The same Galaxy poll of Queensland which yesterday brought us numbers on federal voting intention today offers up state results, which should put to rest overheated talk of a Labor revival resulting from divisions within Queensland conservatism. The poll finds the LNP maintaining a crushing 62-38 lead on two-party preferred from primary votes of 50 per cent for the LNP, 28 per cent for Labor and 10 per cent for the Greens (Katter’s Australian Party is not yet making a serious impact so far as this polling series is concerned, currently registering 4 per cent support across the state). This is all but identical to the July-September quarterly Newspoll, which had the LNP leading 50-27 on the primary vote and 61-39 on two-party preferred, and the previous Galaxy poll in August, which had it at 52-28 and 63-37. Recent bad news for the LNP has manifested in a hit on Campbell Newman’s personal ratings: down eight points on approval from the August poll to an unexceptional 47 per cent and up nine on disapproval to 37 per cent. Approval of Anna Bligh is up two points to 40 per cent: full tables in the Sunday Mail presumably give us disapproval results, but these aren’t available to me at present (UPDATE: GhostWhoVotes, as always, comes good: down three to 53 per cent. Full tables here). Newman’s lead as preferred premier is down from 55-38 to 51-40.
We’ve also been treated lately to a number of electorate-level polls from newcomer ReachTel, conducted using automated phone calls:
• Most notably, ReachTel has conducted three polls for Ashgrove – the seat Campbell Newman will need to win from Labor’s Kate Jones with a swing of over 7.3 per cent per cent if he is to become Premier. The latest of these was published on November 7, and showed Newman leading Jones by 50 per cent to 40 per cent on the primary vote with the Greens on 6 per cent. A two-candidate preferred result was derived by asking who respondents would prefer if “forced to make a choice”, which is not how I would have gone about it: since Queensland’s optional preferential voting system does not force voters to make such a choice, it would be better to ask respondents who choose minor candidates if they would preference Newman, Jones or neither. ReachTel’s measure had Newman’s lead at 54-46, which is consistent with the result if you apply the preference distribution from the 2009 election to the primary vote totals. This result is 2.5 per cent better for Labor than the previous ReachTel poll for Ashgrove conducted in early October. According to today’s Sunday Mail, LNP insiders have said “their biggest fear was voters backing the LNP statewide, but supporting Labor MP Kate Jones in the Ashgrove seat that Mr Newman must win”.
• A poll conducted earlier in the month also found the LNP to be on track to win Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser’s seat of Mount Coot-tha, with LNP candidate Saxon Rice leading 50 per cent to 30 per cent on the primary vote and 54-46 on two-party preferred. The sample on this poll was 410. The Courier-Mail reported in May that “Labor number-crunchers” had told Fraser he was facing defeat.
• A poll conducted last week in the Brisbane seat of Stretton, to be vacated with the retirement of Labor’s Stephen Robertson, pointed to an unmitigated disaster for Labor: the LNP led 51 per cent to 19 per cent on the primary vote and 67-33 on two-party preferred, suggesting a swing of 27 per cent. The sample on this poll was a modest 341.
Some happenings on the Katter’s Australian Party front:
• The LNP member for Dalrymple, Shane Knuth, has quit the party and hitched on to the Katter’s Australian Party bandwagon, complaining that the “LNP merger has been a disaster for regional representation, which now has been a virtual take over by the Liberals”. According to Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail, “Knuth will likely win as an Australian Party candidate just as he would have won as an LNP member, with polling showing he is more popular than Campbell Newman in his electorate”. Shane’s brother Jeff, who won Burdekin for One Nation at the 1998 election, will run for the party in Hinchinbrook.
• Warrego MP Howard Hobbs has confirmed to Michael McKenna of The Australian that Katter’s party had “stepped up” its attempts to lure him into the fold, while Renee Viellaris of the Sunday Mail reports Condamine MP Ray Hopper has dismissed rumours he plans to join. The latter report speaks of “disgruntled conservative MPs … plotting to defect to Bob Katter’s party after they are elected ”.
• Labor internal polling from the seat of Mulgrave provided to the Courier-Mail reportedly has the candidate of Katter’s Australian Party, Damien Byrnes, on 22 per cent of the vote against 36 per cent for the LNP and 32 per cent for Labor incumbent Curtis Pitt. Richard Farmer of Crikey writes: “Having made up in my time a few Labor Party internal polls to give to the press I am hugely suspicious when I see headlines like this one on page one of this morning’s Brisbane Courier Mail … Now I have written before that I expect the Katter team to do well in the forthcoming state election but I have to think that this so-called Courier Mail exclusive is really just some mischief making by the Labor Party campaign team. The whole tenor of it is to cast doubt on the wisdom of Liberal National Party leader-in-waiting Campbell Newman’s ‘Just Vote 1’ strategy. Knowing that its own primary vote will be well down, Labor is desperate to try and find a way of getting Katter preferences.”
• The Australian reports Campbell Newman says he would “forgo leading Queensland rather than form minority government with Bob Katter’s new party”. Sensible as this may be in tactical terms, the Tasmanian election demonstrated the difficulty party leaders can have keeping such promises in practice.
One or two details on new LNP candidates, who will soon be descending on parliament in a flood if current polling is any guide:
Albert (Labor 6.5%): Financial adviser Mark Boothman.
Algester (Labor 9.2%): Brisbane City Council administration officer Anthony Shorten, who also ran in 2009.
Barron River (Labor 2.3%): Michael Trout, who won preselection from a field of four identified by local blogger Michael Moore as “building and pest inspector Ian Lydiard; Lisa Dunkerton, who was a vocal advocate against public housing at Palm Cove and Trinity Park; Federal policeman Murray Ferguson, and Scott Elliot”.
Beaudesert (LNP 8.3%): Jon Krause, a 30-year-old former solicitor who currently works for the National Australia Bank. He will attempt to win the seat from incumbent Aidan McLindon, who in his debut term has progressed from the LNP to independence to the Queensland Party to Katter’s Australia Party. The LNP initially preselected Andrew Macarthur, a former general manager of Stanbroke Pastoral Company, but he withdrew in early April citing personal reasons. The original front-runner was said to be Scenic Rim mayor John Brent, but he withdrew his nomination on the grounds that he was facing a Department of Local Government misconduct inquiry, which ended with all charges against him being dismissed.
Brisbane Central (Labor 6.0%): Construction business owner Robert Cavallucci.
Broadwater (Labor 2.0%): Richard Towson, who ran in 2009 and was described at the time as a provider of consulting services to automotive industry businesses. He won preselection ahead of Grant Pforr, who represents most of the electorate as a Gold Coast councillor. He was most recently seen fainting during a press conference with Campbell Newman.
Burleigh (Labor 4.9%): Michael Hart, owner of local business Mastercut Technologies, who was an unsuccessful candidate for the Liberals in 2006 and the LNP in 2009. The initial surprise winner of a preselection vote held last December was 22-year-old Susannah Singleton, a former electorate officer to Gaven MP Alex Douglas. However, Singleton withdrew less than a week later citing personal reasons. Both preselections attracted large fields of candidates, of whom the most fancied also-ran was Mudgeeraba police officer Mark Anderson.
Burnett (LNP 11.1%): QBuild district manager Stephen Bennett, who won an uncontested preselection in March. He will attempt to recover the seat for the LNP from Rob Messenger, who was elected as Nationals member in 2004 and resigned from the LNP in May 2010.
Cairns (Labor 4.2%): Gavin King, previously editor-at-large of the Cairns Post. The LNP has had all sorts of trouble here, dumping one candidate in ignominious circumstances and promptly hitting heavy weather with his successor. The former candidate was property developer and former Cairns councillor Paul Freebody, a choice which drew the ire of the member for the corresponding federal seat of Leichhardt, Warren Entsch. Entsch said in a leaked email that he did not believe Freebody could win the seat, and that he would “not encourage any member of the FNQ business community to donate to the Cairns campaign while he is the candidate”. Entsch smoothed things over with a press release describing Freebody as a “good candidate”, but the wisdom of his earlier judgement appeared to be confirmed with the emergence of an email sent to multiple recipients from Freebody’s address. This described Julia Gillard and Bob Brown as “the most evil people we have ever had in power in our country”, and said of Gillard: “We can only hope that she follows the history of JFK.” Freebody at first claimed the copy of the email being circulated had been doctored, and produced a copy which instead said Gillard should follow not JFK but “KMR” (Kevin Michael Rudd). However, he subsequently acknowledged this email had never been sent, and said the email as he wrote it was altered before being sent by a family member as “an attempt to be humorous”. Freebody was eased out, and has again been in the headlines with the emergence of a recording in which he is subjected to an ill-tempered tirade by the party’s treasurer, Barry O’Sullivan. King subsequently won the preselection replay ahead of “local marine identity” Kim Anderson. He has since been attempting to live down his life works as a newspaper columnist, most famously when he argued women who were raped while under the influence of alcohol were party to blame for their misfortune, described the federal government’s baby bonus as a “dodgy moneymaking scam anywhere poor people with high libidos reside”, and marked the occasion of Julia Gillard’s ascent to the prime ministership by asserting that all any women needed to do to win an argument with a man was to “say the words pre and menstrual”. Former party state secretary Joel Harrop has resigned in protest at the endorsement of King, denouncing his “misogynistic, women-hating views”.
Capalaba (Labor 9.7%): Steve Davies, owner-operator of a Bank of Queensland franchise at Coorparoo.
Chatsworth (Labor 0.1%): Steve Minnikin, manager of the Alexandra Hills Shopping Centre.
Cook (Labor 2.2%): Cairns lawyer David Kempton was recruited to stand for the LNP after their initial choice, Mareeba printing business owner Craig Batchelor, withdrew in April citing personal reasons.
Everton (Labor 1.4%): National Rugby League referee Tim Mander.
Ferny Grove (Labor 4.5%): Dale Shuttleworth, an electronics specialist who served with the Royal Australian Navy until 1994, and ran as Family First’s candidate in 2006 and for the LNP in 2009.
Greenslopes (Labor 6.9%): Police officer Ian Kaye, who also ran in 2009.
Ipswich West (Labor 9.6%): Sean Choat, who is spruiked as having had a “successful career in vocational education and training”, and who also ran in 2009.
Kallangur (Labor 4.6%): Trevor Ruthenburg, a former RAAF engineer who currently works as executive officer to the Lutheran Church of Australia, and who also ran in 2009.
Keppel (Labor 7.6%): Bruce Young, described in the local press as a 49-year-old businessman, although his page on the party website offers few career details.
Mansfield (Labor 4.4%): Norton Rose law firm partner Ian Walker, who was included in an Australian Financial Review’s “best lawyers” list in 2010. Campbell Newman caused a stir within the party when he nominated Walker ahead of any member currently in parliament as a potential leadership contender in the event that he failed to win Ashgrove.
Maryborough (Independent 16.8% versus LNP): Property valuer Anne Maddern, who also ran in 2009.
Morayfield (Labor 9.1%): Pizza shop owner Darren Grimwade.
Mount Coot-tha (Labor 5.3%): The aforementioned Saxon Rice, described as “an economist with a masters in international law who has done time in Canberra”.
Mount Isa (Labor 5.7%): Road freight business owner Mick Pattel, reinstated as the LNP candidate after stepping aside to organise the “Convoy of No Confidence”. While Labor’s hold on the seat looks precarious, Pattel faces a formidable obstacle in the shape of Bob Katter’s son Robbie Katter, running for Katter’s Australian Party.
Mount Ommaney (Labor 4.8%): Tarnya Smith, who ran for the federal seat of Oxley in 2010, and is said by the party website to have “an extensive background in industrial relations and human resources within the Queensland Health sector and private enterprise”.
Mulgrave (Labor 8.1%): Robyn Quick, head of English at Trinity Anglican School.
Mundingburra (Labor 6.6%): Townsville deputy mayor David Crisafulli, who won LNP preselection in December 2010 ahead of former publican Wayne MacDonald, later a starter in Thuringowa (see below).
Murrumba (Labor 7.2%): Reg Gulley, an accountant and business manager for a not-for-profit organisation who was the Liberal candidate in 2006.
Nanango (Independent 2.9% versus LNP): Kingaroy solicitor Deb Frecklington, who won an April preselection ahead of John Bjelke-Petersen, son of Joh and candidate in 2006 and 2009. Bjelke-Petersen subsequently complained a party official suggested to him the family name was a “problem” for the party. The LNP’s hopes of recovering this traditionally conservative seat upon the retirement of Dorothy Pratt (who won the seat for One Nation in 1998 and held it thereafter as an independent) have taken a knock with the emergence of former test cricketer Carl Rackemann as candidate of Bob Katter’s Australian Party. The Australian reports that Pratt “tried to recruit him as her endorsed candidate”, which was evidently incompatible with being endorsed by Katter.
Nicklin (Independent 16.3% versus LNP): Perhaps encouraged by the difficulties independent members have faced recently at elections in other states, the LNP has aimed high here with the endorsement of former Wallabies coach John Connolly.
Pine Rivers (Labor 4.6%): Seath Holswich, Queensland manager of the Australian Employment Covenant, “a national industry-led initiative aimed at securing the commitment of sustainable jobs for Indigenous Australians”.
Pumicestone (Labor 5.0%): Bribie Island real estate agent Lisa France.
Redcliffe (Labor 5.6%): Scott Driscoll, national president of the United Retail Foundation.
Springwood (Labor 4.1%): Logan councillor John Grant, who was initially defeated in a November 2010 preselection vote by Engineered Wood Products Association general manager Simon Dorries. However, Dorries withdrew from the race the following March for personal reasons.
Stafford (Labor 7.3%): Chris Davis, director of geriatric medicine at Prince Charles Hospital.
Thuringowa (Labor 8.5%): Sam Cox, who is variously identified as a former real estate agent, small business owner and operator of Brookehaven Holiday Units on Magnetic Island. The LNP initially endorsed Max Tomlinson, but he withdrew in late 2010 citing health reasons. Cox won the February preselection replay against former publican Wayne MacDonald and former Palm Island Mayor Delena Oui-Foster, who contested Townsville as an independent in 2009.
Toowoomba North (Labor 3.2%): Trevor Watts, licensee of Tomba’s Niteclub and candidate in 2009.
Toowoomba South (LNP 8.2%): Toowoomba councillor John McVeigh, who won preselection to succeed one-time Nationals leader Mike Horan ahead of council colleague Mike Williams, Easterfest chief executive Isaac Moody, Heritage Building Society corporate lawyer David Janetzki and Wagners Concrete and Quarries laboratory manager Darryl Low.
Townsville (Labor 4.0%): Lieutenant Colonel John Hathaway, redevelopment officer at Lavarack Barracks.
Whitsunday (Labor 3.2%): Jason Costigan, a journalist, sports commentator and former staffer to Liberal MPs including Senator George Brandis, who won preselection in February ahead of Proserpine canegrower Tony Large.
Yeerongpilly (Labor 8.7%): Carl Judge, a police officer currently working in “legislation and policy development roles”.