The big issue

Issue polling, Tasmanian polling, election timing and preselection latest.

Note posts below this on latest developments in the Western Australian campaign and a new state poll from South Australia. In other polling news, we have the latest from a regular series on issue salience and a state poll from Tasmania that I don’t quite feel warrants a post of its own:

• The latest True Issues survey of issue salience from JWS Research records a slight moderation of the coronavirus-driven peculiarities of the mid-year results, in that 42% now rate health among the top three issues (down from 47% in June, but still well up on 24% in February) and 19% do so for environment (up three on last time, but still well down on 26% in February. However, a spike in concern about the economy (steady at 32%, compared with 18% in February) and employment and wages (up two to 30%, compared with 21% in February) has not abated. Nineteen per cent rate the federal government’s response to COVID-19 as very good and 37% as good, but state governments collectively fare better at 29% and 35%. Positive ratings are markedly lower in Victoria for both the federal and state governments. Plenty more detail here from the poll, which was conducted from February 18 to 22 from a sample of 1000.

• The latest quarterly EMRS poll of state voting intention in Tasmania is little changed on the previous result in November, with the incumbent Liberals steady on 52%, Labor up two to 27% and the Greens up one to 14%, with the only complication to a static picture being a four point drop for “others” to 7%. Peter Gutwein’s lead over Labor’s Rebecca White as preferred premier is unchanged at 52-27. The poll was conducted by phone from Monday, February 15 to Tuesday, February 23, from a sample of 1000. Much analysis as always from Kevin Bonham.

Other relevant developments:

• The conventional wisdom that the election would be held in the second half of this year, most likely around September, was disturbed by an Age/Herald report last week that the Prime Minister had “told colleagues to plan for two federal budgets before the Coalition government heads to the polls”.

Sarah Elks of The Australian reports Warren Entsch, who has held the far north Queensland seat of Leichhardt for the Liberals and the Liberal National Party outside of a one-term time-out from 2007 to 2010, has gone back on his decision to retire. The 70-year-old announced this term would be his last on the night of the 2019 election, but now feels it “incumbent on me during these uncertain times to continue to support our community and its residents”.

The Advertiser reports the Prime Minister has told South Australian factional leaders they are expected to preselect a woman to succeed Nicolle Flint in Boothby. This presumably reduces the chances of the position going to state Environment Minister David Speirs, who said last week he was “pondering” a run. The Advertiser suggests the front runners are Rachel Swift, a factional moderate and infectious diseases expert who currently has the unwinnable fourth position on the Senate ticket, and Leah Blyth, a conservative and head of student services at Adelaide University. Another woman mentioned as a possibility by Tom Richardson of InDaily was Marion Themeliotis, Onkaparinga councillor and staffer to state Davenport MP Steve Murray.

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.

2,316 comments on “The big issue”

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  1. “More torture from The Australian.”

    The headline “Porter forced to endure…” is frankly disgusting. We are talking about allegations of rape here, meaning it is being alleged that someone was literally forced to endure him. He is not the victim. Being questioned and investigated about prior conduct does not make someone a victim. The Australian attempting to paint him as a victim is disgraceful but totally unsurprising.

  2. PvO saying the AG can’t get his hands on the full allegations!! Having earlier said he (PvO) has read them page to page. Aside the obvious why the hell he can’t get his hands on them, he’s the AG afterall, there’s the bleeding obvious, as a close friend, PvO could give them to him.

  3. Both PVO and Speers have indulged in the odd manterruptions.
    But Murphy and Crabbe would have nothing of them!

  4. Stuart Robert for Minister for Defense, why didn’t I think of that? So many IT contracts to rip off. He will love it. Nothing in his past behavior to suggest he is an inappropriate choice. ] The Lord giveth to those who have faith.

    Almost as good as Cash for AG.

  5. Anabelle Crabbe neatly delineates the dipoles of the debate – the alleging sinned against vs the alleged sinner. The women on the programme clearly more empathic with the former, PvO with the latter.

  6. Thought Crabb’s comments about this case and the rule of law were important.

    I can see where PvO is coming from but this comes back to the PMO which knew about the allegations since Turnbull was PM.

  7. lizzie:

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 9:32 am

    [‘PvO says regardless of any outcome, Porter will not survive.’]

    On that he’s surely right, the only one who has yet to come to terms with it is Porter himself, but that will sheet home to him soon. Morrison’s initial support of him was only luke-warm, testing the political waters.

  8. Oakeshott Countrysays:
    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 8:53 am
    What work do you do C@t that you have not had a pay increase in 8 years?
    Thought exactly the same when i read it.

  9. [‘Frustrated GPs are threatening to pull out of the coronavirus vaccination program, complaining of a “nonsensical” process and low rates of payment that will not cover their costs.’]

    Exactly what my GP said.

  10. BKsays:
    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 8:47 am
    Glad you appreciated the Henderson inclusion this morning!
    I put it in for the masochists amongst us.
    Where’s Peta ?

  11. [employed pharmacists have seen their hourly rate of pay almost halve in the last 20 years, since the period of Howard and WorkChoices.]

    C@t – Its not Workchoices, its dead buried and cremated. remember? Howard lost office in 2007

    the liberals are achieving through mass migration what they were unable to achieve via workchoices.

    its the skilled visa program that is doing the damage. Until the ALP wake up to this, we will be robbed of our future

  12. Oakeshott Country:

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 8:53 am

    [‘What work do you do C@t that you have not had a pay increase in 8 years?’]

    None of yours or Taylormade’s damn business.

  13. ‘Mexicanbeemer says:
    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 9:38 am


    Don’t underestimate Jenkins, she is an experienced operator.’

    phoo phoo

    Jenkins ran an 18 month inquiry that generated 55 recommendations. The Report was handed to Morrison 12 months ago. Almost none of the 55 recommendations have been acted on. Instead of shafting Morrison for this typical slackarse misogynistic arsehattery, she lets him off the hook cos ‘Covi’d.

    But Covid DID NOT STOP major corporates from acting on the recommendations.

  14. Don’t see politicians giving up the power over their MO because its used to hire up and comers and factional allies. Departments provide some staff to support the MO.

  15. I caught a bit of the interview with Kate Jenkins. I thought she was impressive, despite Speers’s desire to get a gotcha out of her.

    She needs to tread very carefully with this government if she is to have impact. We’ve seen from the crucifixion of Gillian Triggs what happens when a rights commissioner says too loudly what the government doesn’t want to hear.

  16. Mavis @ #66 Sunday, March 7th, 2021 – 9:46 am

    [‘Frustrated GPs are threatening to pull out of the coronavirus vaccination program, complaining of a “nonsensical” process and low rates of payment that will not cover their costs.’]

    Exactly what my GP said.

    At $112 to $250 a jab your GP cannot “cover their costs”, yet my GP (who bulk-bills) believes they can?

    I think you probably need to find a new GP 🙁

  17. ‘TPOF says:
    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 9:51 am

    I caught a bit of the interview with Kate Jenkins. I thought she was impressive, despite Speers’s desire to get a gotcha out of her.

    She needs to tread very carefully with this government if she is to have impact. We’ve seen from the crucifixion of Gillian Triggs what happens when a rights commissioner says too loudly what the government doesn’t want to hear.’

    Morrison has taken care of part of that because the TOR prevents Jenkins from investigating individual complaints. Tick.

    Jenkins was not prepared to shaft Morrison for not being expeditious in implementing her previous 55 recommendations. Tick.

    I leave it you to parse the perverse ‘logic’ of your last two sentences.

  18. “ I hope Credlin runs in Victoria.
    She’ll get smashed.”

    I hope she wins. Victoria’ll get smashed!

  19. Herald Sun 07/03. Peta.

    It’s impossible to miss the Labor Party’s double standards here.

    In 2014, then-opposition leader Bill Shorten faced a similar claim of rape. The Prime Minister at the time, Tony Abbott, made it very clear to colleagues and staff that he would not tolerate the Shorten investigation being politicised.

    The media kept away from it too, and when the matter was not proceeded with by police because of the lack of admissible evidence, Labor insisted “that was that”.

    Even Malcolm Turnbull, the man now most insistent that Porter must go and the-then communications minister, dripped with sympathy.

    Porter’s problem is that between then and now he refused Turnbull’s demand as PM to advise the governor-general that a leadership rival (Peter Dutton) was ineligible to sit in the parliament by way of section 44.

    And the rest is history.
    Here she is.
    By the way – pathetic from Turnbull, and people still argue it is not political.

    Anyway back to the gold detecting. Lovely day out in the bush, just on the outskirts of Ballarat.

  20. sprocket_ :

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 9:49 am

    [‘How much horseshit hearsay can you fit into one article? Kate McClymont stretches the boundary with this dollop of dross.’]

    Yes. I posted that link yesterday, with a comment that neither Wran nor Murphy are around to defend themselves and that their families shouldn’t have to endure this muckraking. Wran was exonerated and as far as Murphy’s concerned, the legal/political establishment was after his hide, particularly Barwick.

  21. I work in Medical Imaging. The field is flooded with new graduates every year- who cant get their compulsory 1st year placements.. 457 visas holders are everywhere.
    Last casual work I did was at 1998 wage levels…

    It is so depressing….

  22. ‘Mexicanbeemer says:
    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 9:56 am

    Jenkins isn’t a political commentator and government workflow at all levels has been impacted by covid.’

    You may choose to believe that the Morrison Government desperately wanted to implement the 55 recommendations but Covid stopped it. I don’t. The question is what priorities were important to Morrison. Covid did not remotely stop the Morrison Government from shoveling ship loads of money to its crony capitalists. Jenkins was fundamentally ‘political’ the nanosecond she let Morrison off the hook on the delay in implementing the 55 recommendations. I note in passing that the recommendations bear directly on the Higgin’s situation.

  23. I purposely avoided watching Insiders today, as PVO’s bleating on Twitter yesterday – cheerleading for his long time friend Christian Porter – would likely spillover onto national TV.

    From what I can gather, it did.

  24. Boerwar
    It has nothing to do with believing the Morrison government was going to enact recommendations because governments don’t implement every recommendation put to them and Morrison has a poor record at doing anything but government workflows have been impacted by covid.

  25. sprocket – yep he actually said that in the final comments….I was going to avoid but pleased I watched as it crystallised the reality we face:

    power is in a few people’s hands and yep it is white men who have the power.

    PVO’s final comment that he believes someone close to him who is a friend was pathetic. To use that forum to do that could have been used so differently, as Murphy did ie acknowledge the victims / give them a voice.

    The powerful control the narrative the victims do not have a voice.

  26. Antfarmer
    PVO again just blew himself up (again) with his final observation by paying lip service to the movement for change but admitting his mate being accused is the real victim. FFS. Give up mate. #insiders

  27. Player One:

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 9:54 am

    [‘At $112 to $250 a jab your GP cannot “cover their costs”, yet my GP (who bulk-bills) believes they can?]

    I think you probably need to find a new GP ‘]

    Granted he’s fees are excessive, but living on the Goldie is
    expensive, and given I’ve been a patient of his for 25 years, with complex health problems, I’m not going to change my GP at my age. I’ll probably go to a clinic to get the jab. I would add that from $112, Medicare refunds $38, and from $250, around $80.

  28. GPs who do not bulk bill anyone, anytime and who charge a very large gap tend to attract a self-selected group of patients who often also have top-tier private health insurance. This group’s patient base tends to be able to afford gaps, and often see a range of specialists for various unrelated health issues.

    These doctors almost never see the indigent, the single women on a pension who aren’t home-owners, the families just getting by, the jobless, or those with complex problems which limit their prospects and income. They will largely avoid those who have simply been very unlucky in life (though may quietly bulk-bill long term patients who have fallen on hard times, or waive fees on occasion: this must be acknowledged). They will almost never spend unpaid hours trying to manage problems for which their bulk-billing peers’ patients must resort to an overstretched public health system, or for which these patients cannot afford specialist care which otherwise greatly simplifies management from a GP perspective. Their patients will also struggle to access “best practice” allied health input such as psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists, and so on.

    And finally, they will outsource time-and-resource consuming public health matters, such as pandemic vaccination, to the practice down the road.

    These doctors tend to run on time and to have time, and are valued for it. They are vocal in the comments sections of the peer newsletters and journals, and often scathing in respect of their bulk-billing colleagues.

    I am the GP down the road who sees what they won’t. Someone has to. Contrary to the self-appreciative dinner party conversation of the never-bulk-billers, you CAN practice good medicine if you bulk bill most or all of it, and since your lifestyle will look more like that of your patients as a result, you will better understand what they are up against.

    There is no doubt that many in this group are excellent doctors and I wish them well – there is nothing to stop anyone charging what they feels is an appropriate fee for service (and people tend to value that for which they have paid a premium). That said, the general public can often be quite poor at assessing the quality of the treatment given (or we wouldn’t have homeopaths) and there is an argument to be made that that these practitioners are not providing truly comprehensive care despite their patients accessing the Medicare rebate, which is public funding, and various practice incentive payments.

  29. Scout
    Is there any point to mentioning skin color.

    The constant reference to skin color is offensive because we see the powerful protected in all societies regardless of skin color.

  30. I would have thought that since the gov wants us all to be immunised, and says it will be ‘free’, any doctor/medical charges for the inoculation should be on Medicare.

  31. Mexicanbeemer – what is offensive about stating a fact?

    The new political correctness can not state a fact without offending the white middle class male.

    So touchy.

  32. Lizzie – one of the conditions of being accredited to provide the Covid vaccine is that this be bulk-billed.

    If you are seen for something else at the same time there is however no requirement that this be bulk-billed.

  33. Torchbearer
    Do you mean that locum rates have not gone up in 20 years – not even cost of living rises?
    I agree it is purely market driven and in most markets there has been no need to increase rates but for things like getting emergency specialists in rural Western Australia it is a bidding war.
    My belief is that we do not have an undersupply of health workers in Australia but we do have a gross maldistribution. Hence you do not get very far from the major cities before you enter an “area of need” and find most of the staff is on a 457. The problem is getting Australian graduates into the country – a problem that has so far defied all solutions

  34. The back story of the GP complaining about the vaccine roll out is quite interesting.
    You will only get a small flavour of it from googling her.

  35. Scout
    If you cannot see why its offensive then you are part of the problem.

    Can you point to a non-white society that doesn’t protect the powerful?

    If you cannot understand my point then are you really supporting the people disadvantaged by the system or are you just acting a part.

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