All the news that’s fit to print

Poll news, electorate news, preference news and more. Twenty-three days to go …

No shortage of news around the place – starting with polling and the general state of the horse race:

Samantha Maiden at reports on Redbridge Group seat polls conducted for Equality Australia showing independent candidate Allegra Spender leading Liberal member Dave Sharma by 53-47 in Wentworth, and Labor’s Andrew Charlton leading Liberal candidate Maria Kovicic by 55-45 in Parramatta, held by retiring Labor member Julie Owens on a 3.5% margin. Primary votes in Wentworth, after exclusion of 4.3% undecided, are Dave Sharma 38%, Allegra Spender 25%, Labor 17%, Greens 7% and United Australia Party 7% (the latter have been coming in a little high in some of these seat polls for mine); in Parramatta, after exclusion of 11.5% undecided, it’s Andrew Charlton 37%, Maria Kovacic 30%, Greens 12%, and the United Australia Party and Liberal Democrats on 8% apiece. Equality Australia is keep to emphasise findings that 67% in Wentworth strongly agree that “trans people deserve the same rights and protections as other Australians” and 62% in Parramatta strongly agree that schools should not be allowed to expel students for being transgender, although the former question especially rather soft-pedals the issue. LGBTIQ+ equality and transgender participation in women’s sports were ranked dead last in both electorates as “vote determining issues”. No indication is provided as to sample sizes or field work dates.

Further results from the Ipsos poll published in Tuesday’s Financial Review that previously escaped my notice: Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese were both deemed competent by 42%, Morrison led on having a clear vision by 41% to 37% and a firm grasp of economic policy by 48% to 31%, and Albanese led on having the confidence of his party by 52% to 44% and being trustworthy by 41% to 30%. Forty-two per cent expected Labor to win the election compared with 34% for the Coalition.

• Two sophisticated new forecast models have been launched over the past week. That of Armarium Interreta “combines voting-intention polling with a sprinkle of leadership approval polling and economic fundamentals” and factors in extra uncertainty when the pollsters are herding, as they certainly did in 2019 but appear not to be this time. It currently rates Labor a 60% chance of a majority and the Coalition 13%. Australian Election Forecasts is entirely poll-based and features probability estimates for each electorate, including their chances of being won by independents or minor parties. It has a 67.2% chance of a Labor majority and 13.1% for the Coalition.

Kos Samaras of Redbridge Group observes that demographic trends raise concerns for Labor in Greenway, which combines established Labor-voting territory around Seven Hills in the south with newly developing suburbs in the north. The increase in the electorate’s enrolment from 110,343 to 119,941 since the 2019 election will have been concentrated in the latter area: Samaras notes the median house price here is around $800,000, which is around $250,000 higher than comparable houses in Melbourne growth corridors that have been strengthening for Labor.

• I had a piece in Crikey yesterday that looked booth deep and wide at the One Nation and United Australia Party vote, the conclusions of which I riffed off during an appearance on ABC TV’s Afternoon Briefing program yesterday, which also featured Ben Oquist of the Australia Institute.

Local-level brush fires and controversies:

Video has emerged of Simon Kennedy, the Liberal candidate for Bennelong, providing obliging responses to members of anti-vaxxer group A Stand in the Park when asked if he would cross the floor to oppose vaccination mandates and breaches of “your community’s individual freedoms”. Kennedy responded with a statement to the Age/Herald saying he was “a strong supporter of the COVID vaccination effort”.

• A candidates forum in Kooyong was held last night without the participation of incumbent Josh Frydenberg, who objected to it being staged by climate advocacy group Lighter Footprints. However, Frydenberg and independent candidate Monique Ryan eventually agreed to Ryan’s proposal for a one-on-one town hall-style debate on Sky News after Ryan turned down a proposal for a mid-afternoon debate broadcast live on the Nine Network, which had been pursued by both Frydenberg and Nine political reporter Chris Uhlmann.

• Writing in the Age/Herald, Chris Uhlmann of the Nine Network quotes a Labor strategist saying the Katherine Deves controversy is playing “90/10 in Deves’ favour” in “the suburbs and the regions”. Lanai Scarr of The West Australian goes further, reporting that Liberal internal polling defies conventional wisdom (and the Redbridge polling noted above) in showing the issue is even playing well in Warringah.


Matthew Denholm of The Australian reports that One Nation will retaliate against a Liberal decision to put the party behind the United Australia Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Jacqui Lambie Network on its Tasmanian Senate how-to-vote card, by directing preferences to Labor ahead of selected Liberals deemed not conservative enough. These are understood to include Bridget Archer in Bass and Warren Entsch in Leichhardt.

• In the Australian Capital Territory Senate race, Labor has announced it will put independent David Pocock second on its how-to-vote card. This is presumably based on a calculation that Liberal Senator Zed Seselja is more likely to lose if the last count comes down to him and Pocock rather than the Greens, since Pocock is likely to receive the larger share of preferences. Labor’s Katy Gallagher will be immediately elected in the likely event that she polls more than a third of the vote, having polled 39.3% in 2019 – direction of preferences to Pocock will maximise the share he receives of the surplus.

Campaign meat and potatoes:

• Nikki Savva writes in the Age/Herald today that “Labor insiders tracking Morrison’s movements are intrigued by his visits to seats they reckon he has no hope of winning”, although Savva retorts that “maybe he knows something they don’t, particularly around the Hunter in NSW”. A review of the leaders’ movements by David Tanner of The Australian notes both Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese have spent slightly more time in the other side’s seats than their own, a fact more striking in Morrison’s case. Only Bass and Gilmore have been visited by both. Morrison has spread himself evenly across the country, but has been largely absent from the inner urban seats where the Liberals are threatened by teal independents, both personally and in party advertising. Nearly half the seats visited by Albanese have been in Queensland, but notably not central Queensland, where Labor appears pessimistic about recovering the competitiveness it lost in 2019. Jacob Greber of the Financial Review notes that Barnaby Joyce has twice visited the Victorian rural seat of Nicholls, where the retirement of Nationals member Damian Drum has the party fearing defeat at the hands of independent Rob Priestly.

• The Age/Herald calculates that the seats most comprehensively pork-barrelled by the Coalition have been Boothby, McEwen and Robertson, which have respectively been targeted with a $2.2 billion upgrade of Adelaide’s north-south road corridor, a $1.2 billion freight hub and $1 billion in rail and road upgrades. The biggest target of Labor’s more modest promises has been Longman, with Boothby in fourth place – the others in the top five are the Labor-held marginals of Corangamite, McEwen and Gilmore.

Nick Evershed of The Guardian has “written some code that takes the records of Google and YouTube advertising, then converts the geotargeting data into electorates based on the proportion of the electorate’s population covered”. This has yielded data and interactive maps on where the major parties are geo-targeting their ads, including a specific breakout for a Scott Morrison “why I love Australia” ad that presumably plays better in some areas than others.

• The Australian Electoral Commission will not be running voting stations at around three-quarters of the foreign missions where it been offered in the past due to COVID-19 restrictions, requiring those living there to cast postal votes. This leaves 17 overseas countries where in-person voting will be available, which are listed on the AEC website. The Financial Review reports the move “has infuriated some expatriates in cities that will be affected, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Toronto and Vancouver”.

State affairs:

• The result for the South Australian Legislative Council has been finalised, producing the anticipated result of five seats for Labor, four for the Liberals and one each for the Greens and One Nation. Including the seats carrying over from the last election, this puts Labor on nine, Liberal on eight, the Greens and SA-Best on two each and One Nation on one. The full distribution of preferences doesn’t seem to be on the Electoral Commission site, but Antony Green offers an analysis of it.

• In Tasmania, Peter Gutwein’s Liberal seat in the Bass electorate will be filled by Simon Wood, who won the recount of ballot papers that elected Gutwein ahead of party rival Greg Kieser by 6633 (61.0%) to 3132 (28.8%), with three non-Liberal candidates on 1116 between them.

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.

1,170 comments on “All the news that’s fit to print”

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  1. Corporate owned/backed media obviously has an advantage. But it doesn’t mean we can’t think for ourselves and encourage others to do that as well. It seems to be dawning on a lot of people that the LNP are increasingly corrupt and useless, it will be interesting to see what develops but I don’t think the Federal LNP prospects look very promising in the medium and long term, and the demographics are against them. I just don’t see where their future supporters are coming from.

  2. @ Steve Davis

    You just summed up why I am not optimistic about the future in the medium to long term.The evidence from 2016 suggests serious problems ahead.

    Can Labor take a progressive tax reform agenda to an election and win because if they can’t then they can’t really achieve much and lack of revenue will slowly bleed the welfare state to death.

  3. The Tories have used their two long runs in power since 1996 to set all kinds of booby traps, ticking time bombs and diffusing them is going to be politically very dangerous as 2016 showed.

  4. @mj
    You seem pretty intelligent you are probably much better educated than me so why do fall the urban myth that the Tories are facing some sort of demographic cliff?I have been hearing that nonsense trotted out for thirty years.

    Like all of today’s thirty year olds will still be voting the same way when they are sixty c’mon mate you are better than that.

    Some of the Tories most rusted on demographics like self funded retirees are going to significantly increase as proportion of the electorate as we move forward.

    The electorate is greying the young always the strongest voting block for Labor is a shrinking demographic.As people get older many of them accumulate and or inherit wealth and over time they migrate to the party they think will confiscate the least of it.

    59 – 29 That was the over 65 vote at the last election, jump in a time capsule and survey the same people forty years ago and it would have been nothing like 59 -29.

  5. Coles has been forced to jack up prices on a range of everyday items and warned shoppers there could be more price pain in the months ahead.

    The $25 billion retail conglomerate on Thursday said it increased prices by an average 3.3 per cent over the March quarter to pass on the inflated cost of shipping, fuel, meat, and fresh vegetables.

    This price hike is softer than the 5.3 per cent inflation for grocery products reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday, but Coles chief executive Steve Cain said costs could climb further in the months ahead.

    “Supplier input cost inflation is expected to continue in the fourth quarter and into FY23,” the supermarket told investors on Thursday.

    Prices are surging across a number of consumer sectors as lingering Covid troubles and the war in Eastern Europe exacerbate supply chain bottlenecks, making it more expensive to secure, ship, and distribute goods.

  6. Voodoo I’m not that smart I just like watching society, I think the problem for the conservatives is that young people are never going to feel like “they’re ahead” in this day and age. The ladder has been pulled up. The under 40 vote is very much in favour of the Labor or Greens now. Appreciate there is a decent vote in the baby boomers but that’s not going to translate to younger people because they won’t have the advantages they had. Something different will arise and spread, it could be the teals it might be something else, but regardless we’ll probably see an increasingly diverse polity.

  7. mj,
    I agree with your view on the never feeling “they’re ahead”. The millennials and roomers are inheriting depressed economic conditions, and are disengaged with a capitalistic system that doesn’t reward their effort or make a place for them.
    We live in a society that is eating it’s young. This is a breeding ground for unionism and socialist policies, and other turmoil.

  8. Further to mj’s comment above, young people today are, collectively, quite accepting of people who are different to them, whether the difference be race, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

    That’s very different to the upbringing Boomers had, where it was normal to only perceive white Anglo people as being true Australians, and to think that gay and trans people were mentally ill sexual perverts to whom children should never be exposed (if they should even be spoken of at all – except in a mocking manner).

    Scare campaigns like the transwomen in sport ‘issue’ concocted now, or ‘African gangs’ in the Victorian 2018 election, just aren’t going to work with the post-Boomer generations, because they grew up with and know people from these communities, and know they’re not something to be afraid of.

    Social conservatives are going to need other tactics. I’m not sure that “boat people” and “China” can cut it for much longer, either. They can’t even really use unions, because most younger people have never belonged to one.

    Their cupboard is looking increasingly bare.

  9. Many people who were flooded in the 2011 Brisbane floods lifted their Queenslander houses upward and above flood level. This is possible with wooden Queenslanders ( we raised the house I’m in now more than a metre but only to get a view) so really nothing wrong with what Annika Wells said at all. If you are living in an area of Brisbane that is “handy”( as we say in qld.)you don’t want to move and if you can lift your house and ride out a flood why wouldn’t you? It’s all about adapting things to the new climate which LNP refuses to do anything about.

  10. Like many viewers, whenever Stan Grant is announced as being the Q & A or The Drum host my wife and I automatically switch off.
    He is a pompous, self-serving wind bag and should be hosting a gig on 2GB. He and Hadley would be great co-hosts.
    By the way, why do ALP politicians waste their time speaking to Hadley or Fordham?
    They only berate and abuse them with their extremist right wing views and attitudes, as they play up to their aging Tory audience.

    Carr & Keating had the right approach in dealing with their predecessor, Jones aka The Parrot. They instituted a complete media ban, including their parliamentary members and ministers.
    Albanese should implement a similar media policy, including the other right-wing nutters on the associated 2GB stations around Australia.

  11. Hello C@tmomma.
    At which booth are you captain?
    Hopefully, Dr Reid will win comfortably on 1st preferences.
    However, I was concerned that the ALP preference list didn’t have Lady Lucy from Lindfield last.
    As my dearly loved maternal grand father always stated: “I don’t care how you vote as long as you put the Liberals last”. A maxim I have always adhered to.
    My wife, for health reasons, has received a postal vote. We had an amusing afternoon researching the many candidates and the policies of the lunatic fringe which they represent.
    These are people, to paraphrase, Mel Brooks, “You wouldn’t cross the street to spit at”.

  12. Snappy Tom @ #1134 Thursday, April 28th, 2022 – 11:54 pm

    Itza, Upnorth and Hazza re death penalty…

    A week or two ago Itza (I think) and I had a respectful exchange of views re death penalty.

    I hold the position that the fact no justice system is perfect rules out death penalties (executing one person wrongfully invalidates the whole thing.)

    Itza wanted to raise the question of whether the ‘right to take a life’ exists.

    I am unsure about that.

    I do believe it doesn’t exist for justice systems, because such systems ought to be predicated on the assumption that even persons found guilty of heinous crimes might reform and contribute to society.

    I also react strongly to the story about an intellectually disabled person being executed. Sounds barbaric. Haven’t they heard of ‘diminished responsibility’?

    My other problem with execution is that it seems almost impossible to carry it out without being cruel. The Americans are particularly atrocious.

    Morning Snappy. We did talk, yes, well recalled. More another time; new day.

  13. Good morning Macca RB,
    Always listen to your elders! Except when they’re like my parents and listened to Alan Jones too much. 😉

    Yes, I’m going to be directing traffic at the Empire Bay Public School booth. It takes all comers who live everywhere from Daleys Point, St Huberts Island and Empire Bay itself, to Bensville, and anywhere else people come from who happen to be driving along Empire Bay Drive and just drop in to do their civic duty. 🙂

  14. ItzaDream @ #1086 Thursday, April 28th, 2022 – 11:06 pm

    Here’s a voice

    Christa Ludwig

    Mahler 2 (they’re reopening the Concert Hall with the Mahler 2)

    Primeval Light

    O little red rose!
    Man lies in greatest need!
    Man lies in greatest pain!
    How I would rather be in heaven.

    There came I upon a broad path
    when came a little angel and wanted to turn me away.
    Ah no! I would not let myself be turned away!
    I am from God and shall return to God!
    The loving God will grant me a little light,
    Which will light me into that eternal blissful life!

    Wonderful. I was really excited when I saw your advice that the Mahler 2 would be reopening the Concert Hall. Rushed to the website to buy a ticket and then realised I’d be in Townsville then. Oh well, at least I caught Simone Young conducting the Hamburg SO in Brisbane a few years ago. Michelle DeYoung and Anna Larsson were the soloists.

    Perhaps they’ll stream it like they did with the Ashkenazy performance. 🙂

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