Essential Research, territory seat entitlements, Groom wash-up

The federal government continues to be rated highly for its COVID-19 response, as a plan to save the Northern Territory’s second seat proves to have a sting in the tail for the ACT.

The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll finds 67% rating the federal government’s COVID-19 response as good, unchanged on a fortnight ago, with the poor rating down two to 13% – its strongest net result in this regular series since June. The small sample state breakdowns find the South Australian government’s positive rating down six to 70%, which I believe is the lowest it has yet recorded, although it might not pay to read too much into that given the near double-digit margin of error. The results for the other four mainland state are all up by one point: to 76% for New South Wales, 60% for Victoria, 72% for Queensland and 83% for Western Australia.

Respondents were also asked about their level of interest in various news stories: 69% said they were closely following the COVID-19 outbreak in South Australia, against 31% for not closely; 66% likewise for COVID-19 vaccine trials, and 34% for not closely; 56% closely for Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his election defeat, with 44% for not closely; and 53% closely for war crimes allegations against Australian soliders, against 47% for not closely. The poll also found 37% felt the government spent too much on foreign aid, down four points since 2017, with spends too little steady on 16% and the right amount up four to 23%. Also featured was a series of detailed questions on climate change and coal-fired power plants, which you can read all about in the full report. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Monday from a sample of 1034.

In other news, Antony Green peruses the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters’ report recommending action to preserve the Northern Territory’s second House of Representatives seat, which otherwise stands to be lost based on the territory’s share of the national population. Significantly, he notes that the proposed removal of an existing tweak to the calculation that was added to help the Northern Territory get over the line back in 2004 now stands to cost the Australian Capital Territory the third seat it gained at the last election – perhaps explaining why the government has been so sanguine about preserving Labor-held seats in the Northern Territory.

The change in 2004 made use of the margin of error the Australian Bureau of Statistics provides for its population estimates for the territories, requiring that the figure at the top end of the range be used in making the determination. Whereas the most recent determination credited the ACT with 2.55 quotas, rounding up to three seats, it would have only have been 2.48 if the ABS’s straightforward estimate had been used. There is no suggestion of changing the existing determination to cost the ACT its third seat at the next election, but a significant growth in population would be needed if the third seat was to be preserved at the next election after.

Antony Green’s submission to the inquiry suggested that, in addition to giving the territories a minimum of two seats, the calculation be made not on the basis of the garden variety arithmetic mean, but on the harmonic mean, which would be less prone to rounding down for the territories and smaller states. This method has the virtue of producing “an allocation of seats with a population per member closer to the national quota than the arithmetic mean”. The committee – apparently including the four Labor and one Greens members as well as the five from the government, since there was no dissenting report – acknowledged the logic of this but cited “problems with the potential for public acceptance”

Mention should also be made of Saturday’s by-election in the regional Queensland seat of Groom, which did nothing to alter its complexion as a safe seat for the Coalition. The LNP candidate, Garth Hamilton, currently has 66.9% of the two-party preferred vote with only a handful of votes outstanding, representing a 3.6% swing to Labor Œ more or less the same size of the swing in the Longman by-election that did for Malcolm Turnbull in 2018, though on that occasion his critics could point to a 9.4% drop in the LNP vote as One Nation surged to 15.9%. The One Nation factor went untested on this occasion, since the party did not field a candidate, although the party’s performance in the recent state election suggested they would only have done a limited amount of damage.

Of perhaps more note than the result is the pattern of turnout in the second by-election held during COVID-19 (the first being in Eden-Monaro only July 4): election day turnout was down 21.3%, from 53,943 to 42,490; pre-poll voting centres were up 0.8% from 25,169 to 25,380; and there have so far been 11,966 postal votes counted, compared with 14,108 at the 2019 election. Voter fraud fans may care to note that the LNP did better on election day votes (a 2.7% swing to Labor) than pre-poll votes (a 4.0% swing) and, especially, postal votes (a 7.3% swing).

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.

2,520 comments on “Essential Research, territory seat entitlements, Groom wash-up”

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  1. Sprocket
    If, at the joint sitting to count the electoral college votes a representative and a senator object in writing to a state’s votes, the joint sitting is immediately suspended for 2 hours while each house debates and votes. The procedure is laid down in federal law. The votes are rejected only if both houses vote for their rejection. With a Democrat majority in the house this is unlikely to happen. It would be a pointless exercise.

    Several reps tried to reject Florida’s votes in 2001 but they did not get a supporting Senator

  2. Wins to Labor and swings to them at every federal By-election , State and Territory election since the federal election in 2019.

    I wonder how mundo will spin this as a negative for Labor?

  3. Overnight saw a lady from Chinese government speaking about Morrison’s reaction to “the tweet”.

    She said that his strong objection was made in order to distract attention from the Australian soldiers’ behaviour in Afghanistan.

    Whether you agree or not, it seems that the Chinese are very aware of ScottyfromMarketing’s use of unicorns to deflect criticism!

  4. 67% again. The results are too stable. If the populations view has not changed and the sample size is about 1000 there should still be a a standard distribution in the results with a standard deviation above 1%, we are not seeing it. . It’s pretty clear the polling houses still have serious issues with their “random” sample.

  5. lizzie says:
    Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 7:44 am

    Overnight saw a lady from Chinese government speaking about Morrison’s reaction to “the tweet”.

    She said that his strong objection was made in order to distract attention from the Australian soldiers’ behaviour in Afghanistan.

    And the Chinese are distracting from what they have done in Hong Kong and and locking up the Uighurs.

    Morrison fell right into it.

  6. Jaeger: (previous thread)

    Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 2:02 am

    [‘Teddy was clearly “able” and “extraordinary”.]

    He certainly was, noting that Morrison did not initially support the award until he came to the conclusion that it would be politically advantageous, particularly in Tassie.

  7. C@tmomma @ #6 Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 – 7:42 am

    Thanks, KayJay. Does that mean it just works? I can’t see an Update option?

    A noob 😀

    A “noob” you say ……………………

    Go to the site shown and you will see in the body of the page Version 0.8.12

    Check if higher up the page it says “Remove from Chrome” which may mean that this version is now installed. In any case you could first

    Remove from Chrome
    and then
    Add to Chrome

    and follow the bouncing ball (sort of)….Click on the C+ Icon and “Save”.

    See how it goes. I’m sure you have done this on previous occasions.

    Quite cool in Newcastle today.

  8. Won’t be holding my breath waiting for Smirko to genuinely start caring about anyone other than himself.

    Besides, we all know that racist right wing warmongers really just don’t care about war crimes.

  9. I’d agree with this.

    Paul Barratt
    If Paul Fletcher needs to know why politicians’ lives are a matter of public interest, maybe he shouldn’t be a Minister of the Crown.

  10. I’m really struggling to find the words to describe just how truly sick and repulsive this is. What the hell is wrong with some people?!?!?

  11. What would be very useful would be to be aware of the acceptance rate of polling. I was surprised to hear that it is about 3% in some US polls. It would be very challenging to construct a representative sample.

    So, what are they ways in which a pollster is able to achieve a representative sample? I only know of two, have a captive representative sample through preregistered participants (often used in market research), or asking demographic questions that facilitate selection of a representative sample from those willing to respond. Reach and willingness to respond both being threats to representativeness.

  12. He got me again!

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Paul Bongiorno examines the many questionable things done by Morrison in the name of expedient politics. He chronicles quite a lot.
    Nick O’Malley reports that one of the world’s most senior diplomats says the world is waiting for a “suicidal” Australia to reverse its stance on climate change.
    Sally McManus will outline plans to campaign against any reform that cuts pay or removes employment rights as the Morrison government prepares to reveal draft IR laws next week. Battle lines are being drawn.
    And McManus explains why we need to use the pandemic to confront the weakness in our safety net.
    Rob Harris writes that a likely Senate roadblock to establish a radioactive waste dump in regional South Australia could be used by the Morrison government as a trigger to go to an early election as it prepares to bring the issue to a vote in the coming days.
    A new cohort of young Australians is facing a perfect storm of uncertainty. But the problems started long before 2020, explains Luke Henriques-Gomes.
    Despite a rise in part-time employment, those in their late teens and early 20s are in the most precarious position of anyone in that cohort since the 1990s, says Greg Jericho.
    It is time the Australian Bureau of Statistics changed the way it reported unemployment figures, writes Alan Austin. Australia’s real unemployment rate is closer to 13% than 7%.
    Anthony Galloway declares that Morrison politicised war medals decision and now he owns the response.
    Christopher Knaus writes that the expert whose work triggered the Brereton inquiry has warned Australians against dismissing the Afghanistan war crimes scandal as the work of a “few bad apples” and expressed dismay at the tenor of the public debate since the report’s release.
    Meanwhile culture warrior Janet Albrechtsen trumpets that Brereton has undermined the rule of law.
    The CEO of the Victorian Legal Services Board, Fiona McLeay, reacts appropriately to the report of the “Gobbo” Royal Commission.
    Latika Bourke tells us that more than 200 MPs from 19 countries are telling their citizens to drink Aussie wine in December in a solidarity campaign that vows “Australia is not alone”.
    Jennifer Hewett writes that former WA premier Colin Barnett says the relationship with China is now so stunningly bad that any improvement will be up to state governments, not Canberra.
    Frontline Services Australia staff say their work is being negatively affected by pressure to meet performance targets and they don’t feel trusted or respected by their employer, a new survey reveals. This is hardly surprising.
    The AIMN’s Rosemary J#^explores the efforts of “Morrison – the crooked enabler”.
    The cashless debit card could be another robodebt-style fiasco, say Elise Klein, Jon Altman and David Tennant.
    After tens of thousands of Australians had their lives put on hold by illegal Government action, the Morrison Government announced the largest allocation of places for partner visas in Australia’s history. Abul Rizvi reports.,14574
    William Olsen writes that unions are saying that the Morrison government has failed to respond specifically to the findings of the recent Aged Care Royal Commission and the problem points and issues revealed from it.
    Isabelle Lane explains why Telstra and Optus are going after the NBN.
    Katie Burgess reports that a new Senate inquiry will probe the use of contractors in the Australian Public Service, while a wider investigation into privatisation has been shut down.
    CPSU national secretary, Melissa Donnelly, goes into bat for the ANAO, saying that without it we would never have known about the sports rorts. She also calls for the establishment of an effective federal integrity commission.
    Meanwhile, the Victorian Ombudsman says the Andrews government is not providing enough funding for the integrity watchdog to perform its core functions and could be perceived to be undermining the agency.
    Ross Gittins writes that there’s nothing any Liberal government can do on super that doesn’t cause the unions and Labor to smell a conspiracy.
    The irony of Australia’s oldest home-grown industry is that despite a history of turning adversity into success, it continues to ask for favours from everyone else – and get them, writes the AFR’s Aaron Fitzpatrick.
    Airline prices for a one-way ticket to Perth have skyrocketed to $1000 after Western Australia announced it will open its border to the east coast and travellers from NSW and Victoria will no longer be forced to quarantine.
    When Nine acquired Fairfax, Australians were assured they needn’t worry about media diversity as Nine would be bound by the Fairfax Independence Charter but there is only one problem. Anthony Klan reports.,14576
    Charlotte Grieve reports that the head of powerful corporate governance firm ISS Vas Kolesnikoff has called for changes at the top at ASX, as the market operator continues to take fire over a full day trading outage that crippled the bourse.
    And the AFR says that the coding problem responsible for the equities trading outage on November 16 was replicated in the back-up system, which meant there was no fail safe back-up when the Nasdaq-supplied system crashed.
    Controversial rules for class action litigation funders are at risk of falling apart with One Nation threatening to vote in favour of scrapping the scheme unless changes are made.
    Rupert Murdoch has funnelled Foxtel out of News Corp Australia to a mysterious entity in the secrecy jurisdiction of Delaware. Michael West reports on the secret transactions which appear designed to sell News Corp’s Australian media business.
    Who cares about jobs and experts? Suddenly, Brexit’s snake-oil salesmen do, says Marina Hyde.
    Poverty is still a major issue in Britain, perpetuated by the elitist attitudes of the Johnson Government, writes John Pilger.,14572
    The bloodletting that’s taking place for US retail right now is eerily reminiscent of what happened during the Great Depression, explains Bloomberg’s Stephen Mihm.
    Trump’s legacy is the plague of extreme lies. Truth-based media is the vaccine, declares Richard Wolffe. Fair enough.
    According to the New York Times, Rudy Giuliani discussed with Donald Trump as recently as last week the possibility of receiving a pre-emptive pardon before the President leaves office.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope

    Andrew Dyson

    John Shakespeare

    Cathy Wilcox

    Alan Moir

    David Rowe

    Simon Letch

    Matt Golding

    Mark Knight

    John Spooner

    Peter Broelman

    From the US

  13. what the hell is wrong with these people

    They freely signed up for a job where the ultimate end is to kill people. You’re worried about them drinking from a prosthetic limb?

  14. I’m really struggling to find the words to describe just how truly sick and repulsive this is. What the hell is wrong with some people?!?!?
    The people around them, perhaps.

  15. From one of the dawn patrol links “Telstra gets paid at least $1 billion a year for NBN to access its worn-out copper wires.” FMD – just one years worth is how many new FTTP connections? Thanks M Turnbull.

  16. I wonder how former foreign ministers such as Evans, Carr, Rudd & Bishop would have handled the latest spat with China? Morrison has over-egged it, knowing all too well that it would go over very well domestically. A formal complaint from FM Payne would’ve been the way to go, not to “demand” an apology via video. And there’s quite a deal of evidence that Chinese Australians have been on the receiving end of racist abuse over C.19, which is bound to increase with tensions escalating over the offending tweet, not to mention the small matter of trade. Yes, it’s right and proper to stand up to bullies but there are ways to do it without the grandstanding of marketing Morrison.

  17. Griff

    Some pollsters in the US are using social sampling – that is, asking the interviewee not about just their own voting intentions but the voting intentions of their friends and family.

    Probably helps outting ‘shy’ voters – even if you personally don’t want to admit to voting for someone, the fact that you identify everyone else you know as voting for them is probably a good indicator of your intentions.

    It also means one interview can indicate more general voting trends.

  18. “Good see that you appear to have taken Simon’s advice.”


    Thought about it but honestly I don’t want to steal BK’s thing. He puts a lot of effort into putting that together every morning for the blog.

  19. I thought the comment about firefox being censored was sarcasm – but apparently not.

    BK links to articles and cartoons, not tweets.

    There is a difference.

  20. Having been on the YouGov panel (used by NewsPoll) for a while, I have now unsubscribed.

    Why? Each time an election poll comes up, I get through the first few demographic questions and am thrown into some brand survey – and am never polled on voting intention. I can only assume that the views I would represent are not desirable.

  21. So sick of seeing the ‘bullying’ analogy used for the China situation. International Diplomacy is a bit more complicated than a schoolyard, just as the economy is a bit more complicated than the family budget.
    Using the word bullying is just lazy.

  22. Allizom:

    [‘Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 8:25 am’]

    [As per Amy MacMahon, ‘Queensland is a wealthy state’.]

    Depending on who is to be believed, Queensland debt is standing at around a record $120B. Accordingly, the bucket list of the Greens may have to be placed on hold for the time being.

  23. “I thought the comment about firefox being censored was sarcasm – but apparently not.

    BK links to articles and cartoons, not tweets.

    There is a difference.”


    Sure is. He provides the news from the MSM.

    On the other hand, Firefox provides news from outside the establishment’s bubble.

  24. Allizom

    Tweets from an MP, from whichever party, are not news – they’re propaganda.

    However, if that’s the way the site’s going, I’m happy to provide tweets from Labor MPs on a daily basis as well.

    I haven’t before, on the curious assumption that if people here were interested, they’d already be following those MPs on twitter, but now I’ll just regard it as providing an alternative source of news.

  25. Torchbearer
    Ah but by using the word “bullying” people feel permitted to compete in the ‘tough guy” race. Beat that chest and strike a pose.

  26. Allizom:

    Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 8:30 am

    [‘Thought about it but honestly I don’t want to steal BK’s thing. He puts a lot of effort into putting that together every morning for the blog.’]

    That he surely does but I don’t think BK would be too worried with additional commentary.

  27. …still waiting, however, for an explanation as to why you think firefox – who had just made several posts – was being ‘censored’.

  28. sprocket_ @ #33 Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 – 5:35 am

    Having been on the YouGov panel (used by NewsPoll) for a while, I have now unsubscribed.

    Why? Each time an election poll comes up, I get through the first few demographic questions and am thrown into some brand survey – and am never polled on voting intention. I can only assume that the views I would represent are not desirable.

    I’ve been thinking of doing the same. It’s a waste of my time.

  29. Rudy Giuliani lashes out at Bill Barr after DOJ finds no widespread election fraud

    Attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, who are representing President Donald Trump, reacted on Tuesday after Attorney General Bill Barr said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not found evidence of fraud that would overturn the 2020 election.

    The lawyers’ remarks came after Barr told the Associated Press that the DOJ has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.”

  30. Thank you Zoomster. Very interesting. I can see a lot of potential confounding in asking how others vote, but no doubt there is method to such madness 🙂

  31. Not wanting to disappoint, here’s a piece from the right wing MSM about the Greens. Hopefully this meets the approval of the conservative tut-tutters!

    Greens MP’s plan to turn parliament ‘inside out’

    The Greens MP who defeated Queensland political giant Jackie Trad has promised to spend the next four years battling “to turn parliament inside out”. Here’s her battle plan.

    That’s all you get without subscribing to News Corp’s propaganda.

  32. Terri Butler MP
    The govt has been hopeless on koala protection. No National Conservation Strategy. Threatened species recovery plan is five years late and counting. They need to get their act together #qt #Auspol’

    ‘Bill Shorten
    According to the Minister, no one’s responsible for Robodebt because there’s “no admission”. So they paid out $1.2B, just because? #auspol #Robodebt’

    ‘Rob Mitchell
    as we predicted

    deliberately starved funding to collapse Virgin and pork barrel Rex to replace them.’

    ‘Anthony Albanese
    The Morrison Government just bragged about how well they’ve looked after vulnerable people during the pandemic. Seriously.

    Tell that to the families of loved ones who have died in aged care homes funded and regulated by the very same Morrison Government.’

    Apologies, I didn’t realise this needed to be done. I’ll provide a fuller report tomorrow morning, when I’m more prepared.

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