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.


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.


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%.


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”

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  1. frednk @ #1391 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 3:07 pm

    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.

    Now Mundo has your attention.
    For almost 2 years we’ve been reading stuff like this..
    ‘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?


  2. Quoll @ #1394 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 3:09 pm

    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”?

    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?

    Agree with a lot of that Quoll. It was the snide condescension of your opening remarks that I found objectionable. Sounded like you were being contemptuous of the daily lives of all other posters, but it’s possible that I misinterpreted you.



    One of the most striking responses to the COVID-19 pandemic has been the sudden shift of around half the workforce to working at home.

    But the unplanned experiment we have been forced to undertake suggests we might have stumbled upon a massive opportunity for a microeconomic reform, yielding benefits far greater than those of the hard-fought changes of the late 20th century.

    The average worker spends an hour on commuting every work day. Remarkably, this is a figure which has remained more or less stable since Neolithic times, a finding known as Marchetti’s Law. (The same observation has been attributed to Bertrand Russell.)

    Marchetti’s Law says we spend about an hour travelling to work whatever the era.
    If working from home eliminated an hour of commuting, without changing time spent on work or reducing production, the result would be equivalent to a 13% increase in productivity (assuming a 38-hour working work).

    I’m sure that our transport experts on PB are well aware of this already.

    Mr. Bertrand Russell has noted that each improvement in locomotion has increased the area over which people are compelled to move: so that a person who would have had to spend half an hour to walk to work a century ago must still spend half an hour to reach his destination, because the contrivance that would have enabled him to save time had he remained in his original situation now—by driving him to a more distant residential area—effectually cancels out the gain.

    A related concept is that of Zahavi, who also noticed that people seem to have a constant “travel time budget”, that is, “a stable daily amount of time that people make available for travel.” David Metz, former chief scientist at the Department of Transport, UK, cites data of average travel time in Britain drawn from the British National Travel Survey in support of Marchetti’s and Zahavi’s conclusions. The work casts doubt on the contention that investment in infrastructure saves travel time. Instead, it appears from Metz’s figures that people invest travel time saved in travelling a longer distance, a particular example of Jevons paradox described by the Lewis–Mogridge position.

  4. Cameron

    And why is Bronwyn Bishop so supportive of Tony Abbott these days? I thought she hated his guts?

    Blood is thicker than water, remember ………………

  5. Mundo
    Out of interest which rancid dog should Labor focus on. They all have one aim, drag Labor down. If some of the dogs think the problem is the Liberal then just perhaps it is the Liberals they should focus on.

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The Liberals have a lot of friends.

  6. 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.

    This is a blog. It is what it is. There is not much the moderator can really do about it. The best way to drown out the posts you complain about is to ignore it, not take the bait, scroll, and for more posters to post their ideas and thoughts in a non-derogatory way.

  7. Wasn’t he the guy who was flogging an anti- Covid- 19 snake oil product which was touted to protect us from the disease at $27,000 a pop?

    And he’s the guy now saying Victorians should be able to March with impunity without regard for Covid?

    Did he sell that many machines?

  8. Scomo is having trouble with his counting. But where Barnaby got millions and billions mixed up, Scomo has trouble telling one and two apart. He said only one State (WA) dissented on Christmas border opening in National cabinet. Yet this statement by the Tasmanian (Liberal) Premier suggests the number of dissenting States is at least two.,-premier-says/12630576

    Scomo has often had trouble telling the difference between fact and fiction. He should have stayed Scotty in Marketing, where truth doesn’t matter so much.

  9. F S

    That’s the one. Made a lot of money from a cooking show (where he knew what he was talking about) but then thought that he knew everything about health as well. He went down a wellness rabbit hole.

  10. Lizzie

    Yes transport planners are (hopefully) all aware of Marchetti’s constant. Real estate developers and pushers of overpriced toll-road projects have more trouble with it.

    That being said, Quiggin is correct. At least two firms I have done work for have reported increased productivity for engineering and analytical workers who can work from home now. It isn’t just car travel. I am working on two non-SA jobs right now. In the past they would have insisted I flew there (to WA and Qld) but now Zoom calls are fine. It will save a fortune in time and travel costs.

    However it does not bode well for Qantas imagining everyone will want to fly everywhere again after Christmas. Their business travel market has taken a permanent hit.

  11. @Sey2S
    Mark McGowan congratulates Dan Andrews and his hard work. Well said, Mark. You have done what Slomo should have…but hasn’t.

  12. Personally I never watched Pete Evans cooking show. Having had a work colleague who is married to a real chef who ran a top restaurant, I put “celebrity chefs” one peg above instagram influencers. A non-job for people who think they look cool enough to sell anything.

  13. I watched AnactaciaP presser this morning, typical stuff – a few questions from journos – some she answered, others she said ‘I’m here to keep Queenslanders safe…’

    But behind the scenes we had Scott Morrison’s PMO texting questions to the journos to ask, in real time, to the Qld Premier. The live mike below caught snippets of the subsequent conversation between them.

    I am hesitant to use the word ‘corrupt’ to brand these journos, names yet to be revealed – but they will be – but my guess is the outfit they work for is the slime-machine headed up by the decrepit US citizen.

    Hot mic at the end of press conference:
    J1: Getting text messages from the Prime Minister’s Office saying you guys aren’t interested in this material (inaudible) Dorothy Dixers
    J2: That was a DD
    J3: You did (laughs)
    J1: Hang on, you want a story or not? #MedaWatch #qldpol

  14. Socrates

    Adding the emissions from air travel to the costs to business, I have been surprised how popular the business trip remained.

    And then I remembered the perks that may accompany it.

  15. I am not a Labor party member and have criticised here in the past Labor governments that deserved it (e.g. the corrupt Obeid era in NSW State Labor). Not sure if that gets me in the cabal or not?

    It just so happens that all the corrupt governments I criticise now happen to belong to the same party or coalition. Coincidence?

  16. Lizzie

    If your work springs for business class air fares and membership in the Qantas club then yes air travel can be very pleasant. For the other 95% of humanity it is not. I had gold frequent flyer but do not miss it. Also its a really unhealthy lifestyle.

  17. Work is tedious atm and while waiting for some more rated US polls to come in I had a quick look at a large poll taken in the New Hampshire 2nd congressional district. The polls show the Dem incumbent up by 12-13 pts. She won in the blue wave of 2018 by about the same amount and in 2016 by 4pts.

    So, about an 8pt improvement on 2016. 538 showing a national 5pt swing to Biden (compared to Clintons 2016 effort).

  18. Fulvio Sammut says:
    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 3:56 pm
    Wasn’t he the guy who was flogging an anti- Covid- 19 snake oil product which was touted to protect us from the disease at $27,000 a pop?

    And he’s the guy now saying Victorians should be able to March with impunity without regard for Covid?

    Did he sell that many machines?

    A suspicious person might think that Evans has a vested interest in people fragrantly (oops flagrantly EDIT) defying the lockdown rules. More people mingling = more people catching Covid 19 = more machines he can sell to suckers.

    He seems to be a ringleader of the QAnon (or whatever) conspiracy theorists organising the demonstrations of defiance in Melbourne. Little wonder that even Channel 7 doesn’t have him as a judge on their latest cooking show (Manu the other judge is there with the two ex-Masterchef judges).

  19. I know someone who is the CEO of a multinational corporation’s Australian office. He used to have to travel domestically once a week to a state office and at least twice a year back to head office in the UK. Since the pandemic hit he has worked from home and conducted his interstate meetings by zoom. He had resigned last year to spend more time with his family but his company coaxed him back to work by offering more money. Now he is getting more money and he is working from home and spending more time with his family. He loves it and so does his wife. His productivity hasn’t decreased either. In fact, it may well have increased due to him now being a happier person.

  20. Channel 7 news telling how Scrooter has won a majority agreement at the National Cabinet.
    Scrooter wins the National Cabinet.
    Yay for Scrooter!!!

    One of these days Labor should start shaming the media hacks by asking them why they’re not doing their jobs properly. Just say to the CPG…’why aren’t you asking me X or Y’?…..

  21. Interesting to see the Tasmanian premier putting a bit of clarity out there re opening borders by Christmas.

    I am sure the Queensland premier will be adding her own bit of clarity on the matter in her next presser as well.

    We are yet to hear from the NT as well I think.

  22. I googled ‘Pete Evans and conspiracies’ – I wish I hadn’t. Talk about putting out the garbage on a Friday afternoon!

    But somehow this High Court hearing this afternoon slipped under everyone’s nose

  23. mundo

    CH 7 must copy their news from Sky without asking any questions!

    Sky News Australia
    · 2h
    Prime Minister @ScottMorrisonMP has delivered a devastating blow to premiers who refuse to open their borders by changing the rules of National Cabinet to remove the need for unanimous agreement.

  24. C@t, I suspect we are starting to find out how many of these out of town trips were needed and how many were because some execs and senior staff liked out of town trips.

    Schmoozing is harder by zoom. As are perks. And… some just like to…. get away.

  25. 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.

    Why does the Precariat continue to barrack for the political team who are the ones bringing in through the back door all the immigrants who are doing the jobs that used to be their secure jobs with a decent wage!?! It’s not the Right that really care about stopping immigration, the Right have just found the way to go under the Precariat’s radar with it by throwing them culture war bones to distract them.

  26. Simon Katich @ #1431 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 4:24 pm

    C@t, I suspect we are starting to find out how many of these out of town trips were needed and how many were because some execs and senior staff liked out of town trips.

    Schmoozing is harder by zoom. As are perks. And… some just like to…. get away.

    Well, my friend loves his wife more than he loves the trips away, if you get my drift. 😉

  27. Why why why is
    running the line that there is a plan agreed by all (except WA) to reopen borders by Christmas? There is no plan, there is no agreement, there is no deal!

  28. Why is a cooking show judge listened to by anyone in the first place about anything!?!

    Ah yes, he gives the game away in the first sentence of his post. It’s all about ‘Influencers’, of which he is one, to the detriment of our society. It’s all done to keep the big bucks rolling in, via advertising and endorsements and he doesn’t seem to care what sort of batshit crazy things he is saying in order to keep the flow going.

    Of course, he may believe in the things he is promulgating and promoting. I tend to think there is a very cynical businessman behind all of it.

  29. Cat, SK

    On out of town trips, I think we are in agreement. It wasn’t only schmoozing. Sometimes the client really wanted to meet you in person. I should add its not that I was a nervous flyer. But yes my productivity is at least as good now (maybe better).

    I think it also leads to a better work-life balance and fairer split of household chores too. I am home more often now, and am consciously doing more of the housework, including most of the cooking. That hour a day we save should not just get handed back to work.

  30. C@tmomma @ #1415 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 4:04 pm

    alfred venison @ #1397 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 3:17 pm

    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.

    Who cares, other than you!?!

    So, an idiot that doesn’t support Labor claims he doesn’t donate to the Party he does not support is something interesting.

    We are living in a Conern Troll world, eh!

  31. Can I come to your place for Spanakopita

    I make the best baklava outside of Melbourne. Inspired by some time in Ioannina. I have it swimming in a seriously minty mint syrup.

  32. Cat
    “Can I come to your place for Spanakopita!?! ”

    Alas I will have to learn how to make it first 🙁 Xanthippe is a better cook than me, but I am trying to take more of the load.

    That being said, I am getting proud of my various veggie pasta dishes. Penne with a mushroom, garlic and chille sauce is my best dish I think 🙂

  33. (posted by lizzie)

    Sky News Australia
    · 2h
    Prime Minister @ScottMorrisonMP has delivered a devastating blow to premiers who refuse to open their borders by changing the rules of National Cabinet to remove the need for unanimous agreement.

    Morrison changed the rules? More likely he was forced to stand by helplessly while the premiers showed him who really runs the show.

    Where to from now?

  34. I’ve been practising on dolmades recently, with chinese vine leaves and a modicum of success.

    My pork belly and italian sausage polenta sauce has received rave reviews from some that should know.

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