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

    It wouldn’t be the first time.

  2. “Victorian chief commissioner of police Graham Ashton recommended private security be the first line of defence in hotel quarantine, the inquiry into the bungled scheme heard on Friday”
    ________________
    Well done dickhead. Between Lawyer X, politicising the force and now this he has left quite a legacy from his time in the top job.

  3. Sometimes the client really wanted to meet you in person

    Yes. It is important. But some clients (and some companies) also want to take the relationship further… go to places and share experiences that have no importance/relevance to the work or the relationship.

    As I have said before, I worked in a company that believed the relationship was more important than the work. That senior staff needed to know what footy team the client supported, what school their kids go to and that that information was far more important than technical excellence, project management or collaboration across the disciplines. When I mentioned that this sounded like cronyism I realised I wasnt going to last long.

    I have good relationships with many of my clients. We bump into each other socially and will often, by chance, share a beer or a coffee. I spend time to understand what they want and why they need it. But I dont want to go to the footy with them. And would refuse a trip to Singapore to visit various disreputable establishments.

  4. So… 7 out of 8 states and territories agree there should be a plan? That’s it?!

    From The Guardian:

    Seven out of eight states and territories in agreement

    Scott Morrison:

    So, we agreed today, seven out of eight states and territories, we agreed that before you know what you’re gonna do, you’ve gotta agree about where you want to get to.

    And we agreed today with the objective that was set out in the May plan to be, at the end of that step 3 process, which we will seek to ensure is even better defined, we said before we wanted to get there in July.

    And the virus prevented us from achieving that. Seven out of eight states and territories want us to get back to that position in December of this year.

    And I thank them for that commitment. And that, having that ambition is not enough, and that aspiration that we will now fashion a revised plan – just like I outlined the last one – to get us there, over these months that are ahead.


  5. lizzie says:
    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    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.

    Choice:
    Home with wife and family, or alone in a hotel room counting the bricks in the wall.
    There are no perks that make it enjoyable, the Qantas gold card is a bit of plastic, you get a free meal before a flight, big deal.

    The strange thing is, in the beginning they awarded frequent travel miles with more bloody tickets.
    When Ansett collapsed I lost over 100,000 frequent flyer miles and I didn’t miss one of them.

    Have you ever woken in a motel room and though where in the hell am I, it happens. It’s worse when you on a flight, “we are about land at xxx in 10 minutes”. Why in the hell am going to xxx?

    No; missed my kids growing up, more than happy to see my grand kids grow up.

  6. SK

    On the US election, the news continues to be good. No sign of any significant bounce to Trump after his convention and riot mongering recently, contrary to what some horses asses claimed here.
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/election-update-biden-gets-good-polls-in-arizona-and-wisconsin-and-a-bad-one-in-pennsylvania/

    I doubt this story will do Trump any good either. Not surprising, but shameful it took two years to come out.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/09/trump-americans-who-died-at-war-are-losers-and-suckers/615997/

  7. The Liberal Party fears the growing power of industry super funds on issues like climate action. So they’re determined to wreck the entire sector if they can.

    Bernard Keane in Crickey ($) https://www.crikey.com.au/2020/09/04/liberal-party-industry-superannuation/?utm_campaign=Daily&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&ins=a282U1ZGZXFKTE5kZWJwSVVNazFTUT09&at=UEJ5dU1IVWZVbWdidyt2NDV2RGQwUT09

    For similar reasons they want to get rid of the ABC.

  8. Jaeger @ #1453 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 4:59 pm

    So… 7 out of 8 states and territories agree there should be a plan?

    From The Guardian:

    Seven out of eight states and territories in agreement

    Scott Morrison:

    So, we agreed today, seven out of eight states and territories, we agreed that before you know what you’re gonna do, you’ve gotta agree about where you want to get to.

    And we agreed today with the objective that was set out in the May plan to be, at the end of that step 3 process, which we will seek to ensure is even better defined, we said before we wanted to get there in July.

    And the virus prevented us from achieving that. Seven out of eight states and territories want us to get back to that position in December of this year.

    And I thank them for that commitment. And that, having that ambition is not enough, and that aspiration that we will now fashion a revised plan – just like I outlined the last one – to get us there, over these months that are ahead.

    The majority of States support a concept that there should be a plan. But, there is no actual plan that is agreed. so, morrison delivers word salad after another humiliation.

  9. Taylormade @ #1451 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 4:57 pm

    Victorian chief commissioner of police Graham Ashton recommended private security be the first line of defence in hotel quarantine, the inquiry into the bungled scheme heard on Friday.
    ________________
    Well done dickhead. Between Lawyer X, politicising the force and now this he has left quite a legacy from his time in the top job.

    have you ever commented on the Aged Care deabacle controlled by the Feds or even the Ruby Princess. I thought safe borders was a Federal Government responsibility.

    You Libs really don’t understand the concept of our Federation or responsibility.

  10. One of the mysteries of life, flying Melbourne-Heathrow does your luggage ever catch up.

    The fun you start to have when customs notice you have done a lot of trips. Funny thing was, it stopped when I said to the guy, look I have to do this shit because I’m a service Engineer, I have just got off a 24 hour flight, I just want to get home, could you please stop it. And they did.

  11. Another drone from Death Planet The Rupert –
    “Australian Sky News panellist and Herald Sun columnist Rita Panahi said the interview was “absolutely despicable” and called on the former prime minister to sue for defamation.
    “Defamatory BS from a repeat offender” she said. “Tony Abbott should consult a lawyer. These unfounded slurs, pushed by his loony Left political opponents, are stated as fact by ‘journalists’ in the UK.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/sep/04/sky-falls-on-tony-abbott-as-news-corp-columnist-urges-him-to-sue-for-defamation

  12. I must be off. Have a good weekend all.

    In departing I note that so far, despite our PM proclaiming that “All but one state (WA) had agreed” to his plan for opening of borders by Christmas, I have not seen any statement from any State premier to confirm this is true. Tasmanian Liberal PM Gutwein has contradicted it, as has Qld Labor Premier Palszczuk. SA Liberal Premier Marshall was conspicuously silent, even as he announced relaxing some restrictions in SA today. Not even one of three Liberal premiers has said Scomo was telling the (whole) truth.

    You can take the friar out of the shire, but you can’t take the liar out of the friar.

  13. The fun you start to have when customs notice you have done a lot of trips. Funny thing was, it stopped when I said to the guy, look I have to do this shit because I’m a service Engineer, I have just got off a 24 hour flight, I just want to get home, could you please stop it. And they did.

    Ha!
    Try explaining to customs in Aus, in Oct 2001, with a beard and skin tanned to leather, why you had spent so long in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Far Western China. And they wont believe you when you say “fun”.

  14. The majority of States support a concept that there should be a plan. But, there is no actual plan that is agreed. so, morrison delivers word salad after another humiliation.

    Who was the eighth state/territory that didn’t agree that there should be a plan?

    Oh, it was WA (with Clive Palmer, in the court house.)

  15. Re GG @4:33 PM.

    What happened here is that a delivery of the raw materials that are the inputs used by Newscorp to produce their product went wrong. In order to cover up the mishap Newscorp management hastily arranged actors to play the part of leftist protesters in front of their offices.

    Well, it’s as plausible as most of their ”news”.

  16. Jaeger says:
    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 4:59 pm
    So… 7 out of 8 states and territories agree there should be a plan? That’s it?!

    From The Guardian:

    Seven out of eight states and territories in agreement

    Scott Morrison…

    Morrison seems to talk a lot about having a plan for a plan for a plan for a plan for a….

    This is like the ever diminishing images extending to infinity when an object is placed between two mirrors facing each other.

    If it keeps him happy I suppose.

  17. Steve777 @ #1470 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 5:28 pm

    Re GG @4:33 PM.

    What happened here is that a delivery of the raw materials that are the inputs that Newscorp use to produce their product went wrong. In order to cover up the mishap Newscorp management hastily arranged actors to play the part of leftist protesters in front of their offices.

    Well, it’s as plausible as most of their ”news”.

    One of those cows did have an Andrew Bolt gait. So, who knows?

  18. “I’ve been told” says Murdoch’s Rachel Baxendale. Brett Sutton having none of it. “That’s completely inaccurate”

    @DocAvvers
    ·
    2m
    So, on the one hand we have Rachel ‘#BlackLivesMatter protests led to infections’ Baxendale and on the other we have the state’s Chief Medical Officer. Who to trust, who to trust?

    (Obviously the doctor, not the journalist whose lies have previously been called out.)

  19. “The [National Sewerage] program was administered by the newly formed Department of Urban and Regional Development.”

    Oh come on… Why wasn’t it a Taskforce??

  20. Bevan Shields
    @BevanShields
    ·
    2m
    Julia Gillard is on Sky News here in the UK. On the Tony Abbott saga, she says: “I said everything I needed to say about that back in October 2012 and that speech is doing the rounds all these years later. I stand by every word of it but don’t need to add to it.”

    **
    ·
    1m
    Gillard says it’s not her place to tell the UK government who to appoint to the Board of Trade.

  21. Bevan Shields
    @BevanShields
    ·
    26s
    Gillard is being pushed on the Abbott position but is not buying into it. “I’m not a citizen of the UK so it’s for your democratic politics to make a decision.”

  22. Bevan Shields
    @BevanShields
    ·
    1m
    Anyone who thought Gillard would tip a bucket over Abbott this morning clearly doesn’t understand how she operates.

  23. Bevan Shields
    @BevanShields
    Italy’s 83-year-old former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has now been hospitalised as his coronavirus infection worsens. Party spokesperson says he “is fine”.

  24. Italy’s 83-year-old former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has now been hospitalised as his coronavirus infection worsens. Party spokesperson says he “is fine”.

    Fino, finito; same, same.


  25. Simon Katich says:
    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    The fun you start to have when customs notice you have done a lot of trips. Funny thing was, it stopped when I said to the guy, look I have to do this shit because I’m a service Engineer, I have just got off a 24 hour flight, I just want to get home, could you please stop it. And they did.

    Ha!
    Try explaining to customs in Aus, in Oct 2001, with a beard and skin tanned to leather, why you had spent so long in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Far Western China. And they wont believe you when you say “fun”.

    Having lived thought the suspected maul period I could imagine it would have been interesting.

    I was traveling all over the place fixing up stuff, with my toolbox, the hardest place to get into was Canada. They do not like toolboxes.

  26. “I’ve been told” says Murdoch’s Rachel Baxendale.

    Elder’s Maxim: A journalist using the passive voice is a sure sign they’re up to no good.

  27. From listening to the full extent of that 30 second question it looks to me like Greg Hunt was the one who told her because it referred to apparent federal health data.

  28. C@tmomma @ #1488 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 6:11 pm

    From listening to the full extent of that 30 second question it looks to me like Greg Hunt was the one who told her because it referred to apparent federal health data.

    So, the Libs are actively briefing compliant journos in real time.

    And, it didn’t work.

    Short answers to long confected questions is proving very effective.

  29. I was traveling all over the place fixing up stuff, with my toolbox, the hardest place to get into was Canada. They do not like toolboxes.

    They didnt like my carpets.

  30. Taylormade:

    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    [‘…Lawyer X, politicising the force and now this he has left quite a legacy from his time in the top job.’]

    Nicola Gobbo is a disgrace to the legal profession; who’d rat to the police or have confidence in the way justice is dispensed in Victoria henceforth? She failed her very basic duty of legal professional privilege albeit she was set up for it.

  31. Mavis @ #1493 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 6:39 pm

    Taylormade:

    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    [‘…Lawyer X, politicising the force and now this he has left quite a legacy from his time in the top job.’]

    Nicola Gobbo is a disgrace to the legal profession; who’d rat to the police or have confidence in the way justice is dispensed in Victoria henceforth? She failed her very basic duty of legal professional privilege albeit she was set up for it.

    Tickle my till!

  32. ‘THE teachers’ union has slammed the touted replacement for NAPLAN despite relentlessly calling for the standardised testing to be scrapped, warning the new assessment would be even worse.;

    I haven’t read the article, it’s just the idiocy of this lead paragraph that got me.

    So because they’ve called for NAPLAN to be replaced, teachers just have to fall in line with whatever the suggested replacement is??

    https://www.couriermail.com.au/education/queensland-teachers-union-savages-proposed-naplan-replacement/news-story/c5224d4478bb870b83c3aecc21c94dbf

  33. Greensborough Growler:

    [‘Mavis @ #1493 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 6:39 pm’]

    As I’ve said hereinbefore, you’re not given to nuance.

  34. My previous work trips involved some small plane frights (10-12 people) to Western Vic (Portland and Hamilton aerodromes….). It was all very snug and occasionally scary. In one storm I saw the pilots look at each other shrug, not nice for a passenger to see this… It was rough….

  35. Jaeger @ #1454 Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 2:59 pm

    So… 7 out of 8 states and territories agree there should be a plan? That’s it?!

    From The Guardian:

    Seven out of eight states and territories in agreement

    And then there were six.

    BREAKING: Qld Premier Palaczszuk says she did NOT agree to discuss the
    @ScottMorrisonMP hotspot plan to reopen by Xmas. Siding with WA. Not on the “bus”.

    https://twitter.com/Riley7News/status/1301801595521257473

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