelling the overall population, even if it doesn’t divulge how much each cohort’s responses are being weighted to produce those totals.

The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from an online sample of 1102 respondents.

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.

533 comments on “Essential Research: Newstart, robodebt, social media”

  1. Clem A wrote (re. Hiroshima):

    “Get over it Bushfire Bill….Tom Uren managed to. Talk about being bitter and twisted. I guess you don’t drive a Toyota then? Ha, ha.”

    Ideologues like Clem have been murdering millions for decades, in order to satisfy their own smug versions of what’s right and proper.

    In the present instance the question is whether – given a binary choice – it is better to slaughter almost an entire population of millions and to utterly lay waste their nation, or to kill just a relative handful in order to shock the rest into surrender (thus saving millions more lives).

    The ideologues invent a whole host of post-facto constructs such as:

    ○ they’d have surrendered anyway,

    ○ the Yanks just wanted to intimidate the Russians,

    ○ it was all for naked revenge,

    ○ the nuclear genie could have been kept in the bottle,

    ○ a non-lethal demonstration would have worked just as well,

    ○ etc. etc. etc…

    It boils down to “Kill millions so that we ideologues can sleep at night,” presumably followed by, “I’m sure the millions of dead will thank me for my purity of thought on this matter.”

    Anyone who disagrees is labelled as a war monger, told that they are full of hate (for wanting to kill LESS of the enemy? Go figure!), barraged with examples of others’ (presumably worthy) opinions who disagree with theirs, and ear-bashed with fairy stories about how awful the consequences were (except they weren’t were they? The Bomb was never used again, and Japan became one of the most prosperous nations in history).

    The facts of the matter are that the Japanese DID start the war, DID attack America and Asia pre-emptively, DID murder and enslave literally countless millions (including many thousands of Australians), and even after being A-bombed twice were preparing to fight on, until Hirohito finally saw sense and overruled the warmongers by going over their heads, direct to the people.

    Yet, apparently (according to Clem), it is those who agreed with shortening the war, and reducing the casualties of a conventional strategy by probably 99% (200,000 Japanese dead instead of 20,000,000) who were the real bastards.

    As I said, when you let ideological purity overrule common sense and human decency, that’s when the REAL mass murder begins. Ideological purity gave us everything from The Burma Railway, Stalin’s gulags, Hitler’s concentration camps, and Mao’s Cultural Revolution, to gun nuts in America raving about their “freedom” to shoot each other, lack of Climate abatement action (from the actual green side of politics!) because what was proposed as a starter wasn’t pure enough, Israel Folau, and the loss of an Australian republic due to a starry-eyed hankering for direct election, when we had a republic within our grasp… 20 years ago!

    It’s the ideological fanatics, inside their cosy, smug cocoons of certainty, unprepared to ever doubt themselves or exert a practical pity, ever ready to piously mock, judge and codemn others (notice it’s always others who do the dying for their crazy causes?) that inflict the REAL damage in this fragile world we try to live in.

    It might seem weird to agree that killing 200,000 people is a good thing, I agree. But compared to the more righteous megadeath alternative, it was a downright blessing in disguise.

    P.S. Wrong again Clem. I do drive a Toyota. I even own a Nikon camera. So what?

  2. BK @ #150 Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 – 3:02 pm

    This morning I went to the small aged care home on whose board I have sat for about a year to celebrate Aged Care Workers Day with staff and residents. It was a fancy hat morning tea. Quite a few of the residents made unsolicited comments about the wonderful care they have received over several years and praised the food and carers.
    Given all the horror stories in the news lately it was pleasing to see. It can be done, but it’s not easy. Almost impossible for for-profit outfits I’d say.

    Management of a NFP aged care facility are focused on providing the best possible care within the funding envelope.

    Management of a for profit aged facility are focused on providing the best possible profit within the funding envelope while just doing enough to keep themselves out of trouble.

    Provision of aged care should never be done through for-profit organisations.

  3. Public debt? What public debt? In WA, Emperor Colin left $38 billions worth a couple of years ago to the incoming Labor government. From the LNP – such paragons of virtue when it comes to “public debt” -not even crickets………………………By the way, what ever happened to the Debt Bus the Liberals were so keen to promote when last in Federal opposition?…………..It has ever be thus. All political parties do hypocrisy, but the Liberals and their hayseed mates (and their supporters) are the absolute best at it.

  4. “More evidence that voters favour social democratic policy options, right up until polling day”….

    Only voting Morons would favour Social Democracy only to then vote for Neoliberalism-Conservatism!!

    We must de-Moronise Australia, and we must do it before the next Federal election…. If we fail, this country is finished!

  5. Tricot

    You have to admit the WA state Libs had a real talent when it came to the economy. It is not easy to add the equivalent of the total debt you inherited in each and every year you are in office and to do so during a ‘yuge’ mining boom. All hail ex Emperor Colin .

  6. In WA, Emperor Colin left $38 billions worth a couple of years ago to the incoming Labor government.

    State and local governments, like households, merely use the Australian government’s currency. They don’t issue it. So when they incur debt, that requires the government to obtain the necessary currency to service the debt. Four ways of doing it: 1. Earning income (gathering taxes, fees, fines); 2. Spending down prior savings; 3. Selling assets; 4. Borrowing.

    There is a big difference between state and local government debt and federal government debt.

    State and local governments can run out of Australian dollars and default on their Australian dollar-denominated liabilities.

    The federal government cannot run out of currency and will never default on liabilities denominated in Australian dollars.

    That is why federal government debt is not debt in the ordinary sense of the word and is best described as the private sector’s savings.

  7. ajm

    Management of a for profit aged facility are focused on providing the best possible profit within the funding envelope while just doing enough to keep themselves out of trouble.

    Pretty much how every service goes when it get privatised. The less you the customer gets the more I as manage/shareholder get . 🙁

  8. [‘Chief Justice Kiefel and Justices Bell, Keane and Nettle said Ms Banerji had sought to argue that the relevant provisions in the Public Service Act requiring employees to uphold APS values such as impartiality did not apply to anonymous comments on Twitter.

    But they agreed with APS guidelines that “as a rule of thumb, anyone who posts material online, particularly on social media websites, should assume that, at some point, his or her identity and the nature of his or her employment will be revealed”.’]

    Ms. Banerji should’ve used a VPN if that gives one protection on Twitter.

  9. BK @ #150 Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 – 3:02 pm

    This morning I went to the small aged care home on whose board I have sat for about a year to celebrate Aged Care Workers Day with staff and residents. It was a fancy hat morning tea. Quite a few of the residents made unsolicited comments about the wonderful care they have received over several years and praised the food and carers.
    Given all the horror stories in the news lately it was pleasing to see. It can be done, but it’s not easy. Almost impossible for for-profit outfits I’d say.

    Although I have experienced some serious problems – I remember days such as the Fancy Hat day – annual fancy dress balls, concerts, bingo, great food, laughter and music – plus movies and talking books and conversation.

    It can be done – it can be ruined by a few bad eggs. I think we all hope for the best. I don’t think thoughts and prayers are good enough for aged care either. 🙏

    Back to my nanny napping .

  10. Mavis Davis @ #160 Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 – 3:41 pm

    Ms. Banerji should’ve used a VPN if that gives one protection on Twitter.

    That would only give protection against things like “government authorities subpoena Twitter for your account’s access logs”.

    It wouldn’t protect against things like “you registered on Twitter using your real name and/or e-mail address and/or phone number” or “your twitter profile and/or content makes it reasonably clear who’s using the account” and so on.

    I assume the person was fired because the tweets were obviously connected to them in some way and not because the government actually went and chased IP logs from Twitter? Or if they did that latter thing, then holy shit we’re in 1984!

  11. Tricot @ #1102 Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 – 3:26 pm

    Public debt? What public debt? In WA, Emperor Colin left $38 billions worth a couple of years ago to the incoming Labor government. From the LNP – such paragons of virtue when it comes to “public debt” -not even crickets………………………By the way, what ever happened to the Debt Bus the Liberals were so keen to promote when last in Federal opposition?…………..It has ever be thus. All political parties do hypocrisy, but the Liberals and their hayseed mates (and their supporters) are the absolute best at it.

    The Ox-headed Crank thinks everyone can depend on the Twiggy-Bank – just like him.

  12. poroti @ #162 Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 – 3:49 pm

    KayJay

    Some excellent “research has shown ” for you. Now go out and ‘do the experiment” 🙂
    .

    Staring down seagulls can stop them stealing your chips

    Keep the birds at bay with a simple staring contest

    Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2212592-staring-down-seagulls-can-stop-them-stealing-your-chips/#ixzz5vtLIkw00

    I’m a very busy man, he said, puffing furiously on his pipe in an effort to keep at bay the hoards of ravening wombats, crimson crested whatsisnames and now seagulls gesturing furiously and hypnotically at me from long range. I’m not entering into a staring contest with a seagull. Imagine the embarrassment when I had to admit defeat.

    I’m thinking that something along the lines of a Faraday Cage could do the trick leaving one with one’s Friday fish and chips in peaceful solitude.

    Of course, I am also working on an expose regarding the Prof. Brian Cox Series The planets.

    It would have been apparent to all but the scientific illiterate that the underground cities on Mars should have been covered in an additional program although I believe (through my rigorous research) that the Martian Church of the Holy Orson Wells forbids interaction with the planet Htrae on pain of immediate ray (death) treatment.

    I’m now bunkering down, blinds drawn, in an effort to ignore the tap, tap, tapping on my windows with the accompanying “nevermore”.🕊🕊

  13. BK
    says:
    Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at 3:02 pm
    This morning I went to the small aged care home on whose board I have sat for about a year
    __________________
    good job BK. Getting involved is how we get these places working as they should.

  14. @Nicholas

    Bahahhaha keep believing the myth Government has unlimited money, and can never default (yes it can btw, but the greens increased the debt limit ceiling!).

    If people can go bankrupt the government can do to!

  15. Bahahhaha keep believing the myth Government has unlimited money, and can never default (yes it can btw, but the greens increased the debt limit ceiling!).

    The so-called debt ceiling is a voluntary, unnecessary constraint created by an Act of Parliament. It can be removed by another Act of Parliament. It is not an intrinsic constraint.

    Do you understand that that having an unlimited FINANCIAL capacity does not mean that the federal government can do everything? What the federal government can do depends on what real resources are available. It also depends on the political consideration of what activities will the Parliament authorize the government to spend on. The government can’t just spend on anything it likes; under the constitutional arrangements it is the Parliament’s role to appropriate the funding.

    You seem to be under the impression that the private sector issues Australian dollars, and the federal government has to gather dollars from the private sector and then spend them.

    That is a deeply strange view of government finance when you think about it.

    The true situation is that the federal government funds the private sector. The private sector wouldn’t have any dollars to pay its federal taxes with unless the federal government was spending dollars FIRST into the private sector.

    The purpose of federal taxes is to force the private sector to supply some real goods and services to the federal government. In exchange, the federal government supplies dollars to the private sector. The private sector uses some of those dollars to pay taxes, and it uses the rest for consumption and investment.

  16. poroti and rhwombat

    Exactly what spending shouldn’t the Barnet Government have made?

    I don’t understand your reference to a Twiggy Bank.

  17. Zoidlord @ #174 Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 – 4:44 pm

    @Nicholas

    Bahahhaha keep believing the myth Government has unlimited money, and can never default (yes it can btw, but the greens increased the debt limit ceiling!).

    If people can go bankrupt the government can do to!

    Nicholas is correct in his belief that the government “can never run out of Australian dollars”.

    However, this does not mean the government is at liberty to issue unlimited amounts of currency, or incur infinite amounts of debt. Of course they cannot do so. If they tried it, the currency would rapidly become completely worthless. Hyperinflation would be the result.

    Like many Magic Money Tree statements, its sounds like a profound insight, but in practice it is almost entirely meaningless.

  18. @Zoidlord

    National governments can default in three ways:
    1 – a government that is not a currency issuer (such as Greece) can default in a normal, explicit, way (by running out of Euros)
    2 – a givernement that has unwisely borrowed in foriegn currency (such as the government of which Mr Howard was treasurer) or otherwise incurred liabilities in foreign currency (such as Mr Abott’s idea to pay Yen for submarines) can default explcitly in respect of its ability to pay in that currency. Note that such a government is not necessarily in a general bankruptcy, in that it may retain complete capacity to pay creditors in both its own currency and various other currencies.
    3 – a government can be in an implicit default wherein its currency is not accepted / valued.

    Only the first of these situations is at all analogous to that of a household bankruptcy.

    Note also that for as long as the USD remains the reserve currency the US govt cannot default by method 2 or method 3 (it cannot in any event default by method 1).

    Finally, as the recent experience of Zimbabwe (surprisingly) demonstrates, it is very difficult for an implicit default to occur whilst the national government remains in control of the nation (previously it was thought that the Weimar replublic had avoided an implicit default through skill, but it appears now to be the ordinary outcome).

  19. However, this does not mean the government is at liberty to issue unlimited amounts of currency

    Do you know what the phrase “subject to real resource availability” means? I’ve never said that the federal government can do everything it might like do. I’ve been saying that there is no FINANCIAL constraint. If the real resources are available for sale in Australian dollars, the federal government can buy them.

    If the federal government owes a debt in Australian dollars, it can’t default (unless the Parliament was stupid enough to force it to default – which would be a voluntary, self-inflicted move, not something created by financial circumstances). The federal government always has the financial capacity to meet commitments in Australian dollars.

    You seem to think that the private sector issues Australian dollars to the Australian Government. That is weird.

  20. Boerwar says:
    Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    Have you asked those in the regions if they agree with you?

    Exactly how much difference would not spending the Royalties For Regions money have made to the budget position?

  21. Nicholas @ #181 Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 – 5:17 pm

    You seem to think that the private sector issues Australian dollars to the Australian Government. That is weird.

    And you seem to think that you are the only one who understands Magic Monetary Theory. That is even weirder.

    I think you will find that that many economists – and also many non-econonists – understand MMT pretty well. They just disagree with it. They can see that MMT is the economic equivalent of String Theory – i.e. it sounds profound, and superficially it looks like it could be true – but in fact it has little or no predictive value and offers few practical insights.

  22. Player One @ #12 Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 – 5:29 pm

    Nicholas @ #181 Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 – 5:17 pm

    You seem to think that the private sector issues Australian dollars to the Australian Government. That is weird.

    And you seem to think that you are the only one who understands Magic Monetary Theory. That is even weirder.

    I think you will find that that many economists – and also many non-econonists – understand MMT pretty well. They just disagree with it. They can see that MMT is the economic equivalent of String Theory – i.e. it sounds profound, and superficially it looks like it could be true – but in fact it has little or no predictive value and offers few practical insights.

    Sort of like the “Dad” joke of economics.

  23. Speaking of numbers no one can possibly understand the Hiroshima and Nagasaki decisions who has not studied the Battle of Okinawa. The wikipedia entry alone should be de rigeur.

  24. “Buce
    Swimming pools in dying one horse dying wheat belt towns.
    Sheer waste.”

    I beg to differ Boer. A heated Olympic pool that is open 365 days a year in every suburb in our cities and in every country Town is an inalienable right for all Australians. If we ever get a Bill of Rights in this country, I’d vote THAT to be clause 1.

    Actually … rant time. It pisses me off royally that Darwin has three – count them: three olympic swimming pools north of Bagot Rd (where the rich live – most with their own back yard pool) and zero: yep zero public pools South of Bagot Rd (where the not so well off, poor and especially aboriginals live). Until one hits Palmerston – which does have a pool as some small mercy.

    Feckless Joe Hockey spent $6 million on a grant to rebuild Parap pool (which was already beautiful) because it was like 50cm short (or was it long) because it was built as a 55 yard pool back in the day. darwin council had already earmarked money to be spent on Parap early next decade when the original pool was scheduled to be retired due to the likely concrete cancer: it didn’t need to be commonwealth funded – the council had the money. It was blatant pork ahead of the 2016 election AND stupid – the pork should have gone to the southern end of the Solomon electorate where they had no pool at all (save for in Palmerston).

    Funnily enough Darwin-ites dont like swimming in the dry season because the pools get down to a ‘chilly’ 20 degrees: so maybe putting in some gas heating would have been good pork. …

  25. The “T” in MMT stands for “theory”

    To be taken seriously, scientific theories need to make testable predictions.

    What predictions does the T in MMT make? (beyond the observation that an accounting identity will continue to hold)

    Show me the ODEs/PDEs (or something gassy, if you prefer).

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