Spring cleaning

A little on election timing, a lot on federal preselections, and yet more polling on climate change and COVID-19.

Josh Butler of the New Daily reports Barnaby Joyce has “dropped hints to an election being called in January, to be held in the first quarter of next year”, while Scott Morrison apparently told the Liberal party room the election would “come around sooner than we think”. However, it appears to have been made clear that this doesn’t mean the election will be this year, consistent with Joyce’s prognosis.

Here’s what we do know, specifically regarding the parties’ recent candidate preselection efforts:

The West Australian reports Vince Connelly, the Liberal member for the soon-to-be-abolished northern Perth seat of Stirling, will challenge fellow incumbent Ian Goodenough in the neighbouring seat of Moore, rather than pursue Labor-held Cowan as previously indicated. Goodenough is noted for his successes in recruiting members of Pentecostal churches to local party branches and featured heavily in the machinations of the factional grouping known as “The Clan”, whose extensive WhatsApp discussions have now been published in full by The West Australian. The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Connelly’s move had angered unidentified “senior” Liberals, who must be privy to polling remarkably different from any available to the public, since they appear to believe he should be able to win Cowan from Labor.

• A Liberal National Party preselection held last weekend for Dawson, which will be vacated with the retirement of George Christensen, was won by Andrew Willcox, former tomato farmer and mayor of Whitsunday. Willcox won a local party ballot ahead of Chris Bonanno, a Mackay councillor and unsuccessful candidate for the state seat of Mackay last year, and Charles Pasquale, a Burdekin farmer. Meanwhile, the Courier-Mail reports Henry Pike has been endorsed by the LNP state executive to succeed Andrew Laming as candidate for Bowman, which would appear to put to rest suggestions he might be elbowed aside despite having won the local party ballot.

• Labor has finalised candidates in several of the theoretically winnable Queensland seats currently held by the Liberal National Party: Rebecca Fanning, a Queensland government health policy adviser, in Longman (margin 3.3%); Elida Faith, local president of the Queensland Council of Unions and unsuccessful candidate in 2019, in Leichhardt (4.2%); Madonna Jarrett, a director at Deloitte Australia, in Brisbane (4.9%); Mike Denton, Australian Workers Union delegate and Caltex Lytton oil refinery worker, in Petrie (8.4%); and Rowan Holzberger, electorate officer to Senator Murray Watt, in Forde (8.6%).

• Labor also has candidates in place for the two Liberal-held seats in Tasmania, both of which it held before 2019. Bass will again be contested by Ross Hart, who held it from 2016 to 2019 and has since been the principal of a Launceston law firm, while Braddon will be contested by Chris Lynch, Burnie councillor and project co-ordinator at the St Giles Society, a charity assisting the disabled.

• Tracey Roberts, who has spent 10 years as the mayor of Wanneroo, has been endorsed as Labor’s candidate in Christian Porter’s northern Perth seat of Pearce.

Tom Richardson of InDaily reports Louise Miller-Frost, state chief executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society, is “set to receive cross-factional support” to become Labor’s candidate for the marginal Adelaide seat of Boothby, which will be vacated with the retirement of Liberal member Nicolle Flint.

Finally, as we head into what will likely be a quiet-to-silent week on the opinion poll front, a fair and balanced selection of privately conducted polling:

• Polling on the importance of climate change as an election issue and the future use of fossil fuels, conducted for the Australian Conservation Foundation by YouGov from a sample of 15,000, has been published in the form of interactive maps by the Age/Herald. These show results at electorate level, presumably from around 100 respondents each.

• The Centre for Independent Studies has published a survey it commissioned from YouGov concerning “attitudes to a post-Covid Australia”, conducted in early August from a sample of 1029. The libertarian think tank’s take on the results, which are in line with those of a similar exercise conducted by the same pollster for The Australian last week, is that “we are a nation of ‘Karens’ tut-tutting over people not following ‘the rules’”. While it took fine parsing of small sub-samples to get there, the report observes that Coalition voters were the most likely to support “government restrictions on civil liberties because of the pandemic” in New South Wales, whereas Labor voters were markedly more so in Victoria.

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.

2,508 comments on “Spring cleaning”

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  1. The UK had 41,000 cases on Sep 3rd.
    That’s equivalent to 18,000 cases here.

    The UK had 121 deaths on Sep 3rd.
    That’s equivalent to 55 deaths here – or 20,000 deaths annually. An extremely bad flu.

    Cases are rising.
    Deaths are rising.

    Its been 2.5 months since “freedom day”.
    The UK is 63% fully vaccinated. A further 7.3% are single dosed.
    In addition, the UK has about a quarter of its population already infected, providing further immunity.

    So the UK is far more immunised than we would be if we got to a Scomo 80% target.
    Not a word from Scomo or Gladys about the UK situation.. or our media for that matter.

  2. The ACF survey is here:


    In the seat of Hunter:

    of voters believe greater climate action will help nature and wildlife survive extreme weather.

    of voters do not believe that new coal or gas power stations should be a priority for the federal government.

    of voters believe the federal government need to be doing more to address climate change.

    of voters say Labor and Coalition plans for climate action will influence their vote.

  3. Although global warming and Covid will figure importantly at the next federal election, and both issues will favour Labor candidates (not irrelevantly through the comparison of the Labor-led major states of Vic and Qld, with the Coalition-led NSW), Labor will definitely also focus hard on jobs/salaries/public services, that are their traditional Social Democratic turf. A strong campaign by Labor on jobs/Covid/climate could make a difference between a win for them and a catastrophe for ScuMo and the Coalition.

  4. I note the Bludgertrack trend line since the start of 2021 has been remarkably consistent, with Labor now leading at 52.9 to 47.1. There has been no sudden spike, just a slow and steady increase in Labor’s vote. The big question is whether this trend is Covid related, or whether it reflects a more general sense of disenchantment. Incidentally, the numbers translate to a notional 4.4% swing to Labor which on Antony Green’s pendulum would deliver 10 seats and majority government (79 seats).

  5. Morning all. 60 minutes on the Jobkeeper scandal last night was better than expected. The only pathetic bit was Josh Frydenberg not answering questions and sending Simon Birmingham to be caned in his place. Coward.

    Any suggestion Frydenberg was not warned in advance of these risks by Treasury is laughable.

  6. poroti:

    Pretty funny considering people in states like WA and Qld are going about their normal lives without fear of viruses, whereas people in Sydney are bunkered down and wearing masks hoping they don’t catch Covid!

  7. It should be a present for Labor/Andrews Victorian Government

    Labor should be reminding the public in a middle of the new delta corona virus pandemic, the Liberal Party are fighting amongst themselves rather than caring about victorians

  8. I guess it’s not the way they want us to think about the results because the poll related to restrictions as they pertain to COVID-19, but who’da thunk it that Coalition voters support restrictions on civil liberties the most? 🙂

  9. Confessions
    Our fear mongering Premier has us all terrified . Just look at the Perth Cave Dweller Shelter yesterday. Packed with terrified Sandgropers.

  10. Any suggestion Frydenberg was not warned in advance of these risks by Treasury is laughable.

    Either that or he’s a complete nong who shouldn’t be doing the job, poorly, of Treasurer of Australia. But then, he did misplace $70 Billion of JobKeeper money.

    Re: Simon Birmingham. What an interview! By Liam Bartlett no less! He mustn’t be the complete Coalition toady some say he is. And I loved how the sound guy left in the annoying whistling wind sound on the tape. The atmospherics it created made him seem well shonky. And the way he blew up on camera! “That was a smart arse question!” 😀

  11. No, nothing to be fearful of here!

    More than one in 10 people in NSW with COVID-19 now end up in hospital, although health authorities warn the figure is likely higher given the lag between infection and becoming sick enough to need hospitalisation.

    As Sydney braces for case numbers to spike in the coming weeks, the latest NSW Health figures for the Delta outbreak, released on the weekend, show the hospitalisation rate of people with COVID-19 is 11 per cent.


  12. You just know though, that if Delta got into WA the media would blow up about the failing hospital system being unable to cope with the influx of patients. 🙄

  13. Confessions

    show the hospitalisation rate of people with COVID-19 is 11 per cent.

    What is frightening about that number is that this outbreak is largely affecting a younger demographic.

  14. Further on the Australian Conservation Foundation polling, it appears it is being used as the basis for Simon Holmes A’Court to select Independent candidates to run in certain seats at the election:

    A well-connected network of philanthropists, activists and political operatives plans to support independents gunning for Liberal seats in Sydney and Melbourne in next year’s federal election, hoping to increase climate action by shifting the balance of power in Parliament.

    Among seats being considered by Climate 200, the group founded by Simon Holmes à Court, are North Sydney, Wentworth and Mackellar in Sydney, and Goldstein and Flinders in Melbourne.


  15. The Australian Christian Lobby, which describes its task as to “see Christian principles and ethics accepted and influencing the way we are governed”, received the JobKeeper income while its revenue increased by more than 12 per cent for the 2019-20 financial year to $5.8 million. Revenue also increased in the following financial year. It had 27 employees at the time, 14 of whom were full-time.

    The group declined to comment on whether it should pay back the money. In a Facebook post last September, Mr Iles wrote that Australia had “bumbled into this pandemic, broke. More broke than we should have been after a decade of prosperity. We are bumbling out of this pandemic, broke. More broke than we ought to have been due to this fools’ errand of trying (and failing) to save ourselves”.


  16. Scott “Labor should be reminding the public in a middle of the new delta corona virus pandemic, the Liberal Party are fighting amongst themselves rather than caring about victorians”

    He should tell them that the Liberal Party wants to fully expose them to the Virus.

  17. Heads up on the Womens Summit:

    Women’s summit targets consent

    Advocates will use today’s launch of the federal government’s own National Summit on Women’s Safety to call out inadequate funding for the prevention of gendered violence.

    What we know:

    Due to the pandemic, the two-day summit will be a virtual event, with a public livestream available from 10am AEST on both dates;
    Minister for Women Marise Payne, who will close the government-organised summit, said it would inform the next national plan to end violence against women and children in 2022 (SBS);
    Saxon Mullins, director of advocacy at Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy, hopes the summit will prioritise making the patchwork of consent laws across states nationally consistent;
    Michal Morris, of the inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, who will speak at today’s panel on perpetrator interventions, wants more data to be collected on sexual violence among migrant and refugee communities;
    Australian of the Year Grace Tame cautioned that the summit has a “comically narrow remit”, but will appear as a panelist on Tuesday to push for investment in preventive programs such as consent education (SMH).
    A joint statement by 205 organisations calls for action in 12 key areas, including strategies to increase community awareness and confidence in recognising abuse (Fair Agenda);
    National eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant will today tell the summit how 99% of domestic violence victims have also experienced technology-facilitated abuse such as tracking devices or hacked accounts (The Age).

    Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence National Help Line 1800 737 732.

  18. Moderna to recall COVID-19 doses in Japan after stainless steel contaminants found

    The most probable cause of contamination was related to friction between two pieces of metal in the machinery that puts stoppers on the vials, Moderna said in the joint statement with Takeda. The material was confirmed to be stainless steel.


  19. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    The prospect of an election early next year focused on the economy is a strong one. But on that front, the government would have noticed two worrying trends, explains Sean Kelly.
    Paul Sakkal reckons Michael O’Brien’s Liberal leadership under threat as Matthew Guy makes his move. Looks like it’s on!
    Anthony Galloway reports that crossbench senator Rex Patrick has pulled out of negotiations with the Morrison government on an overhaul of environmental laws over its refusal to publish data outlining which companies profiteered from JobKeeper payments. Patrick has tweeted that he’s “done with them”.
    In an excellent contribution, senior neurosurgeon Dr Rodney Allen correctly writes that we need to talk about death so we can live with COVID-19. He says COVID-19 needs to be thought of as endemic, and not as a pandemic. Furthermore, he says, we cannot be held back by those who are unvaccinated.
    More than one in 10 people in NSW with COVID-19 now end up in hospital, although health authorities warn the figure is likely higher given the lag between infection and becoming sick enough to need hospitalisation, reports Alexandra Smith.
    Victorians could be rewarded with extra freedoms in less than a fortnight when the state is expected to hit its first vaccination milestone sooner than the government initially anticipated, writes Sumeyya Ilanbey.
    NSW plans to phase out the requirement for Australians returning from overseas to spend two weeks quarantined in hotels and foreshadowed that it will demand all other states end internal travel bans on NSW.
    Contrary to how it sounds, the ‘vaccinated economy’ will ultimately have to be inclusive for all Australians., writes Grant Wilson who makes a lot of good points.
    Four weeks into the Sydney outbreak, the NSW Premier said it was being brought under control. But the figures were giving the government the slip, writes Aaron Patrick who examines the performance of the state’s much vaunted contact tracers.
    Allen Cheng writes about his year as Victoria’s deputy chief health officer, the pandemic, press conferences and our COVID future.
    Anthony Galloway reports that the nation’s privacy watchdog has called for police to be banned from accessing check-in information after law enforcement agencies have sought to use the contact-tracing data on at least six occasions.
    What!!!! Zoe Samios and Rob Harris tell us that News Corp’s local outlets will soon begin a company-wide campaign promoting the benefits of a carbon-neutral economy, marking a major shift in the organisation’s view on the subject.
    Nick O’Malley reports that the United Nations’ top climate official has urged Australia to have a “more honest and rational conversation” about urgently abandoning coal power, which he said was in the nation’s and the world’s best interests.
    More than half of Victorian apartment owners say they are living with building defects and there are calls for new regulations to better protect these consumers.
    Morrison forces women to keep playing ‘whack a mole’, complains Kristine Ziwica.
    Commander Donna Wheatley, who is the second highest ranked female fire services officer in the Victoria, is alleging a catalogue of abuse over her 20-year career.
    Smaller Government was intended to leave us better off by rooting out waste and inefficiency, but it’s been a failure, argues Ross Gittins. He makes a good case.
    Climate change means Australia may have to abandon much of its farming, explain these contributors to The Conversation.
    There has been a massive government coverup mainly to protect the architect of the Jobkeeper scheme, Josh Frydenberg, from the adverse publicity and blame surrounding the bungle, writes Terence Mills.
    “Will Clive Palmer’s money get Craig Kelly re-elected?”, ponders Bob McMullan.
    The SMH editorial says that the federal government and regulators must ensure that consumers are properly protected as tap and go digital wallet payment technology becomes second nature.
    Ben Schneiders reports that the Australian Christian Lobby received $138,000 in JobKeeper payments last year despite reporting surging revenue, while the organisation’s managing director, Martyn Iles, bemoaned that the federal government was “out of money”.
    Opioids have killed 600,000 Americans and the Sacklers just got off basically scot-free, complains Chris McGreal.
    Americans ignore warnings against ivermectin as COVID treatment. There is no hope for a large part of this increasingly divided nation!
    It’s the divided states of America as Texas drifts into Trumpism, writes Dan Balz.
    Trump’s coup attempt has not stopped – and Democrats must wake up, warns Robert Reich who says it is imperative that America wake up.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe

    Peter Broelman

    Mark Knight

    Matt Golding

    Joe Benke

    Michael Leunig.

    John Spooner

    From the US

  20. Jaeger @ #28 Monday, September 6th, 2021 – 7:47 am

    Moderna to recall COVID-19 doses in Japan after stainless steel contaminants found

    The most probable cause of contamination was related to friction between two pieces of metal in the machinery that puts stoppers on the vials, Moderna said in the joint statement with Takeda. The material was confirmed to be stainless steel.


    Nah, the Anti Vaxxers discovered where the 5G chips were being put into the vaccines. 😉

  21. poroti @ #7 Monday, September 6th, 2021 – 4:32 am

    OK you peasants. Get out there and die for your glorious leader’s incompetence.

    For the premiers playing politics of fear, the game’s up

    The light at the end of the tunnel means accepting Covid is part of our lives and that, unfortunately, people will die.


    The politics of fear, or doing everything you can to minimise the risks before accepting that COVID will be a part of our lives?

    Just because NSW threw away a huge advantage Australia has, doesn’t mean the other States need to.

  22. Re Cud Chewer @3:02.

    People consistently say in surveys like this that they want action of climate change but it doesn’t translate into votes.

  23. Fox News has been banging on about a “labour shortage” . A good reply to the claims. Keep it in mind when you hear local dirt bags trying out the claim.

  24. The issue with climate change opinion polling, and one assumes the ACF leadership knows this, is not whether people want more action on climate change.
    It is willingness to pay different levels of personal cost so to do.
    Astute Bludgers will have noted that it is precisely the personal cost which the fear mongers in the corrupt Coalition focus on during election periods.

  25. I find the 11 per cent hospitalisation rate in NSW reported in the SMH today quite intriguing.

    First of all, a quick glance at the data shows that – on the basis of how I would assume hospitalisation rates are usually calculated (ie, the proportion of the people currently infected who are currently in hospital)- the rate is not 11 per cent but closer to 5 per cent, notwithstanding the bemusement of the author of the SMH article as to how Gladys could possibly have come up with the latter figure.

    It would appear that the SMH data is either just plain wrong or else is some sort of longitudinal assessment: ie, the proportion of each daily cohort of new cases that are expected to end up in hospital sooner or later (but not necessarily at the same time). A quick glance at various international data sources does not suggest that measuring hospitalisation rates in a longitudinal way is a standard practice.

    However, what’s really interesting to me about the data is that, even at 5 per cent, NSW’s hospitalisation rate for people infected with the delta variant is extraordinarily high by global standards, where the rate appears to be significantly below 1 per cent. I appreciate that it’s probably much harder for people to get admitted to hospital in many of these countries (certainly the UK), but the difference is still quite striking.

    The current rate of hospitalisation in Victoria is also high by global standards. And in Queensland 14 out of the 16 current active cases are in hospital.

    The only possible explanation I can think of for this – and I’m only guessing – is that in Australia, with our relatively low rates of transmission by global standards, the hospital system is to some extent choosing to use hospitalisation of infected people who don’t require intensive care as a mechanism for controlling the spread of the virus in the community.

    Can any of the medical types on here provide an explanation?

  26. The World Cup Soccer qualifying matches have gotten off to a spectacular start!

    A World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina was halted just minutes after kick-off on Sunday after Brazilian health officials objected to the participation of three Argentine players they say broke quarantine rules.
    Argentina walked off the pitch at the Corinthians arena after the officials entered the pitch to stop the game.
    The players went to the dressing room, although the two coaches, along with Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Brazilian players, gathered at the side of the pitch a few moments later to discuss the stoppage.
    It was not clear whether the game would continue.

    The incident occurred just hours after Brazil*s health regulator Anvisa said four Argentine players must isolate and could not play in the match.
    The three were among four Argentine players who play in England*s Premier League.

    Under Brazilian rules visitors who have been in the UK in the 14 days before entering the country must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
    Brazil’s health regulator were tipped off the four did not state that information on their immigration forms and on Sunday said they confirmed the details given were “false”.

    “Anvisa considers the situation a serious health risk and so has asked local health authorities to determine the immediate quarantine of the players, who are stopped from participating in any activity and should be prevented from remaining on Brazilian soil,” Anvisa said in a statement.

    And then they were put on a plane and deported! 😯

    Meanwhile, in Africa:

    Kári Tulinius emails: “This is turning out be quite a cursed day for internationals. Guinea-Morocco was called off because of a coup attempt in Guinea’s capital Conakry. The Moroccan national team had already arrived and haven’t been able to leave.”

    The Moroccans made it safely out on a plane.


  27. “Commander Donna Wheatley, who is the second highest ranked female fire services officer in the Victoria, is alleging a catalogue of abuse over her 20-year career”.
    Here we go again. Groundhog Day.
    It seems everyone knows there is a problem except Andrews and Marshall.

  28. Here’s what General Frewen had to say:

    [AstraZeneca] is a fantastic vaccine and has been a fantastic vaccine throughout.
    It was unfortunate that the reputation took some hits but … there has been more than 6 million doses administered here in Australia and since the Prime Minister opened up AstraZeneca to the under 40s, more than 600,000 of them have taken AstraZeneca’s first dose.

    “ since the Prime Minister opened up AZ”… there we have it the PM runs ATAGI., or is that that just Frewen’s view of the world, neutrality never been the Army’s strong point for some reason

  29. Taylormade @ #42 Monday, September 6th, 2021 – 8:14 am

    “Commander Donna Wheatley, who is the second highest ranked female fire services officer in the Victoria, is alleging a catalogue of abuse over her 20-year career”.
    Here we go again. Groundhog Day.
    It seems everyone knows there is a problem except Andrews and Marshall.

    20 years goes back to when your lot were in power…and did nothing about it. 😐

  30. meher baba,
    This is from The Post/The Saturday Paper this morning:

    A NSW Health report warns at least 11% of people in the state with Covid-19 now end up in hospital, a rate twice what Premier Gladys Berejiklian claimed last week.

    What we know:

    *The latest NSW Health surveillance report shows the true rate is at least double Berejiklian’s claim of a 5.5% hospitalisation rate (SMH);

    *The assessment suggests the true rate is likely even higher given the lag between infection and becoming sick enough to need care in hospital;
    There are 1030 patients in hospital, with 175 people in intensive care, 72 on ventilators;

    *That figure leaves out almost 1700 people who are receiving hospital-grade care at home, with a briefing to National Cabinet suggesting the true hospitalisation rate is 15% (The Saturday Paper)

  31. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was on Sunrise earlier this morning.

    He said the Morrison government is looking forward to some state Labor leaders changing their “haphazard approach” to Australia’s reopening plan when vaccination rates hit 70 to 80 per cent.

    “We have to have one plan and go forward because the nation can’t operate as this parochial little kingdom,” Mr Joyce said.

    “It has to operate as a nation. We will open up after 80 per cent. If people have another plan, that is a plan to isolate themselves to some kind of hermit kingdom and that will come unstuck because it won’t work and people will not accept it.”

    WA Premier Mark McGowan has previously suggested his state will be a “few months” behind the rest of the country when it comes to opening its borders, arguing it would be “complete madness” to let coronavirus into a COVID-free state.

    And Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszczuk attracted criticism last week after tapping into community concerns about COVID-19 and children (there is currently no approved coronavirus vaccine for people under the age of 12).

  32. mb
    I am not very statistical. I wonder whether four sets of comparisons are being confused in some way:
    new admissions to the ratio of new cases
    new admissions to the ratio of all current hospitalizations
    ratio of new cases to ratio of all current hospitalizations
    ratio of all current infections to ratio of all current hospitalizations
    I imagine that admissions are plastic to demand and supply as well as to work arounds such as ‘home hospitalizations’.
    I imagine that length of hospital stay is plastic to expertise and willingness to switch terminals off.
    I imagine, in addition, that several of those ratios relate to sampling by way of cases being missed by a lack of testing.
    All that said, one should be alert to the fact that Morrison and Berejiklian have blood on their hands and are extremely keen to deploy numbers to deflect, disinform and disarm.

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