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Federal Politics 2013-

Aug 27, 2015

BludgerTrack: 53.1-46.9 to Labor

Further improvement for Bill Shorten in this week's aggregated poll readings, but some of the gloss has come off the sizeable lead Labor opened up last week on voting intention.


Another bad Newspoll this week has kept the pressure on Tony Abbott, but the latest reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate has taken some of the edge off the formidable lead Labor opened up last week, thanks to softer results from Roy Morgan and Essential Research. The 0.7% shift on two-party preferred results in five seats changing hands on the seat projection, including one in every state except Western Australia. Despite that, the leadership ratings record further improvement for Bill Shorten, since Newspoll is the only one of the three to have provided a new result. Shorten has now opened up a small but clear lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister, and there has been a solid uptick in his net approval rating while Tony Abbott continues to flounder.


• Keep an eye on this post for all your Canning by-election news needs, including a fresh batch of snippets posted just now, and a fairly intensive account of yesterday’s slightly perplexing ReachTEL result.

• Tasmanian Labor Senator Lisa Singh has been dumped to a theoretically unwinnable fourth position on the party’s Senate ticket, behind incumbents Anne Urquhart of the Left and Helen Polley of the Right, and – most contentiously – non-incumbent John Short, state secretary of the Left faction Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, who is set to take third place. The elevation of Short ahead of a factionally unaligned woman front-bencher (Singh is shadow parliamentary secretary for the environment, climate change and water) has not been well-received, but Bill Shorten says he will not seek to have the decision overturned by the party’s national executive. It’s worth noting, albeit just barely, that Tasmania is the state where it is least implausible that below-the-line voters might trump the order of the party-mandated Senate ticket, owing to the smaller number of candidates and voters’ familiarity with choosing between party candidates under the Hare-Clark system in state elections. This was known to happen in Tasmania in the decade after the present Senate electoral system was introduced in 1949, but it hasn’t come anywhere near occurring since the above-the-line voting option was introduced in 1984. The below-the-line voting rate was 10.34% in Tasmania at the 2013 election, compared with 3.51% nationally.

• The Greens in South Australia have suffered the embarrassment of having candidate interview reports for its Senate preselection leaked to the media. The contents suggest that the front-runner for a preselection to be determined on September 6 is Robert Simms, an Adelaide City councillor who was rated as “highly recommended” owing to a “combination of experience, vision and political skills”. Bension Siebert of InDaily reports that the remaining contenders were ranked into two categories, the more flattering of which was headed “competent”. This included “former Greens state parliamentary candidate Matthew Carey, state Hindmarsh Greens branch convenor Rebecca Galdies, and former federal Greens candidate and environmental lawyer Ruth Beach”. Then came “needs further development”, which applied to Sam Taylor, media adviser to state upper house MP Mark Parnell, and Adelaide Hills councillor Lynton Vonow. The report was the work of a panel including Mark Parnell and three other figures in the state party.

Tom Richardson of InDaily reports that Jo Chapley, in-house legal counsel for Foodland supermarkets, has “firmed as a Labor frontrunner to take on Christopher Pyne in Sturt”. However, the report also says that “other party figures are reluctant to push her for the Sturt pre-selection unless they can guarantee a lavish warchest from Labor’s national head office to run a genuine ‘marginal-seat-style’ campaign”.

• Steve Georganas has been confirmed as Labor candidate for the Adelaide seat of Hindmarsh, which he held from 2004 until his defeat at the hands of current Liberal member Matt Williams in 2013, after the withdrawal of his sole preselection rival, Delia Brennan.

• My recent paywalled contributions to Crikey offer an account of the recent recovery in Bill Shorten’s personal ratings, and early impressions of the Western Australian federal redistribution (despite what the headline says).


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1,385 thoughts on “BludgerTrack: 53.1-46.9 to Labor

  1. CTar1

    [The Greens in South Australia have suffered the embarrassment of having candidate interview reports for its Senate preselection leaked to the media.]

    I bet there’s some ‘internal investigation’ going on after that!

  2. Prefix

    Loving this brewing fight over the Republic. Hockey has clearly stopped caring what his colleagues think of him since he has no chance of leading the party any more. It’ll put Turnbull in a hard place too given he still seems to think he’s in with a chance.

    Love it when the Libs wedge themselves.

  3. Charlie Edwards

    I think that is more than 170 polls now that have had the ALP leading & a inexorable sense of failure & defeat for an Abbott-led government going into the next election. Notwithstanding the Essential result, most polls seem to have solidified around the 53-47 range which would see a comfortable ALP win & a devastating & well-deserved first term loss to Abbott’s Coalition. What a legacy he will leave.

  4. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    Sweet numbers.

  5. Brenda Loots

    Love your optimism, Charlie Edwards (3), but from the experience with the Howard years, a few percentage points are easily recovered with either
    – a few dollars thrown the way of middle Australia
    – a threat or, better still, a war flaring up somewhere
    – a focus point for anger of disadvantage being directed at an internal or external minority (there’s still a bit of juice left in boat people, even)
    We know Abbott will stop at nothing to save his hide. And for his approach, too many ‘true blue Aussies’ are suckers.
    So yes, if we here are all out there spreading the word over the next 12-months with our detailed observations (which few average Australians would otherwise notice), we might prevent this, but it is probably a little early yet to count your chicken.

  6. Socrates

    Morning all. Not good numbers for Abbott, but that seems to be the norm. It will all turn around in time for the election after the Heydon commission hands down its findings. No wait…

    There must be some pretty nervous Liberal backbenchers now. Howard turned around poll deficits when a booming economy gave him the largesse to buy votes with. Abbott has no such luck.

  7. Socrates


    That is why we may have Hockey to thank for taking Abbott out. He is hopeless, and has shown no ability to manage the economy. The only way Abbott can buy votes now is by raising taxes or debt and cutting services. Both will be politically difficult.

    Also, thanks to first Meg Lees, then Mal Colston and a big win later, Howard had the Senate numbers to get major changes through. Abbott does not.

  8. CTar1


    [There must be some pretty nervous Liberal backbenchers now.]

    Pyne sounding hysterical.

  9. Socrates

    I have said before that here in SA Nick Xenephon poses a real threat to the libs (and Labor marginals) in the next election. I live in Sturt and I would say there are a lot of people (at least those in my acquaintance) who would put X ahead of Pyne, but not necessarily vote Labor.

  10. sprocket_

    it appears Donald Trump is not the only joke candidate polling well in the U.S.

    [Brady Olson, 15, entered himself in the 2016 preliminaries as ‘Deez Nuts.’
    New Hampshire voters may be bagging Deez Nuts.

    A new Public Policy Polling survey out Wednesday shows Nuts — an independent presidential “candidate” registered with the Federal Election Commission by an Iowa teenager — pulling just 6% support in matchups against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and Republican pack leader Donald Trump.

    That’s down from the 7% to 9% backing Nuts enjoyed in the Granite State before being unmasked as Brady Olson, 15, of Wallingford, Iowa.

    “Perhaps Americans unhappy with their choices are now moving more towards Limberbutt McCubbins, Dat Ass, and Butt Stuff,” PPP deadpanned in a release.

    Among White House hopefuls who actually, you know, exist, Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich leads Clinton 43% to 41% — a statistical dead heat.

    Trump trailed Clinton in the PPP poll by just two points, 44% to 46%, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina was within striking distance, outpaced by Clinton by a margin of 45% to 42%.]

  11. lizzie

    Barnaby out this morning on the Republic saying that he has confidence that Hockey can ‘walk and chew gum at the same time’ but that walking (the economy) is more important than chewing gum (the Republic).

    I think Hockey is incompetent as Treasurer and agree with some commentators that this is not the time for him to set himself up as the Leader for a Republic.

    The timing is also wrong, IMO. Please let’s sort out the ‘Indigenous position’ (no offence meant) first.

  12. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    Maybe it is safe for me to reappear again.

  13. rhwombat

    Re Left vs Right from the last thread.

    I think it’s fairly simple: Left is for inclusion and cooperation, Right for exclusion and domination.

    My apologies to all for poking the RG bears – but my question stands: is anyone here (other than True Idiot) going to admit that they prefer any of Rupert’s minions (including Turnbullatfour) to our last government?

  14. Raaraa


    I often refer to people as leftie or rightie, but only as it is suppose to represent that they are taking the left or right viewpoint, its not meant to be an insult, if anything its a pointless label but it acts as a guide post as to where my comment is directed.

    While I consider myself a “leftie” and don’t feel outraged at people calling me one, I often think labels like this simplify and polarise people too easily.

    There are probably as many contrasting opinions as there are the number of voters in Australia, so simple labels like this don’t help other than putting people in groups.

  15. Raaraa

    RE: Lisa Singh

    I wonder if the preselections for the Tasmanian lower house seats have been done. Would Shorten ask for Lisa Singh to try for one of the lower house seats? It seems a big loss along with the lines of Pratt.

  16. CTar1

    it would be classic if crocodile tears Jo rugger buggered Abbott and bought him down.

    Talcum must be beside himself.

  17. sprocket_

    HoJo manages to throw some petrol on the smouldering government disunity fire, and is criticised for it. Which is hilarious given Abbott and other ministers trolling through every culture war item imaginable.

    [While some in Government ranks supported the move, others argued Mr Hockey should focus on his day job as the Treasurer.

    One Government minister told AM he was “blown away” to hear the Treasurer had become involved with such a “peripheral issue”.

    Mr Hockey had shown a “complete lack of judgement,” the frontbencher said.

    However, Mr Hockey defended his decision, saying he had long advocated his views on a republic.

    “They are a matter of public record and those views haven’t changed,” his spokeswoman said.]


  18. Raaraa


    I wonder if the money embezzled away will affect the Vic Lib’s chances in Victoria. More importantly, will it affect Mirabella’s chances in Indi?

  19. BK

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers. It’s damned cold here with the paddocks completely frosted over.

    How to win big drinking pub customers. Not.
    That will make ALL the difference! Nothing will work in the US to curb public gun violence.
    Shorten might be onto something here as we build up to an election at which the government will use union bashing.
    Elizabeth Farrelly suggests there might be an unlikely political romance in the air.
    Peter FitzSimons with a clarion call for a republic.
    And Michelle Grattan looks at Joe Hockey’s entrance to the republic push.
    Robyn Williams (40 years of the Science Show) talks of the anti-science efforts of the media.
    “View from the Street” asks if it’s still an invitation if you invite yourself. He also wonders who polices the federal police.
    Dave Donovan says we shouldn’t make fun of the Liberals – because they just don’t like it.
    Bob Ellis with an update on his cancer.

  20. Socrates


    I have mixed views on Hockey, none of them good. He has not managed the economy well. But is the problem inability or disinterest? He is clearly very good at working the system for his own financial gain, as the Hockey real estate empire demonstrates. So he has some ability (as a grifter).

    I think overall he is mainly lazy, and lacks the gumption to take on the challenge to really sell an economic reform. So the only “reforms” he has achieved are the ones Rupert Murdoch had already sold for him – cutting the mining and carbon taxes.

  21. CTar1


    Hodgeman dobbing in Abetz is fun.

    [He has also confirmed that Senator Abetz was briefed at the time because they were both members of the party executive.]


  22. lizzie


    IMHO it is Hockey’s wife who looks after the family finances (and probably buys his cigars for him, too 😉 ).

  23. lizzie

    TA still fighting a rear guard action to delay SSM.

    [Tony Abbott has continued to suggest Australians could vote on two separate referendums if he wins the next election, one on same-sex marriage and one on constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians.

    Several of his own cabinet believe the case is overwhelming for Mr Abbott to embrace a plebiscite on marriage equality and proceed with a referendum on Indigenous recognition.

    But the Prime Minister kept the two-referendum option alive when he faced the media during his week in remote Indigenous Australia on Wednesday, saying he believed the Australian people were “more than capable of considering different important issues at different times”.]

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/prime-minister-tony-abbott-keeps-open-samesex-marriage-referendum-option-20150826-gj888g.html#ixzz3jxb9uoTU

  24. Socrates

    Thanks BK. I agree Shorten has a point on the construction industry. In my experience it is little better than organised crime, with links to real criminals common. Defending crane drivers making $200k is not an act of social justice, when we pay doctors in the public health system a fair bit less.

    At the same time, any honest reform of construction must include the big firms, that are full of arguably corrupt links to politicians on both sides. Consider the EW link in Melbourne – a $1.2 billion success fee?? How does that benefit taxpayers? Or motorists? Executives? Yes.

    Our building costs are among the highest in the world, higher than France, Germany and Italy for example. It has gotten to the point where the costs are strangling job growth, even though we have a lot of unmet needs that require building.

  25. briefly


    I agree.

  26. Socrates


    OK that is a strong case for the inability theory! But inability does not exclude laziness 🙂

  27. Socrates


    Thanks. Another particular frustration in the building industry is skills training. This is at the same time a great opportunity to reduce unemployment when Labor takes office. The NBN rollout under Labor suffered from a lack of skilled resources in the early days. A friend of mine in the SA TAFE system (lecturer) bemoans the lack of funding, precisely when we should be retraining manufacturing workers.

  28. lizzie


    Of course not. Laziness might have come first.

  29. zoomster

    The Green/Nats article cited by BK is basically about the threat to our precious water and farmland.

    Written by a Sydney based New Zealand born architect trained author.

    Why would the SMH even consider accepting a piece on these issues from someone whose background suggests they have little real understanding of them?

  30. CTar1


    [whose background suggests they have little real understanding of them?]

    Don’t be cruel. He must have had to do spouts.

  31. WeWantPaul

    [Written by a Sydney based New Zealand born architect trained author.

    Why would the SMH even consider accepting a piece on these issues from someone whose background suggests they have little real understanding of them?]

    Why would any of those things suggest to anyone that the author has little real understanding of the issues.

    Of course the article might contain some hints that the author doesn’t know what they are writing about but if so it would be helpful if you pointed them out rather than that weird irrelevant attack on his history you did.

  32. Rates Analyst



    Hockey’s wife is the one who made the money.

  33. zoomster


    Well, for a starters, it’s a she.

    Secondly, I was getting frustrated at the whole tone of the article. It’s based on fundamental misunderstandings of the issues. If I wanted to critique it properly, this would mean I’d have to write a minor manifesto, because I’d have to explain what’s wrong with the underlying assumptions.

    That’s why I looked into the author’s history – I was trying to work out whether the piece was deliberately misleading (for a political purpose), or whether I had basically misunderstood these issues for decades.

    The answer was neither. The author appears to be simply someone who approached the subject matter with their own preconceptions, rather than a true understanding of the issues.

  34. dave


    Howard turned around poll deficits…..

    Yes howard did.

    Right up until he couldn’t.

    When people had had a gutful.

    Thats about where abbott started from.

  35. Nicholas

    There is also c) that she was the first Labor leader to back a conscience vote on the issue for MPs, and to support marriage equality being adopted into party policy, which are arguably more substantial than her own personal vote in the Caucus.

    That’s specious reasoning. Julia Gilard’s vote influenced those of other Labor parliamentarians. Had she voted yes, others would have voted yes too.

  36. victoria

    morning all

    I didnt see it myself

    [Victoria Collins
    Victoria Collins – ‏@HillbillySkill

    #Abbott just refused to deny to Lisa Wilkinson that HE asked POTUS if Oz could take part in strikes on IS in Syria. #auspol
    2:21 PM – 26 Aug 2015

  37. dave


    Re Left vs Right from the last thread.

    I think it’s fairly simple: Left is for inclusion and cooperation, Right for exclusion and domination.

    FDR had it right all those years ago, IMO with –

    [ A republican {tory} is a man with two perfectively good feet – who has never used them to go forwards ]

    It could have been written for abbott & co.

  38. confessions

    Morning all.

    My own view is that people have made up their minds about Abbott, and they are prepared to change the govt in order to get rid of him. I can’t see him being able to turn the polls, no matter how much the media might bang on about how unpopular Shorten is.

  39. CTar1


    [Abbott just refused to deny to Lisa Wilkinson that HE asked POTUS if Oz could take part in strikes on IS in Syria.]

    How surprising.

  40. confessions


    The Pope cartoon today says it all!

  41. zoomster


    Right. So Gillard should have just disallowed the vote, like every other Prime Minister.

  42. WeWantPaul

    [That’s specious reasoning. Julia Gilard’s vote influenced those of other Labor parliamentarians. Had she voted yes, others would have voted yes too.]

    Regardless of your views on Ms Gillard, I understand I missed a through review restatement of many of the views last night, at no time in her Prime Ministership did she have excess political capital to waste on what even now (and I support SSM) is a marginal issue, in the sense that there are many issues that are more important.

    In hindsight she and labor were headed for a nasty defeat and didn’t really have anything to lose (much like the greens always are) but she didn’t know this.

  43. lizzie


    Abbott having a sudden attack of conscience over his lies?

  44. confessions

    Another day, another stunt.

    [Prime Minister Tony Abbott is set to get his hands dirty helping the Northern Peninsula Area indigenous community fix up their local hall.

    Mr Abbott will turn his focus to local employment initiatives on Thursday, his penultimate day in the region as part of his election commitment to spend one week each year in a remote indigenous community.

    The prime minister will help paint a Bamaga community hall before attending a health care facility and inspecting local employment opportunities.]

    Wouldn’t voters prefer their PM is focused on delivering sound economic policy and good govt, not nailing or painting things?

  45. victoria

    ABC774 is talking about apprenticeships and 457 visas shortly

  46. zoomster

    I really don’t get the attitude to Gillard re ssm.

    Any other politician announces they’ve had a change of heart, and it’s “yay, good on them” not “they’ve been hypocritical on this up until now, the b#stard.”

    Other PMs have allowed conscience votes on issues they themselves did not support – Rudd, for example, did so on stem cell research – and that’s been seen as a healthy sign.

    A conscience vote is just that, a matter of conscience. I would have thought far more scorn should be directed at MPs who have admitted that they supported ssm but voted against it for purely political reasons.

    I don’t know whether Gillard did that or not. I just find the sneering at her on this issue inexplicable, given that she did not use her own position to dictate to others what they should do.

    She allowed a vote to go ahead, where previous PMs have refused to let the party even discuss the issue.


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