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. “Swimming pools have significant health and social benefits for indigenous communities.”

    Indeed. And as another rant, it pisses me off that the Katherine swimming pool (which is also beautiful) is closed during winter because of ‘the cold’ (the water gets down to about 19 degrees even though its still 30 degrees air temperature in the middle of the day). Put some heating on fellas!

  2. Mr Langoulant did a very good report and all the relevant numbers are there.

    Along with the following conclusions:

    • the Royalties for Regions program destabilised the government’s financial management processes;
    • the absence of a whole-of-State plan detailing the government’s highest priorities expanded expenditure pressures;
    • the annual budget process became a year round activity;
    • temporarily high recurrent revenue growth was used to pay for permanent expenditure promises, leaving behind structural budget deficits;
    • decision makers lacked the capacity to act upon signs of unsustainable growth in net debt;
    • high volatility in commodity prices was not incorporated into more conservative budget settings so when the downturn arrived the State was exposed;
    • the quality of financial information supporting Cabinet Submissions deteriorated;
    • the Government defaulted to confidentiality around major projects rather than transparency.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-21/langoulant-report-on-how-royalties-for-regions-left-budget-hole/9467622

  3. • temporarily high recurrent revenue growth was used to pay for permanent expenditure promises, leaving behind structural budget deficits

    Ah, straight from the book of Economic Stupid written by P.Costello and J.W. Howard.

  4. • temporarily high recurrent revenue growth was used to pay for permanent expenditure promises, leaving behind structural budget deficits;
    • decision makers lacked the capacity to act upon signs of unsustainable growth in net debt;
    • high volatility in commodity prices was not incorporated into more conservative budget settings so when the downturn arrived the State was exposed;
    • the quality of financial information supporting Cabinet Submissions deteriorated;
    • the Government defaulted to confidentiality around major projects rather than transparency.

    This sounds depressingly familiar. It must be in the Coalition dna.

  5. Bucephalus says:
    Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Whoever cleaned up the disgraceful mural at Bondi is a legend.

    Hit a nerve did it?

  6. Ideologues like Clem have been murdering millions for decades

    Yet another weirdly hyperbolic statement. You are imputing to Clem views that he has not expressed.

  7. 1. Chinese to restructure PNG debt?
    2. PNG not so happy about an AUS/US naval base at Manus?
    3. Chinese army-naval base at Manus to put the cat amongst the pigeons?

    Perhaps we’ll need adults in charge of the Commonwealth government sooner rather than later?

  8. I think Banerjee’s ‘procedural failing’ was leaving evidence of her tweets on her desk, which a not-helpful colleague dobbed her in for. So why would a fellow public servant do this?

    Anyone who follows @lalegale on Twitter, as I do, would know that crackpot conspiracy theories are not far away. For example, Banerjee insists that ‘The Law of Oleh’ – The Right of Return to Israel for anyone with Jewish Blood – makes Frydenberg, Mark Dreyfus and others ineligible to sit in Parliament due to S.44 prohibitions.

  9. Ms. Banerji seems a bit of a nutter. If she couldn’t cover her tracks, she deserved to lose. What surprises, however, is that precedent was against her. Why, then, was she given granted leave? I mean, the court was unanimous against her pleading. And, it ordered the respondent to pay the appellant’s costs of the appeal. I’ve stayed at the People’s Palace – you get used to it.

  10. Firing seems like an over-the-top first response to a public servant anonymously tweeting criticism of public servants and politicians. What if they apologize and stop doing it? Start with that and escalate to firing if necessary.

  11. Hi everyone, just catching up on the High Court decision today. For young players, please don’t Google Banerjee, you’ll get a whole other court case totally unrelated to today’s effort 😀

    My own views on the matter is that public service is mirroring that of the corporate world. Employees cannot publicly comment critically on their employer, anonymous or not. I’ve given examples in the past of my own employer’s social media policy as it applies to all staff.

    That said, shades of Grog back in the day, but the exception being he was unceremoniously outed by James Massola and News Ltd for doing nothing more than calling on the media to report more on policy when it came to Tony Abbott. A not unreasonable request given the media at the time doting on Tone and falling under his Everyman spell.

  12. Mavis

    If she couldn’t cover her tracks, she deserved to lose.

    Your nutter comment aside, is the intent to scare others into not speaking out, regardless of the level of obscurity.

  13. Rex Douglas says:
    Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at 6:23 pm
    poroti @ #206 Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 – 6:05 pm

    Wombats in Japanese swimming pools ?
    Send in the $100B subs to blast them into extinction
    ________________________________
    Classic line!

  14. One claim by the Banerji team was that twittering anonymously is different to twittering under her name (which directly links her to being an APS member breaching the Code of Conduct.

    In the joint judgement (Kiefel CJ, Keane J, Nettle J, Bell J) their honours made this interesting aside, saying that just as the APS Guidelines warn there is probably no such thing as an anonymous online or social media post ……. “anyone who posts etc ……… should assume that at some point in time their identity and employment will be revealed” (at 24).

    They added “as this case shows”.

    None of us can predict the future and so it is clear that anything we write anywhere on line, even under anonymous pseudonyms can come back to bite us. And it is unlikely that in any related legal action, the excuse “but it was written anonymously, Your Honour” won’t save us.

  15. Boerwar:

    Our salad days as de facto colonial masters of much of the Pacific are over.

    The base (unlike the detention centre) offered real opportunities to assist development, and the behaviour of the ADF would be expected to exemplary (unlike that of the guards). It will be a lose-lose if it ends up not happening.

  16. mikehilliard:

    It’s well established (see infra) that the implied right of political discourse is not a personal right. Now that might be seen by many to be a fetter on free speech, but that’s the law. The crux of my concern is that Ms. Banerji’s counsel would’ve been aware of this yet nonetheless ostensibly encouraged her to pursue the matter, with the result that she not only inevitably lost, but also is liable for costs.

    [‘The High Court has developed the implied right to freedom of political communication in a number of high-profile cases. The key thing to understand is that “this is not a personal right” [my emphasis] that each person enjoys (such as, for example, a right set out in the US Bill of Rights). Instead, it is a limitation on the power of the legislature to prevent it from exercising its functions in a way that curtails freedom of political communication.’]

  17. Psyclaw

    anyone who posts etc ……… should assume that at some point in time their identity and employment will be revealed

    F*cking scary 1984 shit. Just as well we have numerous safeguards like freedom of speech written into our laws. Or do we?

  18. I have been thinking for Labor to win the next election, they need to convince the sort of voters who usually decide elections, who mostly live in the outer suburbs of our major cities and provincial cities as well, that their lives will be materially better off under a Labor than a Coalition government.

    If Anthony Albanese and Jim Chalmers can do that, than Labor is a shoe in 2022. Because the Scott Morrison is respected not liked by these sort of voters, they only re-elected his government, because they were afraid they would be worse off under a Shorten Labor government.

    Also I get a feeling that many Baby Boomers, need to financially subside their Millennial children to a big degree. Because of the extremely unaffordable housing market, also low wages brought about primarily by laws preventing unions to organising and strike, which would bring about higher wages, along with more secure permanent jobs. Labor should pursing these kinds of policies. That is the only way wages are going to be increased to a degree which would meet high costs of living, especially for housing.

  19. “anyone who posts etc ……… should assume that at some point in time their identity and employment will be revealed”

    This is an unreasonable and unnecessary expectation. A person who posts anonymously in their personal time is clearly making an effort to ensure that their views don’t lead to the public seeing public servants as too biased to do their jobs properly.

    The most important question is: Why should firing be the first response to this issue?

  20. Phew “ideologue’s like me want to murder millions of people. Yeah me, a former Labor party member and democratic socialist. Bush Fire Bill has gone right off the reservation. Even Briefly at his worst, failed to go as troppo as you mate. You must enjoy arguing with self constructed positions. Keep it up, you are really amusing. I can just imagine your road rage, behind the wheel of the beloved Toyota. Ha, ha!

  21. mikehilliard:

    I would add that the only live question was whether posting anomalously was capable of defeating the personal right’s embargo. As others have said, the court found it was inevitable that her identity would be ultimately revealed.

  22. Jeeze! At least try to be consistent!

    Public servants are employed to implement government policy, not undermine it in public speech.

    Same as Spokeswinger Folau, he was employed to (play Rugby and) promote Rugby Australia’s chosen brand strategy, not undermine it in public speech.

    Free speech has nothing to do with it; it’s predominantly a contract issue.

    It’s possible (as Bucephalus says) that religious discrimination statutes override the Folau contract, but in that case surely the contract is invalid and Mr Folau is in any event left without a contract.

  23. In NathWorld, being glad that 19,800,000 Japanese were NOT starved, burned, bombed, bayoneted or poisoned to death – as well as a million or so Allied soldiers – is hate speech and a symptom of being a befuddled angry old white man.

    Conversely, Nicholas says that wishing the war had gone on for years, with megadeaths the result, is not implied by Clem’s ideological anti-Hiroshima Bomb position.

    If Fat Man and Little Boy had not been dropped, millions more Japanese – probably a hundred times more than the number of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bomb deaths (indeed, including a goodly proportion of these too) – would have died by agonizing attrition. Par for the course among the America Haters and other witless ideological warriors. It’s the price others (it’s always others) have to pay for Clem’s, Nicholas’ and Nath’s ideological purities.

  24. Well Clem, if you didn’t want the Bombs dropped, then you wanted the War to be ended conventionally.

    Which means megadeaths.

    The rest is wishful thinking about the options that were available.

  25. Public servants are employed to implement government policy, not undermine it in public speech.

    What was done to this public servant reminds me of that scene in the Life of Brian where Brian is in a prison cell with another prisoner:

    Brian: What will they do to me?

    Upside down prisoner: Oh, you’ll probably get away with crucifixion.

    Brian: GET AWAY with crucifixion?!!!

    Upside down prisoner: Yeah, first offence.

    It seems harsh to fire someone in these circumstances, particularly in view of the fact that senior public servants and politicians often don’t get fired for conduct that actually matters.

    Despite all the ornate rhetoric about preserving the public’s confidence in the impartiality and professionalism of the public service, the reality is that hardly any members of the public would have heard the name of this public servant and the content of her tweets, and the small number who did hear about it probably didn’t care. She was fired because her superiors didn’t like her tweets, not because the public formed the view that she was too biased to do her job.

  26. Mavis Davis:

    It’s feasible to delete a term of a contract that’s unlawful but to have the rest of the contract remain extant.

    Indeed – so the court will need to find the actually valid part of the contract by deleting terms.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean deleting an obligation agreed to by Mr Folau whilst leaving all Rugby Australia obligations in place.

  27. Nicholas:

    [‘A person who posts anonymously in their personal time is clearly making an effort to ensure that their views don’t lead to the public seeing public servants as too biased to do their jobs properly.’]

    Please refer to the ratio decidendi of the judgment before making uninformed comment. It’s the legislature that makes law; it’s up to the judiciary to interpret them. And, in Ms. Banerji’s case, the court unanimously found again her.

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