Newspoll: 50-50

Labor defies news media narratives to draw level in the first Newspoll of the year, amid little overall change.

The Australian reports the first Newspoll of the year has Labor drawing level on two-party preferred, after trailing 51-49 in the previous poll from late November. That headline-grabber aside though, the poll finds the pollster maintaining its trademark low volatility, with the Coalition down one on the primary vote, Labor steady on 36%, the Greens down one to 10% and One Nation up one to 3%.

Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese record similarly sized negative movements in their personal ratings, though from a much higher base in Morrison’s case. Morrison is down three on approval to 63% and up three on disapproval to 33%, while Anthony Albanese is down three to 41% and up two to 43%. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister narrows slightly, from 60-28 to 57-29. The poll was conducted from Wednesday to Saturday from a sample of 1512.

The BludgerTrack poll aggregate has been updated with the results, and currently records a slight Coalition lead of 50.4-49.6 and a trend of very slow decline in Morrison’s net approval since its blowout in late March.

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.

935 comments on “Newspoll: 50-50”

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  1. Boer is seldom wrong about things. He is a thinker, and he does commence from facts and is guided by the universal human values of freedom and equality. He has an eye for history. He is not to be dismissed. Not at all.

    I have some very good lifelong friends in HK – HK born. They would be on the same page as Boer. Their world has been smashed by Xi. And whilst their children are no longer in HK – they’re in Australia, studying – my friends and their wider families are very deeply troubled. They are really under the heel of the boot.

  2. boerwar @ #638 Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 – 12:24 pm

    dave

    BTW, if you do escape successfully, don’t expect to be able to return to your homeland for the rest of life. Don’t expect your family to be reprieved any time soon, either.

    Those with some historical awareness would, no doubt, recall how it all worked in Germany in the 1930’s.

    Xi’s apologists will, as usual, do some whataboutism, just continue to STFU of even become personally abusive if anyone points any of this sort of totalitarian evil out for what it is.

    It makes you wonder if the whole of Australia is suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome.

    Stockholm Syndrome regarding China is not a new thing.

    Long time China Scholar, Prof Richard Baum and Paul Midler who spent over twenty years in China working as middle man between western buyers and hundreds of Chinese suppliers/ manufacturers in a broad range of industries both talk about westerners making excuses for poor conduct by some Chinese regardless of the circumstances, going back over a century.

    Some of the Panda huggers like Bob Carr appear to have gone quiet recently as have business types like twiggy and kerry stokes – so I don’t know if they have had detailed briefings about what is really going on.

    I glance at the comments of PB panda huggers but thats about it – they offer no practical options no matter how many pages they post.

    The news wire type sources are at least factual reports in the main.

  3. ‘Torchbearer says:
    Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    What I dont get about Xi is that China has had a “pretty good”20 years post Tianamenn…build the economy, open to trade, open to tourism, students and Chinese tourists can go OS, making moves on climate, great Olympic Games, even the belt-and-road could be seen as a global plus etc….

    Then all of a sudden bang- Uigher crackdown, HK crackdown, Taiwan threats, trade disputes, South China Sea, cyber wars, military build up etc etc…..it does seem to building very quickly to something sadly.’

    It is well worth reading Xi’s progress from some power to absolute power. The last step (if you don’t count the incessant executions of his personal political enemies for ‘corruption’) was making himself President for life in 2018. He has subsequently strengthened his hold by way of, for example, strengthening the role of the PLA vis-a-vis the Politburo. Perhaps the sad answer to your question is that over the time period you mention China went from a collective leadership, which had at least some potential for balancing interests and policies, to a personal despotic leadership which has no constraints.

  4. Holdenhillbilly @ #619 Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 – 11:38 am

    Billionaire Chau Chak Wing has been awarded $590,000 in damages after he won his Federal Court defamation case against the ABC and Nine over an “indefensible” and “seriously defamatory” investigation into foreign interference broadcast by Four Corners in June 2017.

    Dr Chau sued the ABC and Nine, the owner of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, over the episode called “Power and Influence” which had allegedly accused the prominent political donor of bribing a UN official and acting as a double agent for the Chinese Communist Party.

    In a judgment delivered on Tuesday, Federal Court Justice Steven Rares found the program conveyed four of the claimed defamatory imputations, including that Dr Chau knowingly paid a $200,000 bribe to a senior UN official and was a member of the Chinese Communist Party.

    The billionaire property mogul, who has donated more than $20m to both Sydney University and University of Technology Sydney, had argued the story carried six defamatory imputations, including that he was a spy who had “betrayed his country”.

    A really good article by Elizabeth Farrelly on Sydney’s two Chau Chak Wing buildings as form plays with function: the deliberately eye-catching Frank Gehry UTS building (the crumpled brown paper bag) vs the floating concrete brutalist box housing the University of Sydney’s sublime museum collection now in one space.

    https://www.smh.com.au/culture/art-and-design/are-the-cabbies-correct-which-chau-chak-wing-building-is-the-star-20210101-p56r8b.html

    (some lovely pics for those responsive to architecture)

  5. Richard Willingham
    @rwillingham
    ·
    50m
    Opposition using parliament to repeat the line that Andrews caused the second wave, and the death of more than 800 people.
    @abcmelbourne

  6. It must be a shock to Boerwar, being seventy years young, to discover that China is an autocracy and prone to muscular exercising of power. I wonder what finally gave the game away? 2,000+ years of political history, going back to the Qin? The Long March? Tibet? The Cultural Revolution? Tiananmen Square?

    FFS man!

    Of course Australians, as individuals should say what they want. If you and C@t want to get your freak on outside the Chinese embassy, knock yourselves out? Want to hand out Fulong Gong pamphlets outside the NSW Supreem Court in Queens Square, Sydney? Be my guest. That is the bedrock of democracy, as you say. That is besides the point: the point being how does the National Government choose to act? Frankly since about 2015 it has chosen very poorly – without regard to the national interest or an achievable strategic endgame. Containment? Riding on America’s curtails? Are you smoking crack!

    Boer – you don’t like Xi and the CCP. Fine. It’s also irrelevant. Regardless of what your sensibilities are, China is and will remain our most important foreign affairs relationship and consideration for this century. This is something that Whitlam foresaw back in 1971 – in the afterglow of the cultural revolution when all the villains – like Mao – were still firmly in charge. It’s what Nixon and Kissinger understood. Why Hawke showed great forbearance and restraint after Tiananmen Square. It’s what Keating grasped when he understood that it was inevitable that. China would return to its post Industrial Revolution position as the most powerful economy in the world within a few short years.

    Maybe its time you put your big boy pants? If not you, then certainly the Australian Government has to act like an adult. And fast. Effectively every anti-china move since 2016 must be reversed ASAP before its too late. Your rhetoric isn’t helping. It’s profoundly disturbing that it accords which what I think is the national mood at the moment (another Scotty from Marketing masterpiece). We are fucked.

  7. ‘N says:
    Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    Boer is seldom wrong about things.’
    I have been wrong about some pretty big things on Bludger. Only the other day BiTJ pointed out that much-longed for corridor from China to the Indian Ocean has a lot of money attached to it and lots of agreements but it is a gleam in Xi’s eye rather than the reality I thought it way.
    I don’t mind getting pinged for being wrong.
    Beyond that, thanks for pointing out the very human suffering being visited on the citizens of Hong Kong atm. It is real. They have been deprived of their human rights and of their democracy. I thought at the time that the protestors were terribly courageous taking on Xi and that it would all end very badly. But I admired their desperate courage. (Perhaps I was being Sinophobic somewhere in there as well?)

  8. Paul Meek
    @PaulMeekPerth
    We had major fires last summer in WA but none were close to the city and no deaths (from memory). Three quarters of the sky covered in smoke today, and there’s flecks of ash making it onto my apartment balcony in central Perth. Our north eastern suburbs in serious danger

  9. 30 homes lost outside Perth!

    Over here in the east La Nina is having her way: it’s wet and the growth absolutely rampant. The false sense of security is nice, but foolishly short sighted.

  10. Further to my post above @1:04pm. Boer has spent and inordinate amount of energy since his return to the bludger board conjuring up the golem of Xi!

    It’s at least a reasonable hypothesis that Xi’s ascension , and certainly his muscular administration since around 2012/13 is in response to the development and hardening of the Obama-Biden administration doctrine of ‘China Containment’ and things only got slightly more crazy under Trump.

    ‘China Containment’ is an an American delusion worthy of inclusion in DSM V – unless the Americans are willing to Nuc Beijing now. Even if were strategically achievable, it is simply and fundamentally at odds with our national interest on nearly every level. And yet here we are (and by ‘we’ I mean the Australian Government). Aping this delusion and volunteering for front line service. Madness.

  11. Torchbearer @ #646 Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 – 12:39 pm

    What I dont get about Xi is that China has had a “pretty good”20 years post Tianamenn…build the economy, open to trade, open to tourism, students and Chinese tourists can go OS, making moves on climate, great Olympic Games, even the belt-and-road could be seen as a global plus etc….

    Then all of a sudden bang- Uigher crackdown, HK crackdown, Taiwan threats, trade disputes, South China Sea, cyber wars, military build up etc etc…..it does seem to building very quickly to something sadly.

    It all goes back to xi assuming the top job in 2012.

    Deng the true architect behind China’s rise, its wealth etc said – “Hide your strength and bide your time”.

    xi came to power determined not to wait. Probably very difficult, even impossible for him to alter HIS approach, he is so invested in it.

    Now under a different leader, not in xi’s mold. Who knows.

    But most people fitting such a description have been purged.

  12. ItzaDream @ #664 Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 – 12:42 pm

    30 homes lost outside Perth!

    Over here in the east La Nina is having her way: it’s wet and the growth absolutely rampant. The false sense of security is nice, but foolishly short sighted.

    Indeed. A couple of hot days, not much wind, and a fire in the Adelaide Hills had everyone on the hop. It has been dry here to be sure. But this was hardly catastrophic conditions and always had a cool and wet change around the corner. Yet warnings in heavily populated areas had many packing for town in the evening. It could have been a lot worse.

    And 3000 hectares burnt of some of the best native veg left in the Hills.

  13. What I have been saying from the get go

    ABC Melbourne
    @abcmelbourne
    ·
    7m
    ‘They have to be responsible’: Leading epidemiologist calls on the Commonwealth to run hotel quarantine

    ‘They have to be responsible’: Leading epidemiologist calls on the Commonwealth to run hotel…
    Professor of Epidemiology at UNSW and Advisor to the World Health Organization, Mary-Louise McLaws, said the states should not be in charge of the “most important threat to Australians”.
    abc.net.au

    https://www.abc.net.au/radio/melbourne/programs/mornings/mary-louise-mclaws-hotel-quarantine/13111858

  14. At the joint party room meeting, the deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, said there was no greater privilege than being in government and delivering for communities.

    Pork barrelling is us!

  15. “ Your main aim here seems to shut down the conversation.”

    To the contrary, my main aim is to actually start a conversation about Australia’s national foreign policy interest. Not simply to regurgitate skynoos after dark talking points about ‘Xi bad. Very bad’.

  16. ‘China Containment’ is an an American delusion

    No doubt a little more of the Western Liberalism from the US and Australia would be useful – yes. But it wont stop Xi being a b@stard internally. AND it needs a stick to accompany the carrot.

  17. One more arty farty thing – the Streeton retrospective closes soon at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

    Arthur Streeton – Melbourne Sydney London Paris Melbourne – beyond the acclaimed impressionist painter was an activist and environmentalist, hardly surprising with an artist’s deep understanding of what the natural world means, on all levels.

    I was surprised to read he led a campaign against the ripping up of the Cremorne foreshores by avaricious coal miners in the early 20C.

    Writing in the 1920s and 1930s, Streeton recalled how, one day, at Bradleys Head, where the mining company had acquired a site to establish its colliery, “thousands of gum trees had been cut down”. So incensed was Streeton by this “shocking sight”, and the prospect that “all the loveliness of the harbour just inside the Heads was likely to become obliterated by a mass of coaling hulks and machinery”, that he sent a “rapidly written protest” to a Sydney newspaper. As Streeton remembered it, this letter – immediately dubbed “Streeton’s shriek” – aroused such “interest and alarm” that “people woke up and the infamous project came to an end”.

    Plus ça change …

    https://youtu.be/nRyn-8wo6p8

    (of more than passing interest for those familiar with Heidelberg, let alone Sydney Harbour)

    Edit: link to the quote from The Monthly : Streetons Shriek”

    https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2020/december/1606741200/tim-bonyhady/streeton-s-shriek?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Summer%20Schwartz%20-%20Friday%20January%2015&utm_content=Summer%20Schwartz%20-%20Friday%20January%2015+CID_15b9844da8d936a9f1836fef5a649fb5&utm_source=EDM?cb=1610664094

  18. Have to laugh at the newsltd hacks, their new line is Brendan Murphy and other propagandist for the Libs/nats is now called transparency

  19. Itzadream

    Very familiar with Heidelberg, Streeton would be pleased to know that nearby locales have retained the green eulcalypt environs. Heidelberg not so much. Apart from the areas around the Yarra river etc,

  20. The opposition should go tit-for-tat with “I move that the member be no longer heard” motions until reasonable debate returns to parliament.

  21. poroti

    😆

    But seriously, someone should remind Scott that we’re not Americans. He praises the way Ozzies do things, should follow it up with his actions.

  22. Victoria @ #678 Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 – 1:29 pm

    Itzadream

    Very familiar with Heidelberg, Streeton would be pleased to know that nearby locales have retained the green eulcalypt environs. Heidelberg not so much. Apart from the areas around the Yarra river etc,

    I must go Victoria. We love driving down, and will again. We will get through this. Watch the video – it’s cleansing, if nothing else.

  23. lizzie.
    No, they don’t have the numbers to win such divisions but it would serve to have attention directed to the government’s opacity.

  24. Shellbell @ #681 Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 – 1:30 pm

    ItzaDream

    Henry Lawson did some protesting as well

    http://www.twominutepostcards.com/2017/11/22/walk-henry-lawsons-ghost/

    Fantastic link thanks, all news to me. Set aside for a slow read later this arvo. I cannot see or hear of Balls Head without recalling that pungent smell of the gas from the huge tanks down there, as the train rattled and wound its way around Wollstonecraft and Waverton.

  25. A-E

    Well, thank you for explaining why you are trying to shut me up. I agree that you are right to be fearful, BTW. I am very fearful. But then again I have form. I was booted out of the land of my birth and I was then an economic refugee and my family suffered intensely because of both wars and because of national economic decline. It’s bad stuff and to some degree it stays with me to the core. Australia has had a golden run but there is no rule that says that that is the way it is going to stay.

    Where did I say that China would not remain our most important trade partner?
    Where did I say that China would not become the predominant economy in the world?
    Where did I say that we should not have an accommodation with Xi?

    What I do want is no delusions. Speaking of which, you are right on one thing, IMO. It is no longer possible to back to 2016. Your premise, that it would be desirable so to do, I contest. Perhaps, at best, as a way station to something that is nationally, much, much smarter?

    The core of the Australia problem, IMO, is that YOUR people with the big boy pants on, the adults in the room, the successive Labor and Coalition governments, promoted an outcome by which we depend fundamentally on two enemies, one for trade and the other for military security.

    I have been banging on about the national stupidity of this for over two decades. Anyhoo, the adults listened to me then like they listen to me now. The result is an Australian trade profile and domestic economy in which we depend to an extreme extent on China. I haven’t seen an analysis of the figures lately but my guess is that it goes something like this. As usual my figures are rubbery. China GDP $13 trillion. Aus GDP $1 trillion. Total bilateral annual trade: $200 billion. Someone else can do the fractions and the fine tuning but the big picture is clear: we need China far more than China needs us, iron ore willing.

    Ignoring reality, the big boys pants adults engineered a situation in which the real rules were becoming more and more transparent. China was increasingly throwing its economic weight around to enforce its will. I was in the PI when their parliament had the temerity to rename part of their waters ‘The West Philippines Sea’. The result was a trade embargo on PI bananas that smashed the industry and caused much, much misery in rural PI.

    The new rules are more and more naked. With the arrival of a very thin-skinned totalitarian despot, the public ‘rules’ changed dramatically. Xi was under a bit of pressure in Wuhan with the Wuhanese getting very stroppy about his initial handling in particular. He had not closed down the wild meat trade in the wet markets like he should have before the pandemic. His initial handling was clumsy. He may even have had his scientists dabbling in a spot of viral warfare research. Who knows? There was much for an unelected despot to be thin-skinned about for sure. Enter Morrison and you know the rest but what we do not know is the grande denouement. Hong Kong for brekkers, Taiwan for supper?

    OK. Let’s just get to your policy taws. What is your position on the following:

    1. Should Australia allow China to buy whatever it wants to in Australia bearing in mind that there is no real ‘private sector’ and that ANY investment by a chinese citizen, corporation or government entity is totally under the control of Xi?

    2. Should Australia allow Huawei into Australia?

    3. Should Morrison give Xi a back channel communication that when he storms Taiwan Australia will say nothing and do nothing?

    4. Should China be allowed to buy any of Australia’s ports?

    5. Should Australian governments refuse to criticize China on any account. If on some accounts, which ones?

    6. Should Australia invest heavily in diversifying markets?

    7. Should Australia invest heavily in domestic economic ‘complexity?’

    8. Should Morrison lead a national conversation on where next that is a bit more sophisticated than the current stance of ‘We’ll wait Xi out’?

    9. Should Australia engage in freedom of navigation cruises through the South China Sea?

  26. Victoria @ #685 Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 – 1:36 pm

    Itzadream

    I thought you resided in Melbourne?

    No Sydneysider, with a place in the Southern Highlands (2 hrs south) where post Fire and intra Covid, I’ve basically stayed put. One of the most meaningful years in my life. But Albury born (6 years), so sort of a border town boy, with fond memories of standing on the big overpass at Albury Station, watching the people change trains (guage anomalies) and the fabulous blue colour of the Melbourne train, with gold VR on the side.

  27. That’s a very long post Boerwar. Let me cogitate on it this afternoon before I post an expansive response.

    In passing I reject the notion that it was both Labor and liberal governments that cultivated the contradiction in our foreign policy relationships. At least until the mid 1990s.

    I’ve long advocated a more independent foreign policy- but this would cost a lot more money than we hitherto have been prepared to spend as a nation on both defence (that budget should be at least doubled in actual dollar terms IMO) and foreign aid (we should have long ago been at 0.7% of GNP).

    Anyhoo – I’ll get back to you eventually. I promise.

  28. Albo should take a trip on Wednesday down to Cabargo or wherever grabby PM was, and see how the COVID/Bushfire recovery experience has been.

    The stars will align if he can get that same woman to cry, the one Scomo grabbed. Even better if he gets to hug her, and then hold a teary angry presser about bushfire rorts.

  29. Re Taiwan

    Contrary to the views expressed by many journos and by our own BW, I don’t believe China has any plans to invade.

    Short of blasting and poisoning everything and everyone there out of existence, Taiwan would be a nightmare to attempt to conquer and hold militarily. The Taiwanese have had 70 years to get ready for an invasion, and have honeycombed their extremely mountainous main island with tunnels, sniper hideouts, booby traps and the like. A conventional military invasion could end up making Stalingrad look like the US invasion of Grenada.

    What I think China wants to do is to steadily up the pressure on the Taiwanese government and people so that they will eventually come to the table for discussions about a “one China two systems arrangement” (and we all know how that story goes). There are many ways of upping pressure: including economic sanctions (eg, not allowing the Taiwanese workforce to return to China post-COVID) and low level military actions (flyovers, naval blockades, invasion of some unoccupied outer Taiwanese islands). There are also potential quislings within Taiwan who will be prepared to lead the way towards some sort of agreement.

    The Chinese seem to me to be in a pretty strong position. Officially, almost all the nations on earth recognise their right to rule Taiwan. Short of China mounting an actual invasion, it will be difficult for Taiwan’s allies to take action to circumvent this strategy. The only thing that might get in the way is the strength of opposition to a Chinese takeover within Taiwan: and, indeed, that opposition seems to be growing steadily over time.

    It will be interesting, but scary, to watch what happens.

  30. In 2001 I entered China from Kyrgyzstan through the Torugart Pass.

    The Chinese border point is a little further down the way. It was here, in a featureless concrete bunker, I staged a sit in as the Chinese border official wouldnt let me in with my Lonely Planet.

    He waited an hour (maybe it was less), and ushered me out the door and on my way down to Kashgar; book, backpack and frontpack strapped with my recently purchased Kyrgyz felt carpet all unmolested. I am sure he was smiling.

  31. Rather, Willingham is; the guy’s just a megaphone for the Victorian Liberal Party.

    “Richard Willingham@rwillingham · 50m
    Opposition using parliament to repeat the line that Andrews caused the second wave, and the death of more than 800 people. @abcmelbourne”

  32. Tim Watts has used his 90-second statement to talk all things Craig Kelly, calling him a ‘conspiracy theory super spreader’, complete with a picture of Pete Evans’s $15,000 magic covid light thingy, which was supposed to protect you from covid. Kelly appeared on Evans’s podcast this week.

    He gets in trouble for the prop, but the point stands.

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