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Federal Politics 2013-

Apr 15, 2014

Essential Research: 50-50

Following on from the weekend's radical Nielsen result, Essential Research records only slight changes in voting intention this week. Also featured: support for campaign advertising caps, the minimum wage and fair trade agreements, and a wary view of Palmer United's Senate balance of power.


This week’s Essential Research fortnightly average has the parties at level pegging after two weeks with Labor leading 51-49, with Labor’s primary vote down a point to 37% and the Coalition steady at 42%. The surge to the Greens in Nielsen is not replicated, their vote up only one point to 10%, with Palmer United likewise up a point to 4%. Other findings from the poll:

• A semi-regular question on leader attributes records a slight decline in sentiment towards Bill Shorten since the question was last asked in October, with “intelligent” and “understands the problems facing Australia” down six points and “arrogant”, “superficial”, “erratic” and “narrow-minded” respectively up five, six, seven and eight. Tony Abbott’s ratings are somewhat more negative, with “arrogant” up four points and “out of touch with ordinary people” up five.

• Seventy-seven per cent oppose abolition of the minimum wage, with only 15% supportive.

• Eighty-four per cent of respondents were in favour of spending caps on campaign advertising by political parties, and 78% for caps on advertising by third parties. Opinion here was consistent by party support.

• Fifty-two per cent approve of the free-trade agreement with Japan, versus 13% who disapprove, while the respective numbers for free-trade agreements generally are 49% and 11%. Coalition supporters were most in favour on both counts, while Greens supporters were most opposed.

• Thirty-two per cent think Palmer United’s balance of power position in the Senate bad for democracy versus 27% for good and 19% for no difference. Major party supporters recorded similar responses, but 62% of those in the “others” category were approving.


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842 thoughts on “Essential Research: 50-50

  1. guytaur

    @justinbarbour: Nationals MP Darren Chester slams the Government’s plan to raise the pension to age 70. http://t.co/McG0ay18tY #auspol 

  2. victoria

    Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 1:37 pm | PERMALINK
    But i thought Abbott had already found the wreckage and the black box………


  3. guytaur

    “@Thought4rce: Barry O’Farrell was against 2nd Sydney Airport when Labor was in power. How did Tony get him on board? A few bottles of Grange? #auspol”

  4. Dee


    70 is the magic number. Last week it was reported on the idiot box the government was considering a figure above 70.

  5. guytaur


    70 does make for simpler maths for Mr Hockey

  6. guytaur

    “@Kate_McClymont: Afternoon session about to start. Police Royal Commission stalwart John Agius SC is representing Premier Barry O’Farrell #icac”

  7. Jimmyhaz

    I’ve been out of the loop for a couple of weeks, but the wording on the minimum wage question seems to indicate that the government has considered its abolition.

    Am I reading that correctly? Is there a push at the upper levels for its removal?

  8. mikehilliard

    Western Sydneysiders won’t like having an international airport in their backyard no matter what economic argument.

  9. Libertarian Unionist

    [Western Sydneysiders won’t like having an international airport in their backyard no matter what economic argument.]

    Like more jobs, better roads, more trains and closer access to an airport for everyone west of about Auburn? No, there’s nothing at all to like there, for anyone.

    Labor should have done this 2 years ago.

  10. GhostWhoVotes

    “Eighty-eight per cent of respondents were in favour of spending caps on campaign advertising by political parties”

    The correct figure is 84, with 8 opposing.

  11. Fran Barlow

    I’m not seeing a case for a second airport in Western Sydney. You could build a floating airport just off the heads, or perhaps expand Canberra airport and run relatively high speed rail between Canberra and Melbourne and Canberra and Sydney. I’d be surprised if that wouldn’t be cheaper, and also have spin-off benefits in terms of regional employment.

  12. Lynchpin

    In the short term, the Badgery’s Creek announcement might be worth 1 or 2% uplift in the Govt’s polling.

  13. mikehilliard

    See, it’s already starting. The 90’s revisited.

    [A western Sydney councillor says building a new airport at Badgerys Creek will be a “death sentence” for residents]

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/badgerys-creek-airport-a-death-sentence-for-residents-says-councillor-20140415-36oty.html#ixzz2yvUWo0Ol

  14. bemused

    Reposting from previous thread.
    Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 2:19 pm | PERMALINK
    Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 11:42 am | PERMALINK

    Perhaps it might spur a few small branches to amalgamate do they reach 300 members.

    I think he probably means the number of members in an electorate.

    There are typically a number of local branches in an electorate and few would, on their own, have more than 100 members, with most well under this.]

  15. ruawake

    Howard canned an Airport at Badgerys Creek because of local opposition to the plan.

    Abbott will be going to the 2016 election with nothing shovel ready except community anger. Another dumb move Tony.

  16. Dee


    I’ve heard nothing concrete, just a lot of slippery language.

    Rabbott’s advisors, the IPA, HR Nichols society and numerous business leaders are calling for the abolition of minimum wages and penalty rates.

    Read this link! Wording has changed from guaranteed minimum wage to ‘enforceable safety net’ and ‘flexibility’. Are they one and the same? Who the feck would know with this slippery lot.


    Be interested to know what you have heard.

  17. zoidlord


    Nationals continue to be weak.

  18. Dan Gulberry

    [Is there a push at the upper levels for its removal?]

    There has always been a push at the top for lower wages at the bottom.

  19. Lynchpin

    [A western Sydney councillor says building a new airport at Badgerys Creek will be a “death sentence” for residents]


  20. Dee

    According to right wing think tanks, Erica etc… the minimum wage is the sole cause of youth unemployment.

  21. mari

    Kate McClymont ‏@Kate_McClymont 2m
    OMG! #ICAC just shown a call from Barry O’Farrell to Nick di Girolamo at 9.29pm on the day the Grange was delivered. Think Barry could be in a spot of bother? After aying he didn’t think it was delivered

  22. mari

    Kate McClymont ‏@Kate_McClymont 10m
    “Having checked this with my wife today, we are both certain it was not received,” maintains B O’Farrell re the $3000 bottle of Grange #icac

    Re my commnet 23

  23. deblonay

    A new economic view from the UK___

    __By Tom Picketty a UK economist______A new book”Capitalism in the 21st Century” says the whole system will be threatened if something isn’t done to curb the wealth of these top 1% who are now obscenely rich

    Picketty says there must be a wealth tax and also much higher rates of tax for the very wealthy….as there were in and after WW2 in
    the UK and Oz and the USA
    He claims that “social calm”will be destroyed as the bulk of national costs are now being borne by the middle and working classes though GST and Vat taxes
    His book is a real challenge to the long prevailing Friedmanite neo-liberal ideas now dominant

    see The Guardian report

  24. Libertarian Unionist

    Nice link, deblonay, and good to see this at the end:

    [The solutions – a top income tax rate of up to 80%, effective inheritance tax, proper property taxes and, because the issue is global, a global wealth tax – are currently inconceivable.]

  25. Libertarian Unionist


    [Anyone with the capacity to own in an era when the returns exceed those of wages and output will quickly become disproportionately and progressively richer. The incentive is to be a rentier rather than a risk-taker: witness the explosion of buy-to-let. Our companies and our rich don’t need to back frontier innovation or even invest to produce: they just need to harvest their returns and tax breaks, tax shelters and compound interest will do the rest.]

    It’s an institutional battle, not an economic one, and workers, in the general sense of anyone who earns most of their income through labour rather than from returns on capital or rents, are getting smashed. In fact, many owners of capital are also getting smashed, as the land rentiers and their financial enablers suck a freater and greater proportion of surplus out of the real economy.

    Now, where’s centre to tell us it’s all ok because our super is invested in bank stocks?

  26. sohar

    It appears that O’Farrell has a similar relationship to the truth to that of Abbott.

  27. Rex Douglas

    Barry O’Farrell slip-sliding his way through icac today by the looks. Appears he’s being caught in the web.

  28. Rex Douglas

    If the ALP can’t break away from the stupid, nonsensical, factional decision making then a breakaway centre left progressive party will have to be formed, otherwise oblivion awaits.

  29. MTBW


    Why don’t you try to to help them with the job.

  30. cud chewer

    Over what specific issues/policies does this matter, Rex?

  31. MTBW

    Only one “to” was necessary!

  32. Tricot

    And for the majority of Oz which does not live in Sydney, a new airport is neither here nor there.

    Perth is struggling with overload and there is not even basic agreement on whether a third runway is needed or not, let alone when and if it will every be built.

    Perth, of course, has no curfew, though those in the hills whine about the noise – even though they knew what they were buying and where.

    We can’t even get the Liberals to build one railway line, let alone one which connects the existing airport(s) to the city.

    A massive amount of road work going on around the airports at the moment (domestic and international largely on either side of the runways apart from the FIFO mob) and this with Commonwealth money (from Labor’s days) and it will be a fair while before it is all finished.

    Meanwhile, the domestic terminal is to shift to join the international on the other side of the runways – goodness only knows when this will be done.

    At this rate, applied to Sydney, “about the middle of the next decade” – say around 2025 might see the first take off and landing in Sydney.

    Have patience Sydney friends. All those billions to be spent, and all that employment and economic activity just waiting for you.

    Meanwhile, another 10 years flying and and over Botany Bay is nothing to worry about.

  33. guytaur

    @political_alert: Department of Environment has released the latest National Greenhouse Accounts: http://t.co/BcUPwnDiBW #auspol

  34. ruawake

    Seems a bottle of wine was delivered to BoF, the courier docket proves it. BoF says he was not at home, away for Easter. Yet he was at home when he called Nick Di G.

    BoF has different views:
    [The premier says that if he didn’t receive the gift – as is his contention – then he didn’t call Di Girolamo to thank him for it.]

    So why did he call Nick Di G?

  35. Tricot

    Sorry Rex, the splitting of the Labor efforts into two left of centre groups just about assures the conservatives in office until the end of time as we know it.

    It took just a handful of “Labor” to go to DLP to keep Labour out of office for 23 years.

    Your wishes would recreate this DLP thing again and gift the middle ground to the conservatives.

    This is not to deny Labor needs a serious rethink about what a modern left of centre, progressive party is about, but hiving of the newbies from the oldies would lead to electoral oblivion.

    A better approach is to attack the soft right and split the conservative vote ensuring the economic and the social conservatives all belong to a reactionary party to the right of the present one.

  36. guytaur

    “@bkjabour: #icac RT @James_Jeffrey: “I did not have receiving relations with that Grange.””

  37. victoria

    I would not forget receiving a $3000 bottle of grange

  38. guytaur

    “@TheKouk: A dingo took my Grange #icac”

  39. Lynchpin

    This will be damaging for O’Farrell. Funny how Badgery’s got a guernsey today. Does Credlin have insight into what is going to be asked at Icac?

    Sydney is a very, very incestuous place. The North Shore really is a breeding ground for A-Grade Grubs.

  40. Lynchpin

    Has De Geronimo given evidence yet?

  41. victoria


    It is not a coincidence

  42. Lynchpin

    De Geronimo – Indian Giver of the Grange?

  43. Just Me

    This is not the Grange you are looking for.

  44. guytaur

    BOF presser now

  45. Bushfire Bill

    Geez, who’d have thought BOF would get into trouble as easily as this, over a bottle of wine and a few thousand in donations to the Libs.

    As a general observation I am constantly surprised how cheaply our politicians can be purchased.

    All these people, who move in the same circles, have hundreds of mutual friends and acquaintances, shower gifts everywhere, donations like confetti, run each others’ companies, invest in each others’ coal mines, work with and for each other… and yet hardly any of them can recall “ever having met the fellow”.

    It’s truly amazing.

  46. Rex Douglas

    Tricot #37

    Fair point.

    I’m just thinking the broad church that is the current day ALP is simply too broad in a pragmatic sense.

  47. ruawake

    [Has De Geronimo given evidence yet?]

    All of Monday and all of this morning, back it the witness box right now.

    BoF seems to be calling him a liar.

  48. Darn

    [ Lynchpin
    Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 2:29 pm | PERMALINK
    In the short term, the Badgery’s Creek announcement might be worth 1 or 2% uplift in the Govt’s polling.

    If it turns out to be popular all Labor has to do is “me too” it – the technique that Rudd used so effectively in 2007. There are plenty of other things to nail this government on.


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