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. Barney

    You are correct. However maybe that’s just what Labor needs to do.

    Payback for the LNP destroying Labor’s government for daring to pay attention to science.
    The lesson is you are the incumbent you own the chaos.

    Only when it costs the LNP will they start caring about conventions. So make it cost the LNP.

  2. That militarytimes poll a few days back showed the armed forces support for Dotard slipping.

    I wonder if this Atlantic bombshell article might peel a few more from this conservative cohort off..

    ‘When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.

    Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/09/trump-americans-who-died-at-war-are-losers-and-suckers/615997/

  3. ItzaDream @ #1307 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 12:48 pm

    Spray @ #1303 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 12:44 pm

    Shellbell @ #1261 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 11:06 am

    8 cases in NSW. Staggeringly good.

    I’ve disagreed with Gladys’s approach almost every step of the way, but you’d have to say that she’s winning the argument so far.

    Thank NSW Public Health.

    Absolutely agree, they’ve been phenomenal.

    But I was thinking more about decisions regarding the appropriate levels of lockdowns and restrictions. Ultimately they’re down to the Premier.

    If she was a Labor Premier, we’d be writing songs about her on this site, rather than slagging her for her alleged incompetence.

  4. Spray

    Whatever they have been doing right they have been doing it for months. The trickle of unknown source community infections has had them on the edge all the while but never got out of control.

  5. For those of you making your way through another day of your bullshit job, such as the partisan hacks here who seem to be paid to exude inane BS comments all day everyday on PB, some news.

    Now I’m wondering how many BS jobs are required to lift Australia out of recession and depression?

    David Graeber, anthropologist and author of Bullshit Jobs, dies aged 59
    The anarchist and author of bestselling books on capitalism and bureaucracy died in a Venice hospital on Wednesday
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/sep/03/david-graeber-anthropologist-and-author-of-bullshit-jobs-dies-aged-59

    “Renowned for his biting and incisive writing about bureaucracy, politics and capitalism, Graeber was a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement and professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics (LSE) at the time of his death. His final book, The Dawn of Everything: a New History of Humanity, written with David Wengrove, will be published in autumn 2021.”

  6. poroti @ #1313 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 1:00 pm

    Spray

    Whatever they have been doing right they have been doing it for months. The trickle of unknown source community infections has had them on the edge all the while but never got out of control.

    Which was exactly the model that we all assumed was unsustainable (you there Cud Chewer?). Well maybe it is, but it’s been sustained for a while now.

    Never been so happy to have been proved wrong (so far).

  7. What were all the findings against NSW Health in the Ruby Princess inquiry all about then?

    Or do we dissect the NSW performance like the Curate’s Egg, give credit for the good bits and ignore the root cause of this National catastrophe completely?

  8. Barney

    The LNP cannot be rewarded for burning the place down.

    Labor does not need to do an Abbott. It does however have to cut through media propaganda.

    Labor’s excuse is always it’s burning down the house. Then it wonders why it loses political battles.
    It takes two sides to uphold conventions.

    Labor needs to teach the LNP that it has to pay the price for initiating the war.
    Not doing so is why a Labor is seen as weak.

    Return fire in the war the LNP has started. It’s Labor’s major failing. Thinking it can uphold standards alone.

    Make the LNP pay for starting the war. Then they might learn that yes burning down the house is a two edged sword.

    Edit: See the LNP attacking Victoria on Covid 19 including the Treasurer

  9. Fulvio Sammut @ #1316 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 1:12 pm

    What were all the findings against NSW Health in the Ruby Princess inquiry all about then?

    Or do we dissect the NSW performance like the Curate’s Egg, give credit for the good bits and ignore the root cause of this National catastrophe completely?

    The Ruby Princess inquiry found that allowing infected passengers to disembark led to 62 secondary and tertiary infections. One serious illness. Zero deaths.

    It was undoubtedly a stuff-up, but in what sense was it the “root cause of this national catastrophe”?

  10. I have seen no analysis (probably much too early) but a possible explanation is that the NSW infections are mostly resulting from gatherings in public places (pubs, schools, clubs), whereas a high proportion of Melbourne contacts are in family, religious and informal groupings. Dan Andrews made some mention of this latter condition in one presser.

  11. Guardian – how the media (and the PM’s) narrative has changed.

    From March to August, use of the word ‘blame’ in COVID-19 media items doubled
    Over the same period, use of the phrase ‘work together’ more than halved

  12. For those of you making your way through another day of your bullshit job, such as the partisan hacks here who seem to be paid to exude inane BS comments all day everyday on PB, some news.

    Now I’m wondering how many BS jobs are required to lift Australia out of recession and depression?

    David Graeber, anthropologist and author of Bullshit Jobs, dies aged 59
    The anarchist and author of bestselling books on capitalism and bureaucracy died in a Venice hospital on Wednesday
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/sep/03/david-graeber-anthropologist-and-author-of-bullshit-jobs-dies-aged-59

    “Renowned for his biting and incisive writing about bureaucracy, politics and capitalism, Graeber was a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement and professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics (LSE) at the time of his death. His final book, The Dawn of Everything: a New History of Humanity, written with David Wengrove, will be published in autumn 2021.”

  13. Consensus is not possible, but the bus has to leave the station – and everyone is onboard unless they want to – but we know where we want to get to….

    Word salad rambling from Morrison

  14. Tony Abbott will be batting for the other side in the UK-Australia post-Brexit trade deal.

    Sure. The Q is…. which side with the LNP be batting for?

  15. poroti @ #1330 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 1:26 pm

    Scrott’s marketing gland working already. Rolls out a new brand name.
    .
    This year, the year of the COVID pandemic and the COVID recession,……….
    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

    Covid Recession, Pandemic recession, it has stuck in the public consciousness already
    Labor mised the opportunity to hammer the governments pathetic economic record despite truck loads being written about just that and despite a recession being on the cards for a couple of years before Covid.
    It’s too late now.

    Why is Labor so useless.

  16. ” It always turns me off when Scott starts preaching “Australia”. I hope I’m not alone in hating this.”

    When right wing politicians pull the lever marked ”patriotism”, I’m reminded of the quote ”The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.”.

  17. Sprocket

    Yes. You can’t do national unity when you are allowing conspiracy theories and economic ideology override medical science.

    Good on the states.

    It’s also good for the media to eat some crow as it fuels partisan narrative ignoring NSW treatment of community transmission free ACT residents and Tasmania.

  18. Tony Abbott will be batting for the other side in the UK-Australia post-Brexit trade deal….and Australian taxpayers will be paying him 300K plus a year while he is at it.

  19. Because these passengers were allowed to disembark and travel freely to all parts of Australia, spreading the seeds of this disease wherever those who were infected went. And to who knows where else overseas.

    Yes, you can blame the Federal Government and Border Force (and I do), for the entry of foreign students and tourist air arrivals before February, and in the case of the US before March, but at least they were subject to rudimentary health checks by Australian Authorities following then standard procedures.

  20. For those … partisan hacks here who seem to be paid to exude inane BS comments all day everyday on PB

    Almost everyone here is a hack. Most are aware of their partisan nature.

    I think you and I are the only reasonable ones posting…. although I am not 100% sure about me.

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