Affairs of state

One finely crafted electoral news item for every state (and territory) that is or might ever conceivably have been part of our great nation.

A bone for every dog in the federation kennel:

New South Wales

Gladys Berejiklian has backed a move for the Liberal Party to desist from endorsing or financially supporting candidates in local government elections, reportedly to distance the state government from adverse findings arising from Independent Commission Against Corruption investigations into a number of councils. Many in the party are displeased with the idea, including a source cited by Linda Silmalis of the Daily Telegraph, who predicted “world war three” because many MPs relied on councillors to organise their numbers at preselections.

Victoria

The second biggest story in the politics of Victoria over the past fortnight has been the expose of the activities of Liberal Party operator Marcus Bastiaan by the Nine newspaper-and-television news complex, a neat counterpoint to its similar revelations involving Labor powerbroker Adem Somyurek in June. The revelations have been embarrassing or worse for federal MPs Michael Sukkar and Kevin Andrews, with the former appearing to have directed the latter’s electorate office staff to spend work time on party factional activities.

Together with then state party president Michael Kroger, Bastiaan was instrumental in establishing a conservative ascendancy with help from Bastiaan’s recruitment of members from Mormon churches and the Indian community. Having installed ally Nick Demiris as campaign director, Bastiaan’s fingerprints were on the party’s stridently conservative campaign at the 2018 state election, which yielded the loss of 11 lower house Coalition seats. Religious conservatives led by Karina Okotel, now a federal party vice-president, then split from the Bastiaan network, complaining their numbers had been used to buttress more secular conservatives.

The Age’s report noted that “in the days leading up to the publication of this investigation, News Corporation mastheads have run stories attacking factional opponents of Mr Bastiaan and Mr Sukkar”. Presumably related to this was a report on Okotel’s own party activities in The Australian last weekend, which was long on emotive adjectives but short on tangible allegations of wrongdoing, beyond her having formed an alliance with factional moderates after the split.

Queensland

There are now less than two months to go until the October 31 election, which is already awash with Clive Palmer’s trademark yellow advertising targeting Labor. Thanks the state’s commendable law requiring that donations be publicly disclosed within seven days (or 24 hours in the last week of an election campaign), as compared with over a year after the election at federal level (where only donations upwards of $14,000 need to be disclosed at all, compared with $1000 in Queensland), we are aware that Palmer’s companies have donated more than $80,000 to his United Australia Party. Liberal National Party sources cited by The Guardian say a preference deal has already been struck with Palmer’s outfit, although others in the party are said to be “furious” and “concerned” at the prospect of being tarred with Palmer’s brush.

Western Australia

I have nothing to relate here, which is worth noting in and itself, because the near total absence of voting intention polling from the state since Mark McGowan’s government came to power in 2017 is without modern historical precedent. This reflects the demise of the aggregated state polling that Newspoll used to provide on a quarterly basis in the smaller states (bi-monthly in the larger ones), and an apparent lack of interest in voting intention polling on behalf of the local monopoly newspaper, which offers only attitudinal polling from local market research outfit Painted Dog Research.

The one and only media poll of the term was this one from YouGov Galaxy in the Sunday Times in mid-2018, showing Labor with a lead of 54-46, slightly below the 55.5-44.5 blowout it recorded in 2017. With Newspoll having recorded Mark McGowan’s approval rating at 88% in late June, it can be stated with confidence that the gap would be quite a bit wider than that if a poll were conducted now. The West Australian reported in late July that Utting Research, which has conducted much of Labor’s internal polling over the years, had Labor leading 66-34, which would not sound too far-fetched to anyone in tune with the public mood at present. The next election is to be held on March 13.

South Australia

I have been delinquent in not covering the publication of the state’s draft redistribution a fortnight ago, but Ben Raue at The Tally Room has it covered here and here, complete with easily navigable maps.

These are the first boundaries drawn since the commissioners were liberated from the “fairness provision” which directed them to shoot for boundaries that would deliver a majority to the party with the largest two-party vote. This proved easier said than done, with three of Labor’s four election wins from 2002 and 2014 being achieved without it. The commissioners used the wriggle room allowed them in the legislation to essentially not even try in 2014, before bending other backwards to tilt the playing field to the Liberals in 2018, who duly won a modest majority from 51.9%.

By the Boundaries Commission’s own reckoning, there would have been no difference to the outcome of the 2018 election if it had held under the proposed new boundaries. Nonetheless, the Liberals have weakened in three seats where they are left with new margins of inside 1%: Elder, where their margin is slashed from 4.5% to 0.1%; Newland, down from 2.1% to 0.4%; and Adelaide, down from 1.1% to 0.7%. Their only notable compensation is an increase in their margin in King from 0.8% to 1.5%, and a cut in Labor’s margin in Badcoe from 5.6% to 2.0%.

Tasmania

Local pollster EMRS has published its quarterly state voting intention poll, which reflects Newspoll in finding voters to be over the moon with Premier Peter Gutwein, who came to the job just in time for COVID-19 to hit the fan when Will Hodgman retired in January. Over three polls, the Liberal vote has progressed from 43% to 52% to 54%; Labor has gone from 34% to 28% to 24%; and the Greens have gone from 12% to 10% and back again. Gutwein now leads Labor’s Rebecca White by 70% to 23% as preferred premier, out from 63-26 last time (and 41-39 to White on Gutwein’s debut in March). The poll was conducted by phone from August 18 to 24.

Northern Territory

With the last dregs of counting being conducted from now through Friday, fully our of the 25 seats in the Northern Territory remain in doubt following the election the Saturday before last, with current margins ranging from seven to 18 votes. However, the actual election result is well and truly done and dusted, with Labor having 13 seats in the bag. You can follow the action on my dedicated post, which includes live updating of results.

Australian Capital Territory

Not that I have anything particular to say about it at this point, but the Australian Capital Territory is the next cab off the election rank with polling day on October 17, a fortnight before Queensland.

New Zealand

Do Kiwi nationalists complain of being treated like the seventh state in Australia? Well, they can now, as I have a new Roy Morgan poll to relate ahead of their election which will, like that of the ACT, be held on October 17, with the originally anticipated date of September 19 being pushed back due to its recent COVID-19 flare-up. If this poll is any guide, this may have knocked a coat of paint off Labour without in any way endangering Jacinda Ardern’s government.

Labour is now at 48%, down from 53.5% last month, with National up two to 28.5%. The Greens are up from 8% to 11.5%, and do notably better out of this poll series than rivals Colmar Brunton and Reid Research, which show them struggling to keep their head above the 5% threshold that guarantees them seats in parliment under the country’s mixed-member proportional representation system. New Zealand First remain well below it at 2.5%, albeit that this is up a point on last month, while the free-market liberal ACT New Zealand party is clear of it on 6%, down half a point. The poll was conducted by phone from a sample of 897 “during August”.

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.

1,590 comments on “Affairs of state”

  1. poroti @ #1248 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 10:39 am

    ItzaDream

    Power lines are saying “Waddaboutme !?”
    ……………………………………………………………………………………..
    Long After an ’80s Scare, Suspicion of Power Lines Prevails …www.nytimes.com
    Nov 30, 2014 – News reports in the 1980s and early 1990s fueled fears of a national cancer epidemic caused by power lines .
    https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/01/health/long-after-an-80s-scare-suspicion-of-power-lines-prevails.html

    Ha, I just googled that too to see the latest. Mind you, whatever they say, you wont find me living near any.

  2. Barney in Tanjung Bunga @ #1250 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 10:44 am

    poroti @ #1250 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 8:39 am

    ItzaDream

    Power lines are saying “Waddaboutme !?”
    ……………………………………………………………………………………..
    Long After an ’80s Scare, Suspicion of Power Lines Prevails …www.nytimes.com
    Nov 30, 2014 – News reports in the 1980s and early 1990s fueled fears of a national cancer epidemic caused by power lines .
    https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/01/health/long-after-an-80s-scare-suspicion-of-power-lines-prevails.html

    https://youtu.be/cUJJHfzc-Zg

    great arrangement

  3. ItzaDream

    I remember a cartoon from way back. A guy reading the morning paper at the breakfast table comments “Why is it that everything I like causes cancer in rats ?”

  4. The King’s School in Sydney must be short of paying customers. They are advertising on radio in Canberra and one part of the ad refers to “only six boys per acre”.

    I can quite believe that, given the huge area that they occupy – it’s the size of a small suburb and must be worth multiple millions. Check it on Google maps.

  5. citizen @ #1257 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 10:54 am

    The King’s School in Sydney must be short of paying customers. They are advertising on radio in Canberra and one part of the ad refers to “only six boys per acre”.

    I can quite believe that, given the huge area that they occupy – it’s the size of a small suburb and must be worth multiple millions. Check it on Google maps.

    Free range.

  6. poroti says:
    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 10:43 am
    Remember the old “They banned dancing because you know what that leads to” ? Tasmania does
    While having a read of Tasmania’s restrictions, I found this fun one:

    Restrictions remain in place for dancing in all venues where food and alcohol is consumed because of the increased risk of close contact….
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2020/sep/04/coronavirus-australia-latest-updates-borders-national-cabinet-scott-morrison-gladys-berejiklian-health-business-nsw-queensland-police-victoria-hotel-quarantine-live-news

    Surely dancing with a mask is OK – after all the Canadian Chief Public Health Officer gives this advice:

    Wear a mask while having sex and avoid kissing new people, Canada’s top doctor advises

    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/03/health/coronavirus-masks-sex-canada-trnd/index.html

  7. Sonya Kilkenny MP
    @SonyaKilkenny
    ·
    1h
    I see that the Fed Gov has quietly extended their own Covid-19 emergency powers by 3 months. Will
    @LiberalVictoria denounce this as dictatorial, draconian and undemocratic? #Springst

  8. Kronomex @ #1241 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 8:24 am

    C@tmomma says: Friday, September 4, 2020 at 10:10 am

    “How do you know who’s poo is whose in the zoo? You could locate it by street, maybe?”

    Nope, the plan is that every person will be given a sheet of stickers with a unique number identifier and when they do a poo they are to place a sticker on it before flushing.

    Damn! I was hoping to get a reply paid envelope to mail it direct to Minister GHunt. Perhaps those in Melbourne can deliver it to him in person, or better still leave a sample on his office doorstep.

  9. ItzaDream @ #1258 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 9:01 am

    citizen @ #1257 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 10:54 am

    The King’s School in Sydney must be short of paying customers. They are advertising on radio in Canberra and one part of the ad refers to “only six boys per acre”.

    I can quite believe that, given the huge area that they occupy – it’s the size of a small suburb and must be worth multiple millions. Check it on Google maps.

    Free range.

    For the health conscious pedo.

  10. lizzie @ #1267 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 9:15 am

    Would poo-testing of suburbs in Melbourne help to establish the hotspots for avoidance?

    At it’s most basic level it allows the identification of the virus within a sewage network.

    It also has the possibility of allowing more precise location by testing specific inflows and pipes within the network.

    There was talk of a programme in Victoria, but haven’t seen any details in regards to how far they have progressed.

  11. Senator Nita Green
    @nitagreenqld
    ·
    21m
    If you are wondering why @AnnastaciaMP and Queensland are resisting pressure on borders this might help explain it.

    We’ve seen this same pile on from the LNP before. At the same time they were trying to score political points, new daily cases in Victoria went up by 363 cases.

  12. ‘Australia in recession on GDP-per-capita basis, as 2019 federal budget nears’

    ‘Westpac chief economist Bill Evans is expecting the Australian economy to contract by 0.3 per cent in both the March and June quarters of 2020, marking the first recession since mid-1991.’

    ‘Current projections show a 55 percent chance of a recession in the second half of 2020. The biggest risks are trade war uncertainty and (a) global slowdown. (Odds of a recession between now and the November 2020 election are) 25 percent. The risk of a recession is increasing.’

    ‘The bad news is that growth is just inching along — to the point where one leading economist has described the nation as “teetering on the edge of a recession”.’

    ‘Why we’ve the weakest economy since the global financial crisis, with few clear ways out’

    All of this from over 12 months ago.
    How much more help does Jim Chalmers need?
    Why has Labor allowed the government and the media to spin the recession as the ‘Pandemic” recession.

    Why is Labor so weak?

    Why?

  13. Stand firm, Dan.

    New Zealand will continue locking down Auckland for another fortnight.

    Jacinda Ardern says authorities think there might be cases they have missed, so they need another two weeks.


  14. Sewage testing would be super valuable as it doesn’t rely on a person being symptomatic to uncover an outbreak and so would allow a potentially earlier and more targeted response to one.

  15. Always softly spoken, and especially under a mask, Biden sounds a bit breathy, which is nicely gentle in context although doesn’t help the ‘old sleepy’ caricature.

    This is more what forgiveness is about imo – as Jabob’s mother says thats she is praying for Jacob, and that she is praying for the policeman.

    https://youtu.be/V2zdJH6gVxI

  16. poroti,
    And it seems, from reading The Guardian article:

    DPRee @ #1236 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 10:13 am

    For all those Greens supporters!
    The Australian Greens are seeking a part-time (30 hours per week) communications and research manager for a six month project management role, working with the national election readiness team.
    National Research & Communications Project Manager – Negotiable Location
    Australian Greens
    Melbourne | Part Time | Contract
    https://www.ethicaljobs.com.au/members/australiangreens/national-research-communications-project-manager-negotiable-location

    They should add, ‘be prepared for vilification in the workplace and base sexist behaviour & jokes. Especially by male candidates. ‘

  17. mundo,

    Labor are suffering from a form of political regulatory capture.
    I honestly believe they are suffering a massive failure if imagination as an organization.

    Labor acts like a very top down organization. It seems like it can’t respond to change. The most significant change is the media landscape. I see tweets from ACTU and others, but I don’t see any firebrands on the benches (any at all really).
    I don’t see them on social media being creative and just spending a shit ton of time ripping on the government. Everyday, All day, Everyday.

    That’s not to say the ALP don’t use social media. It’s just they don’t use it well. When Twitter is all about outrage everything the ALP does is very middle of the road.

    I’m really disappointed with Albo. >400 oldies have died. Morrison setup a RC into aged care and it’s going to point the finger at him, but labor isn’t bold enough to make something out of it. 75 questions in question time never got anywhere.

    Albo’s brain trust this week thinks that a pithy statement like “The prime minister is really the quietest Australian”.
    That will NOT win an election. It wont get on the news, it’s too cerebral and ‘in the bubble’

    The problem with Albo is he used to be a little occa, but Morrison really out does him. And it’s too late for Albo to try and pretend to be a toff.

  18. The King’s School in Sydney must be short of paying customers. They are advertising on radio in Canberra and one part of the ad refers to “only six boys per acre”.

    I guess that means they qualify as free-range?

  19. Alcohol is a convivial barrier breaker and guard dropper, and no wonder pubs and clubs are where the best of intentions fall down.

    I am going to a concert next week in Sydney’s City Recital Hall. Reading the COVID protocol is interesting:

    * ticketing is discouraged, and admittance is by phone email booking details or home print out
    * masks are compulsory, bring your own or be given one on arrival
    * seating is distanced, the hall capacity reduced from 1200 to 400
    * hand sterilising on arrival and throughout the hall
    * light refreshments available but can only be taken while seated – that is, no lolling around the lobby getting pissed
    * any passing in rows should be back to back
    * 60 minute performance with no interval
    * hand cleaning on departure

    Let’s so how it goes.

  20. Cat

    Clem Attlee is correct about your posts at least in regards to the Greens.

    Labor has as many if not more problems in that area as the Greens.

    Remember the misogynist posters behind Abbott at the destroy science credibility convoy were about Gillard and Bob Brown.

  21. You have to laugh at the hypocrisy from those in the media and foreign own corrupt libs/nats propaganda media units , complaining about that pregnant woman being arrested for advocating an illegal protest , ignoring that it could risk the spread of the corona virus in Victoria .
    While the same people in the media and foreign own corrupt libs/nats propaganda media units attacked the BLM marches for the risk of spreading the coronavirus

  22. guytaur says:
    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 11:57 am

    FredNK

    You really are pathetic. You slag Firefox off for posting a public thank you to Labor for voting the same way as the Greens.

    That is not what he posted. What he posted was the normal fair. What he posted was the normal twisting of the facts to pretend the Greens actually did something useful.

  23. FredNK

    It’s exactly what Firefox posted.

    You might not like the Greens being pro Green. It’s their point of view being posted. There was a thank you to Labor publicly from a Green politician.

    No more no less.

  24. Danama Papers says: Friday, September 4, 2020 at 11:12 am
    “Damn! I was hoping to get a reply paid envelope to mail it direct to Minister GHunt. Perhaps those in Melbourne can deliver it to him in person, or better still leave a sample on his office doorstep.”

    Your suggestion has merit. Personally, if I was going to leave a sample on his office doorstep I would make certain that the paper bag is burning first, then run.

  25. Fiona Katauskas
    @FionaKatauskas
    ·
    23m
    Just spoke with an Aus friend who’s in his late 30s and has been living in NYC for 6 years. Five months ago he had Covid and still has traces of the “hangover”- heart, kidney and neurological issues. He can’t believe parts of the Aus media are making out it’s no big deal

  26. C@tmomma,
    if Coleman has a terminal illness, he should step down.
    Parliament isn’t a charity. Labor should withdraw the pair. Oh wait! it’s 5 weeks till the budget so that’s a missed opportunity.

  27. Barney in Tanjung Bunga,
    conventions don’t matter. Labor should trash the place. It’s owed one.
    Australia would do well to dispense with them and push for a more codified set of laws that govern the place

  28. lizzie says:
    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 12:18 pm
    C@t

    If he’s as sick as that, he should resign.

    ———————-

    Good point

    Why would you put someone who is terminally ill , in charge of something like age care

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