Poll relativities and the state of New South Wales

How the federal pollsters are differing, and an update on New South Wales by-elections likely to be held on February 12.

Past time for a new thread, though inevitably given the time of year there is not a lot to report. Polling fans might care to take note of Mark the Ballot’s latest update of a poll aggregate that tracks a three-point increase in the “others” vote over the past six months of last year, which came cleanly at the expense of the Coalition, and a neat display of pollster house effects that calibrates what close observers will have already noticed: that Resolve Strategic is (relatively speaking) high for “others” and low for Labor, Essential Research is high for both major parties, and Roy Morgan is high for the Greens.

Then there’s the New South Wales state by-elections, which deserves a thread of its own but won’t get one until the date is formally announced. The Speaker, Jonathan O’Dea, has strongly indicated it will be February 12. A milestone was reached last week when four of the departing MPs finally lodged their formal resignations. Not among them was Holsworthy MP Melanie Gibbons holding out until she is confirmed as the federal candidate for Hughes, if indeed that occurs. That leaves:

Strathfield (Labor 5.0%): Both parties now have candidates in place for the seat being vacated by Jodi McKay. Labor’s is Jason Yat-Sen Li, a former lawyer who worked for a time for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and is now executive chairman of Vantage Asia Holdings. Yat-Sen Li was Labor’s candidate for Bennelong in 2013 third on the Senate ticket in 2019. The Liberal candidate is Bridget Sakr, who has gained prominence as a victims support advocate after her daughter and three of her cousins were killed in a car crash in Oatlands in February last year.

Bega (Liberal 6.9%): The Liberal candidate to succeed Andrew Constance is Fiona Kotvojs, a beef farmer who has twice been narrowly unsuccessful as the Liberal candidate for Eden-Monaro: in 2019, when she fell 0.8% short of unseating Mike Kelly, and at the by-election following Kelly’s retirement in July 2020, when Kristy McBain retained the seat for Labor by 0.4%. Labor’s candidate is Michael Holland, an obstetrician-gynaecologist at Moruya District Hospital and lecturer at the Australian National University medical school.

Monaro (Nationals 11.6%): The Nationals have had their candidate to succeed John Barilaro in place since October: Nichole Overall, a local historian, communications consultant and freelance writer. Conversely, Labor initially planned to forfeit before a rebellion by local party branches prompted a change of heart.

Willoughby (Liberal 21.0%): The Liberals are yet to conduct a preselection that has attracted three candidates: Willoughby mayor Gail Giles-Gidney, who is reportedly backed by Gladys Berejiklian, Paul Fletcher and Andrew Bragg; former television journalist Kellie Sloane, who is backed by Mike Baird; and Menzies Research Centre executive general manager Tim James, a factional conservative. Labor will not contest the seat, and in the absence of a strong independent emerging, of which I’ve seen no indication, the winner should have an easy time of it.

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.

3,324 comments on “Poll relativities and the state of New South Wales”

  1. Sceptic says:
    Monday, January 10, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    Transcript of Novak Border Control interviews.. Novak’s command of English appears stronger than the BC official.. if you can get past all the ‘Um’s ” uttered it’s obvious Novak was offered an opportunity to differ decision & provision of additional information. I believe BC training is obviously extremely deficient to say the least.. maybe Qantas could be asked to provide a course or 2 of remedial training .. or someone form police hostage negotiation.

    The telling thing – which went to the systemic competence of Border Force – is that the delegate who gave Djokovic the undertaking went off shift and the new one (who actually made the decision) did not know about the undertaking. Sheer bloody incompetence – unless the new one was told about the undertaking but ordered to make the decision right away. We will never be told though.

  2. I haven’t seen the Act but if it’s possible the obvious thing to do is to regret the ABF procedural flaw but then ban anyway but just for one year, or less, on the basis of the substance.

  3. The blurb below from Healthdirect explains about the reasons for delaying vaccination after one has had COVID

    ‘Do I need the vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19 in the past?
    COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for people who’ve had COVID-19. If you’ve had a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection, you can delay COVID-19 vaccination by up to 6 months after recovering. This is because after you’ve had COVID-19, your risk of being reinfected is reduced for at least 6 months.

    Serological testing or other testing to detect current or previous infection with COVID-19 before vaccination is neither necessary nor recommended before vaccination.

    There is no requirement to delay vaccination.

    However, you might choose to be vaccinated within 6 months after you’ve recovered from COVID-19 if you:

    are significantly immunocompromised and may be at greater risk of getting COVID-19 again
    have a job that requires you to be vaccinated
    have a job that puts you at greater risk of being exposed to COVID-19
    You should not be vaccinated until you’ve recovered from the acute illness. People with a past COVID-19 infection should receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

    People with prolonged symptoms from COVID-19 beyond 6 months should be vaccinated on a case-by-case basis. Speak to your healthcare provider.’


  4. As predicted, SkyNews are playing up the incompetence…

    Australia has been ‘humiliated’ after Djokovic decision
    2 minutes ago

    The Novak Djokovic saga has “well and truly blown up” in the federal government’s face, according to Sky News host Caleb Bond.

    The decision to cancel the tennis player’s visa was overturned in a court decision on Monday.

    “The government took a punt on this in the most haphazard way, and they got it wrong.”


  5. C@t, keen watchers of SkyNews and their Murdoch tabloid running dogs, would have noticed a pro-libertarian, anti-public health messaging during the pandemic.

    As far as they think, any curtailing of Novax’s FreeDumb to be remain unvaxxed is heresy – and why ScoMo is persecuting this sportsman is inexplicable.

  6. Yep.

    Simon Banks

    Most Australians just want to buy a steak or some fruit and veg or a RAT test or get their kids vaxxed or themselves boosted

    Due to him, too many can’t

    Instead @ScottMorrisonMP is trying to feed them a culture war caused by his own Government’s incompetence

    He’s in big trouble

  7. “ Solving a weight problem, which apparently was the issue, by introducing a whole new weapons system is not nearly as clear cut as you make out.‘

    What exactly are you banging on about? “A whole new weapons system”? WTF? I’m talking about RETAINING an existing weapons system (which is basically interoperable, given the high degree of commonality), not acquiring a new one. As a contingency IF it turns out that the heavier variant of EXACTLY THE SAME TANK platform cannot work with our Landing craft.

    From what i can tell the M1A2Sepv3 which Dutton has ordered has the same 120mm smoothbore Rheinmetall gun as the M1A1 we currently have (and which I advocate keeping some of, as a contingency measure for amphibious operations, if necessary).

    Wikipedia describes the upgrades in capability of the M1A2 baseline are as follows:

    “ a commander’s independent thermal viewer, weapon station, position navigation equipment, and a full set of controls and displays linked by a digital data bus. These upgrades also provided the M1A2 with an improved fire control system. The M1A2 System Enhancement Package (SEP) added digital maps, Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) Linux communications system capabilities for commanders, and an improved cooling system to compensate for heat generated by the additional computer systems.”

    And regarding the SepV3 upgraded variant we now have on order:

    “ increased power generation and distribution, better communications and networking, new Vehicle Health Management System (VHMS) and Line Replaceable Modules (LRMs) for improved maintenance, an Ammunition DataLink (ADL) to use airburst rounds, improved counter-IED armor package, improved FLIR using long- and mid-wave infrared, a low-profile CROWS RWS, Next Generation Armor Package (NGAP), and an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) under armor to run electronics while stationary instead of the engine, visually distinguishing the version by a small exhaust at the left rear. More passive ballistic protection added to the turret faces, along with new Explosive Reactive Armor mountings (Abrams Reactive Armor Tile (ARAT) and Trophy Active Protection systems added to the turret sides.”

    It’s mainly the armour that adds the weight, but that doesn’t deter at the from the commonalities or basic interoperability as between the M1A1 and M1A2. And to the extent that all that new computer kit is desirable, there is actually a pathway to upgrading the M1A1 without acquiring the extra weight involved in the armour and power generation upgrades (but that would probably be over kill in my view).

  8. Q: It appears to be all downhill after the statement”I don’t think. I know”……

    That was the turning point…..inexplicable after all Morrisons stuff ups, but it pricked some cosmic bubble and it has all been all downhill since then.

  9. What an embarrassment.

    Chris O’Keefe
    UPDATE: Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke says he is currently considering the Djokovic matter and the process remains ongoing. I’m told the 4hr window only applied if Djokovic was interviewed again. @9NewsAUS @2GB873

  10. 4 days ago ScoMo tweeted this. Surely he can’t back down now.. surely.

    Since when was he bound by any need for consistency with positions held and expressed in the past. If confronted, he’ll simply deny it.

  11. Morriscum will try and deflect.

    For a federal Minister to come out and refuse to accept a properly argued and adjudicated court verdict would i think be a bridge too far for even these scum i think.

    Novak coming in un-vaccinated simply for a sporting event is something i disagree with. But, if he has a valid visa, and been honest and open, and properly met the exemption requirements as they are then ok, stuff happens.

    But somehow, Morriscum will try and make it Dan Andrews fault. Unless of course he screws up the politics again and how likely is that?? 🙂

    On the Tanks thing. We already had the “too heavy”argument years ago and that’s over. If we want light with serious direct fire then buy a few Centuaro II turrets and put em on Boxers.


    What i am curious about on the Tanks is that apparently we are getting 29 Assault Breachers?


    Not sure where these fit into the Concept of Operations in an Australian context??

    W.A voting?? I think the Libs are going to be in all sorts of bother here. Clive and the UAP are toxic so they wont be helpful for the Libs in W.A…….more the opposite. Flavor on social media has been moving i reckon over the last couple of weeks where more and more people are seeing whats happening in the East and wanting the opening put off beyond Feb 5. McGowan is i think wisely leaving a bit of wriggle room on that.

    News on Covid here is still pretty good, with cases mainly being tracked and characterized well and a lot of people well appreciate that we had a fairly normal Xmas/New year as compared to those in Qld, Nsw, and Vic. One thing that is worrying people is that the NT numbers have been taking off. 🙁

  12. I really REALLY hope that the minister cancels the visa. Novak sounds like a dick, it’ll be bad for the Libs, it’ll embarrass the tennis stooges. And everyone will be upset.

    I can only see upside for the ALP to whack the government with this. If they even need to.

  13. torchbearer @ #3256 Monday, January 10th, 2022 – 9:23 pm

    Q: It appears to be all downhill after the statement”I don’t think. I know”……

    That was the turning point…..inexplicable after all Morrisons stuff ups, but it pricked some cosmic bubble and it has all been all downhill since then.

    Yep. The best political attacks are succinct and hit the bullseye.

  14. I do not watch much tennis but when the big guns are on court, male, female, doubles, etc I like to watch. Also the finals matches.

    I have no preference for Djokovic and his views are woeful, but the average tennis fan wants to see the best on the court. There is usually a lot of dosh tied up in this tournament, international telecasts, advertising etc The lack of the reigning champion decreases the value of the product. Let’s face it, high-level sport is a product.

    So maybe Morrison will be getting some late-night carrier-pigeons from peeps more interested in economics than border protection. I wish him a sleepless night.

  15. All I know is, if Hawke and Morrison cancel the visa again, they’ll lose every Serbian-Australian vote in the country. I think that’s what’s keeping them up tonight as they weigh up the pros and cons of doing it.

  16. South,
    I can only agree, except I do not wish bad fortune on the state of Victoria. They have had enough harm done to them from #ScottyDoesNotGiveaRats already.

  17. On the topic of WA: anyone know if the WA Nats are planning a more serious push in seats like Durack and O’Conner this time around? If there was ever a time for them to break through federally, it’s now.

  18. There is arguably some method in this madness all are very quick to call incompetence on the fed govt side.

    Its clear the decision made by the border force on Thursday morning was process compromised. The govt had probably recognised this throughout the oral argument presented by Novak’s counsel thru the morning. Letting this matter go and focusing on next steps is perfectly rational.

    If the mission is to stop Novak playing in the Aussie Open, then no need to rush. Do it at such time as he has no chance to clear the matter in his favour by the time it starts.

    Could be totally wrong, and the govt will humbly back off in humiliation and let Djokovic play. That would be astonishing but anything is possible i guess. Total no-win for the govt, it just makes no sense. Even exercising immi minister’s reserve power and failing signals that they at least were committed to doing everything they could to be rid of him.

    If the ultimate mission is to stop Novak playing the tournament then this all makes sense actually.

  19. C@t,
    Then let them cancel, with Morrison going all hairy-chested and getting another kick in the nuts for his trouble. I would like the anti-vaxxers to get kicked too.
    The resulting fiasco would be glorious.

  20. John Alexander’s views carry little political weight at the moment. Much more important is any statement that Margaret Court might make. Court represents the religious Right which has had so much influence in the Liberal Party. Should she turn on Morrison over the Djokovic affair, it will doubtless make him extremely nervous.

    Perhaps Alex Hawke is dithering over making a decision because he doesn’t want to be the one who costs Morrison the votes of the religious Right.

  21. I expect SfM to offer Novak a consultancy to straighten out the fuckup Dutton made of his department over the last few years.

  22. Expat Follower,
    But why would they want to stop Djokovic playing in the tournament? There is nothing to be gained by it other than stubbornly backing Border Force, who have come out of this looking like the clowns they are. I could understand if Dutton of the Set Mind were still the Minister. He would do it out of spite.

    Surey Hawke and Scomo will recognise that now is a good time to hide under the bed until the crapstorm passes?

    Unless they are completely stupid and addicted to eternally making mistakes, with the judgment of blind rabbits…. oh.

  23. Expat Follower

    If the ultimate mission is to stop Novak playing the tournament then this all makes sense actually.

    The ultimate mission is to maximise the political gain and minimise the political pain arising from this imbroglio. The powers in s133C(3) of the Migration Act are extraordinarily wide (inserted by Morrison and amended by Dutton) and could probably be invoked safely at any time without the procedural complexities required in the original decision at the airport.

    I expect any delay at this stage would be first to ensure that if Hawke does exercise his power, there are no legal screw-ups. However, as others have alluded to here, there is a huge range of opinion among voters that the government cares about on what the government should do or not do. Any delays beyond tomorrow (by which time they would have gotten definitive high level legal advice) will be down to political indecision, not playing the long game. This transactional government has absolutely no idea how to play the long game (even if only to the first day of the Australian Open).

  24. In a nutshell.

    Possum Comitatus

    Look at this government pretending to do governance over a tennis player (!). *A tennis player*. Not even in the top 100 most important things happening in the country, and they’ve still managed to put a stick of dynamite in their pants and light it.

  25. I appreciate that this is a non sequitur, but where are we at with AdBlue supplies?

    Is the fuel spike in Kazakhstan a result of the same shortage? They are oil rich after all. Is this a strategic play by China? Or am I conflating shortages?

  26. Asha

    The WA Nats got barely 10 per cent in Durack in 2019. Hard to mount a challenge from there even against the impossibly ordinary Melissa Price.

  27. ”At the moment, the Coalition look like they couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.”

    For a start, there’d be no beer…

  28. Steve777 says:
    Monday, January 10, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    ”At the moment, the Coalition look like they couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.”

    For a start, there’d be no beer…

    To find it look for the missing RATS and Vax.

  29. Look at this government pretending to do governance over a tennis player (!). *A tennis player*. Not even in the top 100 most important things happening in the country, and they’ve still managed to put a stick of dynamite in their pants and light it.

    My thoughts exactly.

    Unless you happen to be either Novak Djokovic or someone who has placed a big bet on him winning the grand slam, who really gives a shit?

  30. Remember back in September or so, when Lars and others were confidently predicting that, with everybody vaccinated, all the government’s woes would be over by now.

  31. So who is the government more afraid off.

    The teals or the hard right?

    Conservatives on twitter are divided but many high profile conservatives reckon the government stuffed it and should let him play.

  32. The best advice to Djokovic would be to fly out of Melbourne tonight on the Singapore Airlines 12.35am flight. He might have to slum it in Business Class!

  33. Puff, surely the answer is obvious? Preventing Novak playing and having him kicked out of the country plays to their tough on border enforcement narrative as well as punishing the idiot anti-vaxxer. They are better off doing everything possible and failing than meekly folding now. I suggest you do not underestimate Hawke’s sweeping power and high likelihood that a court will not question it. Frankly if they succeed its more likely a huge win – an appreciative pro-vax community as well as the border patrol vigilante wannabe community will mark them well.

    TPOF i absolutely agree with you with the ultimate mission being to “maximise the political gain”… this is accomplished by seeing Novak removed from Australia and not participating in its marquis tennis tournament. It seems to me bleedingly obvious that this is why border patrol made the decision that it did given that two others with the same exemption had already been allowed in the country. Thats a joke which makes me somewhat sympathetic to Djokovic’s treatment – clear naked political opportunism rather than any kind of consistent rule of law. But its exactly that which means they have to go all the way at any cost and get him out.

    That people here think that doing that will cost them votes makes me fear for total detachment from reality. The prize is seeing Novak leave the country… yeah a process fuckup en route, but that is small potatoes relative to that perceived prize.

  34. Can you imagine the dilemma The Shire Liar finds himself in..

    Let Novak stay & have a press conference in Melbourne
    Cancel Novak’s visa & deport him & have a press conference Europe on arrival…. Which cliff to jump off…

    BBC coverage wall to wall & have raised the issue that Novak broke Serbian law by appearing in public with vulnerable children the day AFTER he knew he returned +PCR test.
    Serbia’s vaccination rate is below 50%…. Come on down Scotty.
    BBC are saying Novak has a press conference called for midnight Melbourne time.

    No truth in the rumour Scotty has asked Novak if he leaves can he come too.

  35. Expat
    That depends on what electorate you are looking at because this government is being challenged from two directions. It might be popular in tradie land but will it be popular in Brighton.

  36. Re Griff at 9.50 pm

    The direct cause of the protests in Kazakhstan was an abrupt shift to market pricing of LPG when many people rely on it daily and were already struggling to make ends meet. For one account see:


    The indirect cause was authoritarianism and political repression, which often accompanies market reforms. This factor was also reflected in the brutal government response to the widespread protests. According to a government statement yesterday, there were 164 people killed, including two children, mostly in the major city Almaty. Given that statement, the actual fatalities could be much higher. See:


    It is 35 years since the last mass protests in Almaty, which were inspired principally by nationalism. The current protests are arguably more serious, in terms of casualties and depth of social alienation. For background about the government’s difficulty regarding how to remember the old protests, see:


  37. Mex,

    i dare say it wont be popular with Serbs, anti-vaxxers, and diehard Novak fans – otherwise i suspect most others will be fine with it. The fury that met the news that he was coming was pretty widespread, and this speaks to satiating that. How is not particularly relevant i suspect.

    i should disclose that i am a massive Djokovic fan in strictly tennis terms (cannot support his whole choice set on vaccine or his really stupid instagram post but for which i am sure he would have slipped in without too much drama on Thu). Imagine if he plays after all this, takes all the abuse and vitriol thrown his way, and still wins it… all else aside, that would be the most resilient sporting achievement in history i reckon

  38. You’d have to be wilful, a contrarian, or both to see this as positive for the Government. In my mind this has shifted from into a question of competence. Will anyone care in the longer run? Probably not many – but does this HELP? God no.

    IF there was some grand scheme to concoct a plan to make an immigration/vaxx stand, there are less ham-fisted ways to go about it. And ham-fisted this has been.

    There was a way to go about this properly – namely, have your shit together. The fact the Government lawyers asked for more time over the weekend showed their case in regards to the flawed process was weak.

    At the very beginning, there was general anger at perceptions of special treatement, and the onus was on Djokovic to explain why he was eligible for the exemption. But by ballsing this up so badly, including very confident chest-thumping from the SfM, the onus has now shifted on the Government to explain why they handled this SO BADLY.

    The question for the Government is, do they double-down and hope for the best or concede defeat?

  39. Another Chinese city in lockdown with less than 50 cases, 14 million effected – half of Australia.

    The northern Chinese city of Tianjin on Sunday advised its nearly 14 million people to stay home while it conducted mass COVID-19 testing after a spate of recent cases, including two caused by the Omicron variant, state-controlled media reported.

    Tianjin emerged as a new area of concern after more than 20 COVID-19 cases were reported there in the last few days, most of them imported from abroad, according to the National Health Commission.

    They include at least two cases of the Omicron variant, as well as 15 infections among elementary and middle school students, according to various state media reports.

  40. ‘I really REALLY hope that the minister cancels the visa. Novak sounds like a dick, it’ll be bad for the Libs, it’ll embarrass the tennis stooges. And everyone will be upset.’

    Why is Novak a dick? He followed the advice he received and conducted himself in good faith.

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