Three-cornered contestants

As candidates jockey for the early running in Eden-Monaro, the results of a reported Nationals internal poll, plus a couple of other things to be dubious about.

Bega Valley Shire mayor Kristy McBain has been anointed by Anthony Albanese as Labor’s candidate for the Eden-Monaro by-election, despite the fact that a designated nominations period had yet to expire. The Nationals have justified their optimism by providing The Australian ($) with an internal poll conducted immediately after Mike Kelly’s retirement announcement on Thursday, the paper’s report of which begins thus: “NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro would win the Eden-Monaro by-election if he chooses to stand” (UPDATE: See account of weekend developments at the bottom of the post). This fact turns out to have been established by a 52-48 lead over Kristy McBain, and primary votes that have Barilaro leading hypothetical Liberal candidate Jim Molan by 30% to 21%, with McBain on 35% and Greens candidate Patrick McGinlay on 8%.

However, a report by David Crowe of the Age/Herald ($) suggests state Transport Minister and Bega MP Andrew Constance has been responsive to colleagues’ suggestions he should seek Liberal preselection, and Barilaro has said he will not run if Constance does. Furthermore, “some state sources said there was still a chance both men would pull back from the contest”. In that case, it would seem Fiona Kotvojs, who ran at the election last year, would get another run for the Liberals, and the Nationals would presumably go back to being uncompetitive. Candidacies of either or both of Barilaro and Constance respectively raise the prospect of state by-elections for the seats of Monaro (Nationals margin 11.6%) and Bega (Liberal margin 6.9%), neither of which are unloseable by the recent historic standards of by-elections.

In other news, Roy Morgan has conducted its occasional exercise of publishing the latest results of its federal voting polling, which these days it keeps to itself except when it believes it has identified a newsworthy angle to the results. Onthis occasion its a forceful swing to the Coalition that was missed by Newspoll, such that it now leads 51.5-48.5 after trailing 53-47 in polling from mid-March (compared with 51-49 from the Newspoll of the time). On the primary vote, the Coalition was up seven to 43.5%, Labor down three to 33%, the Greens up half to 11.5% and One Nation down one to 3%. Among the unanswered questions are what impact an apparent chopping and changing of survey methods may have had, with this latest result said to combine phone and online polling for a sample of 2806 over the two weekends just past. Many others besides have been canvassed by Kevin Bonham.

Then there’s the latest effort from Dynata for the Institute of Public Affairs, this time concerning coronavirus restrictions, which I’m not going to say anything about except that it’s out there. Among the questions respondents were invited to agree or disagree with was the following: “There should be an immediate easing of petty restrictions with appropriate social distancing in place”. If I were completing such a survey, my reaction to this question would be to recognise that I was being manipulated and refuse to complete it, and I suspect I’m not alone.

UPDATE (4/5/20): Conflicting signals on the John Barilaro front this morning, courtesy of apparently separate sources both said to be close to him. The Sydney Morning Herald ($) reported overnight that Barilaro would formally announce his intention not to run this morning, but The Australian ($) has been told that this is wrong and that Barilaro is still considering his position. The Herald reports claims from Liberals that Crosby Textor internal polling shows Andrew Constance would win the seat in canter, and that the state Liberals consider Constance’s seat of Bega to be easier to defend at a by-election than Barilaro’s seat of Monaro, which might fall to Shooters Fishers and Farmers or such like. Barilaro and Constance are apparently both on the record saying they will drop out if the other runs rather than expose the state government to two by-elections, which merely raises the question of which claim takes precedence.

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.

1,298 comments on “Three-cornered contestants”

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  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Public health experts Kirsten McCaffery and Carissa Bonner say that we need good information and a little bit of nudging to maintain life-saving momentum.
    Our economic recovery must help all Australians get back on their feet, and to do that we need a migration program that puts Australian workers first urges Kristina Keneally.
    And Shane Wright also looks at this subject, saying Australia’s dependence on immigration to grow the economy is about to be sorely tested.
    In this time of crisis, it’s clear that the world’s trajectory of population and economic growth isn’t sustainable, writes Michael Bayliss.,13851
    In quite an interesting essay Mark Kenny wonders if our democracy is due for an upgrade.
    Victorian health authorities are racing to track the source of infection of 17 coronavirus clusters which have locked down major hospitals, psychiatric clinics and aged care homes.
    Crispin Hull urges Australia to stand up to China’s bullying.
    Michael Koziol examines lot of the opposition during and after the pandemic.
    Will the federal JobKeeper Allowance become Scott Morrison’s pink-batts/school-halls’ experience? It’s starting to look that way, even at this early stage suggests John Kelly.
    Economists who count financial losses above lives lost do their field no favours explains health economist Angela Jackson.
    The coast is not clear in Australia: there might be more COVID-19 pain in the coming months, writes Dr Kyle Mervin.,13852
    Dana McCauley reports that private hospitals have been put on notice that Medicare data-matching will be used to detect any suspicious activity during the ban on most types of elective surgery.
    Professor Kim Oates gives us his idea of walking etiquette in this new coronavirus age. Quite a good read.
    New South Wales health authorities are investigating possible breaches of infection control at a Sydney aged care facility at the centre of a coronavirus cluster. Of the five new COVID-19 cases in the state over the last 24 hours, two were recorded at Newmarch House, where 13 residents have died.
    Families are more worried their nursing home relatives will die of neglect than coronavirus, reports aged care researcher Sarah Russell. Aged care operators have hoodwinked the Government into giving them more money – even winning grants to screen visitors when visitors are not allowed. Russell exposes an industry marred by poor transparency and understaffing and calls for an inquiry into the disaster at Anglicare’s Newmarch House.
    Cait Kelly reports that the effects of people panic buying medication because of COVID-19 are being felt across the nation with the number of those in short supply ballooning to almost 600.
    Max Koslowski tells us that a new poll shows most Australians say they support the federal government’s coronavirus contact tracing app, but only 16 per cent have downloaded it, leaving Prime Minister Scott Morrison less than halfway to his 40 per cent uptake goal.
    Flight Centre has decided to stop charging cancellation fees to customers whose travel has been impacted by COVID-19.
    John Lord writes about the mongrel that is Rupert Murdoch.
    The shelves may be restocked in Australia’s supermarkets after months of panic buying, but the insanity that dominated the aisles was a whole new phenomenon. None bore the brunt of this extraordinary time more than those at the retail front line – supermarket staff in every store across Australia writes Kate Benson.
    Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been defying pressure from Scott Morrison to comply with his desire to see schools reopen, writes John Wren.,13856
    There’s a sense that celebrities are irrelevant. Has coronavirus shattered our fame obsession? I certainly hope so!
    Nick Cohen bores into Boris Johnson for trumpeting jingoism in the face of the coronavirus facts.
    Matthew Knott writes that his experience travelling from Washington to one of America’s coronavirus hot spots was remarkably relaxed – at times worryingly so.
    Bernie Sanders writes that the pandemic has made the US healthcare crisis far more dire and he says the government must fix the system. Good luck with that, Bernie!
    Tim Ferguson says that only fake news would take Donald Trump seriously.

    Cartoon Corner

    Mark David

    David Rowe

    A gif from Glen Le Lievre
    Matt Golding

    Matt Davidson

    From the US

  2. Or the week after or the week after that ?
    Government concedes health officials are currently unable to use COVIDSafe coronavirus app
    The federal government has conceded that the COVIDSafe tracing app is not currently operational and won’t be up and running until next week.

  3. Deaths related to covid-19 spiked in Italy on Saturday after weeks of generally steady decline, with 474 fatalities in the last 24 hours, compared with 269 on Friday.

    The majority of Saturday’s deaths were in Lombardy, the country’s worst-hit region, where 329 people died, up from just 88 the day before, according to Reuters.

    Australia needs to be careful about relaxing physical distancing directives. That said it’s been a week in WA under the more relaxed measures and so far, so good.

  4. Yay! I have officially been diagnosed as a Drama Queen with a bad case of influenza but Negative to COVID-19! 😀

  5. KK has a way of drilling into the numbers to get to the nub of a problem, then telling a good story about it:

    Australians can be proud of the role migration has played in our past. We are a nation built by permanent migrants – think of the Snowy Hydro scheme. But under John Howard, Australia started to favour temporary migration over permanent settlement, resembling more and more a guest worker nation.

    Scott Morrison took this policy shift to its political conclusion. In a cynical move, Morrison capped permanent migration at 160,000 a year and claimed it as a “congestion busting” measure, but at the same time allowed temporary migration to soar to historically high levels.

    Unlike permanent visas, temporary visas are uncapped. As at June 2019 there were 2.1 million temporary visa holders here. Australia hosts the second largest migrant workforce in the OECD, second in total number only to the US.

    Morrison and Howard, mentor and mentee, 2 peas in a political pod.

  6. Thank you, ‘fess, BK and lizzie. Can I just add that it’s just as well that the Flu season didn’t balloon this year, it’s a nasty one.

  7. Kronomex

    If the Libs win Eden-Monaro, Morrison won’t need to shout about it much, but he’ll pin the smirk more firmly on his face and “know” that everything he does is perfect.

  8. I have just read an article by Margaret Simons in The Monthly, Adam Bandt, the personable hardliner.

    It requires a very intelligent journalist to interview bright people like Bandt and I think she’s captured him well. Personal comment: I wish he’d shave off that scruffy beard.

  9. The value of having been vetted for vice president, as well as having run for president so many times? People have already looked into you.

    William Jeffress, a lawyer who headed the vetting of Biden during Barack Obama’s vice-presidential search, said he oversaw a team of nearly 10 lawyers who spent nearly two months digging through records and interviewing dozens of people about Biden. He said Reade’s name never came up, so they never spoke with her.

    “This kind of complaint — not just Tara Reade, but any kind of complaint about Senator Biden on sexual harassment — never came up,” he said. “We just never had an occasion to interview anyone on an accusation like this because we found no such accusation.”

  10. The first paragraph of that Monthly article is Bandt trying to take credit for something a Labor government has fostered.


  11. ‘fess,
    Did you see the Biden interview with Mika Brezinski that I posted yesterday? She certainly gave him the rounds of the kitchen. People were saying they NEVER expected MSNBC to go so hard on a Democrat! 😀

  12. Good news C@tmomma.

    Thanks for the news round-up BK.

    I wonder if Scotty might contemplate an early election were the coalition to win E-M?

  13. I’ll just summarise the Dan Tehan interview, so you don’t have to watch it:

    ‘Labor, Labor, Labor! Daniel Andrews! Victorian Teachers Union! Grubby favours!’ 😀

  14. Aqualung,
    Thanks. Yes my original pristine vinyl copy of ‘Thick As A Brick’ is safe from the rubbish bin, which is where my kids have said they’ll send it when I depart this earth. 😆

  15. C@tmomma @ #20 Sunday, May 3rd, 2020 – 5:57 am

    Did you see the Biden interview with Mika Brezinski that I posted yesterday? She certainly gave him the rounds of the kitchen. People were saying they NEVER expected MSNBC to go so hard on a Democrat! 😀

    Yes I did watch it and was impressed with her interviewing.

    I thought the Morning Joe mob were Republicans? Joe Scarborough is anyways, not sure about his colleague.

  16. 😃 C@tmomma.

    I wore out my original so now have 2 copies. Plus the Steven Wilson deluxe CD remix.

    A couple of my kids enjoy Tull so they’ll have good homes when I’m gone.

    Speaking of which I’m back at work tomorrow. My daughter bought me face masks and I will try them. Fingers crossed.

  17. This is a world-wide review of the virus and its treatment in various countries. It contrasts treatments and strategies. Most PB-ers would already be aware of most of it, I’m sure, so I’ll just pick out one para that is typical of Trump’s America.

    Polling showed Fox News viewers and climate-change sceptics especially unlikely to practise social distancing. It also showed 43 per cent of registered voters supported the president, even as the federal government funnelled medical supplies away from the Democratic-voting states, which needed them most. Only Florida received the masks and ventilators that it asked for from the national stockpile.


    In South Korea and China, some patients who had recovered from the virus were found to be re-infected. Some researchers already predict the virus will recur annually, like the flu. If that happens, there will be no normal to return to.

  18. Up to 2% of Moscow’s population may be infected with coronavirus, the city’s mayor warned on Saturday, as hospitals in the Russian capital were overwhelmed and another top government tested positive.

    Covid-19 took hold relatively late in Russia, but is now growing fast, with the country showing the second-highest spread of the disease in the world. A record 9,623 new cases on Saturday indicated infections have not yet reached a plateau.

    If Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin’s estimate is correct, that would mean more than 240,000 people may have the virus, four times official figures for the city. Hospitals in the capital are already at capacity, with television footage showing ambulances forced to wait for hours to deliver the infected.

  19. Polling showed Fox News viewers and climate-change sceptics especially unlikely to practise social distancing.

    Illustrated by the placard in the background.

  20. Perrottet is quite visible at the moment with “exclusives” for Nine/Fairfax. Is he angling for the the top job in NSW?

    Getting students to return to school full-time ‘top of the list’, NSW Treasurer says
    Dominic Perrottet warns that homeschooling has significantly impacted the state’s productivity.

    Perrottet’s recovery plan to axe ‘inefficient’ stamp duty, payroll taxes
    The NSW Treasurer said a five-point strategy for NSW would focus on improved productivity, tax reforms, deregulation, digitisation, trade and investment.

  21. Jessica Irvine in the SMH writes a piece about the doubling of education and childcare costs over the past, wait for it, 6 years, without mentioning the coalition government once.
    Time to go to work Labor.

  22. Morning all. Thanks BK. Fess thanks for the article on the vetting of Biden. I found the timing and lack of past record of the Reade accusations just too convenient. If true, surely opponents would have raised it before now.


    Glad you are well. On the plus side you have probably avoided passing the flu to anyone else as well.

  23. Thanks BK for the Dawn Patrol.

    I noted the post by John Nobel yesterday concerning the “Hootsuite” app.

    Should you investigate/use the app I would be pleased to hear your comments.

    As I am situated I can already read every source (bar Crikey) and don’t contemplate any additions.

    Good morning. Kettle on – fresh coffee and a bastardry free day of Poll Bludger to look forward to. ☕

    Some mugs from Amazon —-

  24. Morrison’s smirk is just as repellent as Piggy Muldoon’s!! The former is probably more smug while the latter more scheming. Like John Hewson, the decent Jack Marshall missed out in leading NZ . Both a loss to politics but also a symptom that character and ability run a poor second to rat-cunning.

  25. Aqualung @ #21 Sunday, May 3rd, 2020 – 7:58 am

    Good news C@tmomma.

    Thanks for the news round-up BK.

    I wonder if Scotty might contemplate an early election were the coalition to win E-M?

    Why would he need to, he can just see this term out then win the next one.
    Job done.
    Who’s going to stop him?

  26. Jack Marshall was prime minister for a short time after Holyoake and led the Nationals to a crushing defeat against Norman Kirk in 1972.
    His daughter married a urologist from Perth

  27. @pamelahartbooks
    Please note that Dutton didn’t ‘forget’ to put the property on his list. It was on the list, and he took it off. It’s about to become a childcare centre, apparently-childcare centres get Federal $, which is illegal for an MP. Human error? Sure. We need a federal ICAC

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