What the papers say

Random notes on coronavirus and opinion poll response rates, election postponements and a call to give counting of pre-poll votes a head start on election night.

No Newspoll this week it seems – which is unfortunate, because a report in New York Times ($) suggests coronavirus lockdowns are doing wonders for opinion poll response rates:

Even in online surveys, pollsters have also seen an increase in participation over the past few weeks. At the Pew Research Center, which does most of its polling through the online American Trends Panel, many respondents filled in a voluntary-comments box in a recent survey with expressions of gratitude.

It is inferred that “a wider variety of people are willing to tell pollsters what they think, so it’s more likely that a poll’s respondents will come closer to reflecting the makeup of the general population.”

Coronavirus is rather less conducive to the staging of actual elections, the latest casualty being the May 30 date that was set for Tasmania’s Legislative Council seats of Huon Rosevears, which was itself a postponement from the traditional first Saturday of the month. The government has now invoked a recently legislated power to set the date for a yet-to-be-determined Saturday in June, July and August. The Tasmanian Electoral Commission has expressed the view that a fully postal election, as some were advocating, did not count as an election under the state’s existing Electoral Act.

Tasmania and other jurisdictions with elections looming on their calendars might perhaps look to South Korea, which proceeded with its legislative elections on Wednesday. As reported in The Economist ($):

All voters will have their temperature taken before entering their polling station (those found to have fever or other symptoms will be directed to a separate polling booth). They will also have to wear a face mask, sanitise their hands and put on vinyl gloves before picking up a ballot paper and entering the booth. Election stewards will ensure people keep away from each other while queueing and voting. Door knobs, pencils and ballot boxes will be sterilised often.

Other than that, I can offer the following in the way of recommended reading: Antony Green’s post calling for pre-poll votes to be counted under wraps on election day starting from 2pm. This would address issues arising from the huge imbalance between election day booths, only one of which processed more than 4000 votes at the May 2019 federal election, and the three weeks’ accumulation of votes cast at pre-poll booths, of which 901 cleared 4000 votes, including 208 that went above 10,000 and ten with more than 20,000 (UPDATE: Make that 370 of more than 4000 and 208 of more than 10,000 – turns out the numbers in the table are cumulative). The result is that the largest pre-poll booths are not reporting until very late at night, many hours after the last trickles of election booths runs dry.

This has sometimes caused election counts to take on different complexions at the end of the evening — to some extent at the Victorian state election in November 2018, which ended a little less catastrophic for the Liberals than the election day results suggested, and certainly at the Wentworth by-election the previous month, when Liberal candidate Dave Sharma briefly rose from the dead in his struggle with the ultimately victorious Kerryn Phelps. It is noted that pre-poll votes in New Zealand are counted throughout election day itself, which is made practical by a ban on any election campaigning on the day itself, freeing up party volunteers for scrutineering who in Australia would be staffing polling booths.

Antony also argues against reducing the pre-poll period from three weeks to two, for which there has been quite a broad push since last year’s election, as it will lead to greater demand for the less secure option of postal voting, stimulated by the efforts of the political parties.

Also note my extensive post below on recent events in Wisconsin – you are encouraged to use that thread if you have something to offer specifically on American politics.

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.

769 comments on “What the papers say”

Comments Page 15 of 16
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  1. I had the misfortune once of attending a workshop with Simon Longstaff. A bigger bag of wind you would not meet – and I’m sad to say that was the highlight of the day..

  2. “ Those ABC series Phoenix and Janus remain the zenith of Australian drama.”

    Yep. Although I’m looking forward to finally watching Blue Murder, so I’ll reserve final judgement until then.

  3. Bob joins the list of RW app critics.

    Bob Katter slams government’s COVID-19 tracing app as ‘Orwellian’
    (Canberra Times headline)

  4. Andrew_Earlwood
    Monday, April 20, 2020 at 9:40 pm
    “ Those ABC series Phoenix and Janus remain the zenith of Australian drama.”
    Yep. Although I’m looking forward to finally watching Blue Murder, so I’ll reserve final judgement until then.
    Blue Murder is a miniseries so it packs a lot more punch into its few hours than drawn out investigate/procedural series like Phoenix/Janus. Blue Murder is also exceptional. Incredible performances from Martin, Roxburgh and Dimitriades.

    And then of course you have the movie Chopper, which is on another level in terms of its surrealist influences, its unreliable narrator and prison realism. A treasure.

  5. I think that deliberate rorting of JobKeeper by extant companies is likely to be fairly low.

    The obvious candidates are those with large numbers of low paid workers and a history of wage theft, such as the top 7-11 entity (which as I recall is somehow associated with the family of Reg “The Toecutter” Withers). I think 7-11 uses a franchise model, and I’d expect to see franchisees being misled by those higher up the pyramid so as to send some of the money back up. Lots of fun for everyone!

    Legitimate large companies will take JobKeeper only if they’re a long way underwater (e.g. 50%+ loss of revenue) and will want to avoid reputational damage

    Small companies will only have access to a small amount of money for a short period of time, and it will make little sense to break the rules (which are quite clear that the money must be passed on)

    I think there could be rorting by Directors of very small companies (but that’s a maximum of 19.5k rorted, not worth it for most people) and perhaps by sole traders (though this is more likely to be incompetence, and in any even doesn’t involve wage theft).

    People having to have been employed on a durable basis as at 1 March (apart from one Director per company) is a reasonable integrity measure for a short running scheme (not running long enough for the rort engineers to get moving on it). I was actually surprised that it wasn’t 1,500/fn for the employee and 500/fn for the business (for overheads, you know..) – businesses are expected to carry the overheads (as they should be).

  6. I missed Blue Murder. Will have to catch up on it.

    Does the Doylo RSL get a run? Spent a bit of time there playing cricket and drowning sorrows afterwards.

  7. A few weeks ago I suggested this might happen and was howled down.

    It’s pretty easy to get howled down around here Fess.

    All you have to do is upset the Green Mafia, the Moral Strelnikovs, one of the self-appointed experts who know more about more than the experts know, or Guytaur (a finger-pointing force of nature if ever there was one), and you cop the full obsessive treatment.

    Doesn’t matter what you say, or how you justify it. Once the hive mind is made up you don’t stand a chance.

    It’s character building.

  8. Thanks poroti + hillbilly

    I was expecting a drop in flu cases but that’s impressive.

    One point. If current measuresare having that effect on the flu it adds weight to the evidence that we are decisively reducing covid19 transmission.

    I won’t say “clobbered”. Not yet.

  9. ——And then of course you have the movie Chopper——
    A long time ago I happened to be in the backyard of Milats brothers house in The southern highlands ‘town’ of Hilltop. I shudder even now at the thought.

  10. Mr Inbetween on Foxtel is the best Australian tv show I’ve seen in a while. Ordinarily not a great compliment but this show is very good. I also liked this other Australian show Bloom on Stan, not great but very good and with a strong cast in the tradition of magical realism.

  11. WTI now $11.23….. This is the contract for delivery which is due tomorrow. So everyone who is long oil is going to have to sell today or else accept the oil tomorrow and all the tanks are full or close to full. If someone had storage capacity it would be easy to take advantage of the Contango, but as I said basically nobody has any capacity….

  12. Simon Katich
    Monday, April 20, 2020 at 10:03 pm
    ——And then of course you have the movie Chopper——
    A long time ago I happened to be in the backyard of Milats brothers house in The southern highlands ‘town’ of Hilltop. I shudder even now at the thought.
    lucky Ivan didn’t offer you a lift!

  13. I had a solicitor once who was shot dead by an assassin hired by his accountant. In his driveway, in front of his wife.

    Does that count?

    Couldn’t believe it. Still can’t.

    A trust fund anomaly, apparently.

  14. Greensborough Growler says:
    Monday, April 20, 2020 at 7:29 pm
    frednk @ #589 Monday, April 20th, 2020 – 7:25 pm

    Simon Katich says:
    Monday, April 20, 2020 at 7:22 pm
    I miss Compass.
    Give Australian National Airways another run.
    I miss TAA.

    First flight I remember was a fokker from Tasmania in 1960. You used to get to see the captain. They gave you wings. I forgot what the one wing and two wings was about, but there was one wing and two wings and I remember being excited because i had two, why I don’t remember.

  15. E.G.T.
    All very reasonable possibilities. I have less faith in the business class than you. Taxation rorting is Australia’s biggest growth industry, aided and abetted by a succession of LNP governments using taxation as the carrot of choice to cement ths LNP/business class relationship.
    I’m not buying the change of clothes so early in the pandemic as a definitive conjunction.
    Morrison always leaves a mess on departure. Why would this moment in time be any different?

  16. Blobbit says:
    Monday, April 20, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    “Bob joins the list of RW app critics.”

    Given the people against it, I want to install it right now.

    It’s tough, when Morrison said we had to install it, there was no way I was going to lift a finger.

  17. For those falling for BB’s BS Sally McManus just made the same point about trust of people in the government I did earlier. On QandA

    According to BB that’s finger pointing.

  18. Ivan was in long bay at the time.

    Didn’t matter. The place was ‘neck hairs at attention’ and ‘on the verge of wetting your pants’ creepy. I knew whatshisname was due home soon. I was rushing to finish but time stopped – like in those dreams where your legs are frozen and you can’t run – not a breath of a breeze, the shush of the forest went quiet, birds stopped calling, your chest is imploding the exploding… f!ck. It still freaks me out.

  19. Bushfire Bill @ #629 Monday, April 20th, 2020 – 8:10 pm

    I think Turnbull has a doppelganger.

    One is brave and forthright with a great mind, a clear foresight and surpassing social conscience.

    The other is a politically tin-eared gutless wonder who couldn’t bring himself to stick up for his own values if they up and bit him on the arse.

    If you read Paddy Manning’s story about The Nationals in this month’s The Monthly you’ll learn exactly why that was.

  20. “It’s tough, when Morrison said we had to install it, there was no way I was going to lift a finger.”

    It’s difficult I know, but the weight of RWNJs (and some LWNJs) seems to be against it, so on it goes.

  21. In short: ScoMo got rolled.

    No, he’s smarter and more cunning than that. Scotty from Marketing agreed to the Premiers from the biggest states making the big calls as long as he could be the front man in the sharp suit making the big announcements. It worked a treat.

    Of course, if it had gone pear-shaped he could have blamed them. Too easy for SfM.

  22. Not so much blaming Labor from Greens I’d say, just one side of the duopoly that has supposedly been in part the so-called governments that has contributed, by their own claims of responsibility, to the circumstances and situation we are now in.
    Just sold out to their donors as much as the LNP for the most part, particularly on fossil fuels.

    What bunch of idiots would literally undermine their own water supplies for a fossil fuel buck?
    The same that would put a mining executive in charge of the covid19 response as seen on Q and A talking more gas and avoiding discussing cheaper more long term sustainable renewable energy

    Fossil fuel lobby to use Covid-19 to push for weaker climate laws

    “Australian researchers warn that governments and powerful business lobby groups may use the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to water down environmental controls, with the fossil fuel industry most likely to take advantage.

    In findings published in the journal Regulation and Governance, economists from the Australian National University found that studies of the behaviour of corporations and governments during previous economic crises show they were able to predict how the government responses to Covid-19 may be influenced by vested interests.”
    “Historically, the research found that influence has often been applied to regulations relating to health and safety, but the researchers noted that there was a growing body of evidence that suggests it is now expanding to environmental controls.

    As an Australian example, Aisbett cites the recent approval for the expansion of coal mining operations under a Sydney drinking water catchment as another example of how the industry can use its influence to win favourable treatment from governments.”

  23. Blobbit says:
    Monday, April 20, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    “It’s tough, when Morrison said we had to install it, there was no way I was going to lift a finger.”

    It’s difficult I know, but the weight of RWNJs (and some LWNJs) seems to be against it, so on it goes.

    Tempting, very tempting.

  24. According to BB that’s finger pointing.

    Says the IPA shill.

    Fancy accusing me of taking an IPA position, when it’s Guytaur who’s in bed with them all the way, and I am in diametric opposition.

    I’ve seen some mind-fucks come out of Guyraur’s keyboard in the past, but this takes the cake.

    Guytaur, the IPA Hugger.

  25. Tonight has been another good episode of Qanda. So much more interesting without a live audience and no politicians. And a good facilitator.

  26. No doubt this will be controversial.

    Mark Zuckerberg: How data can aid the fight against covid-19

    I’ve always believed that helping people come together as a community will help us address our greatest challenges — not just by sharing our experiences and supporting each other in crises but also by working together at scale to solve problems. The world has faced pandemics before, but this time we have a new superpower: the ability to gather and share data for good. If we use it responsibly, I’m optimistic that data can help the world respond to this health crisis and get us started on the road to recovery.

  27. Jesus! Can we stop revering top sportsmen and women already!?!

    Holler out if you had the ‘Novak Djokovic is an Anti-Vaxxer’ in your set of 2020 Athlete Isolation Revelation trading cards.

    …Sport has produced some baffling and occasionally productive dialogue since athletes have been in the COVID-19 lockdown and on Monday, tennis managed to corner both markets. Most startling was Djokovic, the world No.1, telling fellow Serbian athletes in a Facebook live discussion that he was ‘opposed to vaccination’.

    That came in response to a suggestion that the WTA and ATP Tours should continue to be put on hold until a workable vaccine to the coronavirus had been unearthed, something that could probably happen within a week if the Big Three threw in some loose change.

    Alas, Djokovic was having none of it. “Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,” Djokovic said. “But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision.

    “I have my own thoughts about the matter and whether those thoughts will change at some point, I don’t know. Hypothetically, if the season was to resume in July, August or September, though unlikely, I understand that a vaccine will become a requirement straight after we are out of strict quarantine and there is no vaccine yet.”

    What his “own thoughts” are on the subject of vaccination remain unclear, although it’s odd to think of the Serbian, a hugely pragmatic competitor on the court, as someone trawling Facebook for vaccine conspiracy theories or hosting chickenpox parties for the progeny of fellow touring pros.


  28. Bushfire Bill
    I had a solicitor once who was shot dead by an assassin hired by his accountant. In his driveway, in front of his wife.

    We shared a solicitor in that case. I also worked with him for a few years. Like yourself, I still struggle to believe it happened. Vale Tom!

  29. Blobbit:

    E. G. Theodore:

    “– changes to the device operating system (for example phones could go discoverable for a minute every five minutes to enable your pinging approach to work)”

    Google and Apple are both working on that.




    They use a five minute convergence window – my five minutes for same was just a good guess! (or maybe a common mistake…)

    They use an advertising interval currently between 200-270 ms, cf the one minute in five period (with somewhat different semantics) in my suggestion. This is much better but probably relies on knowing how each of the BT implementations work and interact (I wonder how they have walled off this information…)

    The don’t use location. They don’t use phone numbers.

    They use temporary node (phone/person) IDs, generated every fifteen minutes on the device (so they are private, unlike the BlueTrace contrally generated TempIDs). This is much better the BlueTrace, but still as far as I can see allow a person to be traced as they move from contact to contact over a 15 minute period. I still can’t seen why they don’t assign one use IDs, unique for each contact (as in my post in the previous thread), which is “more private” as it precludes tracking completely.

    Their key scheme will scale better, and they might have empirical results indicating that this is critical. They also have a key hierarchy where the 15 minute keys are associated with 24 hour daily keys and these in turn with per-device Tracing Keys. The only reason I can see for this is to improve scalability, which would indicate that one use IDs—one per contact—won’t perform adequately (it would be interesting to see their estimates).

    They appear to have the capability to detect proximity to infected people and potentially infected people (who may not know they so). This enables one to avoid the infected but also has adverse implications in relation to armed Americans.

    They change the device address synchronously with the rollover of the fifteen minute keys. This is an important point in that it precludes linking successive fifteen minute keys together via a shared address and thus compromising the point of the rollover. This can only be done efficiently at the OS level.

    Unlike TraceTogether, this is not a dud.

  30. That has to be in the draw for best insult of the week.

    He just came out of the blue, accusing me of being homophobic, an IPA member, a Coal Hugger and something else that escapes me.

    Q. His excuse?

    A. It’s not finger-pointing if it’s true.

    Q. How do we know if it’s true?

    A. If Guytaur says it’s true.

    Then I remembered that my position was and is to accept the virus tracker app when available.

    Guytaur’s position is to reject it until all trust in government is restored (i.e. never). This is precisely the IPA’s position too. And for exactly the same reason. Throw in the Trumpistas, and the Anti-Vaxxers with their wacky ideas about trust in government, and an image starts to form of unhinged ratbaggery.

    Guytaur: the IPA Hugger.

    Who knew?

  31. EGT

    I rather like the idea of every transaction having its own unique random ID.
    I don’t think its a huge scaling issue. Not when very few people are tested positive.

  32. “Tonight has been another good episode of Qanda. So much more interesting without a live audience and no politicians. And a good facilitator.”

    Except that the producers feel they have to invite dangerous fools like Gigi.

  33. For someone who lives off labelling others dishonestly, accusing someone else of “misrepresentation” is laying on the bullshit a bit thick, Guytaur.

    But we know that’s all out of the IPA Playbook, don’t we?

  34. E. G. Theodore @ #695 Monday, April 20th, 2020 – 7:31 pm

    20% share holding is the international standard at which listed companies typically have to start disclosing information (inc. risks) related to companies in which they hold shares. Hence they try to keep their holding below 20%.

    Actually it’s at the 5% level when an investor or company has to declare their stake to the ASX, and just about every stock exchange in the world.

    Buce is right about the 20% level. When a party reaches a 20% stake they’re required by law to launch a bid for the rest of the company’s shares. The takeover bid may or not be successful leaving the buyer with less than a 50% stake, but nevertheless are in effective control of the target.

  35. Ahhh…the IPA….the Institue for Public Annihilation ….lol

    That’s right: the other thing IPA Boy accused me of was being a Granny Killer, because he decided I believed the Economy was more important than the lives of a few old codgers in nursing homes.

    I’m stuffed if I know where he got that idea from. But once he gets an idea inside that head of his you can’t shake it loose. He just repeats it until you give up.

    When you do that he takes it as proof you’ve got a guilty conscience (not enough stamina to defend yourself or some such rubbish).

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