Essential Research: cost of living (open thread)

The latest fortnightly Essential poll suggests voters won’t be giving the new government much breathing space before holding it responsible for rising inflation.

Still no sign of Newspoll, despite today’s resumption of parliament, nor of voting intention from the latest fortnightly Essential Research poll. As reported by The Guardian, the latter turns out to be the most discouraging set of numbers for the Albanese government so far, in that 40% were already prepared to rate the government as doing a poor job on relieving cost of living pressures, compared with 23% for good and 37% for neither. Apart from that, all the unusually spare report from The Guardian has to tell us is that “a majority of respondents believe the Albanese government can influence the direction of inflation and interest rates”, which seems unlikely to bode well. The poll was conducted from a sample of 1082, presumably from Thursday to Monday – the full report should be on the pollster’s website later today.

UPDATE: While “neither good nor poor” responses are high in each case, the poll also finds the government rated good on the pandemic by 36% and poor by 25%; good on education by 35% and poor by 18%; and good on climate change by 33% and poor by 21%. Forty-four per cent supported the government’s carbon emissions target while 40% said it did not go far enough, but no option was provided for those who felt it went too far. Fifty per cent said the Greens should support the government, with a question that emphasised Labor had been elected on that basis, while 25% said they should only do so if Labor agreed to changes consistent with its own policies. Full report here.

Also of note:

Latika Bourke of the Age/Herald reports that Liberals Andrew Hastie and Simon Birmingham are looking at the example followed by David Cameron after the Conservatives’ 2005 election defeat to improve diversity in the party’s parliamentary ranks, which involved producing a leadership-backed “A-list” of diverse candidates and encouraging local party associations (which lack a clear equivalent in Australian party structures) to choose candidates through primaries open to non-members.

• The Australian Electoral Commission has deregistered the Liberal Democrats, belatedly giving effect to legislation passed last year that effectively prohibited minor parties from having the words Liberal or Labor in their names. The party was cleverly able to keep the existing name at the May election after withdrawing its application to change its name to the Liberty Democrats (officially the Liberty and Democracy Party) in late March, which compelled the AEC to initiate a lengthy deregistration process that has only now come to fruition.

• Two days after a Daily Telegraph report suggesting he has designs on Marise Payne’s Senate seat should she soon vacate it, the Milton Ulladulla Times reports Andrew Constance plans to run again in Gilmore at the next federal election, after falling 373 votes short of taking the seat from Labor’s Fiona Phillips in May.

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.

1,429 comments on “Essential Research: cost of living (open thread)”

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  1. onlyrealy bad ministeraial call was giving the invisable don farrelll of shoppies union the trade position to give a faction numbers man with no media profile the job toff signing trade deals and repairing relaetions with china when he is vertualy unknown is a suprising decition i believe farrell will be the worst minister andrew leiegh would have been good to leave one off the smartist mps on the back bench because he is not in a faction is a waist off tallent farell should have been given a juunier role burke and butler are also not that impresive

  2. marles is also performing well appears on top off his defence role and is becoming moore natural and comfortable withinterviews somthing the drone siman bermingham still sounds robotick andwoodin

  3. Mavis says:
    Friday, July 29, 2022 at 8:35 pm
    Serious question: as with some who may’ve missed it, why is not dear BB & dear GG no longer posting?
    I also miss wordsmith BB

  4. Aaron newton at 9.07 pm

    Yes, Farrell missed an open goal in his failure to help ensure that Labor won the 6th Senate seat in SA.

    However, Australia now is not what it was in the days of Black Jack McEwen as Trade Minister, who outranked the Foreign Minister of the time, Lord Casey. E.g. at the Cabinet meeting held to approve the terms of the 1957 Commerce Agreement with Japan (a little over a decade after the war), Menzies chose to be absent, lest that treaty became a political hot potato. Labor, including the redoubtable Eddie Ward, opposed the treaty, but it was historically important in reorienting our trade toward Asia.

    All key decisions about Australian trade policy under Albo will be made by Penny Wong. Mr Farrell is little more than an emissary, who will have very clear instructions and advisers to ensure he is in line. Note that Farrell is also Minister for Tourism (surely a lurk) but his other role is Special Minister of State. That is where one might doubt his aptitude, should Labor be serious about electoral reform.

  5. I think Shorten will be the best Minister, if he gets enough profile. He still projects as the smartest and most astute to me, although there are obviously plenty of competent Ministers.

  6. I was in favour of a legislated Voice to get things started, with a referendum down the track. However, Anthony Albanese has strongly committed his Government to the Referendum this term, so it’s on. It can’t be held in conjunction with a Federal election, which is a filthy business at the best of times. The next Federal election would be held in November 2024 if Labor are doing well in the polls in two years’s time, or March or May 2025 if not. All this suggests that the Voice Referendum should be held early 2024 at latest.

  7. Dr John:

    Friday, July 29, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    Friday, July 29, 2022 at 8:35 pm

    [‘I also miss wordsmith BB’]

    True! But dear BB did from time to time get more than a little abusive, and sexist. As for dear GG, the liver’s regeneration is something to behold.


  8. Steve777:

    Friday, July 29, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    Re Mavis @7:52. ”It all depends, I think, on whether Dutton mounts a “No” case, bearing in mind that in ’67, it was almost silent.”

    [‘I think that it’s almost a given that the Dutton-led Coalition will oppose it. At the very least there will be a very noisy “No” campaign from the Right of the Liberals and Nationals, the IPA and sections of the media.’]

    Yep, he’ll no doubt take the low road.

    The Greens will try to find a pretext/excuse to align with the Lying Reactionaries against Labor on this matter as on various others.

  9. Steve777 at 8.07, 8.55 and 9.25 pm

    Don’t presume the Coalition will have a unified view on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Warren Entsch, likely in his last term, will have little to lose by supporting it. Likewise Bridget Archer. Julian Lesser will be conflicted. He has pretended to support Indigenous recognition, but loves Tony Abbott.

    Pat Dodson reportedly favours holding a referendum on Sat 27 May 2023, the 56th anniversary of the referendum in 1967. This will give the LNP little time to organise a united view. There will be a No case, in contrast to 1967, but not all Coalition MPs will promote it. Senator Price will be a naysayer, but Senator Kerrynne Liddle most probably won’t. Ex-MP Mr Ken Wyatt may, at last, barrack for Yes.

    The position of State Premiers could be important. Despite the Labor mess in Tassie, the referendum could be supported by a majority there, if promoted by Rockliff and Lambie. Support in Victoria and SA should be solid, especially with Senator Liddle advocating for change. Because of Labor’s strength in WA, the Tory rump there may struggle to make their naysaying effective. So there you have four states, the minimum required, assuming a majority votes Yes overall. Whether Perrottet is Premier beyond March is doubtful, but the chief promoter of the No case in NSW will be ex-Labor rat, Mark Latham. He once pretended to be impressed by Noel Pearson, but is really only impressed by himself.

    The HQ of the No case will be based in the LNP in Qld. Dutton may be ruthless but he’s not as effective a liar as Peter Reith. If Palaczszuk is still popular, she may help influence voters, especially in SE Qld. If Warren Entsch advocates for Yes against Dutton’s No, and Yes get up in Qld, Dutton will be toast.

  10. I’ve been watching the Commonwealth Games. It’s great to see countries competing that you normally wouldn’t see in the Olympics, where the qualification levels are so much higher.

  11. You’re wrong about Julian Leeser, Dr Doolittle (at least spell his name right). He doesn’t pretend to support Indigenous Recognition and the Uluru Voice from the Heart, he genuinely does.

    So I see some internal conflict within the Coalition on this issue. Hopefully it comes down to a Conscience Vote for them.

  12. Q: Why wouldn’t her views be genuine? Surely there can be conservative indigenous people?

    Yes there is…and indigenous people who make that choice will be mercilessly criticised for aligning with the side of Barnaby, Hansen, Dutton, Morrison, Bjelke-Petersen and Co.

  13. Q: Ive been watching the Commonwealth Games. It’s great to see countries competing that you normally wouldn’t see in the Olympics, where the qualification levels are so much higher.

    Indeed- for small countries, the Commonwealth Games ARE their Olympics….Olympic Qualification is tough these days. People forget this is the biggest stage most of these countries will ever see.

    Kenya and Jersey just qualified for swimming relay finals!!

  14. Cat at 10.21 pm

    They don’t need a conscience vote. The Libs don’t have a Pledge, as Archer has shown. The reason why I used the word pretend about Dr Leeser’s position is that it’s far from clear which way he might jump, i.e. whether he will support an enshrined Voice or not. His maiden speech was a bit ambiguous:

    “And so in more recent times, I have worked with Indigenous leaders and constitutional conservatives to find a constitutional way to make better policy about, and due recognition of, Indigenous Australians, while avoiding the downsides of inserting symbolic language into a technical document which requires interpretation by judges.”

    He has opposed a rather limited, legislated federal Bill of Rights. I hope you are right about Dr Leeser, but this statement from him yesterday implying that the Commonwealth should have the power to deport Aborigines who are bureaucratically called “aliens”, i.e. “non-citizens”, led me to doubt him:

    As reported by Paul Karp:

    The shadow attorney general, Julian Leeser, has responded to the government’s decision to drop an appeal seeking to restore power to deport Aboriginal non-citizens. Leeser said:

    “Attorney general Mark Dreyfus has withdrawn the federal government’s high court appeal in minister for immigration v Montgomery. Mr Dreyfus must explain to the Australian people why he felt the need to intervene when the case had been heard and the high court had reserved its judgement in Montgomery. Does he not trust the high court to interpret the constitution?

    After his unprecedented intervention to discontinue the prosecution of Bernard Collaery who was charged with serious national security offences, Mr Dreyfus must explain why he is intervening in yet another case before the courts which could have helped to clarify the operation of Australia’s migration law. Mr Dreyfus has not even been attorney general for 100 days and yet he has interfered in two cases before the courts. How can the first law officer have so little faith in our justice system?”

    Guardian blog, 28 July, 18.39. Certainly J.W. Howard will oppose a Voice. Will Dr Leeser have the guts to argue publicly that Howard and Dutton are wrong? As a shadow minister, he may have to resign if his convictions are admirable. Would he have the fortitude to do that? Hence why he is conflicted.

  15. Torchbearer @ #1415 Friday, July 29th, 2022 – 10:23 pm

    Q: Ive been watching the Commonwealth Games. It’s great to see countries competing that you normally wouldn’t see in the Olympics, where the qualification levels are so much higher.

    Indeed- for small countries, the Commonwealth Games ARE their Olympics….Olympic Qualification is tough these days. People forget this is the biggest stage most of these countries will ever see.

    Kenya and Jersey just qualified for swimming relay finals!!

    And a PNG swimmer came 3rd to World Record Holder, Zac Stubblety-Cooke in a race and got into the final!

  16. Dr Doolittle,
    Thank you for your response. However, my response has, and your research should have, led you to today’s editorial in The Sydney Morning Herald which ascribes greater ambiguity to Julian Leeser’s position:

    The onus now falls on opposition leader Peter Dutton to play a positive role.

    The referendum will stand a far better chance with bipartisan support.

    It was encouraging that shadow attorney-general Julian Leeser was in Arnhem Land to hear Albanese’s speech but some Coalition MPs this week said they could not back a Voice until they saw the details.

    Albanese has helped address those objections by releasing a draft text which gives a much clearer idea of what to expect.

    Dutton himself has not yet taken a clear position on the Voice although he has said he is more concerned with practical measures which will improve Indigenous living standards.

    … Yet, as Albanese said in his speech, creating a Voice is not an alternative or an obstacle to practical action but a complement to it. “Australia does not have to choose between improving peoples’ lives and amending the constitution.”

    In fact, the Voice is not just a symbol of reconciliation. It is also an important step towards lifting Indigenous living standards. Governments spend millions and billions of dollars on programs intended to improve Indigenous lives but often the programs fail because they are imposed from outside without an understanding of local conditions or any involvement of Indigenous people.

    The debates in the Voice between elected representatives who know conditions on the ground will improve the chances that government policies are sensitive to Indigenous needs and culture.

    If Dutton chooses to oppose a Voice on the pretext it is not a total solution to all the problems of the Indigenous community, it will be a fateful decision both for the country and for his party.

    Julian Leeser has left himself some wriggle room to support a ‘Yes’ vote. The Prime Minister is accommodating him. He just needs to win the debate within the Coalition now.

  17. “Overnight some lovely types ripped out lots of copper gas and water pipe from the outside of the township’s Park pavilion. To make matters worse, there are two children’s football matches there tonight and there will be no food able to be cooked and served, robbing the footy club of much needed income and the parents of a feed.”

    Bastards indeed.

    I was talking with an ex-gas development contractor earlier in the week. He told a story of his time in Nigeria, when a SCADA system for an offshore well seemed to be playing up and sending no data. So they sent out a barge and…. couldn’t find the well! Someone had nicked the well head, but had kindly capped and properly closed off the flanges.

  18. “Do you support an alteration to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?”

    Will not get 33%.

    The polls will show 45% simply because they will not want to be called racist. But in the end mid 30’s tops.

  19. ”If Dutton chooses to oppose a Voice on the pretext it is not a total solution to all the problems of the Indigenous community, it will be a fateful decision both for the country and for his party.”

    They talk as if the Voice and addressing the serious problems affecting Indigenous people were somehow mutually exclusive alternatives. It’s an excuse to do nothing. What, the money would be better spent on Indigenous health / education / etc? As if the Right had any interest in doing that. Maybe we could redirect public funds directed to supporting real estate speculation, free money to wealthy retirees or Liberal voter incubators (a.k.a elite “private” schools) if money is the problem.

  20. Australia will not have a bar of it if it gives any real power and they are equally sick of tokenism if that is all it will be. ATSIC was a complete and utter disaster and it was not that long ago.

    And to do this with Dutton as opposition leader…Even Turnbull would not come at it. What a gift particularly given it is such an easy argument to show it will do nothing to improve the lives of aboriginal people.

  21. It’s beyond belief that Albanese wants to run a ‘yes-no’ referendum question on the Voice. It’s completely crazy and utterly doomed to failure, whether or not the Opposition get on board, either in a full-throated manner or by paying lip service.

    One simple observation: There has never been a referendum to amend the Constitution in the age of social media. Never.

    Even before the untamed anarchy and disinformation that is par for the course in social media, such a vague and open-ended question was very unlikely to have got up. But now it’s here? It’s a laughable joke to even try without a high level of specificity.

    Why would Albanese and those around him do this? They’re so sensible in so many other ways. What a looming disaster.

  22. Cat at 11.10 pm & alias, 12.08 pm

    Thanks for the Costello rag line, northern edition. May not be read much by LNP Qld types.

    What will be required soon from Dr Leeser is clarity, rather than fence-sitting or pusillanimity.

    Who are his allies within LNP? Birmingham? Anyone else?

    Last sentence of that editorial re fateful decision is correct. But if Dutton chooses No, that does not mean the referendum will fail. Dutton appeals to part of electorate in Eastern Australia without daylight saving.

    Mr alias, now what looks like being attempted is a re-run of the “vote yes for Aborigines” campaign in 1967, by keeping the question general enough.

    Yes, social media is full of the most despicable trash but this is more destructive when there is some inherent complexity in the issue, e.g. vaccination and how to control Covid spread.

    When a question is posed quite simply in terms of principles (giving Indigenous Peoples a Voice in decision-making in Australia or not), it will be harder to oppose. And who with respect will lead the opposition? Abbott, Howard & Scotty from Truancy? Don’t fear that lot.

    Re Leeser. In 2013 together with a Tory named Don Markwell (once employed by UWA to design a course restructure that led to students going to Curtin) and Rachel Thompson, Leeser edited a book titled State of the Nation on public policy in Australia. It had 15 chapters with nothing on Indigenous policy. As Hannah McGlade said of Adam Bandt as a student, it doesn’t look like Dr Leeser has had a deep involvement as an advocate for Indigenous rights.

  23. Mine host (Greg) at the Isle of Sky was a native of Seth Effrika but was involved with the Bushmen of the Kalahari developing a resort that employed the bushmen but posed great organisational issues because the locals did not like being put in charge of others of their tribesmen and they had little or no desire to stick to routine jobs.
    Cleaning the pool was a big issue and resulted in it regularly becoming very green. However this ultimately seemed to have been fixed and Greg was suitably impressed until a walk in the area below the pool revealed lots of saturated ground.
    The bushmen had decided to empty the pool when it got dirty…problem solved.

  24. It seems that the hard conservatives adjust their tactic to produce their desired outcome.
    Too little detail: it’s “you don’t know”
    Too much detail: “if you don’t understand it don’t vote for it”. Not that they generously fund civics in schools to enlighten future voters.
    Fallback argument: “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

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