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. I can be paid for exuding inane BS? Where do I sign up?

    Do it for the love, not the money?
    PB’ers are like the Sisters and do it for themselves.

  2. The international headlines are going to be interesting.

    “Australia starts civil war” is not out of the question given Morrison’s statements.

  3. Fulvio Sammut @ #1347 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 1:36 pm

    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.

    As I said, the inquiry found that the spread from the disembarking passengers was limited to 62 infections, resulting in one serious illness. No deaths. Potential overseas spread is a different matter, but we were specifically talking about the consequences in Australia.

    I get that it’s an inconvenient truth, but I’m more interested in the truthfulness than the convenience.

  4. Just heard Morrison have to backtrack on WA………………………………Hot air yesterday in parliament, now “given up on WA” according to jocks on 6PR………….What a weak phoney he is…………………………………

  5. I just need somewhere to vent about politics and politicians, where I might get a sympathetic response. Why does this make me a “hack”?

  6. poroti @ #1333 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

    And who was in charge? 🙂

  7. As I have posted previously the best thing Morrison has done to help labor is exclude Albanese from National Cabinet.

    In his haste to side line the opposition leader and labor and make it all about himself Morrison has full ownership of the breakdown in national consensus we are now seeing.

  8. 😆 😆 Shame so many would lap it up but come on down Daddy Scrott having to deal with those bolshie pimply State teenagers.
    .
    It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a business or a community organisation or you’re a parent, you try and get all the kids in the car!

    And you try and do – everybody at the same place at the same time. Particularly if they’re teenagers, that gets a lot harder and they’ll do their own thing every now and again.
    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

  9. Antony Green’s blog…

    1:50pm – I missed updates because the NTEC results feed is still running. After the includion of the final votes, the last four seats were decided as Robyn Lambley has won Araluen by 43 votes, Labor win Blain by 13, CLP win Barkly by 7 and CLP win Namatjira by 22. All those results will have to be confirmed by the formal distribution of preferences later today. New Assembly is ALP 14, CLP 8, TA 1 and IND 2

  10. sprocket_
    Sounded like he was making sure anyone who missed the connection had their attention drawn to it.
    ..
    I know you were going to make the obvious comparisons, I would encourage you not to, and to resist that temptation.

  11. Poroti, that’s one of Trump’s tactics

    Say something provocative, and then backtrack – it was a joke etc. He knows the provocative piece gets sound grabbed and may go viral. Better still if it is humiliating for the target, and reinforces prejudices.

  12. sproket.
    If it works then why doesn’t labor do it.

    Also everything think hard about this. Who’s the Australian equivalent of AOC?????

    Who in labor?

    We don’t have one, and that’s what labor needs. Someone who just wants to fight all the time. That’s not Albo. And i can’t think of anyone on the front bench with any passion.

  13. sprocket_

    Yep the statement and the faux backtrack all written beforehand. Mission accomplished as the message is heard by those toward whom it is aimed.

  14. What is a teenager to do when the parent is an ignorant, incompetent Yobbo with no capacity to drive safely, no scruples and no moral compass?

  15. Who’s the Australian equivalent of AOC

    It is not AOCs passion that sets her apart. Her forensic questioning, dissection and exposition of systemic BS is what makes her a force. She is calm and careful in what she does. If I were to try to compare her to someone here, I would say Penny Wong is somewhat similar.

    I reckon the point about AOC is that she is not beholden to anyone or any group or powerful section other than the grass roots people she immediately (and has since subsequently) represents. And that the Democrat party has provision for someone like this to challenge for a candidacy and win an election – that AOC sits alongside DFL reps from Minnesota and conservative representatives from the south in one political party. In a federated nation of extremely diverse states, the only way to win presidential and congressional power is to be like this.

  16. McGowan lays the boots into ScoMoFo:

    Today at National Cabinet we discussed border controls at length. It was a productive discussion but I made it clear that Western Australia will not be agreeing to a hot spot model or a hot spot definition which replaces our successful border controls.

    Western Australia has always avoided setting an arbitrary deadline on borders. A date will be set when our health advice recommends it, but that might be some time away. We went through this before and then Victoria happened. Opening and closing borders just causes more confusion and it isn’t a good outcome for the state’s economy. The Prime Minister and other states respect and understand our decision given the unique factors for Western Australia and the very positive direction our economy is heading. Unlike the rest of the country, WA is not currently in a recession. So we won’t be prematurely reopening our borders.

    Via The Grauniad Blogg.

  17. David Crowe
    @CroweDM
    ·
    4m
    There is no national cabinet agreement on how to define a “hotspot” but there is a federal proposal:

    In cities, that definition is an average of 10 locally acquired cases over three days — i.e. more than 30 cases in 3 consecutive days.

    In rural areas, the definition is an average of 3 locally acquired cases over three days — i.e. more than 9 cases over three consecutive days.

  18. I have just sent the following to the Premier of Queensland…

    “Dear twice elected Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk,

    Thank you for having the sense and fortitude to follow Dr Young’s advice and for standing up for Queenslanders – providing strong but flexible border security – and for ignoring the typical crap from the Murdoch press and right wing fruit loops.”

    Meanwhile the spineless LNP leader finally got into line on border closures yesterday, still with quibbles – Clive Palmer and Pauline Hanson still yabbering away for open borders.

  19. Simon,
    That’s were labor needs to get to. If it could manage to have a core platform of an agenda but allow dissent in public on issues and have the fights in public it would take away some of that closed off union shop feel that that ALP has.

    Amazingly, the LNP allow fuck heads like craig kelly to be in their party. But it’s to their benefit. Craig mirrors they views of the crazies in the outter orbit who vote LNP so they don’t splinter to the far right.

    The ALP is too much in the center.

  20. …Abbott stands symbolically for a set of values and a political orientation which the Johnson government wishes to endorse and align itself with.

    In terms of values, Abbott represents a US style of conservatism based on a belief in “family values”, patriotism and the flag. But within that broad appellation we can also identify a distinctively neoconservative stance in terms of the assertion of “western” values and the superiority of the European inheritance, including but not limited to the value of colonialism and imperialism, and what international relations scholars term “offensive realism”. This is the view that, in a world of competing ideologies, military conflicts are inevitable.

    In short, Abbott’s world view is not at all dissimilar to that of Steve Bannon, the controversial architect of the first phase of Trump’s administration. Like Bannon, Abbott is an unapologetic culture warrior. He believes that western societies have lost their way and lost confidence in themselves. He thinks the west needs to refind its mojo and reassert the superiority of its values and way of life, particularly in relation to the Islamic world and China.

    Boris Johnson is pictured at a meeting of his cabinet.
    Johnson is looking to establish ‘Global Britain’ after Brexit. PA
    All this implies a kind of permanent war against the forces of the left – such as antifa, the left-liberal establishment of universities and the media and the apologists for identity politics, multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism. It also means committing to permanent conflict externally, on the hostile terrain that is global politics. It is a hawkish, unfashionable view of the world with metropolitan elites, but one virulently supported in Australia by its leading newspaper, the Australian, and by the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sky News.

    Culture war
    The question remains then, what possible use are all these associations to Johnson? He has strived to confect an image of harmless amiability with a “big tent” politics. He has sought to be a lot of different things to a lot of different groups in order to secure the hallowed middle ground of British electoral politics.

    The answer is surely that “culture war” of a kind articulated quite crudely by Abbott and Trump but also in Europe by the likes of France’s Marine Le Pen, the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders, Italy’s Matteo Salvini and Hungary’s Viktor Orban has shown itself to be popular with voters who don’t normally vote for the right. The theme is a great way to draw in working class and precariously employed people who are looking for stronger “authority” figures to deal with what they perceive to be increasingly lawless societies surrendering themselves to immigrants and the multicultural left.

    It also serves to insulate a regime from the vagaries of public policy outcomes, of which COVID-19 is the most recent and obvious example. The pandemic is a classic no-win scenario for most governments. Play too lax and one gets blamed for too many deaths. Play it too hard and one suffers the economic consequences of lockdown. A culture war, on the other hand, presents a win-win for conservative regimes across the world looking to maintain power.

    ______
    https://theconversation.com/tony-abbott-why-boris-johnson-would-want-australias-controversial-ex-pm-as-a-trade-envoy-145494

  21. lizzie @ #1376 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 2:32 pm

    David Crowe
    @CroweDM
    ·
    4m
    There is no national cabinet agreement on how to define a “hotspot” but there is a federal proposal:

    In cities, that definition is an average of 10 locally acquired cases over three days — i.e. more than 30 cases in 3 consecutive days.

    In rural areas, the definition is an average of 3 locally acquired cases over three days — i.e. more than 9 cases over three consecutive days.

    Ridiculous criteria. Just asking for trouble.

  22. McGowan
    .
    But I’d just remain you all, Western Australia isn’t the only place with a border. The Commonwealth Government has a border.

    The Commonwealth Government has a border to the rest of the world. There’s no pressure on them to say, “When that’s coming down?”

    The arguments are exactly the same.

    There’s community spread in the east, therefore, we’re not bringing down the border. The Commonwealth has a border with the rest of the world, there is community spread around the world, they’re not bringing down the border.
    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

  23. And McGowan lays even more of a boot into ScoMoFo:

    Well, the health advice would take into account the elimination of community spread in the east.

    That’s what would have to occur. And so, if the health advice provides that – says that that has occurred, well then, that allows us to move towards removing the borders.

    But I’d just remain you all, Western Australia isn’t the only place with a border. The Commonwealth Government has a border.

    The Commonwealth Government has a border to the rest of the world. There’s no pressure on them to say, “When that’s coming down?”

    The arguments are exactly the same.

    There’s community spread in the east, therefore, we’re not bringing down the border. The Commonwealth has a border with the rest of the world, there is community spread around the world, they’re not bringing down the border.

    That last paragraph is the knock out punch to SfM from McGowan, the current and future premier of the great state of Western Australia.

  24. Anthony Albanese
    @AlboMP
    · 14m
    Today Scott Morrison finally acknowledged that the so-called National Cabinet is not national and it’s not a Cabinet. He just wants to turn everything into a marketing opportunity without taking responsibility for anything.

  25. Danama Papers @ #1382 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 2:42 pm

    And McGowan lays even more of a boot into ScoMoFo:

    Well, the health advice would take into account the elimination of community spread in the east.

    That’s what would have to occur. And so, if the health advice provides that – says that that has occurred, well then, that allows us to move towards removing the borders.

    But I’d just remain you all, Western Australia isn’t the only place with a border. The Commonwealth Government has a border.

    The Commonwealth Government has a border to the rest of the world. There’s no pressure on them to say, “When that’s coming down?”

    The arguments are exactly the same.

    There’s community spread in the east, therefore, we’re not bringing down the border. The Commonwealth has a border with the rest of the world, there is community spread around the world, they’re not bringing down the border.

    That last paragraph is the knock out punch to SfM from McGowan, the current and future premier of the great state of Western Australia.

    Now that’s more like it. Imagine that sort of take that Scotty pressure from federal Labor.
    Bloody brilliant Mark.

  26. south @ #1377 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 2:35 pm

    Simon,
    That’s were labor needs to get to. If it could manage to have a core platform of an agenda but allow dissent in public on issues and have the fights in public it would take away some of that closed off union shop feel that that ALP has.

    Amazingly, the LNP allow fuck heads like craig kelly to be in their party. But it’s to their benefit. Craig mirrors they views of the crazies in the outter orbit who vote LNP so they don’t splinter to the far right.

    The ALP is too much in the center.

    The ALP doesn’t know where it is.

  27. After listening to this video for the first time, about letting “nature take its course”” i.e. letting old people die so the economy can be started again faster, I was going to nickname Tony “Soylent Green” Abbott.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/video/2020/sep/01/hard-questions-needed-on-cost-of-keeping-all-covid-patients-alive-says-tony-abbott-video

    But after catching up with Morrison’s rants I see the current Prime Sociopath probably deserves the same nickname.

  28. One thing about Abbott – he doesn’t come across as a slob like Johnson does.

    sprocket_ says:
    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 1:07 pm
    Maybe BoJo has a bigger role in mind for The Lying Friar?

  29. mundo
    I think labor knows exactly where it is. Dickheads to the left trying to undermine, dickheads to the right and dickheads that can’t even refer to themselves in the first person.

  30. lizziesays:
    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 1:44 pm
    I just need somewhere to vent about politics and politicians, where I might get a sympathetic response. Why does this make me a “hack”?

    Spraysays:
    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 1:46 pm
    Because Quoll says so Lizzie, in one of the most obnoxious posts you’re likely to find here.

    Ha, pretty low bar there Spray

    Of the 3 475 000 or so posts on PB that takes the cake eh

    Are half those 3 million+ posts by one of the Laborite cabal, who know who they are, screaming and making any old crap up about ‘teh Greens’ about 100 times a day as usual?

    Some people really take themselvs far too seriously around here.

    Lizzie’s one of the few who seems like a genuine human and Labor supporter and not so infested with blind partisanship and pumping out inane posts 50 times a day about ‘teh Greens’, like some others do. Don’t we all think we know who they are?

    Some of the Laborite cabal are astoundingly abusive and derogatory even to those here who would express support for Labor but still have some critical analysis or point to share, in what seems mostly genuine interest in seeing the ALP do better.

    Frankly the PB laborite cabal that dominates seems to drive any genuine supporters who don’t follow their factional/party line away. I have been stunned at how purposefully abusive and derogatory some are to their fellow ALP members and supporters here who don’t just follow the right faction party line.

    As I have said previously, some of the true-believers here seem the best anti-ALP advertising going around, fairly regularly. So I often prefer to let them go on and on and not engage. You know the issue of arguing with fools and all that.

    It’s not an ALP blog and Laborites can only be expected to recieve the same attention and consideration as they afford others, same for all parties and people…. there’s years and years and literally thousands of threads and comments that anyone can freely waste their life going through and clearly see the inane constantly repeated jibes and idiocies mostly from the same few people, going on for years and years. Though I would say that is not Lizzie.

    More and more of the same for years and years will surely reap an entirely different outcome, isn’t that how it works?

  31. did anyone notice ? in case you missed it, mundo resorted to the first person last night when he announced that, for the first time in many years (since 2011?), he won’t be making his usual annual donation to the labor party, because they’re pusillanimous. -a.v.

  32. Quoll

    I do come here for entertainment as well, although some days (and nights) the wit and wisdom of PB is a bit lacking. Repetition and circular arguments are very boring, but, on the plus side, I’ve learned a lot from many contributors and have more insight about parliamentary workings and political shenanigans. And other surprising subjects.

  33. Isn’t working for the interests of a foreign country treason?
    And why is Bronwyn Bishop so supportive of Tony Abbott these days? I thought she hated his guts?

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