Essential Research: robodebt, protests and coronavirus latest

The weekly Essential poll finds considerable displeasure at the government’s handling of the robodebt affair, even as Newspoll finds the electoral damage to be limited at best.

Together with the usual suite of questions on coronavirus, the latest weekly Essential Research survey offers findings on the government’s robodebt the recent disturbances in the United States. The former make grim reading for the government, or might do if Newspoll hadn’t suggested the debacle had made no difference on voting intention: 74% say the government should apologise to those negatively impacted, with only 11% disagreeing; 66% support interest and damages for those who wrongly repaid money, with 13% disagreeing; 55% supported a royal commission, with 23% disagreeing; and only 32% agreed the automated notifications were a good idea “even if it was poorly implemented”, with 43% disagreeing.

Regarding the protests in the United States, the propositions that “protesters are right to demand better protection and treatment of African Americans in society” and that “the protesters want to loot and cause property damage, more than they want social change” both received majority support, though far more emphatically in the former case, with 80% agreeing and 11% disagreeing, compared with 54% and 33% for the latter. There were likewise large majorities in favour of the notions that “authorities in America have been unwilling to deal with institutional racism” (78% to 10%) and that the death of George Floyd pointed to “wider discrimination against minority cultures in society” (72% to 16%), while only 33% considered Floyd’s death isolated and not illustrative of institutional police racism, compared with 54% who disagreed.

As for coronavirus, the number who are “very concerned” maintains a steady decline, down five to 27%, with quite concerned down one to 48%, not that concerned up six to 21% and not at all concerned up one to 5%. Approval of the government’s handling of the matter is little changed, with 70% rating it good (up two) and 12% poor (steady). Small-sample state breakdowns provide a further increment of support for the notion that the Western Australian government has done best out of the crisis, with the good rating at 84% and poor at 6%, with other states ranging from 67% to 79% on good and 8% to 13% on poor. Queensland respondents were most likely to say their government was moving too slowly in easing restrictions, although even here the result was only 23% compared with 63% for “about the right speed”. The poll was conducted online from Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1073.

Elsewhere, yesterday’s declaration of candidates and ballot paper draw for the July 4 Eden-Monaro by-election revealed a field of 14 candidates. Along with Labor candidate Kristy McBain and Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs, there are starters for the Nationals (Trevor Hicks, who won a preselection vote on Saturday), the Greens, Shooters Fishers and Farmers, the Liberal Democrats, the Christian Democrats, Help End Marijuana Prohibition, the Science Party, Sustainable Australia, something called the Australian Federation Party and three independents.

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.

2,555 comments on “Essential Research: robodebt, protests and coronavirus latest”

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  1. ‘Expediting’

    Scotty from Marketing talk for snapping back to fucking over the environment.

    Not only is this the most corrupt government since Federation, it is also the one that has done the most to expedite Australia’s contribution to the Anthropocene Extinction Event.

  2. Bushfire Bill says:
    Monday, June 15, 2020 at 7:13 pm
    “Without wishing to be seen to be supporting alleged pedophilia and child prostitution, I think it’s a bit rough that after serving his term in jail, the police have “suddenly” discovered further charges against Milton Orkopoulos that, if he is convicted, will see him jailed again, possibly for life.

    By all means, throw the book at Orkopoulos. But do it in one tranche of charges, not by ekeing it out one incident at a time, after the previous situation has been accounted for.”

    Unfortunately we don’t have the death penalty and the courts are often terribly lenient so for crimes without statutes of limitation this is an excellent tactic from Prosecutors and keep them locked up until they die.

  3. GG

    IMO, the term can be abused.

    In relation to my school, when news broke that two of the teachers were being investigated (both ended in jail), the principal announced that the investigations were in relation to ‘historical’ events.

    Had he had an ounce of ethics and decency towards the victims, he would have owned the investigations in the present.

  4. Both Albanese and Andrews have done well with this, IMO.

    See problem, kill problem.

    I look forward to the time when Sales finally comes down on the most corrupt government since Federation.

    She could have done a bit of work on today’s Three Snouters: Robert, Tehan and Birmingham.

    But, no.

    So I am not holding my breath.

  5. boerwar @ #2459 Monday, June 15th, 2020 – 7:55 pm

    GG

    IMO, the term can be abused.

    In relation to my school, when news broke that two of the teachers were being investigated (both ended in jail), the principal announced that the investigations were in relation to ‘historical’ events.

    Had he had an ounce of ethics and decency towards the victims, he would have owned the investigations in the present.

    This goes to the “closure” issue.

    There is no closure.

    You live it all the time.

    Nothing anyone says or does will make it better.

    Principals have other priorities than your personal sensitivities.

  6. BB, I’ve sent William an email – will touch base, maybe later in the week

    Sprocket, will look forward to meeting up.

  7. Bucephalus:

    [‘Unfortunately we don’t have the death penalty and the courts are often terribly lenient so for crimes without statutes of limitation this is an excellent tactic from Prosecutors and keep them locked up until they die.’]

    Your knowledge of sentencing principles is found to be wanting. You should perhaps stick to your raison d’être.

  8. GG,
    my other insights are: Labor has lost the moxy to fight for those it claims to represent. Being willing to fight and pursue and agenda is a question of leadership. And that’s less about the person and more about their ability to inspire their collegaues to action. Yet we have seen no action from Albo.
    Robo debt….
    Robo debt…
    Robo debt!!!!
    It’s like they are standing in front of the goals holding the ball and everyone’s waiting for them to kick it in. Yet! they walk away.
    What the actual fuck!
    That’s on Albo.

  9. south @ #2468 Monday, June 15th, 2020 – 8:18 pm

    GG,
    my other insights are: Labor has lost the moxy to fight for those it claims to represent. Being willing to fight and pursue and agenda is a question of leadership. And that’s less about the person and more about their ability to inspire their collegaues to action. Yet we have seen no action from Albo.
    Robo debt….
    Robo debt…
    Robo debt!!!!
    It’s like they are standing in front of the goals holding the ball and everyone’s waiting for them to kick it in. Yet! they walk away.
    What the actual fuck!
    That’s on Albo.

    Yeah, yeah. Being an abusive troll gets you to exactly the amount of influence you have now.

    Laundry lists are interesting. But, really, your’s is just a moon barking exercise.

    Yawn!

  10. Mavis @ #2454 Monday, June 15th, 2020 – 6:16 pm

    Bucephalus:

    [‘Unfortunately we don’t have the death penalty and the courts are often terribly lenient so for crimes without statutes of limitation this is an excellent tactic from Prosecutors and keep them locked up until they die.’]

    Your knowledge of sentencing principles is found to be wanting. You should perhaps stick to your raison d’être.

    I thought he was.

    Shooting his mouth off with no supporting evidence. 🙂

  11. Bucephalus @ #2453 Monday, June 15th, 2020 – 5:45 pm

    Bushfire Bill says:
    Monday, June 15, 2020 at 7:13 pm
    “Without wishing to be seen to be supporting alleged pedophilia and child prostitution, I think it’s a bit rough that after serving his term in jail, the police have “suddenly” discovered further charges against Milton Orkopoulos that, if he is convicted, will see him jailed again, possibly for life.

    By all means, throw the book at Orkopoulos. But do it in one tranche of charges, not by ekeing it out one incident at a time, after the previous situation has been accounted for.”

    Unfortunately we don’t have the death penalty and the courts are often terribly lenient so for crimes without statutes of limitation this is an excellent tactic from Prosecutors and keep them locked up until they die.

    You are going to have to change you position because I fully agree with you on this.

  12. Victorian Labor may face national intervention over branch-stacking allegations

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jun/15/victorian-labor-may-face-national-intervention-over-branch-stacking-allegations

    The national executive committee of the ALP was meeting on Monday evening to thrash out options before a full meeting of the party’s national executive on either Tuesday or Wednesday, with both an audit and an administrative intervention under consideration.
    :::
    Some Labor MPs in Canberra claim that before Sunday night’s explosive revelations, Somyurek – who boasted about his influence in the federal arena after torpedoing a longstanding stability pact between the right and the left brokered by veteran powerbrokers and former ministers Steven Conroy and Kim Carr – had his eye on switching to federal politics.

    It is understood Byrne had been actively encouraging Somyurek to move to federal parliament, but those earlier discussions had been focused on a Senate seat or a lower house seat with a larger electoral buffer than Holt – where the margin at the 2019 election was 8.7%. In one of the recordings aired by 60 Minutes, Somyurek claimed that he was “protecting” Byrne.

    Federal Labor MPs on Monday also noted that a lot of the footage screened on 60 Minutes was broadcast quality, prompting speculation that either the police or the state anti-corruption watchdog was engaged prior to Sunday night’s revelations.

    Guardian Australia asked Victoria police on Monday whether they had been engaged in any investigation of Somyurek or his associates ahead of Monday’s formal referral by the attorney general.

    A Victoria Police spokesperson declined to comment on whether they had been active earlier, and said: “Victoria police will assess the complaint and work with Ibac to determine how best an investigation might proceed”.

  13. Bracks and Macklin tipped to lead Labor’s Somyurek review

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/victorian-labor-right-wants-branch-stacking-investigation-into-left-too-20200615-p552rz.html

    But Right faction sources say the union movement is pushing back against Mr Bracks’ involvement because of his recent comments saying trade unions “don’t represent the bulk of the workforce any longer” and were a diminished and “less influential group”.

    Mr Albanese’s choice of Ms Macklin could also be cruelled by a her recent state government appointment to lead the Victorian vocational education review.
    :::
    Victoria’s Right faction is urging Mr Albanese to ensure any review into branch stacking is wide-ranging and also examines the membership recruitment activities of the Left faction.

    The scandal threatens the stability of the federal Victorian caucus, which has been bitterly divided over Mr Somyurek’s rise to power during the past few years, and likely creates a major power vacuum within the faction.
    :::
    But senior Right figures, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, are warning any review must not be used to strengthen the position of the Left faction.

    “There is going to be retribution for what has happened and if there is to be a review it cannot be used to attempt to make the Left stronger and weaken the right,” one MP said.

  14. David Crowe

    All political offices should learn from Somyurek’s downfall

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/all-political-offices-should-learn-from-somyurek-s-downfall-20200615-p552rx.html

    Aftershocks from the fall of Adem Somyurek will rock the Labor Party far beyond the powerbroker’s Melbourne haunts.
    :::
    All ministers, federal and state, should heed one of the lessons from this scandal. Somyurek appeared to rely on advisers who performed political work for his faction within the party while they were meant to be doing government work on wages paid by taxpayers.

    The line between policy and political work has been smudged to the point where advisers feel they can walk back and forth without checking where they stand. That problem does not end now that Somyurek has gone.

  15. What’s branch stacking and why does it happen?

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/what-s-branch-stacking-and-why-does-it-happen-20200615-p552qt.html

    “He’s not a branch stacker,” the now federal parliamentarian said as a smile crept across their face. “We call them multiple recruitment specialists.”
    :::

    In previous branch stacking scandals, the party would appoint a reliable figure from the Right and Left factions. They’d write a report that would dish out some slaps on the wrist and maybe take action against some mid-level operatives. Things would quickly move on and the cycle would repeat.

    But it is a big step for a political party to open itself up to more external scrutiny. Is this scandal a trigger for major change?

    Maybe the scrutiny of Victoria Police and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission into Somyurek’s conduct will put a halt on the branch stacking, for now.

    But that won’t last forever.

    The world will move on and without lasting reform to the party’s internal democracy and oversight, there’s little doubt this will happen again; just with a new group of warlords in charge.

    It’s what’s been happening for decades.

  16. WeWantPaul:

    [‘You are going to have to change you position because I fully agree with you on this.’]

    I thought you had legal credentials. Obviously not. Fact one, we abolished the death penalty in the ’60s. Fact two, you don’t sentence someone to a sentence that gives one no hope of release. Yes, touching up adolescents is a shocking crime. You’d make a very good Tory

  17. Bring out your dead: tales from the branch-stacking front

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/bring-out-your-dead-tales-from-the-branch-stacking-front-20200615-p552t8.html
    —–

    Premier must get to the root of Somyurek scandal

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/premier-must-get-to-the-root-of-somyurek-scandal-20200615-p552mt.html

    Mr Andrews did his best to show surprise at the breadth of Mr Somyurek’s operations, but the factional warfare over branch stacking in Victoria, mostly kept from the public eye, has been in play for months. In referring Mr Somyurek and his allies to Victoria Police and IBAC, Labor’s dirty laundry is about to get a much wider audience.
    :::
    While Mr Andrews rightly called it out as completely intolerable, the reality is that without its exposure by the media, Mr Somyurek’s alleged branch-stacking operations and foul-mouthed tirades would still be shaping Victoria’s Labor Party. And that goes to the heart of the problem for Mr Andrews.

    For all of the Premier’s tough actions, it was in response to an investigation by the media.

  18. GG,

    Yeah, yeah. Being an abusive troll gets you to exactly the amount of influence you have now.

    Laundry lists are interesting. But, really, your’s is just a moon barking exercise.

    Yawn!

    Ok. I’m sorry i called Albo fat.
    I’ll withdraw and rephrase. I was impressed by Abbot for running the city to surf before a press club debate. It showed physical courage and probably did more for him than the debate did.

    Albo looks heavy, and lethargic. And he doesn’t inspire any confidence because labor isn’t fighting. And thus his personal lethargy seems to be translating in his leadership.

    Dismissing me because i think it’s important that the government is held to account the needless deaths of vulnerable Australians is ok. But I wonder what rates as an issue you’d think the opposition should take the government to task over.

    Also, we’re on the internet, you staggeringly overestimate your own influence and impact.

    I just ask, what does labor fight for these days? Because it seems like through their actions they don’t really fight or stand for anything at all.

  19. south @ #2481 Monday, June 15th, 2020 – 8:52 pm

    GG,

    Yeah, yeah. Being an abusive troll gets you to exactly the amount of influence you have now.

    Laundry lists are interesting. But, really, your’s is just a moon barking exercise.

    Yawn!

    Ok. I’m sorry i called Albo fat.
    I’ll withdraw and rephrase. I was impressed by Abbot for running the city to surf before a press club debate. It showed physical courage and probably did more for him than the debate did.

    Albo looks heavy, and lethargic. And he doesn’t inspire any confidence because labor isn’t fighting. And thus his personal lethargy seems to be translating in his leadership.

    Dismissing me because i think it’s important that the government is held to account the needless deaths of vulnerable Australians is ok. But I wonder what rates as an issue you’d think the opposition should take the government to task over.

    Also, we’re on the internet, you staggeringly overestimate your own influence and impact.

    I just ask, what does labor fight for these days? Because it seems like through their actions they don’t really fight or stand for anything at all.

    That moons still there . And, you’re still barking.

  20. ‘Greensborough Growler says:
    Monday, June 15, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    boerwar @ #2459 Monday, June 15th, 2020 – 7:55 pm

    GG

    IMO, the term can be abused.

    In relation to my school, when news broke that two of the teachers were being investigated (both ended in jail), the principal announced that the investigations were in relation to ‘historical’ events.

    Had he had an ounce of ethics and decency towards the victims, he would have owned the investigations in the present.

    This goes to the “closure” issue.

    There is no closure.

    You live it all the time.

    Nothing anyone says or does will make it better.

    Principals have other priorities than your personal sensitivities.’

    Do say, GG!

    The D’s who were doing the investigations and for whom I was providing evidence were interested in the ‘historical’ discussion.

    I sent a little message to the principal that Christ was not into talking about ‘historical’ when he cleaned out the Temple. Christ called a spade a spade. Did the principal turn the other cheek? Is the Pope a catholic?

    I don’t have much time with the notion of ‘closure’. Fake news, IMO. A half a century on, I am free. My tormenter is in jail. It is what it is.

    My point was quite different. Good leaders lead well.

    Instead of leading well, the principal deployed the word ‘historical’ to diminish the truth, thereby diminishing himself and his community.

  21. Peg just loves all this branch stacking coverage, so she will enjoy this from the recent past…

    “The Greens candidate for Melbourne’s marginal federal seat of Batman, Alex Bhathal, denies she is the branch-stacking bully depicted in a leaked internal complaint.

    Eighteen Greens volunteers, elected representatives and office holders lodged the 101-page document against the social worker in January, but party leader Richard Di Natale insists the matters have been dealt with “very, very carefully”.

    Asked on Thursday if she was a “bully”, Ms Bhathal said “no”, and also denied branch stacking.

    “We do have a large branch, the Darebin Greens, and we’re proud of the fact that we’re a vibrant and large branch,” she told reporters outside a Greek pensioners forum in Thornbury in the Batman electorate.

    But Ms Bhathal admitted it was “disappointing” people in her party appeared to have leaked the complaint, which ranges from allegations of intimidation and bullying to comments about party members.

    “This misconduct has included systematic intimidation, and malicious and reckless false statements about members and party decisions,” The Australian cited the complaint as saying.

    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/batman-green-bhathal-denies-stacking-claim

  22. Barney in Tanjung Bunga says:

    Monday, June 15, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    [‘Shooting his mouth off with no supporting evidence. ‘]

    Dear Bucephalus is a perfect example of a Tory: pretentious. He does though provide an essential service to this site, that of which I’m not quite sure.

  23. Albo is not fighting fit. His appearance can be overlooked today as he probably only had a couple of hours sleep. But he is nowhere near as sharp on his feet as he was 10 years ago. Also, he doesn’t appear Prime Ministerial. His suits are rumpled and ill fitting and in middle management colours (and btw it is not a ‘common touch’ thing -compare Albo with another populist leader, Bob Hawke, who wore snazzy bespoke suits).

    He is not that old so it has to be lifestyle.

  24. GG almost always calls it wrong. You can almost set your watch to it:

    Here’s a GG gem from the vault – calling it for John McCain in 2008:

    Greeensborough Growler says:
    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 11:48 pm
    Obama’s decline is not sudden. It has been apparent and ongoing since Super Tuesday. Basically, Obama caught a parked car and has wondered WTF to do with it ever since.

    McCain has actually set the agenda re Oil drilling locally rather than depending on the Arabs. The “surge’ has clearly worked at this point in Iraq. I dare say Putin took the $3.50 on offer and has been providing a bit of insurance of his own.

    I thought that it was going to be real close. But now, McCain comfortably for me.

  25. nath, I don’t think you are referring to Jeremy Buckingham?

    He was unable to ‘beat the rap’ from the Trotsky wing of the NSW Greens..

    “Upper House MP Jeremy Buckingham has quit the Greens and will run as what he describes as an independent “real green” in next year’s New South Wales state election.

    His resignation follows colleague Jenny Leong’s call in Parliament last month for him to quit over sexual harassment allegations made by a former party staffer.

    Mr Buckingham has denied the allegations and said an independent investigation found no wrongdoing.

    Greens NSW co-convenor Rochelle Flood said the party welcomed Mr Buckingham’s decision to “comply” with its request for him to stand aside.

    But in a fiery press conference, Mr Buckingham described the Greens as a “toxic organisation” and a “basket case”.

    “The NSW Greens abandoned the important principles of justice and democracy, is dominated by an extreme left faction and has lost its focus on the environment,” he said.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-20/jeremy-buckingham-quits-greens/10639004

  26. boerwar @ #2483 Monday, June 15th, 2020 – 8:56 pm

    ‘Greensborough Growler says:
    Monday, June 15, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    boerwar @ #2459 Monday, June 15th, 2020 – 7:55 pm

    GG

    IMO, the term can be abused.

    In relation to my school, when news broke that two of the teachers were being investigated (both ended in jail), the principal announced that the investigations were in relation to ‘historical’ events.

    Had he had an ounce of ethics and decency towards the victims, he would have owned the investigations in the present.

    This goes to the “closure” issue.

    There is no closure.

    You live it all the time.

    Nothing anyone says or does will make it better.

    Principals have other priorities than your personal sensitivities.’

    Do say, GG!

    The D’s who were doing the investigations and for whom I was providing evidence were interested in the ‘historical’ discussion.

    I sent a little message to the principal that Christ was not into talking about ‘historical’ when he cleaned out the Temple. Christ called a spade a spade. Did the principal turn the other cheek? Is the Pope a catholic?

    I don’t have much time with the notion of ‘closure’. Fake news, IMO. A half a century on, I am free. My tormenter is in jail. It is what it is.

    My point was quite different. Good leaders lead well.

    Instead of leading well, the principal deployed the word ‘historical’ to diminish the truth, thereby diminishing himself and his community.

    Leadership is easy till the followship demure.

    You’re well in to your 40s. So the World has moved on from your experiences.

  27. And the hard-left Greens forced out another MLC in NSW..

    “The New South Wales Greens upper house MP Justin Field has announced he is quitting the party because of internal division and “hyper-partisanship”.

    Field intends to continue as an independent member in the upper house.

    He made the announcement online on Friday morning, citing his concerns over the party’s “hyper-partisanship and winner takes all approach”, saying it had created “division and disloyalty” within the NSW Greens.

    Field said he wanted to use the next four years in parliament to work on environmental issues rather than focus on internal reform.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/05/nsw-greens-mp-justin-field-quits-party-to-sit-on-crossbench

  28. wow, just wow, I knew it. nath is actually Peter Van Onselen.

    Wow, it all makes sense

    I give you:
    ———
    nath

    wow. just wow. I’m actually speechless….a bit rough….wow.

  29. Historyintime,
    I agree, one thing i credit Shorten with was he started running and always looked like he was really putting in an effort.
    I just don’t get that, “I think i can win this attitude from Albo”

  30. Oh dear the press and the partisans don’t know which way to turn.

    The incrimination evidence has obviously come from Labor ; in dealing with the rotten apples has Albo lost control, is that the story. Or is the problem that Labor has rotten apples and dealing with it, or has it something to do with red shirts.

    Poor Pegasus is spinning like a top.
    nath trying to find an angle to blame shorten. Is that for getting rid of a rotten apple or not, poor nath, doesn’t know which way to turn. I’m sure he will work it out and the line is coming.
    Poor lars, wet pants, no outcome.

    Really love it that Schneider was the pawn used to do what needed to be done.

  31. Boris J got to No10 wearing a Kelty on his head and a rumpled, stale, food stained suit for a face.

    Perhaps Albo should aim for a Farage look?

  32. ‘GG

    Leadership is easy till the followship demure.

    You’re well in to your 40s. So the World has moved on from your experiences.’

    There was no leadership.

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