Essential Research: sports rorts, ICAC, Australia Day

The latest from Essential finds majority support for removing Bridget McKenzie, but with a third saying they haven’t been following the issue.

Essential Research has not allowed the long weekend to interrupt the fortnightly schedule of its polling, which continues to be limited to attitudinal questions. Conducted last Tuesday to this Monday from a sample of 1080, the most interesting question from the latest poll relates to Bridget McKenzie, whom 51% felt should have been stood down by the Prime Minister. Only 15% felt he was right not to do so, while a further 34% said they had not been following the issue. The question included an explanation of what the issue involved, which is always best avoided, but the wording was suitably neutral (“it is claimed she allocated $100million to sporting organisations in marginal seats to favour the Coalition”).

The poll also finds overwhelming support for the establishment of a federal ICAC – or to be precise, of “an independent federal corruption body to monitor the behaviour of our politicians and public servants”. Fully 80% of respondents were in favour, including 49% strongly in favour, which is five points higher than when Angus Taylor’s troubles prompted the same question to be asked in December. Also featured are yet more findings on Australia Day, for which Essential accentuates the positive by framing the question around “a separate national day to recognise indigenous Australians”. Fifty per cent were in favour of such a thing, down two on last year, but only 18% of these believed it should be in place of, rather than supplementary to, Australia Day. Forty per cent did not support such a day at all, unchanged on last year.

Note that there are two threads below this one of hopefully ongoing interest: the latest guest post from Adrian Beaumont on Monday’s Democratic caucuses in Iowa, and other international concerns; and my review of looming elections in Queensland, where the Liberal National Party has now chosen its candidate for the looming Currumbin by-election, who has not proved to the liking of retiring member Jann Stuckey.

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.

2,092 comments on “Essential Research: sports rorts, ICAC, Australia Day”

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  1. Savva gets what various Greens commentators on Bludger can’t get on climate change policy:
    ‘It’s the Government.’
    Simple as that.
    ‘Labor is in no rush.’

  2. One thing I did glean from today’s Insiders, that facebook has become the go to platform for spreading propaganda and disinformation.

  3. An interesting article from 1998 by Chantal Mouffe titled “The Radical Centre”:

    One of the main problems nowadays is that the left’s coming to terms with the importance of pluralism, and of liberal democratic institutions, has been accompanied by the mistaken belief that this means abandoning any attempt to offer an alternative to the present hegemonic order. Hence the sacralisation of consensus, the blurring of the left/right distinction and the present urge of many left parties to locate themselves at the centre. But this is to miss a crucial point, not only about the primary reality of strife in social life, but also about the integrative role which conflict plays in modern democracy. The specificity of modern democracy lies in the recognition and the legitimation of conflict and the refusal to suppress it through the imposition of an authoritarian order.


    When political frontiers become blurred, the dynamics of politics are obstructed and the constitution of distinctive political identities are hindered. Disaffection towards political parties sets in and in turn discourages participation in the political process. Alas, as we have begun to witness in many countries, the result is not a more mature, reconciled society, but the growth of other types of collective identities around religious, nationalist or ethnic forms of identifications. Antagonisms can take many forms and it is illusory to believe that they could ever be eliminated. This is why it is preferable to give them a political outlet within a pluralistic democratic system.


    The focus on Clinton’s sexual history is a direct consequence of this new kind of bland, homogenised political world resulting from the effects of triangulation. The development of a moralistic discourse and the obsessive unveiling of scandals, as well as the growth of various types of religious integrisms, are too often the consequence of the void created in political life by the absence of democratic forms of identifications informed by competing political values.

    However the problem is not specific to the US. A look at other countries where, because of different traditions, the sexual card cannot be played in the same way as in the Anglo-American world shows that the crusade against corruption and shabby deals can play a similar role in replacing the missing political line of demarcation between adversaries. In other circumstances yet, the political frontier might be drawn around religious identities or around non-negotiable moral values, as in the case of abortion. But in all cases what this reveals is a democratic deficit created by the blurring of the left/right divide and the trivialisation of political discourse.

    Another, perhaps more worrying, consequence of the same phenomenon is the increasing role played by extreme right-wing parties in many European countries. Indeed I submit that the rise of the far-right in France and Austria, for instance, should be understood in the context of the ‘consensus at the centre’ type of politics that has resulted in these particular countries from the growing ideological convergence between the main governing parties. This has allowed the National Front in France and the Freedom Party in Austria – the only parties to challenge the dominant consensus – to appear as anti-Establishment forces representing the will of the people. Thanks to a skilful populist rhetoric, they have been able to articulate many demands of the ordinary people, scorned as retrograde by the modernising elites, and they are trying to present themselves as the only guarantors of the sovereignty of the people. Such a situation, I believe, would not have been possible had more real political choices been available within the traditional democratic spectrum.

  4. I think we have a first here this morning.

    Every single Bludger agrees that Speersy (thanks Amy and Mike) acquitted himself very well on #Insiders, and this augurs well for the show “going forward”.

    Best we all get back to arguing about something/anything/everything before the internet breaks.
    😉 😆

  5. Danama Papers @ #1612 Sunday, February 2nd, 2020 – 10:06 am

    I think we have a first here this morning.

    Every single Bludger agrees that Speersy (thanks Amy and Mike) acquitted himself very well on #Insiders, and this augurs well for the show “going forward”.

    Best we all get back to arguing about something/anything/everything before the internet breaks.
    😉 😆

    It won’t last.

  6. Cabinet reshuffle could be on horizon
    Cabinet reshuffle could be on horizon

    A Cabinet reshuffle could be on the horizon as Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell reports embattled Nationals Deputy Leader Bridget McKenzie could be dumped as early as today. Senator McKenzie has been embroiled in a scandal since the auditor-general revealed she – as sports minister – used a $100 million sport grants fund to splash cash in marginal seats ahead of the 2019 election. Mr Clennell said while the process “could take more than day” it would be easier for her to resign rather than be sacked. “I’m told if there is a change on that front, a minimal reshuffle would be the case,” he said. “The new deputy leader of the Nats would be David Littleproud, and he would have the choice on who would come into cabinet”.

  7. Dan P:

    I can remember the days when I and Boerwar were ridiculed by Bludgers for saying that Speers was one of the better interviewers.

  8. Ah, Viellaris and her cosy, provincial familiarity with the more peculiarly Bjelke-Queensland flavoured relicts of the LNP. It’s a certain flavour of sclerosed and insular smugness and ill-concealed cronyism instantly recognizable to anyone with low-information relatives and colleagues up here.

    Makes me want to throw things.

  9. Today will be a day on which fireys had better be on the qui vive as far as the Orroral fire is concerned.

    Overnight temps were unseasonably warm.

    The winds around Canberra are prevailing NW but they are very gusty and they are veering quite unpredictably from time to time. We just had a very strong gust from the SW.

    I assume that local storm fronts arising from thunderstorms could be very dangerous.

  10. That’s the first Insiders I’ve enjoyed for a long time. Josh was tripping over himself and repeating rubbish.

    Was never familiar with Speers. Loved it.

  11. In line with comments here.

    jansant @Jansant
    · 45m
    Scott, she calls him Scott. #Insiders

    Cheryl Kernot @cheryl_kernot
    AND has no idea how inappropriate it is!! ‍♀️Journalism FAIL #Insiders

  12. @abcnews
    is reporting Phil Gaetjens has completed his report on @BridgetMcKenzie
    and will hand it to @ScottMorrisonMP

    More to come on what the report says.

    Let’s see how ‘independent’ Phil Gaetjens, the PM’s former Chief of Staff, actually is

  13. The father of the three children who were killed by a drunk driver was amazingly composed in his media interview. How he even managed to front up is equally amazing.

  14. lizzie @ #1624 Sunday, February 2nd, 2020 – 7:37 am

    is reporting Phil Gaetjens has completed his report on @BridgetMcKenzie
    and will hand it to @ScottMorrisonMP

    More to come on what the report says.

    Let’s see how ‘independent’ Phil Gaetjens, the PM’s former Chief of Staff, actually is

    That seems to be based on the assumption that anyone other than #ScottyFromMarketing will ever get to see it.

  15. If people already know the report is being handed over today there’ll be no escaping from it. Not even #ScottyfromMarketing could pull off that sleight of hand.

  16. I think the report will turn around the definition of whether a membership bestowed is still, strictly legally, a membership, and thus contravenes the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

  17. Mavis says:
    Sunday, February 2, 2020 at 10:40 am
    The father of the three children who were killed by a drunk driver was amazingly composed in his media interview. How he even managed to front up is equally amazing.


    For some people that is what massive shock does. Like an adrenalin rush that lets you deal with the immediate ‘threat’. The grief comes later.

  18. Yep the grief comes later and it will most likely overwhelm to the point of dysfunction.
    Beyond sad and tragic. No words or actions can make such a situation better. Nothing.

  19. I just got my youngest son to reach out to his best friend, who is always going to visit the cousins in Sydney. Just to see that he’s going okay. His surname is the same as that of the deceased kids. 🙁

  20. Panama Papers @10.42.

    Phil Gaetjens will find no signs of any naughty goings on and Smirkochio from Fungusville probably won’t be able to resist crowing about it to the meedja. And then he’ll promise to put his mate Gaetjans rubbish bin out for a few months as a reward.

  21. Pegasussays:
    Sunday, February 2, 2020 at 8:52 am
    Victoria will get cash-for-cans, container deposit scheme
    I am surprised Andrews hasn’t left an announcement closer to the next state election. But then a recycling crisis intervened and he had to take action.

    With the intense focus on the disastrous Westgate Tunnel Project, and now attention turning to the Metro tunnel project budget blowout, Andrews has been searching for distractions all week.
    He will always appeal to the progressive left when he is in trouble to shore up his position. Tried the Bettina Arndt Australia Day honour but that went nowhere so may as well release the container deposit scheme to try and relieve some pressure.

    Doubt whether it will work, with the Westgate Tunnel Project he is up shit creek without a paddle and he knows it. .

  22. Frydenberg referred to the deficit from Labor.
    When was that again?
    What have been the deficits for each year for the years of Abbott and Turnbull?
    How many deficit budgets since WW2?
    Speers went good but missed some opportunities.
    The official complaint about Speers will be on Ita’s desk by now.
    The deceitful, corrupt Morrison government should be easy for the MSM and the ABC.
    What’s the problem? (Rhetorical)

  23. C@tmomma @ #1444 Sunday, February 2nd, 2020 – 6:38 am

    Such high ideals are essentially meaningless to the American people when it comes time to vote. They care more about whether they have a job.

    No, the USA isn’t Australia. The people who turn out to vote (Republican) care about things like keeping the big, bad government away from their guns and tax dollars, stopping all those evil women from getting abortions, fucking Muslims and (non-white) migrants, and making a killing in the stock market.

    “Jobs and growth” doesn’t rate over there. Perhaps partly because the people who really need their jobs are also less likely to turn out because they can’t risk taking time away from work to do so.

  24. “Julia Gillard managed to govern effectively around her father’s passing.”


    She did indeed, even when the vile filth Alan Jones made that disgusting comment about it.

  25. Remind me how much over budget the NSW Metro is again? And how completely useless? The West Connex? The North Connex?

    Jeez, those Coalition State governments are such better managers of taxpayers’ $$, aren’t they? 😆

  26. a r,
    I also made the point that, if Bernie Sanders becomes the ‘Democrat’ candidate for POTUS, then the Republican Party will just run the same campaign that the Coalition did against Labor. ‘Bernie (Bill) will tax you to death!’

  27. Australians will not be charged $1000 to be evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, in a stunning federal backflip blamed on “incorrect advice” given to Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week.

    Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed on Sunday morning that Australians would be airlifted from China and flown to quarantine on Christmas Island without having to pay the $1000 fee the government announced days earlier.

  28. “Speers does something that has not been practiced for years and years, much to my frustration.
    He just goes back to the primary question and repeats it.”


    Yep. When someone won’t answer him and tries to pivot to something else, he sticks to his original question and doesn’t allow them to change the topic. Even if they continue to avoid answering him, the fact that he keeps asking highlights their unwillingness to address whatever his question is.

  29. This morning, less than one hour before Josh put the kybosh on the $1000, Dutton was strongly defending the very same charge.

    He also defended McKenzie.

    Interesting games being played out within the government.

  30. Sanders won’t get the nomination … his appeal is to a large sector of youth that rarely bothers to vote and the caucuses know that.

    The US has had their disruptor and it’s turning out to be a disaster.

    They’ll likely opt for a safe pair of hands. i.e. Biden or maybe Buttigieg (sp?)

    I really like Warren’s ideas, but she will be seen to be too Bernie-like in her policies (unpalatable to the middle and upper). Klobuchar is good politician but she is not very well known and while I wish it was otherwise, like Australia, I do not think the Americans are ready for a female leader (just too many old white men in suits in positions of authority).

    If I were a yank, I’d dearly love for Adam Schiff to be running — I have never seen a better orator or statesman (except Obama, of course, who also had an excellent gift of oratory and good speech writers 😆 )

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